File No. 10901/44–45.

The Russian Chargé to the Secretary of State.

No. 447.]

Mr. Secretary of State: In continuation of my note of October 9,1 relative to the extradition of Jan Janov Pouren and in reply to yours the 7th instant, in which your excellency was pleased to inquire of me whether the Imperial Government wishes to submit remarks concerning the inclosed affidavits, I venture to annex hereto a memorandum setting forth the views of the Imperial Embassy on this subject.

I embrace the opportunity, etc.,

B. Kroupensky.


Further replying to your excellency’s note of October 7 in reference to the extradition of Jan Janov Pouren, I desire to say in reply to your inquiry as to [Page 516] whether the Russian Government desires to controvert the affidavits there referred to, that the embassy does not feel called upon to furnish any proof in addition to that already adduced before the commissioner, even if the very meager time at its disposition permitted it.

The embassy considers that the Russian Government has complied in all respects with the provisions of the treaty and the statutes of the United States relating to extradition. The case after having been for eight months before the commissioner has been decided by him in favor of my Government’s contention, and is now before your excellency. The embassy assumes that your review of the decision of the commissioner will be based upon the evidence submitted in the proceeding before him, and that such review can not be affected by any “ex parte” statements of the prisoners or others now for the first time submitted. This assumption is based not only upon the universally accepted principles of law, but also upon the precedents and the international comity which prevails in such matters.

Your excellency’s attention is also directed to the fact that the actual hearings before the commissioner continued during a period extending from January 9 to June 17, 1908, and that the matter was held under advisement and only finally determined by the commissioner on the 14th day of August, 1908. During this time the prisoner was represented by several experienced counsel, one of whom at least is an eminent member of the bar as well as a member of Congress of the United States. The prisoner and his several counsel were present at the proceedings and every opportunity offered him to testify and to produce witnesses. In fact, several witnesses were produced before the commissioner who claimed to have participated in the alleged disturbances in the Riga district, and much testimony was furnished on behalf of the prisoner in regard to the nature of such disturbances. The affidavits now produced contain alleged facts the existence of which the prisoner and counsel must have been aware of during the time the case was before the commissioner, and the nonproduction of such proof during that time throws a strong doubt upon the probable truth of the statements themselves and the creditability of the persons making them. Your excellency can not but agree with me that this evidence ought to have been produced, if at all, by the prisoner and his counsel during the proceedings before the commissioner, and that it would be contrary to all equity that the interests of the Russian Government should now suffer because of the adverse party having neglected to take such a course at the right time.

Again, in answer to your courteous invitation to make any suggestions regarding these affidavits, the embassy desires to state that it is unable to understand how such acts as the stealing of articles of clothing, watches, and other personal property from defenseless peasants and women, the beating of women, and the burning of the farmhouses and inhabitable dwellings can be construed as political rather than as common law crimes. Yet the commissioner has found such acts of burglary and arson to have been committed by the prisoner and they are now, in part at least, admitted by him. Furthermore, as your excellency well knows, the prisoner has the right to seek a review of the commissioner’s decision in the courts of the United States should your excellency determine to sustain such decision.

Aside therefore from the impossibility of obtaining proof in contradiction before the 13th instant—date previous to which, as is stated in your excellency’s letter of October 7, action should be taken—the embassy considers that the Imperial Government has fully complied in all respects with the treaty and the statutes of the United States in this matter and is not called upon to furnish any testimony in addition to that already furnished and forming the basis of the commissioner’s decision, and therefore requests that the warrant of extradition be issued in the usual course.

B. Kroupensky.
  1. Not printed.