The Bullitt Mission to Russia
William C. Bullitt

Part 3 out of 3

and which might be of interest to the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. If you will hand those to the stenographer, we will
print them with your testimony.

Senator KNOX. What are your plans, Mr. Bullitt? What are you going to
do in this country now?

Mr. BULLITT. I expect to return to Maine and fish for trout, where I
was when I was summoned by the committee.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Did Mr. Steffens go to Russia with you?

Mr. BULLITT. He did.

The CHAIRMAN. He held no official position?


Senator BRANDEGEE. Who advised him to go?

Mr. BULLITT. I did.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Is he in the country now?

Mr. BULLITT. I do not believe so. I believe he is still in Europe.


(By order of the committee the report of Lincoln Steffens referred to
is here printed in full in the record, as follows:)


APRIL 2, 1919.

Politically, Russia has reached a state of equilibrium;
internally; for the present at least.

I think the revolution there is ended; that it has run its
course. There will be changes. There may be advances; there
will surely be reactions, but these will be regular, I
think; political and economic, but parliamentary, A new
center of gravity seems to have been found.

Certainly, the destructive phase of the revolution in Russia
is over. Constructive work has begun.

We saw this everywhere. And we saw order, and though we
inquired for them, we heard of no disorders. Prohibition is
universal and absolute. Robberies have been reduced in
Petrograd below normal of large cities. Warned against
danger before we went in, we felt safe. Prostitution has
disappeared with its clientele, who have been driven out by
the "no-work-no-food law," enforced by the general want and
the labor-card system. Loafing on the job by workers and
sabotage by upper-class directors, managers, experts and
clerks have been overcome. Russia has settled down to work.

The soviet form of government, which sprang up so
spontaneously all over Russia, is established.

This is not a paper thing; not an invention. Never planned,
it has not yet been written into the forms of law. It is not
even uniform. It is full of faults and difficulties; clumsy,
and in its final development it is not democratic. The
present Russian Government is the most autocratic government
I have ever seen. Lenin, head of the Soviet Government, is
farther removed from the people than the Tsar was, or than
any actual ruler in Europe is.

The people in a shop or an industry are a soviet. These
little informal Soviets elect a local soviet; which elects
delegates to the city or country (community) soviet; which
elects delegates to the government (State) soviet. The
government Soviets together elect delegates to the
All-Russian Soviet, which elects commissionaires (who
correspond to our Cabinet, or to a European minority). And
these commissionaires finally elect Lenin. He is thus five
or six removes from the people. To form an idea of his
stability, independence, and power, think of the process
that would have to be gone through with by the people to
remove him and elect a successor. A majority of all the
Soviets in all Russia would have to be changed in personnel
or opinion, recalled, or brought somehow to recognize and
represent the altered will of the people.

No student of government likes the soviet as it has
developed. Lenin himself doesn't. He calls it a
dictatorship, and he opposed it at first. When I was in
Russia in the days of Milyoukov and Kerensky, Lenin and the
Bolsheviks were demanding the general election of the
constituent assembly. But the Soviets existed then; they had
the power, and I saw foreign ambassadors blunder, and the
world saw Milyoukov and Kerensky fall, partly because they
would not, or could not, comprehend the nature of the
soviet; as Lenin did finally, when, against his theory, he
joined in and expressed the popular repudiation of the
constituent assembly and went over to work with the soviet,
the actual power in Russia. The constituent assembly,
elected by the people, represented the upper class and the
old system. The soviet was the lower class.

The soviet, at bottom, is a natural gathering of the working
people, of peasants, in their working and accustomed
groupings, instead of, as with us, by artificial
geographical sections.

Labor unions and soldiers' messes made up the Soviets in the
cities; poorer peasants and soldiers at the village inn were
the first Soviets in the country; and in the beginning, two
years ago, these lower class delegates used to explain to me
that the "rich peasants" and the "rich people" had their own
meetings and meeting places. The popular intention then was
not to exclude the upper classes from the government, but
only from the Soviets, which were not yet the same. But the
Soviets, once in existence, absorbed in their own class
tasks and their own problems, which the upper class had
either not understood or solved, ignored--no; they simply
forgot the council of empire and the Duma. And so they
discovered (or, to be more exact, their leaders discovered)
that they had actually all the power. All that Lenin and the
other Socialist leaders had to do to carry through their
class-struggle theory was to recognize this fact of power
and teach the Soviets to continue to ignore the assemblies
and the institutions of the upper classes, which, with their
"governments," ministries, and local assemblies, fell,
powerless from neglect.

The Soviet Government sprouted and grew out of the habits,
the psychology, and the condition of the Russian people. It
fitted them. They understand it. They find they can work it
and they like it. Every effort to put something else in its
place (including Lenin's) has failed. It will have to be
modified, I think, but not in essentials, and it can not be
utterly set aside. The Tsar himself, if he should come back,
would have to keep the Russian Soviet, and somehow rule over
and through it.

The Communist Party (dubbed "Bolshevik") is in power now in
the Soviet Government.

I think it will stay there a long time. What I have shown of
the machinery of change is one guaranty of communist
dominance. There are others. All opposition to the communist
government has practically ceased inside of Russia.

There are three organized opposition parties: Mencheviks,
Social Revolutionary Right, and Social Revolutionary Left.
The anarchists are not organized. The Social Revolutionary
Left is a small group of very anarchistic leaders, who have
hardly any following. The Mencheviks and the Social
Revolutionaries Right are said to be strong, but there is no
way of measuring their strength, for a very significant

These parties have stopped fighting. They are critical, but
they are not revolutionary. They also think the revolution
is over. They proposed, and they still propose eventually,
to challenge and oust the Communist Party by parliamentary
and political methods, not by force. But when intervention
came upon distracted Russia, and the people realized they
were fighting many enemies on many fronts, the two strong
opposing parties expressed their own and the public will to
stand by the party in power until the menace of foreign
invasion was beaten off. These parties announced this in
formal statements, uttered by their regular conventions; you
have confirmation of it in the memoranda written for you by
Martov and Volsky, and you will remember how one of them put
it to us personally:

"There is a fight to be made against the
Bolsheviks, but so long as you foreigners are
making it, we Russians won't. When you quit and
leave us alone, we will take up our burden again,
and we shall deal with the Bolsheviks. And we will
finish them. But we will do it with our people, by
political methods, in the Soviets, and not by
force, not by war or by revolution, and not with
any outside foreign help."

