Skip to main content

Rear Admiral Newton A. McCully, Special Agent in Southern Russia, Department of State, and Senior Naval Officer Present, Odessa, to Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby


[Received February 12, 1920-1:41 a.m.] 

     113. Following from McCully [, Novorossiisk?]:

     “8. Odessa is in hands of Bolsheviks. Calculated over 10,000 refugees are on board vessels in harbor. The Crimea may fall at any moment and there will also be a large number of wretched, harassed refugees from Bolshevik occupation. Following message received from General Denikin|2| dated February 8, 2 p.m.

     [‘]Fighting on Odessa and Crimea front goes on against heavy odds. Both are full of refugee, sick, wounded and families of officers. Scarcely any ships available and no coal. If military operations unsuccessful above are in greatest danger, even death threatens them. Morale fighting men weakened by worries about families in rear.

     I appeal to humanity of your people and request your Government if they cannot obtain for us ships and coal for evacuating from Odessa and possibly Crimea. This is urgent and such help will never be forgotten and help us fight and without wavering. Denikin.’

     Urgent necessity for with all force possible [sic] that duty to humanity require us to help these unhappy people. McCully.”


Source Note: Printed, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1920, Volume III, 581.

Footnote 1: Anton I. Denikin. Formerly a Lieutenant General in the Imperial Russian Army, Denikin became the leader of the anti-Bolshevik Volunteer Army, aligned with the Tsarist White Russians (Mensheviks) during the Russian Civil War (1917-1922). Denikin’s forces campaigned in southern Russia throughout 1918-1920, seizing control of territory throughout the Black Sea region until they were stopped 26 miles south of Moscow and forced into constant retreat by the Red and Black Armies. Denikin was eventually forced into exile in April 1920.