The Bullitt Mission to Russia by William C. Bullitt

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  • 1919
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Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate of WILLIAM C. BULLITT.






























Washington, D.C., Friday, September 12, 1919.

The committee met, pursuant to the call of the chairman, at 10 o’clock a.m., in room 310, Senate Office Building, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presiding.

Present: Senators Lodge (chairman), Brandegee, Fall, Knox, Harding, and New.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bullitt is to make a statement to the committee this morning. I think I ought to say that Mr. Bullitt was summoned on the 23d of August, I believe, and he was in the woods at that time, out of reach of telegraph or telephone or mail, and only received the summons a few days ago. He came at once to Washington. That is the reason of the delay in his hearing.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bullitt, will you take the stand and give your full name, please, to the stenographer?

Mr. BULLITT, William C. Bullitt.

The CHAIRMAN. You are a native and a resident of Philadelphia, are you not?

Mr. BULLITT. I am, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Prior to the war, what were you engaged in?

Mr. BULLITT. Before the war I was employed by the Philadelphia Public Ledger. I had been a correspondent for them in various places, and I had been a member of the editorial staff in Philadelphia for a time.

The CHAIRMAN. You went abroad for them as a correspondent?

Mr. BULLITT. I did, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Before we went into the war?

Mr. BULLITT. Before we went into the war I toured Germany, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Poland, and other places, studying conditions there, for the purposes of the Public Ledger.

The CHAIRMAN. After we entered the war, what did you do? You came back?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir; I came back. I was in the United States at that time.

The CHAIRMAN. At that time?

Mr. BULLITT. And I was asked to enter the Department of State, to work in the Division of Western European Affairs under Mr. Grew, in which my special province was to follow the political situation of Germany and Austria-Hungary, to prepare the confidential reports of the department on Germany, Austria, and Hungary–the weekly reports–and also such memoranda on conditions as the President and the Secretary and others might call for.

The CHAIRMAN. And then you went to Paris as a member of the staff, after the armistice?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes; I was an employee of the department at the time of the armistice, and I was ordered to Paris as a member of the staff of the commission.

Senator KNOX. When did you first go to Paris, Mr. Bullitt?

Mr. BULLITT. I sailed on the _George Washington_. I went over with the original trip of the President.

Senator KNOX. And you were there continuously how long?

Mr. BULLITT. I remained in Paris until–I can give you the exact date–I was ordered to go on a special mission to Berne about the first week of February. I can give you the exact date, if it is of any moment.

Senator KNOX. No; it is not.

Mr. BULLITT. I remained a week in Berne, then returned and remained in Paris until I was ordered to go to Russia.

I left for Russia on the 22d of February. I was in Paris during the entire period until the 22d of February. Senator KNOX. You said you went over on the original trip of the President. Just to get these dates right, when did you reach Paris?

Mr. BULLITT. I left New York on December 4 and, as I remember, we reached Paris on December 13.

Senator KNOX. And you were there, then, until you went to Berne in February?

Mr. BULLITT. In February,

Senator KNOX. What was your personal relation to the peace conference and its work?


Mr. BULLITT. When I first arrived I was asked to take charge of a confidential bulletin which was to be gotten out for the benefit of the commissioners each morning. It was to be read by them. That lasted a very short time, and as is usual with most things of the kind, we discovered that the commissioners did not care to spend the time reading it, and therefore it was decided to abolish this bulletin, and that instead I should receive all the intelligence reports of military intelligence, of the State Department, intelligence received through all the special dispatches of the ambassadors, etc., in fact, all the information that came in, and a section was created called the Current Intelligence Section. I was called the Chief of the Division of Current Intelligence Summaries.

Senator KNOX. Then, as I understand, your function was to acquaint yourself with everything that was going on in connection with the conference, and disseminate the news to the different branches of the peace conference and the different bureaus?

Mr. BULLITT. I was to report only to the commissioners.

Senator KNOX. Well, but the essential thing is, was it your duty to get information?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes; it was my duty to be in constant touch with everyone who was in the American delegation, and present information to the commissioners each morning. I had 20 minutes with each commissioner each morning.

Senator KNOX. So that you were practically a clearing house of information for the members of the American mission?

Mr. BULLITT. That is what I was supposed to be.

* * * * *


Senator KNOX. What was your mission to Russia, and when did you go?

Mr. BULLITT. I was ordered to go to Russia on the 18th of February. I received the following order from Secretary Lansing [reading]:


18 February, 1919.

American Commission to Negotiate Peace.

SIR: You are hereby directed to proceed to Russia for the purpose of studying conditions, political and economic, therein, for the benefit of the American commissioners plenipotentiary to negotiate peace, and all American diplomatic and consular officials are hereby directed to extend to you the proper courtesies and facilities to enable you to fulfill the duties of your mission.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Secretary of State of the United States of America. [SEAL.]

Senator KNOX. What is the date of that?

Mr. BULLITT. February 18, 1919. I also received at the same time from Mr. Joseph C. Grew, the secretary of the American commission, the following [reading]:


18 February, 1919.

To whom it may concern:

I hereby certify that Mr. William C. Bullitt has been authorized by the American commissioners plenipotentiary to negotiate peace to proceed to Russia, for the purpose of studying conditions, political and economic, therein, for the benefit of the commission, and I bespeak for him the proper courtesies and facilities in enabling him to fulfill the duties of his mission.

Secretary of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. [SEAL.]

Senator KNOX. You say you started in February. What time in February?

Mr. BULLITT. I left on the 22d day of February.

Senator KNOX. Did you know at that time, or have you ascertained since, whether a secret mission had or not been dispatched from Paris, that is, by the President himself; a man by the name of Buckler, who went to Russia a few days before you did?

Mr. BULLITT. Mr. W.H. Buckler, Mr. Henry White’s half brother. He was an attache of the American embassy in London. He was ordered from there to go, about the 1st of January, to Stockholm, to confer with Litvinov, who had been the Ambassador of the Soviet Government to London–the British had allowed him to stay there without actually recognizing his official status, and had dealt with him.

Mr. Buckler there conferred with Litvinov, who made various propositions and representations to him which Mr. Buckler at once telegraphed back to Paris, and which were considered so important by the President that the President read them in extenso to the council of ten on the morning of January 21. I regret that I have no actual copy of those proposals by Litvinov, or of Buckler’s telegrams. At that time there was a discussion taking place in regard to Russia which had extended over a couple of weeks, a discussion of the utmost interest, in the council of ten. I happen to have the minutes of the council for January 16, when this Russian question was taken up, which I shall be glad to read, if the Senators should be interested, and also the minutes of the council of ten on January 21, at which meeting the Prinkipos proposal was decided upon. The Buckler meeting with Litvinov was what eventually swung the meeting in favor of Prinkipos, the suggestion for which had been made by Mr. Lloyd George. No; that is slightly incorrect. Mr. Lloyd George had suggested that representatives of the various Russian governments and factions should be brought to Paris.



Mr. Lloyd George commenced his statement setting forth the information in the possession of the British Government regarding the Russian situation, by referring to the matter which had been exposed recently in L’Humanite. He stated that he wished to point out that there had been a serious misconception on the part of the French Government as to the character of the proposal of the British Government. The British proposal did not contemplate in any sense whatever, a recognition of the Bolsheviki Government, nor a suggestion that Bolshevik delegates be invited to attend the Conference. The British proposal was to invite all of the different governments now at war within what used to be the Russian Empire, to a truce of God, to stop reprisals and outrages and to send men here to give, so to speak, an account of themselves. The Great Powers would then try to find a way to bring some order out of chaos. These men were not to be delegates to the Peace Conference, and he agreed with the French Government entirely that they should not be made members of the Conference.

Mr. Lloyd George then proceeded to set forth briefly the reasons which had led the British Government to make this proposal. They were as follows:

Firstly, the real facts are not known;

Secondly, it is impossible to get the facts, the only way is to adjudicate the question; and

Thirdly, conditions in Russia are very bad; there is general mis-government and starvation. It is not known who is obtaining the upper hand, but the hope that the Bolshevik Government would collapse had not been realized. In fact, there is one report that the Bolsheviki are stronger than ever, that their internal position is strong, and that their hold on the people is stronger. Take, for instance, the case of the Ukraine. Some adventurer raises a few men and overthrows the Government. The Government is incapable of overthrowing him. It is also reported that the peasants are becoming Bolsheviki. It is hardly the business of the Great Powers to intervene either in lending financial support to one side or the other, or in sending munitions to either side.