This is the nationalistic spirit, which we call patriotism,
and understand perfectly; it is much stronger in the new
than it was in the old, the Tsar's, Russia. But there is
another force back of this remarkable statement of a
remarkable state of mind.

All Russia has turned to the labor of reconstruction; sees
the idea in the plans proposed for the future; and is

Destruction was fun for a while and a satisfaction to a
suppressed, betrayed, to an almost destroyed people.
Violence was not in their character, however. The Russian
people, sober, are said to be a gentle people. One of their
poets speaks of them as "that gentle beast, the Russian
people," and I noticed and described in my reports of the
first revolution how patient, peaceable, and "safe" the mobs
of Petrograd were. The violence came later, with Bolshevism,
after the many attempts at counterrevolution, and with
vodka. The Bolshevik leaders regret and are ashamed of their
red terror. They do not excuse it. It was others, you
remember, who traced the worst of the Russian atrocities and
the terror itself to the adoption by the
counter-revolutionists of the method of assassination (of
Lenin and others), and most of all to the discovery by the
mobs of wine cellars and vodka stills. That the Russian
drunk and the Russian sober are two utterly different
animals, is well known to the Jews, to the Reactionaries,
and to the Russians themselves. And that is why this people
lately have not only obeyed; they have themselves ruthlessly
enforced the revolutionary prohibition decrees in every part
of Russia that we would inquire about and hear from.

The destructive spirit, sated, exhausted, or suppressed, has
done its work. The leaders say so--the leaders of all

There is a close relationship between the Russian people and
the new Russian leaders, in power and out. New men in
politics are commonly fresh, progressive, representative;
it's the later statesmen that damp the enthusiasm and sober
the idealism of legislators. In Russia all legislators, all,
are young or new. It is as if we should elect in the United
States a brand-new set of men to all offices, from the
lowest county to the highest Federal position, and as if the
election should occur in a great crisis, when all men are
full of hope and faith. The new leaders of the local Soviets
of Russia were, and they still are, of the people, really.
That is one reason why their autocratic dictatorship is
acceptable. They have felt, they shared the passion of the
mob to destroy, but they had something in mind to destroy.

The soviet leaders used the revolution to destroy the system
of organized Russian life.

While the mobs broke windows, smashed wine cellars, and
pillaged buildings to express their rage, their leaders
directed their efforts to the annihilation of the system
itself. They pulled down the Tsar and his officers; they
abolished the courts, which had been used to oppress them;
they closed shops, stopped business generally, and
especially all competitive and speculative business; and
they took over all the great industries, monopolies,
concessions, and natural resources. This was their purpose.
This is their religion. This is what the lower-class culture
has been slowly teaching the people of the world for 50
years: that it is not some particular evil, but the whole
system of running business and railroads, shops, banks, and
exchanges, for speculation and profit that must be changed.
This is what causes poverty and riches, they teach, misery,
corruption, vice, and war. The people, the workers, or their
State, must own and run these things "for service."

Not political democracy, as with us; economic democracy is
the idea; democracy in the shop, factory, business.
Bolshevism is a literal interpretation, the actual
application of this theory, policy, or program. And so, in
the destructive period of the Russian revolution, the
Bolshevik leaders led the people to destroy the old system,
root and branch, fruit and blossom, too. And apparently this
was done. The blocks we saw in Petrograd and Moscow of
retail shops nailed up were but one sign of it. When we
looked back of these dismal fronts and inquired more deeply
into the work of the revolution we were convinced that the
Russians have literally and completely done their job. And
it was this that shocked us. It is this that has startled
the world; not the atrocities of the revolution, but the
revolution itself.

The organization of life as we know it in America, in the
rest of Europe, in the rest of the world, is wrecked and
abolished in Russia.

The revolution didn't do it. The Tsar's Government had
rotted it. The war broke down the worn-out machinery of it;
the revolution has merely scrapped it finally.

The effect is hunger, cold, misery, anguish, disease--death
to millions. But worse than these--I mean this--was the
confusion of mind among the well and the strong. We do not
realize, any of us--even those of us who have
imagination--how fixed our minds and habits are by the ways
of living that we know. So with the Russians. They
understood how to work and live under their old system; it
was not a pretty one; it was dark, crooked, and dangerous,
but they had groped around in it all their lives from
childhood up. They could find their way in it. And now they
can remember how it was, and they sigh for the old ways. The
rich emigres knew whom to see to bribe for a verdict, a
safe-conduct, or a concession; and the poor, in their
hunger, think now how it would be to go down to the market
and haggle, and bargain, from one booth to another, making
their daily purchases, reckoning up their defeats and
victories over the traders. And they did get food then. And
now--it is all gone. They have destroyed all this, and
having destroyed it they were lost, strangers in their own

This tragedy of transition was anticipated by the leaders of
the revolution, and the present needs were prepared for in
the plans laid for reconstruction.

Lenin has imagination. He is an idealist, but he is a
scholar, too, and a very grim realist. Lenin was a
statistician by profession. He had long been trying to
foresee the future of society under socialism, and he had
marked down definitely the resources, the machinery, and the
institutions existing under the old order, which could be
used in the new. There was the old Russian communal land
system, passing, but standing in spots with its peasants
accustomed to it. That was to be revived; it is his solution
of the problem of the great estates. They are not to be
broken up, but worked by the peasants in common. Then there
was the great Russian Cooperative (trading) Society, with
its 11,000,000 families before the war; now with 17,000,000
members. He kept that. There was a conflict; it was in
bourgeoise hands but it was an essential part of the
projected system of distribution, so Lenin compromised and
communist Russia has it. He had the railroads, telegraph,
telephone already; the workers seized the factories, the
local Soviets the mines; the All-Russian Soviet, the banks.
The new government set up shops--one in each
neighborhood--to dole out not for money, but on work
tickets, whatever food, fuel, and clothing this complete
government monopoly had to distribute. No bargaining, no
display, no advertising, and no speculation. Everything one
has earned by labor the right to buy at the cooperative and
soviet shops is at a fixed, low price, at the established
(too small.) profit--to the government or to the members of
the cooperative.

