The Japanese Minister to the Secretary of State.
Washington, October 31, 1905.
Sir: In a telegram received from His Imperial Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs this morning, he states that the Japanese minister at Berlin telegraphed him that he learned from the American chargé d’affaires at that city of the presence at Harbin of 219 and at Irkutsk of 11 Japanese prisoners, who are sick, and the Imperial Government desires to obtain the surrender of these unfortunate prisoners before the winter is too advanced, at a place near Chantu to be agreed upon between the representatives of the commanders in chief of the Manchurian armies of Japan and Russia. I am, therefore, instructed to request the further exercise of your good offices to make the necessary communication to the Russian Government through the American chargé d’affaires at St. Petersburg in the above sense and obtain their answer as soon as practicable.
In this respect I beg to add, for your information, that in case the Russian Government should find it inconvenient to make early communication in the matter with the commander in chief of their Manchurian army, on account of the interruption of the inland telegraphic lines, which often occurs in Siberia because of unfavorable weather prevailing in that part of the year, I doubt not the Imperial Government will be pleased to deliver to the Russian commander such message as the Russian Government may desire to forward to him in the premises.