Mr. Lloyd George stated that there seemed to be three possible policies:

1. Military intervention. It is true there the Bolsheviki movement is as dangerous to civilization as German militarism, but as to putting it down by the sword, is there anyone who proposes it? It would mean holding a certain number of vast provinces in Russia. The Germans with one million men on their Eastern Front only held the fringe of this territory. If he now proposed to send a thousand British troops to Russia for that purpose, the armies would mutiny. The same applies to U.S. troops in Siberia; also to Canadians and French as well. The mere idea of crushing Bolshevism by a military force is pure madness. Even admitting that it is done, who is to occupy Russia? No one can conceive or understand to bring about order by force.

2. A cordon. The second suggestion is to besiege Bolshevik Russia. Mr. Lloyd George wondered if those present realized what this would mean. From the information furnished him Bolshevik Russia has no corn, but within this territory there are 150,000,000 men, women, and children. There is now starvation in Petrograd and Moscow. This is not a health cordon, it is a death cordon. Moreover, as a matter of fact, the people who would die are just the people that the Allies desire to protect. It would not result in the starvation of the Bolsheviki; it would simply mean the death of our friends. The cordon policy is a policy which, as humane people, those present could not consider.

Mr. Lloyd George asked who was there to overthrow the Bolsheviki? He had been told there were three men, Denekin, Kolchak and Knox. In considering the chances of these people to overthrow the Bolsheviki, he pointed out that he had received information that the Czecho-Slovaks now refused to fight; that the Russian Army was not to be trusted, and that while it was true that a Bolshevik Army had recently gone over to Kolchak it was never certain that just the reverse of this would not take place. If the Allies counted on any of these men, he believed they were building on quick-sand. He had heard a lot of talk about Denekin, but when he looked on the map he found that Denekin was occupying a little backyard near the Black Sea. Then he had been told that Denekin had recognized Kolchak, but when he looked on the map, there was a great solid block of territory between Denekin and Kolchak. Moreover, from information received it would appear that Kolchak had been collecting members of the old regime around him, and would seem to be at heart a monarchist. It appeared that the Czecho-Slovaks were finding this out. The sympathies of the Czecho-Slovaks are very democratic, and they are not at all prepared to fight for the restoration of the old conditions in Russia.

Mr. Lloyd George stated that he was informed that at the present time two-thirds of Bolshevik Russia was starving.

Institutions of Bolsheviki are institutions of old Czarist regime. This is not what one would call creating a new world.

3. The third alternative was contained in the British proposal, which was to summon these people to Paris to appear before those present, somewhat in the way that the Roman Empire summoned chiefs of outlying tributary states to render an account of their actions.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out the fact that the argument might be used that there were already here certain representatives of these Governments; but take, for instance, the case of Sazonov, who claims to represent the Government of Omsk. As a matter of fact, Sazonov can not speak from personal observation. He is nothing but a partisan, like all the rest. He has never been in contact, and is not now in direct contact with the Government at Omsk.

It would be manifestly absurd for those who are responsible for bringing about the Peace Conference, to come to any agreement and leave Paris when one-half of Europe and one-half of Asia is still in flames. Those present must settle this question or make fools of themselves.

Mr. Lloyd George referred to the objection that had been raised to permitting Bolshevik delegates to come to Paris. It had been claimed that they would convert France and England to Bolshevism. If England becomes Bolshevist, it will not be because a single Bolshevist representative is permitted to enter England. On the other hand, if a military enterprise were started against the Bolsheviki, that would make England Bolshevist, and there would be a Soviet in London. For his part, Mr. Lloyd George was not afraid of Bolshevism if the facts are known in England and the United States. The same applied to Germany. He was convinced that an educated democracy can be always trusted to turn down Bolshevism.

Under all circumstances, Mr. Lloyd George saw no better way out than to follow the third alternative. Let the Great Powers impose their conditions and summon these people to Paris to give an account of themselves to the Great Powers, not to the Peace Conference.

Mr. Pichon suggested that it might be well to ask M. Noulens, the French Ambassador to Russia, who had just returned to France, to appear before the meeting to-morrow morning, and give those present his views on the Russian situation.

President Wilson stated that he did not see how it was possible to controvert the statement of Mr. Lloyd George. He thought that there was a force behind this discussion which was no doubt in his mind, but which it might be desirable to bring out a little more definitely. He did not believe that there would be sympathy anywhere with the brutal aspect of Bolshevism, if it were not for the fact of the domination of large vested interests in the political and economic world. While it might be true that this evil was in process of discussion and slow reform, it must be admitted, that the general body of men have grown impatient at the failure to bring about the necessary reform. He stated that there were many men who represented large vested interests in the United States who saw the necessity for these reforms and desired something which should be worked out at the Peace Conference, namely, the establishment of some machinery to provide for the opportunity of the individuals greater than the world has ever known. Capital and labor in the United States are not friends. Still they are not enemies in the sense that they are thinking of resorting to physical force to settle their differences. But they are distrustful, each of the other. Society can not go on that plane. On the one hand, there is a minority possessing capital and brains; on the other, a majority consisting of the great bodies of workers who are essential to the minority, but do not trust the minority, and feel that the minority will never render them their rights. A way must be found to put trust and cooperation between these two.

President Wilson pointed out that the whole world was disturbed by this question before the Bolskeviki came into power. Seeds need soil, and the Bolsheviki seeds found the soil already prepared for them.

President Wilson stated that he would not be surprised to find that the reason why British and United States troops would not be ready to enter Russia to fight the Bolsheviki was explained by the fact that the troops were not at all sure that if they put down Bolshevism they would not bring about a re-establishment of the ancient order. For example, in making a speech recently, to a well-dressed audience in New York City who were not to be expected to show such feeling, Mr. Wilson had referred casually to Russia, stating that the United States would do its utmost to aid her suppressed people. The audience exhibited the greatest enthusiasm, and this had remained in the President’s mind as an index to where the sympathies of the New World are.

President Wilson believed that those present would be playing against the principle of the free spirit of the world if they did not give Russia a chance to find herself along the lines of utter freedom. He concurred with Mr. Lloyd George’s view and supported his recommendations that the third line of procedure be adopted.

President Wilson stated that he had also, like Mr. Lloyd George, received a memorandum from his experts which agreed substantially with the information which Mr. Lloyd George had received. There was one point which he thought particularly worthy of notice, and that was the report that the strength of the Bolshevik leaders lay in the argument that if they were not supported by the people of Russia, there would be foreign intervention, and the Bolsheviki were the only thing that stood between the Russians and foreign military control. It might well be that if the Bolsheviki were assured that they were safe from foreign aggression, they might lose support of their own movement.

President Wilson further stated that he understood that the danger of destruction of all hope in the Baltic provinces was immediate, and that it should be made very clear if the British proposal were adopted, that the Bolsheviki would have to withdraw entirely from Lithuania and Poland. If they would agree to this to refrain from reprisals and outrages, he, for his part, would be prepared to receive representatives from as many groups and centers of action, as chose to come, and endeavor to assist them to reach a solution of their problem.

He thought that the British proposal contained the only suggestions that lead anywhere. It might lead nowhere. But this could at least be found out.

M. Pichon referred again to the suggestion that Ambassador Noulens be called before the meeting.

Mr. Balfour suggested that it might be well to call the Dutch Consul, lately in Petrograd, if it was the desire of those present to hear the anti-Bolshevik side.

Baron Sonnino suggested that M. Scavenius, Minister of Denmark, recently in Russia, would be able to give interesting data on the Russian situation.

Those present seemed to think that it might be desirable to hear what these gentlemen might have to say.

Senator KNOX. Do you know anything about a letter that Buckler wrote to the President in relation to his mission? Have you ever seen a copy of his report in the form of a letter?

Mr. BULLITT. I have read a copy of his report, but I have not the copy. The only reference I have to it that I find, in the short time I have had to go over my papers since I came down from the woods, is in a memorandum to Col. House in reference to the withdrawal of the American troops from Archangel [reading]:

Buckler discussed the matter of the withdrawal of these troops with Litvinov, who said that unquestionably the Bolsheviki would agree to an armistice on the Archangel front at any time; and, furthermore, would pledge themselves not to injure in any way those Russians in and about Archangel who have been cooperating with the Allies. He, furthermore, suggested that such Russians as did not care to trust their lives to such a promise should be taken out with the troops.

