Mr. Loomis to Count Cassini.

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: Your note of the 20th instant, addressed to Mr. Adee, has been received, and as I have returned to my post, the agreeable duty of replying to it devolves upon me.

I have shown it to the President, who is glad that the Imperial Government appreciates the course which, in the exercise of his executive prerogative and in consonance with international law, he found it incumbent upon him to pursue in respect to the disarmament of the Lena in execution of the policy of strict neutrality adopted by this Government.

The President, however, directs me to say that he would not find it consistent with the neutral course it behooves him to follow to act upon a request for the repatriation of any of the officers or crew of the Lena unless he were advised that the two belligerent powers were in accord as to doing so. Without their agreement to that end he regards the position of these men as being identical in principle with that of a military force entering neutral territory and there necessarily to be held by the neutral. He could not take upon himself the function of repatriating the men under parole to return to Russia, for that would be the prerogative of the belligerent and not of the neutral.

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If it should be the wish of your Government to have the request brought to the attention of the Japanese Government it may be timely for me to say that we have an intimation to the effect that if overtures in this sense were made by us the consent of Japan would not be given.

I have pleasure in assuring you, however, that every effort will be made to render the detention of the officers and crew of the Lena, as well as of Captain Günther, who is stated to have been a passenger, as little irksome as is consistent with the President’s determination to carry out to the full the neutrality he has proclaimed.

I am, etc.,

Francis B. Loomis.