Testimony before Overman Committee
March 5, 1919 — Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, US Senate, Washington DC
Mr. [Edwin Lowry] Humes. Where do you live, Miss Beatty?
Miss Beatty. In New York; 132 East Nineteenth Street. I am from San Francisco originally.
Mr. Humes. How long have you resided in New York, and what is your business?
Miss Beatty. I am editor of McCall’s Magazine. I have resided in New York since August of last year.
Mr. Humes. It is my understanding that during the last few years you have spent some time in Russia. During what period of time were you in Russia?
Miss Beatty. I went. to Russia in the spring of 1917, leaving San Francisco on the 2d of April, and I came back in February.
Mr. Humes. That is February, 1918?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Mr. Humes. I assume that you mean that you arrived in this country in February?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Mr. Humes. When did you leave Russia?
Miss Beatty. I left on the 26th of January, immediately after the dissolution of the constituent assembly.
Senator [Lee Slater] Overman. You do not mean last January?
Miss Beatty. Yes; January, 1918.
Senator Overman. Immediately after what?
Miss Beatty. After the dissolution of the constituent assembly.
Mr. Humes. By what route did you leave Russia?
Miss Beatty. By way of Finland, and then through Sweden and Norway.
Mr. Humes. By what way did you enter Russia?
Miss Beatty. By Siberia.
Mr. Humes. By way of Vladivostok?
Miss Beatty. No; by Harbin, through Korea.
Mr. Humes. You were in Russia for eight months, then, practically?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Mr. Humes. When did you arrive, with reference to the March revolution of 1917? It was after that?
Miss Beatty. Yes; it was after that. I arrived early in June. I think it was the 3d or 4th of June that I reached Petrograd.
Mr. Humes. Then you were there only between six and seven months?
Miss Beatty. No; I was there eight months.
Mr. Humes. If you arrived early in June and left on the 22d of January —
Miss Beatty. I arrived during the first week of June and left the end of January. That is eight months, is it not? June, July, August, September, October, November, December. and January; eight months; yes.
Mr. Humes. Now, during your time in Russia. what localities did you visit?
Miss. Beatty. I lived in the war hotel in Petrograd. That was the Astoria, the military hotel. I kept my room there for eight months. I went across Siberia first of all; and then I went to Moscow and down the Volga River to Nijni Novgorod in the summer time. I spent two weeks on the Russian front, part of the time in the trenches with the regular Russian Army.
Senator Nelson. You say you went down the river to that place — what is it called?
Miss Beatty. No. I went to Dvinsk; to what they called the western front.
Senator Nelson. On the western front?
Miss Beatty. Yes. From there I went to Maladetschna, where the woman’s regiment was stationed, and was in barracks with them for nearly a week.
Mr. Humes. What was the situation in Russia when you arrived there? Economically, from the standpoint of government and from the standpoint of military rule, military control, the question or terrorism, disorder, what was the general situation?
Miss Beatty. The general situation was pretty bad. The country was, of course, economically broken down. It had been broken down by more than three years of war and the further breaking down that goes with revolution. I believe that 50 per cent of the rolling stock of the railroads was out of commission at the time of the March revolution, and, of course, that made things very bad. Kerensky was the head of the ministry, the premier, and there were daily clashes in the cabinet, with men resigning and new men coming in all the time.
From the military standpoint, the country was in a very bad way. The day I arrived they tried to have a patriotic demonstration for the purpose of keeping Russia in the war, but it was a total failure. The Russians had made up their minds that they were not going to fight, even as early as that.
Senator Sterling. Was this in Petrograd?
Miss Beatty. Yes; in Petrograd.
Senator Sterling. This demonstration?
Miss Beatty. Yes; just in front of the war hotel, where I stayed. This was the day I arrived.
Senator Sterling. This was in June, 1918?
Miss Beatty. Yes; about June 4.
Senator Sterling. June, 1917, I mean.
Miss Beatty. 1917; yes.
Senator Nelson. How long did you stay there at that hotel?
Miss Beatty. I stayed there eight months — kept my room there all the time I was in Russia.
Senator Nelson. How did you get the chance to go to these fronts that you speak of?
Miss Beatty. I went in and out. I went to the front and came back to Petrograd, and I went to Moscow and came back to Petrograd. Petrograd was the center of everything. It was the seat of all these changing governments, so we made it our headquarters.
Senator Nelson. You spoke about Dvinsk. Where is that?
Miss Beatty, It is on the western front — to the west.
Senator Nelson. On the border of Poland, is it not?
Miss Beatty. No; it is to the side of the border of Poland. Vilna was the nearest point on the front in Poland. That had been taken by the Germans; was held by the Germans at this time.
Senator Sterling. Was this Russian regiment of women you speak of the famous so-called Battalion of Death?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. There was a lady here — what was her name?
Miss Beatty. Botchkareva. She was the commander of the regiment.
Senator Overman. Was she the same lady that came to this country?
Miss Beatty, Yes, Senator.
Senator Overman. Have you heard that she had been killed since she was over here; that she had gone back to Russia and had been killed?
Miss Beatty, No.
Senator Overman. I heard that she had been.
Miss Beatty. I do not know about that.
Senator Overman. What was the other name that she was called by?
Miss Beatty. They called her the natchalnik, which means commander.
Senator Overman. This is outside of the question, but let me ask you, did these women as soldiers fight pretty well?
Miss Beatty. Very, from all accounts. I visited the hospital after the battle. I saw a great many of them in the hospital who had been wounded, and everybody said they fought very well. One of the girls I knew there was only 16. She was wounded in 16 places, and died of her wounds in the hospital.
Senator Sterling. How were they equipped? How did that regiment seem to be equipped with arms?
Miss Beatty, They were equipped just as the men were. The equipment was very slow in coming. I was in barracks when they expected to get away, and each day the equipment was delayed. The whole thing was an adventure, and was based on an entirely false premise. The women thought that by shaming the Russian men they could make them fight. They failed to understand that the men had a philosophy underneath their refusal to fight. They said, “Why should we fight our brothers in Germany? They were whipped into the trenches by their ruler, the Kaiser, just as we were whipped into the trenches by our ruler, the Czar. Let them make a revolution, as we have done, and then we will all live peaceably together.” That was the point of view they had. It was not a question of cowardice; it was just a difference of philosophy.
Senator Sterling. From what kind of philosophy and what kind of an organization did that point of view emanate? What class of people were they, socialists?
Miss Beatty. You see, in Russia practically everyone is a socialist. You have probably heard of the constituent assembly. In the constituent assembly the men were as far apart as the North Pole and the South Pole, but everybody was a socialist. Except for the little group of people at the top, they are all socialists. The question is simply what kind of socialist you are, rather than whether or not you are a socialist.
Senator Sterling. But all were in favor, apparently, of a constituent assembly, were they not; that is, all in the Duma, anyhow, including the strong or radical socialists in the Duma, were in favor of a constituent assembly?
Miss Beatty. Yes. The disagreement about the constituent assembly came always with the people in power. Kerensky was afraid to call a constituent assembly because he was afraid he would lose power; and at that time the left wing, the group led by Trotsky and Lenine —
Senator Sterling. Those were the radical socialists?
Miss Beatty. Yes; they always speak of them over there as the right and the left, you know.
Senator Sterling. Yes.
Miss Beatty. The left wing was always asking for a constituent assembly, and it was put off from day to day. The group in power always thought they had the power, and the thing to do was to defer the constituent assembly, because they did not know how the delegates would act.
Senator Nelson. Was not the Duma in session under the Kerensky government? Is not that the legislative body of Russia?
Miss Beatty. The Duma was the so-called legislative body of Russia during the Czar’s régime, and, I think, for a certain period after the March revolution.
Senator Nelson. Yes. What dissolved that?
Miss Beatty. The Duma was dissolved because —
Senator Nelson. By whom?
Miss Beatty. By the soviet; at least, virtually by the soviet.
Senator Nelson. Not by the Kerensky government?
Miss Beatty. Well, it is difficult to say what was the Kerensky government and what was not. The soviet was the council that was formed immediately with the March revolution, and there were in the soviet various elements. There was a left wing and a right wing, all struggling for power. As the left wing dominated more and more, they demanded more and more the representation of the radical group in the cabinet, and they said that the Duma was a representation of the old Czar order and not of the new revolutionary order.
