Notes on the Diplomatic History of the Jewish Question
by Lucien Wolf
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There is no treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and Roumania, but this Government is pleased to believe that Roumania follows the precepts of comity in this regard as completely and unreservedly as we ourselves do, and that the American in Roumania is as welcome and as free in matters of sojourn and commerce and legal resorts as the Roumanian is in the United States. We hear no suggestion that any differential treatment of our citizens is there imposed. No religious test is known to bar any American from resorting to Roumania for business or pleasure. No attempt has been made to set up any such test in the United States whereby any American citizen might be denied recourse to the representatives of Roumania in order to authenticate documents necessary to the establishment of his legal rights or the furtherance of his personal interests in Roumania. And in welcoming negotiations for a convention of naturalization Roumania gives proof of her desire to confirm all American citizens in their inherently just rights.

Another consideration, of cognate character, presents itself. In the absence of a naturalization convention, some few States hold self-expatriation without the previous consent of the sovereign to be punishable, or to entail consequences indistinguishable from banishment. Turkey, for instance, only tacitly assents to the expatriation of Ottoman subjects, so long as they remain outside Turkish jurisdiction. Should they return thereto their acquired alienship is ignored. Should they seek to cure the matter by asking permission to be naturalized abroad, consent is coupled with the condition of non-return to Turkey. It is the object of a naturalization convention to remedy this feature by placing the naturalized alien on a parity with the natural-born citizen and according him due recognition as such. This consideration gives us added satisfaction that negotiations on the subject have been auspiciously inaugurated with Roumania. If I have mentioned this aspect of the matter, it is in order that the two Governments may be in accord as to the bases of their agreement in this regard; for it is indispensable that the essential purpose of the proposed convention should not be impaired or perverted by any coupled condition of banishment imposed independently by the act of either contracting party.

The United States welcomes now, as it has welcomed from the foundation of its government, the voluntary immigration of all aliens coming hither under conditions fitting them to become merged in the body-politic of this land. Our laws provide the means for them to become incorporated indistinguishably in the mass of citizens, and prescribe their absolute equality with the native born, guaranteeing to them equal civil rights at home and equal protection abroad. The conditions are few, looking to their coming as free agents, so circumstanced physically and morally as to supply the healthful and intelligent material of free citizenhood. The pauper, the criminal, the contagiously or incurably diseased, are excluded from the benefits of immigration only when they are likely to become a source of danger or a burden upon the community. The voluntary character of their coming is essential,—hence we shut out all immigration assisted or constrained by foreign agencies. The purpose of our generous treatment of the alien immigrant is to benefit us and him alike,—not to afford to another State a field upon which to cast its own objectionable elements. A convention of naturalization may not be construed as an instrument to facilitate any such process. The alien, coming hither voluntarily and prepared to take upon himself the preparatory, and in due course the definite obligations of citizenship, retains thereafter, in domestic and international relations, the initial character of free agency, in the full enjoyment of which it is incumbent upon his adoptive State to protect him.

The foregoing considerations, whilst pertinent to the examination of the purpose and scope of a naturalization treaty, have a larger aim. It behoves the State to scrutinize most jealously the character of the immigration from a foreign land, and, if it be obnoxious to objection, to examine the causes which render it so. Should those causes originate in the act of another sovereign State, to the detriment of its neighbors, it is the prerogative of an injured State to point out the evil and to make remonstrance; for with nations, as with individuals, the social law holds good that the right of each is bounded by the right of the neighbor.

The condition of a large class of the inhabitants of Roumania has for many years been a source of grave concern to the United States. I refer to the Roumanian Jews, numbering some 400,000. Long ago, while the Danubian principalities labored under oppressive conditions which only war and a general action of the European Powers sufficed to end, the persecution of the indigenous Jews under Turkish rule called forth in 1872 the strong remonstrance of the United States. The Treaty of Berlin was hailed as a cure for the wrong, in view of the express provisions of its 44th article, prescribing that "in Roumania, the difference of religious creeds and confessions shall not be alleged against any person as a ground for exclusion or incapacity in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil and political rights, admissions to public employments, functions, and honors, or the exercise of the various professions and industries in any locality whatsoever," and stipulating freedom in the exercise of all forms of worship to Roumanian dependents and foreigners alike, as well as guaranteeing that all foreigners in Roumania shall be treated, without distinction of creed, on a footing of perfect equality.

With the lapse of time these just prescriptions have been rendered nugatory in great part, as regards the native Jews, by the legislation and municipal regulations of Roumania. Starting from the arbitrary and controvertible premises that the native Jews of Roumania domiciled there for centuries are "aliens not subject to foreign protection," the ability of the Jew to earn even the scanty means of existence that suffice for a frugal race has been constricted by degrees, until nearly every opportunity to win a livelihood is denied; and until the helpless poverty of the Jew has constrained an exodus of such proportions as to cause general concern.

The political disabilities of the Jews in Roumania, their exclusion from the public service and the learned professions, the limitations of their civil rights, and the imposition upon them of exceptional taxes, involving as they do wrongs repugnant to the moral sense of liberal modern peoples, are not so directly in point for my present purpose as the public acts which attack the inherent right of man as a bread winner in the ways of agriculture and trade. The Jews are prohibited from owning land, or even from cultivating it as common laborers. They are debarred from residing in the rural districts. Many branches of petty trade and manual production are closed to them in the over-crowded cities where they are forced to dwell and engage against fearful odds, in the desperate struggle for existence. Even as ordinary artisans or hired laborers they may only find employment in the proportion of one "unprotected alien" to two "Roumanians" under any one employer. In short, by the cumulative effect of successive restrictions, the Jews of Roumania have become reduced to a state of wretched misery. Shut out from nearly every avenue of self-support which is open to the poor of other lands, and ground down by poverty as the natural result of their discriminatory treatment, they are rendered incapable of lifting themselves from the enforced degradation they endure. Even were the fields of education open to them, of civil employment and of commerce, as to "Roumanian citizens," their penury would prevent rising by individual effort. Human beings, so circumstanced, have virtually no alternatives but submissive suffering, or flight to some land less unfavourable to them. Removal under such conditions is not and cannot be the healthy intelligent emigration of a free and self-reliant being. It must be, in most cases, the mere transplantation of an artificially produced diseased growth to a new place.

Granting that, in better and more healthful surroundings, the morbid conditions will eventually change for good, such emigration is necessarily for a time a burden to the community upon which the fugitives may be cast. Self-reliance, and the knowledge and ability that evolve the power of self-support must be developed, and, at the same time, avenues of employment must be opened in quarters where competition is already keen and opportunities scarce. The teachings of history, and the experience of our own nation, show that the Jews possess in a high degree the mental and moral qualifications of conscientious citizenhood. No class of emigrants is more welcome to our shores when coming equipped in mind and body for entrance upon the struggle for bread, and inspired with the high purpose to give the best service of heart and brain to the land they adopt of their own free will. But when they come as outcasts, made doubly paupers by physical and moral oppression in their native land, and thrown upon the long-suffering generosity of a more favored community, their migration lacks the essential conditions which make alien immigration either acceptable or beneficial. So well is this appreciated on the Continent, that, even in the countries where anti-Semitism has no foothold, it is difficult for these fleeing Jews to obtain any lodging. America is their only goal.

The United States offers asylum to the oppressed of all lands. But its sympathy with them in no wise impairs its just liberty and right to weigh the acts of the oppressor in the light of their effects upon this country, and to judge accordingly.

Putting together the facts now painfully brought home to this Government during the past few years: that many of the inhabitants of Roumania are being forced, by artificially adverse discriminations, to quit their native country; that the hospitable asylum offered by this country is almost the only refuge left to them; that they come hither unfitted by the conditions of their exile to take part in the new life of this land under circumstances either profitable to themselves or beneficial to the community; and that they are objects of charity from the outset and for a long time,—the right of remonstrance against the acts of the Roumanian Government is clearly established in favor of this Government. Whether consciously and of purpose, or not, these helpless people, burdened and spurned by their native land, are forced by the sovereign power of Roumania upon the charity of the United States. This Government cannot be a tacit party to such an international wrong. It is constrained to protest against the treatment to which the Jews of Roumania are subjected, not alone because it has unimpeachable ground to remonstrate against the resultant injury to itself, but in the name of humanity. The United States may not authoritatively appeal to the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin, to which it was not and cannot become a signatory, but it does earnestly appeal to the principles consigned therein, because they are the principles of international law and eternal justice, advocating the broad toleration which that solemn compact enjoins, and standing ready to lend its moral support to the fulfilment thereof by its co-signatories, for the act of Roumania itself has effectively joined the United States to them as an interested party in this regard.

Occupying this ground and maintaining these views, it behoves us to see that in concluding a naturalization convention no implication may exist of obligation on the part of the United States to receive and convert these unfortunates into citizens, and to eliminate any possible inference of some condition or effect tantamount to banishment from Roumania with inhibition of return or imposition of such legal disability upon them by reason of their creed, as may impair their interests in that country or operate to deny them judicial remedies there which all American citizens may justly claim in accordance with the law and comity of nations.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant,


* * * * *



August 11, 1902.

