Mr. McCormick to Mr. Hay.

No. 178.]

Sir: With reference to my No. 176 of August 10, on the subject of flour seized on board the steamer Arabia and declared contraband of war by the prize court of Vladivostock, and my protest against this action in accordance with your cabled instructions, I now have the honor to inform you that his excellency the British ambassador received instructions shortly after my lodging of this protest with the minister for foreign affairs to enter protest on similar lines with mine.

* * * * * * *

His interview with the minister for foreign affairs, when he lodged his protest some five days after my own, had no further result than the statement made to me by Count Lamsdorff that the matter was under consideration by a special commission of the ministry of marine.

Sir Charles Hardinge, however, received the impression that the action of the Russian Government would be favorable. * * *

This is the opinion of Sir Charles Hardinge, based upon Count Lamsdorff having “unofficially” alluded to the possible misinterpretation of the Russian declaration as to contraband, instead of confining [Page 759] himself to the statement which he made to me that in the matter of the decision “it was a matter of interpretation.”

I have, etc.,

Robert S. McCormick.