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To get into any country by the back door, after having been refused permission to come in by the front way, does not sound like a simple thing to do, yet, as a matter of fact, I accomplished the feat without any great difficulty in February, 1920, when I entered Soviet Russia from Poland. while a state of war existed between the two nations. My method was simplicity itself—I passed through the Polish lines into No Man's Land, and gave myself up to the first Red Army patrol. By this means I succeeded two weeks later in reaching Moscow, where I stayed for eighteen months, during which I was arrested twice by the Checka, living for six months under surveillance and for nearly ten in prison. Under the circumstances I consider that I fared rather well. If, as an American citizen, I had tried to get into Germany through the front lines from France after diplomatic relations had been broken off between the United States and that country, I doubt if I would have been as lucky with either the French or the Boches, for I would have run a pretty good chance of being taken for a spy by both sides. My decision to get into Russia by the underground route was reached only after I had tried and failed to get in by legitimate means. I had been in Germany as the correspondent of the Baltimore Sun during the six months of readjustment and revolution immediately following the Armistice, and there, through persons identified with the Socialist movement, I had heard many things, which made me realize that we, in Western countries, knew little or nothing of what was actually happening in Soviet Russia. I wanted to see something at close range of the great social experiment of the Bolsheviks. Consequently on my return to America in the early autumn of 1919 I applied at the Martens Bureau in New York for permission to enter Russia for the Baltimore Sun of which I was a staff correspondent, the New York Evening Post, which had given me credentials as occasional traveling correspondent, and Underwood & Underwood, for whom I had agreed to take pictures in Europe. I was told flatly that this would be impossible. The Soviet government at that time was not encouraging the entrance of bourgeois press correspondents. It was felt that the privileges accorded correspondents in Russia had been so often abused by deliberate misstatements intended to further anti-Bolshevik propaganda that, with few exceptions, the Foreign Office was refusing permission to the representatives of non-Socialist papers. I was even warned that it would be extremely unwise for me to attempt to get into the country. In spite of this fact I started for Europe in October determined to try my luck. In London I had a conversation, confirmed later in writing, with Mr. Collins, European manager of the Associated Press, who had agreed to accept my services as Moscow correspondent should I succeed in entering Russia. The refusal of the Martens Bureau closed the only legitimate routes through Estonia, Finland and the Soviet courier service via Murmansk. It also barred me from applying to the only other agency which could have given me permission—Litvinov's bureau at Copenhagen. There remained another possibility—entrance through one of the countries with which Soviet Russia was then at war, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland. I chose the last named route, not because it was the easiest, but because it promised the most interesting experiences, and laid my plans accordingly. I wish to emphasize these facts because they had an important bearing on what happened to me later. I was deliberately taking a desperate risk, and I had no one but myself to blame for the consequences. I arrived in Warsaw in December with no very definite plans except that somehow or other I was determined to get to Russia. At that time I spoke very little Russian, so the first thing that was absolutely essential was an interpreter.
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