Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.
Peking, March 28, 1895. (Received May 13.)
Sir: In my dispatch No. 1283, of April 2, 1891, I brought to the attention of the Department the case of Rev. Paul D. Bergen. That gentleman, an American missionary, made application to me to have his passport viséed by the Russian legation here so that he could travel through Siberia en route for the United States.
The application having been telegraphed to St. Petersburg was refused by the minister of the interior on the ground that no ecclesiastic was allowed to go through Siberia.
In its dispatch No. 617, of May 18, 1891, the Department lays some stress on the fact that the minister of the interior “found it quite impossible at the present” to grant the request of Mr. Bergen.
The 20th instant I addressed to His Excellency Count Cassini, minister of Russia, a communication informing him that the Americans residing at Kalgan apprehended danger to themselves in the event of an insurrection breaking out in China; that they consisted of three ladies and three gentlemen, and that they begged that he would issue to them a passport or some official paper which would enable them to take temporary refuge in the territory of Russia if it became necessary to do so for the protection of their lives.
The 22d instant I received an answer from his excellency the Russian minister, wherein he informed me that the rules relating to the matter were very precise, and that it would be useless to telegraph to St. Petersburg on the subject. He suggests that the Americans go to Urga, and offers to give them, if desired, a letter to the Russian consul-general at that place.
My letter to the minister and his answer were written in French, Copies and translations thereof will be forwarded, if desired. I simply report this incident without comment.[Page 196]
Any action taken by the Department could have no effect on the actual case, and it is not for me to determine whether the general subject should be brought to the consideration of the Russian Government.
I have, etc.,