Mr. White to Mr. Gresham.
St. Petersburg , September 29, 1894 .
(Received October 13.)
Sir: I regret that before leaving my post I have nothing more definite to report regarding the case of Stanislaus Krzeminski. This is certainly not for want of effort.
Immediately on receiving your instructions on the subject I not only wrote but visited the foreign office, urging the earliest and most favorable attention possible to the subject. There being delay, I then applied to the minister of the interior for information, and learned informally from him that, though Krzeminski had committed a political offense in leaving the Empire without permission, he had been relieved from all penalties for this by an imperial amnesty, but that when he left the Empire he was a police official and guilty of a defalcation of more than 1,000 roubles, and that further application regarding the case would be best made to the ministry of justice.
I accordingly called at that ministry, and after a conversation with the acting minister, in which he promised to communicate at once with the local authorities in Poland and secure information for me at the earliest moment possible, I left with him a memorandum regarding the case.
As nothing more came from this source, I had two interviews with the acting minister of foreign affairs, Mr. de Chichkine, on the subject, and at the last one left with him a “personal note,” earnestly requesting information regarding the progress of the case, and urging that, if possible, something like the principle of our statute of limitations might be applied and the man released on making restitution. At each of these interviews I received the most kindly assurances and promises, but nothing more has reached me.
I find that in various cases somewhat similar to this the Russian authorities have acted in much the same way toward my predecessors in office.
While personally very civil, they seem to regard it as incompatible with their national dignity to give any account to another power regarding any person whom they look upon as a Russian subject or as a violator of Russian law.
This position here taken is so fully recognized by other powers that even Great Britain, which has the reputation of protecting her subjects with the utmost care in all parts of the world, never interferes in behalf of one of its naturalized subjects who returns to the country [Page 546] of his origin. In any other country she claims the right to protect him to the extent of her power, but if he revisits the land of his birth, from which he has separated himself by a formal act, he does this at his own risk and peril, and the representative of the British Government absolutely refuses to consider the case.
I hope that my successor may reap some advantage from my efforts in this case, but I can not say that I expect it. This is, I believe, the only item of importance which I shall leave unfinished, and I renew my regrets that in the face of the facts and sentiments above referred to it has been impossible thus far to bring it to a satisfactory termination.
I am, etc.,