William C. Bullitt.

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because I had appended to my note my letter to the President. We then
discussed various other matters in connection with the treaty.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you through?

Senator KNOX. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bullitt, you put into the record or read here, I
think, some extracts from the minutes of the Council of Ten?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Were you present at any of these meetings?

Mr. BULLITT. I was not, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. The Council of Ten was the first body that was dealing
with the treaty generally, the important body? It was not a special

Mr. BULLITT. No, sir. It was the main body of the conference.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes; it was the main body, and was the one that
subsequently became the Council of Five, and then the Council of Four,
and I think at one time a Council of Three?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, now, there were records of these meetings, were
there not?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you know what disposition was made of those records?

Mr. BULLITT. Mr. Chairman, there were a number of copies for each
delegation, and I presume that there must be a number of copies in
this country at the present time; perhaps not.

The CHAIRMAN. You say each delegate had a copy?

Mr. BULLITT. Each plenipotentiary had a copy, and the Secretary of the
American Commission had a copy, I believe, and the assistant
secretaries had copies; certainly one of the assistant secretaries,
Mr. Leland Harrison; and Mr. Grew had a copy.

The CHAIRMAN. Did Mr. Lansing have copies while he served on the
Council of Ten?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir; well, I am quite sure that he did. I am sure
that I have seen copies on the desk of the Secretary.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, they were furnished regularly to every member of
the conference?


The CHAIRMAN. We have found some difficulty in getting them; that is
the reason I asked.

Senator KNOX. I am informed - perhaps Mr. Bullitt can tell us - that
there is a complete set of minutes in the hands of some individual in
this country. Do you know anything about that - perhaps Auchincloss &

Mr. BULLITT. I could not be certain in regard to the matter, but I
should certainly be under the impression that Mr. Auchincloss and Mr.
Miller have copies of the minutes; perhaps not. Perhaps Mr.
Auchincloss has left his with Col. House. He would have Col. House's
copies. Perhaps they are in this country, perhaps not. But Mr.
Auchincloss and Mr. Miller perhaps have those minutes in their files.

The CHAIRMAN. Undoubtedly there are a number, at least, of those
records in existence.

Mr. BULLITT. Certainly, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. That must be the case.

Mr. BULLITT. Certainly, sir. Also records of the meetings of the
American Commission.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Do you know whether or not they are in the State
Department - any of these minutes or records in our State Department?

Mr. BULLITT. I should presume that in the normal course of events they
would be certainly among Mr. Lansing's papers, which were very
carefully kept. He had an excellent secretariat.

The CHAIRMAN. Did any member of our delegation, any member of the
council of 10, express to you any opinions about the general character
of this treaty?

Mr. BULLITT. Well, Mr. Lansing, Col. House, Gen. Bliss, and Mr. White
had all expressed to me very vigorously their opinions on the subject.

The CHAIRMAN. Were they enthusiastically in favor of it?

Mr. BULLITT. I regret to say, not.

As I say, the only documents of the sort that I have are the memoranda
of the discussions that I had after I resigned, when we thrashed over
the whole ground.

The CHAIRMAN. Those memoranda of consultations that you had after you
resigned you prefer not to publish? I am not asking you to do so.

Mr. BULLITT. I think it would be out of the way.

The CHAIRMAN. I quite understand your position. I only wanted to
know - I thought it might be proper for you to say whether or not their
opinions which you heard them express were favorable to the series of
arrangements, I would call them, that were made for the consideration
of this treaty.

Mr. BULLITT. It is no secret that Mr. Lansing, Gen. Bliss, and Mr.
Henry White objected very vigorously to the numerous provisions of the

The CHAIRMAN. It is known that they objected to Shantung. That, I
think, is public information. I do not know that it is public
information that they objected to anything else.

Mr. BULLITT. I do not think that Secretary Lansing is at all
enthusiastic about the league of nations as it stands at present. I
have a note of a conversation with him on the subject, which, if I
may, I will just read, without going into the rest of that
conversation, because it bears directly on the issue involved.

