Mr. White to Mr. Foster.
St. Petersburg, December 16, 1892. (Received January 5, 1893.)
Sir: As already stated in my dispatch, No. 21, relative to the passport of Jacob Goldstein, I confined myself in my interview with Mr. Chichkine at the foreign office to the point I was instructed to urge, namely, the injury done or likely to be done by forwarding passports taken from suspected persons to the Russian legation at Washington rather than to the American legation at St. Petersburg.
The question regarding the rights and present position of the person detained at Kharkov and claiming to be Goldstein, I thought it not best to raise until I could secure additional facts.
This, indeed, is the only course which promises anything for the person now detained at Kharkov, claiming to be Jacob Goldstein, but declared by the local authorities to be Yankel Zlotow, who has thus far avoided military service.
As the case now stands it presents the following difficulties, which, as the case is new to me, I trust that you will excuse my recapitulating.
In his letter to our consul at Odessa, dated July 20–August 1, 1892, [Page 532] the person under arrest gives the country of his birth as Germany, but in his application for a passport, six months before, the applicant swore that he was born in Russia.
In the letter above referred to the person under arrest also says that he is unable to fix the year of his arrival in America because he was taken there when a child; but the person who applied for and received the Goldstein passport swore that he went to America in July, 1879, at the age of 17 years.
In addition to these troublesome discrepancies in the two statements claiming to be made by the same man only a few months apart, the letter from the prison authorities at Kharkov to our consul at Odessa dated September 16–28, 1892, alleges that the person under arrest has been detected in feigning such knowledge or want of knowledge of the Russian and other languages as might give color to a fraudulent impersonation. And the letter also conveys the idea that the Russian authorities have no doubt as to the identity of the detained person with Yankel Zlotow.
As an application for his release to the foreign office, would, if made at present, certainly be wrecked upon the above facts and allegations, I at once telegraphed Consul Heenan, at Odessa, asking him to wire me any new information he might possess on the subject, or that he might be able to secure by wire or mail from Kharkov. I also wrote him fully authorizing him to send to Kharkov a discreet and careful man to make inquiries and report on the case, suggesting the name of a gentleman especially recommended to me by our consul general at St. Petersburg, but leaving Consul Heenan free to choose any other person whom he might think more fit.
I suggested in my letter that very careful examination be made as to the testimony identifying the person in possession of the Goldstein passport as Yankel Zlotow, and especially as to the statement of the person arrested that Zlotow’s mother failed to recognize the said arrested person as her son, and also as to the probability or possibility of collusion between the mother of Zlotow and the arrested person.
To my telegram I have just received answer by wire that the consul has no new facts in the case, but that he is telegraphing Kharkov.
From my letter, and from the special messenger sent to Kharkov, I hope to secure some facts which will enable me to present the matter at the foreign office here, with more hope of a favorable result than the facts at present before me enable me to anticipate.
I shall continue to give constant attention to the matter, in the hope of remedying any injustice to an American citizen on one hand, and of preventing any prostitution of American citizenship on the other.
I have, etc.,