The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War (Baker)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With reference to cable No. 521 of January 10 from the Chief of Staff to General Graves, a copy of which you have kindly furnished me,36 I suggest that, if this has not already been done in other cablegrams, it be made quite clear to General Graves that the mission of the American troops in Eastern Siberia will not have been accomplished until the safe evacuation of the Czecho-Slovaks is assured and a substantial portion of them actually afloat.

As you are aware, no doubt, the relations existing between the Czecho-Slovaks and General Semenoff37 are very strained. It is to be hoped that the Czecho-Slovaks will find it possible to pass through the regions controlled by General Semenoff without serious difficulty. I am sure you will agree, however, that in view of all the circumstances it is not possible to permit a concentration of the American troops at Vladivostok, or the departure of a considerable portion of them before the free passage of the Czechoslovaks to Vladivostok is assured. While the responsibility of the United States relates primarily to the Czecho-Slovaks, it is felt that General Graves should also be instructed to assist, in case of need, the evacuation of the other friendly contingents, that is to say, the Jugo Slavs, Poles and Roumanians.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. Not found in Department files.
  2. Gen. Gregory Semenov, Ataman of the Far Eastern Cossacks.