Testimony to the
Overman Committee 2
February 21, 1919 — Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary (Overman Committee), Washington DC
Mr. Humes. Miss Bryant, yesterday you testified that when you went to Russia you had credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Was that correct?
Miss Bryant. Why, if you want to go into the whole arrangement, you probably know it very well yourself, that I had credentials from the Bell Syndicate, which was taken over by the Ledger, and I also had credentials from the Metropolitan Magazine and the other magazines in America, so I do not think there is any point to that at all.
Mr. Humes. I am not arguing about it, but I am trying to get the facts; that is all. You said yesterday that you had credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger when you went to Russia, did you not?
Miss Bryant. I will tell you —
Mr. Humes. Did you not say that yesterday?
Miss Bryant. I am supposed to be the Philadelphia Public Ledger’s correspondent, for which I wrote articles.
Mr. Humes. You said you had credentials from them?
Miss Bryant. It is not customary to go into the whole arrangements with a newspaper.
Mr. Humes. Well, did you have credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger?
Miss Bryant. From the Bell Syndicate, and when I came back I found that Mr. Wheeler, the manager, had gone to the war, so I switched to the Public Ledger and made a contract with them, and I did write my articles for them when I came back, and was advertised as their correspondent.
Mr. Humes. In other words, when you came back they bought a story from you?
Miss Bryant. They did not buy a story from me; they bought the whole series of stories, 32 articles, of 3,000 words each, which were printed in about — I do not know — perhaps 100 newspapers.
Mr. Humes. Well, it was a war story which was written serially in a number of assignments, was it not?
Miss Bryant. No; it was not one story; they were 32 separate articles. They were featured everywhere.
Mr. Humes. Inasmuch as you made the statement yesterday that you had credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger, I want to call your attention to a statement appearing in the Philadelphia Public Ledger this morning, and then ask you whether the Ledger is correct, or whether you were correct in your testimony yesterday. The title of the editorial is “Miss Louise Bryant’s wrong start,” and it reads as follows:
Miss Louise Bryant erred in her testimony before the Senate propaganda investigating committee when she said that she went to Russia as a correspondent for the Philadelphia Public Ledger or that she had credentials from this newspaper. The first knowledge that the management of the Public Ledger had of Miss Bryant wins when, upon her return from Russia, she offered for sale a manuscript recounting her observations in that country. The manuscript was bought and published under her signature.
Miss Bryant, now a propagandist for the Bolshevists, forgets that in her professional work it is essential that errors of statement should be so carefully selected that they can get at least 24 hours’ start of truth to be even moderately effective.
Is that statement in the editorial correct, or is the statement you made yesterday, that you went to Russia with credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger, correct?
Miss Bryant. I did not go with credentials from the Public Ledger, but the Public Ledger made me change my passes which I had from the soviet government and write in the name of the Public Ledger, so that it would appear that I went with credentials from the Public Ledger; so I had to cross out the name of the Bell Syndicate and put the name of the Public Ledger in there. I wanted to protect the Public Ledger as much as anyone else; that is why I did not go into it yesterday. I would just as soon be known as the correspondent of the Bell Syndicate, which is just as worthy an organization. I went to France for the Bell Syndicate.
Mr. Humes. I am not questioning that. I am only trying to find out just what the fact is. You said yesterday that you went as a war correspondent to Russia?
Miss Bryant. Yes; I did.
Mr. Humes. And that you went with credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger. Now, the fact remains that the credentials you had were from the Bell Syndicate, and that you had no credentials from the Philadelphia Public Ledger; and that all your relations, contractual and otherwise, with the Public Ledger were entered into after your return to this country; is not that true?
Miss Bryant. As soon as I got back to this country the Philadelphia Public Ledger telegraphed me and said, “Do not write any articles until you have seen us. Come to Philadelphia to see our representative,” and I went there at their instance; and when I got there they were very anxious that I should not write these articles for the Bell Syndicate, but should write them for them.
Mr. Humes. Well, there is no question but that you wrote articles for the Public Ledger, but that is not the issue. The issue is as to whether or not, when you were in Russia, you had credentials from the Ledger. You did not, did you?
Miss Bryant. No. Mr. Humes, may I make a statement here without being interrupted? It will take me only a minute. Will you give me that permission? You have let every other witness do this. I ask that permission. I knew that was what you were doing yesterday, but I did not know whether I ought to go into the whole arrangement or not.
Senator Overman. I want to know if I will be permitted to speak a whole sentence before this committee without being interrupted?
Senator Overman. You may.
Miss Bryant. Then, I want to know why, after my testimony yesterday, you sent a telegram to Mr. Williams, whom you accused of spreading Bolshevik propaganda, and said, “Disregard telegram of February 19. Subpœna withdrawn.” And if it is also true that you withdrew the subpœna to Col. Robins because you were afraid too much truth would come out here?
Mr. Humes. I do not know that I am on the witness stand, or that it is a matter with which the witness is concerned.
Miss Bryant. This telegram is signed by Lee S. Overman, chairman. Is that correct?
Senator Overman. Mr. Humes has authority to sign my name to all subpœnas to witnesses and to discharge witnesses. He has the authority to sign my name. I did not sign it personally. Mr. Humes sent it personally, I suppose.
Miss Bryant. Mr. Williams was continually under discussion here.
Senator Overman. We telegraphed him to come here.
Miss Bryant. He will be here at 4.30 this afternoon.
Mr. Humes. We wired Mr. Williams to come, and we got no response, so I canceled the telegram I sent to him.
Miss Bryant. Did you not also cancel the one to Col. Robins?
Mr. Humes. Col. Robins has never been subpœnaed, so you are quite in error there.
Senator Overman. I want to say that we have under discussion what we are going to do, on account of the shortness of the time before this session of Congress expires. The committee has not yet decided.
Miss Bryant. I see. But, nevertheless, you have given about two weeks to undersecretaries of the Y.M.C.A. and bank clerks.
Senator Overman. Will you let me talk, and I will let you talk. You will let me talk, will you not? I was going to say, and explain to you, that we have under discussion whether or not we want to adjourn this over for two weeks in order that the Senators may attend to their business in the Senate.
Miss Bryant. And so that they can pass a law first?
Senator Overman. Pass what law?
Miss Bryant. Pass a law about free speech and free press which is pending in the Senate?
Senator Overman. I do not know what may be done about that. I do not know whether we are going on with this investigation or not. That is a matter for discussion and decision hereafter. The Senators have been kept from the Senate Chamber while all these great measures have been considered, and we have under discussion whether or not we want to continue.
Miss Bryant. Senator Overman, I object to Russian politicians coming here, and people with all sorts of picayune little grievances, that can talk all they want about Russia, but if any one gets up and says he does not believe that American troops ought to be kept in Russia, or he believes in self-determination, that American is treated as a traitor. I object to that.
Senator Overman. Nobody has treated you as a traitor.
Miss Bryant. I think you did yesterday.
Senator Overman. In what way? What complaint have you got? I would like to know what complaint you have.
Miss Bryant. Well, I was not allowed to speak; I was only asked questions.
Senator Overman. I told you to come back this morning and I would hear your statement, did I not?
Miss Bryant. Then, will I be allowed to go on?
Senator Overman. Certainly. Now, you have complained to this committee, and I want to know what complaint you have. You seem to want to make a martyr of yourself, when you have not been treated unfairly that I can see. You are a woman and you do not know anything about the conduct of an examination such as we have in hand here. We are going to treat you fairly and treat you as a lady.
Miss Bryant. I do not want to be treated as a lady, but I want to be treated as a human being.
Senator Overman. I want to treat you not only as an American citizen, as a witness, and as a lady, but I want to know what complaint you have got. Because I dosed this meeting the other day and sent the people out, is that your complaint?
Miss Bryant. No; it was the whole conduct of the meeting that I objected to.
Senator Sterling. Miss Bryant, let me just tell you that you are managing, it appears to me, or trying, to create a whole lot of sympathy. You are trying to work yourself up to believe that you are being martyred here. Now, you have been treated most kindly and considerately. The chairman of this committee could not treat you in any other way than that, and I am sure that is also true of the other members of the committee.
Miss Bryant. Do you call Senator King’s treatment particularly gentle?
Senator Sterling. I did not hear a word of Senator King’s examination, but from what I heard about it I do not think there was anything in it about which you can complain.
Miss Bryant. I think everybody in this room would testify that it was not very gentle. It was a sort of third degree.
Senator Overman. I tried to explain to you that Senator King has been a judge on the bench and has had these matters come up, frequently, of witnesses who were charged with having no faith in the Christian religion, and not believing in God, and he had to go through that cross-examination and ask you those questions.
Miss Bryant. How would he have treated me if I had been a Jew?
Senator Overman. He would have asked you the same questions, if anybody had charged that you did not believe in God, as it has been charged with respect to these Bolsheviki. Whether you do or not I do not know, and therefore I am not accusing you. I do not know whether I would have asked you those questions or not, myself, but he did it, and I do not think he intended any disrespect to you. I do not think so. I am sure I want to treat you with the greatest respect. You told me yesterday that you had been asked questions, and you complained that you had not been able to make your statement. I told you that if you came back in the morning I would see that you did make your statement, and I want you to go on and make what statement you have to make. But I would like to know, why you complain that you have been treated so badly. I do not know what your complaints are except that you were asked a few questions preliminary, by Senator King. If you have any other complaint to the committee, I ask you to state it so that we may know.
