In March of 1919, President Wilson’s top advisor ‘Col.’ Edward House authorized William C. Bullitt (1891 – 1967), who was a minor U.S. diplomat attached to the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, to lead an eclectic committee to make a clandestine visit to Russia. Their charge was to attempt to negotiate a treaty between the U.S. and the Bolshevik government, end Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, lift the Allied blockade of that country, and allow the Allies to withdraw their troops from Russia. Bullitt received a proposal from the Bolshevik government that would have realized all these goals (and more, if the Bolsheviks could be trusted to repay war debt), but the Allied leaders at the Paris Peace Conference were unwilling to accept the offer. The British, in particular, were not inclined to strike any deals with Communists.
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