Even as his Czechoslovak Legions were being embroiled by Allied duplicity concerning the eastern front, Tomáš Masaryk traveled to the United States to gain President Woodrow Wilson's support for Czechoslovak independence. This, he felt, should inevitably follow the defeat of the Central Powers and the subsequent dismemberment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Wilson's backing was crucial to insure the favorable attitudes, just short of public commitment, that were already expressed privately in London and Paris government circles.
Masaryk entered the United States from Vancouver where he had landed on the last day of April 1918 from his Pacific crossing. He was met by his Czech-American secretary, Charles Pergler, who for years had been organizing the Bohemian and Moravian communities to advance the goal of Czechoslovak independence politically in America. Now, Pergler crisscrossed the United States with Masaryk, renewing his contacts with their leaders, long activated to further Masaryk's aims. The exiles had earlier responded unstintingly to the call for volunteers issued by Col. Milan Rastislav Štefánik who was commanding some national units in France. Without a clear statement of their objective, however, official foreign support could not be won.
Masaryk pondered the dilemma for a long while and decided the time had come to risk the increased dangers posed by this course for his beloved family and Maffia colleagues at home. Weighing the advantages against the hazards before leaving Vladivostok, he chose to move ahead. "Revolutionary conditions in Russia dictated