Senator Nelson. That was the contention of the Trotsky and Lenine crowd?
Miss Beatty. It was pretty much the contention of the groups that were more to the right, too. I mean, it was not only Trotsky and Lenine who felt that the Duma was not representative. The Duma was acceptable to the Czar.
Senator Nelson. I do not understand. There was no soviet government organized there until Lenine and Trotsky came into power and conducted their revolution. You speak about a soviet government. I do not understand¾I never heard¾that Kerensky organized a soviet government.
Miss Beatty. Let me explain that to you. Perhaps I can make it a little bit clearer.
Senator Nelson. I think that it requires explanation.
Miss Beatty. It seems to, Senator Nelson. You see, “soviet” is the Russian word for council, meaning merely a meeting, and the soviet of soldiers and workmen was formed immediately upon the March revolution, and that organization acted as a body of pressure on whatever government was in power. Now, the soviet did not take over the government until the November revolution, but the soviet was, nevertheless, in existence from the very beginning. The left wing in the soviet advocated that the soviet should take control of the government.
Senator Nelson. There was no soviet government until the November revolution?
Miss Beatty. There was a soviet in existence all the time, but the soviet did not take over the government.
Senator Nelson. No.
Miss Beatty. Until the November revolution.
Senator Sterling. But it was really the council until that time?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. And that soviet that you speak of, that was in existence, was simply a local soviet m Petrograd?
Miss Beatty. No —
Senator Nelson. It was not the soviet composed, as the subsequent revolutionary government attempted to create it, of representatives from local soviets throughout Russia.
Miss Beatty. No; you are just a little bit wrong about that, Senator Nelson. It was the soviet of all of Russia. You see, there were two soviets, the Petrograd soviet, which was a local affair, and this national soviet, which met from time to time. This was the representative body of all of the soviets of all of the country, and had its effect on the government; just as the Republican Party here, though it is not running the government, nevertheless affects the government.
Senator Overman. How long after Lenine and Trotsky took charge of affairs were you there?
Miss Beatty. I was there for about three months after Lenine and Trotsky came into power; not long enough, of course, to be able to pass upon the things that have happened recently, but long enough to know something of the men, and to try to find out what they were working toward.
Senator Overman. Then you were not there during what the witnesses call the reign of terror?
Miss Beatty. No; the reign of terror did not begin until the revolution was nearly a year old. The reign of terror did not really begin until after allied intervention. The first note of the reign of terror that I ever heard sounded was at a convention of railway men in Petrograd, when Nikolas Tchaikowsky, at one time the leader of the peasants, got up in the meeting and made an attack against the Bolsheviks. He said, “We know how to fight tyrants. We have used the red terror against the tyrants in the past, and we will use it again.” That was the first time I ever heard “terror” threatened. There were vague rumors about, everywhere. People were talking of terror. One of the men among the soviet leaders I went to one day when there was this rumor about the terror around — he was a man whom I knew quite well, whom I had come to know quite well through going to the meetings of the soviet — and I said, “Surely, there is going to be no red terror here. Surely, the world has advanced too far since the French Revolution to permit of that. You are not going to restore the death penalty, are you?” He said, “No; we will never restore the death penalty.” And then he added, “Un less we have to restore it for traitors in our own ranks; and what can you do with a man who is a traitor in your own ranks?” Since that time those men have instituted the red terror; and it seems to me that we ought to find out what drove them to the red terror.
Senator Nelson. Are you a socialist?
Miss Beatty. No. The only political —
Senator Nelson. Are you affiliated with any section of the socialists?
Miss Beatty. No. The only political affiliation I ever have had was in 1918, when I took the stump in California for President Wilson.
Senator Nelson. No; what are your sympathies now and your political affiliations? Are you a socialist at heart?
Miss Beatty. It depends on what you mean by a socialist. I have been a social worker.
Senator Nelson. You ought to know, because you have described, as you say, all these Russian socialists.
Miss Beatty. There are 40 degrees of socialists in Russia alone — 40 different degrees.
Senator Nelson. Are you a socialist, and what is your degree?
Miss Beatty. What is your definition of a socialist, and then I will answer you?
Senator Nelson. No; you define it yourself.
Miss Beatty. I will tell you what I am, and then perhaps you can decide whether I am a socialist. As I say, I have never affiliated with any group politically except this group that helped to elect President Wilson.
Senator Nelson. You do not mean to imply that Wilson was elected by a group of socialists? Do you mean to imply that President Wilson was elected by a group of socialists?
Miss Beatty. No; the group I affiliated with in California was —
Senator Nelson. Oh, never mind what you were affiliated with.
Miss Beatty. Senator Nelson, I shall have to insist upon answering your question in my own way.
Senator Nelson. Tell us what you are.
Miss Beatty. The group with which I was affiliated in California was a group of women in the College Equal Suffrage League of Non-partisan Women, who went out to help elect President Wilson at the last election. That is the only group with which I have ever boon politically affiliated.
Senator Nelson. That was a woman-suffrage association?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Do you belong to what we call the picket club, here?
Miss Beatty. No; I do not. I want to try to tell you what I am. For 12 years I have done social-service work of different kinds; and if you have ever been a social-service worker you have a great passion in your heart to do away with poverty, and you feel that every child born into the world should get an education, have enough milk, and all that sort of thing.
Senator Nelson. Yes; but you know the social end of the Trotsky and Lenine government is going to do that job.
Miss Beatty. I do not know just how it is going to be brought about, but I am interested in any program which may help to bring that about.
Senator Nelson. The soviet government — tell us what is the nature of that government of Lenine and Trotsky?
Senator Overman. Have you finished your statement as to what you are?
Miss Beatty. Yes; if Senator Nelson is satisfied, I am. I do not know, myself, what I am.
Senator Nelson. I have a suspicion that you do not, yourself, know it. I am inclined to concur with you.
Senator Overman. Pardon these interruptions. We do not mean to be disrespectful, at all.
Miss Beatty. That is quite all right, Senator Overman.
Senator Nelson. I am anxious merely to get your point of view.
Senator Overman. I want to explain to you that Senator Nelson is one of the finest men in the world, and he does not mean, by his voice or manner, to be disrespectful to you.
Miss Beatty. I assume that Senator Nelson means no disrespect. If the Senator were disrespectful it would be the first time that any man has ever been disrespectful to me.
Senator Nelson. What I would like to hear you on is, what you know about the government of Lenine and Trotsky; what their propaganda and plan is.
Miss Beatty. Perhaps if I tell you a little bit about the course of development of things in Russia, that will help to clarify it a little. I went to Russia thankful that there had been a revolution, because I had been for a long time a student of Russian literature and I knew what the lives of the masses of the Russian people in the past had been. I think that I shared the feeling of most Americans, that it was a very wonderful thing that Russian autocracy had been overthrown. When I went there I was very much interested in what Kerensky was trying to do; my sympathies were all with him, and I felt that American influence should back him.
Senator Sterling. Were not your sympathies with the men who were trying to control, and form a democratic form of government, before Kerensky came into power? You said that you sympathized with the overthrow of the Czar.
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. As we all did. But were you not in sympathy with those leaders of the Duma, like the president of the Duma and Miliukov and other able men, who were in favor of a democratic form of government?
Miss Beatty. When I arrived these men had already been overthrown.
Senator Sterling. Did you not have sympathy for the others who were trying to form a democratic form of government?
Miss Beatty. Of course, I had sympathy with their efforts. I had always had sympathy with the fight that they were making. But when I got there Rodzianko had been overthrown. Most of them wanted a constitutional monarchy. The people of Russia were fighting for a democracy. Rodzianko and Miliukov were overthrown when I got there. When I got there the man in power was Kerensky himself. The people said, “We do not want a constitutional monarchy. We want something more than that.”
Senator Sterling. Did you hear anything about Kerensky having ordered a relaxation of discipline in the army while you were there?
Miss Beatty. The relaxation of discipline in the army came immediately with the overthrow of the Czar.
Senator Sterling. But did not Kerensky issue some order under which it was understood that the enlisted man was not to show any particular respect to this superior?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. Or to salute him?
Miss Beatty. What they call Prikaz No. 1 was the order which abolished saluting and many of the regulations for the soldiers.
Senator Sterling. Were you in sympathy with that extreme view of army discipline?