Senator KNOX. Do you know anything about whether Litvinov communicated directly with the President in reference to this Buckler mission?

Mr. BULLITT. Litvinov had written a letter to the President, which has since been widely published, on December 24.

Senator KNOX. That is the letter I had in mind. I had seen some references to that. Do you have a copy of that letter?

Mr. BULLITT. I do not know whether I have any copies of this letter–that is, authentic. I think I have a newspaper copy some place, but I have no actual copy of the letter.

Senator KNOX. Can you tell us anything more about the discussion in reference to the withdrawal of troops from Russia that took place at that time–anything more than is indicated by your letter, there?

Mr. BULLITT. There were very serious discussions, all the time. Telegrams were being received frequently from the various commanders at Archangel, the American and the British notably, in regard to conditions, which they described as likely to be disastrous, and discussions of real gravity were taking place all the time. The subject was very much in the air. I have, I will say, very few references to that particular condition. I have here this memorandum which takes up some of these subjects. I do not know if the committee would care to hear it.


Senator KNOX. This is a memorandum that you sent to Col. House?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes; Col. House.

Senator KNOX. Please read it.

Mr. BULLITT [reading]:

JANUARY 30, 1919.
Memorandum for Col. House.

Subject: Withdrawal of American troops from Archangel.

DEAR COL. HOUSE: The 12,000 American, British, and French troops at Archangel are no longer serving any useful purpose. Only 3,000 Russians have rallied around this force. It is the attacked, not the attacker, and serves merely to create cynicism in regard to all our proposals and to stimulate recruiting for the Red Army.

Furthermore, the 4,000 Americans, 6,000 British, 2,000 French, and 3,000 Russian troops in this region are in considerable danger of destruction by the Bolsheviki. Gen. Ironside has just appealed for reinforcements and the British war office has directed the commanding general at Murmansk to be prepared to dispatch a battalion of Infantry to Archangel.

Instead of transferring troops from Murmansk to Archangel, it seems to me that we should at once transfer to Murmansk and bring home the troops which are now at Archangel. Aside from the needless suffering which these men are enduring, aside from the demands of the public in the United States and England for the return of these men, it seems to me that the withdrawal of these troops would be of great value as a proof that we have made the Prinkipos proposal in full good faith.

I have asked Gen. Churchill to obtain the most expert opinion available on the practicability of moving the 12,000 American, British, and French troops and such Russians as may wish to accompany them from Archangel to Murmansk. The appended memorandum and map which he has prepared show that unless the ice in the White Sea suddenly becomes thicker it is at present possible with the aid of six ice breakers which are now at Archangel to move these troops by water to Kem on the Murmansk Railroad, whence they may be carried by train to Murmansk.

Buckler discussed the matter of the withdrawal of these troops with Litvinov, who said that unquestionably the Bolsheviki would agree to an armistice on the Archangel front at any time and, furthermore, would pledge themselves not to injure in any way those Russians in and about Archangel who have been cooperating with the Allies. He furthermore suggested that such Russians as did not care to trust their lives to such a promise should be taken out with the troops.

The provisional government at Archangel has just notified us that it will not accept the proposal for a conference at Prinkipos. It seems dignified and honorable at this moment to inform the Archangel government that since it can not agree to the allied proposal, presented after the most serious consideration, we shall decline to support it further with arms, but will make provision for the safety of all Russians who are unwilling to remain at Archangel.

I have discussed this Archangel business at some length with Philip Kerr, Lloyd George’s secretary, who says that L.G. intends to bring the British troops out on the 1st of May, which he believes to be the first practicable moment. The first practicable moment, however, seems to be now.

The situation at Archangel is most serious for the soldiers who are stationed there, but it is also serious for the Governments which sent them out and seem to have abandoned them. Unless they are saved by prompt action, we shall have another Gallipoli. Very respectfully yours,


I discussed these matters with each one of the commissioners each morning. It was my duty to keep them au courant with anything that struck me as important, which in the stress of the business of the peace conference they were likely to overlook.

Senator KNOX. This was a memorandum made in the line of your duty?

Mr. BULLITT. This was a memorandum made as the result of the conversations that I had had with all of the commissioners that morning.

This particular memorandum, in fact, was ordered by Col. House, and in connection with it he asked me to have made a map showing the feasibility of getting the troops out of Russia, by the military experts of the conference, which map I have here. If you would be interested in it in any way, I will append the memorandum made for Gen. Churchill with regard to withdrawing the troops.

Senator KNOX. I was going to ask you whether or not you had any information as to the terms which the Allies were willing to accept from Russia.


Mr. BULLITT. I had, of course, seen the discussions of the conference with regard to the entire Russian matter. The conference had decided, after long consideration, that it was impossible to subdue or wipe out the Soviet Government by force. The discussion of that is of a certain interest, I believe, in connection with this general matter. There are, in regard to the question you have just asked, minutes of the council of ten, on January 21, 1919.

Lloyd George had introduced the proposition that representatives of the Soviet Government should be brought to Paris along with the representatives of the other Russian governments [reading]:

[McD. Secret. I.C. 114. Secretaries’ notes of a conversation held in M. Pichon’s room at the Quai d’Orsay on Tuesday, January 21, 1919, at 15 hours.]


United States of America: President Wilson, Mr. R. Lansing, Mr. A.H. Frazier, Col. U.S. Grant, Mr. L. Harrison.

British Empire: The Right Hon. D. Lloyd George, The Right Hon. A.J. Balfour, Lieut. Col. Sir M.P.A. Hankey, K.C.B., Maj. A.M. Caccia, M.V.O., Mr. E. Phipps.

France: M. Clemenceau, M. Pichon, M. Dutasta, M. Berthelot, Capt. A. Potier.

Italy: Signor Orlando, H.E. Baron Sonnino, Count Aldrovandi, Maj. A. Jones.

Japan: Baron Makino, H.E.M. Matsui, M. Saburi.

Interpreter, Prof. P.J. Mantoux.


M. Clemenceau said they had met together to decide what could be done in Russia under present circumstances.

President Wilson said that in order to have something definite to discuss, he wished to take advantage of a suggestion made by Mr. Lloyd George and to propose a modification of the British proposal. He wished to suggest that the various organized groups in Russia should be asked to send representatives, not to Paris, but to some other place, such as Salonika, convenient of approach, there to meet such representatives as might be appointed by the Allies, in order to see if they could draw up a program upon which agreement could be reached.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that the advantage of this would be that they could be brought straight there from Russia through the Black Sea without passing through other countries.

M. Sonnino said that some of the representatives of the various Governments were already here in Paris, for example, M. Sazonov. Why should these not be heard?

President Wilson expressed the view that the various parties should not be heard separately. It would be very desirable to get all these representatives in one place, and still better, all in one room, in order to obtain a close comparison of views.

Mr. Balfour said that a further objection to Mr. Sonnino’s plan was that if M. Sazonov was heard in Paris, it would be difficult to refuse to hear the others in Paris also, and M. Clemenceau objected strongly to having some of these representatives in Paris.

M. Sonnino explained that all the Russian parties had some representatives here, except the Soviets, whom they did not wish to hear.

Mr. Lloyd George remarked that the Bolshevists were the very people some of them wished to hear.

M. Sonnino continuing said that they had heard M. Litovnov’s statements that morning.

That was the statement that Litvinov had made to Buckler which the President had read to the council of ten that morning.

[Continuing reading.]

The Allies were now fighting against the Bolshevists who were their enemies, and therefore they were not obliged to hear them with the others.

Mr. Balfour remarked that the essence of President Wilson’s proposal was that the parties must all be heard at one and the same time.

Mr. Lloyd George expressed the view that the acceptance of M. Sonnino’s proposals would amount to their hearing a string of people, all of whom held the same opinion, and all of whom would strike the same note. But they would not hear the people who at the present moment were actually controlling European Russia. In deference to M. Clemenceau’s views, they had put forward this new proposal. He thought it would be quite safe to bring the Bolshevist representatives to Salonika, or perhaps to Lemnos.

It was absolutely necessary to endeavor to make peace. The report read by President Wilson that morning went to show that the Bolshevists were not convinced of the error of their ways, but they apparently realised the folly of their present methods. Therefore they were endeavouring to come to terms.

