The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Russia ( Marye )


375. Your personal letter Davis, May 1. You may assure Sazonov that the President’s letter to the Tsar was in the general interest of humanity and that Americans in their philanthropic work in countries at war with Russia will be glad to extend the same kindness to Russian prisoners as to those of other belligerents.

We recognize that Spain is in charge of Russian interests in Germany and Austria-Hungary, but this Government is ready, if requested by the Russian Government, with the consent and approval of the Spanish, German, and Austrian Governments, to arrange for cooperation with Spanish representatives, to extend to Russian prisoners in the respective countries same relief and assistance as is [Page 1022] now being extended to prisoners of other belligerent powers. This Government has already been distributing to prisoners of war in France, Germany, and Great Britain supplies furnished from their own countries.

Department suggests that American citizens, representatives of American Red Cross, be appointed by American Minister, Peking, with sanction of Central Committee, American Red Cross, and with approval of Russian Minister, Peking, to act as unit for administration of funds and distribution of supplies in Siberia, but in cooperation with you and under your general direction. Representatives of Embassy could visit camps in Russia.

It is not quite clear from Sazonov’s note to you whether Russian Government will permit individual members of Embassy and of Red Cross to visit personally prison camps in Siberia and distribute relief. It is important such work should be done by Americans themselves with cooperation of local Russian officials.

Department desires report by cable, Embassy’s needs for carrying on relief work Russia, and any suggestions you may have regarding relief work Siberia.

Sterling, second secretary Peking, available only if his services absolutely necessary.