Money is to be abolished gradually. It does not count much
now. Private capital has been confiscated, most of the rich
have left Russia, but there are still many people there who
have hidden away money or valuables, and live on them
without working. They can buy food and even luxuries, but
only illegally from peasants and speculators at the risk of
punishment and very high prices. They can buy, also, at the
government stores, at the low prices, but they can get only
their share there, and only on their class or work tickets.
The class arrangement, though transitory and temporary--the
aim is to have but one class--is the key to the idea of the
whole new system.

There are three classes. The first can buy, for example,
1-1/2 pounds of bread a day; the second, three-quarters of a
pound; the third, only one-quarter of a pound; no matter how
much money they may have. The first class includes soldiers,
workers in war, and other essential industries, actors,
teachers, writers, experts, and Government workers of all
sorts. The second class is of all other sorts of workers.
The third is of people who do not work--the leisure class.
Their allowance is, under present circumstances, not enough
to live on, but they are allowed to buy surreptitiously from
speculators on the theory that the principal of their
capital will soon be exhausted, and, since interest, rent,
and profits--all forms of unearned money--are abolished,
they will soon be forced to go to work.

The shock of this, and the confusion due to the strange
details of it, were, and they still are, painful to many
minds, and not only to the rich. For a long time there was
widespread discontent with this new system. The peasants
rebelled, and the workers were suspicious. They blamed the
new system for the food shortage, the fuel shortage, the
lack of raw materials for the factories. But this also was
anticipated by that very remarkable mind and will--Lenin. He
used the State monopoly and control of the press, and the
old army of revolutionary propagandists to shift the blame
for the sufferings of Russia from the revolutionary
government to the war, the blockade, and the lack of
transportation. Also, he and his executive organization were
careful to see that, when the government did get hold of a
supply of anything, its arrival was heralded, and the next
day it appeared at the community shops, where everybody
(that worked) got his share at the low government price. The
two American prisoners we saw had noticed this, you
remember. "We don't get much to eat," they said, "but
neither do our guards or the other Russians. We all get the
same. And when they get more, we get our share."

The fairness of the new system, as it works so far, has won
over to it the working class and the poorer peasants. The
well-to-do still complain, and very bitterly sometimes.
Their hoardings are broken into by the government and by the
poverty committees, and they are severely punished for
speculative trading. But even these classes are moved
somewhat by the treatment of children. They are in a class
by themselves: class A,--I. They get all the few
delicacies--milk, eggs, fruit, game, that come to the
government monopoly--at school, where they all are fed,
regardless of class. "Even the rich children," they told us,
"they have as much as the poor children." And the children,
like the workers, now see the operas, too, the plays, the
ballets, the art galleries--all with instructors.

The Bolsheviks--all the Russian parties--regard the
communists' attitude toward children as the symbol of their
new civilization.

"It is to be for the good of humanity, not business," one of
them, an American, said, "and the kids represent the future.
Our generation is to have only the labor, the joy, and the
misery of the struggle. We will get none of the material
benefits of the new system, and we will probably never all
understand and like it. But the children--it is for them and
their children that we are fighting, so we are giving them
the best of it from the start, and teaching them to take it
all naturally. They are getting the idea. They are to be our
new propagandists."

The idea is that everybody is to work for the common good,
and so, as the children and the American prisoners note,
when they all produce more, they all get more. They are
starving now, but they are sharing their poverty. And they
really are sharing it. Lenin eats, like everybody else--only
one meal a day--soup, fish, bread, and tea. He has to save
out of that a bit for breakfast and another bit for supper.
The people, the peasants, send him more, but he puts it in
the common mess. So the heads of this government do not have
to imagine the privations of the people; they feel them. And
so the people and the government realize that, if ever
Russia becomes prosperous, all will share in the wealth,
exactly as they share in the poverty now. In a word, rich
Russia expects to become a rich Russian people.

This, then, is the idea which has begun to catch the
imagination of the Russian people. This it is that is making
men and women work with a new interest, and a new incentive,
not to earn high wages and short hours, but to produce an
abundance for all. This is what is making a people, sick of
war, send their ablest and strongest men into the new,
high-spirited, hard-drilled army to defend, not their
borders, but their new working system of common living.

And this is what is making Lenin and his sobered communist
government ask for peace. They think they have carried a
revolution through for once to the logical conclusion. All
other revolutions have stopped when they had revolved
through the political phase to political democracy. This one
has turned once more clear through the economic phase to
economic democracy, to self-government in the factory, shop,
and on the land, and has laid a foundation for universal
profit sharing, for the universal division of food, clothes,
and all goods, equally among all. And they think their
civilization is working on this foundation. They want time
to go on and build it higher and better. They want to spread
it all over the world, but only as it works, As they told us
when we reminded them that the world dreaded their

"We are through with the old propaganda of
argument. All we ask now is to be allowed to prove
by the examples of things well done here in
Russia, that the new system is good. We are so
sure we shall make good, that we are willing to
stop saying so, to stop reasoning, stop the
haranguing, and all that old stuff. And especially
are we sick of the propaganda by the sword. We
want to stop fighting. We know that each country
must evolve its own revolution out of its own
conditions and in its own imagination. To force it
by war is not scientific, not democratic, not
socialistic. And we are fighting now only in
self-defense. We will stop fighting, if you will
let us stop. We will call back our troops, if you
will withdraw yours. We will demobilize. We need
the picked organizers and the skilled workers now
in the army for our shops, factories, and farms.
We would love to recall them to all this needed
work, and use their troop trains to distribute our
goods and our harvests, if only you will call off
your soldiers and your moral, financial, and
material support from our enemies, and the enemies
of our ideals. Let every country in dispute on our
borders self-determine its own form of government
and its own allegiance.