SIR,—In the course of an instruction recently sent to the Minister accredited to the Government of Roumania in regard to the bases of negotiation begun with that Government looking to a convention of naturalization between the United States and Roumania, certain considerations were set forth for the Minister's guidance concerning the character of the emigration from that country, the causes which constrain it, and the consequences so far as they adversely affect the United States.

It has seemed to the President appropriate that these considerations, relating as they do to the obligations entered into by the signatories of the Treaty of Berlin of July 13, 1878, should be brought to the attention of the Governments concerned and commended to their consideration in the hope that, if they are so fortunate as to meet the approval of the several Powers, such measures as to them may seem wise may be taken to persuade the Government of Roumania to reconsider the subject of the grievances in question.

* * * * *

(This note continues in the language of the foregoing despatch from the words: "The United States welcomes now, etc." down to words: "as an interested party in this regard.")

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You will take an early occasion to read this instruction to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and, should he request it, leave with him a copy.


* * * * *

Reply of Great Britain.

(Mr. Bertie to Mr. Choate.)


September 2, 1902.

YOUR EXCELLENCY,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 23rd ultimo, inclosing a copy of a dispatch from Mr. Secretary Hay on the subject of the conditions of the Jews in Roumania.

His Majesty's Government joins with the United States Government in deploring the depressed condition of the Roumanian Jews and in regarding with apprehension the results of their enforced emigration.

His Majesty's Government will place themselves in communication with the other Powers signatory of the Treaty of Berlin, with a view to a joint representation to the Roumanian Government on the subject.


(In the absence of the Marquis of Lansdowne.)

("Foreign Relations of the United States (1902)," pp. 910 et seq., 42 et seq., and 550).

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In connection with the Balkan complications of the last ten years, which form the overture to the present war, the Jewish organisations in Western Europe and America—chiefly the London Jewish Conjoint Committee—lost no opportunity of keeping the grievances of the Rumanian Jews before the Great Powers and of maintaining the liberties already won in South-Eastern Europe. The work has been of a more arduous and far-reaching character than the public suspect, and, although it has not achieved final success, it has been far from unfruitful. Of this work it is only possible to speak in a very summary way, as much of it is still confidential and all of it is directly related to negotiations still pending and necessarily belonging to the domain of what is invidiously called secret diplomacy.

In 1908, on the occasion of the annexation of Bosnia and the Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary, the Conjoint Committee seized the opportunity of endeavouring to reopen the Rumano-Jewish Question. The annexation was a technical infraction of the Berlin Treaty and required the sanction of the Great Powers, for which probably a Conference would be held. The Conjoint Committee addressed to Sir Edward Grey a request that the scope of the proposed Conference should be extended to other infractions of the Treaty, and accompanied it with a review of the Rumano-Jewish Question, which constitutes one of the most important State Papers produced in the Jewish community.[46] Unfortunately the projected Conference was abandoned, but Sir Edward Grey was so impressed by the statements of the Conjoint Committee that he ordered an investigation to be made, and he afterwards formally avowed, in a letter to the Conjoint Committee, that the charges made in the Memorandum were accurate and that Rumania had not fulfilled her Treaty pledges. This perhaps may not seem to be a great gain, but those who know anything of international politics will be aware that an official statement of this kind has considerable practical importance, and, indeed, it was not lost upon the Cabinet of Bucharest.

The last occasions on which attempts were made to put an end to the Rumanian scandal were in connection with the Conferences of London, St. Petersburg, and Bucharest, which liquidated the various questions arising out of the Balkan wars in 1912-13. Here two questions confronted the Conjoint Committee. While the international questions at issue were confined to the trans-Danubian States, all that was necessary was to secure for the populations of the transferred territories in that region a reaffirmation of the clauses of the Treaties of 1830 and 1878, by which the liberties of racial and religious minorities were guaranteed. When, however, Rumania joined in the war, this question became of much greater importance, and it involved the reopening of the whole question of Rumania's violation of the Treaty of Berlin. In spite of the efforts of the Conjoint Committee, neither the three Conferences of London, nor the Conference of St. Petersburg dealt with these questions. At the Conference of Bucharest the United States Government, at the instance of the American Jewish Committee, made a suggestion that the civil and religious liberties of the populations of the territories transferred under the proposed Treaty should be specially guaranteed. On the proposal of the Rumanian Prime Minister, however, the Conference agreed that such securities were not necessary, but expressed their readiness to give a verbal assurance that the wishes of the United States would be fully realised.[47] A long correspondence ensued between the Conjoint Committee and the Foreign Office, and eventually Sir Edward Grey agreed to a suggestion of the Committee that the Great Powers should be consulted with a view to making their sanction of the new territorial arrangements in the Balkans conditional on the guarantee of full civil and religious liberty to all the inhabitants of the annexed territories.[48] This important assurance was reaffirmed by the Secretary of State towards the end of July 1914, within a week of the outbreak of the present war.


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Protocole No. 6.—Seance du Mardi, 23 Juillet (5 Aout), 1913.

[Le President] fait part a la Conference de la note suivante que lui a remise S.E. Monsieur Jackson, Ministre des Etats-Unis d'Amerique a Bucarest.

"Le Gouvernement des Etats-Unis d'Amerique desire faire savoir qu'il regarderait avec satisfaction si une provision accordant pleine liberte civile et religieuse aux habitants de tout territoire que pourrait etre assujetti a la souverainte de quiconque des cinq Puissances ou qui pourrait etre transfere de la jurisdiction de l'une des Puissances a celle d'une autre, pourrait etre introduite dans toute convention conclue a Bucarest."

M. Maioresco estime que les delegues sont unanimes a reconnaitre pleinement, en fait et en droit, le principe qui a inspire la note precitee, le droit public des Etats constitutionnels representes a cette Conference en ayant consacre de longue date l'application. Le President pense donc que la note des Etats-Unis d'Amerique ne saurait soulever aucune difficulte: il est peut-etre bon de rappeler quelquefois les principes, meme lorsqu'ils sont universellement admis. Aussi, croit-il etre l'interprete des sentiments de MM. les Plenipotentiaires en declarant que les habitants de tout territoire nouvellement acquis auront, sans distinction de religion, la meme pleine liberte civile et religieuse que tous les autres habitants de l'etat.

M. Venizelos considere qu'a la suite des declarations du President, qui seront consignees au Protocole, toute insertion dans le traite a conclure, d'un principe deja universellement reconnu serait superflue.

Cette maniere de voir de M. le premier delegue de Grece a recueilli l'assentiment unanime.

("Le Traite de Paix de Bucarest—Protocoles de la Conference," Bucarest, 1913, pp. 24-25.)

* * * * *




13th October, 1913.

SIR,—The Jewish Conjoint Foreign Committee of the London Committee of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association have had under their consideration the diplomatic acts—principally the Treaty of Bucharest—by which the new territorial system in the Near East has been adjusted, and they have instructed us to invite the attention of His Majesty's Government to the omission from those documents of provisions either confirming or repeating on their own account, for the benefit of the annexed territories, the guarantees of civil and religious liberty and equality contained in the Protocol No. 3 of the Conference of London of February 3rd, 1830, and in Articles V, XXVII, XXXIV, XLIV, and LXII of the Treaty of Berlin.

Owing to the vast changes which have been made in the distribution of the Jewish communities throughout the region lying between the Danube and the AEgean, and more especially in view of the annexations to the Kingdom of Roumania, where hitherto the Civil and Religious Liberty Clauses of the Treaty of Berlin have been systematically evaded, this question has caused the Jewish people the gravest anxiety. The Conjoint Committee are well aware that in four of the annexing States, namely, Greece, Bulgaria, Servia, and Montenegro, the Constitutions provide for the equal rights of all religious denominations, and they gratefully acknowledge that for many years past the Jews in those countries have had no reason to complain; but in the new conditions of mixed races and creeds which confront those States, and in face of the symptoms already apparent of an accentuation of the long-standing inter-confessional bitterness and strife, they prefer not to relinquish the international obligations by which the rights of their co-religionists have hitherto been secured. In this view they find themselves supported not only by all the Jewish communities of the Balkans, but also by all of the religious minorities in the dominions which have recently changed hands. The reasonableness of their view is further supported by the constitutional changes effected in like circumstances in Moldo-Wallachia and Servia three-quarters of a century ago to the prejudice of the Jews, and also by the continued encouragement to religious intolerance afforded by the legalised oppression of a quarter of a million Jews in the Kingdom of Roumania.

