World War I, U.S. Participation in the Archangel Expedition

17 July, 1918
U.S. Participation in the Archangel Expedition

This aide-memoire of July 17, 1918 states the terms upon which the United States would participate with the Allied Powers in the Russian 'Interventions'. Three battalions of infantry and three companies of engineers were sent to Archangel to protect supplies and to support British and Imperial troops already on the scene, and a small American force was also sent to Vladivostok, where, under command of the Canadian General Elmsley, along with Japanese, British, and Canadian troops, they formed part of the Vladivostok phase of the Interventions of 1918-1920.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1918, Russia, Vol. II, p. 287 ff.

The Secretary of State to the Allied Ambassador's Aide-Memoire

. . . It is the clear and fixed judgment of the Government of the United States, arrived at after repeated and very searching reconsiderations ... feel obliged to withdraw those forces, in order to add them to the forces at the western front, if the plans in whose execution it is now intended that they should cooperate should develop into others, inconsistent with the policy to which the Government of the United States feels constrained to restrict itself.

At the same time the Government of the United States wishes to say with the utmost cordiality and good will that none of the conclusions here stated is meant to wear the least color of criticism of what the other governments associated against Germany may think it wise to undertake. It wishes in no way to embarrass their choices of policy. All that is intended here is a perfectly frank and definite statement of the policy which the United States feels obliged to adopt for herself and in the use of her own military forces. The Government of the United States does not wish it to be understood that in so restricting its own activities it is seeking, even by implication to set limits to the action or to define the policies of its associates.

It hopes to carry out the plans for safeguarding the rear of the Czecho-Slovaks operating from Vladivostok in a way that will place it and keep it in close cooperation with a small military force like its own from Japan, and if necessary from the other Allies, and that will assure it of the cordial accord of all the Allied powers; and it proposes to ask all associated in this course of action to unite in assuring the people of Russia in the most public and solemn manner that none of the governments uniting in action either in Siberia or in northern Russia contemplates any interference of any kind with the political sovereignty of Russia, any intervention in her internal affairs, or any impairment of her territorial integrity either now or hereafter, but that each of the associated powers has the single object of affording such aid as shall be acceptable, and only such aid as shall be acceptable, to the Russian people in their endeavor to regain control of their own affairs, their own territory, and their own destiny.

It is the hope and purpose of the Government of the United States to take advantage of the earliest opportunity to send to Siberia a commission of merchants, agricultural experts labor advisers, Red Cross representatives; and agents of the Young Men's Christian Association accustomed to organizing the best methods of spreading useful information and rendering educational help of a modest sort, in order in some systematic manner to relieve the immediate economic necessities of the people there in every way for which opportunity may open. The execution of this plan will follow and will not be permitted to embarrass the military assistance rendered in the rear of the westward-moving forces of the Czecho-Slovaks.

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