"But you must not treat us as a conquered nation.
We are not conquered. We are prepared to join in a
revolutionary, civil war all over all of Europe
and the world, if this good thing has to be done
in this bad way of force. But we would prefer to
have our time and our energy to work to make sure
that our young, good thing is good. We have proved
that we can share misery, and sickness, and
poverty; it has helped us to have these things to
share, and we think we shall be able to share the
wealth of Russia as we gradually develop it. But
we are not sure of that; the world is not sure.
Let us Russians pay the price of the experiment;
do the hard, hard work of it; make the
sacrifice--then your people can follow us, slowly,
as they decide for themselves that what we have is
worth having."

That is the message you bring back, Mr. Bullitt. It is your
duty to deliver it. It is mine to enforce it by my
conception of the situation as it stands in Russia and
Europe to-day.

It seems to me that we are on the verge of war, a new war, a
terrible war--the long-predicted class war--all over Europe.

The peace commission, busy with the settlement of the old
war, may not see the new one, or may not measure aright the
imminent danger of it. Germany is going over, Hungary has
gone, Austria is coming into the economic revolutionary
stage. The propaganda for it is old and strong in all
countries: Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Norway,
Sweden--you know. All men know this propaganda. But that is
in the rear. Look at the front.

Russia is the center of it. Germany, Austria, Hungary are
the wings of the potential war front of--Bolshevism.

And Russia, the center, has made a proposition to you for
peace, for a separate peace; made it officially; made it
after thought; made it proudly, not in fear, but in pitiful
sympathy with its suffering people and for the sake of a
vision of the future in which it verily believes. They are
practical men--those that made it. You met them. We talked
with them. We measured their power. They are all idealists,
but they are idealists sobered by the responsibility of
power. Sentiment has passed out of them into work--hard
work. They said they could give one year more of starvation
to the revolution, but they said it practically, and they
prefer to compromise and make peace. I believe that, if we
take their offer, there will be such an outcry of rage and
disappointment from the Left Socialists of Germany, Italy,
France, and the world, that Lenin and Trotsky will be
astonished. The Red Revolution--the class war--will be
broken, and evolution will have its chance once more in the
rest of Europe. And you and I know that the men we met in
Moscow see this thus, and that they believe the peace
conference will not, can not, see it, but will go on to make
war and so bring on the European revolution.

But your duty, our duty, is to point out this opportunity,
and to vouch for the strength and the will and the character
of Lenin and the commissaires of Russia to make and keep the
compact they have outlined to you. Well, this is the
briefest way in which I can express my full faith:

Kautsky has gone to Moscow. He has gone late; he has gone
after we were there. He will find, as we found, a careful,
thoughtful, deliberate group of men in power; in too much
power; unremovable and controlling a state of monopoly,
which is political, social, economic, financial; which
controls or directs all the activities, all the fears, all
the hopes, all the aspirations of a great people. Kautsky
will speak to revolutionary Russia for revolutionary
Germany, and for a revolutionary Europe. There will be an
appeal in that; there will be a strong appeal in that to the
revolutionary Russian commissaires. But, if I am any judge
of character, Lenin and his commissaires will stand by their
offer to us until Paris has answered, or until the time set
for the answer--April 10--shall have passed. Then, and not
until then, will Kautsky receive an answer to his appeal
for--whatever it is the Germans are asking.

It is not enough that you have delivered your message and
made it a part of the record of the peace conference. I
think it is your duty to ask the fixed attention of your
chiefs upon it for a moment, and to get from them the
courtesy of a clear, direct reply to Russia before April 10.


(The reports of Capt. Pettit are here printed in full, as follows:)


I left Petrograd on March 31. During the past three weeks I have
crossed the Finnish border six times and have been approximately
two weeks in Petrograd. I have met Tchitcherin, Litvinov, and
most of the important personages in the communist government of
Petrograd (including Bill Shatov, chief of police).

Briefly, my opinion of the Russian situation is as follows:
In Petrograd I presume the present communist government has
a majority of the working-men behind it, but probably less
than half of the total population are members of the
communist party. However, my conclusions are based on
conversations with not only communists, but also many
opponents of the communist government, members of the
aristocracy, business men, and foreigners, and I am
persuaded that a large majority of the population of
Petrograd if given a choice between the present government
and the two alternatives, revolution or foreign
intervention, would without hesitation take the present
government. Foreign intervention would unite the population
in opposition and would tend to greatly emphasize the
present nationalist spirit. Revolution would result in
chaos. (There is nowhere a group of Russians in whom the
people I have talked with have confidence. Kolchak, Denikin,
Yudenvitch, Trepov, the despicable hordes of Russian
emigrees who haunt the Grand Hotel, Stockholm; the Socithans
House, Helsingfors; the offices of the peace commission in
Paris, and squabble among themselves as to how the Russian
situation shall be solved; all equally fail to find many
supporters in Petrograd.) Those with whom I have talked
recognize that revolution, did it succeed in developing a
strong government, would result in a white terror comparable
with that of Finland. In Finland our consul has a record of
12,500 executions in some 50 districts, out of something
like 500 districts, by the White Guard. In Petrograd I have
been repeatedly assured that the total Red executions in
Petrograd and Moscow and other cities was at a maximum

It may seem somewhat inconsistent for the Russian
bourgeoisie to oppose allied intervention and at the same
time fail to give whole-hearted support to the present
government. They justify this attitude on the grounds that
when the two great problems of food and peace are solved the
whole population can turn itself to assisting the present
regime in developing a stable efficient government. They
point to the numerous changes which have already been
introduced by the present communist government, to the
acknowledgment that mistakes have been made to the ease of
securing introduction of constructive ideas under the
present regime. All these facts have persuaded many of the
thinking people with whom I have talked to look to the
present government in possibly a somewhat modified form as
the salvation of Russia.