President Wilson asked to be permitted to urge one aspect of the case. As M. Sonnino had implied, they were all repelled by Bolshevism, and for that reason they had placed armed men in opposition to them. One of the things that was clear in the Russian situation was that by opposing Bolshevism with arms, they were in reality serving the cause of Bolshevism. The Allies were making it possible for the Bolsheviks to argue that Imperialistic and Capitalistic Governments were endeavouring to exploit the country and to give the land back to the landlords, and so bring about a re-action. If it could be shown that this was not true, and that the Allies were prepared to deal with the rulers of Russia, much of the moral force of this argument would disappear. The allegation that the Allies were against the people and wanted to control their affairs provided the argument which enabled them to raise armies. If, on the other hand, the Allies could swallow their pride and the natural repulsion which they felt for the Bolshevists and see the representatives of all organized groups in one place, he thought it would bring about a marked reaction against Bolshevism.

M. Clemenceau said that, in principle, he did not favour conversation with the Bolshevists; not because they were criminals, but because we would be raising them to our level by saying that they were worthy of entering into conversation with us. The Bolshevist danger was very great at the present moment. Bolshevism was spreading. It had invaded the Baltic Provinces and Poland, and that very morning they received very bad news regarding its spread to Budapesth and Vienna. Italy, also, was in danger. The danger was probably greater there than in France. If Bolshevism, after spreading in Germany, were to traverse Austria and Hungary and so reach Italy, Europe would be faced with a very great danger. Therefore, something must be done against Bolshevism. When listening to the document presented by President Wilson that morning, he had been struck by the cleverness with which the Bolshevists were attempting to lay a trap for the Allies. When the Bolshevists first came into power, a breach was made with the Capitalist Government on questions of principle, but now they offered funds and concessions as a basis for treating with them. He need not say how valueless their promises were, but if they were listened to, the Bolshevists would go back to their people and say: “We offered them great principles of justice and the Allies would have nothing to do with us. Now we offer money, and they are ready to make peace.”

He admitted his remarks did not offer a solution. The great misfortune was that the Allies were in need of a speedy solution. After four years of war, and the losses and sufferings they had incurred, their populations could stand no more. Russia also was in need of immediate peace. But its necessary evolution must take time. The signing of the world Peace could not await Russia’s final avatar. Had time been available, he would suggest waiting, for eventually sound men representing common-sense would come to the top. But when would that be? He could make no forecast. Therefore they must press for an early solution.

To sum up, had he been acting by himself, he would temporize and erect barriers to prevent Bolshevism from spreading. But he was not alone, and in the presence of his colleagues he felt compelled to make some concession, as it was essential that there should not be even the appearance of disagreement amongst them. The concession came easier after having heard President Wilson’s suggestions. He thought that they should make a very clear and convincing appeal to all reasonable peoples, emphatically stating that they did not wish in any way to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia, and especially that they had no intention of restoring Czardom. The object of the Allies being to hasten the creation of a strong Government, they proposed to call together representatives of all parties to a Conference. He would beg President Wilson to draft a paper, fully explaining the position of the Allies to the whole world, including the Russians and the Germans.

Mr. Lloyd George agreed and gave notice that he wished to withdraw his own motion in favour of President Wilson’s.

Mr. Balfour said that he understood that all these people were to be asked on an equality. On these terms he thought the Bolshevists would refuse, and by their refusal, they would put themselves in a very bad position.

M. Sonnino said that he did not agree that the Bolshevists would not come. He thought they would be the first to come, because they would be eager to put themselves on an equality with the others. He would remind his colleagues that, before the Peace of Brest-Litovsk was signed, the Bolshevists promised all sorts of things, such as to refrain from propaganda, but since that peace had been concluded they had broken all their promises, their one idea being to spread revolution in all other countries. His idea was to collect together all the anti-Bolshevik parties and help them to make a strong Government, provided they pledged themselves not to serve the forces of re-action and especially not to touch the land question, thereby depriving the Bolshevists of their strongest argument. Should they take these pledges, he would be prepared to help them.

Mr. Lloyd George enquired how this help would be given.

M. Sonnino replied that help would be given with soldiers to a reasonable degree or by supplying arms, food, and money. For instance, Poland asked for weapons and munitions; the Ukraine asked for weapons. All the Allies wanted was to establish a strong Government. The reason that no strong Government at present existed was that no party could risk taking the offensive against Bolshevism without the assistance of the Allies. He would enquire how the parties of order could possibly succeed without the help of the Allies. President Wilson had said that they should put aside all pride in the matter. He would point out that, for Italy and probably for France also, as M. Clemenceau had stated, it was in reality a question of self-defence. He thought that even a partial recognition of the Bolshevists would strengthen their position, and, speaking for himself, he thought that Bolshevism was already a serious danger in his country.

Mr. Lloyd George said he wished to put one or two practical questions to M. Sonnino. The British Empire now had some 15,000 to 20,000 men in Russia. M. de Scavenius had estimated that some 150,000 additional men would be required, in order to keep the anti-Bolshevist Governments from dissolution. And General Franchet d’Esperey also insisted on the necessity of Allied assistance. Now Canada had decided to withdraw her troops, because the Canadian soldiers would not agree to stay and fight against the Russians. Similar trouble had also occurred amongst the other Allied troops. And he felt certain that, if the British tried to send any more troops there, there would be mutiny.

M. Sonnino suggested that volunteers might be called for.

Mr. Lloyd George, continuing, said that it would be impossible to raise 150,000 men in that way. He asked, however, what contributions America, Italy and France would make towards the raising of this Army.

President Wilson and M. Clemenceau each said none.

M. Orlando agreed that Italy could make no further contributions.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the Bolshevists had an army of 300,000 men who would, before long, be good soldiers, and to fight them at least 400,000 Russian soldiers would be required. Who would feed, equip and pay them? Would Italy, or America, or France, do so? If they were unable to do that, what would be the good of fighting Bolshevism? It could not be crushed by speeches. He sincerely trusted that they would accept President Wilson’s proposal as it now stood.

M. Orlando agreed that the question was a very difficult one for the reasons that had been fully given. He agreed that Bolshevism constituted a grave danger to all Europe. To prevent a contagious epidemic from spreading, the sanitarians set up a _cordon Sanitaire_. If similar measures could be taken against Bolshevism, in order to prevent its spreading, it might be overcome, since to isolate it meant vanquishing it. Italy was now passing through a period of depression, due to war weariness. But Bolshevists could never triumph there, unless they found a favourable medium, such as might be produced either by a profound patriotic disappointment in their expectations as to the rewards of the war, or by an economic crisis. Either might lead to revolution, which was equivalent to Bolshevism. Therefore, he would insist that all possible measures should be taken to set up this cordon. Next, he suggested the consideration of repressive measures. He thought two methods were possible; either the use of physical force or the use of moral force. He thought Mr. Lloyd George’s objection to the use of physical force unanswerable. The occupation of Russia meant the employment of large numbers of troops for an indefinite period of time. This meant an apparent prolongation of the war. There remained the use of moral force. He agreed with M. Clemenceau that no country could continue in anarchy and that an end must eventually come; but they could not wait; they could not proceed to make peace and ignore Russia. Therefore, Mr. Lloyd George’s proposal, with the modifications introduced after careful consideration by President Wilson and M. Clemenceau, gave a possible solution. It did not involve entering into negotiations with the Bolsheviks; the proposal was merely an attempt to bring together all the parties in Russia with a view to finding a way out of the present difficulty. He was prepared, therefore, to support it.

President Wilson asked for the views of his Japanese colleagues.

Baron Makino said that after carefully considering the various points of view put forward, he had no objections to make regarding the conclusions reached. He thought that was the best solution under the circumstances. He wished, however, to enquire what attitude would be taken by the Representatives of the Allied powers if the Bolshevists accepted the invitation to the meeting and there insisted upon their principles. He thought they should under no circumstances countenance Bolshevist ideas. The conditions in Siberia East of the Baikal had greatly improved. The objects which had necessitated the despatch of troops to that region had been attained. Bolshevism was no longer aggressive, though it might still persist in a latent form. In conclusion, he wished to support the proposal before the meeting.

