763.72/3800½

The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: I have your note of today in relation to the suggested Russian Commission and have been thinking over the personnel of such Commission. I think we may agree that Samuel Gompers is as available a man as we could get. In regard to Oscar Straus I should doubt very much the advisability of sending another Jew and I believe there is a measure of danger in overplaying the Jew element. I do not think Willard Straight is the man at all for the place and I doubt very much from my acquaintance with Dr. Wheeler whether he would be suitable.

I should think we ought to have, in addition to a labor leader, such a man as Doctor John R. Mott; a businessman like Cyrus McCormick [Page 327]or Harold [Howard] Elliott; a financier like Bertrand; and a lawyer of prominence.

In regard to Professor Harper of Chicago, I have heard from several different sources that he is not as popular as I had supposed in Russia. I am therefore afraid to advise his selection. Of course I assume Mr. Crane would be joined to any Commission that might be sent.

As soon as you determine upon the make-up of the commission I will take it up with the individuals if you so desire, or, possibly, it would be more effective if you communicated directly with them.

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing