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Mr. Welsh had left Russia in September, 1918: Conditions then were terrible. "The pro-Bolsheviki in America who left "Russia a year or more ago simply do "not know what they are talking about," he declared. An Englishman whom Mr. Welsh met in Petrograd was in that city as late as October, when an order was issued calling for the execution of 1,000 bourgeois for every Bolshevik who met death at the hands of the opposition. In one instance 150 innocent people who had been held as hostages were slaughtered each night for ten nights in succession. These executions were so open that the Bolshevist papers even printed the names of great numbers of the victims.
The brutalities of the Bolsheviki, continued Mr. Welsh, were so incredible that no language could do justice to them. A woman of noble birth, who had been employed by the National City Bank, was subjected to every kind of brutality. The witness continued:
This woman, one of the most gentle I have even known, told me in September as I was leaving Petrograd that twentythree of her women friends had committed suicide as a result of Bolshevist terrorism. It all happened, she said, in a few weeks, and she herself was only restrained because of her little child. The whole thing, Senators, is so brutal that it is impossible to even begin telling the truth of it.
Regarding the violation of individual property rights Mr. Welsh declared that outside the State Bank, which the Bolsheviki control, stand official "spotters," who point out to recognized highwaymen lurking near all cashers of checks. These "official " thieves follow the designated victim in automobiles, fall on him, and rob him of all the money he has just received.
AN ANONYMOUS WITNESS
On Feb. 16 Major Lowry Humes, counsel for the Senate Committee, gave out certain testimony presented in closed session by an American who is the operating head of one of the largest manufacturing plants in Russia. The name of the witness and the identity of the plant were withheld in order to protect more than 2,000 workmen who have
remained loyal to their employers despite the threats of the Bolsheviki.
The witness stated that he had lived in Russia for nearly fifteen years. For some reason the factory which he operated had not been shut down by the Soviet Government. One of the reasons for this immunity was undoubtedly the fact that it manufactured products needed by the Bolsheviki themselves.
The witness stated emphatically that the Russian factory workmen in general are not Bolsheviki. "I have heard and read," said the witness, "the statement "that Russia is a workmen's Govem"ment and all that sort of thing. In "my estimation that is absolutely false. "I was always with the workmen, and "the workingmen in Russia, in the fac"tories, are not Bolsheviki, although "they do not dare to say they are some"thing else."
The worst element, he said, has come to the top. They are supporting the Government, being paid large sums of money and given the privilege of loot. No one dares question any of the actions of the Red Guard. The Government, he asserted, is made up of the riffraff of the industrial and peasant world. Most of these people came from abroad after the revolution. Their salaries are low, "but they are getting rich on the side, and lots of them are making fortunes."
At first the workmen went with the Bolsheviki. Since the Bolshevist revoltion of Nov. 1, 1917, however, they have become anti-Bolshevist, but have been kept silent by terrorism. Those who expressed contrary views were executed. Disappearance invariably meant execution. The Singer factory, said the witness, was forcibly seized and shut down. The workmen scattered to secure food and loot. In the case of another factory, the Government spent 60,000,000 rubles to produce in three months' time 400,000 rubles' worth of goods.
Enormous taxes levied by the Soviet Government on the factory operated by the witness were resisted by the operators, supported by the Workmen's Committee, and left unpaid. One tax amounted to 900,000 rubles. The taxes levied on the factory as a whole totaled four and a half million rubles. The witness showed the Bolshevist system of elections to be the merest farce. One anti-Bolshevist Soviet was rounded up by the Bolsheviki, and shot. Only a few escaped. The Bolsheviki then went the rounds of the village, picking out sympathizers. One man chosen was a notorious drunkard, and "never owned, you "might say, the shirt on his back; just "a thug. He was one of the representa"tives. He was called in and told, ' You "are elected.' That is the way they "carried on the elections there, and I "think you will find that that story is "typical of how they elect their Soviets "all over Russia."
MRS. REED'S TESTIMONY On Feb. 22 a new phase of the investigation of the Overman Committee, destined to bring out the identity of various persons who are operating in the United States as official or semi-official agents of the Lenine-Trotzky Government, began with the examination of Mrs. John Reed, who writes under the name of Louise Bryant, and who was in Russia during the first ten weeks of the Bolshevist regime.