President Wilson expressed the view that the emissaries of the Allied Powers should not be authorised to adopt any definite attitude towards Bolshevism. They should merely report back to their Governments the conditions found.

Mr. Lloyd George asked that that question be further considered. He thought the emissaries of the Allied Powers should be able to establish an agreement if they were able to find a solution. For instance, if they succeeded in reaching an agreement on the subject of the organization of a Constituent Assembly, they should be authorised to accept such a compromise without the delay of a reference to the Governments.

President Wilson suggested that the emissaries might be furnished with a body of instructions.

Mr. Balfour expressed the view that abstention from hostile action against their neighbours should be made a condition of their sending representatives to this meeting.

President Wilson agreed.

M. Clemenceau suggested that the manifesto to the Russian parties should be based solely on humanitarian grounds. They should say to the Russians: “You are threatened by famine. We are prompted by humanitarian feelings; we are making peace; we do not want people to die. We are prepared to see what can be done to remove the menace of starvation.” He thought the Russians would at once prick up their ears, and be prepared to hear what the Allies had to say. They would add that food cannot be sent unless peace and order were re-established. It should, in fact, be made quite clear that the representatives of all parties would merely be brought together for purely humane reasons.

Mr. Lloyd George said that in this connection he wished to invite attention to a doubt expressed by certain of the delegates of the British Dominions, namely, whether there would be enough food and credit to go round should an attempt be made to feed all Allied countries, and enemy countries, and Russia also. The export of so much food would inevitably have the effect of raising food prices in Allied countries and so create discontent and Bolshevism. As regards grain, Russia had always been an exporting country, and there was evidence to show that plenty of food at present existed in the Ukraine.

President Wilson said that his information was that enough food existed in Russia, but, either on account of its being hoarded or on account of difficulties of transportation, it could not be made available.

(It was agreed that President Wilson should draft a proclamation, for consideration at the next meeting, inviting all organized parties in Russia to attend a Meeting to be held at some selected place such as Salonika or Lemnos, in order to discuss with the representatives of the Allied and Associated Great Powers the means of restoring order and peace in Russia. Participation in the Meeting should be conditional on a cessation of hostilities.)

2. _Peace Conference_.–M. Clemenceau considered it to be most urgent that the delegates should be set to work. He understood that President Wilson would be ready to put on the table at the next full Conference, proposals relating to the creation of a League of Nations. He was anxious to add a second question, which could be studied immediately, namely, reparation for damages. He thought the meeting should consider how the work should be organized in order to give effect to this suggestion.

Mr. Lloyd George said that he agreed that these questions should be studied forthwith. He would suggest that, in the first place, the League of Nations should be considered, and, that after the framing of the principles, an International Committee of Experts be set to work out its constitution in detail. The same remark applied also to the question of indemnities and reparation. He thought that a Committee should also be appointed as soon as possible to consider International Labour Legislation.

President Wilson observed that he had himself drawn up a constitution of a League of Nations. He could not claim that it was wholly his own creation. Its generation was as follows:–He had received the Phillimore Report, which had been amended by Colonel House and re-written by himself. He had again revised it after having received General Smuts’ and Lord Robert Cecil’s reports. It was therefore a compound of these various suggestions. During the week he had seen M. Bourgeois, with whom he found himself to be in substantial accord on principles. A few days ago he had discussed his draft with Lord Robert Cecil and General Smuts, and they found themselves very near together.

Mr. Balfour suggested that President Wilson’s draft should be submitted to the Committee as a basis for discussion.

President Wilson further suggested that the question should be referred as far as possible to the men who had been studying it.

Mr. Lloyd George expressed his complete agreement. He thought they themselves should, in the first place, agree on the fundamental principles and then refer the matter to the Committee. When that Committee met they could take President Wilson’s proposals as the basis of discussion.

(It was agreed that the question of appointing an International Committee, consisting of two members from each of the five Great Powers, to whom would be referred President Wilson’s draft, with certain basic principles to guide them, should be considered at the next meeting.)

3. _Poland_.–M. Pichon called attention to the necessity for replying to the demand addressed by M. Paderewski to Colonel House, which had been read by President Wilson that morning, and asked that Marshal Foch should be present.

(It was agreed that this question should be discussed at the next Meeting.)

4. _Disarmament_.–Mr. Balfour called attention to the urgency of the question of disarmament, and said that he would shortly propose that a Committee should be appointed to consider this question.

VILLA MAJESTIC, Paris January 21st, 1919.

This is the minute of January 21, and the Prinkipos memorandum was written on January 22.

The instructions to the President were as follows:

It was agreed that President Wilson should draft a proclamation for consideration at the next meeting, inviting all organized parties in Russia to attend a meeting to be held at some selected place such as Salonika or Lemnos, in order to discuss with the representatives of the allied and associated great powers the means of restoring order and peace in Russia. Participation in the meeting should be conditional on a cessation of hostilities.

The President then wrote the Prinkipos proposition.

Senator KNOX. Did you make a written report of your mission?

Mr. BULLITT. I did, sir.

Senator KNOX. Have you it here?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir. I might read the report without the appendices.

Senator KNOX. The chairman wants you to read it.

The CHAIRMAN. I do not know whether it is very long. The report he made would be of some interest. You were the only official representative sent?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir; except Capt. Pettit, my assistant. The circumstances of my sending will perhaps require further elucidation. I not only was acquainted with the minutes of the discussions of the council of ten, but in addition I had discussed the subject with each of the commissioners each morning and I had talked with many British representatives. After the Prinkipos proposal was made, the replies began to come in from various factions, that they would refuse to accept it for various reasons. The Soviet Government replied in a slightly evasive form. They said, “We are ready to accept the terms of the proposals, and we are ready to talk about stopping fighting.” They did not say, “We are ready to stop fighting on such and such a date.” It was not made specific.

Senator KNOX. That was one of the conditions of the proposal?


Mr. BULLITT. It was. That is why I say they replied in an evasive manner. The French–and particularly the French foreign office, even more than Mr. Clemenceau–and you can observe it from that minute were opposed to the idea, and we found that the French foreign office had communicated to the Ukrainian Government and various other antisoviet governments that if they were to refuse the proposal, they would support them and continue to support them, and not allow the Allies, if they could prevent it, or the allied Governments, to make peace with the Russian Soviet Government.

At all events, the time set for the Prinkipos proposal was February 15. At that time nobody had acted in a definite, uncompromising matter. It therefore fell to the ground.

There was a further discussion as to what should be done. The peace conference was still of the opinion that it was impossible to hope to conquer the Soviet Government by force of arms, because in the latter part of that report, which I did not read to the committee, there was expressed very forcibly the opinion of Mr. Lloyd George, that the populations at home would not stand it. Therefore they desired to follow up further the line of making peace.

About that time I was working particularly closely on the Russian affairs. I had had a number of discussions with everyone concerned in it, and on the very day that Col. House and Mr. Lansing first asked me to undertake this mission to Russia, I was dining at Mr. Lloyd George’s apartment to discuss Russian affairs with his secretaries, so that I had a fair idea of the point of view of everyone in Paris.

I further, before I went, received urgent instructions from Secretary Lansing if possible to obtain the release of Consul Treadwell, who had been our consul in Petrograd and had been transferred to Tashkent, and had been detained by the local Soviet Government and had been kept there several months. He was one of our Government officers they had seized. Mr. Lansing ordered me to do everything I could to obtain his release.

I further, before I went, asked Col. House certain specific questions in regard to what, exactly, the point of view of our Government was on this subject, what we were ready to do, and I think it perhaps might be important to detail a brief resume of this conversation. The idea was this: Lloyd George had gone over to London on February 9, as I remember, to try to adjust some labor troubles. He, however, still insisted that the Prinkipos proposal must be renewed or some other peace proposal must be made, and I arranged a meeting between him and Col. House, which was to take place, I believe, on February 24, at which time they were to prepare a renewal of the Prinkipos proposal, and they were both prepared to insist that it be passed against any opposition of the French.

