The Acting Secretary of State to the Japanese Minister.
Washington, March 28, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your note of yesterday, in relation to Nicolas Starikoff, a seaman on the dismantled Russian ship Lena, who was found to have been unlawfully conscripted into the naval service of Russia and whose release is requested by the captain of the Lena, the matter having been brought to my attention by the Secretary of the Navy. I have given due attention to your statement that the Japanese Government has no objection to permitting Starikoff to return to Russia, provided either that he be paroled before’ the United States authorities or, in case this can not be done, that he be made to give parole before the Japanese consul at San Francisco.
Inasmuch as the parole given by the officers and crew of the Lena is a domestic requirement prescribed by this government in execution of its function of preserving neutrality within its own jurisdiction, it would not be practicable for the United States to exact a valid parole from Starikoff, effective as between the belligerents.
The alternative proposition, that Starikoff shall give parole before the Japanese consul, would appear to constitute a valid engagement between the belligerents, and I have suggested to the Secretary of the Navy that the commandant of the Mare Island Navy-Yard be advised that, with the acquiescence of the captain of the Lena, he is authorized to send Starikoff before the Japanese consul, under escort of an orderly.