Miss Beatty. I was in sympathy with the abolition of the death penalty, because I have always been in sympathy with that.
Senator Nelson. Did you have any sympathy with the extreme view that the enlisted man should not be required to salute or pay proper respect to bis superior officer?
Miss Beatty. I was in sympathy with Kerensky’s attitude on that. This was the situation. They had all said. “The Czar is gone, and we do not have to do this.” I mean that it was not Kerensky that created the lack of discipline. The lack of discipline already existed. It was a question of trying to get the Russian soldiers to realize that though this change had come, there was still need for responsibility among them.
Senator Sterling. Did not that disrespect for authority and semblance of authority create havoc in the army and tend to hasten the dissolution of the army?
Miss Beatty. No; that came after the dissolution had already taken place.
Senator Sterling. You mean after the revolution had taken place?
Miss Beatty. Yes; and I say that the soldiers said, “We do not want to fight any more.”
Senator Sterling. Was it not intensified by Kerensky’s decrees later on?
Miss Beatty. I do not feel so. It may have been.
Senator Sterling. You know that to be the view of a great many?
Miss Beatty. Yes; but I do not think those people understand the Russian situation. I do not think they realize that the masses were rushing along so fast that no leader could hold his power who did not make concessions to them. For instance, the army itself made a certain effort not to break down discipline, but after it had gone on there was a complete breakdown as soon as the revolution came. These men said, “Why should we fight? What is the use of freedom to a man in his grave?” and they began gradually to have disrespect for their officers. It was an effort to do something, to crystalize them, to carry things on, that, I think, made Kerensky do that. He felt that he could not control his people unless he did that. Then came the July revolution. and that was the first time the Bolsheviki appeared at all. I had just come back from the front when that took place.
Senator Sterling. You distinguish the Bolsheviki from the socialists and from the soviet council?
Miss Beatty. No; the Bolsheviki are the left wing of the soviets. They are at present the controlling element of the soviets. They are not the entire soviets. They are in control, just as in the last Congress the Democrats were the controlling element here. The Bolsheviki now hold the control in Russia. But at that time, in July, they did not.
Senator Sterling. How did they come to be called the Bolsheviki? What is the origin of the term?
Miss Beatty. The term means simply “majority,” and it originated in the Swiss conference — about 1903, I think — when there was a split in the socialist group. Some of them went to the philosophy of Lenine at that time, the Bolshevik philosophy being merely the shortest cut to socialism.
Senator Overman. While you are an American and had nothing to do with it, yet in your feelings you are not a partisan of the Bolsheviki?
Miss Beatty. Not at all.
Senator Overman. You are an American citizen?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. You are not a partisan in your feelings or in your sympathies?
Miss Beatty. No. I am merely an observer of Russian affairs. My feeling is that we ought to understand what produced the Bolsheviki; what they are trying to do; what there is that is good about them and what there is that is bad.
Senator Nelson. What are they trying to do? Will you tell us that? That is what we want to find out. I mean this government that is now controlled by Lenine and Trotsky.
Miss Beatty. Lenine said, “We have entered into the transition period which will lead to socialism.” He said, “We have the beginnings of a socialist state; but you can not avoid a transition period, and we have entered into that period.”
Senator Nelson. A sort of purgatory?
Miss Beatty. A swinging of the pendulum to the opposite extreme. In the days of autocracy the pendulum was away back here, and the people were all oppressed. When they got freedom, the logical thing was for the pendulum to swing to the other extreme. The course of all social progress is in an attempt to get here and get there, and you try to go farther than you can go.
Senator Overman. You go to the other extreme in trying to get to the middle?
Miss Beatty. Yes; exactly.
Senator Nelson. What is the plan of government?
Miss Beatty. Their plan of government is just a national council based upon representation of all of the local councils.
Senator Nelson. I mean more particularly their economic plan and not their political scheme.
Miss Beatty. Their economic plan is control of industry and socialization of land. Those are the two chief ideas. The plan was to give the land to the peasants and the control of industries to the workers.
Senator Nelson. Is not their program nationalization of land?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. That all of the land is to belong to the state?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. And that the people who are to till the land are to be not even tenants, but simply men who occupy the land and use as much as they occupy and cultivate, and no more?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. And they get no kind of title?
Miss Beatty. No; all of the land goes into a common land fund, and that common land fund is administered by a local committee under the jurisdiction of the national committee. A man may have as much land as he and the members of his family can use without employing any labor.
Senator Nelson. They must not have any hired help?
Miss Beatty. No. A man can hold the land as long as he can work it. The nearest thing to land tenure that there is in Russia is his right to suggest who his successor shall be on that land. If he becomes disabled the neighbors work his land for two years, and beyond that time the land goes back into the common land fund, and he is put upon a pension, the idea being that there shall be no land in Russia which is nonproductive.
Senator Nelson. And no land in private ownership; that the peasants should not even own the land?
Miss Beatty. You can have all the land that you can use, but you can not use another man on that land.
Senator Overman. Is it the idea that a man should not accumulate, but just live?
Miss Beatty. Their idea is to take the earning capacity out of money. They say that money is just stored labor power. They say at present there are only two kinds of power in the world — the labor power and the power of capital, which is stored labor power.
Senator Overman. They are against capital?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. And against accumulation?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. And if a man has a family of a dozen children, let us say, and they work on the farm and accumulate money, they will not allow them to have that money. They just want him to exist. Is that the idea?
Miss Beatty. No; that is not entirely it. They say that he can not make money out of his money. He can do anything he likes with it, but he can not make his money earn money for him.
Senator Overman. The idea is that it is to go back on the farm? Let us say that a man makes $1,000 in a year on the farm.
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. What does he do with that?
Miss Beatty. He can buy food, and travel, and buy clothes. He can spend his money in any way he chooses, but he can not put it out to earn more money.
Senator Overman, Outside of buying his clothes and subsistence and living, let us say that the man and his family accumulate on the farm $1,000. What becomes of that thousand dollars?
Miss Beatty. He can keep that money and use it in any way he likes, at any time, but he can not make that money earn money for him. He can not do as we do, put the money out at interest and make the money earn.
Senator Sterling. Could he not buy a horse and wagon and use them on the farm, and thus make money?
Miss Beatty. Yes; he can do anything of that sort; anything that will develop; anything that will not interfere with the product of somebody else. That is the whole idea. The two fundamental things are that no man shall eat who does not work and that no man shall exploit any other man.
Senator Sterling. He could not lend the money made on the farm to another man who wanted to borrow the money to equip his farm?
Miss Beatty. I believe not.
Mr. Humes. He could not invest the money in cattle?
Miss Beatty. Oh, yes; I think he can.
Mr. Humes. Have not all cattle been nationalized; and do not the laws of the soviet republic provide for the nationalization of cattle und stock?
Miss Beatty. I do not know about that. That had not been done up to the time I left. I do not know whether that has been done since or not.
Senator Overman. It was testified to by a lady who was the wife of a consul over there — or she has given me the idea — that the cattle were nationalized. She said that they took all of the cattle away from her mother, who was a widow. It seems that her mother had a fine breed of imported cattle — 118 of them. I believe — and 100 horses. They took them all away from her mother and gave her a piece of land, and left, perhaps, one cow and one horse. It would seem their idea is to nationalize cattle and horses.
Miss Beatty. Of course, their idea is as nearly as possible to equalize, pretty much, everywhere. I mean that it is their idea to bring people pretty much to the same level.
Senator Sterling. And in order to put them on the same level, they just reverse the order of things. They put the laborers and the peasants at the top.
Miss Beatty. Practically that. They are lowering the 10 per cent and raising the level of the 90 per cent.
Senator Nelson. Do you favor that kind of socialism?
Miss Beatty. That is also a very difficult question to answer. I favor some sort of system —
Senator Nelson. No, no. Do you favor this system of nationalizing land as the Russians do — as the Bolshevik government does?
Miss Beatty. If that is a system —
Senator Nelson. Do not evade the question, now. Give us a categorical answer.
Miss Beatty. Senator Nelson, you see black and white in very much more distinct terms than I do. I think the truth always lies between black and white, in the gray; and one can not say yes or no to things of that sort. I could not answer that question truthfully by saying either yes or no.