Miss Bryant. My principal complaint is that the witnesses who know the most about Russia are not called; people who know most about Russia. People who were sent there in official capacities are not called.
Senator Overman. That does not affect you personally.
Miss Bryant. But it affects me a great deal, because I have been asked what they think.
Senator Overman. We have given you every opportunity, and we want you to go on and make your statement, and I will hear any statement you have got to make. But this refusing to call other witnesses is a question to be determined. I do not know whether we are going to call them or not. So if you do not know what we are going to do, why do you say that?
Miss Bryant. I have this telegram, and I also heard other rumors to-day.
Senator Overman. As far as you are concerned personally, we have not mistreated you, have we?
Miss Bryant. I am not admitting that at all, Senator.
Senator Overman. I would like to know what your complaint is.
Miss Bryant. I do not want to go into it.
Senator Overman. Will you not tell us?
Miss Bryant. It was perfectly obvious to everybody that was in this room. I will not go into it.
Senator Overman. If you do not explain what your complaint is, I can not correct it. I would like to correct any mistreatment of you, and I want to treat you with the utmost fairness. Now you can go ahead and make your statement. You know you will be treated fairly by me; you know that. I am the chairman of this committee; and I think the other Senators will agree with me that you shall be treated with the greatest respect. Your main complaint is, as I understand it, that we have not called other witnesses. When you came here and asked to be heard, I told you you should be heard, did I not?
Miss Bryant. Yes; you did the first day; and the second day you did not promise me.
Senator Overman. I did give you a hearing, whether I promised you or not.
Miss Bryant. Yes; you did afterwards.
Senator Overman. I told you I could not promise any certain particular day. Mr. Williams has never asked to be heard, that I know of.
Miss Bryant. He came up here to the public hearing and asked to be heard.
Senator Overman. You are the only witness that I know of who has asked to be heard, except for a number of letters that I have received from people asking to be heard.
Miss Bryant. But it is the same thing if people have sent letters when they could not come here.
Senator Overman. Now we understand each other.
Mr. Humes. Who have sent letters asking to be heard?
Miss Bryant. Miss Beatty did, for one; and Mr. Reed did.
Mr. Humes. Mr. Reed?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Senator Overman. That is your husband?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. I have never seen that letter.
Senator Overman. He sent me a note while you were testifying; but I thought if I could put you on the stand it would clear up some of these matters. That 1s all that I can recollect.
Mr. John Reed. I have written you a letter, too, Senator Overman.
Senator Overman. All right; I will not deny it. I may have received it, and my secretary may have it on file. I do not know. Mr. Reed, Miss Beatty, and who else?
Miss Bryant. I am sure that Mr. Keddie and different officials in Philadelphia have sent letters.
Senator Overman. Is that the man you spoke of — Mr. Keddie?
Mr. Humes. Mr. Keddie has not asked to be heard.
Miss Bryant. Some of those people have, because they published statements in papers saying they ought to be heard.
Mr. Humes. Many letters have come suggesting that certain people could prove this or prove that, but there has been no direct request from Mr. Keddie.
Miss Bryant. The general impression is, nevertheless, Mr. Humes, that you are only calling one side here. You must know that that is the general impression.
Senator Overman. Under the resolution, we are investigating the Bolshevik government in Russia.
Mr. Humes. The fact that you are permitted to testify is a complete answer to your statement. That shows there is nothing one-sided about the matter. You are here as a champion of the Bolshevik government.
Miss Bryant. I am not. I have nothing to do with that at all.
Mr. Humes. You say there are two sides. It is only a question of fact. How do you happen to say that? How do you happen to be talking about “two sides”?
Miss Bryant. Because these people who have testified before me are absolutely against everything in revolutionary Russia, and I am neither for nor against. I am trying to tell it as an observer.
Mr. Humes. You have not heard their testimony, have you?
Miss Bryant. I have been right here in this court and heard it. As long as they testified about people starving and people falling down in the streets, and all that, and about there being perfect chaos in Russia, it was all right; but the minute anybody began to testify that Trotzky was an extraordinary person, or anything like that, they were dismissed.
Mr. Humes. Have you heard any witness testify here that favored the restoration of the monarchy in Russia? Have you heard them say that they were in favor of the restoration of the monarchy, or any such thing as that?
Miss Bryant. I heard Kryshtofovich, and you know he worked for the Tsar’s Government. I think he is quite in favor of the Czar. He talked as a monarchist.
Mr. Humes. You had better read his testimony, if you think that.
Miss Bryant. He has not been in favor of either the provisional government or the soviet government.
Mr. Humes. He was not expressing his own opinion on anything. He told the conditions under all of the governments.
Senator Sterling. Your testimony here, taking it as a whole, whatever you may have said in regard to one or another particular matter, has put you in the position of a partisan and friend and defender of the Bolsheviki. You know that. Anybody gets that impression from your examination.
Miss Bryant. Surely. Why not?
Senator Sterling. Both the examination in chief and the reexamination. You are defending them all the while.
Miss Bryant. Of course. Any fair statement appears so to you. And I was given lectures.
Senator Sterling. You were not given lectures. You were cross-examined. You must submit to cross-examination when it comes. After you have testified we have to ask you questions on cross-examination, and because we have done so you have gotten the impression that we were hostile to you.
Miss Bryant. Even my morals have been suggested by Senator Nelson. He has given me regular lectures as to what I ought to think, and how I might, somehow, come out of this terrible slump that I have gotten into.
Senator Sterling. Senator Nelson asked you questions that were perfectly proper, and that were material.
Miss Bryant. He did not ask me questions. He lectured me. May I go on?
Senator Overman. I am sorry. I had great respect for you. I thought highly of your ability, and was rather impressed with you yesterday; but now you come in this morning, and from what you say I want to say that I am impressed with the fact that you are trying to make yourself out a martyr.
Miss Bryant. No; I am not. Don’t you believe it.
Senator Overman. I have asked you to state in what way the committee had treated you badly, and you said that you would not state.
Miss Bryant. May I go on with my testimony? That is my principal business here, and I wish that I could.
Senator Overman. Yes, you may go on.
Miss Bryant. Yesterday, when I offered to read various things out of soviet decrees and other things, Mr. Humes objected and said that those things were not trustworthy; but you will agree that the Congressional Record is trustworthy and fair, will you not? [Laughter.]
Senator Overman. No, I would not admit that, I think. Now, let us come down and be serious.
Miss Bryant. On January 29 certain statements were made by Senator Johnson, and some of those statements concerned myself, although he did not mention my name. He said the State Department allowed cable messages to be sent to Russia [reading]:
The messages were sent not only with the approval of the Government, but through the Government’s agencies and at the Government’s expense. * * * These messages were gathered by a person designated by the authorities and were sent to Washington to be forwarded through the State Department to Petrograd.
I was given permission to do that, and I collected messages, and these messages were sent over to Russia — this was just after Brest-Litovsk — urging the Russians to come back into the war and stay by their old peace formula. At the same time Mr. Steffens came to me¾
Senator Overman. State who Mr. Steffens is.
Miss Bryant. Lincoln Steffens. He came to me from Mr. Creel.
Senator Wolcott. That does not give me any information.
Miss Bryant. If you will let me finish my sentence, you will get it.
Senator Wolcott. All right.
Miss Bryant. Mr. Steffens came to me and said that he wanted me to sign a cablegram to Mr. Reed, who was then in Stockholm, to go back to Russia and try to pursuade Lenine and Trotzky that Mr. Wilson is sincere. I think if you will call Mr. Reed he will tell you about that, too.
Senator Wolcott. I am still waiting for you to tell me who Steffens is.
Miss Bryant. Lincoln Steffens?
Senator Wolcott. Yes.
Miss Bryant. He is one of the best known writers in the United States — probably the best known writer in the United States.
Senator Sterling. A Socialist?
Miss Bryant. Will you please tell me why it makes any difference whether a person is a Socialist or not?
Senator Sterling. I am not on the witness stand.
Miss Bryant. But you say “Socialist” as if it was a condemnation of him.
Senator Sterling. I ask you a civil question, and I do not want you to go out and complain about that, when I asked you whether he was a Socialist. You pretend to be. That is what has led you to your association with the Bolsheviki, the fact that you are a Socialist.
Miss Bryant. How do you know that it is?
Senator Sterling. You can not parade before the public the fact that you are a martyr when you are refusing to answer a civil question. I asked you if Steffens is a Socialist.
Miss Bryant. I think he is a Socialist; I am not sure.
Senator Sterling. Then, why did you not answer that he was?
Miss Bryant. Did you ever ask me if a man here is a Republican or a Democrat?
Senator Sterling. I am not here for the purpose of answering questions, but we are here to investigate these allied organizations to some extent.
Miss Bryant. You see, Mr. Steffens came from Mr. Creel. You probably know his politics.
Senator Wolcott. What is it? I do not know.
Miss Bryant. I suppose he is a Democrat.
Senator Overman. Is he a Socialist?
Miss Bryant. He is not, I am sure.
Senator Overman. Now, you could have answered that in regard to Mr. Steffens, whether he is or not. You say you do not know.
Miss Bryant. I did answer, but he shouted “Socialist!” to me.
Senator Overman. That was a perfectly civil question.
