« PreviousContinue »
that there were two kinds of Jews in Roumania, the Spanish Jews, who are of a higher class, and the Jews who are principally found in Moldavia (and the neighboring parts of Austria and Russia), who he claimed are not Israelites at all, but Mongols, who were converted many centuries ago. There were few of this kind in what is now Roumania prior to 1828, and most of those who were in the country up to that time enjoyed either Austrian or Russian protection. Before the treaty of Paris no Jew, Turk, or Armenian could own real estate in the country. In the meantime, however, the Armenians had become Roumanianized, and there was no objection to the change, which was made in 1856, which enabled any Christian to do so. Later, at the time when the country became independent, a further change was made and any “Roumanian" obtained the right to own land. Ultimately, after the treaty of Berlin of 1878, the complete independence of Roumania was recognized by the European powers. At that time there were practically no American interests in the country, yet the United States saw fit to recognize its independence of its own accord in 1880 and to send a diplomatic representative (Mr. Eugene Schuyler) to reside in Roumania. This action was greatly appreciated at the time, and it has not been forgotten. Since that time, however, Roumania has no longer been under the tutelage of the treaty powers, and now she does not recognize their right to intervene.
Mr. Sturdza said that now that I had seen something of Roumania and the Roumanians and now that they had become acquainted with me he was ready to inform me as to his position. He said at first that Roumania had not liberated herself from Turkish sovereignty in order to accept that of the Jews; that she had powerful neighbors and must do everything possible (compare dispatch No. 7) to maintain and develop her own nationality. He said that to grant political rights or to naturalize the Jews en masse, even if this were considered advisable, would necessitate a change in the constitution, and he was not in favor of frequent changes in a thing which should be of a permanent and more or less sacred character. He said that absolutely no question of religious prejudice was involved and cited a number of instances where Jews who had become Roumanians and been naturalized had attained political prominence under both liberal and conservative governments. He referred to one instance where he and other ministers had attended a wedding in the synagogue at Bucharest “in dress clothes and with decorations because of respect for the man whose daughter was being married.” He said, however, that the mass of the Jews did not regard themselves as Roumanians; that they spoke of belonging to the “Jewish nation” and considered themselves as of a superior race to the Christians, and that they had their own customs, language, and ambitions, and neither would nor could assimilate with the native Roumanians. They wanted to become naturalized, or rather naturalization was wanted for them, in order that they might secure political rights and own land. Moreover, it is not merely a question of the Jews already in Roumania, as for many reasons their position here is much better than that of their coreligionists in Austria and Russia, and if existing restrictions were to be removed there would be a great influx from those countries. In Roumania there is not the least religious persecution, there have been no massacres, and passports are not necessary to enable one to travel inside the country. Jews generally are not allowed to live in rural districts, because experience has shown
that they rarely if ever become actual farm laborers, but wish to exploit such laborers, as overseers, etc., or to keep inns and drinking places.
After this general statement Mr. Sturdza went on to describe the special circumstances which led to the increased emigration of Jews a few years ago. He said that the Government had never favored such emigration and it had no wish to drive the Jews out of the country. The emigration, he said, was due to bad times, which prevailed for various reasons, but principally on account of drought and the failure of the crops. For more than a year the laboring population of Roumania was unable to support itself. The Government and the owners of private estates did all that was possible, but there was a great deal of suffering. The bad times were felt particularly in the cities, as building practically stopped and as the people had no money to spend in the shops. Naturally many people thought of emigrating, especially among the Jews who had few local attachments, and soon this emigration was given a political character. Instead of going by rail the Jews began making demonstrative marches through the country, singing and otherwise disturbing the peace. Many of them were not permitted to go farther than Budapest and Vienna, and many suffered greatly, but more or less unnecessarily. In the case of those who were turned back, however, the Roumanian Government repatriated them at its own expense, spending several hundred thousand francs for the purpose. The country was in financial straits at the time and certain foreign influences were brought to bear in order to discredit it generally. Had it been forced to grant political rights to the Jews many Roumanians would have been forced to sell their mortaged estates, but the situation of the Jews in Roumania, especially the poorer classes, would not have been materially iniproved.
