Statement for the Press in re American-Japanese Action in Siberia.


Statement for the Press in re American-Japanese Action in Siberia.


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




1918 August 3


American involvement in the conflict in Siberia.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


Soviet Union--History--Revolution, 1917-1921
World War, 1914-1918--Russia
Soviet Union--History--Allied intervention, 1918-1920


Danna Faulds




Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


In the judgment of the Government of the United States, -- a judgment arrived at after repeated and very searching considerations of the whole situation in Russia, -- military intervention in Russia would be more likely to add to the present sad confusion there than to cure it; & would injure Russia rather than help her out of her distresses. Such military intervention as has been most frequently proposed, even supposing it to be efficacious in its immediate object of delivering an attack upon Germany from the east, would, in its judgment, be more likely to turn out to be merely a method of making use of Russia than a method of serving her. Her people, if they profitted by it at all, could not profit by it in time to deliver them from their present desperate difficulties and their substance would meantime be used to maintain foreign armies, not to reconstitute their own or to feed and sustain their men, women, and children.

As the Government of the United States sees the present circumstances, military action is admissible in Russia now only to help the Czecho-Slovaks to consolidate their forces and get into successful cooperation with their Slavic kinsmen and to steady any efforts at self-government or self-defense in which the Russians themselves may be willing to accept assistance. Whether from Vladivostock or from Murmansk and Archangel, the only present object for which American troops can be employed, is to guard military stores which may subsequently be needed by Russian forces and to render such aid as may be acceptable to the Russians in the organization of their own self-defense.

With such objects in view the Government of the United States is now cooperating with the governments of France and Great Britain in the neighbourhood of Murmansk and Archangel. The United States and Japan are the only powers which are just now in a position to act in Siberia in sufficient force to accomplish even these modest objects. The Government of the United States has, therefore, proposed to the Government of Japan that each of the two Governments send a force of a few thousand to Vladivostock, the two forces to be equal in number, with the purpose of cooperating as a single force in the occupation of Vladivostock and in safeguarding, so far as it may, the country to the rear of the westward-moving Czecho-Slovaks; and the Japanese Government has assented.

In taking this action the Government of the United States wishes to announce to the People of Russia in the most public and solemn manner that it contemplates no interference of any kind with the political sovereignty of Russia, any intervention in her internal affairs, -- not even in the local affairs of the limited areas which her military force may be obliged to occupy, -- and no impairment of her territorial integrity either now or hereafter; but that what we are about to do has as its single and only object the rendering of such aid as may be acceptable to the Russian people in their endeavour to regain control of their own affairs, their own territory, and their own destiny. The Japanese Government, it is understood, will issue a similar explicit assurance.

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

[Note: Sections of this memo are crossed out and there are shorthand notes in several places. A handwritten note on the last page reads [Originally in private file. Written by WW on his own typewriter; corrected in his handwriting; his shorthand, below]]

Original Format

Press statement




Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Statement for the Press in re American-Japanese Action in Siberia.,” 1918 August 3, WWP25090, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.