At present the situation is bad. Russia is straining every
nerve to raise an army to oppose the encircling White
Guards. That the army is efficient is demonstrated by the
present location of Soviet forces who have contended with
the Russian White Guard supported by enormous sums of money,
munitions, and even soldiers from the Allies. Naturally,
transportation is inefficient; it was horrible in the last
year of the Czar's regime. Absolute separation from the rest
of the world, combined with the chaotic conditions which
Russia has passed through since the 1917 revolution, plus
the sabotage, which until recently was quite general among
the intelligent classes, including engineers, has resulted
in a decrease in rolling stock. The transportation of the
enormous army which has been raised limits the number of
cars which can be used for food. The cutting off of Siberia,
Finland, the Baltic Provinces, and until recently the
Ukraine, made it necessary to establish new lines of food
transportation. Consequently there has been great suffering
in Petrograd. Of the population of a million, 200,000 are
reported by the board of health to be ill, 100,000 seriously
ill in hospitals or at home, and another 100,000 with
swollen limbs still able to go to the food kitchens.
However, the reports of people dying in the streets are not
true. Whatever food exists is fairly well distributed and
there are food kitchens where anyone can get a fairly good
dinner for 3.50 rubles.

For money one can still obtain many of the luxuries of life.
The children, some 50,000 of whom have been provided with
homes, are splendidly taken care of, and except for the
absence of milk have little to complain of. In the public
schools free lunches are given the children, and one sees in
the faces of the younger generation little of the suffering
which some of the older people have undergone and are
undergoing. Food conditions have improved recently, due to
the suspension of passenger traffic and the retaking of the
Ukraine, where food is plentiful. From 60 to 100 carloads of
food have arrived in Petrograd each day since February 18.

Perhaps it is futile to add that my solution of the Russian
problem is some sort of recognition of the present
government, with the establishment of economic relations and
the sending of every possible assistance to the people. I
have been treated in a wonderful manner by the communist
representatives, though they know that I am no socialist and
though I have admitted to the leaders that my civilian
clothing is a disguise. They have the warmest affection for
America, believe in President Wilson, and are certain that
we are coming to their assistance, and, together with our
engineers, our food, our school-teachers, and our supplies,
they are going to develop in Russia a government which will
emphasize the rights of the common people as no other
government has. I am so convinced of the necessity for us
taking a step immediately to end the suffering of this
wonderful people that I should be willing to stake all I
have in converting ninety out of every hundred American
business men whom I could take to Petrograd for two weeks.

It is needless for me to tell you that most of the stories
that have come from Russia regarding atrocities, horrors,
immorality, are manufactured in Viborg, Helsingfors, or
Stockholm. The horrible massacres planned for last November
were first learned of in Petrograd from the Helsingfors
papers. That anybody could even for a moment believe in the
nationalization of women seems impossible to anyone in
Petrograd. To-day Petrograd is an orderly city--probably the
only city of the world of its size without police. Bill
Shatov, chief of police, and I were at the opera the other
night to hear Chaliapine sing in Boris Gudonov. He excused
himself early because he said there had been a robbery the
previous night, in which a man had lost 5,000 rubles, that
this was the first robbery in several weeks, and that he had
an idea who had done it, and was going to get the men that
night. I feel personally that Petrograd is safer than Paris.
At night there are automobiles, sleighs, and people on the
streets at 12 o'clock to a much greater extent than was true
in Paris when I left five weeks ago.

Most wonderful of all, the great crowd of prostitutes has
disappeared. I have seen not a disreputable woman since I
went to Petrograd, and foreigners who have been there for
the last three months report the same. The policy of the
present government has resulted in eliminating throughout
Russia, I am told, this horrible outgrowth of modern

Begging has decreased. I have asked to be taken to the
poorest parts of the city to see how the people in the slums
live, and both the communists and bourgeoisie have held up
their hands and said, "But you fail to understand there are
no such places." There is poverty, but it is scattered and
exists among those of the former poor or of the former rich
who have been unable to adapt themselves to the conditions
which require everyone to do something.

Terrorism has ended. For months there have been no
executions, I am told, and certainly people go to the
theater and church and out on the streets as much as they
would in any city of the world.

(Certain memoranda referred to in the hearing relating to the work of
Capt. Pettit in Russia are here printed in full as follows:)


From: W.W. Pettit
To: Ammission, Paris.

(Attention of Mr. Bullitt.)

1. _Mr. Pettit's recent movements_.--On March 18 I left
Helsingfors for Petrograd and remained there until March 28
when I left for Helsingfors, at which place I received a
cable ordering me to report immediately to Paris. On the
29th I left again for Petrograd to secure some baggage I had
left. On the 21st I left Petrograd for Helsingfors. On April
1st I left Helsingfors for Stockholm and in Stockholm I find
a telegram asking me to wait until I receive further orders.

2. _Optimism of present government_.--On the night of the
30th and the afternoon of the 31st I had several hours with
Schklovsky, Tchitcherin's personal representative in
Petrograd. He was disappointed to think I was to return to
Paris, but felt certain that inasmuch as the orders
recalling me had been sent before Mr. Bullitt's arrival,
there was every possibility of my being returned to
Petrograd. He was most optimistic about the future and felt
that the Allies must soon take some definite stand regarding
Russia, and that the result of the Paris negotiations would
almost surely be favorable to the Soviet Government. He said
that the present war conditions and the limited
transportation facilities, with the shortage of food
resulting therefrom, had handicapped his government
enormously, and that everyone hopes that soon the action of
the allied powers will permit the establishment of normal
relations in Russia.

3. _Radios in re Bullitt_.--He has received at least three
radio communications from the American press in which Mr.
Bullitt's activities have been mentioned and this has tended
to encourage him. The last cablegram stated that Mr. Bullitt
was preparing a statement regarding conditions in Russia
which the press anticipated would go far toward dispelling
ignorance and misinformation regarding conditions in Moscow
and Petrograd.