During the summer I have traveled more or less about the country and have visited Jassy, Berlad, Galatz, Braila, and other cities and done my best to inform myself as to the exact situation. * * * The general feeling is that the naturalization of the Jews must be a gradual matter—as they become educated up to being Roumanians. I have, etc.,
John B. JACKSON.
Mr. Wilson to Mr. Hay.
No. 63, Roumanian series.] LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Athens, November 15, 1903. Sir: Referring to previous correspondence on the Jewish question, I have the honor to inform you that I have received a “Report of the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration." This commission was appointed by the King of England in March, 1902, to report upon the character and extent of the evils which are attributed to the unrestricted immigration of aliens.”
In order to make a thorough study of the subject, one of the members of the commission, Major Evans-Gordon, was sent to inquire into the causes of immigration to England from the various countries.
For this purpose he visited Russia and Roumania to study the condition of the Jews, and the part of the report dealing with the latter country has caused a great deal of feeling there, as it has again stirred up the already troublesome Jewish question.
In Russia, it seems, Major Evans-Gordon finds that Jewish emigration is due partly to economic causes and partly to oppressive measures; in Poland, mainly to economic causes, while in Roumania he states:
The expulsive force is undoubtedly the intolerant attitude of the Government toward the Jews and the series of oppressive measures which, contrary to treaty engagements, have appeared upon the statute books of that country
The Jewish question has been a burning one ever since Roumanian independence was granted, and even long before. At the time of the Berlin conference, in 1878, · an attempt was made to place the Jewish subjects of Roumania upon a footing of equality with the other classes of the population.
The evident intention of the powers throughout the negotiations was to establish a complete religious and civil equality for the Jews. The policy of the Roumanian Government was then and is still directly opposed to this intention. Rightly or wrongly, they have always asserted that such equality, if given to the Hebrew race, would end in the subjugation of their country by an alien people, and far from complying with the conditions laid down by the great powers, their policy tends toward the suppression, political extermination, and expulsion of the Jews.
The value of the report of Major Evans-Gordon on the condition of the Jews in Roumania seems to me not to be great, as he spent less than a week in the country, principally in Sinaia, where there are no Jews, and the rest of his time in Bucharest. He did not see the condition of the Jews in the country districts, nor in the cities which are centers of Jewish life. Neither did he attempt to see the King, nor Mr. Sturdza, the prime minister, who from his long public service knows the country and its conditions better than any man in the kingdom. On the contrary, Major Evans-Gordon obtained all the information necessary for his report from Mr. Take Jonesco, the leader of the opposition, and from others of the same party. The opposition in Roumania always uses the Jewish question as a means of attacking the party in power, but, in spite of this fact, have never done anything to improve the condition of the Jews when the opportunity has come to them.
An official report of this nature has caused much indignation, not only in Government circles, but in general, as the numerous newspaper articles showed, for it is felt that this report will have great weight abroad and that the country has been misrepresented. Objection is also made, and very naturally, to the unfavorable comparison between the condition of the Jews in Russia and Poland and those in Roumania. This objection seems well founded, in view of the Jewish massacres in Russia, while in Roumania the Jew is never in danger of personal violence of any sort.
That the condition of the Roumanian Jew is not so bad as it would seem to be from Major Evans-Gordon's report, or as it is generally believed to be, seems to be shown by the fact that, according to statistics, while a certain number of Jews do emigrate from Roumania each year, yet the number in the country is constantly increasing, due to immigration from Russia and Austria.
The report does not take into consideration at all that, in the opinion of Roumanians of all classes, as well as of most foreigners who understand the conditions of the country, the restrictions placed upon the Jew in Roumania are absolutely necessary for their national preservation.
