The Russian Ambassador to the Secretary of State .
In regard to the note of the honorable the Secretary of State, dated June 7, 1906, which was duly transmitted to the Imperial Government, the Russian ambassador is instructed in the following sense:
If the United States Government, in making the reservations mentioned in the note of the Secretary of State, had in view solely to reserve the right to raise at the Second Peace Conference the two questions referred to in that note, the Imperial Government have no objections whatever to offer, as they do not consider it possible to prevent the representatives of any power invited to the conference from submitting any proposal which their governments may consider expedient, and as they hold that it will depend on the conference itself to determine whether such proposal comes within the range of the established programme, and whether, therefore, it should be examined or not.
But if the United States, by their declaration, had in view to make certain in advance that the above-mentioned two questions would be included in the deliberations of the conference, it would be advisable to point out that in issuing their invitations to the Second Peace Conference the Imperial Government proposed that questions not included in the programme agreed upon by the powers should not be made subject to the deliberations of the conference.
The programme as proposed by Russia has already been approved of in toto by a majority of the powers invited, including the Netherlands, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, and Italy.
If, therefore, the Imperial Government now wished to alter its programme by including the two questions mentioned in the note of the Secretary of State of June 7, it would become necessary to previously consult the views of the powers who have already approved the programme as proposed by Russia, as well as those powers who have not yet communicated their views on the subject.
Before doing so, however, the Imperial Government, animated by the sincerest regard for the United States and desiring to avoid any disagreement with them, deem it their duty to request the Cabinet of Washington to inform them whether they wish that Russia should take steps to consult the views, as above outlined, of the powers invited to the conference—which might, of course, considerably delay the meeting of the conference—or whether they would prefer to retard the bringing forward of their proposals and, perhaps, to postpone these proposals until the meeting of a further conference in the future.
The Imperial Government would also point out that, should even one only of the great powers decline to discuss these questions, their practical solution at present would in any case be impossible. Moreover, such a refusal, consequent upon such an initiative of the Cabinet of Washington, would in all probability even render extremely difficult the very convocation of the conference in which the Government of the United States takes so earnest an interest.