The question was not ignored at the Peace Conference at Bucharest, but it failed to receive any contractual solution. At the sitting of August 8th a scheme of religious, scholastic and cultural liberty was discussed, but no agreement was reached, owing to irreconcilable differences between the Patriarchists and the Exarchists. Moreover, the scheme as drawn up was confined to Christian communities (Protocol No. 10). At the sitting of August 5th, the question was raised in its wider aspects by a communication from the United States Government expressing the hope that a provision would be introduced into the Treaty "according full civil and religious liberty to the inhabitants of any territory subject to the sovereignty of any of the five Powers, or which might be transferred from the jurisdiction of any one of them to that of another." This also met with no adequate response. M. Maioresco, the Chief Roumanian plenipotentiary, expressed the opinion that such a provision was unnecessary, "as the principle inspiring it had long been recognised, in fact and in law, by the public law of the Constitutional States represented at the Conference," but he added that he was willing to declare on behalf of the plenipotentiaries that "the inhabitants of any territory newly acquired will have, without distinction of religion, the same full civil and religious liberty, as all the other inhabitants of the State." In this view the other plenipotentiaries concurred. (Protocol No. 6.)

The Jewish Conjoint Committee regret that they are unable to accept either the reasoning or the assurances of M. Maioresco for the following reasons:—

1. Even if it were true that the constitutions of all the five contracting States assure civil and religious liberty to their inhabitants without distinction of religion—Roumania herself is a flagrant exception—it would not afford as permanent a guarantee as an international obligation. The circumstances which render such a guarantee necessary in the present case have already been referred to above.

2. In previous territorial changes in the Near East, the liberal provisions of the constitutions of the annexing States have not been held sufficient for the protection of religious minorities. Thus, in 1864, when the Ionian Islands were transferred to Greece, the Powers specifically extended to the new territories the civil and religious liberty obligations imposed on the Hellenic Kingdom in 1830 (see Article IV of the Treaty of London of March 20th, 1864). Again in 1881, when Thessaly was ceded to Greece, the religious liberty obligations of 1830 were repeated in the Treaty of Cession for the benefit of the Mussulman population (Convention of May 14th, 1881, Article VIII). A similar course was adopted by the Great Powers in 1886, when Eastern Roumelia was virtually annexed to Bulgaria (Article IV of Arrangement of April 5th, 1886; cf. Eastern Roumelia Statute, Article XXIV).

3. Roumania herself is not content to rely on the national constitutions of the other Balkan States where the destinies of her own expatriated brethren in race and religion are concerned. Although she persuaded the Conference of Bucharest to reject the American proposal to insert binding guarantees for the equitable treatment of racial and religious minorities in the annexed territories generally, she insisted on the adoption of an Annexe to the Protocols of the Conference pledging the signatory States to grant equal rights and religious and scholastic freedom to the Koutzo-Vlachs residing within their dominions. It is difficult to understand why these Treaty guarantees should be required for communities which have a Government at Bucharest, attached to them by racial and religious sympathies, to look after their interests, and not for the Jews, who have no such resource in the event of their rights being ignored.

4. The terms of M. Maioresco's declaration in regard to "the inhabitants of any territory newly acquired" are ambiguous, and in the case of the Jews of the northern districts of Bulgaria, now annexed to Roumania, might, and no doubt would be, interpreted as assimilating them to the oppressed Jewish communities of the annexed State. Moreover, in view of what happened to the Jews of the Dobrudja when that province was acquired by Roumania in 1878, any unilateral assurances from the Cabinet of Bucharest on this subject must fail to inspire confidence. The action of the Roumanian Government on that occasion was dealt with by us in the letter we had the honour of addressing to you on July 13th last, and it will consequently suffice to state now that the Jews of the Dobrudja were deprived of their national rights for thirty years after the annexation, and even then they experienced great difficulty in obtaining them. We cannot contemplate without anxiety the possibility of a repetition of this application of the principle formulated by M. Maioresco.

For these reasons the Jewish Conjoint Committee regard with grave apprehension the omission from the Treaty of Bucharest of guarantees of civil and religious equality for the inhabitants of the territories which have changed hands in virtue of that instrument, and they trust they may rely on His Majesty's Government to take such steps as will assure to those inhabitants the full enjoyment of the high protection accorded them by the London Protocol of 1830 and the Treaty of Berlin.

They venture to suggest that the objects they have in view might be attained by a collective note to the States signatory of the Treaties of London, Bucharest and Constantinople, declaring that the Great Powers regard the Civil and Religious Liberty clauses of the Protocol of 1830 and the Treaty of Berlin as binding upon all of them within their new frontiers and throughout all their territories. The Committee hope that His Majesty's Government may see their way to propose such a note to the Great Powers.

We are, Sir,

Your humble and obedient Servants,


President, London Committee of Deputies of British Jews,


President, Anglo-Jewish Association.

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October 29th, 1913.

GENTLEMEN,—I am directed by Secretary Sir E. Grey to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of October 13th, and to observe in reply that the Articles of the Treaty of Berlin, to which you refer, are in no way abrogated by the territorial changes in the Near East, and remain as binding as they have been hitherto as regards all territories covered by those Articles at the time when the Treaty was signed.

His Majesty's Government will, however, consult with the other Powers as to the policy of reaffirming in some way the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin for the protection of the religious and other liberties of minorities in the territories referred to, when the question of giving formal recognition by the Powers to the recent territorial changes in the Balkan Peninsula is raised.

I am, Gentlemen,

Your most obedient, humble servant,



* * * * *



17th November, 1913.

SIR,—We have had the honour of receiving the letter of the 29th ult. addressed to us on your behalf by Sir Eyre A. Crowe, and we have duly submitted it to our colleagues of the Conjoint Jewish Committee.

We are desired by the Committee to thank you for this communication and to express their lively satisfaction with the assurances you are good enough to give them and which appear to them to meet the necessities of the case they had the honour of placing before you.

The Committee propose, with your permission, to submit to you at a later stage, for the consideration of His Majesty's Government, an amended formula of civil and religious liberty in the Balkans, which they think will more clearly express the intentions of the Conference of London and the Congress of Berlin than the provisions on the same subject contained in the Protocol No. 3 of 1830 and the Treaty of 1878. They trust that His Majesty's Government may find it possible to make this or some similar amendment the basis for the proposed consultation with the other Great Powers, as they venture to think that in this way a means may be found of obviating a repetition of the misunderstandings by which the Jews of Roumania have hitherto been deprived of the rights sought to be conferred upon them by the Treaty of Berlin, besides securing the rights of other religious and racial minorities in the Balkans on a footing of perfect equality.

We, are, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servants,


President, London Committee of the Deputies of British Jews,


President, Anglo-Jewish Association.

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12th March, 1914.

SIR,—Referring to the letter we had the honour of addressing to you on the 17th November last, we now beg to submit to you, for the consideration of His Majesty's Government, a revised formula of civil and religious liberty in the Balkans in the hope that His Majesty's Government may be able to recommend it to the other Great Powers signatory of the Treaty of Berlin for application to the territories which have recently changed hands in the Near East under the provisions of the Treaties of London and Bucharest, and their subsidiary diplomatic Acts.

As you are aware, Civil and Religious Liberty in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Servia and Roumania is at present guaranteed in identic terms by Articles V, XXVII, XXXIV-V, XLIV of the Treaty of Berlin, and in Greece by the concluding alinea of Protocol No. 3 of the Conference of London of the 3rd February 1830. We beg to suggest that in the extension of these stipulations to the new territories they shall be elucidated by the addition to each of the following paragraph:—

* * * * *

All persons of whatever religious belief born or residing in the territories annexed to the Kingdom of—— in virtue of the Treaties of London and Bucharest, and who do not claim a foreign nationality and cannot be shown to be claimed as nationals of a foreign state shall be entitled to full civil and political rights as nationals of the Kingdom of—— in accordance with the foregoing stipulations.

* * * * *

Some slight modification of this paragraph will be required to meet the special circumstances of each case, as, for example, the omission of the reference to the Treaty of London in the case of Roumania, and perhaps, the insertion of the paragraph before the final alinea of Article XLIV of the Treaty of Berlin instead of its addition to that Article.

In making this proposal we are chiefly actuated by a desire to obviate as far as may be possible a repetition in the territories annexed to the Kingdom of Roumania of the cruel evasion of Article XLIV of the Treaty of Berlin by which the native Jews of Roumania have hitherto been deprived of their civil and political rights. It will be within your recollection that this evasion was contrived by arbitrarily declaring all the native Jews to be ipso facto foreigners and by submitting them in that capacity to harsh disabilities which, while apparently applicable to all foreigners, in reality only affected them. We are further impressed by the fact that Bulgaria, Servia and Greece have each acquired a considerable addition to their Jewish populations and, although we acknowledge most gratefully the fidelity with which those States have hitherto performed their obligation in regard to civil and religious liberty, we think it wise, in view of the evil precedent created by Roumania, to strengthen the hands of their rulers and statesmen by extending those obligations in the form we now suggest to the territories they have recently acquired.