Miss Bryant. When I brought certain papers up here yesterday, the minute I started to read them you would say, “Those are printed in a Socialist paper?” and surely this implied that there was something wrong about them if they were printed in Socialist papers.
Senator Overman. No; we wanted to know the source from which they came.
Mr. Humes. Proceed with your statement.
Miss Bryant. I sent these messages out, and at that time President Wilson had sent his very friendly message to the congress of soviets that were meeting in Moscow.
Senator Wolcott. That was July 3?
Miss Bryant. Yes; that was one message, and we were given to understand that America was about to recognize the soviet government, and that is why I sent those messages; and those messages appeared in the soldiers’ and workers’ papers on the front page, and the Committee on Public Information, of course, could not have gotten that sort of publicity, because they were discredited in Russia on account of Mr. Sisson’s activities. I would like also to speak about the so-called Sisson documents, that were published in this country. If I thought that Mr. Raymond Robins was to be called, I would not go into that, because it would not be necessary to; but since I do not know, I think it is necessary. Raymond Robins had these documents, most of them, a long time before Mr. Sisson came to Russia. He gave them to Mr. Sisson as an interesting example of forged documents. Mr. Robins told me that himself in the presence of a good many other witnesses.
Senator Overman. Let me suggest this to you —
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Senator Overman. Do you know that of your own knowledge?
Miss Bryant. Yes; absolutely.
Senator Overman. From whom?
Miss Bryant. Mr. Robins himself, in the presence of witnesses.
Senator Overman. That is not competent testimony. Mr. Robins can speak for himself. But I have told you to state what you know. You are on the stand, and we want you to tell what you know.
Miss Bryant. I do know that.
Senator Wolcott. Apparently you do not know that.
Miss Bryant. Why do I not know it?
Senator Wolcott. You know that Mr. Robins told you that.
Miss Bryant. Yes; I know he told me that.
Senator Wolcott. That is all you know.
Miss Bryant. I know more than that. When these documents began to be published I wrote a letter to Mr. Creel, saying that I would stake my life on the fact that these documents were fakes, and Mr. Creel wrote back to me and said —
Senator Overman. Have you got that Creel letter?
Miss Bryant. I have not got it here, but it was published in the New York Evening Post, and you can get it. I can give you that letter.
Senator Sterling. Of what date was it published?
Miss Bryant. It was just at that time, about the third day after the Sisson documents began to come out-in the press.
Senator Wolcott. They were published by our State Department.
Miss Bryant. No; by the Committee on Public Information.
Senator Wolcott. Were they given out by that committee as trustworthy documents?
Miss Bryant. They certainly were. Mr. Creel wrote to me and said that he believed in them, but he admitted that a number of them could easily be faked, and then he went on to say that the Government was behind this, and for me to remember it; and I do not think that Mr. Creel was any better American, printing something he was not sure of, causing great hostility between two great countries, than I was because I did not think these things were genuine, and therefore should not be given out as genuine.
Senator Sterling. When you say “hostility between two great countries,” you mean between the United States and what other country — Russia?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Senator Sterling. Russia as a whole, or do you mean simply the Bolshevik government?
Miss Bryant. You see, I consider the soviet government¾there is no Bolshevik government, and I consider the soviet government¾as the real government of Russia; and certainly representing the majority of the people.
Senator Sterling. Is this not a fact, that the soviet government of Russia is dictated by the Bolsheviks? They are in control, are they not?
Miss Bryant. They are a political party. You could say that the Democrats, by the same logic, dictated the American Government in the same way. It is not really true.
Senator Sterling. Just one word about this soviet government. The members of the different soviets in Russia are not necessarily residents, are they, of the districts which they may be sent there from?
Miss Bryant. They can not be sent there to those districts. That was an absolutely erroneous statement.
Senator Sterling. You heard the statement of several witnesses to that effect, did you not?
Miss Bryant. I only heard the statement of one to that effect, that of Madame Breshkovskaya. She really does not know about the soviet government.
Senator Sterling. Do you know anything particularly about it since you left there in January, 1918?
Miss Bryant. I know the principle it is founded on, and it does not permit that.
Senator Sterling. Do not get agitated over the matter, but just answer the question. Do you know, us a matter of fact, whether or not all members of the soviets have been residents of the districts for which they were members, since you left there?
Miss Bryant. Certainly.
Senator Sterling. You know it, do you?
Miss Bryant. They could not change that.
Senator Sterling. They could not change that? Have not men been sent from Moscow to other districts to act as the soviet representatives in those other districts?
Miss Bryant. No; it does not work that way. They are sent from the local soviets into Moscow. That is the way it works.
Senator Sterling. Of course, the local soviet may —
Miss Bryant. It must send its delegate in.
Senator Sterling. Yes; it may send its delegate in; but are not delegates to local soviets sent —
Miss Bryant. No.
Senator Sterling. And members of the local soviets sent out?
Miss Bryant. No; that is not the way it works. The delegates are sent in to the central body.
Mr. Humes. Is there anything in the soviet constitution that requires residents of the districts to be sent as members of the soviet?
Miss Bryant. You understand exactly how it works, do you not? It has been explained how the soviets work and all that?
Mr. Humes. Is there anything in the constitution that requires a member of a soviet to be a resident of the district that he represents in the soviet?
Miss Bryant. Why, surely —
Mr. Humes. Just answer that question.
Miss Bryant. I can not answer a question like that, yes or no. That is where you take advantage of me, or try to take advantage of me, all the time, Major. You ask me to answer yes or no.
Mr. Humes. I do not care whether you answer yes or no, but I want an answer that is responsive to the question.
Miss Bryant. Is there anything in the constitution that requires a man to be a member of the soviet in which he lives?
Senator Sterling. To be a resident of the district?
Mr. Humes. Is there anything in the constitution that requires that a man be a resident of the district which he serves in the soviet?
Miss Bryant. I would have to look that up in the constitution. I am not sure about that; but I know perfectly well that that is the whole principle of the soviet government.
Mr. Humes. You are talking from the principles of the soviet government yourself, and you do not know what the application of them is?
Miss Bryant. I do know the application.
Mr. Humes. Do you?
Miss Bryant. Yes; of course.
Mr. Humes. You are assuming —
Miss Bryant. Yes; and all the time that I —
Mr. Humes. You are assuming that the application is in compliance with the principles?
Miss Bryant. Yes, of course; and that is the same way —
Mr. Humes (continuing. . . ) And you do not know what the application is, of your own knowledge?
Miss Bryant. Why, any more than I could say that I do not know of my own knowledge that Senators do not come from the States that they are elected from. I say that the whole principle of our country is such, but I could not say that I know it as a fact. I did not see each one come.
Mr. Humes. You know that the Constitution of the United States requires that the Members of the Senate be residents of the States from which they are elected, do you not?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. Well, does the soviet constitution require a member of the soviet to be a resident of the district for which he serves in the soviet?
Miss Bryant. Oh, I do not know, but I feel sure it does.
Senator Sterling. Have you read the constitution?
Miss Bryant. Yes; I have read it, but I do not remember that particular point. But we have the constitution here, and you can easily find that out.
Mr. Humes. I have read it very carefully and I can not find any requirement of residence in the constitution.
Miss Bryant. Why did you think that they did not reside there, because Babushka said that they were all sent out —
Mr. Humes. Because people have testified here that they were present when members of the soviet were elected and that they were people from outside of the district in which they were elected. That is why.
Senator Sterling. More than one witness has testified to that.
Miss Bryant. You have several witnesses who worked in the soviet government and are expert on it who can give you very expert evidence on that.
Senator Wolcott. It is not a case for expert testimony; it is a case of observation.
Miss Bryant. I want to go back, since it has taken up so much time, to this nationalization of women. I am very much interested in this. In the first place, they have equal suffrage in Russia, and I can not imagine how anybody would suppose that women would vote for their own nationalization. In the second place, women have always been very important in Russia. I consider that Russian women are even more belligerent than Russian men. I think that Russian men would not dare to suggest such a thing to Russian women, and I know the place and the importance of women under the soviet. Madame Kollontay, who is head of the department of welfare, has set up all sorts of splendid reforms for women in Russia. She has established, for one thing, what she calls palaces of motherhood. Women, two months before confinement, are paid their full salaries and are allowed to rest. They do not have to go to work for two months afterwards and their doctors and nurses are paid for by the State. That is one of the reforms.
Senator Overman. Right here let me ask you a question.
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Senator Overman. It was stated here by one witness that they believed in taking the children away from the mothers.
Miss Bryant. That is not true, and I wanted particularly to go into that. In the first place, Madame Kollontay’s whole idea is to do away with the dismal charitable institutions like orphan asylums. Her idea was to put the children of peasants back into peasant homes, where they would have individual care and be made a part of the family, and she was working on that and had gotten along a good ways on that when I was there. She had gone a long ways toward working that out. They do not have child labor in Russia. Women are accepted on an equal basis with men, getting equal pay for equal work. They have an equal place in the labor unions. They are not excluded from any kind of work. I never have been in a country where women were as free as they are in Russia and where they are treated not as females but as human beings. When a woman gets up at a public meeting and makes a speech nobody thinks about her being a lady or about what kind of a hat she happens to wear. They just think of what she says. It is a very healthy country for a suffragist to go into. They asked me when I was in Russia about how many women we had in Congress and in the Senate. I would like to tell you this, if l may be permitted.
