861a.01/208

The Chief of the Division of Russian Affairs, Department of State (Poole) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: Mr. Kolesnikoff, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the so-called Pri-Amur Provisional Government at Vladivostok, called this morning at the Russian Division in company with Mr. J. K. Okulitch, of Boston, who describes himself as Plenipotentiary Representative of the Pri-Amur Government in this country. Mr. Kolesnikoff presented his credentials from the Pri-Amur Government, of which I took informal note, as in the case of the other representatives of unrecognized governments. I explained to Mr. Kolesnikoff that he might deal with the Russian Division and that we would be glad to receive such information or comments as he might care to contribute with respect to the situation in Eastern [Page 841]Siberia. He was entirely correct in his attitude; said that his government did not pretend to recognition at this time; and said that he would be very happy to deal with the Russian Division in the way suggested.

The question of the allegations of the Chita delegation of a Franco-Japanese understanding respecting Siberia coming up in the course of our conversation, Mr. Kolesnikoff contributed the following information:

Last July the Far Eastern press reported extensively that the Wrangel army would be transferred to the East. Kolesnikoff thereupon made inquiries of Kroupensky, the old Russian Ambassador at Tokyo, and Maklakoff at Paris.58 Kroupensky replied that he took the question up with the Japanese Foreign Office and was assured that nothing of the kind was under discussion. Maklakoff replied from Paris that the reports were without foundation. Subsequently, in October, one ship, the Franz Ferdinand, arrived at Vladivostok with Russian refugees from the Near East comprising 900 in all, including women and children. The only military elements were 200 sailors from the Russian Caspian fleet and 100 Ural Cossacks, the remnant of a large body of Cossacks who had trekked from Russia through Persia into Mesopotamia. All these refugees were transported to Vladivostok not by the French but by the British Government and the British Government paid the local Vladivostok Government 3000 yen to meet the expenses of their maintenance immediately after they were put on shore.

The foregoing tends very strongly to dispose finally of the alleged Franco-Japanese agreement as a fabrication. The alleged agreement between Japanese military representatives and Semenoff, on the other hand, is probably founded upon fact, in Mr. Kolesnikoff’s opinion, and I am of the same view. You have no doubt noted the long explanation which Baron Kato made to the press concerning Japanese cooperation with Semenoff.

Respectfully,

D. C. Poole
  1. V. A. Maklakov was appointed Russian Ambassador in Paris in 1917 by the Provisional Government. Krupensky was an Imperial appointee.↩