I arranged this meeting through Mr. Philip Kerr, Mr. Lloyd George’s confidential assistant. However, on the 19th day of the month, Mr. Clemenceau was shot, and the next day Mr. Lloyd George telephoned over from London to say that as long as Clemenceau was wounded and was ill, he was boss of the roost, and that anything he desired to veto would be immediately wiped out and therefore it was no use for him and Col. House, as long as Clemenceau was ill, to attempt to renew the Prinkipos proposal, as Clemenceau would simply have to hold up a finger and the whole thing would drop to the ground. Therefore, it was decided that I should go at once to Russia to attempt to obtain from the Soviet Government an exact statement of the terms on which they were ready to stop fighting. I was ordered if possible to obtain that statement and have it back in Paris before the President returned to Paris from the United States. The plan was to make a proposal to the Soviet Government which would certainly be accepted.

The CHAIRMAN. These orders came from the President?

Mr. BULLITT. These orders came to me from Col. House. I also discussed the matter with Mr. Lansing, and Mr. Lansing and Col. House gave me the instructions which I had.

Senator KNOX. You said a moment ago that you went to Col. House to get a statement of the American position.


Mr. BULLITT. Yes; I asked Col. House these questions [reading]:

1. If the Bolsheviki are ready to stop the forward movement of their troops on all fronts and to declare an armistice on all fronts, would we be willing to do likewise?

2. Is the American Government prepared to insist that the French, British, Italian, and Japanese Governments shall accept such an armistice proposal?

3. If fighting is stopped on all fronts, is the Government of the United States prepared to insist on the reestablishment of economic relations with Russia, subject only to the equitable distribution among all classes of the population of supplies and food and essential commodities which may be sent to Russia?

In other words, a sort of Hoover Belgian distribution plan so that the Bolsheviki could not use the food we sent in there for propaganda purposes and to starve their enemies and to feed their friends.

The fourth question I asked him was as follows:

4. Is the United States Government, under these conditions, prepared to press the Allies for a joint statement that all Allied troops will be withdrawn from the soil of Russia as soon as practicable, on condition that the Bolsheviki give explicit assurances that there will be no retaliation against persons who have cooperated with the allied forces?

Col. House replied that we were prepared to.

Further, I asked Col. House whether it was necessary to get a flat and explicit assurance from the Soviet Government that they would make full payment of all their debts before we would make peace with them, and Col. House replied that it was not; that no such statement was necessary, however, that such a statement would be extremely desirable to have, inasmuch as much of the French opposition to making peace with the Soviet Government was on account of the money owed by Russia to France.

I further had an intimation of the British disposition toward Russia. As I said before, I had discussed the matter with Mr. Philip Kerr, and Sir Maurice Hankey and Col. House asked me to inform Mr. Kerr of my mission before I went. It was to be an entire secret from all except the British. The British and American delegations worked in very close touch throughout the conference, and there were practically no secrets that the American delegation had that were not also the property of the British delegation.


I was asked to inform Mr. Kerr of this trip. I told him all about it, and asked him if he could get Mr. Balfour and Mr. Lloyd George to give me a general indication of their point of view on peace with Russia; what they would be prepared to do in the matter.

Mr. Kerr and I then talked and prepared what we thought might be the basis of peace with Russia.

I then received from Mr. Kerr, before I left, the following letter, which is a personal letter, which I regret greatly to bring forward, but which I feel is necessary in the interest of an understanding of this matter. [Reading:]

[Private and confidential.]

Paris, February 21, 1919.

MY DEAR BULLITT: I inclose a note of the sort of conditions upon which I personally think it would be possible for the allied Governments to resume once more normal relations with Soviet Russia. You will understand, of course, that these have no official significance and merely represent suggestions of my own opinion.

Yours, sincerely,


That was from Mr. Kerr, Lloyd George’s confidential secretary. Mr. Kerr had, however, told me that he had discussed the entire matter with Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Balfour, and therefore I thought he had a fair idea of what conditions the British were ready to accept. The note inclosed reads as follows:

1. Hostilities to cease on all fronts.

2. All de facto governments to remain in full control of the territories which they at present occupy.

3. Railways and ports necessary to transportation between soviet Russia and the sea to be subject to the same regulations as international railways and ports in the rest of Europe.

4. Allied subjects to be given free right of entry and full security to enable them to enter soviet Russia and go about their business there provided they do not interfere in politics.

5. Amnesty to all political prisoners on both sides: full liberty to all Russians who have fought with the Allies.

6. Trade relations to be restored between soviet Russia and the outside world under conditions which, while respecting the sovereignty of soviet Russia insure that allied supplies are made available on equal terms to all classes of the Russian people.

7. All other questions connected with Russia’s debt to the Allies, etc., to be considered independently after peace has been established.

8. All allied troops to be withdrawn from Russia as soon as Russian armies above quota to be defined have been demobilized and their surplus arms surrendered or destroyed.

You will see the American and British positions were very close together.

Senator KNOX. With these statements from Col. House as to the American position and from Mr. Kerr as to the British position, and with the instructions which you had received, you proceeded to Russia, and, as you said a moment ago, you made a written report?

Mr. BULLITT. I did, sir. Do you want it read, or shall I state the substance and then put it in the record? I think I can state it more briefly if I read the first eight pages of it and then put the rest of it in the record.

The CHAIRMAN. Very well; do that.

Mr. BULLITT. This report I made to the President and to the American commissioners, by order of the President transmitted to me on my return by Mr. Lansing. I should like to say, before I read this report, that of course I was in Russia an extremely short time, and this is merely the best observation that I could make supplemented by the observation of Capt. Pettit of the Military Intelligence, who was sent in as my assistant, and with other impressions that I got from Mr. Lincoln Steffens and other observers who were there.

Senator KNOX. How long were you in Russia?

Mr. BULLITT. For only one week. I was instructed to go in and bring back as quickly as possible a definite statement of exactly the terms the Soviet Government was ready to accept. The idea in the minds of the British and the American delegation were that if the Allies made another proposal it should be a proposal which we would know in advance would be accepted, so that there would be no chance of another Prinkipos proposal miscarrying.

I might perhaps read first, or show to you, the official text. This is the official text of their proposition which they handed me in Moscow on the 14th of March. Here is a curious thing–the Soviet foreign office envelope.


As I said, I was sent to obtain an exact statement of the terms that the Soviet Government was ready to accept, and I received on the 14th the following statement from Tchitcherin and Litvinov.

Senator KNOX. Who were they?

Mr. BULLITT. Tchitcherin was Peoples’ Commisar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Republic and Litvinov was the former Soviet Ambassador to London, the man with whom Buckler had had his conversation, and who was now practically assistant secretary for foreign affairs.

I also had a conference with Lenin. The Soviet Government undertook to accept this proposal provided it was made by the allied and associated Governments not later than April 10, 1919. The proposal reads as follows [reading]:


The allied and associated Governments to propose that hostilities shall cease on all fronts in the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland on —-[1] and that no new hostilities shall begin after this date, pending a conference to be held at —-[2] on —-[3]

[Footnote 1: The date of the armistice to be set at least a week after the date when the allied and associated Governments make this proposal.]

[Footnote 2: The Soviet Government greatly prefers that the conference should be held in a neutral country and also that either a radio or a direct telegraph wire to Moscow should be put at its disposal.]

[Footnote 3: The conference to begin not later than a week after the armistice takes effect and the Soviet Government greatly prefers that the period between the date of the armistice and the first meeting of the conference should be only three days, if possible.]

The duration of the armistice to be for two weeks, unless extended by mutual consent, and all parties to the armistice to undertake not to employ the period of the armistice to transfer troops and war material to the territory of the former Russian Empire.

The conference to discuss peace on the basis of the following principles, which shall not be subject to revision by the conference.

1. All existing de facto governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland to remain in full control of the territories which they occupy at the moment when the armistice becomes effective, except in so far as the conference may agree upon the transfer of territories; until the peoples inhabiting the territories controlled by these de facto governments shall themselves determine to change their Governments. The Russian Soviet Government, the other soviet governments and all other governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire, the allied and associated Governments, and the other Governments which are operating against the soviet governments, including Finland, Poland, Galicia, Roumania, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, and Afghanistan, to agree not to attempt to upset by force the existing de facto governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and the other Governments signatory to this agreement. [Footnote 4: The allied and associated Governments to undertake to see to it that the de facto governments of Germany do not attempt to upset by force the de facto governments of Russia. The de facto governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire to undertake not to attempt to upset by force the de facto governments of Germany.]

2. The economic blockade to be raised and trade relations between Soviet Russia and the allied and associated countries to be reestablished under conditions which will ensure that supplies from the allied and associated countries are made available on equal terms to all classes of the Russian people.