4. _Hungarian situation_.--The Hungarian situation has also
gone far toward encouraging the present Government. Hungary
has proposed a mutual offensive and defensive alliance with
Russia. The fact that the Soviet Government has been
instituted in Hungary without bloodshed up to the present,
and with little opposition on the part of the people, has
also encouraged Schklovsky. He stated that the action of the
Allies in sending troops against Hungary was to be regretted
because of the bloodshed which would probably result.
However, he thought in the long run that the Allies would
find it a suicidal policy to try to suppress the Hungarian
revolution by force.

5. _The Ukraine situation_.--The soviet troops have taken
almost the entire Ukraine and this with the food supplies
which it will provide have strengthened the Soviet
Government. A friend who has recently returned from Peltava,
Ekaterinoslav, Kiev, and other southern cities, states that
food is abundant and cheap. The Soviet Government believes
that the French and Greek troops are withdrawing from Odessa
and going to Sebastopol. They anticipate taking Odessa
within the next few days.

6. _Esthonian situation_.--At least twice within the last
two weeks Esthonia has sent word to the Soviet Government
that it desired peace. The following four points have been
emphasized by the Esthonians: (i) That peace must come
immediately; (2) that the offer must come from the Soviet
Government; (3) that a fair offer will be accepted by the
Esthonians immediately without consultation with France or
England, who are supporting them; (4) that free access to
Esthonian harbors and free use of Esthonian railroads will
be assured the Soviet Government.

7. _The Lithuanian situation_.--It is fairly well understood
that the Lithuanian Government that is fighting the
Bolsheviks is not going to allow itself to be made a tool by
the French and British Governments to invade Russian
territory. The Lithuanian Government is desirous of securing
possession of Lithuanian territory, but beyond that it is
understood it will not go.

8. _The Finnish situation_.--The Soviet Government is in
close touch with the Finnish situation and has little fear
of an invasion of Russia from that direction. The Finnish
Army is without question a third Red; probably a half Red;
possibly two-thirds Red. There is even reported to be a
tendency on a part of certain of the White Guards to oppose
intervention in Russia. One of the Finnish regiments in
Esthonia has returned to Finland, and it is supposed that it
will assist the proposed revolution of the Finns in East
Karelia against the Soviet Government. The Soviet Government
has sent a committee to Helsingfors to arrange economic
relations with Finland, and it is said that this committee
carries threats of reprisals on the part of the Soviet
Government against the Finns in Petrograd unless the treaty
is negotiated. It is said in Petrograd that some of the
Finns have already left Petrograd in anticipation that the
Finnish Government will not be permitted to make any
arrangement with the Soviet Government because of the
attitude of certain of the allied representatives in

9. _Improvement in food conditions_.--The suspension of passenger
traffic from March 18 to April 10 has resulted in the Government
bringing to Petrograd 60 to 100 cars of food each day, and one
sees large quantities of food being transported about the city.
At Easter time it is hoped to be able to give 3 pounds of white
bread to the population of Petrograd. There also seems to be a
larger supply of food for private purchase in the city. Mr.
Shiskin has recently been able to buy 3 geese, a sucking pig, 2
splendid legs of veal, and roasts of beef at from 40 to 50 rubles
a pound, which, considering the value of the ruble, is much less
than it sounds. Shiskin has also been able recently to get eggs,
milk, honey, and butter, together with potatoes, carrots, and
cabbage. My bill for food for 11 days with Mr. Shiskin was about
1,300 rubles.

10. _Order in Petrograd_.--About three weeks ago there were
several strikes in factories in Petrograd and Lenin came to
talk to the strikers. Apparently the matter was settled
satisfactorily and the workers were given the same bread
rations that the soldiers receive. At the Putilov works some
400 men struck and part of them were dismissed. Both Shatov
and the director of factories said that there were no
executions, though the population the next morning reported
80 workers shot and that afternoon the rumor had increased
the number to 400. There is practically no robbery in the
city. Shatov left the opera the other night early because he
told me the previous night a man had lost 5,000 rubles and
it was such an exceptional thing to have a robbery that he
was going out personally to investigate the matter, having
some idea as to who was responsible.

11. _Currency plans_.--Zorin tells me that the Soviet
Government has or had printed a new issue of currency which
it is proposed to exchange for the old currency within the
next three months. The details of the plan have not been
completed but he thinks that an exchange of ruble for ruble
will be made up to 3,000; an additional 2,000 will be placed
on deposit in the government bank. That beyond 5,000 only a
small percentage will be allowed to any one, and that a
limit of possibly 15,000 will be placed beyond which no
rubles will be exchanged. Then the plan is, after a certain
period to declare the old ruble valueless. Zorin feels that
as a result of this plan the new ruble will have some value
and that the present situation in the country in which the
farmer has so much paper that he refuses to sell any longer
for money, will be relieved. This exchange would be followed
later on by the issue of still other currency the entire
purpose being the more equal distribution of wealth and the
gradual approach to elimination of currency.

12. _Concessions_.--It is asserted that the northern railway
concession has been signed and Amundsen tells me that all
negotiations were accomplished without the payment of a
single cent of tea money, probably the first instance of the
absence of graft in such negotiations in the history of
Russia. He says that Trepov, through his agent Borisov, at
Moscow, was the greatest opponent of the Norwegian
interests. Trepov was formerly minister of ways and
communications and is reported to have been refused a
similar concession under the Czar's government. Amundsen
claims that Trepov has made every effort to secure this
concession from the Soviet Government. I am attaching a
statement regarding a concession which is supposed to have
been granted to the lumber interests. There are rumors that
other concessions have been granted.

13. _Y.M.C.A._--Recently the Y.M.C.A. secretary arrived in
Petrograd, claiming to have come without authorization from
his superiors. He has been staying at the embassy but
recently went to Moscow at the invitation of Tchitcherin.
Schklovsky tells me that the American has plans for the
establishment of the Y.M.C.A. in Russia which he wanted to
put before the Moscow government. Schklovsky doubted that it
would be feasible to organize in Russia at present a branch
of the International association unless some rather
fundamental modifications were made in their policy.