Our aims will, we think, be attained by the formula suggested above without in any way enlarging the scope of the original stipulations, as those stipulations were understood by their authors and the majority of the States to which they have hitherto been applied. It is to be noted that a similar amendment of Article XLIV was actually suggested by the Italian representative, the Count de Launay, at the Berlin Congress, with a view to obviating the very evasion of the Treaty subsequently effected by Roumania, and it was only rejected by the Congress because it was desired to adopt an identic formula for all the Balkan States and because it was felt that the formula as it stood "parait de nature a concilier tous les interets en cause." (British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxix. pp. 1058-9.)

Now that it has been shown that this anticipation was illusory, we venture to hope that His Majesty's Government may see their way to realize the intentions of the Berlin Congress by suggesting to the Great Powers the amendment we have proposed, and that their recognition of the territorial changes in the Near East will be made conditional upon its adoption by all the annexing States, and more particularly by the Kingdom of Roumania.

We are, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servants,


President, London Committee of Deputies of British Jews,


President, Anglo-Jewish Association.


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(For the humanitarian interventions on behalf of the Jews of Morocco see "The Conferences of Madrid and Algeciras," infra, pp. 88-99.)


It will be noted that none of the diplomatic interventions took cognizance of the ill-treatment of the Jews in Russia,[49] although until the recent Revolution it afforded, in magnitude and cruelty, the worst example of religious persecution known to modern Europe.[50] The cynical reason has already been indicated. But if international politics has affected to ignore the Jewish question in Russia, that question has not been without a very distinct influence on the evolution of the European international system. No survey of the Jewish problem in international politics would be complete without a reference to the curious part played by the Russo-Jewish question in the orientation of Russian policy which made for the alliance with France and through it for the Triple Entente. It is well known that even after the termination of the Russo-German secret treaty of mutual neutrality in 1890, the Tsar Alexander III remained for a long time reluctant to come to terms with Republican France. Towards the end of 1890 there was a fresh outbreak of official anti-Semitism in Russia, and the bitter cry of the persecuted Jews was heard all over Europe. At that moment it happened that negotiations for a large loan had been entered into by the Russian Treasury with the house of Rothschild, and a preliminary contract had actually been signed. As soon as the news of the persecutions reached New Court, Lord Rothschild resolved to break off the negotiations. At his instance, M. Wyshnigradski, the Russian Finance Minister, was informed by the Paris House that unless the oppression of the Jews were stopped they would be compelled to withdraw from the loan operation. Deeply mortified by this attempt on the part of a Jewish banking firm to deal with him de puissance a puissance, the Tsar peremptorily cancelled the contract and ordered that overtures should be made to a non-Jewish French syndicate headed by M. Hoskier of Paris. Thus was forged the main financial link in the chain of common interests which soon after led to the Dual Alliance. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that one of the effects of the Alliance was to secure to the Tsar a much larger immunity from criticism in his persistent ill-treatment of the Jews.[51]

Fifteen years later the Jewish question also played a part in the curious Russo-German rapprochement which nearly wrecked the Dual Alliance. Much light has been shed upon this incident by the recent publication of the late Tsar's secret correspondence with the German Emperor[52] and other Russian State documents, notably a Memorandum on the Jewish question drawn up by Count Lamsdorf in January 1906.[53] Negotiations for the adhesion of Russia to the Anglo-French Entente had been opened in the winter of 1903, but owing to the war with Japan and the revolutionary outbreak in Russia the Tsar's views on the subject had changed. Worked on by the German Emperor, he imagined himself a victim of English intrigue, and he concluded with the Kaiser at Bjoerkoeon July 23, 1905, the bases of a new Triple Alliance to consist of Russia, Germany, and France. While the Treaty was still unratified certain reactionaries in Russia seized the opportunity of endeavouring to give it a specially anti-Jewish bias. On the one hand the bureaucracy had persuaded themselves that the Jews were the main authors of the October Revolution, and on the other Count Witte and his colleagues in the Cabinet were furious at the renewed rebuffs they had received at the hands of the House of Rothschild in their efforts to raise new loans on the Paris and London markets.[54] It was in these circumstances that Count Lamsdorf prepared a Memorandum proposing to the Tsar that an agreement should be concluded with Germany providing for the special surveillance of Jewish activities on the lines of a secret Protocol which had been drawn up by the two Powers on March 14, 1904, for the similar surveillance and extradition of Anarchists.[55] At the same time the Count suggested that the Pope should be asked to adhere to this new Holy Alliance. This strange proposal was approved by the Tsar, who ordered the immediate initiation of negotiations with the Wilhelmstrasse. In due course this instruction was acted upon,[56] but in the following May Count Lamsdorf fell, and with the entry of M. Izvolsky into the Russian Foreign Office a new and saner direction was given to Russian Foreign policy. Nothing more was heard either of the Bjoerkoe Treaty or of the proposed Triple Alliance against the Jews.


* * * * *


(The footnotes appended to the following document are those of Count Lamsdorf himself. Footnotes by the Editor will be found at the end.)



The events of the year 1905, which became particularly acute at the beginning of October last, and, after a number of so-called "strikes," culminated in an armed revolt at Moscow and in other cities and localities of the Empire, show quite clearly that the Russian revolutionary movement, apart from its deep social economic causes of an internal nature, has also a quite definite international character. This side of the revolutionary movement, which deserves very serious attention, manifests itself chiefly in the fact that it is supported to a large extent from abroad.

This is clearly indicated by the striking phenomenon that the Russian revolutionists dispose of an enormous quantity of arms imported from abroad, as well as of considerable pecuniary means, since there can be no doubt that the revolutionary movement hostile to the Government, including the organising of various kinds of strikes, must have cost the revolutionaries large sums of money.

Since it must be recognised that such support of the revolutionary movement with arms and money could hardly be set to the account of foreign governments (with the exception of certain isolated cases, as for instance, the support of the Finnish movement by Sweden, and perhaps the partial support of the Polish movement by Austria), one inevitably arrives at the further conclusion that the support of our revolutionary movement enters into the calculations of some foreign capitalist organisations.

This result must be coupled with the fact that the Russian revolutionary movement is altogether distinguished by an alien racial character, since it was precisely the various allogenes—the Armenians, Georgians, Letts, Esthonians, Finns, Poles, etc.—who rose one after another against the Imperial Government for the purpose of obtaining, if not complete political autonomy, at least equal rights with the native population of the Empire. When one considers, moreover, that, as is established with sufficient certainty, among these allogenes a most important part is played by the Jews, who have figured and still figure as a specially active and aggressive element of the revolution, whether as individuals, or as leaders of the movement, or in the shape of entire organisations (e.g. the Jewish Bund in the Western region), one may assume with certainty that the aforesaid support of the revolutionary movement from abroad emanates precisely from Jewish capitalist circles.

In this respect one cannot ignore the coincidence of several phenomena which could hardly be accidental. This coincidence rather logically leads to the further result that our revolutionary movement is not only, as already stated, supported from abroad, but to a certain extent also directed from there. The strikes broke out with particular force precisely in October last, that is to say, at a time when our Government was making the attempt to bring about a large foreign loan without the participation of the Rothschilds,[A] and just in the nick of time for the frustration of the realisation of that financial scheme. The panic provoked by it among the holders of Russian securities and the hurried sale of those securities could not but procure in the end, as was safely to be expected, new profits for the Jewish capitalists and bankers, who speculated consciously and openly, as in Paris for instance, on the fall of Russian securities.[57]

On the other hand, the hostile movement against the Government, which flared up immediately after the promulgation of the Manifesto of October 30th, assumed for a time milder forms as soon as the bulk of the Russian people, of whom the revolutionists had taken no account at first, responded to the hostile manifestations against the Government by pogroms upon the Jews.[B]

This connexion between the Russian revolutionary movement and the foreign Jewish organisations is, moreover, confirmed in an obvious manner by some significant facts which have even percolated through the Press. Thus, for instance, the above-mentioned wholesale importation of arms into Russia, which, as it transpires from the Agency reports, is carried on very largely from the continent of Europe via England, becomes quite intelligible when one considers that already in June 1905, precisely in England, an Anglo-Jewish Committee for collecting donations for the equipment of fighting groups among Russian Jews was openly organised with the most active co-operation of the well-known Russophobe publicist Lucien Wolf.[C] On the other hand, on account of the melancholy consequences of the revolutionary agitation, which recoiled upon the Jews themselves, in the very same England a Committee of Jewish capitalists was founded under the presidency of Lord Rothschild, which concentrated enormous sums of money, collected by way of subscriptions in France, England and Germany, for the ostensible purpose of granting relief to the Jewish subjects of Russia who had suffered by the pogroms. Lastly, the Jews in America are organising collections both for the victims and for the arming of the Jewish youths, without formally separating these two aims from one another.[58][D] There is thus no room for doubt as to the close connexion of the Russian revolution with the Jewish question in general, and with the foreign Jewish organisations in particular, which connexion is already perfectly clear from the point of view of its fundamental principles, since the founders of the Socialist doctrine, Lassalle and Marx, who wield so great an influence on the present mind of the Russian University youth, were notoriously both of Jewish origin. Nor can it be in any way doubted that the practical direction of the Russian revolutionary movement is in Jewish hands. While our newspapers pass over, no doubt intentionally, the leading part played by them in almost complete silence, it is no longer deemed necessary to make a secret of it abroad, even in Socialist circles. A member of the Jewish Working-men's Union (Bund), named Hervaille, thus declared openly at a meeting of the Dutch Socialists at Amsterdam on the 22nd October (November 4th) that in spite of the persecutions to which they were subjected, it is precisely the Jews who are standing at the head of the Russian revolutionary movement.[59] In Italy, numerous meetings of sympathy with the said movement, which in the course of last November were organised at Rome, Milan, Turin, etc. ostensibly, "Pro liberta Russa," ended in manifestations "Pro ebrei Russi."[60]

Thus, with the evident promotion of the Russian revolution by the Jews of all countries, in one form or another, to a larger or smaller extent, providing it above all with intelligent leaders, arms and pecuniary means, the so-to-say international side of our revolutionary movement becomes perfectly clear, and at the same time reveals those forces which the Imperial Government must combat, as well as the factors of State and public life abroad, on which it must rely in this struggle.

