William S. Graves to Peter C. Harris


William S. Graves to Peter C. Harris


Graves, William Sidney, 1865-1940




1918 October 31


Report on Japanese troop movements in Siberia.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


World War, 1914-1918--United States
World War, 1914-1918--Japan
Soviet Union--History--Revolution, 1917-1921


Danna Faulds




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



From: The Commanding General.

To: The Adjutant General of the Army.

Subject: Movement of Japanese troops.

I inclose tabulated statement received from Colonel Emerson, Russian Railway Service Corps, as to movements of Japanese troops through Harbin. I put more dependence in this information than any I have received. This does not include the 12th Division, which is in the eastern part of Siberia, and I think this establishes very clearly the fact that the Japanese have 60,000 men along the railway from Lake Baikal, east.

The situation in this country is not such as to make it necessary to keep many soldiers in Siberia. For some reason unknown to me, the Japanese commanders try to make it appear that the conditions make it necessary to station large numbers of troops in the various towns. I am absolutely convinced that fifty soldiers would be perfectly safe in any town occupied by Japanese troops, and in the great majority of them I would not hesitate to put half a dozen men.

As I see the situation, troops are doing very little good in Siberia. The fact that they are kept in eastern Siberia causes dissatisfaction amongst all the people who are desirous of establishing an eastern front, and criticism is constantly heard along this line.

2. Eastern Siberia is filled with politicos who have had more or less influence with past Russian governments. Nearly all pretend to think that the salvation of Russia depends upon their recognition and turning the country and property over to them or to the particular man or men with whom they are associated. To establish a stable government in a country where people have very little love of country, but are always pretending to be the most patriotic people in the world, appears to me now to require a long time.

The Russian military officers claim to have large numbers of Russian troops gathered in western Siberia. They are clamoring for funds, arms and material to equip these troops, so they can engage in the war against Germany. My information received indicates that, even if they had a government recognized by the Allied governments, it would be doubtful wisdom to go to any expense in arming and equipping them. I felt when I first came, and for a time afterwards, that there was quite a military asset in the old Russian officer. I am beginning to doubt this. Apparently the disgraceful experience through which they have passed has not been sufficient to sober them down.

To accomplish anything with the Russian citizen called to arms now will require the greatest efforts on the part of the most conscientious officers.

I hope soon to receive further reports as to whether these so-called Russian troops are really desirous of accomplishing something, or if it is another scheme of a make-believe army. Such reports will be forwarded as promptly as possible, as I am sure an effort is to be made to get the United States to finance such a force.

(signed) Wm. S. GRAVES,
Major General, Commanding.

1 Incl.

Original Format



McCain, H. P. (Henry Pinckney), 1861-1941





Graves, William Sidney, 1865-1940, “William S. Graves to Peter C. Harris,” 1918 October 31, WWP25370, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.