14. _Treadwell_.--I have twice asked Schklovsky to secure
information regarding Treadwell, and he assures me that he
has taken the matter up with Moscow, but that apparently
they have had no news from Tashkent as yet. He promised to
let me know as soon as anything was heard.

15. _Attitude toward United States_.--The degree of
confidence which the Russians and the soviet officials show
toward our Government is to me a matter of surprise,
considering our activities during the past 18 months. There
seems to be no question in the minds of the officials in
Petrograd whom I have met that we are going to give them an
opportunity to develop a more stable form of government, and
they apparently look upon President Wilson as one who is
going to decide the question on its merits without being
influenced by the enormous pressure of the Russian emigres
and the French Government. Doubtless part of this attitude
is due to the favorable impression created by Mr. Bullitt,
but much of it must be the result of information which they
have secured from the press. At the present moment the
United States has the opportunity of demonstrating to the
Russian people its friendship and cementing the bonds which
already exist. Russia believes in us, and a little
assistance to Russia in its present crisis will result in
putting the United States in a position in Russia which can
never be overthrown by Germany or any other power.

16. _Social work_.--I have recently sent a cable from
Helsingfors regarding health and sanitary conditions in
Petrograd, a copy of which I am attaching. I have spent the
past two weeks visiting schools and the children's home in
Petrograd. There are 30,000 children for whom homes have
been provided in the past nine months, and preparations are
being made to house 10,000 more. Homes of emigres are being
taken over and groups of 40 children placed in them under
the care of able instructors; where the children are old
enough they go to school during the daytime. A beautiful
home life has been developed. The children are well fed and
well clothed, and there is a minimum of sickness among them.
At the present time, when so much disease exists in
Petrograd, and when there is so much starvation, the healthy
appearance of these thousands of children, together with the
well-fed condition of children who are not in institutions,
but are receiving free meals in schools, is a demonstration
of the social spirit behind much of the activities of the
present government. I shall send later a more detailed
statement of some of the interesting things I have learned
about this phase of the activities of the new regime.

17. _Conclusion_.--In this rather hastily dictated
memorandum which Mr. Francis is going to take tonight to
Paris I have tried to point out some of the things that have
interested me in Petrograd. Naturally I have emphasized the
brighter side, for the vast amount of absolutely false news
manufactured in Helsingfors and Stockholm and sent out
through the world seems to me to necessitate the emphasizing
of some of the more hopeful features of the present
government. Naturally the character of the Russian people
has not changed to any great extent in 18 months, and there
is doubtless corruption, and there is certainly inefficiency
and ignorance and a hopeless failure to grasp the new
principles motivating the government on the part of many of
the people. A people subjected to the treatment which
Russians have had during the last 200 years can not in one
generation be expected to change very greatly, but
personally I feel the present government has made a vast
improvement on the government of the Czar as I knew it in
1916-17. Without doubt the majority of the people in
Petrograd are opposed to allied intervention or revolution
and wish the present government to be given a fair chance to
work out the salvation of Russia. One of the most hopeful
symptoms of the present government is its willingness to
acknowledge mistakes when they are demonstrated and to adopt
new ideas which are worth while. Personally I am heart and
soul for some action on the part of the United States
Government which will show our sincere intention to permit
the Russian people to solve their own problems with what
assistance they may require from us. STOCKHOLM, April 4


The wife of Zinoviev, Madame Lelina, is in charge of the social
institutions in the city of Petrograd. This does not include the
public schools, which are under another organization. Madame Lelina is
a short-haired woman, probably Jewish, of about 45. She has an
enormous amount of energy, and is commonly supposed to be doing at
least two things at the same time. The morning I met her she was
carrying on two interviews and trying to arrange to have me shown some
of the social work she is directing. There seemed to be little system
about her efforts. Her office was rather disorderly, and her method of
work seemed very wasteful of time and effort, and very much like the
usual Russian way of doing things. Bill Shatov, formerly organizer of
the I.W.W., who is commissar of police for Petrograd and also
commissar for one of the northern armies, introduced me to Madame
Lelina, and accompanied me the first day on our visits. We were guided
by a young woman by the name of Bachrath, who is a university graduate
and lawyer, and since the legal profession has fallen into disrepute,
has turned her efforts toward social work.

Under her guidance I spent three days visiting institutions. I saw a
boarding school for girls, a boarding home for younger children, an
institution for the feeble-minded, three of the new homes organized by
the Soviet Government, and two small hospitals for children.

The institutions which Madame Lelina is directing are in two groups:
First, those which she has taken over from the old Czar regime, and
second, those which have been founded in the last 18 months. The new
government has been so handicapped by the difficulties of securing
food and other supplies, by the sabotage of many of the intelligent
classes, and by the necessity of directing every energy toward
carrying on hostilities against the bourgeoisie and the Allies, that
there has been little opportunity to remodel the institutions
inherited from the previous regime, therefore neither the strength nor
the weakness of these institutions is to any great extent due to the
present regime. Two of the institutions I visited were of this type,
one happened to be very good and the other very bad, and in neither
case did I feel that Lelina's organization was responsible.

An aristocratic organization under the Czar maintained a boarding
school for girls. This has been taken over by the Soviet Government
with little change, and the 140 children in this institution are
enjoying all the opportunities which a directress trained in France
and Germany, with an exceptionally skillful corps of assistants, can
give them.