Starting from the idea set out above, namely, that our revolutionary movement is being actively supported and partly directed by the forces of universal Jewry, we also discover with great probability the organising and intellectual centre where the main supports and feeding organs of the militant hostility to the Government in Russia are hiding themselves. That is the famous pan-Jewish universal union established in the year 1860, the "Alliance Israelite Universelle," with a Central Committee in Paris, which possesses gigantic pecuniary means, disposes of an enormous membership, and is supported by the Masonic lodges of every description (according to some reports, they have again been carried into Russia in recent years), which represent the obedient organs of that universal organisation.[61][E] The principal aim of the "Alliance Israelite Universelle"—the all-round triumph of anti-Christian and anti-monarchist Jewry (which has already taken practical possession of France) by means of Socialism which is to serve as a bait for the ignorant masses—could not but find the State system of Russia—a land of peasants, Orthodoxy and monarchism—an obstacle in its path. Hence the fight against the existing Government, which was started with consummate calculation at the very moment of our greatest weakness brought about by the Japanese war. That is also why the chief watchword of this inexorable campaign at the present moment is universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage; that is to say, it fights for a principle which if recognised by the Government would bring about immediately, even before the meeting of the State Duma, the complete removal of the existing historical-legal impediments to the triumph of Jewry in Russia, though their complete abolition is not likely to be welcome to the future chosen men of the Russian land either.

The said factors, which support the fight of the revolutionary elements against the Imperial Government from abroad, also afford on the other hand the opportunity of recognising those forces by whose joint work a favourable soil for a successful struggle with international revolutionary Socialism might be created. As a matter of fact, there can be no doubt that, in accordance with the main considerations set out above, the universally organised international revolutionary Jewry must be confronted by other enemies, apart from Russia, who by that alone must become the friends and allies of the Imperial Government. Anti-monarchist Jewry, sustained by money, cannot help undermining in every way the Monarchical German Empire, sustained by its material power. On the other hand, owing to a tradition centuries old, the universally organised anti-Christian Judaism cannot help seeing an irreconcilable enemy in the only Christian community that is likewise organised on a universal and centralised basis, viz. the Roman Catholic Church.

It seems, therefore, that the friendly relations which have recently been brought about so happily between the Imperial Government and the German Empire,[F] as well as the Holy See, are destined to exercise a very beneficent influence with regard to the anti-monarchical and anti-Christian revolutionary movement in Europe.

As for the Vatican, it must be remembered first of all that the Protestant Government of Germany has recognised long ago the full importance of the Holy See for the defence of the traditional foundations of European culture. While in its internal policy, it is leaning on the Catholic Centre-party, it has necessarily arrived at a friendly accord with the Pope in its foreign policy as well. As for Russia, the friendly assistance of the Vatican might likewise prove to be of supreme importance just in the sense indicated above. Even apart from the authoritative influence of the Holy See, through the medium of the local clergy, especially in our Polish affairs—in this respect, the latest Encyclical of the Pope to the Bishops of Poland presents a significant step in meeting the wishes of the Russian Government—the Vatican could render us an invaluable service by communicating matter-of-fact data on the dissolving Jewish freemasonry organisation and its branches, whose threads converge in Paris—an organisation about which our Government is unfortunately but little informed, whereas the Vatican is sure to watch its activity in the most attentive manner.

As for Germany, on the other hand, any further approach of its Government towards Russia—and one of a still closer nature than the agreement founded on the Protocol of March 1st, 1904, on combating Anarchism—would meet with unqualified sympathy at Berlin, since it cannot be overlooked that, next to Russia, Germany is undoubtedly the first State that will have to sustain the struggle with the Social-Revolutionary party. Both the Government and Society in Germany already take note at the present moment with the greatest apprehension of the indubitable effect of the Russian events on the Social-Democratic and Labour question, not to mention the movement of specific hostility to the Government in the Provinces of Prussian Poland.

Indeed, the West-European Socialists of various nationalities do not consider it any longer necessary to make a secret of their intention to inaugurate in this very month of January 1906, a movement hostile to the Government of Germany—which is to reach its highest development on the 1st of May 1906—and has already started it in Prussia and in Saxony with the self-same watchword of "Universal Suffrage." It could hardly be doubted that behind this movement—which they intend to organise, in accordance with the resolutions passed by the Socialist Congresses held at Jena and Breslau, by the same means as in Russia—there stand in reality the above indicated international aims and considerations of principle, that is to say, the same anti-Christian and anti-monarchical factors which had likewise been and are still in operation in the Russian revolutionary movement. At any rate, according to an observation by the Deutsche Tageszeitung, which has made it its special aim to organise the fight against the impending general European revolution, the more candid publicists of Social-Revolutionary tendencies are already expressing unceremoniously their hope that the Russian movement of hostility to the Government only presents a prelude to that general European upheaval which, among other things, is to destroy utterly the monarchical order of contemporary Europe. When one places oneself on this standpoint, one cannot help perceiving in everything said above nothing else but partial manifestations of a general revolutionary scheme the menace of which is not confined to Russia, and which, according to the formula of the well-known Liebknecht, consists essentially in realising a Republic in politics, Socialism in economics, and Atheism in the domain of religion.

In view of the considerations set forth above, no doubt can remain as to the absolute necessity of a confidential and sincere exchange of views on our part, in the sense indicated above, with the leading spheres both at Berlin and Rome. It could become the foundation of a most useful joint action, first, for the purpose of organising a vigilant supervision, and then also for an active joint struggle against the common foe of the Christian and monarchical order of Europe. As a first step in the said direction, and for the purpose of elucidating the main principles for a future programme of joint action, it seems to be desirable to confine ourselves for the present to a quite confidential exchange of views with the German Government.


Negotiations must be entered into immediately. } I share entirely the opinions herein expressed. } Endorsement in the } Tsar's handwriting. TSARSKOYE SELO, } January 3rd (O.S.) 1906. }

(Translated from the Russian text in vol. vi. of "Secret Documents," published by the Soviet Commission of Foreign Affairs.)

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[A] Supra, p. 56 (note).

[B] How these pogroms were organised by the Russian Secret Police will be found described from authentic documents in Semenoff: The Russian Government and the Massacres.

[C] This is not quite accurate. The object of the Committee was to assist the Self-Defence groups of Russian Jews in resisting the pogroms. No arms were exported to Russia, as the groups in question, and indeed the Russian Revolutionists themselves, found it quite easy to purchase arms from the Imperial Russian magazines.

[D] This also is quite untrue, as the published accounts of the Funds show.

[E] Freemasons will be able to judge of the accuracy of this statement. It will suffice to say here that it is as untrue as it is ludicrous. The same remark applies to the absurd reference to the Alliance Israelite.

[F] This is clearly a reference to the Bjoerkoe interview and shows that M. Izvolsky was in error when he stated that the Agreement resulting from the interview was disapproved by Count Lamsdorf. (See interview with M. Izvolsky in Le Temps, September 15, 1917.)



Not all the diplomatic interventions on behalf of Jews have proceeded on humanitarian grounds. Through the political assimilation of the Jews with the populations among whom they dwell, and more particularly through their emancipation in the various countries of Western Europe and America, they have acquired the same rights in foreign countries under International Law and treaties as their Christian fellow-citizens. Unfortunately this has not been universally recognised, and it has frequently happened that, when they travelled into countries where Jewish disabilities still lingered, they were held liable as Jews to ill-treatment from which their Christian fellow-countrymen were free. The question of the legality of this ill-treatment arose at an early date.