Senator Sterling. Yes.
Miss Bryant. I told them about Jeannette Rankin, that we had one in Congress, and that we had made quite a fuss over her, and we did not know whether we would ever have another one. They were quite surprised. They could not understand, when we had had democracy here so long, that our women, most of them, were not even enfranchised. So that you see they criticize us in many ways just as we criticize them. But they never went to the extent that they said that everybody in the United States was a Mormon because there is Mormonism in the United States. They never went to the point where they said all Congressmen and Senators are Holy Rollers because we have Holy Rollers here. They read our marriage laws and understood them, although they consider them ridiculous. But we in United States have taken a little bit of a decree printed by an anarchist club and made it the expression of all Russia; and that is what I want to speak of, because I can not believe that any man on this committee can be so gullible that he can believe that the women of Russia are nationalized.
Mr. Humes. Was there not something else besides that decree introduced in evidence here?
Miss Bryant. No. Mr. Simmons said it was printed in a paper there. That does not prove anything. I would like to tell you about that.
Mr. Humes. No; it was not with reference to a decree published in a paper, or not published, but it was with reference to another decree than the anarchist decree.
Miss Bryant. Did you say it was anything else but an anarchist decree?
Mr. Humes. Absolutely. Now, let me ask you, where is Kronstadt, and what is Kronstadt?
Miss Bryant. It is the naval base.
Mr. Humes. A naval base. Just where is Kronstadt?
Miss Bryant. It is near Petrograd.
Mr. Humes. And is it not the center of much of the Bolshevik revolution?
Miss Bryant. Yes; the Kronstadt sailors are Bolsheviks.
Mr. Humes. Did you not know that the soviet or the soldiers and sailors of Kronstadt also took action in this matter?
Miss Bryant. I know that is not true, because a woman who was the head of the soviet there¾
Mr. Humes. What is that?
Miss Bryant. There was a woman at the head of the soviet in Kronstadt, a Madame Stahl, a very splendid woman, who believed in the equality of women, and she certainly never put over anything like that on her own sex.
Mr. Humes. Then, you say that the sailors at Kronstadt never passed such a decree?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. And that the statement to that effect is the anarchist decree, the authenticity of which, you admit, is not correct?
Miss Bryant. Yes; I believe it is not correct.
Mr. Humes. You believe it is not correct?
Miss Bryant. Yes; I am sure it is not correct. How could it be?
Mr. Humes. Do you believe that the Izvestija —
Miss Bryant. Have you the Izvestija? You said this was in the Izvestija, and I found out by looking up my notes that it was never printed in the Izvestija but in this [indicating paper]. I will tell you —
Mr. Humes. You receive the Izvestija in this country?
Miss Bryant. I see it in this country.
Mr. Humes. How many issues of it have you seen?
Miss Bryant. I have seen quite a few.
Mr. Humes. Is it a daily paper?
Miss Bryant. It has been printed daily. I do not know whether it has always been or not.
Mr. Humes. Can you read Russian?
Miss Bryant. Yes; slowly.
Mr. Humes. Since you came back, in January, 1918, how many copies of the Izvestija have you seen?
Miss Bryant. Oh, my, I have piles of them that were brought back. Mr. Williams brought back a whole trunkful.
Mr. Humes. How many?
Miss Bryant. I do not know the exact number.
Mr. Humes. When did Williams leave Petrograd?Miss Bryant. I do not know the exact day he left Petrograd, but he has been here less than two months.
Mr. Humes. He came out through Siberia, did he not?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. He left Petrograd in the middle of the summer, did he not?
Miss Bryant. He left after all this came out.
Mr. Humes. How do you know when this came up?
Miss Bryant. It was supposed to be in July, was it not, or something like that?
Mr. Humes. How do you fix the time of it? I thought it never came up at all.
Miss Bryant. I fix the time by the fact that Jerome Davis, who was head of the Y.M.C.A., said that he personally investigated the Vladimir story, the one that you are particularly anxious to prove was a soviet affair, and he said that he went there, and it was not true. He is head of the Y.M.C.A., and I should not think that he would make a false statement.
Mr. Humes. When did he go there?
Miss Bryant. He went there when he heard this rumor, and he found that there was nothing in it at all; that it had nothing to do with the soviet.
Mr. Humes. Did he say when he made the inquiry?
Miss Bryant. I mean that he made the inquiry after it came up. He does not say how many days after, or how long after, but he is very willing to testify, and he can tell you.
Mr. Humes. It did come up in Russia?
Miss Bryant. Yes; of course, it was printed as an anarchist decree; but if you will let me go on I can tell you more about it than I did yesterday.
Senator Wolcott. You will get to tell about it.
Mr. Humes. We will let you tell anything about whatever you have knowledge of. You say they investigated there this anarchist decree that was published?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. And did he ever tell you of the publication of the decree in the Izvestija? Did he say anything about that?
Miss Bryant. It is not a very large story, but he wants to testify here. He can tell you all about it. He says he has absolute knowledge about it.
Mr. Humes. Do you mean to say he has asked to testify?
Miss Bryant. I hope that he is asked to testify. I believe he has — I hope he is called, because he has all this knowledge; and surely, if you are particularly anxious to know —
Mr. Humes. I have in my pocket his official report to the Government.
Miss Bryant. Well —
Mr. Humes. I assume that he would testify to the same things that he put in the official report; do you not suppose he would?
Miss Bryant. I do not know. I suppose so. But I should think he would be the one to testify.
Mr. Humes. To judge whether his report to the Government is correct or not? Do you not think that the official report that Mr. Davis made to the Government would probably answer the purposes of the inquiry?
Miss Bryant. Not at all. I should think there would be no objection to asking Mr. Davis what he meant by making a public statement that he had investigated this matter, and found it to be false.
Mr. Humes. Mr. Davis is not under investigation.
Miss Bryant. He made an investigation, I said.
Mr. Humes. Did Mr. Davis say anything about investigating the action of the soviet at Kronstadt?
Miss Bryant. He said that there were some anarchist societies at that time, but they were afterwards suppressed by the Bolsheviki; and that the anarchists of Moscow had to have machine guns brought out to put them out of business. This happened, as you may know around in a great many places in Russia.
Mr. Humes. Did you ever see it happen?
Miss Bryant. Yes; I saw them fighting with the anarchists.
Mr. Humes. How frequently?
Miss Bryant. Whenever it was necessary.
Mr. Humes. How frequently; twice, a dozen times, or how frequently? This is a very material fact in relation to Russia.
Miss Bryant. Whenever the anarchists tried to confiscate property without the plan of the soviets, which was very definite; and if they went to live in the palaces or acted in any other way than that approved of. The palaces were turned into people’s museums, and they were full of precious art, and the Russians love their art, and they did not want it destroyed in any way, so they turned these palaces into people’s museums as the French did.
Mr. Humes. How many people did you see shot at and killed or wounded?
Miss Bryant. Well, there were street battles when I was in Petrograd, and there was firing going on all the time.
Mr. Humes. There was firing going on all the time?
Miss Bryant. Of course; it was civil war, as I have said.
Mr. Humes. Usually, when that firing was going on, some one was killed, was he not?
Miss Bryant. Not always. By no means.
Mr. Humes. Half the time?
Miss Bryant. No, sir.
Mr. Humes. How many times did you see people killed under those circumstances?
Miss Bryant. I told you. I told you all about that and how many I saw killed yesterday,
Mr. Humes. You said there was only one case where you saw anyone killed.
Miss Bryant. No; I said two cases.
Mr. Humes. One was when a motor car came down the street and did the firing?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. The other was simply an isolated case of the shooting of an individual?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. You have just stated that these fights with anarchists were a common happening.
Miss Bryant. Well, they were; you see —
Mr. Humes. And you saw them?
Miss Bryant. This is the way it was. When you were going through the streets sometimes there was shooting; I mean we could hear firing; and then again we would ask for reports and the officials told us about various things and what was going on, and in that way we found out and knew what it was. We did not see people actually being killed, but we found that there was fighting going on.
Mr. Humes. This shooting was going on on the streets?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. I understood you to say yesterday that it was very seldom that there was any shooting on the streets, and here you say —
Miss Bryant. I did not mean you to understand that. I said that there was a state of civil war. I said no one bothered me. I was not armed.
Senator Sterling. I got altogether a different impression. I want to ask you the question if you did not seek to convey the impression in your testimony of yesterday that it was quite orderly in Petrograd, and that there was very little destitution?
Miss Bryant. I said there was no more destitution in the soviets than under Kerensky; that it was always disorganized since the beginning of the war. Will you let me finish with this decree? You asked me a question.
Mr. Humes. We will confine it to this one subject of the nationalization of women.
Miss Bryant. About Vladimir. The first four paragraphs of that decree of Vladimir are the original decree. The rest were added as a satire by a comic paper, the Moocka, which means the fly. It was published in the late spring of 1918 in Moscow, and it was considered nothing but a great joke in Russia.
Mr. Humes. The material that was added, then, in the comic paper in Russia was such material as we in the United States consider obscene matter, was it not?
Miss Bryant. Oh, no; not at all. Not anyway in Russia.
Mr. Humes. Do you mean to say that the contents of this decree, after the first four paragraphs, is not of an obscene nature that would never be permitted in public print in this country?