Senator Nelson. I have a suspicion, from the way in which you evade my question, that you are a good deal of a Russian socialist at heart.
Senator Sterling. You have described this nationalization of the land in that process and its results?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. I should think that you could answer yes or no to Senator Nelson’s question as to whether or not you believe in it.
Miss Beatty. I am perfectly willing — I would like to see an experiment of it. I do not know whether it will work or whether it will not work.
Senator Sterling. You believe in it enough to want to see it tried, do you?
Miss Beatty, Yes; in Russia. By that I mean that that is what the Russian people —
Senator Nelson. Why do you have such evil wishes for the poor Russian people, that you would like to have this tried on them? Would you like to have it tried on the American people?
Miss Beatty. No.
Senator Nelson. Why would you have the poor Russian people try something that you would not advise Americans to try?
Miss Beatty. Because the Russians want it. As soon as the Americans want it, I shall be in favor of their trying it. I believe people have the right to have what they want.
Senator Nelson. Even brimstone?
Miss Beatty. If they want it; yes. I think that that is the theory upon which our democratic government is based.
Senator Overman. What becomes of the common loafer who gets the land and will not work it? What becomes of him?
Miss Beatty. He can not live; because he has to eat, and he can not eat if he does not work. There is no room for the loafer at any end of the line in Russia. You have to work to eat.
Senator Overman. He will starve unless he works the land?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. And under this Russian system they call those who have never worked before, who have not had to work because they have had the means, or because they occupied such stations in life that they did not have to work — they are, according to this Russian system; I mean the Trotsky and the Lenine system — the loafers, and they propose that they shall have nothing to eat unless they work?
Miss Beatty. Yes: that is true.
Senator Nelson. They reverse the order of nature, then. The hoboes and the tramps are classed as capitalists over there, are they not?
Mr. Humes. Miss Beatty, may I correct a statement that you made?
Miss Beatty. Certainly. I should be very glad to have you do so.
Mr. Humes. Senator Sterling asked you if it would not be possible for a man who had accumulated a thousand dollars to buy a horse or to buy stock. I want to call your attention to one of the provisions of the constitution of the soviet republic:
All forests, mineral wealth, water power and waterways, as well as all livestock and agricultural implements, are declared national property.
Is it not a fact under this scheme that no man can own a horse, no man can own a cow, no man can own live stock of any kind, or a plow or a barrow or anything else, but he simply has the use of the land itself, and he must negotiate with the state in order to secure the horse to work his farm and the plow to plow it, or the cattle for his domestic uses? Is not that a fact?
Miss Beatty. Just one moment. You will recall that I said that I did not know whether the cattle had been nationalized or not, because that had happened after I left.
Mr. Humes. But Senator Sterling asked you about buying a horse, and you said yes, that he could buy a horse. Now, horses are live stock, and if they have been nationalized the farmer could not have a horse.
Miss Beatty. It is not a question of whether you can have it or not. You can have it without buying it, in Russia. You can have it by needing it. I mean it is for the common good of every one. With a man’s labor he can buy or get — whether you call it buying or not, he can get — the things that he needs.
Mr. Humes. Now we are getting down to the point that was inquired about. Under the application of this form of government in Russia, how does a man secure the live stock that is necessary to work his farm? How does he secure the cattle that are necessary in caring for his property, or in furnishing meat and provisions for his family, providing milk for his children? How is that handled under this system?
Miss Beatty. Knowing what I know about the rest of the system, I should say that all those things become a part of the common fund.
Mr. Humes. I gather that you are just speculating on that. You do not know how they are handling it.
Miss Beatty. I told you that I am speculating. I say, judging by what I know of the rest of the things, I should say the distribution of farm implements, the use of farm implements and cattle and all that sort of thing, is handled in the same way that the use of land is¾co-ownership. It can not be very different. That is the soviet ideal.
Senator Overman. If a man needed an extra horse for his farm, how would he get it?
Miss Beatty. I should think — remember, I have not been there in the last few months and can not tell you, but knowing what I know of the rest of the system, I should say — that he would go to the live stock committee and say, “I have six acres of wheat to plow to-morrow, and I need an extra horse,” and he would get his extra horse.
Senator Overman. In other words, he would get it from the state or the body that represents the state?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. That is, if the state agreed with him that he needed it.
Miss Beatty. Oh, but you see he is the state.
Senator Sterling. And he determines, then, for himself?
Miss Beatty. Yes. In every locality they work out every little problem in their councils or committees. I am afraid that I am not making it quite clear to you. You see, in each community they have so much live stock and so many farm implements. For instance, I know that in some communities they have tried to buy farm implements. They have all gotten together and decided that they need a reaper or a harvester, and they buy that for the community; and they work out how that shall be utilized, they work out their need for it. They decide that Jones needs it to-day and Smith can take it to-morrow, and so on.
Mr. Humes. Is that under the soviet government?
Miss Beatty. Yes; they have the local councils.
Mr. Humes. Who pays for these implements? You say the community buys them. Is it paid for by popular subscription, or does the state buy it and pay for it?
Miss Beatty, The soviet and the people of the community are one. The local council and the people of the community are one. The local soviet is a part of the national soviet, which is the whole state. It is just the perfectly simple old system of cooperation.
Senator Overman. Let us trace it out. The community gets its implements somewhere. Where do they get them?
Miss Beatty. When I was in Russia they were having a difficult time getting them anywhere. They were getting whatever they could from the International Harvester Co.
Senator Overman: I am talking about the time when we would have no International Harvester Co.
Miss Beatty. They put their money together. In one village I know of — I have forgotten the name —
Senator Overman. How did they get the money?
Miss Beatty. Oh, they still have money in Russia.
Senator Overman. In the future how are they going to get it; by taxation?
Miss Beatty. I presume so. By some agreement or plan, and I suppose taxation will be the plan.
Senator Overman. But suppose a man does not pay anything to it.
Miss Beatty. Then he could not have the farm.
Senator Overman. Suppose he can not get the farm; then he just dies by starvation, by action of the state.
Miss Beatty. I should think so.
Senator Nelson. There is one thing that puzzles me. Let us say that there is a Russian peasant who sit down to milk a state cow. It is not his cow; it is a cow that is furnished to him by the state. Who owns the milk? Does that belong to the state?
Miss Beatty. I am afraid, Senator Nelson, that you are facetious this morning?
Senator Overman. We are going into this, and we want to find out how this thing works. I think you can see our attitude.
Miss Beatty. Indeed, I am delighted, and I wish I could do more to inform you.
Senator Sterling. The more important question, Senator Nelson, is, Who gets the cream?
Senator Nelson. You have gone over this land question. What about the industries of the country? What is their plan? They are nationalizing all the factories and the industries of the country. That is, the state is to take them over. Is that. the plan?
Miss Beatty. That is their ideal. Lenine says that for the time being they will have to pass through a capitalistic period in which they will have to permit outside control of some of their industries. They say that is not an ideal thing; that it is not in accordance with their ultimate plan.
Senator Overman. What is their plan?
Miss Beatty. Their plan is complete nationalization of not only land but industry.
Senator Nelson. And that the workmen in these industries are to run and control them?
Miss Beatty. Yes; but they have a broader interpretation of the term “workman” than we have. By workman they mean any man who works, either with his brain or with his brawn.
Senator Nelson. But they make a distinction in their food supply as between men who work with their hands and those who work with their bruins. When they give them food cards, they make a distinction.
Miss Beatty. That is true. They did that in the days of the Czar, and all through the war period.
Senator Nelson. And they do it now.
Miss Beatty. They have always done that upon the basis that a man who works with his hands needs more food than a brain worker does.
Senator Nelson. And so he gets more food?
Miss Beatty. Yes. It was true all the time I was in Russia. It was true during the war. Their food cards called for more bread for the laborer. And also in that time it should he remembered that bread was the chief source of food for the laborer. We, for instance, could buy caviar and all sorts of other things, but the laborer could not, and they figured that he was entitled to a larger amount of bread.
Senator Nelson. I do not care to go into the details of it, but I want to simply ask you this question: Did they not also have a scheme for nationalizing women, as they call it?
