The Chief of the Division of Russian Affairs, Department of State (Poole) to the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Skvirsky, of the so-called Commercial Delegation of the Far Eastern Republic, talked to me this afternoon concerning the progress of the negotiations at Changchung.77 The following were the two principal points brought out by him in the course of a long statement:
- Before the Conference Matsudaira told Antonoff, an informal representative of Chita at Tokyo, that Japan would welcome the participation of a representative of Moscow. When the Conference actually convened the Japanese, however, objected to the presence of Yoffe78 saying that they desired only to deal with the Far Eastern Republic. Mr. Skvirsky expressed the opinion that this was done simply to provide a point on which the Japanese could yield in order to obtain some corresponding concession from the other side.
- The Japanese say that they must continue to occupy Northern Sakhalin until there is a settlement of the Nikolaievsk affair. The Russians reply that Northern Sakhalin being Russian territory must be evacuated; that there is no necessary connection between the massacre at Nikolaievsk and the adjoining Sakhalin territory. The Russians are willing to discuss with the Japanese the question of [Page 857] compensation for the loss of Japanese lives at Nikolaievsk but in doing so they will bring forward large counter-claims based upon the destruction of Russian lives and property by the Japanese elsewhere in Siberia during the military occupation.
Mr. Skvirsky referred to the identity of the Russian and American views with respect to Northern Sakhalin, namely, that this territory should also be evacuated by the Japanese and that the Nikolaievsk massacre was merely an incident of the military intervention. He said that the Conference is now deadlocked on this point and that he had been instructed by his Government to say to us that they would appreciate very highly any pressure which we might find it possible to bring to bear upon Japan at this time in order to induce her to relinquish Sakhalin.
I told Mr. Skvirsky that I did not know what could be done at this time to meet the request made; I doubted if anything could be done which would not do more harm than good by arousing Japanese resentment. I told him, however, for the confidential information of his colleagues at Chita, that we had let the Japanese Government understand at the time that the withdrawal of their troops from the Maritime Province was announced that, while we were much gratified at this decision, we continued to adhere to the view that all Russian territory, including Northern Sakhalin, should be evacuated. Mr. Skvirsky expressed much appreciation of our attitude and especially of what Mr. Hughes had done at the Armament Conference to induce the Japanese to give up the Siberian venture.