Poole to Lansing on possibility of Bolsheviks accepting German aid, and request to clarify Allied intervention approach
File No. 861.00/2711
Moscow, August 26, 1918
[Received September 16, 9:42 p.m.]
Disaffection from Bolsheviks continues marked. Among peasants, it is almost complete. But opposition to them within the territory they control is taking even less definite form than heretofore because what really active anti-Bolshevik elements exist seek to pass behind the Allied lines in north or into Czech country. It is difficult to perceive from what quarter any interior revolt against Bolsheviks may come.
From exterior point of view indecisive tone of American declaration, published more or less accurately in Bolshevik press, and leisurely nature of advance from the north end to bolster Bolsheviks up. At the same time, total lack of success against Czechs and conviction they can not oppose advance from the north, the Letts declining to fight the Allies unless White Guard precede Allied troops, make the Bolsheviks more and more ready to listen to overtures of direct military aid from Germany. It is difficult to determine extent and seriousness of this overture but German rapprochment becomes more clearly defined.
The present general tendency is a practical absorption of Bolshevik territory into German occupied zone. It is probable that by the force of circumstances, whatever character the United States and the other Allies may seek to give their present military activities in Russia, distinct Allied and German zones will soon stand in hostile juxtaposition with the Volga roughly as the dividing line.
It results from this that every effort must be made while there may yet be time to evacuate Allied nationals and functionaries form Bolshevik Russia as from hostile territory. The Czechs must not only be promptly supported form the rear, but a junction affected in the north without further delay. At the same time, the now much exposed Smara flank must be protected and the way prepared for a junction with the British from Baku supported by Dutov, Alexeev and other active elements in the intermediary region as pointed out in previous telegrams. Junction in the north is also indespensible to avert famine in that region this winter.
In Moscow relatively quiet. So-called [Commission against] Counter-Revolution again supporting a veritable reign of terror with many summary and baseless shootings each day. Among the Bolsheviks, elements giving way to the violent and completely irresponsible. In Nizhni Novgorod and other provincial cities similar situation.
Lockhart concurs in foregoing and asks communication to British Foreign Office.
* Sent via the Consulate General at Christiania; a badly garbled version also received, Sept. 9, via the Consulate General at Stockholm (File No. 861.00/2650)
Documents on US Foreign Policy in Russia
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