Mr. Orr to Mr. Fish.
St. Petersburg, May 2, 1873. (Received May 21.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Japanese embassy, of which the Hon. Iwakura was chief, arrived here on the 1st of April. They were received by officials, and great ceremony and cordiality was shown them during their stay. The facts, as far as can be definitely ascertained, are as follows: The chief object of the mission was to enter into more close diplomatic relations with the Russian government, and the question concerning the Saghaline Island was raised. Part of this island has for a long time belonged to Russia, has been under her control and is at present one of her penal colonies. She is now endeavoring to get complete mastery of it; and, it is said, to accomplish this, proposed to cede part of the Coreil Islands to the empire of Japan. Nothing, however, has been decided as yet. Count Strave is the new Russian minister to Japan, and will take charge in June.
I have, &c.,