3. The soviet governments of Russia to have the right of unhindered transit on all railways and the use of all ports which belonged to the former Russian Empire and to Finland and are necessary for the disembarkation and transportation of passengers and goods between their territories and the sea; detailed arrangements for the carrying out of this provision to be agreed upon at the conference.

4. The citizens of the soviet republics of Russia to have the right of free entry into the allied and associated countries as well as into all countries which have been formed on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland; also the right of sojourn and of circulation and full security, provided they do not interfere in the domestic politics of those countries. [Footnote 5: It is considered essential by the Soviet Government that the allied and associated Governments should see to it that Poland and all neutral countries extend the same rights as the allied and associated countries.]

Nationals of the allied and associated countries and of the other countries above named to have the right of free entry into the soviet republics of Russia; also the right of sojourn and of circulation and full security, provided they do not interfere in the domestic politics of the soviet republics.

The allied and associated Governments and other governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland to have the right to send official representatives enjoying full liberty and immunity into the various Russian Soviet Republics. The soviet governments of Russia to have the right to send official representatives enjoying full liberty and immunity into all the allied and associated countries and into the nonsoviet countries which have been formed on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland.

5. The soviet governments, the other Governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland, to give a general amnesty to all political opponents, offenders, and prisoners. The allied and associated governments to give a general amnesty to all Russian political opponents, offenders, and prisoners, and to their own nationals who have been or may be prosecuted for giving help to Soviet Russia. All Russians who have fought in, or otherwise aided the armies opposed to the soviet governments, and those opposed to the other Governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland to be included in this amnesty.

All prisoners of war of non-Russian powers detained in Russia, likewise all nationals of those powers now in Russia to be given full facilities for repatriation. The Russian prisoners of war in whatever foreign country they may be, likewise all Russian nationals, including the Russian soldiers and officers abroad and those serving in all foreign armies to be given full facilities for repatriation.

6. Immediately after the signing of this agreement all troops of the allied and associated Governments and other non-Russian Governments to be withdrawn from Russia and military assistance to cease to be given to antisoviet Governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire.

The soviet governments and the antisoviet governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland to begin to reduce their armies simultaneously, and at the same rate, to a peace footing immediately after the signing of this agreement. The conference to determine the most effective and just method of inspecting and controlling this simultaneous demobilization and also the withdrawal of the troops and the cessation of military assistance to the antisoviet governments.

7. The allied and associated Governments, taking cognizance of the statement of the Soviet Government of Russia, in its note of February 4, in regard to its foreign debts, propose as an integral part of this agreement that the soviet governments and the other governments which have been set up on the territory of the former Russian Empire and Finland shall recognize their responsibility for the financial obligations of the former Russian Empire, to foreign States parties to this agreement and to the nationals of such States. Detailed arrangements for the payment of these debts to be agreed upon at the conference, regard being had to the present financial position of Russia. The Russian gold seized by the Czecho-Slovaks in Kazan or taken from Germany by the Allies to be regarded as partial payment of the portion of the debt due from the soviet republics of Russia.

The Soviet Government of Russia undertakes to accept the foregoing proposal provided it is made not later than April 10, 1919.

In regard to the second sentence in paragraph 5, in regard to “giving help to Soviet Russia” I may say that I was told that that was not a sine qua non but it was necessary in order to get the proposal through the Russian executive committee, which it had to pass before it was handed to me. I was also handed an additional sheet, which I refused to take as a part of the formal document, containing the following:

The Soviet Government is most anxious to have a semiofficial guaranty from the American and British Governments that they will do their utmost to see to it that France lives up to the conditions of the armistice.

The Soviet Government had a deep suspicion of the French Government.

In reference to this matter, and in explanation of that proposal, I sent a number of telegrams from Helsingfors. I feel that in a way it is important, for an explanation of the matter, that those telegrams should be made public, but, on the other hand, they were sent in a confidential code of the Department of State, and I do not feel at liberty to read them unless ordered to specifically by the committee. I should not wish to take the responsibility for breaking a code which is in current use by the department.

Senator KNOX. I should think your scruples were well founded. I should not read those telegrams.

Mr. BULLITT. I can simply inform you briefly of the nature of them.

Senator KNOX. You might give us the nature of them. To whom were they sent?

Mr. BULLITT. On reaching Petrograd I sent Capt. Pettit out to Helsingfors after I had had a discussion with Tchitcherin and with Litvinov with a telegram, in which I said I had reached Petrograd and had perfected arrangements to cross the boundary at will, and to communicate with the mission via the consul at Helsingfors; that the journey had been easy, and that the reports of frightful conditions in Petrograd had been ridiculously exaggerated.

I described the discussions I had had with Tchitcherin and with Litvinov, and said they had assured me that after going to Moscow and after discussion with Lenin, I should be able to carry out a specific statement of the position of the Soviet Government on all points.

On reaching Helsingfors I sent a telegram to the mission at Paris “Most secret, for the President, Secretary Lansing, and Col. House only,” in which I said that in handing me the statement which I have just read, Tchitcherin and Litvinov had explained that the Executive Council of the Soviet Government had formally considered and adopted it, and that the Soviet Government considered itself absolutely bound to accept the proposals made therein, provided they were made on or before April 10, and under no conditions would they change their minds.

I also explained that I had found Lenin, Tchitcherin, and Litvinov full of the sense of Russia’s need for peace, and that I felt the details of their statement might be modified without making it unacceptable to them, and that in particular the clause under article 5 was not of vital importance. That, on the other hand, I felt that in the main this statement represented the minimum terms that the Soviet Government would accept.

I explained that it was understood with regard to article 2 that the allied and associated countries should have a right to send inspectors into Soviet Russia and see to it that the disposition of supplies, if the blockade was lifted, was entirely equitable, and I explained also that it was fully understood that the phrase under article 4 on “official representatives” did not include diplomatic representatives, that the Soviet Government simply desired to have some agents who might more or less look out for their people here.

I explained further that in regard to footnote No. 2, the Soviet Government hoped and preferred that the conference should be held in Norway; that its preferences thereafter were, first, some point in between Russia and Finland; second, a large ocean liner anchored off Moon Island or the Aland Islands; and, fourth, Prinkipos.

I also explained that Tchitcherin and all the other members of the government with whom I had talked had said in the most positive and unequivocal manner that the Soviet Government was determined to pay its foreign debts, and I was convinced that there would be no dispute on that point.

Senator KNOX. Do you know how these telegrams were received in Paris, whether favorably or unfavorably?

Mr. BULLITT. I can only say, in regard to that, there are three other very brief ones. One was on a subject which I might give you the gist of before I go on with it.

Senator KNOX. Go ahead, in your own way.

Mr. BULLITT. Col. House sent me a message of congratulation on receipt of them, and by one of the curious quirks of the conference, a member of the secretariat refused to send the message because of the way in which it was signed, and Col. House was only able to give me a copy of it when I reached Paris. I have a copy of it here.

Senator HARDING. Would not this story be more interesting if we knew which member of the conference objected?

Mr. BULLITT. I believe the objection was on the technical point that Col. House had signed “Ammission” instead of his name, but I really do not know which member of the conference it was that made the objection.

I then sent another telegram, which is rather long, too long to attempt to paraphrase, and I will ask that I may not put it in, because the entire substance of it is contained in briefer form in my formal report. This telegram itself is in code.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Are there any translations of those of your telegrams that are in code?

Mr. BULLITT. No; I have given you the substance of them as I have gone along.

As I said to you before, Secretary Lansing had instructed me if possible to obtain the release of Mr. Treadwell, our consul at Tashkent, somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 miles from Moscow. In Moscow I had spoken to Lenin and Tchitcherin and Litvinov in regard to it, and finally they said they recognized that it was foolish to hold him; that they had never really given much thought to the matter; that he had been held by the local government at Tashkent, which was more than 4,000 miles away; that raids were being made on the railroad constantly, and they might have some difficulty in communicating. However, they promised me that they would send a telegram at once ordering his release, and that they would send him out either by Persia or by Finland whichever way he preferred. I told them I was sure he would prefer to go by way of Finland. Here is a copy of their telegram ordering his release, which will not be of much use to you, I fear, as it is in Russian. They carried out this promise to the letter, releasing Treadwell at once, and Treadwell in due course of time and in good health appeared on the frontier of Finland on the 27th of April. All that time was consumed in travel from Tashkent, which is a long way under present conditions.

