Consul General Bagge to Earl Curzon. - (Received February 16.)
(Telegraphic.) Odessa, February 13, 1919.
WIDESPREAD pillage by bands, murder of landowners, even of peasants with few acres, has created very grave situation. Seed-grain is largely lacking in consequence for spring sowing in Ukraine. As these normally cover 70 per cent. of whole area, if measures are not taken at once to replace supply from Kuban and elsewhere, there will be no crop and consequently terrible famine. This state of things applies to peasants as well as large landowners, the majority of whom have had to flee to the coast towns.
The cardinal condition for saving Russia from famine is maintenance of order in occupied territory or South Russia. Thousands of peasant landowners, when they have moral and some physical support, will be able to cope with bands of robbers under whatever names these may act. These peasants further beg that property now existing in land be declared inviolable until whole question shall be settled ; without this assurance they do not care to risk expense of sowing for, perhaps, another to reap.
The question is very urgent, for work on land in the south begins in three to four weeks.