The Russian Ambassador to the Secretary of State.


Mr. Secretary of State: I have just received from my Government order by telegraph to bring the following to the knowledge of the United States Government.

The Imperial [Russian] Government, in agreement with the Dutch Government, proposes to call The Hague Conference during the first half of the month of July of the present year.

Russia at the same time invites the nations which did not sign the convention relative to the laws of war on land, nor that relative to the adaptation of the Geneva Convention to war at sea, to inform the Royal Government of the Netherlands of their adhesion to these conventions. With regard to further adhesions to the convention concerning international arbitration, the Imperial Government is conferring on this subject with the Governments which signed the acts of 1899.

I deem it proper at the same time to inclose herewith a summary of the programme which the Imperial Government proposes to submit to the Conference of The Hague, and I should thank your excellency to inform me of the response of your Government to this proposition, in order that I may transmit it to St. Petersburg by telegraph.

Please accept, etc.,



Amelioration of the provisions of the convention regarding the peaceful settlement of international controversies as far as the court of arbitration and the investigation committees are concerned.
Additions to the convention of the laws and usages of land warfare—among others, opening of hostilities, rights of neutrals on land, etc.; declarations of 1899—renewal of one of them.
Preparation of a convention regarding the laws and usages of naval warfare, concerning the special operations of naval warfare, such as the bombardment of ports, cities, and villages by a naval force; placing of torpedoes, etc.; transformation of merchant vessels into war vessels; private property of belligerents at sea; period granted merchant vessels in order to leave neutral or hostile ports after the beginning of hostilities; rights and duties of neutrals at [Page 1627] seat, among others the question of contraband; rules to which belligerent vessels shall be subjected in neutral ports; destruction by vis major of merchant vessels captured as prizes. Into this convention would be inserted provisions relative to land warfare which would be applicable also to naval warfare.
Supplements to the convention for the adaptation to naval warfare of the principles of the Geneva convention of 1864.

All political questions will be excluded.