Thodor Herzl diary entry for his his meeting with Plehve

Here is a discussion between Herzl and Plehve of Russia.

Plehve was just excited at the prospect of cleansing Europe of Jewry.
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Yacheslav, Plehve

1888-1902 assistant minister of the interior of the Russian Government

1902-1904 Minister of the interior

Here is Thodor Herzl diary entry for his his meeting with Plehve
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Aug 10, 1903

Day before yesterday, in the morning, with Plehve only a brief wait, a man of sixty, rather stout, steps quickly forward, greets me, bids me be seated and begins to talk. He has a shallow, grave countenance, grey hair, white mustache, and remarkably youthful, energetic brown eyes. He spoke in French, not brilliant but not bad, he begun by clearing the ground

“I have accorded you this interview, at your request in order to come to an understanding with you in respect to the Zionist movement, of which you are the leader. The relations which shall prevail between the Imperial government and Zionism-and which could become -I will not say friendly but in the nature of an agreement -will depend upon you’

I interjected: “if it depends on me, Your Excellency, they will be excellent.”
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He nodded and continued: “the Jewish question is not vital to us, but still it is fairly important. And we are trying to settle it in the most amicable way possible. I have grated you this discussion of it before your Congress meets at Basel, as you requested.”

That was it, I believe, the first critical move in this ‘immortal game’ of chess. For I understood all along that he attached much importance to the forthcoming Zionist congress, obviously because he saw that the Kishinev business was bound to come up there for a frank airing. When that happens I could be in the position of doing him a service by cutting the thing short.
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Plehve: “What sort of help then do you ask of us?”

I developed the three points, which I have written down in the abstract of our conversation:

Russian intervention with the Sultan, in order to secure a charter for colonization of Palestine.

Russian financial aid for emigration, with money raised from Jewish funds and taxes

Government facilitation of Russian Zionist organizational work

He agreed to all the three points without hesitation.

In regard to financing the emigration, he explained,

“I concede that the government should carry it out, but we can take the funds only from Jewish pockets. The rich must pay the poor”.

It is an excellent idea, I said.
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In the end, we agreed that I should draw up a summary and also outline what I intended to say at the Zionist Congress.

When I felt that we had nothing more to say to each other and he had ordered me to prepare the summary, I rose and asked him to grant me another audience after he had examined the document. He promised to do so. I turned to go, he pressed my hand, saying, “I am very happy to have met you in person”.

“And I too, your Excellency, I am happy to have seen the M. de Plehve about whom Europe talks so much about.”

He smiled and said: “and speaks so much evil.”
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The next day he said to dear old Mme orvin-Piarovska the he wished he could have at his departments a type of executive such as myself
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Theodor Herzl continues:

I forgot:

In the course of our talk when I explained to him the need for Russian intervention with the sultan, because Palestine was the only place that attracted us, I added some remarks on the difficulties of being admitted into other countries, even England and America. If emigration were to be subventioned with gov’t funds-as bruited about in St. Petersburg these days, and indeed published in the “Novoye Vremya” – it would be tanamount to putting an export premium on Jews; and the reluctance to receive them, which I knew of first hand in England, would be strengthened. A people would certainly be considered ‘undesirable’ for whose departure their own government is willing to pay a bonus.

Plehve thought, to be sure, that England was out of the question when it came to a sizable emigration. America, though, was something else. It still had large territories available for settlement; and if the banker Seligman would approach his friend Roosevelt in the matter, something might be done. I said I didn’t regard this as possible; I couldn’t say anything positive about it, for I had never sounded out the American gov’t on the subject. Palestine, moreover, seemed to offer the one genuine opportunity.
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Thodor Herzl diary entry for his his meeting with Plehve

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