Mrs. Reed strove to defend Bolshevism. For the most part, she branded as untrue the statements of all previous witnesses. She said she went to Russia as the representative of The Philadelphia Public Ledger and various magazines. Her husband, John Reed, Albert Rhys Williams, and Boris Reinstein of Buffalo, now Lenine's eecretary, were all members, she said, of the Bolshevist Propaganda Bureau in Petrograd in the early days of the Lenine-Trotzky regime. Her husband, she stated further, had acted for Colonel Raymond Robins of the American Red Cross, to assist the Soviets in sending propaganda into Germany.
Mrs. Reed declared that the decree of the Soviet Government of the town of Saratov, which "nationalized" women, had never been indorsed by the Bolsheviki. She admitted that the decree was issued long after her departure from Russia, and further admitted that the official Bolshevist Government organ printed the decree issued by the Soviet Council of Vladimir, which imposed de
grading regulations1 for the control of women. "But," she insisted, "the Bol"sheviki explained that they did not "stand for the decree of Vladimir."
This witness declared that she had never witnessed any murders or robberies in Petrograd or Moscow; had seen no people starving in the streets; She declared further that anti-Bolshevist papers published during her stay in Russia were not suppressed. She denied, in general, that chaos reigned in Russia. She admitted, on questioning, that all opposed to the Bolsheviki were considered and treated as traitors, and that temporarily the Bolshevist rule was that of a dictatorship.
In her concluding testimony, presented at the session of Feb. 21, Mrs. Reed referred to the so-called "Sisson documents " as " an example of a clever piece of forgery," which had been given to Mr. SiSson by Colonel Raymond Robins as such. A protest made by her to George Creel, she declared, had elicited from him, in a letter of response, the admission that some of these documents might possibly be fakes. Mr. Creel, she added, had also said that the Administration was behind the documents, and that he believed that most, if not all of them, were accurate records of the GermanBolshevist activities.
Regarding the "nationalization" of women, Mrs. Reed quoted Jerome Davis of the Y. M. C. A. to refute this charge. The Anarchist Club in the Kronstadt Soviet that published the Saratov decree, she asserted, had been suppressed. Passages read by Major Humes from an official report of Mr. Davis to the American Government, describing the suppression of all anti-Bolshevistic papers, were explained by the witness as presumably referring to the "transitory" period.
JOHN REED'S STATEMENT John Reed, the husband of the preceding witness, was next called. He stated that he had been attached to the International Bureau of Propaganda, a department of the Soviet Foreign Office. Two million rubles, he stated, had been appropriated for this international propaganda work. Five propaganda newspapers, in German, Hungarian, Bohemian, Rumanian, and Turkish, were published daily. Asked about atrocities, Mr. Reed was unable to remember any that had occurred under the Bolsheviki during his sojourn in Russia. He had seen people who were hungry, he said, but no real starvation.
ALBERT RHYS WILLIAMS
The testimony of Albert Rhys Williams was given before the committee at the sessions of Feb. 22 and 24, Mr. Williams, a former Congregatiofialist clergyman educated in America, England, and Germany, painted the Russian agitators as men who abhor murder and theft, as sincere idealists seeking to erect a Governmental Utopia in Eastern Europe and Siberia. Speaking of the Bolsheviki as they are described in this country, the witness continued:
I want to say that there is no Bolshevist Government in Russia. In Russia it Is a Soviet Government, which has in it all parties, that governs. In every Soviet you will find that four out of five of the members are young men, generally under 35 years of age, men who are enthusiasts and who are absolutely sincere. Most of the opponents of the Government are old men, above the age of 70 years. The Bolsheviki have a sublime faith in the people, and I think they have a deep love for the people. One of them told me that he had mere joy in three months under Bolshevist rule than fifty other men could possibly have In an ordinary lifetime.
Mr. Williams also informed the Senate that he had seen no slaughters, though he admitted that some 45,000 people may have been killed in Russia up to the time he left. As to the tales of anarchy and looting, it was understandable, he intimated, that great numbers of those who had suffered in the war and under the old regime "do not now look with any "great affection on those they consider "as having been among the supporters "of their life-long oppressors." With regard to starvation, the blame for this, he declared, should fall on the Allies, who have cut off from European Russia the food supply of the great Siberian granaries. Trotzky, said Mr. Williams, was an honest, incorruptible man.