In 1556, the Jews in the Papal States suffered a terrible persecution at the hands of the fanatical Pope Paul IV. This culminated in the imprisonment of all the Marranos or Crypto Jews of Ancona, and their sentence to the stake. At that time the most influential Jews in Europe were the Mendes or Nasi Family of Portugal and the Low Countries, the head of which was the famous Donna Gracia Nasi. Her son-in-law, who afterwards became Duke of Naxos in the service of the Porte, for whom he conquered Cyprus, was the Rothschild as well as the Disraeli of his day.[62] The Italian Jews sent piteous appeals to Donna Gracia, who was then settled in Constantinople. She at once addressed herself to the reigning Sultan, Solyman the Magnificent, and entreated his intervention, on the ground that the Marrano Jews in Ancona were for the most part Turkish subjects. The appeal was well conceived, for the Sultan was outraged by the idea that subjects of his could be maltreated by a foreign potentate. He promptly responded (March 9, 1556) by sending an ultimatum to the Pope, demanding the immediate release of his unjustly accused lieges, under pain of reprisals on the foreign Christians within his own dominions.[63] The Turk in those days was not in the habit of treating Christian States with an excess of ceremony, and the Pope realised the wisdom of complying with the ultimatum. He revenged himself, however, by burning those of the prisoners who could not be shown to be Turkish subjects.[64]

This incident is of peculiar interest for its bearing on the still much debated question of the political status of Jews in the lands of their "Dispersion." The Turkish Jews in 1556 seem to have had no doubt that they were full nationals of the Ottoman Porte and as such entitled to the protection of the Turkish Sultan. The precedent, however, was far from decisive. In other circumstances other views have prevailed. Thus in 1655, when the Commonwealth declared war on Spain, and an order was issued for the confiscation of the property of Spaniards in England, some of the Spanish Crypto Jews, then resident in London, appealed against the order on the ground that their national status was that of Jews and not that of Spaniards. This plea was allowed by the Admiralty Commissioners, to whom it was referred, and they discharged the orders made against the appellants.[65]

The question slumbered for a century and a half, and when it reappeared the Turk was again on the side of the light. In 1815, there was a dispute on this subject between Austria and Turkey. At that time the Jews of Turkey were treated better than the Jews of Austria. Austria applied to Turkish Jews visiting her territories the disabilities imposed upon her own Jews. Turkey protested on the ground that, according to the treaties—mainly the Treaty of Carlowitz—in force between the two powers, Austria had no right to make any distinction between Turkish Jews and other subjects of the Ottoman Porte. This contention was held to be valid by the Austrian Government, and the incident was terminated by the issue of an instruction to the police of Lower Austria, where the disabilities complained of were in force, ordering them to treat all Turkish subjects alike without distinction of race or creed.

The Treaty of Carlowitz by which this case was governed left very little option to the Austrian Government,[66] inasmuch as the reciprocity for which it stipulated was not based, as in other treaties, on what is known as "National treatment," that is to say that the nationals of each contracting party visiting the territories of the other shall be treated on the same footing as the nationals of the territories they visit. The reason, no doubt, was that the racial and religious heterogeneity of both Empires, and the differential treatment to which it gave rise in their respective internal administrations, could not be recognised internationally without grave risk of friction and controversy. The lesson was not lost on other States, especially those which desired to maintain their differential treatment of Jews as against the doctrine of undenominational Nationality which was chiefly championed by France. The result was a strengthening of the "National treatment" clause of commercial treaties, and this, with the progress of religious liberty, led to a succession of fresh international disputes.

For many years, curiously enough, the chief offender was the democratic Swiss Confederation, the Federal constitution of which was exclusively Christian, while the Cantonal legislation was in many cases frankly and even aggressively anti-Semitic. Until 1827 the Swiss Commercial Treaties contained no hint of religious differentiation, but in that year, availing themselves of the reactionary and clerical sympathies of the government of Charles X, the Federal Authorities negotiated a Treaty with France containing a "National treatment" clause, under which the powers of the separate Cantons to deal as they pleased with Jews were, in effect, reserved. But this was not all. Lest the clause should be misinterpreted, the French Minister at Berne was authorised to address a secret Note to the President of the Swiss Diet acknowledging that it implied the desired restriction, on "the Jewish subjects of the King."[67] The transaction was obviously one which could not stand the light of the Revolution of 1830, and when three years later the Government of the Canton of Basle applied the Treaty in all its rigour to French Jews, the Duc de Broglie, then French Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued an Ordinance suspending the operation of the Treaty in regard to the offending Canton, and followed this up by severing diplomatic relations and by placing a military cordon on the frontier.[68] The King himself approved the action of his Minister in an energetic speech to a deputation of the Consistoire Israelite. However, in 1835 the Ordinance was withdrawn, and until 1850 the peace was more or less preserved by a tacit modus vivendi.

The resistance of France was rendered difficult, partly by perplexities of general politics, but more immediately by the fact that the question was a larger one than it had at first appeared. In February 1840 a French Jew had been refused a permis de sejour by the police of Dresden on the ground that Jews were not permitted to reside in the city. The case was precisely similar to that of Switzerland, and M. Guizot, who was then Foreign Minister, hesitated to take up a strong attitude as he was afraid that the precedent might involve him in complications with other countries.[69] Nevertheless, French public opinion was aroused, and the Chamber, after a lively debate, called upon the Government to make suitable representations to Saxony.[70] In 1850 a Commercial Treaty between the United States and Switzerland was signed at Berne, but the American Senate, on the advice of the President, refused to ratify it because it discriminated against non-Christians.[71] This was followed almost immediately by a revival of the anti-Semitic activity of the Basle police, chiefly at the expense of French Jews resident in the Canton. The French Government again protested energetically and insisted on the withdrawal of the police measures. The demand was sulkily complied with, the Cantonal Government reserving what they called "the principle."[72]

In 1855 a new phase of the conflict was opened by the negotiation of two further Commercial Treaties with Switzerland—one by Great Britain and the other by the United States—in both of which the invidious reservations, substantially as in the French Treaty of 1827, were retained.[73] Some mystery attaches to the circumstances in which these treaties were signed and ratified,[74] but the probable explanation is that the Swiss negotiators promised in effect that there should be no discrimination. This conjecture is confirmed by the action of the Federal Assembly in the following year, in proposing a modification of the Constitution by which equal rights should be accorded to the Jews in all the Cantons. Unfortunately not all the Cantons agreed,[75] and in 1857 American public opinion became much excited at the discovery that in the Canton of Neufchatel American citizens of the Jewish faith could not be protected by American passports.[76] From this time until 1861 the United States took the place of France as the champion of Religious Liberty in Switzerland, and was strongly supported by Great Britain.[77] Her efforts, however, were not successful, and it was still reserved for France to settle the question.

The opportunity presented itself when in the early sixties, under the influence of Cobden and Chevalier, France denounced all her Commercial Treaties. In negotiating the new Treaty with Switzerland she resolutely set her face against all discriminations, or possibilities of discrimination, between French citizens on the score of religion. The result was that she obtained in her new Treaty (June 30, 1864) a form of article without precedent in instruments of the kind.[78] In place of "National treatment," French citizens in Switzerland "without distinction of creed" were assured the same treatment as was accorded to "Christians."[79] This striking victory was speedily followed by the abolition of all Jewish disabilities throughout the Confederation.[80]

A series of more formidable cases of the same kind arose at a later period out of the disabilities imposed on Jews in Russia. The Powers mainly affected were the United States and Great Britain. Both had Treaties of Commerce with Russia, the American Treaty having been concluded in 1832 and the British in 1859. Both Treaties contained, in substantially the same form, articles guaranteeing reciprocal "National treatment" to the subjects of the High Contracting parties. There is, however, an extraordinary contrast in the interpretation of these Treaties by the British and American Governments respectively.

The question first came up for consideration in 1862. Certain British Jews resident in Warsaw complained that the disabilities imposed upon native Jews were also imposed upon them, and they appealed to Her Majesty's Government for protection. Lord John Russell held that the articles of the Treaty of 1859, by which British subjects in Russia and Russian subjects in England were to be treated on an equal footing with the nationals of those countries, did not mean that British Jews in Russia should be treated as British subjects, but that they should only have equal treatment with their oppressed co-religionists. He accordingly declined to seek any relief for the petitioners.[81] The case gave rise to no controversy, not only because the British and Russian Governments were at one in their interpretation of the Treaty, but because the facts were not made public at the time. It proved, however, a fatal and humiliating precedent. In 1880 a terrible era of persecution was inaugurated for the Jews of Russia, and it soon reacted on their foreign brethren visiting the country. Towards the end of the year a naturalised British Jew named Lewisohn was expelled from St. Petersburg because he was a Jew, and he invoked the protection of his Government. Lord Granville, who was then Foreign Secretary, was at first disposed to regard the expulsion as a violation of the Treaty,[82] but later on he became acquainted with the precedent of 1862, and he declined to depart from it.[83] In 1890, at the instance of the Jewish Conjoint Committee, Lord Salisbury submitted the question to the Law Officers of the Crown, with the result that the precedent set by Lord John Russell was confirmed on its merits and not—as in the case of Lord Granville—qua precedent only.[84] The last occasion on which an effort was made to obtain a reversal of this decision was in 1912. The Conjoint Committee addressed to the Secretary of State, Sir Edward Grey, an elaborate Memorandum reviewing the history and legal aspects of the question.[85] The reply was in effect a reaffirmation of the previous decisions, but the grounds on which it was rested were different. Sir Edward Grey did not discuss the reasonableness of the established interpretation, but he pleaded that any departure from it would only lead to the termination of the Treaty, and that this would serve neither British nor Jewish interests.[86]

