People, Part Five: Hosts—Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Hosts—New Hampshire and Portsmouth
Overlooked in the analysis of the Russo-Japanese War and the resulting peace conference is the important role performed by the hosts in New Hampshire and Maine. For about thirty days, the local people of the small city and surrounding rural communities welcomed the delegations and the hundreds of reporters, government officials, and other visitors drawn to the event. The relaxed informal social atmosphere proved conducive to support the serious formal discussions behind the closed doors of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Calvin Page, Portsmouth lawyer, judge, and mayor, was the trustee of the estate of Frank Jones, owner of the Hotel Wentworth where both delegations were housed free of charge.
Local people, although in awe of their visitors from such distant lands, remained respectful, allowing members of each delegation to stroll easily through the city and to visit outlying sites at Little Harbor and Manchester, and Eliot, Kittery, and York, Maine. At numerous events, the local hosts encouraged the delegates to continue their efforts for peace during the times when formal negotiations were delayed because the peace process was breaking down over apparently irreconcilable issues.