Off on an ‘interesting’ adventure

Robert Collins

Getting into Russia was a complicated matter. The Bolsheviks had stopped allowing most Western journalists into the country as they sought to solidify their power in the midst of a bloody civil war and a blockade was wreaking havoc on the economy.

The United States did not have diplomatic relations with Russia, so Harrison applied to Russia’s unofficial representative in New York, Ludwig Martens, who arranged commercial agreements between the two nations. Martens, however, refused her request for a visa.

Undeterred, Marguerite decided to attempt entry into Russia from Poland, even though the two countries were at war. She believed that if somehow she could enter Russia, she could persuade the Bolsheviks to let her to stay.

The editors at the Baltimore Sun were aware of her mission and again gave her cover as a newspaper reporter. She also secured assignments from the New York Evening Post and Underwood News Photo Service. In addition, Churchill arranged for the Associated Press’s London bureau chief, Robert Collins, to give her letters affirming she was a wire-service correspondent.

In October 1919, she and Tommy sailed from New York to London where she received the letters from Collins. “Wishing you all success, and an interesting and valuable experience,” he wrote.

Without a doubt, the experience would be an interesting one.

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