Senator NEW. I saw Mr. Treadwell here some time ago.

Mr. BULLITT. I then sent a telegram in regard to Mr. Pettit, the officer of military intelligence, who was with me as my assistant, saying I intended to send him back to Petrograd at once to keep in touch with the situation so that we should have information constantly. I will say in this connection that it was not an extraordinary thing for the various Governments to have representatives in Russia. The British Government had a man in there at the same time that I was there. He was traveling as a Red Cross representative, but in reality he was there for the Foreign Office, a Maj. A.R. Parker, I believe. I am not certain of his name, but we can verify it.

I also sent a telegram from Helsingfors, “strictly personal to Col. House,” requesting him to show my fifth and sixth telegrams to Mr. Philip Kerr, Mr. Lloyd George’s secretary, so that Mr. Lloyd George might be at once informed in regard to the situation, inasmuch as he had known I was going, and inasmuch as the British had been so courteous as to offer to send me across on a cruiser. When I got to London and found that the torpedo boat on which I had expected to go was escorting the President, Mr. Lloyd George’s office in London called up the Admiralty and asked them to give me a boat in which to go across. Incidentally I was informed by Col. House, on my arrival in Paris, that copies of my telegrams had been sent at once to Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Balfour.

Senator KNOX. Mr. Bullitt, I do not think we need to go into quite so much detail. You have told us now with what instructions you went, what the British attitude was, what the American attitude was, and what the Soviet Government proposed. Now, let us have your report.

Mr. BULLITT. All right, sir. This was my report–

Senator BRANDEGEE. What is the date of that, please?

Mr. BULLITT. This copy does not bear the date on it. On the other hand I can tell you within a day or two. The date unfortunately was left off of this particular copy. It was made on or about the 27th or 28th day of March, in the week before April 1.

Senator BRANDEGEE. 1919?

Mr. BULLITT. 1919. I unquestionably could obtain from Secretary Lansing or the President or some one else the actual original of the report.

Senator BRANDEGEE. I do not care about the precise date, but I want to get it approximately.

Mr. BULLITT. It was about the 1st day of April.

Senator KNOX. To whom was the report made?

Mr. BULLITT. The report was addressed to the President and the American Commissioners Plenipotentiary to Negotiate Peace. I was ordered to make it. I had sent all these telegrams from Helsingfors, and I felt personally that no report was necessary, but the President desired a written report, and I made the report as follows:



Russia to-day is in a condition of acute economic distress. The blockade by land and sea is the cause of this distress and lack of the essentials of transportation is its gravest symptom. Only one-fourth of the locomotives which ran on Russian lines before the war are now available for use. Furthermore, Soviet Russia is cut off entirely from all supplies of coal and gasoline. In consequence, transportation by all steam and electric vehicles is greatly hampered; and transportation by automobile and by the fleet of gasoline-using Volga steamers and canal boats is impossible. (Appendix, p. 55.)

As a result of these hindrances to transportation it is possible to bring from the grain centers to Moscow only 25 carloads of food a day, instead of the 100 carloads which are essential, and to Petrograd only 15 carloads, instead of the essential 50. In consequence, every man, woman, and child in Moscow and Petrograd is suffering from slow starvation. (Appendix, p. 56.)

Mortality is particularly high among new-born children whose mothers can not suckle them, among newly-delivered mothers, and among the aged. The entire population, in addition, is exceptionally susceptible to disease; and a slight illness is apt to result fatally because of the total lack of medicines. Typhoid, typhus, and smallpox are epidemic in both Petrograd and Moscow.

Industry, except the production of munitions of war, is largely at a standstill. Nearly all means of transport which are not employed in carrying food are used to supply the army, and there is scarcely any surplus transport to carry materials essential to normal industry. Furthermore, the army has absorbed the best executive brains and physical vigor of the nation. In addition, Soviet Russia is cut off from most of its sources of iron and of cotton. Only the flax, hemp, wood, and lumber industries have an adequate supply of raw material.

On the other hand, such essentials of economic life as are available are being utilized to the utmost by the Soviet Government. Such trains as there are, run on time. The distribution of food is well controlled. Many industrial experts of the old regime are again managing their plants and sabotage by such managers has ceased. Loafing by the workmen during work hours has been overcome. (Appendix, p. 57.)


The destructive phase of the revolution is over and all the energy of the Government is turned to constructive work. The terror has ceased. All power of judgment has been taken away from the extraordinary commission for suppression of the counter-revolution, which now merely accuses suspected counter-revolutionaries, who are tried by the regular, established, legal tribunals. Executions are extremely rare. Good order has been established. The streets are safe. Shooting has ceased. There are few robberies. Prostitution has disappeared from sight. Family life has been unchanged by the revolution, the canard in regard to “nationalization of women” notwithstanding. (Appendix, p. 58.)

The theaters, opera, and ballet are performing as in peace. Thousands of new schools have been opened in all parts of Russia and the Soviet Government seems to have done more for the education of the Russian people in a year and a half than czardom did in 50 years. (Appendix, p. 59.)


The Soviet form of government is firmly established. Perhaps the most striking fact in Russia today is the general support which is given the government by the people in spite of their starvation. Indeed, the people lay the blame for their distress wholly on the blockade and on the governments which maintain it. The Soviet form of government seems to have become to the Russian people the symbol of their revolution. Unquestionably it is a form of government which lends itself to gross abuse and tyranny but it meets the demand of the moment in Russia and it has acquired so great a hold on the imagination of the common people that the women are ready to starve and the young men to die for it.

The position of the communist party (formerly Bolsheviki) is also very strong. Blockade and intervention have caused the chief opposition parties, the right social revolutionaries and the menshiviki, to give temporary support to the communists. These opposition parties have both made formal statements against the blockade, intervention, and the support of antisoviet governments by the allied and associated governments. Their leaders, Volsky and Martov, are most vigorous in their demands for the immediate raising of the blockade and peace. (Appendix, p. 60.)

Indeed, the only ponderable opposition to the communists to-day comes from more radical parties–the left social revolutionaries and the anarchists. These parties, in published statements, call the communists, and particularly Lenin and Tchitcherin, “the paid bourgeois gendarmes of the Entente.” They attack the communists because the communists have encouraged scientists, engineers, and industrial experts of the bourgeois class to take important posts under the Soviet Government at high pay. They rage against the employment of bourgeois officers in the army and against the efforts of the communists to obtain peace. They demand the immediate massacre of all the bourgeoisie and an immediate declaration of war on all nonrevolutionary governments. They argue that the Entente Governments should be forced to intervene more deeply in Russia, asserting that such action would surely provoke the proletariat of all European countries to immediate revolution.

Within the communist party itself there is a distinct division of opinion in regard to foreign policy, but this disagreement has not developed personal hostility or open breach in the ranks of the party. Trotski, the generals, and many theorists believe the red army should go forward everywhere until more vigorous intervention by the Entente is provoked, which they, too, count upon to bring revolution in France and England. Their attitude is not a little colored by pride in the spirited young army. (Appendix, p. 62.) Lenin, Tchitcherin, and the bulk of the communist party, on the other hand, insist that the essential problem at present is to save the proletariat of Russia, in particular, and the proletariat of Europe, in general, from starvation, and assert that it will benefit the revolution but little to conquer all Europe if the Government of the United States replies by starving all Europe. They advocate, therefore, the conciliation of the United States even at the cost of compromising with many of the principles they hold most dear. And Lenin’s prestige in Russia at present is so overwhelming that the Trotski group is forced reluctantly to follow him. (Appendix, p. 63.)

Lenin, indeed, as a practical matter, stands well to the right in the existing political life of Russia. He recognizes the undesirability, from the Socialist viewpoint, of the compromises he feels compelled to make; but he is ready to make the compromises. Among the more notable concessions he has already made are: The abandonment of his plan to nationalize the land and the adoption of the policy of dividing it among the peasants, the establishment of savings banks paying 3 per cent interest, the decision to pay all foreign debts, and the decision to give concessions if that shall prove to be necessary to obtain credit abroad. (Appendix, p. 64.)

In a word, Lenin feels compelled to retreat from his theoretical position all along the line. He is ready to meet the western Governments half way.


Lenin seized upon the opportunity presented by my trip of