Mr. Smith to Mr. Blaine.

No. 170.]

Sir: The prospect of an enlarged emigration of Jews from Russia during the coming spring and summer has been a subject of consideration here and of concern abroad. It has been given out through the Jewish Aid Committee of Berlin that an outflow of 400,000 was to be expected. It is probable that, even without restrictions, these would have proved to be exaggerated figures, but at the same time, with the effect of the Russian policy concerning the Jews on the one hand, and with the influence of the public reports of colonization projects on the other, there was every reason to anticipate an increased movement.

The representative of Baron Hirsch, Mr. Arnold White, has been here for some weeks, partly for the purpose of advancing the measures essential to the scheme of colonization, and partly with the object of checking this threatened large immediate emigration. It was naturally felt that, if great numbers of Hebrews should pour out now before the colonies in Argentine are prepared for their reception, and while their admission elsewhere was open to question, it would prejudice and embarrass the whole effort on their behalf. I was advised of these considerations, and in response to questions put to me, I felt warranted by the recent legislation and attitude of our Government and people in concurring in the counsel against premature emigration. No action on my part was asked.

There was simply a request to know whether authority would be [Page 380] given for a reference to the American legation as approving the advice against an excessive immediate exodus.

It was proposed to send out messengers who should spread this advice, and, though some obstacles were interposed, it is believed that the plan was at least in part carried out.

Recently a factor of great importance has intervened in the matter. You have doubtless learned through the public prints that the German Government has issued orders closing the frontier against the entrance of Russian Jewish emigrants. I am advised that it is not improbable, though not yet certain, that the Austro-Hungarian Government will take the same course. It is stated in defense of this action that as this class of emigrants are not received in England, and as objection is made to their entrance into the United States, they are thrown back and become a charge on Germany. Should the new order be stringently enforced, it will effectually prevent a large outflow before the plans of colonization shall be perfected, but it is supposed that in many cases means of evading it will be found.

All this leaves it uncertain whether the emigration of Russian Jews will be as large as or larger than last year. Probably the most intelligent opinion is that it will be somewhat, but not much larger, but this is only conjecture at the best.

I have, etc.,

Charles Emory Smith.