Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Blaine.
St. Petersburg, October 8, 1881. (Received October 26.)
Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 87, and to my No. 150 in reply, I have the honor to inform you that I called yesterday upon Mr. de Giers in reference to the question of United States Jews in Russia. Mr. de Giers stated that he had read your dispatch with interest; that the question had two sides—its legal and its moral side; that in reference to the former, he still maintained the view he had already intimated to me, viz, that in the treaty of 1832 the words “on condition of their submitting to the laws and ordinances there prevailing” were controlling, and subjected American Jews to the treatment of native Jews. He added that he had given an analogous answer to the representations of other powers.
As regards the moral side of the question, he, personally, would be glad to see important modifications made in the laws regulating the condition of the Jews in Russia; but that they had brought much of the harshness of these laws upon themselves. A commission had, however, been appointed to examine and report upon the whole Jewish question, under the presidency of the minister of the interior; that the commission would meet this autumn, and that he had already transmitted your dispatch to that officer, to be submitted for the consideration of the commission.
I am, &c.,