I inquired regarding the changes which the Soviet Government had made
in the organization of this school. Some of the girls who were there
have been kept, but vacant places have been filled by Madame Lelina's
committee, and the institution has been required to take boys into the
day school, a plan which is carried out in most of the soviet social
and educational work. Much more freedom has been introduced in the
management of the institution, and the girls at table talk and walk
about, much as though they were in their own homes. The Soviet
Government requires that certain girls be permitted membership in the
teachers' committee, and the two communists accompanying me pointed to
this as a great accomplishment. Privately, the teachers informed me
they regarded it as of little significance, and apparently they were
entirely out of sympathy with the innovations that the new government
has made. Now all the girls are required to work in the kitchen,
dining room, or m cleaning their own dormitories, and certain girls
are assigned to the kitchen to over-see the use of supplies by the
cooks. However, the whole institution, from the uniforms of the girls
to the required form in which even hand towels have to be hung,
indicates the iron will of the directress. In one class we visited the
girls sat at desks and listened to a traditional pedagogue pour out
quantities of information on Pushkin's Boris Gudonov. Occasionally the
girls were called upon to react, which they did with sentences
apparently only partially memorized. The spirit of the institution is
behind that of our better institutions in America, and the spirit of
the classroom is quite mediaeval.

The greatest objection which the teachers seem to have to soviet
activities is the question of sacred pictures and religious
observances. The chapel of the school has been closed, but in each
room from the corner still hangs the Ikon and at the heads of many of
the girls' beds there are still small pictures of the Virgin, much to
the disgust of the representatives of the Soviet Government, who in
many cases are Jewish, and in practically all cases have renounced any
religious connection. Recently the Soviet Party has announced the fact
that they as a party are not hostile to any religion, but intend to
remain neutral on the subject. The attitude of the commissars
apparently is that required religious observances should not be
permitted in public institutions, and doubtless some of the inspectors
have gone further than was necessary in prohibiting any symbol of the
religion which probably most of the children still nominally adhere

The second institution I visited, which had been taken over from the
old government, was an orphan asylum with some 600 children mostly
under 10. It was frightfully crowded, in many places rather dirty,
with frequently bad odors from unclean toilets. In one little room
some 20 small boys were sleeping and eating, and I found one child of
2 who was not able to walk and was eating in the bed in which he

Ventilation was bad, linen not very clean, a general feeling of
repression present, slovenly employees, and, in general, an atmosphere
of inefficiency and failure to develop a home spirit which one still
finds in some of the worst institutions in America. The instructor who
showed me this home realized its horrors, and said that the Government
intended to move the children into more adequate quarters as soon as
conditions permitted. In summer the children are all taken to the
country. In this institution all the older children go out to public
schools and there have been no cases of smallpox or typhus in spite of
the epidemics the city has had this winter. Forty children were in the
hospital with minor complaints. About 10 per cent of the children are
usually ill.

The school for feeble-minded occupies a large apartment house and the
children are divided into groups of 10 under the direction of two
teachers, each group developing home life in one of the large
apartments. There is emphasis on handwork. Printing presses, a
bookbinding establishment, and woodworking tools are provided. Music
and art appreciation are given much time, and some of the work done is
very beautiful. This school is largely the result of the efforts of
the Soviet Government. Careful records are kept of the children and
simple test material has been devised to develop in the more backward
children elementary reactions regarding size, shape, form, and color.
The greatest difficulty is the impossibility of securing trained
workers either for the shops or for the special pedagogical problems
of the school. However, an energetic corps of young men and young
women are employed, and they are conscious of the size of their
problem and are already thinking of the difficulties of sending their
students back into industrial life. In many of the activities of the
Soviet Government, as well as in these institutions taken over from
the old regime, I was dismayed at the inefficiency and ignorance of
many of the subordinates. After talking to the leaders and getting
some understanding of their ideals, an American expects to see these
carried over into practice. One is liable to forget that the Russian
people have not greatly changed, and that the same easy-going,
inefficient attitude of decades of the previous regime still exists.
No one knows this obstacle better than the members of the present
regime. They realize that the character of the Russian people is their
greatest obstacle, and change in the Russian conception of Government
service is a slow process. Far from being discouraged, they point to
their accomplishments with pride.

During the last nine months Madame Lelina has taken 30,000 children
into Government homes and preparations are made to take 10,000 more
during the next three months. The three new institutions which I
visited are attractive suburban homes of wealthy emigres. The
Government has taken these over and is putting groups of 40 children
in charge of specially selected and trained men and women. The older
children go out to school. For the younger children kindergarten
activities are provided and much time is spent out of doors. An
atmosphere of home life has been developed which is surprising
considering the short time the institutions have been organized and
the difficulties they have had to contend with. This plan, which I am
told is permanent, is a most encouraging feature of Madame Lelina's

Requests to have children placed in the Government institutions are
turned over to a special corps of investigators. In each house there
is what is known as a poor committee which must also approve the
requests and the local soviet is required to pass upon the commitment
of the child to an institution. The large number of children taken
over by the city is due to the number of orphans and half orphans
caused by the war and to the impossibility of many poor families
providing their children with food during the recent famine. In cases
where several children of a family are taken they are placed in the
same home. Frequent opportunities for relatives to visit the homes are
provided. The amount of sickness has been surprisingly low considering
the great amount of disease in Petrograd during the last few months.
In one group of 300 children there have been no deaths within the past
nine months, and among all the children there have been very few cases
of contagious diseases.

The difficulties which Madame Lelina faces are numerous. First, Russia
has never had an adequate number of trained workers and many of those
who were trained have refused to cooperate with the present regime,
and, secondly, though the Soviet Government has adopted the policy of
turning over to the children's homes and the schools an adequate
supply of food, regardless of the suffering of the adult population,
still it has been impossible to get certain items of diet, as, for
instance, milk. It is true, however, that among these children one
sees few signs of undernourishment or famine, and in general
throughout the city the children seem much better nourished than the
adult population.

I had planned to visit other institutions but was unable to do so. I
was told of a large palace which has been taken over as a home for
mothers. Here all women who so desire are sent after childbirth with
their children for a period of two months.

The health department, which asserts that there are in addition to the
100,000 bedridden people in the city, another 100,000 who are ill
because of undernourishment though able to go to the food kitchens,
has been very successful in securing from the local soviets special
food supplies to be provided sick persons on doctors' orders. At each
food kitchen the board of health has a representative whose business
it is to give such special diet as may be possible to undernourished

(Thereupon, at 12.50 o'clock p.m., the committee adjourned subject to
the call of the chairman.)


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