This was a conversation with the Secretary of State at 2.30 on May 19.
The Secretary sent for me. It was a long conversation, and Mr. Lansing
in the course of it said:

Mr. Lansing then said that he personally would have strengthened
greatly the judicial clauses of the league of nations covenant, making
arbitration compulsory. He also said that he was absolutely opposed to
the United States taking a mandate in either Armenia or
Constantinople; that he thought that Constantinople should be placed
under a local government, the chief members of which were appointed by
an international committee.

This is a matter, it seems to me, of some importance in regard to the
whole discussion, and therefore I feel at liberty to read it, as it is
not a personal matter.

The CHAIRMAN. This is a note of the conversation made at the time?

Mr. BULLITT. This is a note which I immediately dictated after the
conversation. [Reading:]

Mr. Lansing then said that he, too, considered many parts of
the treaty thoroughly bad, particularly those dealing with
Shantung and the league of nations. He said: "I consider
that the league of nations at present is entirely useless.
The great powers have simply gone ahead and arranged the
world to suit themselves. England and France in particular
have gotten out of the treaty everything that they wanted,
and the league of nations can do nothing to alter any of the
unjust clauses of the treaty except by unanimous consent of
the members of the league, and the great powers will never
give their consent to changes in the interests of weaker

We then talked about the possibility of ratification by the Senate.
Mr. Lansing said: "I believe that if the Senate could only understand
what this treaty means, and if the American people could really
understand, it would unquestionably be defeated, but I wonder if they
will ever understand what it lets them in for." He expressed the
opinion that Mr. Knox would probably really understand the treaty -
[Laughter.] May I reread it?

He expressed the opinion that Mr. Knox would probably really
understand the treaty, and that Mr. Lodge would; but that Mr. Lodge's
position would become purely political, and therefore ineffective.


The CHAIRMAN. I do not mind.

Mr. BULLITT (reading):

He thought, however, that Mr. Knox might instruct America in the real
meaning of it.


The CHAIRMAN. He has made some very valuable efforts in the direction.

Mr. BULLITT. I beg to be excused from reading any
more of these conversations.

Senator BRANDEGEE. We get the drift.


I want to ask one or two questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Did you read any of these minutes of the meetings
of the American commission?

Mr. BULLITT. Of the American commission itself?

Senator BRANDEGEE. Yes.

Mr. BULLITT. No, sir. I have on one or two occasions glanced at them
but I never have read them carefully.

Senator BRANDEGEE. They were accessible to you at the time, were they?

Mr. BULLITT. They were, sir.

Senator BRANDEGEE. You stated, if I recall your testimony correctly,
that when the proposition was made that the legislative bodies of the
contracting parties should have representation in the assembly, the
President objected to that?

Mr. BULLITT. The President - if I may explain again - approved in
principle, but said that he did not see how the thing could be worked
out, and he felt that the assembly of delegates, or whatever it is
called in the present draft, gave sufficient representation to the
peoples of the various countries.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Do you know what his objection was to the
legislative bodies of the contracting parties having representation on
the assembly?

Mr. BULLITT. The President believed, I think - in fact, it was so
stated to me by Col. House, who discussed the matter with me - that it
would make too unwieldy a central organ for the league.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Do you understand why it would be any more unwieldy
if Congress should appoint the delegates than if the President should?

Mr. BULLITT. It would necessitate a larger central body if
representation was to be given to the important political parties of
the various countries. It would have necessitated a body of, say, 10
representatives from the United States - 5 from the Republican party
and 5 from the; Democratic Party, in the assembly of the league, which
would become a large body.

Senator BRANDEGEE. The idea was that the political parties of the
country should be represented?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, the political viewpoints should be represented so
that you would get some connection between the central assembly of the
league and the true opinion of the countries.

Senator BRANDEGEE. When you went across to Paris on the _George
Washington_ with the President do you know whether he had with him at
that time any draft for a league of nations or any memorandum that he
showed to you of discussed with you?

Mr. BULLITT. The President outlined to several of us one evening, or
rather one afternoon, the conception he had at the time of the league
of nations. I did not see any formal draft that he had, but the
President made a statement before the council of 10, in one of these
minutes from which I have been reading, stating that he had first - and
in fact I think I know it from other sources - that he had first
received the Phillimore report, that then it had been rewritten by
Col. House and that he had rewritten Col. House's report, and after he
had discussed his rewriting with Robert Cecil and Gen. Smuts, he had
rewritten it again.