Miss Bryant. I will explain to you first —
Mr. Humes. Just answer the question and then explain. You can make any explanation you want.
Miss Bryant. Yes; but —
Mr. Humes. It would not be permitted in this country?
Miss Bryant. Yes. Now, let me explain.
Mr. Humes. Let me ask you, is it not a fact, then, that the respect for women and respect for morals was not at the high point that you have undertaken to convey, if material of that kind was being printed in the comic papers of Russia as a joke, and looked upon as a joke, rather than as a serious infringement of any moral code of any civilized rare?
Miss Bryant. The same thing was printed in France as a comic thing. You see, the Russians and the French, and all European peoples do not have our puritanical ideas about what they should print and what they should not print. They think these things are very funny. We in America would not allow a single line or illustration printed in a paper of the ordinary French comic illustrated sheet to pass through our mails. We do not believe in these things, but those people think they are humorous; they think they are funny.
Mr. Humes. Then, the moral code of America is very much higher than that of the Russians?
Miss Bryant. I would not say it is higher. It is very different; not so flexible. I would not say it was any higher. I would say that we were more puritanical and less sophisticated than they are over there.
Mr. Humes. You think that the Russian and French practice of printing this obscenity in a humorous vein is preferable to our code of morals which disapproves of such practices?
Miss Bryant. I do not say it is preferable, but like all European things, I think it is not my business as an American to tell the Russians or the French what to print in their papers, so I have looked at it just as a neutral observer, not taking a stand on it one way or another.
Mr. Humes. Do you think we are puritanical when we disapprove of that sort of thing?
Miss Bryant. I think we are, as compared to what other countries allow to be printed in their papers. My whole point about Russia is that we are interfering too much in her affairs. In a little while we will be telling the Russians what they shall put on in their theaters. We do not allow them to do what they desire.
Mr. Humes. You approve, do you, of the decrees, the so-called legislation, or dictatorial legislation, that has been enacted by the Russian government?
Miss Bryant. I told you yesterday that I neither approve nor disapprove. The one point that I have made right straight along, and that I am not going to be swerved from, is that I do not believe in intervention, and I do not believe America has any right to go into Russia and send a force of American boys there to fight and settle the internal affairs of Russia; because no one came into our country during our Civil War, even during Sherman’s march from Atlanta to the sea, which was certainly considered a little ruthless by the European world.
Mr. Humes. Then you believe that Russia should have absolute self-determination?
Miss Bryant. I certainly do.
Mr. Humes. Do you approve, then, of the Russian government making an appropriation for the purpose of trying to control the political action and political activities in other countries other than Russia?
Miss Bryant. I do not know that it has, any more than the kind of work our Committee on Public Information does in foreign countries.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that there was an appropriation of a large sum made by the soviet government for the purpose of undertaking to influence the political action in other countries than Russia?
Miss Bryant. I know —
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that as a fact?
Miss Bryant. I do not know that as a fact; but I will tell you what I do know as a fact.
Mr. Humes. Do you deny that?
Miss Bryant. I will explain it. I neither deny it nor affirm it. I will explain it.
Mr. Humes. You explain it?
Miss Bryant. I will, because you can not deny nor affirm certain statements without confusing your testimony.
Mr. Humes. You have not seen the act or decree that made an appropriation for that purpose? Have you not admitted here that there was money being sent over to this country for propaganda purposes?
Miss Bryant. Will you let me explain? Mr. Nuorteva told you that he got money, and he wanted to come here and explain why he got it, and you have not called him.
Mr. Humes. Answer my question now.
Miss Bryant. That is in answer to your question. He said he would explain the whole reason why he got the money.
Mr. Humes. Let me ask you again, Miss Bryant: Do you approve of the Russian appropriation of money for the purpose of influencing and dominating political action in the United States as to its internal affairs?
Miss Bryant. Let me say —
Mr. Humes. Just answer the question.
Miss Bryant. I have got to answer it in my own way. I can not answer it in any other way. I said that I am principally concerned about what happens in America. I am an American. I do not approve of many things that happen in Japan or many things that happen in Russia, but that is not my particular business.
Mr. Humes. Now, you are concerned, then, about what happens in Russia, in so far as it concerns the activities of the United States?
Miss Bryant. Of course, I am an American, and I have a lot of faith in these United States.
Mr. Humes. But you are not concerned about what happens in Russia if it is intended to influence political action in the United States?
Miss Bryant. Why, Mr. Humes, you must know that the monarchists are allowed to buy whole half sheets in all our papers to carry on their propaganda. I do not approve of that either, and I would not approve if the soviets did; but that goes unhindered.
Mr. Humes. Do you mean to tell me and tell this committee that the soviet newspapers are permitting the publication of any material criticising or opposing the activities of the Bolshevik government?
Miss Bryant. Why, there are other political papers being published there.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that all of the newspapers in Russia were taken over, under the constitution, by the soviet government?
Miss Bryant. Do you know how they were distributed? I can tell you that.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that they were taken over?
Miss Bryant. I know they were taken over, and for this reason: In our country one rich man can own perhaps 20 papers and can control their policies and can form public opinion, and they decided in Russia that they did not want that state of affairs, so they changed it and made it a government force; and it is according to how many members you have in your party, the various printing arrangements that you are allowed. That is the way it is run. The social revolutionists have their own paper.
Mr. Humes. Then you think the proper practice for Russia, and consequently it will be the proper practice in the United States, is to take over and control all of the newspapers; is that true?
Miss Bryant. You see, Mr. Humes, I told you yesterday that I am very sympathetic toward socialism. I have never been a member of any party, but I am very sympathetic toward socialism, and the Socialists have believed in government ownership for 100 years.
Mr. Humes. You believe in the government ownership of newspapers?
Miss Bryant. Of course, if I believe in government ownership I must believe in it for newspapers.
Mr. Humes. Then you believe that the Government should control all of the newspapers; and you say the Bolshevik is the only political power in power in Russia; and therefore in this country if the Democratic Party was in power the Democratic Party would dominate all the newspapers, and if the Republican Party was in power the Republican Party would dominate all the newspapers of the country?
Miss Bryant. You did not follow me. I just said that the majority would have their own press, you understand? If the Democratic Party was a bigger party than the Republican Party it would have more papers, but if it was not a bigger party and if the Republican Party split, as it did at the time of the Bull Moose, then it would not have.
Senator Overman. Do you know David Leavitt Hough?
Miss Bryant. I do not believe I do.
Senator Overman. Nevsky, 1, Petrograd?
Miss Bryant. 1 Nevsky, Petrograd — Nevsky Prospect? I know the street, but I do not think I know the man.
Senator Overman. I have a letter from him this morning, and I just wanted to identify him if I could.
Miss Bryant. I do not know him at all.
Senator Overman. He says:
I know and understand so well the Russian character that I know how hopeless it is that they will ever be able to “self-determine” until the opportunity is made for them so to do by policing the country from the outside under the direction of some such wise and generous man as Gen. Wood, who did so well in Cuba.
Miss Bryant. No; I don’t know him. I have never met him.
Senator Overman. He says he spent a part of his time in Russia.
Mr. Humes. Miss Bryant, in order that we may get your viewpoint — because the viewpoint of a witness is always important in weighing the testimony — you feel that when the United States interfered in Cuba in order to maintain a stable government, it was interfering with the free self-determination of the people of Cuba, and that it was a mistake, and that Cuba ought to have been permitted to conduct a civil war and settle its own affairs without the assistance of anyone else; is that true?
Miss Bryant. I can not answer you that, because I know very little about Cuba. I could not possibly answer it without speaking unintelligently. I am glad to tell you, however, that I think that Mexico ought to settle its own affairs.
Mr. Humes. In other words, if the situation in Cuba —
Miss Bryant. I do not know anything about Cuba. I will tell you that from the beginning.
Mr. Humes. Wait until I ask the question. If the conditions in Cuba at the time of the American intervention were similar to the conditions in Mexico at this time, or the conditions in Russia, it was wrong for this country to assist in the organization and establishment of a stable government and the restoration of peace?
Miss Bryant. I do not think it is synonymous at all, from what little I know of it; but I am not going to discuss it, because I said I do not know anything about Cuba, and you would put me on record as saying something about a country which I do not know anything about.
Mr. Humes. You say it is not analogous, and yet you say you do not know anything about it?
Miss Bryant. I have not concealed my opinion about Russia, and you know that perfectly well, so why drag in Cuba?
Mr. Humes. I am trying to get your viewpoint.
Miss Bryant. I said I actually believed in self-determination. But a little bit of an island like Cuba can hardly be compared with a country like Russia, with 180,000,000 people.
Mr. Humes. You believe that Russia should have self-determination —
Miss Bryant. I do.
Mr. Humes (continuing. . . ) Without interference from this country, to establish their own government; but it is proper for them, during the time they are trying to establish their own government, to undertake to interfere with the political affairs of other countries than their own, and to appropriate money for that purpose?
Miss Bryant. I do not know whether they are doing that or not. You can find out from Mr. Nuorteva. I do not know what they are doing with their funds, or if they are allowed to use funds.
Senator Wolcott. May I interject a remark there? I thought I understood you to say yesterday that you knew they were interfering with the political affairs of another nation, to wit, Germany?
Miss Bryant. Oh, yes; in Germany.
Senator Wolcott. Now, why do they not let Germany alone? Why do they not apply their doctrine there —
Miss Bryant. You do not object to the fact that they brought about the German revolution and stopped the war long ahead of time? It was one of their ways of fighting.