The dispute with the United States pursued a very different course. In its earliest stages it was dealt with by minor diplomatic and consular officials very much in the spirit of Lord John Russell,[87] but when in 1880 the Russian Government began to expel American Jews from St. Petersburg, the question was taken in hand by the Secretary of State as one of gravity. It was at once recognised that a religious discrimination between American citizens could not be tolerated in any American Treaty. This was quite apart from the question of the legal interpretation of the Treaty of 1832.[88] That question, however, was dealt with vigorously by Mr. Blaine in July 1881. He took the broad view that the intention of the United States in 1832 was not, and could not have been, that which the Russian Government read into the Treaty, that the Russian interpretation was indefensible on moral grounds, and that on such questions local law cannot be permitted to override the express terms of a Treaty.[89] On this basis the United States patiently sought a reversal of the Russian view, but without success. The fight lasted thirty years. Eventually American public opinion became agitated, an organised movement for the termination of the obnoxious treaty was set on foot, and in December 1911 the House of Representatives at Washington sent a strongly worded joint resolution to the Senate declaring that Russia had violated the Treaty and calling upon the President to denounce it. The Russian Ambassador in Washington expressed official disapproval of the resolution, but President Taft acted upon it without waiting for the Senate, and denounced the Treaty on December 15. Thereupon the Senate contented itself with a joint resolution approving the action of the President.[90]

The question of the status of Jews in foreign lands has also arisen in Palestine and Morocco. In 1882 the Turkish Government, fearing a Zionist propaganda, prohibited the settlement of foreign Jews in the Holy Land. The United States protested, and in 1887 and 1888 similar action was taken by Great Britain and France. In the following year the restriction was removed.[91] In the case of Morocco, Great Britain solved the question in advance by stipulating in her Treaty with that country, negotiated in 1855, that her Christian, Mohammedan, and Jewish subjects visiting and residing in Morocco should be treated on an equal footing.[92]


* * * * *


XIV. Trade shall be free for the Subjects of both Partys, in all the Kingdoms and Dominions of both Empires, according to the antient sacred Capitulations. And that it may be carry'd on by both Partys with Profit and without Fraud and Deceit, the same shall be settled by Stipulations between Commissarys deputed on both sides, well vers'd in Merchandize, at the time of solemn Embassys on both sides, and as has been observ'd with other Nations in Friendship with the Sublime Empire, so his Imperial Majesty's subjects of what Nation soever, shall enjoy the Security and Advantage of Trade in the Kingdoms of the Sublime Empire, as well as the usual Privileges in a fitting manner.

("Collection of Treatys of Peace and Commerce," London, 1732, vol. iv. p. 298.)

* * * * *

Interpretation by Austrian Government. Instructions to Police of Lower Austria, Dec. 28, 1815.

"All differences established between Turkish Jews and other subjects of the Ottoman Porte appear contrary to the spirit of the Treaties. These speak of 'Turkish subjects' without making any exception. It is consequently to this quality only that one must have regard, and not in any case to the religion or profession of individuals."

(Quoted by M. Carnot in Debate in French Chamber. Moniteur, May 29, 1841.)

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Article premier.—Les Francais seront recus et traites, dans chaque canton de la Confederation, relativement a leurs personnes et a leurs proprietes, sur le meme pied et de la meme maniere que le sont ou pourront l'etre a l'avenir les ressortissants suisses des autres cantons. Tout genre d'industrie et de commerce permis aux ressortissants suisses des divers cantons le sera egalement aux Francais et sans qu'on puisse exiger d'eux aucune condition pecuniaire ou autre plus onereuse. Lorsqu'ils prendront domicile ou formeront un etablissement dans les cantons qui admettent les ressortissants de leurs co-etats, ils ne seront egalement astreints a aucune autre condition que ces derniers.

Art. 3.—Les Suisses jouiront en France des memes droits et avantages que l'article premier assure aux Francais en Suisse, de telle sorte qu'a l'egard des cantons qui, sous les rapports specifies audit article premier, traiteront les Francais comme leurs propres ressortissants, ceux-ci seront, sous les memes rapports, traites en France comme les nationaux. Sa Majeste Tres Chretienne garantit aux autres cantons les memes droits et avantages dont ils feront jouir ses sujets.

Art. 6.—Les Francais etablis en Suisse, de meme que les Suisses etablis en France en vertu du traite de 1803, continueront a jouir des droits qui leur etaient acquis. Toutes les dispositions de la presente convention leur seront d'ailleurs applicables.

(Brisac: "Ce que les Israelites de la Suisse doivent a la France," pp. 10-11.)

* * * * *

Interpretation by French Negotiator. Secret Note to the Swiss Diet, August 7, 1826.

Le premier point qui a paru avoir besoin de quelques eclaircissements est relatif aux israelites sujets du roi, lesquels, en cette derniere qualite, pourraient se croire autorises a reclamer, dans tous les cantons suisses, le benefice de l'article 5 du projet de traite arrete entre la commission de la Diete et moi. Je ferai observer a cet egard que, cet article premier n'accordant aux Francais que les droits qui sont accordes par chaque canton suisse aux ressortissants des autres cantons, il s'ensuit necessairement que, dans ceux des cantons ou le domicile et tout nouvel etablissement serait interdit, par les lois du canton souverain, aux individus de la religion de Moise, les sujets du roi qui professent cette religion ne sauraient se prevaloir de l'article en question pour reclamer une exception a la regle generale du canton suisse. Il est toutefois bien entendu que c'est une consequence directe de l'article 6 du projet de traite, que ceux d'entre les israelites d'origine francaise qui se seraient etablis sur le territoire de la Confederation sous le regime de l'acte de mediation et en vertu du traite de 1803, continueront a jouir des droits qui leur etaient acquis.

(Brisac: op. cit., pp. 12-13.)

* * * * *

Interpretation by France (1835). Speech by King Louis Philippe to a Deputation from the Consistoire Israelite, November 5, 1835.

Le roi a repondu:

"Oui, dans tous les temps j'ai regarde comme injustes et impolitiques les mesures qui etablissaient entre les citoyens d'une meme nation des differences de qualifications sociales fondees sur la diversite des croyances religieuses. Comme roi j'ai soutenu ce principe, et je vous ai deja temoigne plusieurs fois combien j'avais joui qu'il m'eut ete reserve de vous en faire l'application. J'espere qu'elle deviendra generale, je le desire beaucoup. Je crois que c'est dans l'interet bien entendu de tous les peuples, et la raison doit finir par l'emporter sur les prejuges, comme l'eau qui tombe goutte a goutte finit par percer le plus dur rocher. Tels sont au moins mes desirs et mes esperances; mais je ne puis me meler de ce qui se passe dans les autres Etats, a moins que les interets francais n'en soient leses, ainsi que cela est arrive dans le canton de Bale campagne. J'avoue que j'ai ete bien aise d'avoir cette occasion de bien etablir que sous mon regne tous les Francais jouissent des memes droits et que tous obtiennent la meme protection de la part de mon gouvernement. J'espere que mes efforts ne seront pas infructueux et que, dans l'affaire meme dont vous m'entretenez, le canton reviendra sur une determination aussi contraire a nos traites avec la Suisse qu'a l'esprit du siecle ou nous vivons. Pour moi, je suis heureux d'avoir donne l'exemple de votre complete emancipation, et je vous remercie de la justice que vous rendez a mes actes et a mes intentions; je suis bien touche de ce que vous venez de m'exprimer."

(Moniteur, Nov. 12, 1835.)

* * * * *


"Tous les Francais sans distinction de culte seront recus et traites a l'avenir dans chacun des Cantons suisses sur le meme pied que les ressortissants chretiens des autres Cantons."

(Brisac: op. cit., p. 53.)

* * * * *

ART. I. ANGLO-SWISS TREATY, September 6, 1855.

Article I. The subjects of Her Britannic Majesty shall be admitted to reside in each of the Swiss Cantons on the same conditions, and on the same footing, as citizens of the other Swiss Cantons. In the same manner, Swiss citizens shall be admitted to reside in all the territories of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the same conditions, and on the same footing as British subjects.

Consequently, the subjects and citizens of either of the two Contracting Parties shall, provided they conform to the laws of the country, be at liberty, with their families, to enter, establish themselves, reside, and remain in any part of the territories of the other. They may hire and occupy houses and warehouses for the purposes of residence and commerce, and may exercise, conformably to the laws of the country, any profession or business, or carry on trade in articles of lawful commerce by wholesale or retail, and may conduct such trade either in person or by any brokers or agents whom they may think fit to employ, provided such brokers or agents shall themselves also fulfil the conditions necessary for being admitted to reside in the country. They shall not be subject to any taxes, charges or conditions in respect of residence, establishment, passports, licences to reside, establish themselves, or to trade, in respect of permission to exercise their profession, business, trade, or occupation, greater or more onerous than those which are or may be imposed upon the subjects or citizens of the country in which they reside; and they shall, in all these respects, enjoy every right, privilege, and exemption which is or may be accorded to subjects or citizens of the country, or to subjects or citizens of the most favoured nation.

