to Mr. Blaine.
St. Petersburg , July 14, 1881. (Received July 30.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential No. 80, and have read with much interest your admirable note to Mr. Bartholomei which you sent as an inclosure.
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You express a desire that I should transmit without delay the text of the law governing the residence or sojourn of Jews in Russia, to which Sir Charles Dilke alluded in Parliament. I regret to say that [Page 1027] I am unable at present to do so, but I hope the abstract sent with my No. 135 will be sufficient for your purpose.
As heretofore stated, the laws are numerous and conflicting, and I do not know the precise one referred to by him; besides, they are in the Russian language only, and uncodified, and it would require the assistance of a learned native lawyer, with fuller information as to Sir Charles’s remarks, to do more than send what is contained in my No. 135. I will write to Mr. Lowell, who may be able to get more light upon the subject. I will not, of course, ask him to do anything if he sees the slightest embarrassment, but as the action of our government and of this legation has been freely referred to in Parliament, he may be able, without appearing to be intrusive, to get further information, which I will ask him to communicate to you direct.
I hope the memorandum on the British, Austrian, and other treaties with Russia, which I also transmit, will be of some service to you. The examination which I have made satisfies me that the text of our treaty of 1832 is more favorable to us than that of any other of the nations mentioned. It is possible that the last three lines of Article I may yield the point under discussion, but they certainly do not do so as fully and explicitly as either the British, French, or Austrian (especially the latter), or the treaties of the other European governments. I think you have been misinformed if you have the impression (as I infer you have from your note to Mr. Bartholomei) that either other nations have more favorable treaty stipulations on this subject with Russia than the United States, or that the Jews of other nationalities receive better treatment than those who are American citizens. On the contrary, so far as my observation goes, more consideration has been shown to American Jews than is usual with those of other nationalities. I think that upon further examination of the subject you will be confirmed in the views suggested by the resolution of Congress, and approved by the President and yourself, that the defect may be in the treaty, and that we will have to look for a remedy in that direction.
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The present time is not a favorable season, however, for any action, as both the embassies and court are in vacation; and, besides, you may prefer to further consider the subject before any other steps are taken.
There is a kindred matter which I design to make the topic of a dispatch, to wit, the rights of naturalized American citizens of Russian nativity who may revisit this country. The question has presented itself recently in two or three phases, and in the absence of a treaty of naturalization it is not easy to make a satisfactory settlement.
I am, &c.,