Memorandum by the Acting Chief of the Division of Russian Affairs, Department of State (Poole)

Mr. Fletcher: On December 7, there called at the Russian Division of the State Department the special trade delegation of the Far Eastern Republic to the United States consisting of:

  • Chairman—Mr. Alexander A. Iazikoff,
  • Members—Peter N. Karavaeff, Boris E. Skvirsky.

I received the delegation informally, Messrs. Jameson and Kleifoth of the Russian Division and Mr. E. T. Williams of the Conference section of the Far Eastern Division, being present. Mr. Skvirsky not only acted as interpreter, but also took the leading part in presenting the views of the delegation.

He stated that the object of the mission was twofold, political, and commercial. On the political side they were interested in presenting [Page 751] their case to the United States Government and to the Conference, giving all available data regarding conditions in the Far Eastern Republic with a view to securing recognition of their country, and the withdrawal of the Japanese troops from Siberia. They desired to establish normal relations with the United States.

From the commercial angle they desired to arrange for resumption of trade relations but did not go into details due to lack of time during the interview.

I pointed out that no delegations from countries not recognized by the United States would be received officially by this Government, nor by the Secretary of State, but that the Russian Division of the State Department would be pleased to discuss matters informally with the Representatives from Chita. Mr. Skvirsky stated that the delegation realized that the United States could not receive them officially and that they would be pleased to discuss the matters informally with the Russian Division but desired to present their case to the Conference informally. He said the delegation would present their credentials to the Chief of the Russian Division if it were impossible to present them to the Secretary of State.

Regarding the Mongolian question Mr. Skvirsky gave a brief sketch of the history of the attack of Semenoff’s lieutenant, Baron Ungern Sternberg, upon Urga and upon the Far Eastern Republic, the necessity of the Far Eastern Republic defending its lands, and the recent defeat of the Ungern troops by the joint military operations of the Soviet troops and those of the Far Eastern Republic. (See Memo, of Mr. E. T. Williams attached59).

I pointed out that the continued presence of Soviet Russian troops in Mongolia without a protest from the Far Eastern Republic placed the latter in an unfavorable light. It indicated that the Far Eastern Republic was a party to Russian Soviet aggression in Mongolia or at least did not object to it, while at the same time Chita was pressing for Japanese withdrawal from Siberia.

As regards the Chinese Eastern Railway I assured him that the purpose of the United States in joining with other powers in the plan adopted for allied supervision of the Chinese Eastern Railway in 1919, was to temporarily operate the Railway in the interest of the Russian people with a view to its ultimate return to those in interest, without the impairing of any existing rights.

This was our honest endeavor and it was suggested that the Chita Representatives give a frank statement of their attitude toward temporary international control of the Chinese Eastern. Mr. Skvirsky confirmed the information in the hands of the State Department that negotiations were being carried on between the Far Eastern Republic and China looking toward the protection of the [Page 752] rights of both countries in the Railway Zone. He said that a meeting or conference was scheduled to take place in the near future at Manchuli between the representatives of the two countries. He further remarked he would have to cable his Minister of Foreign Affairs at Chita regarding his country’s attitude toward international control. He was given the substance of the telegraphic correspondence between the State Department and Consul Caldwell at Chita on this subject, but made no clear statement as to the attitude of his country. …

As to the Dairen Conference Mr. Skvirsky said the Japanese had presented a proposed treaty consisting of seventeen points with three additional secret clauses. The secret articles were:

That the Far Eastern Republic should dismantle all fortifications on the Siberian Pacific coast;
That the Chita Government should recognize as valid all treaties and agreements made by Japan with the various governments which had existed in Russia and Siberia, (not only the Czar and Kerensky Governments but also all provisional and minor governments such as the various governments at Vladivostok and the so-called governments set up by Semenoff and other Siberian leaders);
That the Far Eastern Republic agree not to station her troops within some thirty miles of the Korean border.

Among the seventeen points were provisions giving Japan navigation rights on the Amur, Sungari and Ussuri rivers. Mr. Skvirsky stated he would give us more detailed information regarding the Dairen Conference in the near future, but that the Far Eastern Republic had insisted upon Japan withdrawing its troops from Siberia on a fixed date, and would not agree to many of the J apanese demands.

D. C. P[oole]
  1. Not printed.