Mr. Sherman to Mr. Breckinridge.

No. 485.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 635 of the 23d ultimo, reporting that the application of Mr. Marks Nathan, an American Hebrew, to visit Russia, had been granted by the minister of the interior.

In this connection I inclose copy of a letter from Mr. Charles L. Aarons, of Milwaukee, transmitting copy of a reply made by the Russian legation at this capital to a request for permission made, in behalf of a naturalized American citizen of Russian birth, to visit Russia.

This reply was couched in terms new to this Departments.

It may be prudent to inquire if the condition of five years’ service in the Russian army is in lieu of the criminal liability incurred under article 325 of the Penal Code for the offense of becoming a naturalized citizen in a foreign country and whether the same condition of return extends to Jews. If penal exile to Siberia or arrest and expulsion as a Jew should lie, the reply of the Russian legation would seem to be unnecessarily silent as to these possible aspects of the case.

Respectfully, yours,

John Sherman.
[Inclosure in No. 485.]

Mr. Aarons to Mr. Sherman.

Esteemed Sir: Mr. Harry Marks, of this city, is a citizen of the United States and of this State of long standing.

He is desirous of making a visit to Russo-Poland, his birthplace, to visit his aged parents, whom he left about twenty years ago, and makes this request for a passport or such other authority as will show his citizenship and right to travel. He is in possession of his first and second citizenship papers, and will forward them to you if necessary.

He begs furthermore to call your attention to the following: On his behalf, I have recently written to the Russian ambassador, at Washington, stating that Mr. Marks left his native land at the age of 17 and for no other purpose than to earn a living for himself and for his parents. He has been doing this in this country ever since; consequently he was not in Russia at the time when his enlistment would have taken place at the age of 21 years.

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I wrote asking the Russian ambassador that a special permit from him be given to Mr. Marks assuring him that he would not be disturbed and allowing him to visit his birthplace. I herewith inclose copy of answer received by me.

I, as well as many others here who are awaiting the outcome of this matter with deep interest, would greatly appreciate any consideration that you can bestow upon this matter.

Awaiting your reply in the inclosed stamped envelope, I am, etc.,

Chas. L. Aarons.
[Subinclosure in No. 485.]

Mr. Zelenoi to Mr. Aarons.

No. 488.]

Dear Sir: In reply to your letter I have the honor to inform you that everyone who left Russia before his enlistment in the army on his return to that country must serve his term, which is five years. Before speaking of a permit I found it necessary to announce you this matter. If Mr. Harry Marks is willing to serve his country five years as a soldier we can consider his case.

Believe me, sir, yours, truly,

A. Zelenoi,
Secretary of the Russian Legation.