Topic: BatzO - Emptsa
North Russia, 29 August 1919
The Times, 10 September 1919
The account is transcribed below.
The Times, 10 September 1919, p. 12
COLONEL WARD ON RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL.
DESERTION OF OUR ALLIES "UNTHINKABLE"
The situation in Russia was discussed by Colonel John Ward, M.P., who has just returned from that country, in an interview with a Press representative.
Colonel Ward said that he had been in Siberia, and knew little or. nothing about North Russia. But it seemed to him there was need for some plain speaking about the situation in Russia as a whole.
Asked whether he disagreed with the Government's policy of the withdrawal of our troops, Colonel Ward replied :-
"Certainly, not. I have never said a word that will bear that interpretation. I am a soldier. I have nothing to do with policy in that capacity. The doctrine that soldiers may jib at carrying out a policy which they disagree with, or which they misunderstand, or of which they do not see the end, is Bolshevism, in its essence. I denounced it before the war at the Curragh. And anywhere, at any time, in any circumstances, that doctrine means the end of discipline in an army, and of ordered liberty in a State.
" What I have said and what I will repeat is that if we desert the men in Russia whom we rallied to our standard, as much in our own interests as in the interest of Russia, our name will stink in the nostrils of every Russian who is not a Bolshevist. When we went to Russia we went to produce such conditions as should disable the Germans from transferring men to the Western front at a critical stage in the war. The war is over and we have won. Do you mean to tell me that we are now to turn to those who rallied round us and say, 'You have served our turn. We are going. We wish you luck.' It is unthinkable.
"The withdrawal of our troops is a matter for the Government. I have nothing to say about it. If it is wise and possible I am delighted that our boys can be brought home. But there are other kinds of support as well as the support of troops. All I say, and I know as much about the actual conditions in Russia as any Englishman is that whether it be by mere money, munitions, diplomatic influence - the method is nothing to do with me - we ought to support those who helped us. It would be black treachery to leave them to face enemies they have made for our sakes without anything more substantial than our good will."
Citation: Emptsa, North Russia, The Times, 10 September 1919