The First Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum
Charles B. Doleac
The purpose of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum is threefold:
First, to recognize that the 1905 peace treaty negotiated in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, between the Russians and the Japanese has special significance to the way the world will be in the twenty-first century. The particular history and its potential moment for the rest of this century and the next century will be the subject of many speakers in this first forum and succeeding forums.
Second, to enable New Hampshire to better understand the Portsmouth Peace Treaty as part of New Hampshire's history.
The third purpose of this forum is to explore the deeper meaning of the thirty days of negotiations in Portsmouth in 1905. Somehow, the City of Portsmouth created an atmosphere where the uncommon commitment to peace became a common virtue. A small city that had no international experience rose to the occasion to be the host of the peace treaty negotiations that ended the then largest war being fought between two nations. That is a special tradition. That is a special understanding of what it is to be a citizen of the world that Portsmouth can spread to other small towns throughout the rest of the world and one that we shall continue as a tradition in subsequent Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forums.
In 1905, when the Russian delegation and Japanese delegation came to Portsmouth, the Japanese delegation actually had an American on their staff. That American was Henry Willard Denison, a New England lawyer, who had joined the foreign ministry of Japan, and was a major figure in aiding the Japanese in their diplomatic relationships throughout the Meiji period.
Professor John Curtis Perry is the Henry Willard Denison Professor of History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where he is also the Director of the North Pacific Program at Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. We are going to hear perspectives on the 1905 treaty from the American, Russian, and Japanese points of view. Professor Perry will give some thoughts from the American point of view.