861.00/6711: Telegram

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

260. Following from Admiral McCully, Theodosia:

“38. April 5, 10 p.m. My despatch number 37 of April 3. Council of generals considers it to be subversive of military discipline for subordinates to elect their superior but expressed opinion that only General Wrangel would be satisfactory as successor of Denikine. Denikine accordingly designated Wrangel as commander-in-chief of armed forces of South Russia, and himself plans leaving for Constantinople on a British naval vessel immediately. Wrangel assumed duties April 4th, and I made an unofficial call on him to-day. He had just received notice from Supreme Council Paris that Allies would mediate between him and Bolsheviks, and that if he did not accept their mediation they would withdraw any future support. Russians are convinced that Bolsheviks have not yet reached stage where they have learned sufficient self restraint to make it safe to deal with them. According to their reports Bolsheviks have exhibited [Page 591] all their usual cruelty during recent operations in Kuban, but of this I have not been able to get definite first hand information.

Troops retreating to Tuapse have so far been evacuated to the Crimea, the remainder continuing retreat along coast to southward. I have information that British have already begun negotiations with the [Bolsheviks?] regarding cessation of hostilities in this region. Present disposition of Russians here is to [apparent omission] it upon us. Wrangel is a highly capable leader, has great energy and determination, and is in position to make prolonged defense of Crimea. Ukrainian delegation from Petliura recently visited Denikine headquarters to arrange cooperation, and negotiations are being carried on with Makhno. Crimea may shortly be organized as a representative government. In the interview General Wrangel impressed me as being open to suggestion particularly if coming from United States. McCully.”

  1. Telegram in two sections.