Things are very critical in Baku and we may be too late – I had two of the Bolshevik leaders to lunch, Cheliapin and Lazarev – not very interesting people. It was amusing to see how they eat not only their food but their principles. It was quite an entente party.
Looks as if I might still have a chance of saving Baku from Turks and Germans. The Bolshevik power has been thrown out and I am going to try and get across the Caspian at last. I have frequent interviews with the Bolshevik leaders and the Social Revolutionaries. The former came to lunch – the latter are more amenable.
To Kasvin – a dreadful journey. 4 hours’ engine trouble. 6 punctures at last ran in by moon-light on the rims to Kirk Bulak [place unidentified] and telephoned from there for another car which arrived at 3 a.m. and got us in by 6 a.m., on the 24th. Glad to be at home – sick of travelling. 780 miles in car and 220 in aeroplane. While I was away much has been doing. The Jangalis have recaptured Resht and we had 50 casualties.
Kermanshah to Hamadan with Chaplain. Met General Ready.
Left in Aeroplane 4 a.m. for Kasr-i-Shirin, 120 miles. I do not like aeroplanes – hot air – rush of wind noise of engine beastly. Kasr-i-Shirin is a very bad landing ground and rather jumpy work between high walls. Got into motor and travelled 160 miles to Kermanshah. Lunch with Anderson of the 26th at Ser-i-hul. They have done a lot of work on the roads which are much improved.
Interviews and interviews with all the Staff Branches. My object is to persuade them to let me take on the Urmieh situation and save 80,000 Christians from being massacred.* Very hot but pleasant to see real civilisation and drink soda and other good things. Romantic sleeping on a marble floor on banks of Tigris with moon reflected on water – electric punkah.
* This is a reference to what is now known as the Armenian Genocide or Armenian Holocaust; the Ottoman government set about a systematic extermination of ethnic Armenians starting in 1915. Assyrians were also massacred in the Urmia region; historians consider the various genocides against non-Ottomans in this region as part of the whole Armenian Genocide. These peoples were already being targeted as a result of their Christianity – the prevailing religion being Muslim – but it is hard to ascertain from the brief reading I have done whether their religion or their being non-Ottoman was the key motivation behind their slaughter.