Contemporary Documents Supplement to the “jewish Daily Bulletin”
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Contemporary Documents Supplement to the “jewish Daily Bulletin”

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The Role of James de Rothschild (Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

Important documents concerning the Czarist government’s endeavor to obtain credit abroad and the anti-Jewish persecutions of that government during 1905-1906 were published in the “Krasny Archiv” (Red Archive), a historical magazine published by the “Zenter Archiv,” No. 10, 1925. The material is contained in an article entitled, “Kokovtzev’s Negotiations for a Loan in 1905-6.”

In 1905 the Imperial Government of Russia experienced one of the acutest crises. The debacle of the Russian armies in the Far East, in the Russo-Japanese War, accompanied by the evergrowing revolutionary movement throughout the country, which movement culminated in the uprising in Moscow in December of that year, and by the ever increasing financial embarrassment, brought the Government to realize its desperate position and forced it, after the quelling of the Moscow revolt, to grant a constitutional and some kind of representative assembly, the “Duma”; while under Count P. J. Witte, who had just concluded successfully the Portsmouth peace treaty with Japan and who had become Premier, the former Minister of Finance, V. Kokovtzev, was sent hurriedly to Paris, there to negotiate a loan on any terms. From the documents now published and cited below it appears that the Russian Government now for the first time met with a determined opposition of the Paris branch of the Rothschild house, as well as of the Rotschild firm of London. The reason for such opposition of the Rothschild firm, which had only in 1901 been the main factor in putting Russian papers in the market, was clearly given by the younger member of the Rothschild house of Paris, James Rothschild. This reason was: the aggressive anti-Semitic policy of the Russian Government, beginning with the Kishinev pogrom of 1903 and manifesting itself in the pogrom wave of the end of 1905 in Southern Russia. This firm attitude of the Rothschilds was not changed even by the interference of M. Rouvier, then French Prime Minister. It was with the greatest difficulty and under humiliating conditions, that Kokovtzev did at last succeed in obtaining an advance of a comparatively small sum on a future loan.

From a private letter of Benkendorf (Russian Ambassador to England) to Lansdorf (one of Russia’s Ministers), dated London, Dec 15, 1905.

“The trip of Lord Ravelstock to St. Petersburg and the causes of this trip led to a break between the Baring firm and the Rothschilds and all the Jewish banking houses of England and America. For the Baring firm this is a very serious matter. However, they knew what they were doing, after all. Of more importance to us is the fact, that the Rothschilds make it known everywhere that Ravelstock compromised the City, that the credit of Russia is at present very low, but that it would be rehabilitated immediately upon the solving of the Jewish problem, which is inevitable. Then–so the Rothschilds say–they will take over all the affairs of Russia, and we shall then apply to them, not to the Barings. What is worst here is, in my opinion, the fact that there is some truth in these assertions. At that decisive moment we shall take into consideration our own interests and nothing else, etc., etc.

Telegram of Shipoo, Minister of France, to Kokovtsev, in Paris, dated Jan. 7, 1906.

The telegram, which was signed by the writer, was made up collectively. However, I think the threat at the end is a very dangerous argument. . . The sum of 100,000,000 Rubles is, even if we defer payment on the German bonds, very little for the period of two months, from all viewpoints. But we should rather take even this small amount, for even if we win a little time it may give us some slight chance. What is important is the attitude of the Jewish houses. Are they not scaring the Credit Lyons, which had recently, as would appear, something like a point on the ground of a tic-up of funds in Russia.

Note–The threat referred to in this telegram was made by writer in his telegram to Kokovtzev, of Jan. 7, 1906, where he demands an immediate loan of an advance of at least 100,000,000 Rubles under a future loan. Witte threatens that in the event of a forced discontinuation of exchange by the Russian Government, it would be unable to protect the interests of the foreign holders of Russian funds).

Telegram, Kokovtzev to Count Witte, Jan. 8, 1906.

Rouvier (French Prime Minister) had two talks with a representative of the Rothschild house, in the person of one of the young men, James, who enjoy the reputation of being the most capable of them; the others are not well and are out of town. Rouvier advised urgently, in the interests of France and her political situation, that the banking house of Rothschild participate in the new operation. The Rothschilds were promised the leading role. In spite of all this, James Rothschild has with the consent of all other representatives of the house, categorically refused the offer, motivating his refusal by purely Jewish reasons only. Rouvier even declared that the President of the Republic is willing to make the same assurances to them personally, but even this was of no avail. Today and tomorrow the other banking firms, etc, etc.

Excerpts from report of V. Kokovisev to the Committee on Finance.

1) . . .As you know, the Rothschild house was always at the head of the entire French markets as regards Russian funds. But some years ago, under the sole influence of the Jewish problem, this firm has retired from all active participation in Russian affairs, and even long before the war with Japan (and this chiefly owing to the influence of the recently deceased Baron Alphonse Rothschild), the participation of this house was confined to holding its own Russian funds and those of its clients, without any subsequent cooperation in new loans. It is true that even this participation in Russian affairs was at the time very beneficial to us: thus, for example, the point on the Paris exchange upon the news of sudden commencement of military operations was constrained and made milder solely by the intervening of the Rothschild house. The place relinquished by the Rothschilds was taken by new institutions, etc., etc.

2) … Speaking of the London market, we must omit altogether the Rothschild firm, as we cannot under any circumstances at the present time hope to obtain its cooperation. We must now strive to get the non-Jewish firms interested in our operations; in this connection it appears extremely difficult to combine these firms, or rather to find one which could have the rest grouped around it. The firm of Baring Bros., of which Lord Ravel-stock, etc., etc.

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