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Memorandum by the Counselor for the Department of State (Lansing) of Interviews “With the Russian Ambassador (Bakhmeteff), April 2 and April 6, 1915

The Ambassador called and showed me two small volumes entitled “When a Man Comes to Himself,” President Wilson being the author. On pages 26 and 27 of these volumes appeared certain comments upon Russia and the Czar, which the Ambassador considered to be criticisms which might cause serious embarrassment in case the volumes reached Russia. He showed me that while the volumes appeared to be duplicates, they were evidently separate editions, in the second of which there was an attempt to soften the language regarding Russia, but that it still was objectionable.

I pointed out to the Ambassador that, while the volumes were published this year, the original copyright taken out by Harper & Brothers was in 1901, and therefore the statements could not be taken as representing the views of the President to-day.

He replied that it was to be presumed that the President permitted the publication and if so, it would represent his views. To that I answered that as the copyright was owned by Harper & Brothers, they may have published the volumes without the knowledge of the President, but in order to clear up the matter, I would submit the volumes to the President.

On the evening of April 2nd I submitted the two volumes to the Secretary of State, who transmitted them to the President, with a statement of the views of the Ambassador.

On April 5th I received from the Secretary the annexed note from the President1 in relation to these volumes.

On April 6th I communicated the contents of the note to the Russian Ambassador in an interview at my office in the Department.

Robert Lansing
  1. Post, p. 308.