861.00/6319: Telegram

The High Commissioner at Constantinople ( Bristol ) to the Secretary of State

112. Following from McCully [,Odessa].

“10. February 8, 10 p.m. Arrived Odessa today on destroyer Biddle finding in port British battleship Ajax, 3 British destroyers, 1 French gunboat and one French destroyer, United States destroyer Frederic Talbott and one Greek destroyer. Sequence of events about as follows.

About February 1st there began isolated cases of murders of Russian officers followed by increasing disorder by local rioters resisted only by a small detachment of Russian students under officers of British mission. On February 5th General Schilling commanding at Odessa acknowledged that he could no longer maintain order, turned over control of the city to a Ukraine Council and went aboard ship and sailed for Sevastopol. During 5th and 6th there was irregular fighting between Ukrainians and rioters and between rioters and the small detachment of boys under command who were covering the evacuation. The evacuation of (the?) refugees was completed evening 6th including American Red Cross and consular officers.

Troops of local Russian army completely demoralized although there had never been any attacks by organized Red forces. Neither had Red troops as far as I can learn made an attack on Russian troops in advance positions. On February 1st disorderly elements gained control of the town and there was much firing although no Red troops entered the city until today which has passed comparatively quiet. All remaining detachment Russian troops that escaped which consist mainly of small groups of officers are now on march to Tiraspol and Roumanian border.

Evacuation was limited to wounded officers and to women and children families of officers and of class maltreated by Reds. British have evacuated several thousand to Varna and have several thousand more on merchant vessels anchored outside breakwater. About 500 have been evacuated by me to American Red Cross refuge on island of Proti in Sea of Marmora expense being borne by Russians.

All men of war are anchored outside breakwater and within range of shore batteries which however have not attempted to fire on them. There are said to be two or three Americans still on shore and attempts will be made to get them.

[Page 581]

Lieutenant Commander H. V. Covent, United States Navy, whom I had requested Force Commander to assist me by acting as observer at Odessa arrived here January 30th and was present during evacuation.”

  1. Telegram in three sections.