Senator Wolcott. It is absolutely not worth while for me to undertake to try to question you. I make the same complaint against you that you make against this committee. You will not let me finish what I am asking. Go ahead and make your statement.
Miss Bryant. That was one of their ways of fighting, by destroying Germany from the inside. They did it, and they did it very effectively; and any military man will tell you that if it had not been for them the war would have lasted a great deal longer than it did.
Senator Wolcott. I doubt if a military man would say that. I think a military man would say that the Germans were beaten on the west front, and that is what caused the war to end.
Miss Bryant. But beating the Germans on the western front did not necessarily mean that the Kaiser had to abdicate. A military defeat does not always mean a change of government.
Senator Wolcott. I think it does.
Miss Bryant. Ebert always stood for the Kaiser, and so did Scheidemann, so why should they be against him at any time?
Senator Wolcott. I do not think you are very well qualified to discuss military problems, and neither am I.
Miss Bryant. I agree with you, Senator Wolcott; I am not; and that is why I do not think that bank clerks and Y. M. C. A. secretaries, or very old ladies, ought to come to you and tell you that we should have a thousand troops in Russia, or 10,000 troops in Russia, because I do not think they know anything about military affairs. I would not presume to tell this committee how many troops ought to go to Russia to overwhelm the Bolsheviki.
Senator Overman. You are opposed to any troops going there at all?
Miss Bryant. Yes. I am opposed to it, surely, because the people in Russia do not want them there. I have two brothers in the Army, who volunteered and went to France to fight for democracy. They did not volunteer to fight the Russians; they volunteered to fight the Germans.
Senator Overman. I want to say that this committee has to be in the Senate in five minutes, as the appropriation bill is coming up to-day, and so we will have to take a recess. I do not know whether to take a recess until half past 3 or not. Senator Wolcott has agreed to stay and conduct this examination and hear Miss Bryant’s statement, and I hope, Mr. Humes, you will let her make her statement and not ask too many questions; but Senator Wolcott will conduct the hearing. I am sorry I have to go, but we will just let Senator Wolcott stay here, as he has kindly agreed to do it. I will turn this letter from Mr. Hough over to you, Mr. Humes, as he wants to be heard. I am sorry I can not stay, but I have got to go.
Senator Wolcott. All right, Miss Bryant, you may proceed.
Miss Bryant. One point I want to make particularly clear is that in all the time I was in Russia I did not hear Russians denouncing America and saying they hated America. On the other hand, they seemed to have a more friendly feeling toward us than they did toward any other nation. Before I left Russia I went to see Marie Spirodonova, who is the most politically powerful woman in Russia, and the last thing that she said was, “Try to make them understand in great America how hard we over here are striving to maintain our ideals.” They always had the feeling that we alone would stand out against intervention, would stand out against any real bad conduct of other nations toward Russia; that if Russia was hard pressed, as it was at that time, that we would not stand for going in there and trying to crush the people. Another point I wanted to bring out was that in all this reign of terror these men here have told you about, it is well to remember that not one American citizen was killed in Russia during all of that turmoil.
Mr. Humes. May I ask you right there, has not this woman you spoke of been since imprisoned by the Bolsheviki?
Miss Bryant. No, sir. If you will ask Gregory Yarros about that — he is the Associated Press man — he can tell you the whole story. She had a fight with the Bolsheviki. She is a very belligerent person. She was one of the people who planned the death of Mirbach. She is a terrorist, and she did that; and the soviets at the time, while they were organizing their army and wanted to push the Germans back, still felt that terror was a very bad thing for any country, because it really works against you, as you know, and stirs up all the radicals, and everybody gets blamed for it; and they did not want the Germans in Moscow as a consequence, and they thought it was not a good plan; but she really did help plan that assassination, and yet she is still working with the soviets.
Mr. Humes. Just let me catch that. She planned the death of Mirbach?
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. Therefore, she was fighting the Germans?
Miss Bryant. Oh, yes.
Mr. Humes. Yet she was put in jail because of her interference with the soviets in fighting the Germans?
Miss Bryant. I did not say she was put in jail; but you see what they were trying to do was to prevent terror there, so that they could go on with the regular warfare and put them out. For myself, I do not blame Spirodonova for helping to plan the death of Mirbach. I am not denouncing her for that. I like her better than any other woman I know.
Mr. Humes. Go on with your statement.
Miss Bryant. Well, the point that I was going to make was that not one American was killed in Russia. I mean by that civilians, people who were not carrying on actual warfare.
Senator Wolcott. Men were thrown in jail, however.
Miss Bryant. I know, but don’t you understand that if they had gotten in the way of the army they should have been put in jail? Americans were put in jail in France and other countries, correspondents and others, at the beginning of the war.
Senator Wolcott. Were they not put in jail by the civil authorities, as distinguished from the military authorities?
Miss Bryant. When a country is under military control, and in actual civil warfare, the military authorities, of course, are the only authorities.
Senator Wolcott. The American consul was put in jail, and is still in jail.
Miss Bryant. Yes, because they accused him of starting a counter-revolution, and I believe there is some good evidence of that.
One of the witnesses said that an American negro was one of the commissars, and that showed his complete ignorance of Russian affairs. There was one American negro in Petrograd, and this American negro was a professional gambler.
Senator Wolcott. Was that the man that they called Prof. Gordon?
Miss Bryant. I think that is the man they called Prof. Gordon, I don’t know. This negro was arrested by the provisional government and put in jail because they did not want him around there; and after the soviets came into power they were always having trouble with this negro, but he would not go home, and stayed around there and was always gambling, and they arrested him and took him up to the American consulate and asked him to send him home. He certainly did not get any place in the government.
Senator Wolcott. That was up until January, when you left?
Miss Bryant. Why should they?
Senator Wolcott. That is the point, and I made that same inquiry, why should they?
Miss Bryant. I want to read something written by a man from the French military mission in Moscow, on July 14, 1918 — a man by the name of Sadoul. He says, “We will not win the war by killing the Russian revolution.” This was at the time we began intervention.
Senator Wolcott. What is his nationality?
Miss Bryant. French.
Senator Wolcott. He is a Frenchman?
Miss Bryant. Yes; a member of the military mission there.
Senator Wolcott. You personally know him?
Miss Bryant. No; but I knew he was there, and I have seen him. He continues:
By committing such a crime we shall not accomplish the task toward civilization which the allies have set before them and we shall not realize a democratic and just peace, the principles of which have been enunciated by our socialist party and so eloquently developed by Wilson.
The ministers of the entente, misinformed through the blindness of their intelligence service, were in a position to easily delude the masses of workingmen and direct them against the power of the Soviets. But the day will come when the allies will be swept aside and the truth proclaimed. What bitter reproaches will then be addressed to the guilty governments for not having known better or not having wanted to know better?
What resentment, what hatred will accumulate, and what terrible and unnecessary fights are in store for the future? But the crime will be irreparable! New ruins will not make old ruins look less ugly.
Mr. Humes. When was that statement made?
Miss Bryant. July 14, 1918.
Mr. Humes. Do you know where this man is now?
Miss Bryant. I do not know where he is now. He was with the French military mission.
Mr. Humes. You do not know what his attitude is now, do you?
Miss Bryant. I suppose it is the same as it was.
Mr. Humes. You suppose that?
Senator Wolcott. The substance of what he said was that he would not advise intervention.
Miss Bryant. He thought it would be almost irreparable for the allies to start out with such high ideals and then to smash them.
Senator Wolcott. His statement throws no light on the conditions in Russia.
Miss Bryant. I will tell you of another man who did throw light on conditions in Russia, and he knew Russia very well.
Senator Wolcott. His statement is simply the announcement of his opinion that intervention would be unwise, and he gives the reasons for having that opinion.
Miss Bryant. Yes. Well, he is a military man, and I should think he would have some idea about it. And then, you see, Arthur Ransome was another man who was brought up here in the testimony, and I believe one witness said he was “at large in the United States.” Of course, I think that is a rather peculiar way to speak about a man like Ransome.
Senator Wolcott. I do not recall that.
Miss Bryant. That was printed in one of the papers. I was not here at the testimony.
Senator Wolcott. I do not recall it.
Mr. Humes. Do you not think that is a better sort of humor than the sort which you say is so frequent in Russian and French papers?
Miss Bryant. As I say, I am not a censor of European morals at all.
Mr. Humes. Proceed with your statement.
Miss Bryant. Arthur Ransome was a correspondent of the London Daily News and also of The New York Times; and I want to say, Mr. Humes, that The New York Times did to Arthur Ransome very much the same thing as the Public Ledger did to me. Arthur Ransome was their correspondent, but as soon as Arthur Ransome came out and gave his opinion about what would happen in case of intervention they no longer wrote of him as their regular correspondent, whose articles they had printed from daily cables. They called him the “mouthpieee of the Bolsheviki.” And that is one of the things that I want to bring out here, that newspaper reporters who try to honestly tell what is happening in Russia are intimidated always when they make their statements, and they are intimidated to the point where they not only lose their jobs, but they lose their reputations, and they lose their chance to make a living. That is why most of them can not afford to tell the truth. They remain absolutely silent, or else they tell how many people fall dead in the streets and how many horses they see fall dead in the streets.
