File No. 763.72114/534

The President of the United States to the Emperor of Russia

Your Majesty: May I take the liberty of calling Your Majesty’s attention to a matter in which the Government and many disinterested citizens of the United States of America would be very happy, and even thankful, to be of service in assisting to moderate the sufferings and difficulties incident to the present war?

It is the desire of the Government of the United States and of the American Red Cross Society to be of service whenever and wherever it is possible to render a service which can have no color of partisanship or of officious suggestion. The field that seems most open for this purpose is the care and support of prisoners. I take it for granted that, no matter how great the generosity of Your Majesty’s Government may be in caring for the prisoners in Siberia, many severe hardships will necessarily attend life in the concentration camps there. I venture, therefore, to inquire whether Your Majesty would be willing to vouchsafe to representatives of the American Red Cross Society or to any other impartial agency this Government might be able to supply or vouch for, the right to distribute to the prisoners in Siberia, either military or civil, money, medicines, and supplies sent by their friends or by philanthropic people in this country or elsewhere.

I make this inquiry and request very earnestly, not as the chief official of my Government, but only as a servant of humanity, with no political purpose, of course, and as a friend who would help if he could, and who shares with millions of his fellow-countrymen the desire to assuage, wherever it is possible to do so, the inevitable miseries of the present war.

My suggestion is made in conformity with a general plan for prisoners’ relief which the Government of the United States is now trying to arrange at the request of the several belligerent nations whose interests in enemy territory are entrusted to its care; and Your Majesty will understand that the only reason why I do not include in my suggestion an offer of similar services on behalf of Russian subjects held as prisoners, is that the Government, of the United States does not represent diplomatically the interests of Russia in any of the belligerent countries.

May I not take this opportunity to express my sincere friendship for the great Russian people and their Government, and my high personal regard for Your Majesty?

Your Majesty’s good friend,

Woodrow Wilson