File No. 763.72114/551

The Ambassador in Russia ( Marye ) to the Chief Clerk of the Department of State ( Davis )

My Dear Mr. Davis: I have the honor to send you herewith an autograph letter from His Majesty the Emperor to His Excellency the President, [and] an English translation of the Emperor’s letter; also an English translation of the letter to me of Mr. Sazonov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with which the Emperor’s letter was handed to me to be transmitted to the President.

I therefore beg you to hand to the President His Majesty’s autograph letter, and at the same time the translation and the translation of Mr. Sazonov’s letter to me.

I am [etc.]

George Thomas Marye
[Enclosure—Translation]

The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs ( Sazonov ) to the American Ambassador ( Marye )

No. 4666/D II]

Mr. Ambassador: Replying to the note of March 27/April 9, 1915, I have the honor to transmit herewith to your excellency a letter from His Imperial Majesty the Emperor to the President of the United States of America, in reply to the letter of the President dated March 16 [18], 1915,1 which you had the honor to hand to His Majesty on April 2.2 At the same time I consider it my duty to enclose herewith a copy of the said letter of His Majesty.

From this copy your excellency will see that the Emperor has ordained me to enter into negotiations with you and to intimate to you the conditions on which a distribution of gifts among Austro-Hungarian and German prisoners of war in Russia may be effected.

Acting under instructions of my August Sovereign, I consider it my duty to state that the Imperial Government expresses its consent to the distribution of gifts among Austro-Hungarian and German prisoners, by American benevolent organizations in the capacity of organizations of a nation which is protecting the interests of these prisoners, and on condition that all regulations on this subject, issued by Russian military authorities, will be observed.

[Page 1021]

But as in all questions concerning prisoners of war it is the custom to be guided by the principle of perfect mutuality, the Imperial Government gives its consent with the stipulation that the governments of hostile powers should agree, in their turn, to allow a distribution of subsidies among Russian prisoners by similar organizations and in the same amounts as it will be done in Russia.

Should, however, the present initiative of the United States Government be based, as stated in the President’s letter, not only on the fact that it is protecting the interests of Austro-Hungarian and German subjects in the Russian Empire, but on the general principles of humanity towards prisoners, the Imperial Government deems it possible to consent to the distribution of gifts by the above-mentioned organizations, without demanding the observance of mutuality, but, as stated above, provided the corresponding regulations will be complied with. At the same time, the Imperial Government expresses its assurance that in their philanthropic work American citizens will not make any distinction as regards nationalities and will extend the same kindness to Russian prisoners in Austria-Hungary and Germany.

While humbly requesting your excellency to kindly transmit His Majesty’s letter to its high destination, and to communicate the contents of the present note to the Government of the United States, I avail myself [etc.]

Sazonov
[Subenclosure—Translation]

The Emperor of Russia to the President

Mr. President: The Ambassador of the United States has handed me your letter of March 18, 1915.

In this letter you ask me to allow representatives of the United States Government and of the American Red Cross to render assistance to prisoners of war of hostile armies interned in Russia, by personally distributing various gifts.

I highly appreciate and share the philanthropic feeling of the citizens of the United States in view of which you addressed yourself to me with the above request. Wishing to meet this feeling, and deeply appreciating your initiative, I have instructed my Minister of Foreign Affairs to enter into negotiations with the Ambassador of the United States of America and to communicate to him the conditions on which a distribution of gifts among Austro-Hungarian and German prisoners in Russia can take place.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere friendship to the great American nation and its Government and my personal high respect for yourself.

Your good friend,
Nicholas
  1. Ante, p. 1013.
  2. Old style.