The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador.


The note having been dated and in fact presented to-day, in accordance with the instructions of December 15, 11 p.m., this Government must so regard it.

You were, of course, not instructed to make any request for a reply, so that the remarks of the minister for foreign affairs were evidently made through some misunderstanding.

By the confidential telegram of December 15, midnight, you obviously were not instructed to make any diplomatic representation. The Department was actuated solely by its usual desire to counteract in all possible ways any erroneous impressions of a disagreeable situation between the two Governments, and not doubting a similar disposition on the part of the Russian foreign office, I instructed you merely to explain the tone in which I intended to make public the action taken, with a view to any suggestions the minister for foreign affairs might offer. Since this evidently was not made clear you will withdraw the suggestion, and I shall make the matter public in some manner equally considerate of the friendly relations between the two Governments.

Since his arrival the Russian ambassador here has been most frankly conferred with and apprised of each change of the situation. According to universal diplomatic practice there is nothing unfriendly in the giving of notice to terminate a treaty in the courteous manner provided for this purpose by the treaty itself. As your instructions clearly show, and as the Russian ambassador here well knows, it was precisely friendship for Russia which caused the President to take this action as the sole mode of avoiding immediate [Page 699] legislative action in terms to which there might be objection as not appropriate to our historic relations.

You will hand a copy of this telegram textually to the minister for foreign affairs.