(Bernhardt, "Handbook of Treaties, &c., relating to Commerce," Lond. 1908, pp. 915-916.)

* * * * *

ART. I. AMERICAN-SWISS TREATY, November 6, 1855.

Art. I. "The citizens of the United States of America and the citizens of Switzerland shall be admitted and treated upon a footing of reciprocal equality in the two countries, where such admission and treatment shall not conflict with the constitutional or legal provisions, as well Federal as State and Cantonal, of the contracting parties.

(Pub. Amer. Jew. Hist. Soc., vol. xi. p. 15.)

* * * * *

Interpretation by the United States, 1857. Letter from the Assistant Secretary of State to the Jews of Baltimore.

August 13, 1857.

In compliance with your request, I enclose herewith a copy of the treaty between the United States and Switzerland which was proclaimed in 1855. It was originally concluded in 1850, but was amended with a view to avoid some objections which were made on the very subject to which you refer. In its present form, although it may not remove some difficulties with reference to those who profess the Israelitish faith, yet I do not see that it discriminates against this class of our citizens in any mode whatever. Undoubtedly in some portions of the Confederation the local laws are less liberal to Israelites than to others, and this is deeply to be regretted; but the Government of the United States has no control over the legislation of a foreign State and can only employ its influence and good offices to relieve the difficulties which such legislation may impose in any given case.


(Ibid., p. 23.)

* * * * *

Action by the United States, 1861. Instruction to Mr. Fogg, Minister to Switzerland.

September 14, 1861.

SIR,—Among the important instructions addressed to your predecessor are those concerning the restrictions of certain of the Swiss Cantons against citizens of the United States professing Judaism—a subject which received at Mr. Fay's hands a large share of earnest attention and upon which he addressed the department repeatedly and at much length. It is very desirable that his efforts to procure the removal of the restrictions referred to, which, though not completely successful, have no doubt had much effect in smoothing the way to such a result, should be followed up by you. You will therefore, after having fully acquainted yourself with what Mr. Fay has done in the premises and with the views of the department as expressed to him in the despatches on file in the Legation, take such steps as you may deem judicious and legal to advance the benevolent object in question. It is not doubted that further proper appeals to the justice and liberality of the authorities of the several Cantons whose laws discriminate against Israelitish citizens of the United States, will result in a removal of the odious restrictions and a recognition of the just rights of those citizens.


Secretary of State.

(Ibid., pp. 47-48.)

* * * * *

ART. I. RUSSO-AMERICAN TREATY, December 18, 1832.

Article I. There shall be between the territories of the high contracting parties a reciprocal liberty of commerce and navigation.

The inhabitants of their respective states shall mutually have liberty to enter the ports, places and rivers of each party wherever foreign commerce is permitted. They shall be at liberty to sojourn and reside in all parts whatsoever of said territories, in order to attend to their affairs; and they shall enjoy, to that effect, the same security and protection as natives of the country wherein they reside, on condition of submitting to the laws and ordinances there prevailing, and particularly to the regulations in force concerning commerce.

("Brit. and For. State Papers," vol. xx. p. 267.)

* * * * *

Interpretation by United States, 1881. Dispatch of Secretary of State to the American Minister in St. Petersburg.


July 29, 1881.

SIR,—...The case would clearly be one in which the obligation of a treaty is supreme and where the local law must yield. These questions of the conflict of local law and international treaty stipulations are among the most common which have engaged the attention of publicists, and it is their concurrent judgment that where a treaty creates a privilege for aliens in express terms it cannot be limited by the operations of domestic law without a serious breach of the good faith which governs the intercourse of nations. So long as such a conventional engagement in favor of the citizens in another State exists, the law governing natives in like cases is manifestly inapplicable.

I need hardly enlarge on the point that the Government of the United States concludes its treaties with foreign States for the equal protection of all classes of American citizens. It can make absolutely no discrimination between them, whatever be their origin or creed. So that they abide by the laws at home or abroad it must give them due protection and expect like protection for them. Any unfriendly or discriminatory act against them on the part of a foreign power with which we are at peace would call for our earnest remonstrance, whether a treaty existed or not. The friendliness of our relations with foreign nations is emphasized by the treaties we have concluded with them. We have been moved to enter into such international compacts by considerations of mutual benefit and reciprocity, by the same considerations, in short, which have animated the Russian Government from the time of the noble and tolerant declarations of the Empress Catherine in 1784 to those of the ukase of 1860. We have looked to the spirit rather than to the letter of those engagements, and believed that they should be interpreted in the broadest way; and it is therefore a source of unfeigned regret to us when a Government, to which we are allied by so many historical ties as to that of Russia, shows a disposition in its dealings with us to take advantage of technicalities, to appeal to the rigid letter and not the reciprocal motive of its international engagements in justification of the expulsion from its territories of peaceable American citizens resorting thither under the good faith of treaties and accused of no wrong-doing or of no violation of the commercial code of the land, but of the simple adherence to the faith of their fathers....

I can readily conceive that statutes bristling with difficulties remain unrepealed in the volumes of the law of Russia as well as of other nations. Even we ourselves have our obsolete "blue laws," and their literal enforcement, if such a thing were possible, might to-day subject a Russian of freethinking proclivities, in Maryland or Delaware, to the penalty of having his tongue bored through with a red-hot iron for blasphemy. Happily the spirit of progress is of higher authority than the letter of outworn laws, and statutory enactments are not so inelastic but that they relax and change with the general advancement of peoples in the path of tolerance.

The simple fact that thousands of Israelites to-day pursue their callings unmolested in St. Petersburg, under the shadow of ancient proscriptive laws, is in itself an eloquent testimony to the principle of progress. And so, too, in Spain, where the persecution and expulsion of the Jews is one of the most notable and deplorable facts in history, and where the edicts of the earlier sovereigns remain unrepealed, we see to-day an offer of protection and assured right of domicile made to Israelites of every race....

I had the honor in my letter of the 20th ultimo to Mr. Bartholomey to acquaint him with the general views of the President in relation to this matter.

I cannot better bring this instruction to a close than by repeating and amplifying those views which the President so firmly holds, and which he so anxiously desires to have recognized and responded to by the Russian Government.

He conceives that the intention of the United States in negotiating the treaty of December 18, 1832, and the distinct and enlightened reciprocal engagements then entered into with the Government of Russia, give us moral ground to expect careful attention to our opinions as to its rational interpretation in the broadest and most impartial sense; that he would deeply regret, in view of the gratifying friendliness of the relations of the two countries which he is so desirous to maintain, to find that this large national sentiment fails to control the present issue, or that a narrow and rigid limitation of the construction possible to the treaty stipulation between the two countries is likely to be adhered to; that if, after a frank comparison of the views of the two Governments, in the most amicable spirit and with the most earnest desire to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion, the treaty stipulations between the United States and Russia are found insufficient to determine questions of nationality and tolerance of individual faith, or to secure to American citizens in Russia the treatment which Russians receive in the United States, it is simply due to the good relations of the two countries that the stipulations should be made sufficient in these regards; and we can look for no clearer evidence of the good will which Russia professes toward us than a frank declaration of her readiness to come to a distinct agreement with us on these points in an earnest and generous spirit.

I have observed that in your conferences on this subject heretofore with the minister of foreign affairs, as reported in your dispatches, you have on some occasions given discreet expression to the feelings of sympathy and gratification with which this Government and people regard any steps taken in foreign countries in the direction of a liberal tolerance analogous to that which forms the fundamental principle of our national existence. Such expressions were natural on your part and reflected a sentiment which we all feel. But in making the President's views known to the minister I desire that you will carefully subordinate such sentiments to the simple consideration of what is conscientiously believed to be due to our citizens in foreign lands. You will distinctly impress upon him that, regardful of the sovereignty of Russia, we do not submit any suggestions touching the laws and customs of the Empire except where those laws and customs conflict with and destroy the rights of American citizens as assured by treaty obligations.

You can further advise him that we can make no new treaty with Russia nor accept any construction of our existing treaty which shall discriminate against any class of American citizens on account of their religious faith.

I cannot but feel assured that this earnest presentation of the views of this Government will accord with the sense of justice and equity of that of Russia and that the questions at issue will soon find their natural solution in harmony with the noble spirit of tolerance which pervaded the ukase of the Empress Catherine a century ago, and with the statesmanlike declaration of the principle of reciprocity found in the late decree of the Czar Alexander II in 1860.

You may read this dispatch to the minister for foreign affairs, and should he desire a copy you will give it to him.

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