Senator BRANDEGEE. You stated substantially that the only part of the
league draft which was laid before the Peace Conference which the
President had his way about, was Article 10. Did you make some such
statement as that?

Mr. BULLITT. Yes, sir.

Senator BRANDEGEE. The President stated to us that that was
practically what he had submitted to the Niagara conference here when
the ABC powers from South America were discussing the Mexican
question. He had then considered it as an article for American use on
this continent.

Do you know what the attitude of Gen Smuts was as to article 10 as
proposed by the President?

Mr. BULLITT. I do not, sir. Again, full minutes of the discussions and
conclusions reached of all these meetings of the committee on the
league of nations were kept.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Did you read the various other plans that were
proposed or suggested over there for a league of nations?

Mr. BULLITT. I have read some of them, sir.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Did the others have anything similar to what is now
article 10 in the treaty pending in the Senate?

Mr. BULLITT. I really can not say. I am sorry, but I have forgotten. I
should not care to testify on that.

Senator BRANDEGEE. Do you know from what you heard while you were
there in your official capacity whether the other nations were anxious
to have article 10 in the covenant for the league?

Mr. BULLITT. The French were not only anxious for it, but I believe
were anxious greatly to strengthen it. They desired immediately a
league army to be established, and I believe also to be stationed in
Alsace-Lorraine and along the Rhine, in addition to article 10. I can
not say for certain about the others.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bullitt, we had before us at one of our hearings a
representative of the Egyptian people. Do you know anything about
that, when it was done, or any discussions about it? I mean the
clauses that appear in regard to the British protectorate.

Mr. BULLITT. You mean our agreement to recognize the British
protectorate in Egypt?

The CHAIRMAN. It was recognized by this treaty in those clauses.

Mr. BULLITT. Yes; but we gave a sort of assent before the treaty
formally came out, did we not? I recall the morning it was done. It
was handled by Sir William Wiseman, who was the confidential
representative that Lloyd George and Balfour had constantly with Col.
House and the President. He was a sort of extra confidential foreign
office. It was all done, if I recall his statement correctly, in the
course of one morning. The President was informed that the Egyptian
nationalists were using his 14 points as meaning that the President
thought that Egypt should have the right to control her own destinies,
and therefore have independence, and that they were using this to
foment revolution; that since the President had provoked this trouble
by the 14 points, they thought that he should allay it by the
statement that we would recognize the British protectorate, and as I
remember Sir William Wiseman's statement to me that morning, he said
that he had only brought up the matter that morning and that he had
got our recognition of the British protectorate before luncheon.

The CHAIRMAN. The President made some public statement?

Mr. BULLITT. I am not certain in regard to the further developments of
it. I recall that incident, that it was arranged through Sir William
Wiseman, and that it took only a few minutes.

Senator KNOX. That was a good deal of time to devote to a little
country like Egypt.

Mr. BULLITT. I do not know. You should know, sir, you have been
Secretary of State.

Senator KNOX. We never chewed them up that fast.

Senator NEW. Mr. Bullitt, what, if anything, was said with reference
to the Irish question, with which you are familiar?

Mr. BULLITT. At the conference? I do not believe the Irish question
was ever brought up before the conference or discussed. There was
considerable said on the side, attempts to let down the Walsh mission
easily without antagonizing the Irish vote in this country.
[Laughter.] I think that is the only consideration that Ireland

Senator NEW. There was a cheerful willingness to do that, was there

Mr. BULLITT. I think so.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything further that anybody desires to ask
Mr. Bullitt? We are very much obliged to you indeed, Mr. Bullitt.

Mr. BULLITT. Mr. Chairman, if I may just say - I do not know whether it
is a matter of first interest to the Senators or not - but on this trip
with me to Russia there was Capt. Pettit, and at the same time the
journalist, Lincoln Steffens, and I have documents which they prepared
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
interested - imaginatively.

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

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Online LibraryWilliam C. BullittThe Bullitt Mission to Russia → online text (page 8 of 11)