Mr. Humes. Which particular witness are you applying that to?
Miss Bryant. I am referring now particularly to Mr. Herman Bernstein.
Senator Wolcott. Miss Bryant, I want to read you a clipping from the Philadelphia Ledger.
Miss Bryant. They read that here to me to-day, I think.
Senator Wolcott. This one?
Miss Bryant. The one about myself?
Senator Wolcott. Yes.
Miss Bryant. They read that to me when I first came in, and there was a long discussion about it. That is why I mentioned it just now again.
Senator Wolcott. I was not present.
Mr. Humes. Proceed with your statement.
Miss Bryant. The head of the Y.M.C.A. printed in the February 8, 1919, Survey an article telling about how easy it was to cooperate with the soviets.
Mr. Humes. What is his name?
Miss Bryant. His name is Davis.
Senator Wolcott. What is the date of that?
Miss Bryant. February 8, 1919.
Senator Wolcott. What is the title of it?
Miss Bryant. “Cooperating with the Commissars.”
Senator Wolcott. By whom?
Miss Bryant. Jerome Davis, the head of the Y.M.C.A. for two years in Russia. I understood he was the chief secretary and that he had charge. We understood that in Petrograd.
Mr. Humes. He had charge of a particular district, did he not?
Miss Bryant. I am not sure about that, but we always understood he was at the head of the Y.M.C.A. in Russia. He says:
National Soviet lenders at almost every interview emphasized their desire for the continuance of our work, their wish that American would send more men and other experts to help in all phases of educational, economic, and relief work. Time after time they spoke of how much they wished an American railroad commission would come to Russia. My personal experience, after having had charge of the relationships with the Bolshevik government during almost the entire period that the Y.M.C.A. was in Soviet territory, justifies me in stating that we always received every cooperation from the national Soviet government.
The great majority of those who have worked in Soviet Russia under the organization mentioned above will agree with me that it is possible to help the Russian people under the Bolshevik government.
Senator Wolcott. Did we not send a railroad commission to Russia?
Miss Bryant. We did; but you probably know what happened to it.
Senator Wolcott. We sent one, did we not?
Miss Bryant. Yes; but it is not working with the people at the present time.
Senator Wolcott. Mr. Davis says in there that the Russian people wished we would send a railroad commission.
Miss Bryant. He means the soviets, of course.
Senator Wolcott. The Russian people wish we would send one there to help the soviets?
Miss Bryant. That was his impression.
Senator Wolcott. You do not think we ought to do that, do you?
Miss Bryant. Well, I think we ought to decide that for ourselves. I think a great deal of our unemployment in America is due to the fact that we do not have an open avenue into Russia now, because they need all sorts of supplies, and I think it would be helpful for both countries if we really had more amicable relations.
Senator Wolcott. I thought your idea was that the Russian people did not want our business men around. Why should we send anything over there to help them in any way.
Miss Bryant. For one reason; it is good business; if for no other reason. Every country wants to trade with Russia. You will agree with me on that.
Senator Wolcott. Yes; but this proposition is to send a railroad commission over there to work with the soviets. Do you favor our going over there and helping the soviets?
Miss Bryant. I think you are the people who ought to decide that. I do not know anything about it.
Mr. Humes. I thought Russia ought to decide that. I thought they ought to determine these things themselves. Your position now is that the United States Government ought to settle the question as to whether they will send anything over there to help the soviet government, and yet you question as to whether any intervention shall be undertaken against the soviets; that that is a matter for Russia to settle. How do you reconcile those two positions?
Miss Bryant. Mr. Humes, I am perfectly consistent. I think we ought to settle what action we should take, and I said the Russians ought to settle their own affairs — their own actions. If we decile now whether we shall send a commission or shall not send a commission, that is our business. That is what I said from the beginning.
Mr. Humes. Is not that interfering with their self-determination? Do you not think that they ought to determine whether we shall send anyone over there to help or not?
Miss Bryant. If they ask us for it, it is for us to decide whether we will do it. Of course, we are not going to send a commission in there just willy nilly, without their asking for any of these things or without it being to our advantage to comply.
Mr. Humes. You quoted Jerome Davis. I want to read you two sentences from an official report of Jerome Davis to the American Consul General. You have quoted him as an authority. [Reading. . . ]
The legitimate criticism of Government acts was stifled by the suppression of all except Bolsheviki papers and the opposite parties were either under arrest or in hiding. At the same time the Government gave up all hope of printing to represent all classes and parties of workers and peasants, but thereafter busied itself in trying to keep the power.
Miss Bryant. Well, that was during the first days, was it not, in the transitory period? Everybody knows that when a people first take over the government, and a city is under martial law, there is not much free press at that particular time.
Mr. Humes. This was after the assassination of Mirbach.
Miss Bryant. That was also in a critical hour.
Mr. Humes. This was subsequent to that?
Miss Bryant. I would like to read you an explanation of Lenine’s attitude toward the press. He wrote this:
In the serious, decisive hour of the revolution and the days immediately following, the provisional revolutionary committee was compelled to adopt a whole series of measures against the counter-revolutionary press of all shades. At once cries arose from all sides that the new socialistic authority was violating the essential principles of its program. The workers’ and soldiers’ government draws attention to the fact that in our country behind such a shield of liberalism is hidden an attempt to poison the minds and bring confusion into the consciousness of the masses. It was impossible to leave such a weapon as willful misrepresentation in the hands of the enemy, for it is not less dangerous than bombs and machine guns.
That is why temporary and extraordinary measures have been adopted for cutting off the stream of calumny in which the yellow press would be glad to drown the young victory of the people.
As soon as the order will be consolidated, all administrative measures against the press will be suspended. Full liberty will be given within the broadest and most progressive measures in this respect; even in critical moments the restriction of the press is admissible only within the bounds of necessity.
Mr. Humes. Is not that policy being invoked more strongly to-day than it was at the time that statement was made?
Miss Bryant. I do not think so.
Mr. Humes. Do you know?
Miss Bryant. You understand — I have not been there, but they are still publishing other papers.
Mr. Humes. Will you name some other papers that are being published in Russia than Bolshevik papers or papers that are controlled by the government?
Miss Bryant. If you want to bring me the files, I do not know the names, but I can get the papers.
Mr. Humes. I will be glad to have you furnish me with Russian papers printed in Russia that are opposing the Bolshevik government. You can give me those papers later.
Miss Bryant. I will be glad to do so. Mr. Nuorteva will give them to you first hand. There is also another thing that I want to bring out, and that is about terror. The white terror in Finland was perhaps the worst terror of the whole war in any country. You know that the White Guard Finns attempted to establish a German king on the throne, and the White Guards fought in the German trenches from the beginning of the war. I have some pictures which I want to give you showing the White Guards, and these [indicating] are Red Guards that they shot by machine gun fire.
Mr. Humes. Did you take those pictures?
Miss Bryant. They were taken just after I had gone through Finland. These were brought over to Mr. Nuorteva by a man who escaped. These are people shot down by machine guns.
Mr. Humes. That was the terror in Finland?
Miss Bryant. Yes, as I said, the terror was not always on one side. I just want to prove a point. This is white terror.
Mr. Humes. How do you tell whether these are White Guards or Red Guards?
Miss Bryant. By the white arm band, and because the only ones that were killed by machine guns were the Red Guards.
Mr. Humes. Did not the Bolshevik guards use machine guns?
Miss Bryant. They did not take bunches of people out in fifties and shoot them with machine gun fire deliberately.
Mr. Humes. They did not?
Senator Wolcott. What you mean is that they did not do it while you were there.
Miss Bryant. They would not do it because they are not organized against the people. They don’t have to shoot great masses.
Senator Wolcott. You think they would not do it, because what they have on paper is their practice?
Miss Bryant. They are championing the poorer classes of people, and they do not get great masses of people and shoot them generally.
Senator Wolcott. You mean that they would not do that if they had been carrying on their principles, but you do not know whether that is so.
Miss Bryant. We do not know that they have done that.
Senator Wolcott. Witnesses have been here and testified.
Miss Bryant. But they did not see them.
Senator Wolcott. They saw them led out by the firing squads.
Miss Bryant. They did not see them.
Senator Wolcott. They saw them led out, but could not see them shot.
Miss Bryant. I did not see any either, but I am discredited when I say that.
Senator Wolcott. I am pointing out the unreliability of your information. When a man sees the firing squad take out prisoners and hears shots, he is justified, I think, in his opinion that they have been shot.
Miss Bryant. I tell you that I know very well that this man, Jacob Peters, who was supposed to be the head executioner of the Soviet, was not that sort of man. Peters told me at various times that the only people whom he believed in killing were traitors in his own ranks, people who were grafters and who tried to steal everything, people in a time like that who did not stick to the high moral principle of revolutionary discipline. Those are the people in many cases who were executed by the soviet, people in their own ranks.
Senator Wolcott. That is what Peters said?
Miss Bryant. That was his whole principle of belief, and I believe that is what he would do.
Senator Wolcott. Let me ask you a question: Is it your idea, because a man says that he believes so-and-so, that he never acts contrary to that?
Miss Bryant. But you see my idea was that — I knew this man Peters, and he is an idealist, a very esthetic young man, not the kind of man who is a real butcher. And because I knew this man and knew what he did or tried to do in Russia, I do not believe that he would permit any butchering.
