American-Russian Diplomatic Relations During World War I Prior to America's Entrance into the War

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Strand, Robert
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The story of American relations with Russia during the neutral war years of 1914-1917 begins with the abrogation of the Treaty of Comnerce and Navigation of 1832 between the two governments in 1911. That treaty had been a major goal of America in her relations with Russia since her first envoy, Francis Dana went to the court of Catherine the II in St. Petersburg in 1781 with a Congressional charge to "secure recognition, assistance, … and a commercial treaty." Dana was far from successful, and after spending two years waiting for an answer from Catherine, left empty-handed from his home in Boston. By 1809 the United States had formally been recognized by Russia and the first minister selected to serve as American ambassador to St. Petersburg, John Quincy Adams, again set out to secure a commercial treaty. Upon his arrival in St. Petersburg in October of 1809 he was swiftly and cordially received by the Czar, a far cry from the reception he had witnessed while previously serving as secretary to Ambassador Dana. Adams quickly grew-familiar with the capital and the Czar and eventually revived the American-Russian commercial treaty proposals originally put forth by Dana. The Napoleonic wars and the British-American War of 1812 overshadowed what might have been a successful conclusion to securing a trade treaty and Adams was to leave Russia as unsuccessful as Dana.