860j.01/46: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis) to the Secretary of State

2801. I have received this morning the following note:

“Foreign Office, Wednesday, 13th August, 1919.

My Dear Ambassador: I have received your note of last evening urging the British Government with all earnestness not to withdraw our troops from Batoum for the time being in view of the evident gravity of the situation. As I explained to you in our conversation earlier in the afternoon evacuation has already commenced at the eastern end of the line. In any case, however, its duration must be sufficiently prolonged to relieve us from any immediate anxiety [Page 831] as to the position at Batoum. Should the present programme be carried out unaltered it will not be till the early part or middle of October that the question of leaving Batoum will assume a practical form and it may be possible at that date, should the conditions in the Caucasus require it, to make arrangements which will not let the place remain without any protection. In the meantime I am making inquiries as to whether, consistent with the broad policy which I have indicated, anything can be done to insure some degree of local security and to prevent the terrible events of which your Government are apprehensive. Any arrangement for this purpose would be much easier were your Government in a position either themselves to put troops into the Caucasus or to assure us that the mandate for Armenia would ultimately be accepted by the United States. The circumstances that you described to me yesterday appear to render the satisfaction of these two conditions for the present out of the question and they greatly complicate an issue which is in itself sufficiently difficult. Pray believe me, however, that the situation is one which I am examining together with our military advisers from day to day and almost from hour to hour with the most intense anxiety to find a solution that will relieve us from the gravest fears. I am seriously considering whether it will be possible to leave political missions with sufficient escorts at the principal cities along the railway and whether effective political pressure cannot be put upon the governments of the local states to induce them to desist from actions which could only imperil their cause and might ruin their future.

I am yours sincerely,

Curzon of Kedleston.”

Repeated to American Mission, Paris.