Miss Beatty. I think I can tell you two or three things that will probably convince you that that is not true. One of the witnesses here, I believe, introduced a document purporting to have been passed by the anarchists’ soviet of Saratov. At that time Mr. Jerome Davis, who was one of the Y.M.C.A. men in Saratov, went to the anarchist soviet and asked whether they had passed that decree. They flatly denied it, and posted proclamations denying they had passed it. The anarchist soviet and the Bolshevik soviet were at war, and the anarchist soviets were afterwards put down by machine guns by the Bolsheviki.
Senator Nelson. Now you have brought in a new distinction.
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. You speak of the Bolsheviki and the anarchists.
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Them are two elements of these socialists?
Miss Beatty. There are many elements; about 40 in all.
Senator Nelson. I mean of the Bolsheviki. There is the anarchistic element and another element?
Miss Beatty. No. The philosophy of the anarchists and the philosophy of the Bolsheviki are very different. The anarchist does not believe in government at all. The Bolsheviki believe in a highly socialized form of government.
But to get on, to this decree. One of the Russian papers, an official organ, published u statement relating to the decree or order of the soviet government suppressing for all time, and charging a fine of 25,000 rubles against, a newspaper which had published what they called this false decree — this outrageous and shameful false decree, as the Russian translation is. Those two things, I think, ought to help to indicate that that is not a general thing in Russia. I personally do not believe it was issued, and neither docs Mr. Davis, who was there. One other reason for not believing it is that women have a vote in Russia, and I do not believe that women anywhere will vote to nationalize themselves.
Mr. Humes. You say that Sartov decree was never issued by this anarchistic soviet?
Miss Beatty. I say they deny ever having issued it.
Mr. Humes. Either Mr. Williams or Mr. Reed testified the other day, stating that it had been issued, but only the first four paragraphs were a part of the original decree and the rest was obscene matter that had been subsequently added with the intent of adding some humor to the situation.
Miss Beatty. I do not know as to that.
Mr. Humes. Are you correct in saying that it never was issued, or is the former witness correct in saying that only the first four paragraphs were really a part of the decree?
Miss Beatty. I am correct in quoting Mr. Davis to the effect that it never was issued. Mr. Davis said that he went to the anarchist soviet in Saratov. They were very indignant, and they flatly denied issuing that decree and posted that denial all over the city.
Mr. Humes. What do you know about the decree that was issued at Vladimir?
Miss Beatty. Personally, nothing: except that I can judge the attitude of the soviet authorities to such decree by the suppression of this newspaper.
Mr. Humes. In that same connection. what do you know about the nationalization of children, or the taking over by the state of children of certain ages, for the purposes of education?
Miss Beatty. I know that when I talked to Alexandra Kollontay, who is commissar of public welfare, she told me a great deal, at length, as to what her social program was, and there was nothing of that sort in that program. Her idea was that an orphanage was a bad place in which to keep children, and that it was best to get them away from that sort of control. In order to make it possible for women to keep their own children, they formulated a plan by which a mother should have eight weeks of liberty from her factory position previous to the birth of her child and immediately after.
Mr. Humes. That is in order to encourage woman labor; in order to protect and encourage woman labor in the factories?
Miss Beatty. No; these are the women who always had to work, just as our women here work in factories, whether they have children or not. This was to protect the woman from hurting herself before and after the birth of her child.
Mr. Humes. Is it true that this Madam Kollontay married the man whom she did marry, and with whom she went to the Scandinavian countries, because of these regulations or requirements for the nationalization of women and compulsory marriage?
Miss Beatty. I am quite sure that she never did anything under compulsion.
Mr. Humes. I mean that she went there to avoid the compulsion that was incident to the enforcement of the decree.
Miss Beatty. I should say that that was absolutely untrue. I was present at Smolny at the soviet when the marriage decree was passed, and I heard the discussion of it.
Mr. Humes. What is the marriage decree? What is the ceremony?
Miss Beatty. It provided separation of the church and state. Up to the time of the revolution the church marriage was essential in Russia. The soviet decree advocated that church marriages should be optional. One could marry in the church or not as one chose, but the state marriage was obligatory.
Mr. Humes. How is it performed?
Miss Beatty. By going before a marriage commissioner, or what would be in this country a justice of the peace, and registering your desire to be married — in other words, by taking out a license. At that time there was considerable discussion upon how many divorces should be granted.
Senator Nelson. You speak of taking out a license. Was it a license generally or a license to marry some particular person?
Miss Beatty. The two people who were to be married went to the marriage commissioner and took out a license for their own marriage, just as we do here.
Senator Overman. How could they separate?
Miss Beatty. They could separate by going before a marriage and divorce commission and declaring their desire to separate, saying that they no longer wished to be married.
Mr. Humes. Can not either one of the parties to the marriage secure a divorce?
Miss Beatty. Yes; either one can.
Mr. Humes. By agreement; or either one of the parties can secure a divorce on application?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. If they get tired of one another, they can just quit?
Miss Beatty. Yes. They also formulated a plan as to what should become of the children. Unless there was a common agreement as to who should support the child, made outside of court or commission, alimony was granted to the mother in such sum as the judge believed was necessary.
Mr. Humes. For the support of the child?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. Was that alimony paid by the state or by the father?
Miss Beatty. By the father, as it was planned then.
Senator Nelson. Were you out in the country among the peasants while you were in Russia?
Miss Beatty. Yes; a little bit. Not as much as I would like to have been.
Senator Nelson. What was the form of the peasants’ government before the revolution broke out?
Miss Beatty. There really was no peasant government, you know. I mean there was none in Russia but the Czar’s government, really. The zemstvos had a certain amount of control, and there were the cooperative societies.
Senator Nelson. Do you not know, now, that the peasants were settled in villages and communities called mirs, and had their local government, and that their lands were owned as community property, and that those mirs assigned the cultivation of the lands to members of the community?
Miss Beatty. That is true in some communities; not in all communities.
Senator Nelson. No.
Miss Beatty. That was quite the generally adopted custom, however, among the Russians.
Senator Nelson. They live in villages and not out on their farms, as they. do here?
Miss Beatty. No; they live in villages and go out to work on their farms.
Senator Nelson. And those lands belonged to the mirs, as they called them, the village communities?
Miss Beatty. Not altogether. In some places the lands were privately owned.
Senator Nelson. Yes.
Miss Beatty. You see, up to the time of the freeing of the serfs, the peasants had no ownership in their own land, and they worked the land of the estates. They were given the use of a certain amount of land in return for the service that they gave to the landowner — to the estate holder or to the slave owner. At the time of the decree which freed the serfs, the peasants believed they were going to get the land. They have a phrase over there, they say that the land is God’s and the people’s, and they believed that the Czar gave them the land, but the landowners kept it away from them. That made them very bitter toward the landowners. They began, back in the seventies, to burn barns and destroy property. When the revolution came, the attitude of these men was merely that they were taking something which belonged to them, something which Alexander had given them long, long ago, but which the landlords had kept from them.
Senator Nelson. What they got under the Czar’s government when they were set free, the land that was assigned to the village communities, is confiscated by this new government and taken away. It does not belong to the community but it belongs to the state, now; and the whole system of the mir assigning lands to the members of a community will be obsolete now, under tins government, will it not?
Miss Beatty. No. In some places they do just as they have always done. The present land law of the soviet was formed from a codification of the land regulations made by the peasants themselves in something like 240 villages. In nearly 240 villages the peasants had already taken their land during the Kerensky régime. They had not waited for the government to do anything about it. They had said, “The land is ours, and we are going to have it,” and they took it without any formal national land law. These methods used in the various communities were gone over, and a new law was passed upon plans that the peasants themselves had worked out.
Senator Nelson. Under this new system of nationalized land, the land will be taken from these communities, will it not, as community property, and also from private owners, and it will all become the property of the state? It makes no difference whether it is community or private property — individual property — it will become the property of the state
Ms. Beatty. Yes; but, you see, the community and the state are one.
Senator Nelson. Oh, there is a great difference between saying that this ground here, between this building and the Union Station, belongs to the city of Washington, and saying that it belongs to the government of the United States. There is a great difference in that.
Miss Beatty. Yes; there is a difference here, but there is not a difference in Russia.
Senator Nelson. No; I perceive. I perceive there is not much difference in Russia.
Miss Beatty. Perhaps our telegraph system here or our mail system will serve a little bit better to illustrate it. You see, our mail system belongs to the government, and yet it belongs to each of us as individual members of the state. We all share in it.
