Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.
the United States,
May 31, 1887.
(Received June 20.)
Sir: A few days after the promulgation of the
Russian tariff on iron, steel, etc., mentioned in my dispatch No. 115, there
was published a new and greatly enhanced tariff on foreign coal and coke.
The rates for the Baltic and Gulf of Finland ports are practically
prohibitory; at the B1ack Sea ports they are not so high. There, has just
now been published an imperial ukase relative to the requisition and holding
of real estate by foreigners in Russia. The case seems to have been framed
and approved March 14–28 last, but or some reason was promulgated only four
or five days ago.
I herewith inclose a, printed copy (in French) of the ukase, and also a
I am etc.,
[Inclosure in No. 118.—Imperial ukase
relative to the acquisition and holding of real estate by for
To the Senate directing:
Since 1864 a whole series of legislative measures have been promulgated
tending to consolidate the Russian landed property in the western
frontier zone of the Empire, and to assimilate this zone to the other
parts of the Empire. We have now seen it to establish, temporarily and
in accordance with the above-mentioned measures, as also in view of
their ulterior development, some special regulations relating to the
acquisition by foreign subjects of real estate (Mens
immeubles), either in fee or for limited term, in certain
provinces of the western zone of Russia.
In virtue of the proceedings and conformably with the conclusions of the
committee of the ministers, we have ordered and order as follows:
- In the ten provinces of the Kingdom of Poland, as in the
provinces of Bessarabia, Vilna, Vitchok, Volhynia, Grodno, Kief,
Kovno, Courland, Livonia, Minsk, and Podolia, foreign subjects
can not henceforth acquire in any way whatever, or on any lawful
condition whatever, either general or local, outside of the
ports and towns (with the exception of the cases provided for by
article 3 of the present ukase) any proprietary right in real
estate, or any right of enjoyment therein independent of the
general right of property and resulting from special leasing or
Note I.—In the provinces of
the Kingdom of Poland it is also forbidden to foreign
subjects to administer real estate situated outside of
the towns, by means of their holding power of attorney
or as stewards (directors).
Note II.—The restriction of
the right of foreign subjects, established by article 1,
relating to the possession and enjoyment of real estate
situated out of the ports, and towns, does not extend to
the hiring of houses, lodgings, and country houses for
their temporary use and personal residence.
- In the localities indicated by article 1 of the present ukase,
foreign subjects can secure payment of sums due to them by
accepting real estate as pledge, but the guaranties of this kind
and in general the recovery of debts by foreigners can not
enable them to acquire the property given in security nor put
them in enjoyment of it as of actual ownership. (Judicial code
of the Emperor Alexander II, civil procedure, articles 1063,
1064, 1129, 1171, 1173, 1175, and 1209; civil laws of the
provinces of the Kingdom of Poland, articles 2071, 2072, and
2085–2091; local law of the Baltic provinces, civil section,
articles 1336, 1412, and 1457.)
- In regard to the rights of foreign subjects inheriting real
estate situated out of the ports and towns, the following
restrictions are established for the districts enumerated in
- Inheritance in direct line descending and between
husband and wife, of property left by a deceased foreign
subject is legal if the heir has established his
residence in Russia previous to the promulgation of the
- In all other cases of inheritance, either by virtue of
established laws or by virtue of testamentary
disposition, the foreign subject is held to sell to a
Russian subject within the space of three years the
property inherited by him.
- In case of non-execution of paragraph B, the property
inherited is taken in trust by administrative measure of
the provincial council, and sold at public auction by
the respective provincial chamber. The product of this
sale, after deducting the expenses of the trust, is
handed over to the heir.
- The restrictive action indicated in the paragraphs B. and C.
of the preceding article extends also to cases of acquisition by
foreign subjects of property rights in real estate in virtue of
acts done prior to the promulgation of the present ukase, if the
proprietor has not yet entered upon the actual enjoyment of the
property acquired by him.
- Acts and contracts concluded according to the law established
for a specified period, and in virtue of which foreign subjects
acquired, in the localities enumerated in article 1, prior to
the promulgation of the present ukase, proprietary rights or the
enjoyment of real estate out of the ports and towns, can not,
this delay having once expired, be either renewed or extended
beyond the contracts indicated in the Note II of article 1 and
in article 2 of the present ukase.
- The operation of the preceding articles extends to
associations, commercial and industrial companies, and societies
(firms) formed by virtue of foreign laws, even when they may
have been authorized to transact business within the limits of
- Any transaction concluded with the object of infringement or
evasion of the present ukase is null and void.
- If any transaction, such as mentioned in article 7, is
discovered either by the general, local, or by the provincial
authority, the governor-general or the governor of the province,
after having gathered all the necessary information, which the
tribunals and all the authorities and functionaries are obliged
to furnish him, is to bring suit by the ministry specially
charged (the court of judges for the kingdom of Poland, the
substitutes of the quaestors for Livonia and Courland), to annul
the transaction or act impeached. Suits-of this kind are to be
tried according to the special rules framed for prosecutions
brought by the state administrations.
The senate directing is charged with the execution of these presents.
Given at Gatchina,
March 14–26, 1887.