New Legislation Makes September 5thPortsmouth Peace Treaty Day” in New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (August 17, 2010) – On August 17, 2010  New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed a bill making September 5th “Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day,” in perpetuity, throughout the state. The bill-signing ceremony in the New Hampshire Council Chamber in Concord NH took place 105 years to the day that the negotiations that would lead to the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War were underway in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The bill
recognizes The Portsmouth Peace Treaty as “a permanent and important chapter in New Hampshire history that should be recognized and appropriately commemorated for generations to come.” The bill amends New Hampshire law by adding the following new paragraph to the Powers of Governor and Council: Observances Proclaimed by Governor:

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day. The governor shall annually issue a proclamation calling for the proper observance of September 5 as Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day and shall call on the citizens of New Hampshire to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities commemorating this important day in New Hampshire history.

The annual observance is a tradition that is already firmly established in Portsmouth. Each year on September 5th at 3:47 pm – the exact moment the Treaty was signed -- Portsmouth commemorates its history by recreating what happened in 1905. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard conducts a memorial service that includes the firing of their guns which is a signal to blow the Shipyard whistle. In response, the bells of Portsmouth ring for ten minutes. In 1905 they rang for an hour in celebration. People in Market Squarecan hear church bells all over the city and other seacoast churches and the Portsmouth Public Schools participate in the bell-ringing as well. Starting in 2010, each year the Governor of New Hampshire will sign a proclamation commemorating the day throughout the State.


Proposed by Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum chairman Charles B. Doleac and introduced by NH Senator Martha Fuller Clark, the bill was cosponsored by State Representative Robin Read, NH Senator Maggie Hassan (Exeter), Rep. Jacqueline Cali-Pitts (Portsmouth), Rep. David Watters (Durham), Rep. Laura Pantelakos (Portsmouth), Rep. Jim Splaine (Portsmouth) and Senators Robert Odell (Lempster) and Jack Barnes, Jr. (Raymond). The legislation passed both the New Hampshire Senate and the New Hampshire House unanimously earlier this year.

According to Mr. Doleac, “The intent of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day is to commemorate New Hampshire’s role as the host President Theodore Roosevelt designated for the peace conference that ended the Russo-Japanese War, and to recognize the part played by New Hampshire citizens in the multi-track diplomacy of the negotiations between the Japanese and Russian diplomats in Portsmouth that resulted in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty on September 5, 1905.”

He noted that the New Hampshire legislature was convinced, in hearings on the bill, that three aspects of the Treaty proceedings were especially important:

1.                   Russo-Japanese War ends at Portsmouth: On September 5, 1905 the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard ended the largest land and sea war ever fought to that time with modern weapons. Russia and Japan over control of Korea and Manchuria.

2.                   Roosevelt’s Choice of New Hampshire: In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt chose Portsmouth, New Hampshire as the negotiating site, with its secure U.S. Naval Shipyard, eager state and local government officials and welcoming community. Roosevelt never came to Portsmouth, but used back-channel diplomacy to influence the negotiations while relying upon the US Assistant Secretary of State, the US Navy and the government and citizens of New Hampshire to facilitate the formal and informal negotiations that lasted nearly 30 days.

3.                   New Hampshire’s Citizen Diplomacy helps earn Nobel Peace Prize: The positive influence of New Hampshire citizens as hosts to the diplomats significantly contributed to the successful negotiations resulting in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty that earned President Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.

Consul-General Masaru Tsuji of the Japanese Consulate in Boston MA said, "In the early 20th century, at a time when Japan was still a small Asian country struggling in the turbulent winds of international society, Japan and Russia came into armed conflict with each other. The Japanese people are grateful that President Theodore Roosevelt took the initiative to end this unfortunate war by inviting delegations from Japan and Russia to negotiate a peace treaty in Portsmouth. Thanks to the hospitable efforts of the people of Portsmouth, the treaty was successfully concluded and the war was ended. Even today, the spirit of the people of Portsmouth still contributes to the pursuit of peace in the world. I am delighted to learn that on August 17th, Governor Lynch will sign into law a bill making Sept. 5 of every year "Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day, and calling on the citizens of New Hampshire to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Events in Portsmouth commemorating the Portsmouth Peace Treaty this year include:

-- US Navy commemoration at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard followed by bell-ringing throughout the city at 3:47 pm -- the moment the Treaty was signed
-- Free admission to the exhibit, "An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905" at the John Paul Jones House Museum, 3-5 pm
-- Free NH Humanities Council presentation by Charles Doleac, chairman, Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum at the Discover Portsmouth Center, 10 Islington Street (opposite the John Paul Jones House Museum), Portsmouth at 4 pm
-- Free self-guided walking tour of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail (free map available at museum and Discover Portsmouth Center)
-- Free exhibit at the Discover Portsmouth Center "Portsmouth Celebrates the Portsmouth Peace Treaty"

-- Annual raising of the Peace Flag at Green Acre in Eliot ME at 2 pm

In 2005, on the 100th anniversary of the Treaty, local community groups, the US Navy, the NH National Guard and the Governor celebrated “the spirit of the Treaty of Portsmouth." Dozens of organizations and hundreds of their volunteers celebrated the theme of a peace treaty reached with the help of ordinary citizens providing a neutral, supporting atmosphere for peace. As the organizers underscored with the theme of the celebrations, “In 1905 in Portsmouth an uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue." In all, the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Committee's community groups produced 45 events. The official website for the study of the Treaty ( provides the context for celebrating the Treaty anniversary: the history of the war and the treaty, its impact on diplomatic history, and its future implications for international peace negotiations.

Two exhibits: “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905” on loan to the Portsmouth Historical Society’s museum and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Building 86 “Treaty Room” exhibit tell the story of the negotiations over 30 days in Portsmouth – both the formal sessions at the Shipyard and the social efforts by local citizens and their persuasive effect on the diplomats whose nations sought positive public opinion for their actions. These exhibits attract ever-growing numbers of visitors, particularly Japanese citizens who come to Portsmouth specifically to see the exhibit and walk the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail linking the iconic sites of the Treaty summer of 1905. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, established by Japan-America Society of NH in 1994, remains an organization committed to exploring diplomatic themes "in the spirit of the Treaty of Portsmouth." The Forum presents lectures and a traveling exhibit (under the auspices of the NH Humanities Council), sponsors special annual events including plays and concerts, and presents the Theodore Roosevelt Nobel Peace Prize Commemoration each December.  For more information,



© Copyright 2005 Japan-America Society of New Hampshire
NH Web Design  |  Content Management  |  Web Hosting