* I have, etc.,
CHARLES S. Wilson, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
JURISDICTION OF CONSULAR OFFICERS IN DALNY.
Mr. McCormick to Mr. Ilay.
St. Petersburg, February 4, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and a translation of a note received from the minister for foreign affairs relative to the establishment of foreign consuls at Dalny. I have the honor, etc.,
ROBERT S. McCORMICK.
Count Lamsdorff to Mr. McCormick. No. 321.]
MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
January 17/30, 1903. Mr. AMBASSADOR:
In proceeding to the administrative organization of the territory of Quantoun ceded in usufruct by China to Russia (cédé en usufruit par la Chine à la Russie), the Imperial Government has been considering the question of the establishment of foreign consuls at Dalny (Talienwan).
The Imperial Government has decided to admit the presence of consular representatives of the powers in the said town on the following conditions: The exequatur required as a condition precedent to entry upon official duties by such representatives is to be asked for, in the usual way, through the channel of the ministry for foreign affairs at St. Petersburg. The sphere of official activity of these representatives covers all the territory of Quantoun, with the exception of Port Arthur and the other fortified places which will be indicated by the local military authorities. Inasmuch as Russian legislation is in force in the above-mentioned territory and Russian courts are sitting, foreign consuls at Dalny will enjoy only such rights and prerogatives as are accorded to them throughout the Russian Empire. In order to insure good administering of official business these consuls will treat directly with the administrative authorities of the territory on all questions within their jurisdiction. No consular representative of the powers other than the one established at Dalny will be recognized as competent to take charge of his country's interests in the above-mentioned territory. Please accept, etc.,
• Count LAMSDORFF.
NEGOTIATIONS CONCERNING RUSSIAN OCCUPATION OF
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 25, 1903. (Mr. Hay directs Mr. McCormick to discreetly ascertain the meaning of the first two sections of the proposed Russian-Chinese convention; and states that the one forbidding the establishment of treaty ports and consulates, and the other excluding all foreigners, except Russians, from employment in the Chinese service, are in opposition to the plans communicated by the United States Government to the Russian Government, and seem injurious to the legitimate interests of the United States.)
Mr. McCormick to Mr. Ilay.
St. Petersburg, April 29, 1903. (Mr. McCormick reports that the Russian minister for foreign affairs categorically denies knowledge of, and disclaims proposed convention between Russia and China, especially the sections referred to in Mr. Hay's telegram of April 25. The minister assures Mr. McCormick that the Russian Government has no intention to exclude other countries from the advantages now enjoyed in Manchuria or to confer monopolies upon Russians; that the United States may be assured that nothing will be done to close the door now open, and that American commerce and American capital are those that Russia most desires to interest.)
Mr. McCormick to Mr. Hay.
St. Petersburg, April 29, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your cablegram of the 25th instant, instructing me to ascertain the meaning of the first two sections of a proposed Russo-Chinese convention, the one forbidding the establishment of treaty ports and consulates, and the other excluding all foreigners, except Russians, from employment in Chinese service, and to confirm my cablegraphic reply of this date.
In accordance with my cablegram above alluded to, Count Lamsdorff denied categorically all knowledge of and disclaimed the alleged, as he termed it, proposed convention between Russia and China, especially the two sections referred to in your cablegram—the one forbidding the establishment of treaty ports and consulates, and the other excluding all foreigners from employment in Chinese service.
His excellency said that the intentions of the Russian Government were exactly the same as they were fourteen months ago; that there had never been any thought of a Russo-Chinese convention excluding other countries from a participation in the advantages they enjoy at present in Manchuria or conferring monopolies upon Russians. He added that, while it must be distinctly understood that Russia admitted no protest on the subject from any power, as two independent nations were at liberty to treat as it suited them without intervention of a third power, he was happy to respond with perfect frankness to a question frankly put by the representative of such a friendly power as America, although confessing that he was somewhat hurt that the only