Senator Nelson. Yes. Now, what is to become of all the people who do not themselves work on the land. and what is to become of people who do not work in the factories or in the industrial enterprises? What is to become of them in Russia?
Miss Beatty. Everyone in Russia has to work; not on the land or in the factories, necessarily, but they have to make some contribution; they have to produce something.
Senator Nelson. Their theory is that everybody must work?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Work at what?
Miss Beatty. At anything which is productive for the good of the nation.
Senator Nelson. Yes.
Miss Beatty. You see, they contemplate not only organizing distribution, but also production.
Senator Nelson. The farmer has no right now to hire any help?
Miss Beatty. No.
Senator Nelson. He can not hire any hands on his farm?
Miss Beatty. No.
Senator Nelson. And a woman can not hire anybody to help her milk the cows or do any of her work?
Miss Beatty. No; but any number of farmers can combine and work their land in common, which is the same thing. Any number of men can till their land in common.
Senator Nelson. There is no room, then, in Russia for a farm laborer unless he has a piece of land to till himself?
Miss Beatty. No; none at all.
Senator Nelson. No one can have a hired man on his farm?
Miss Beatty. No; there are no hired men.
Senator Overman. There are no hired women, either?
Miss Beatty. No.
Senator Overman. Suppose the community will not help a man to till his land? Suppose the community will not help a woman milk her cow?
Mr. Humes. The state owns the cow. The woman does not have the cow.
Senator Overman. The cow that the state lets her use when she wants to use it. Suppose she can not get anybody to help to milk the cow or to make the butter, or do other work, when she is not well, for instance? How is she going to do that?
Miss Beatty. You gentlemen make it very difficult. This is the A B C of economics, upon which dozens and dozens of books have been written.
Senator Nelson. As I understand, your mental state is this — see if I misapprehend you: While you are not clear that this form of government would be good for our people, you have an idea that it is just the thing for the Russian people?
Miss Beatty. That is not entirely the fact.
Senator Nelson. Can you qualify it?
Miss Beatty. I should like to.
Senator Nelson. With limitations?
Miss Beatty. I feel that the Russian people have the right to work out any sort of system that they choose. I think that they have demonstrated that they want to try to work out this system. Of course, we have the right to work out any kind of system that we choose, and if we ever want to work out any other system than that we have, we will do it; and we, as democrats, have got to allow to Russia or any other country the right to work out its own problems according to its own ideals. And the ideals of America and the ideals of Russia are different. We are entitled to our ideas, and Russia is entitled to her ideas.
Senator Nelson. And you think that the ideal of the Bolshevik government is what the Russian people want?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Yes; and they ought to have it?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. That is your idea?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. It has been testified here by various persons, and I see from the papers, that there are only about 5 or 10 per cent of these people that favor the Bolshevik plan, and therefore, if that is so, you would not be in favor of this system for Russia?
Miss Beatty. No; absolutely not. You see, I do not believe that that is so, for a number of reasons. Harold Williams, who was correspondent of the London Times and is a very conservative man as to figures — I mean, I do not think that he could be swept off of his feet to believe that the Bolsheviki were in control of Russia unless they were — said, some months ago, that the Bolshevik movement has completely swept the country.
Senator Overman. Right there; they all testify that they have control of the government, but that they have it by reason of German soldiers and Lettish soldiers, and tramps and criminals; that they have freed every criminal in Russia, and that all the criminals are members of the Bolsheviki; and they have the reign of terror there, by which the peasants are overawed and terrified.
Miss Beatty. Do you think that a million or two or three million could dominate and overawe one hundred and eighty million people?
Senator Overman. I thought of that, too; but they say that they have taken their guns and all their arms away from them, and they shoot them down on the farms, and in the villages, in the streets, if they resent the Bolshevik idea. Of course, by having all the guns and ammunition, and with the army, they can do that for a time; and it has been testified that that is what they are doing, and that the people themselves are not in favor of it.
Miss Beatty. I would like to give you a little more evidence of the fact that the people themselves a.re in favor. I had a long talk with Tchaikowsky. He told me how he had tried to work with the workmen’s and soldiers’ council, but left them after three weeks’ time. Then he organized the first congress of peasants; and the peasants finally all went to the left, leaving him and his committee alone. He said they had gone past him in their ideas. And he too, told me that Bolshevism had completely swept the country. He said, “We can not do anything with them. We can not keep them in control at all. Every time we send a delegate back to the village we find that the villagers have gone over to the Bolsheviki.”
Mr. Humes. It has been testified that the Bolsheviks go in and select anybody they want to, and take them out and kill them.
Miss Beatty. Has it been testified by anybody that they ever saw anybody killed?
Mr. Humes. Many cases have been specified and testified to — many specific instances.
Miss Beatty, Where they saw these things?
Mr. Humes. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Did you see anybody killed over there?
Miss Beatty. No; I never saw anybody killed. I was in the midst of machine-gun fire many times.
Senator Nelson. The machine guns did not go off while you were there, then?
Miss Beatty. Oh, yes. I saw one man wounded. I was under siege in the telephone exchange for five hours at one time, and I saw a man there wounded.
Senator Nelson. European Russia is about as big as the United States?
Miss Beatty. Russia is one-sixth of the whole earth’s surface.
Senator Nelson. No; but European Russia is about as big as the United States?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Now, where did you go in Russia? You were at Petrograd, at Moscow, and at Nijni Novgorod. What other places did you go to?
Miss Beatty. I wish I had a map so that I could show you. I went across Siberia —
Senator Nelson. Oh, yes; but Siberia is not European Russia.
Miss Beatty. You see, I also went across European Russia to get to Petrograd.
Senator Nelson. You went from Perm, over there in Siberian Russia?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. That is all.
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Is not most of the peasant country south of that?
Miss Beatty. I did not go into the Ukraine at all.
Senator Nelson. Did you go into Little Russia?
Miss Beatty. That is the Ukraine, you know.
Senator Nelson. Did you go into White Russia?
Miss Beatty. Yes; I went into White Russia.
Senator Nelson. What part?
Miss Beatty. It was in White Russia where I went to the western front.
Senator Nelson. You went out to the battle front at Dvinsk?
Miss Beatty. Yes; and Maladetschna.
Senator Nelson. How long did you stay there?
Miss Beatty. Two weeks.
Senator Nelson. Did you communicate with the peasants or the soldiers?
Miss Beatty. Both.
Senator Nelson. In that country?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Is that all you saw of Russia — those places?
Miss Beatty, I went down to Nijni Novgorod and up the Volga River and stopped at Yaroslav.
Senator Nelson. Did you come across any Cossacks there?
Miss Beatty. I came across Cossacks there.
Senator Nelson. Do you not know that the land tenure of the Cossacks is different from that of the other lands?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Do you not know that they have lands assigned to them in fee for military service?
Miss Beatty. Yes; I do know that.
Senator Nelson. Look here; suppose you were a stranger dropped down here from the clouds, from Europe, and that you came over here and visited New York, Hoboken, Philadelphia, and Washington. What would you know about the American people from just seeing these towns? What would you know about the American people and the feeling of the American people, and of the American farmers in the Mississippi Valley, by visiting just those two or three towns?
Miss Beatty. But, you see, you do not quite understand the geography of Russia, or you would see that I covered a great deal more ground than you think. But the thing that I feel is the difficulty with so many people who are witnessing on the question of Russia is that they have never come into the slightest contact with what is the most important thing there. I mean, most of them have never even met a Bolshevik.
Senator Nelson. You saw a live Bolshevik, then?
Miss Beatty. Yes; I spent a great deal of time at the soviets.
Mr. Humes. I thought that practically all of the 180,000,000 people of Russia were Bolsheviki. I thought that was the statement that you contended for, that the vast majority of the people were Bolsheviki, so that you could not go anywhere without meeting a Bolshevik.
Miss Beatty. You know, you can spend your time entirely in the American colony in Russia.
Mr. Humes. Yes; but there were quite a number of Bolsheviki there, were there not? How many of those that you might term of the American colony, that came from America, were members of the government, or were in part of the Bolshevik government, in Russia?
Miss Beatty. There were only two men whom I know who took any part in the Bolshevik government in Russia, and the only part that they took was in German propaganda. They went in there to try to create German propaganda to help dethrone the Kaiser.
