27 April 1918
Izvestia, 28 April 1918

    On 23 April the Moscow newspapers published the following statement by the French Ambassador, Noulens.

    The landing ofJapanese forces in Vladivostok was the result of the prolonged state of disturbance and alarm in that city. Sooner or later an incident was bound to occur which would have made essential armed intervention for the purpose of guaranteeing the safety of foreigners. For many months the information we have received from Vladivostok indicated a state of anarchy, a constant threat to the lives and property of Allied subjects. When international intercourse attracts to any territory, and in particular to a maritime town, foreign merchants, to the advantage of the whole country, the authorities there should understand that this obliges them to maintain public order and to protect their guests from the excesses of the streets. Otherwise the interested persons will appeal to their Governments for the protection which the local authorities are too weak or otherwise unable or not in a position to guarantee. Then the military forces of the country whose citizens have been subjected to violence must assume the task of restoring order. And that is as it should be, for a country cannot be really independent without strong and organized authorities. The Japanese question, in so far as it is Japanese, can be localized to Vladivostok on condition that the Tokio Government is given the satisfaction it has the right to demand.

    But the Allies cannot remain indifferent to the Austro-German successes in the north and in the south, successes far beyond the limits which might have been foreseen after the Brest treaty. The German Governinent is really trying to subdue the whole of Russia economically. Further, through their prisoners of war, they are trying to organize colonial centres in Siberia. The Allies may be compelled to intervene in order to answer this threat, directed as much against the Russian people as against themselves.

    But if at any time the Allies Were compelled to resort to military action, they would do so solely in their capacity as Allies who, while not intervening in internal Russian affairs, and without any concealed designs of conquest, were solely concerned with the defence of common interests, and, with the complete consent of Russian public opinion, would oppose by force German conquests in eastern Europe. I have no information regarding the intentions of these Governments in this matter, but, whatever happens, I can say that if an armed offensive should take place in Siberia, it would have the character of an inter-Allied and definitely friendly action.

    Upon inquiry we received official confirmation of the authenticity of M. Noulens' statement from M. Le Bon, the French Consul in Moscow.

    In the tragic days through which Russia is now passing, M. Noulens' statement can scarcely contribute to amicable relations between the French and Russian peoples. A representative of the French Government who helps to impair the relations between France and Russia cannot be tolerated within the Russian Republic.

    The Government of the Russian Federal Socialist Soviet Republic expresses its confidence that M. Noulens will immediately be recalled by the Government of the French Republic.

Documents on Soviet Foreign Policy

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