In concluding his testimony on Feb. 24 before the committee Mr. Williams admitted that all the witnesses who had
testified previously regarding conditions in Russia, and whose evidence conflicted with his, had left Russia from five to seven months subsequent to his own departure.
Mr. Williams said that the "freelove" policy had been adopted only by isolated Soviets, and that the Central Bolshevist Government would not tolerate such "nationalization" of women.
"Is it your contention," asked Major Humes, "that in Russia at this time each Soviet, and you say there are thousands of them, is in its own sphere of jurisdiction supreme, and that each can make such laws as it sees fit without regard to any of the other governing authorities?"
"No, that is not the case. I admit that there have been disagreements between the Soviets, but that was inevitable in a crisis such as Russia has been passing through."
"Well, then, has the Central Soviet, as you call it, become a strong centralized Government—in other words, a dictatorship?"
"That can be answered yes or no, categorically. I believe the Soviet is the form of government that the Russian in his heart most desires. Even Lloyd George has said it may be ruthless, but he also says 'you have to admit that it Is efficient.'"
Mr. Williams concluded his testimony by estimating that about 100,000 former residents of the United States are now in Russia, and that probably 25,000 of these hold public office of some sort. Discussing, lastly, the subject of graft, he declared that 40 per cent, of men executed in Moscow were former Bolshevist officials who had been convicted of this offense.
MISS BEATTVS TESTIMONY
The Senate Committee continued its hearings on March 5 with an examination of Miss Bessie Beatty, a member of the family of which Admiral Sir David Beatty is the most famous member. Miss Beatty, who was called at the request of Bolshevist apologists in this country and who gave her occupation as editor of McCalFs Magazine, admitted frankly that she had no first-hand knowledge of conditions in Russia at the present time.
In answer to questions by Major Humes, Miss Beatty said that she was in Russia from June, 1917, until the latter part of January, 1918. She had visited Petrograd, Moscow, and other cities; she had known Trotzky and Lenine personally, and for about two weeks she had barracked with the Russian Women's Regiment that was known as the Battalion of Death. Miss Beatty stated that she did not believe that the Soviet Government had attempted to nationalize women. She had been at the Smolny Institute, she said, when the marriage decree was debated; by this decree couples who wished to be married went before the Marriage Commission; a divorce could be obtained by merely appearing before this commission and announcing that the marriage relation was no longer desired.
She disclaimed any intention to defend Bolshevism, but said that she thought that the Russians should be allowed to work out their problems without outside interference. Senator Nelson asked her what exactly the Bolsheviki were attempting to do.
"Their program," she said, "Is for the socialization of land and industry and the promotion of peace. That is their plan in a nutshell. Their idea is to take the earning power out of money. Money they consider stored capital. In other words, in Russia the rule is that a person cannot use his money to make more money. He can spend it any way he wants, but he can't put it to earn more money. For instance, he cannot loan it out at interest."
"That is. if a man has a friend who needs money to equip his farm that man
cannot loan his friend the money needed for that legitimate purpose?"
"No, as I understand it, he cannot loan the money to him. The plan in Russia Is to bring everybody to the same level. That is, lower the upper 10 per cent, and raise the lower 90 per cent, of the population."
Another witness called was Frank Keadie, a London tea expert, who went to Russia in 1916 and left there in October, 1918. He was the most outspoken defender of the Lenine-Trotzky regime who had yet appeared before the committee. He had been in Petrograd and Moscow in January and February, 1918, and after that in Omsk; he had also visited some forty villages, and considered himself qualified to express the viewpoint of the peasant farmers. The agricultural policy of the Bolsheviki, he stated, was, in his opinion, a success. The witness denounced the Allies for sending troops to Russia, and continued as follows:
I regard Russia as the one creative experiment that has developed out of this war. They are trying to create a new social order. It is an experiment and may fail, but let us get the truth. The Allies have made a steel ring around the Bolsheviki with the Czechoslovaks, the Americans, the British, the Japanese, and the French. • • • The Russian people should be permitted to settle their own affairs. America has a Monroe Doctrine and why should not Russia also have a Monroe Doctrine against the intervention of outsiders in her affairs?
The evidence of Colonel Raymond Robins, who was the next to testify, follows under a separate heading.