Mr. Humes. Who was that?
Miss Beatty. John Reed and Albert Rhys Williams.
Mr. Humes. Did you ever meet Mr. Reinstein over there?
Miss Beatty. Yes. I was thinking of men who had been born in America. He was a Russian.
Mr. Humes. He was an American citizen, was he not?
Miss Beatty. I was thinking of American-born.
Mr. Humes. I am talking about the people who got their education and training, such as it was, in this country.
Miss Beatty. I was thinking of men whom I had met at dinners and dances.
Mr. Humes. Then, by the American colony you do not mean the Americans —
Miss Beatty. Not the Russian-Americans.
Mr. Humes. Is it not a fact that there were more Americans who were part of the Bolshevik government than you have testified as part of the American colony?
Senator Overman. Miss Beatty has kindly consented to give her testimony. I understand from her own testimony that she was there only eight months. There is no use in asking her about these places where she has not gone. It is impossible for her to know about these places which she has not visited.
I want to know if there is any statement that she wants to make, and I will allow her to make it.
It is evident to my mind, and I think the committee agrees, that she is not sufficiently informed, having been there only eight months, a certain time in Petrograd, a certain time on the front, and a short time in Moscow, and it is impossible for her to know the conditions over there now — as they exist to-day.
Miss Beatty. It is impossible, except as one knows what the forces are that are at work.
Senator Overman. That is your viewpoint, and what you have gathered from the newspapers since you have been there.
Miss Beatty. It is impossible except from what I have learned from Russian papers and from people who have returned, and from what I know of the people whom I met there, and the forces at work. No little incident that happens from day to day is the important thing, Senator Overman. I mean, if we are to understand the subject of the Bolsheviki, we need to know what has happened all these years in Russia much more than the number of people killed. The important thing in the European war was not how many people were killed but what were the causes behind it.
Senator Overman. We want to know what is going on there — the condition of the people. That is what we are more interested in.
Senator Nelson. You only gave us what you have picked up from newspapers and from interviewing those American Bolsheviks that you have referred to over in Russia?
Miss Beatty. No; you are entirely wrong.
Senator Nelson. You do not know anything of your own knowledge, and you were not there when the reign of terror broke out?
Miss Beatty. You are entirely wrong when you say I do not know anything of my own knowledge, because I do. I was in the soviet night after night.
Senator Overman. The point I make is this, if I may interrupt you, that you can not possibly know what the sentiment of the people now is, except of the 5 per cent or 10 per cent of the Bolsheviki, because sentiment could be changed over night. It is impossible for you to know what the public sentiment is there now.
Miss Beatty. Yes; that is true, Senator Overman, except to judge things of the present by the past. I was there at the time of the Korniloff revolt. In American newspapers it was stated that the streets ran rivers of blood, whereas one single officer was killed, and he shot himself.
Senator Sterling. On what occasion?
Miss Beatty. The Korniloff revolt, when Korniloff tried to become dictator of Russia. So, I say, if the reports then were so very much exaggerated, then it is not at all unlikely that they are exaggerated now.
Senator Sterling. Miss Beatty, witnesses have testified here. I recall one in particular, who had been in two different Russian prisons under the Bolshevik government. He testified that day after day Red Guards would come in, members of the Red Guard, and march out a man to be shot. Do you discredit that?
Miss Beatty. I do not know whether that is true or not. I think it is not at all unlikely, for this reason¾
Senator Sterling. You say it is not at all unlikely?
Miss Beatty. Yes; for this. reason. I was reading in one of the Russian papers a dispatch concerning conditions in one of the villages. The dispatch was to the effect that the White Guards took the village in the evening and sentenced something like 26 members of the soviet to die, and executed them on the spot. They sentenced 150 more to die the next day. The next morning the Red Guards came in and recaptured the village and executed the White Guards.
Senator Sterling. You show a disposition, I must confess, to shield the Red Guards of the Bolsheviki. Now you are saying that the Red Guards are no worse than the White Guards; and you have excused the Red Guards for some of their atrocities by telling what the White Guards had done.
Miss Beatty. You understand that everything is logical, that nothing happens without a cause.
Senator Sterling. We are talking about the manifestations, the evidences that we have, of atrocities. You think that the evidence of the atrocities amounts to little; that it is just immaterial. You want to philosophize, and you want to go to causes always —
Miss Beatty. Do you not, Senator?
Senator Sterling. Are we not justified in tracing the relation between the atrocities, these outward manifestations, these murders and this starvation, to the spirit that is behind and that goes to the cause?
Miss Beatty. You are justified if you are going to start way back in the past. That is the thing. I have been doing that. There are many witnesses who have come here. One of them left Russia some months before I left. Even before the Bolshevik revolution these men testified to what the y had heard. They told stories that I knew to be discredited when I was in Russia. But they are telling the same stories here that were told when I was there. What I contend is that you do not want to try to get at the truth by that sort of thing.
Senator Overman. You speak of people who left there before you did. However, we have had witnesses¾witness after witness¾here who left a long time after you did. They corroborate those things, and make them worse, and they were eyewitnesses to the things, not speaking from hearsay testimony.
Miss Beatty. Perhaps all the evidence has not been published in the newspapers, but most of the things that I have read m the newspapers have been hearsay evidence; and I know I have read things that were told over there that were proved not to be true.
Senator Overman. Is not the evidence that you are giving us hearsay?
Miss Beatty. Not at all.
Senator Overman. But you do not know conditions since you left, except what you have gathered from the newspapers?
Miss Beatty. I do not offer that as mv own evidence.
Senator Nelson. What else have you told us except that?
Miss Beatty. I think the fact that I am here, quite safe, after eight months in Russia, is a slight evidence of the fact that things can not be quite as terrible as has been reported.
Senator Overman. Let me say, with respect, that what you have said is hearsay and argumentative. Is not that true?
Miss Beatty. I am sorry if I am argumentative.
Senator Overman. You are fine in that line.
Senator Nelson. Are you directly or indirectly connected with the Bolshevik propaganda that is carried on under the auspices of Williams and these other men?
Miss Beatty. I am not.
Senator Sterling. Do you know Lenine?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. Did you meet him?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. Talk with him?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. And Trotsky?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. Talked with both of them?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. Have gotten their viewpoint?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Sterling. How well acquainted were you with them?
Miss Beatty. Not very well.
Senator Sterling. You had frequent interviews with them?
Miss Beatty. Enough to get their viewpoint.
Senator Nelson. And you agree mainly in their viewpoint?
Miss Beatty. No; not entirely. I disagree very much. I do not approve of suppression of the press, suppression of free speech, and many other things which the Bolsheviki have done.
Senator Nelson. In the main, you think they are on the right track?
Miss Beatty. All that I am, and all that I will permit you to say that I am, is a student of affairs in Russia. I am deeply interested in affairs in Russia, and I could not have found out anything about Russia if I had not gone to the soviets and met Lenine and Trotsky. They are the men in control of that country, and I was interested in knowing what their plans are.
Senator Overman. They told you what their plans were and what they were proposing to do; and yet it has been asserted that they have not carried out all their glorious promises.
Miss Beatty. I will say that they have not put into effect the system in which they believed.
Senator Nelson. Is not your purpose in appearing before this committee to sort of justify the Bolshevik government before our people?
Miss Beatty. Not at all. My feeling is this, that I think we have no right to intervene in Russia, and I want very much to have the American troops brought out of Russia. I want to let Russia alone.
Senator Nelson. In other words, you want the Bolsheviki, or Lenine and Trotsky, to have a free hand there. That is what you want, is it not?
Miss Beatty. If you prefer your words to mine, Senator Nelson.
Senator Nelson. I have not been able to get a direct answer from you on anything.
Mr. Humes. The fact remains that the press is suppressed, does it not?
Miss Beatty. In a measure; yes. At least it was when I was there.
Mr. Humes. And free speech is not permitted?
Miss Beatty. In a measure that is true.
Mr. Humes. And the constituent assembly has never been permitted to meet?
Miss Beatty. It met, but was dissolved.
Mr. Humes. By force?
Miss Beatty. The leaders were told to go home.
Mr. Humes. By force?
Miss Beatty. I would say by force. No force was u ed, because it was not necessary. They were told to go home.
