861.77/97½

The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: I have just received from Mr. Root the enclosed letter18a regarding the Railroad Commission which is being sent to Russia. I judge from his letter that he feels that the usefulness and importance of his commission will be weakened by having in Russia contemporaneously another commission dealing with the technical side of a topic which he believes he is to discuss with the Russian Government. I enclose a suggested draft of an instruction to Mr. Stevens carrying out Mr. Root’s idea (Draft “A”). I enclose also another draft of instructions to Mr. Stevens which would limit his efforts to a particular line, so that he and Mr. Root would not [Page 330]find themselves embarrassed by dealing with the Russian Government on an identical matter. (Draft “B.”)

I do not know what your views are, and I simply enclose these drafts as of possible assistance to you.

In view of the fact that the Railway Commission is to leave early Wednesday morning, this should receive your very prompt attention. Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing
[Enclosure 1—Draft A]

Dear Mr. Stevens: In view of the fact that when the Railroad Commission and the commission under Mr. Root arrive in Russia there will be, counting the American Embassy, three bodies in that country conferring with the Russian Government on behalf of the United States, it seems advisable to clearly define the functions of the two commissions, in order that there may be no confusion in the mind of the Russian Government, resulting in one commission or the other being discredited by it.

I would be pleased, therefore, if, upon your arrival in Russia, you will let it be known that your commission is subsidiary to the Root Commission which is to follow, and that you stand in the relation of a body of experts to assist the Root Commission in the accomplishment of a special object, namely, aiding Russia to improve its transportation facilities by supplying from the United States men and material for constructing and operating certain railway lines of great importance to Russia in carrying on the present war. Upon the arrival of the Root Commission, therefore, you will report to it and carry out your functions under the direction and leadership of Mr. Root.

[Enclosure 2—Draft B]

Dear Mr. Stevens: In view of the fact that when the Railroad Commission and the commission under Mr. Root arrive in Russia there will be, counting the American Embassy, three bodies in that country conferring with the Russian Government on behalf of the United States, it seems advisable to clearly define the functions of the two commissions, in order that there may be no confusion in the minds of the Russian Government.

I would be pleased, therefore, if, in your conferences with members of the Russian Government and other persons in Russia with whom it may be necessary to discuss the objects of your mission, you would have your commission restrict themselves to the topic of transportation, the supply of materials for the construction of railways, and the furnishing of men to manage and operate the lines. As Mr. Root has the rank of Ambassador and as his commission will deal with [Page 331]general policies, you are instructed to confer freely with him and his commission upon their arrival in Russia, and thereafter to negotiate with the Russian Government in accordance with his general suggestions, which, I have no doubt, you will find most illuminating and helpful.

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