January 23, 1905
Former Ambassador to Russia, Andrew White has made the following statement concerning the situation in St. Petersburg:
"If the Czar is a weak man, as the present Emperor is, he can do very little. A week man cannot know an anything about the empire to speak of, because he is surrounded by Grand Dukes, women &c., who tell him what they want him to believe and keep all the truth away from him which they do not wish him to hear.
"The main difficulty in the whole case is that the Emperor is supposed to do all the thinking for 140,000,000 of people, scattered over the largest territory possessed by any Government in the world with all sorts of different races, religions and ideas, and this no man can do, and least of all in a time life this.
"The simple fact is that the evils of the old system have now become absolutely intolerable. And when you add to that facat the sending off of immense numbers of the best young men in the country to an utterly useless and wicked war, and the pressure of taxation which grinds the people to the dust, you have a situation which none but the very strongest rulers in human history can cope with.
"The Czar has no strength of character, no proper education, and is hopelessly unfit to grapple with the situation.
"No doubt the worst of the features of the situation have been kept from him.
Mr. White believed that advisors to the Russian emperor would recommend a policy similar to that of Nicholas I, who sent the "ringleaders of the insurrection of eighty years ago shot, hanged, or sent to Siberia." He did not believe "that important changes to Russia could be long delayed.
Andrew Dickson White served as ambassador to Russia from 1892 to 1894. He later served as the USA's first ambassador to Germany. He is also a co-founder of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.