Mr. Straus to Mr. Blaine.

No. 191.]

Sir: Referring to the subject-matter of the Departments instructions Nos. 74, 107, 111, 140, 154, 168, etc., respecting the restrictions attempted to be placed upon foreign Jews resorting to Palestine, I inclose herewith for your information a copy of a memorial from the Jerushalaim Lodge of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith at Jerusalem.

From this memorial it appears that the action taken by this legation under the Department’s instruction, and by the English and French embassies, as reported in my dispatches Nos. 80 and 85, respectively, of May 19 and 28, 1888, has had the desired effect in removing such restrictions.

The original memorial is elaborately engrossed in gold and rubric and written in English and Hebrew. Considerable allowance must be made for the extravagant language in which the memorial is couched, after the manner of the East.

[Page 717]

I have sent a reply to the memoralists, stating in substance that I was gratified to learn that the restrictions had been rescinded, and that the action I had taken in the matter was in pursuance of and in strict compliance with the Department’s instructions to protect American citizens abroad in their rights and privileges as such irrespective of race and creed.

I have, etc.,

O. S. Straus.
[Inclosure in No. 191.—Translation.]

Memorial from Jerushalaim Lodge of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith.

Honorable Sir: Deeply touched by feelings of gratitude for your generous exertions on behalf of our Russian brethren, who, in consequence of dire persecutions, were seeking a refuge in this country, the Jerushalaim Lodge of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith, at their meeting of the 2d instant, unanimously and enthusiastically resolved to tender you these expressions of their feelings.

The efficient way in discharging your official duties of the high post you fill will secure you forever the admiration and gratitude not only of your countrymen but also of the Jewish nation throughout the universe. For, if we can boast of merchant princes and renowned names in the fields of arts and science, you, honorable sir, are the first who shed glory upon the Jewish name as a statesman.

It will always be remembered with deep satisfaction in the annals of the Jewish history that a man, chosen by the enlightened Government of the great American Republic to represent her important interests at the Sublime Porte, never forgot his suffering brethren. You not only came to Jerusalem, accompanied by your noble lady, to pay homage to the sacred memories of our glorious past, but having become acquainted with the restrictive measures taken against foreign Jewish emigrants, you used all your influence with your colleagues and with the well-intentioned Turkish Government, and succeeded in having the exceptional law repealed. It is to you that we owe no more to witness the heartrending scenes of the unhappy emigrants being mercilessly driven from our shores, and therefore our lodge only follows the commands of simple duty in expressing to you their appreciation of your noble deeds and their lasting esteem and gratitude.

Jerushalaim Lodge of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith.

  • Dr. Hersberg, President,
  • Ephraim Cohn, Vice-President.
  • Ben Zenuda, Secretary.