Mr. Humes. But armed guards came to advise them to go?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Overman. They were under duress, in other words?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Mr. Humes. Therefore the Bolsheviki have suppressed the press and prohibited free speech, refused to permit the people to determine the form of government that they would have under the regularly elected constituent assembly, and since that time there has been no effort made to give the people a voice in the government through a constituent assembly?
Miss Beatty. Not through a constituent assembly. You see, they no longer believe in the constituent assembly as a form of government.
Mr. Humes. In other words, they are opposed to equal representation of the people?
Miss Beatty. They are opposed to representation based upon political control.
Mr. Humes. In other words, the Bolshevik government is not free to permit the 80 per cent of the people of Russia, to wit. the peasants, to participate in the affairs of the government equally with the other people, because they know that the peasants would not permit Bolshevik rule to long continue. Is not that so?
Miss Beatty. I do not think so. I think that is not a fact. I think if you had been in Russia you would know that it is not.
Mr. Humes. Why did they not give the peasants equal representation in the government?
Miss Beatty. When the peasants joined the national soviet I was present. In that body the peasants won every point. They got all their demands. At first Lenine and Trotsky stood out against these demands, but ultimately the peasants were admitted to the national soviet under their own terms.
Mr. Humes. But the fact remains that the representation is five to one against them in the all-Russian soviet or the all-Russian council, is it not?
Miss Beatty, I do not know.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know what the basis of representation is?
Miss Beatty. No.
Mr. Humes. Have you ever read the constitution of the soviet republic?
Miss Beatty. No; I have not.
Senator Overman. Miss Beatty, we have examined you thoroughly — about all we want — and I want to give you the free opportunity to state anything you want to state. If you desire to make any statement in addition to what you have said in response to our questions, if you desire to make any statement to the subcommittee, you may feel free to go on without interruption.
Miss Beatty. I do not know that I have a great deal to say to the committee, except that I wish we might make an honest, open investigation of this subject, because I think it is so serious we can’t afford to be bigoted. It is a pity that I have to argue here. I do not want to argue.
Senator Overman. That is the reason we sent for you to come down. You represent what some have referred to as the other side.
Miss Beatty. I do not admit that it is a question of side. In a sense I do not represent the other side. One member of the other side will not even speak on the platform with me because he says I am a bourgeois. So you see I am not a partisan in this thing.
Senator Sterling. If you will permit me, does not that position of the person of whom you speak illustrate the fatal defects in the Bolshevik system?
Miss Beatty. Well, that is an individual defect. There are many revolutionists who are very disagreeable people. But there are many of us in all walks of life who are very disagreeable.
Senator Overman. I do not want the gentlemen here to ask her any questions until she has had an opportunity to make a full statement. If you do not represent the other side, or what people have called the other side, they have asked to have you here, and we take great pleasure in having you here to make any statement that you desire, without interruption. Of course, we might have to interrupt if you should go outside of what we think is proper, but I know you will not do that.
Miss Beatty. Senator Overman, I want to say that during my eight months in Russia I met a number of men, some of whom have testified here. Some of those who have testified here know nothing about the masses of the Russian people. I met them at dinners and I met them at dances, but I never met them anywhere where the masses of the people were gathered.
Senator Overman. And you did not expect to meet them?
Miss Beatty. No; absolutely not. I only want to say that we should try to know — we can not know, but we should try to understand¾what the Russian people are thinking, what they are driving at, what are the ideals that actuate them.
I personally spent just as much time with one group as with another. I had friends among princes and friends among peasants and workers. Up to August, 1917, I had never met a Bolshevik. One day I heard something about one which made me think that he must be honest and an idealist, and I asked to meet him. I became convinced that he was honest and an idealist, and I asked to meet more and more of them.
When I went to Russia I was in favor of the Kerensky government. I thought Kerensky was the man who could best amalgamate the Russian forces and could best help to win the war, and I was deeply disappointed that he had to be overthrown. I believed that he was going to be, because everywhere I went I found evidences of this. For instance, I went to Helsingfors and visited the central committee of the Baltic fleet. Up to the time of the Korniloff revolt there were 18 Bolshevist members and no anarchists in this committee. But a little after that there were 45 Bolshevist members and 3 anarchists in a total membership of 60. This was before the Bolshevik ;:evolution, you see, and it seemed to me that this was an indication of the movement of the masses. They were sweeping away from Kerensky; and at the time of the Kerensky revolution America was practically the only country standing by him. The Russian masses had deserted him, and the other allies were trying to plare Savanikof in power. Kerensky was quite alone. It seemed there was nothing to uphold his power. I wished that he might have been backed, because I thought he would work out an orderly government.
Then there was this soviet. I said, “This is a fact. You can not know the Russian situation without knowing the facts, and the soviet is a fact.” I tried to find out what its power and force was. For a time I did some work with the Red Cross, and I prolonged my stay in Russia for that purpose longer than I had intended, to try to find out what people were thinking. I was out among the crowds, with interpreters, day and night.
Senator Overman. You do not speak Russian?
Miss Beatty. Just a little; not as you have to speak Russian to get along. But I did feel that they were misrepresenting things even at that time, over there. Being a newspaper woman, I knew how news is made, and it is very difficult to get at the facts. For instance, in Petrograd it was reported that there was a riot down in the Caucasus and that thousands of people were killed. A week later some one who was there reported that this was not true. But denials were never wired.
There undoubtedly is red terror in Russia, and it must be frightful; but I think it material that we should know what are its causes as well as its effects — what it is — do you see? And I feel that we can never work out any solution that will avoid trouble in this country or any other country in the world unless we face all the facts; unless we will see what the working people want and what can be done to give them what they need¾what they must have. There will be clashes that will mean disruption and disillusionment and terror for all of us. I think that if you note the quantity of space the newspapers are giving to this whole question of economic unrest, you will feel that it is a most important thing which you are now investigating. I do not think that a committee could be faced with a more difficult task or have a greater reason for analyzing testimony, for hearing every witness, and getting all the facts.
I admit and claim that having come away from Russia a year ago I can not know all that is going on. But I do claim that I can better judge what is going on there than people who never have been there, because I was closely associated with the working people and know perhaps better how they will react to certain things than I would know if I had never got close to them.
I do not think I have anything else to add.
Senator Overman. We are very much obliged to you. But I would like to know one thing. We are glad to have you here, and we asked the Senate to continue these hearings so that the other side might be heard, because we want to get the truth, as you say. But I want to ask you what is the extent of this menace, as I would call it, of Bolshevik propaganda in this country? What do you know about it? Is there any such thing? Do you think there is such a thing going on as trying to get our people to adopt the methods of the Bolsheviki?
Miss Beatty. I think there is a great movement on the part of the masses of the workers in many of the cities to bring about such a thing as that. I do not believe there is any very extensive amount of propaganda clone to create that situation. I know there is a man here, a Finn — an American-Finn — who is conducting a bureau of information, of Russian information, who is getting out a bulletin.
Senator Nelson. What is his name?
Miss Beatty. Mr. Nuorteva.
Senator Nelson. Where is he located?
Miss Beatty. In New York.
Senator Nelson. Headquarters there?
Miss Beatty. Yes.
Senator Nelson. Whom has he cooperating with him?
Miss Beatty. I do not know.
Senator Overman. It is shown here that we have a great many bulletins — papers of all kinds. Do you know how they get the money to print them? Do you have any idea, of your own knowledge, how they get the funds?
Miss Beatty. I do not believe there are any funds to amount to anything. The people whom I know, who have been speaking in favor of the soviet government, are all poor and have not any money.
Senator Overman. It takes money to do this.
Miss Beatty. That is why I say I do not believe there is any very extensive propaganda in this country.
Mr. Humes. Do you now know that Nuorteva is receiving money from Russia and Finland?
Miss Beatty. I heard that he received one check from Russia. but that is all I know about.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that the Russian government made an appropriation for the purpose of undertaking to interfere politically in the affairs of other countries than their own, and doing a thing that you say this country ought not to do in Russia?
Miss Beatty. I know that there was an appropriation of 2,000,000 rubles for foreign propaganda.
Senator Overman. We are very much obliged to you, Miss Beatty.
Source: Brewing and Liquor Interests and German and Bolshevik Propaganda, Reports and Hearings of the Subcommittee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, In Three Volumes, (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office), 1919, pp. 693-723.