Mr. Humes. You knew that Peters was a member of a big anarchist organization in White Chapel, London, did you not, before he went back to Russia?
Miss Bryant. I can not imagine him being an anarchist, because he is a socialist. It is impossible to be both.
Mr. Humes. You deny that he is a member of the anarchist group in London?
Miss Bryant. I can not deny it. I did not know him in London.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that the testimony that has been taken by the committee has established that he was in London? You said yesterday he was in London?
Miss Bryant. Oh, yes; he was in London. I know that.
Mr. Humes. Do you not know that the testimony here shows that he was a member of an anarchistic group?
Miss Bryant. Wasn’t it a socialist club?
Mr. Humes. That barricaded themselves in White Chapel after the commission of some crimes?
Miss Bryant. I never understood that Peters ever took any part in political activities in London. I knew he was a clerk in a commission house.
Mr. Humes. The reason he did not take a part in political affairs in the sense that we generally use “political affairs” is that anarchists are opposed to political activity or participation in politics, and they believe simply in the use of force in the overthrow of the government. That is the sense in which you say that he took no part?
Miss Bryant. I do not think that is the anarchists’ doctrine. I am not particularly interested in their doctrine, but their doctrine is that all governments are founded by force¾which, of course, is a fact — and therefore they are against all government; but I do not believe they believe in force at all. I do not know that many of them are terrorists.
Mr. Humes. Do you not think that the anarchists and the I. W. W. are both opposed to participation in political affairs?
Miss Bryant. Yes; because they do not believe in governments.
Mr. Humes. These pictures are on post cards?
Miss Bryant. They were reprinted.
Mr. Humes. They were made for propaganda purposes?
Miss Bryant. Oh, no; they were not; not that I ever knew of.
Mr. Humes. Are they on post cards?
Miss Bryant. They were reprinted. They only had one copy, so I could not have brought it up to show you unless it was reprinted. You would not call that propaganda.
Mr. Humes. They are simply in the state that they are sold in public places.
Miss Bryant. Are they sold in public places?
Mr. Humes. Is not that the form in which they are put on sale?
Miss Bryant. Yes; but that is one of the easiest ways to print photographs.
Mr. Humes. In other words, it is not a private picture.
Miss Bryant. That has nothing to do with it, because it is printed on a post card. That is not logical.
Mr. Humes. You have seen very many German propaganda pictures in just that same form, have you not? Was it not the practice of the Germans to put out pictures of that kind?
Miss Bryant. I do not know. You mean the post cards?
Mr. Humes. Yes.
Miss Bryant. I do not know what that has to do with it. When you have a camera of this size you usually print them on these cards, because they are very handy. It has nothing to do with the picture at all.Mr. Humes. Proceed with your statement, Miss Bryant.
Miss Bryant. Well, you mean that I should continue by myself?
Mr. Humes. Go right on.
Miss Bryant. I do not care to say any more, except that I hope other witnesses will be called who have been mentioned by me in this testimony.
Mr. Humes. Then, there are just two or three questions that I want to ask. In the first place, you have said something about equal suffrage.
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. Was not equal suffrage granted by Kerensky in his régime?
Miss Bryant. Kerensky did not grant it; it was granted by the revolution.
Mr. Humes. When I say Kerensky, I am only distinguishing between the ending of the old régime and the Bolshevik régime.
Miss Bryant. It was granted before the time of the Kerensky government, during the time of Miliukov.
Mr. Humes. It was immediately after the March revolution?
Miss Bryant. No, no; I will explain that. At the time of the first revolution women were enfranchised. The Russians could not conceive that they did not have equal suffrage. The subject was not discussed, even.
Mr. Humes. It was not a new thing after the Bolsheviki came into power?
Miss Bryant. No; but it continued after they came into power.
Mr. Humes. You said something about Madame Kollontay.
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. Had she not, since you were there, broken with the soviet republic, the soviet government?
Miss Bryant. Why, she went to Stockholm. There had been a very short misunderstanding, as usually occurs between politicians; but she went back into the soviet government afterwards.
Senator Wolcott. Why do you think she went to Stockholm?
Miss Bryant. She went there, I suppose, because they were always trying to carry on the work there.
Senator Wolcott. You do not think she went because she was afraid she would be put in jail?
Miss Bryant. No.
Mr. Humes. She was married?
Miss Bryant. She was, and that will explain — that was one of the reasons for her quarrel with the soviet leaders. Dybenko, who was at one time the head of the navy, took back into service some old Russian officers, because they had promised him that they would be faithful to the revolutionary government, and they were fighting at that time against the Germans. Weil, these same old officers promptly turned over the port of Narva to the Germans without any resistance. Dybenko, as head of the navy, was held responsible for it, because he had trusted these old-régime men, and for a short time they put him in jail. That is an example of how impossible it is to trust the old officers.
Mr. Humes. The fact is that she and her husband both fled?
Miss Bryant. She did not flee.
Mr. Humes. They left Russia?
Miss Bryant. They came back again. They are still in the soviet.
Mr. Humes. When did they come back?
Miss Bryant. They did not stay in Stockholm very long.
Mr. Humes. About when; while you were there or since that time?
Miss Bryant. Afterwards.
Mr. Humes. How long afterwards; in the summer or just this last fall?
Miss Bryant. They left about March, 1918, and they went back probably in March. I do not know, some time around there. I do not think they stayed away very long.
Mr. Humes. What is the source of your information about their return?
Miss Bryant. Well, I heard some of it from various sources.
Mr. Humes. And your information that you have heard in that country —
Miss Bryant. I heard it from some one who came from Stockholm and knew about it¾saw them there.
Mr. Humes. You said something about the Philadelphia Public Ledger.
Miss Bryant. Yes.
Mr. Humes. Who was the man representing the Public Ledger that asked you to change your credentials so as to make it appear that you represented it?
Miss Bryant. You see, Mr. Spurgeon has charge of the Public Ledger, he is the editor in chief, and Mr. Watkins has charge of the syndicate; and when I went up there and they told me to write these articles for them I said, “Well, how about these passes? They have on them ‘The Bell Newspaper Syndicate,’ and what will I do about it?” Mr. Watkins said, “You can fix that up. Put the Public Ledger in.”
Mr. Humes. What is Mr. Watkins’s position with the Public Ledger?
Miss Bryant. He is head of the syndicate.
Mr. Humes. What syndicate?
Miss Bryant. The Ledger syndicate.
Mr. Humes. And Mr. Watkins was the man that asked you to change your credentials?
Miss Bryant. I do not remember the exact conversation. It was not extraordinary.
Mr. Humes. I understand that you did not represent yourself in Russia as representing the Public Ledger at all.
Miss Bryant. No; as a representative of the Bell Syndicate. I went on the Metropolitan credentials almost all the time.
Mr. Humes. Is it not a fact that Dr. Harold Williams represented the New York Times rather than Mr. Ransome?
Miss Bryant. He did not write any more dispatches than Ransome did. They both appeared daily in the New York Times.
Mr. Humes. Were they both representatives?
Miss Bryant. Yes; they were certainly considered such.
Senator Wolcott. Just a minute. You have said, have you, all that you want to say?
Miss Bryant. Yes; except, as I said, I want to urge that the people who were at the head of organizations like the American Military Mission, the American Red Cross, and the Y.M C.A., and the Friends (Quakers), and various other official organizations, should be called instead of underlings, because I have had to make in my testimony a statement as to what I thought they would say, and I had to give their opinion, and I wish they would be called to verify these statements.
Senator Wolcott. You have not had to do that. You have chosen to do that. I am particularly interested to know whether there are any facts about Russia that you want to state in addition to what you have given.
Miss Bryant. No; just simply to say that, as I stated before, my whole idea is that I believe in self-determination, and I do not think the Russians are such beasts and fanatics as many of the witnesses have tried to make out.
Mr. Humes. Just another question. What witness do you know has attempted to say that the Russian people are beasts? Has any witness referred to the Russian people in any but the most kindly way?
Miss Bryant. When they say that people are murdered by thousands, and that people are starved, and all those conditions exist, I would consider it just exactly the same thing.
Senator Wolcott. Certainly they were killed to an extent.
Miss Bryant. Of course, they were in our Civil War and in all civil wars.
Senator Wolcott. I notice by the morning’s paper the official announcement by the Commissioner of the Interior Litovzky, who says that not more than 13,700 were shot by the orders of the extraordinary commission up to the 1st of last January, and the article also states that there were no figures for those that were killed —
Miss Bryant. I think it would be absolutely impossible to find correct figures like that.
Senator Wolcott. That there was no record made of the numbers shot in small towns and villages, as the local authorities have avoided all bureaucratic methods and often acted on simple intuition.
Miss Bryant. You see, they do that in the south when they lynch people.
Senator Wolcott. So the soviets are to be compared to the people in the south that lynch?
Miss Bryant. No.
Senator Wolcott. Why did you make that statement unless you wanted to infer that comparison?
Miss Bryant. I only wanted to infer that in all countries events occur which other countries do not approve of, and that we have been prejudiced against the Russians. We think that everything they do is bad and immoral, and I have wanted to protest.
Senator Wolcott. I do not think that impression has been created here.
Miss Bryant. I hope it has not, but it seems to me that it had, when I was listening.
Source: Bolshevik Propaganda: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Sixty-Fifth Congress, Third Session (Washington DC: Government Printing Office) 1919, pp. 529-561