Evidence of Colonel Raymond Robins
COLONEL RAYMOND ROBINS, who was head of the American Red Cross Mission sent to Russia immediately after the overthrow of the Czar, and who remained in Russia in that capacity until June, 1918, appeared before the Senate Committee on March 6. Every pro-Bolshevist witness who had come before the committee had asked that Colonel Robins be called to tell the truth, as they said, about conditions in Russia under Trotzky and
Lenine. These witnesses had pictured Colonel Robins as a defender of the Bolsheviki and as the one man in all America who was absolutely trusted by Lenine and the other leaders of the Soviet Government.
Colonel Robins did say some kind words for the Bolsheviki, but he denounced the movement as a menace to the whole world, and said that any man who agitated for the overthrow of the Government of the United States should be arrested, tried, and jailed. Lenine himself had told him, Colonel Robins said, that one of the ambitions of the Bolsheviki was the overthrow of the American form of government and the substitution for it of the rule of the proletariat along lines such as prevail in Russia.
A large part of the evidence given by Colonel Robins took the form of a narrative of his personal experiences and activities in Russia after the March (1917) revolution. Assigned to take charge of food supply and the caring for refugees, Colonel Robins came into personal contact with Kerensky, General Korniloff, and, later, Lenine and Trotzky. Under Kerensky extensive plans to solve the food question were made. A banker and shipowner of peasant origin named Battalin was to have been appointed by Kerensky to work with an American assistant, in conjunction with Mr. Hoover, but Battalin was never appointed, and the whole project fell through. With the slaying of Korniloff, said Colonel Robins, Kerensky had absolutely nothing to do. As to the rise of the Bolsheviki, the witness stated that the army was deliberately disorganized by two groups of agitators, one of German origin, the other composed of the Bolsheviki. Another cause of disintegration, thought the witness, was the unexpected effect of the allied propaganda. Exaggerated statements of accomplishment made the soldiers say, "If things are going so well, we will go home."
To combat this evil effect of the allied propaganda Colonel Robins worked shoulder to shoulder with his commanding officer in Russia, Colonel William B. Thompson, who contributed $1,000,000 out of his own pocket to send literature into the peasant villages, drilling home the German peril and the truth of America's friendship for the Russian people in their hour of need.
Eight hundred Russian propagandists for this work were taken on. More money being needed, an appeal was sent to the Washington Government; its reply was to turn the matter over to the Committee on Public Information, which sent Edgar Sisson to Russia for investigation. Regarding the much-disputed
Sisson documents, Colonel Robins declined to commit himself at the present time.
RELATIONS WITH LENINE
All efforts made by Colonel Robins and Colonel Thompson, in conference with the allied representatives, to bridge the differences between the Kerensky Government and the Soviet having proved unavailing, the Bolsheviki gained control. Undeterred by previous speeches he had made denouncing Bolshevism, Colonel Robins went to see Trotzky to find out what he could do to aid the Allies and to protect the supplies at hand. He told Trotzky frankly, he stated, that he was opposed to his program as far as he knew it, and that he came to see him only because he was in power; he then exposed the object of his visit, with the result that the food supplies in question went through to their destination intact. The witness continued:
I saw Lenine several times during this period. Trotzky and Lenine both admitted that their program was worldwide, and that some day they expected to gain control of America. However, Russia was in a bad way for economic leadership and they were willing to let us help. They told me If the United States would send these economic experts to help out that we. the United States, would get ahead of Germany, and in the meantime they added, " We will be able to feed Russia." Bread was the only thing they feared. (There was Germany with economic mind, there was Mirbach head of their economic machine, and the United States was the only nation then in a position to frustrate the German plans. Trotzky said to me:
"Tou are Interested in Russia not shipping raw materials into Germany." "Yes."
"Well, then," he replied, "you can use your allied office to enforce the embargo which is still in effect against Germany." I told him I did not understand him. I was suspicious. He replied that Russia needed manufactured materials and we alone could supply them. It was purely a selfish proposition on his part and to get what he needed he was willing to concede control of the embargo.
"Germany," Trotzky continued, "Is going to have a conference with us at Brest-Litovsk. We shall prolong that conference and use the time to stir up trouble in Germany and thereby force a peace of no indemnities and no annexations. And after we finish with Ger