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Portsmouth: One of history's great peace negotiations

Ongoing research reveals how the State of New Hampshire, people of Portsmouth and US Navy acted as hosts to the Russian and Japanese delegations in 1905. While President Theodore Roosevelt did not come to Portsmouth, citizen diplomacy played an important role in multi-track efforts that resulted in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty.  

The Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905 stands today as one of history's great peace negotiations. It ended the Russo-Japanese War and marked the emergence of a new era of multi-track diplomacy.

Click here to learn the history of the War and the Peace and view archival 1905 newsreel footage.

Portsmouth Peace Treaty resources include: a detailed exhibit with historical artifacts including documents from Russia and Japan; the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail mapping the iconic sites of the Treaty summer; permanent historical markers and this website made possible by The Japan Foundation and recognized by the Library of Congress.

Since the 100th Treaty anniversary in 2005, New Hampshire has celebrated the importance of citizen diplomacy by: enacting unanimous legislation making September 5th "Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day" by Governor's Proclamation; planting cherry trees throughout the state as a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial; and hosting programs (through the NH Humanities Council) that perpetuate the history of the Treaty and its example that every person matters.

Living Memorial Cherry Trees -- Gift of Cherry Trees from Japan to the US in Thanks for Assistance Ending Russo-Japanese War

The iconic Washington DC cherry trees were a gift from Japan to the US because of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. In 2012, the Japan America Society of New Hampshire began planting descendants of those trees gifted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry, at key sites related to the Treaty history, as a living memorial to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and citizen diplomacy.  Read more...

Cherry blossoms in 2018!


1906 Nobel Peace Prize:

TR in 1906 won the Prize as President for negotiating the peace between Russia and Japan that produced the Treaty in 1905. For more on Roosevelt's diplomacy, and on the annual commemoration of the  anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize, click here and click here to read the acceptance delivered on his behalf December 10, 1906; and here for the lecture he delivered in Norway himself in 1910.

Treaty Exhibit, "An Uncommon Commitment to Peace"

The companion exhibit catalogue (contact info@portsmouthpeacetreaty.org)  includes the newly-documented timeline of events during the 30 days the negotiators were in Portsmouth. It also contains images by noted photographer Richard Haynes, of the exhibit artifacts from 1905.

Portsmouth's Sister City: Nichinan, Japan

Nichinan, birthplace of Baron Jutaro Komura, lead diplomat for the Japanese delegation in Portsmouth, established a Sister Cities International agreement in 1985. The cherry trees at Portsmouth City Hall were a gift from Nichinan. Exchange trips between Portsmouth High School and Sister School -- Nichinan Gakuen Jr-Sr High School-- began soon after.

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Bells

The tradition of commemorating the day of the Treaty signing with bell-ringing began in 1906 when the city celebrated the dedication of a plaque on Building 86 at the Shipyard (above, the site of the formal negotiations), with church bells ringing for a half hour at morning, noon and night.

That bell-ringing is re-enacted each year for Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day, a statewide observance declared in an annual Governor’s Proclamation in celebration of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty anniversary and the role local citizens had in making a difference to the proceedings in 1905.


The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail

Click on these maps pages to explore the key sites of The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail -- from venues for formal conference sessions to informal social settings, identified through original newspaper reports, diaries and letters from event participants -- to bring the 30 days in 1905 to life.

NH Gov John Lynch signs the bill making Sep 5 "Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day" statewide. The little girl is 5 yr old Madison Roscoe, granddaughter of Rep. Valerie Hardy, bill supporter, who brought her "To teach Madison that you have to get involved."

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day in New Hampshire
Commemorated September 5th

Each year, an official proclamation by the NH Governor "calls on the citizens of New Hampshire to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities commemorating this important piece of New Hampshire history."

NH State Senator Martha Fuller Clark with co-sponsors Senators Bob Odell, John Barnes and Maggie Hassan and NH State Representative Robin Read and House co-sponsors Representatives Jacqueline Cali-Pitts, Laura Pantelakos, David Watters and James Splaine introduced a bill (Senate 379) making September 5th Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day in New Hampshire. For the full text, click here. 

The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum

The Portsmouth Peace Treaty endures in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, established in 1994 as an organization committed to exploring diplomatic themes "in the spirit of the Treaty of Portsmouth." The Forum hosts this website, presents lectures and a traveling exhibit (under the auspices of the NH Humanities Council), sponsors special annual events (see Calendar) and presents the Theodore Roosevelt Nobel Peace Prize Commemoration each December. Past guests have included Samantha Power (on citizen engagement in 2008), Dennis Ross (on Statecraft in 2007), Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato (who in 2005 on the 100th anniversary said "Diplomats love Portsmouth because here diplomacy actually worked") and Fiona Hill and Graham Allison, who joined Dr. Kimura and Dr. Sarkisov to present a follow-up to their Beyond Cold War to Trilateral Cooperation report. Click here for transcripts of past Forums.

The Forum also supports a Curriculum Guide now in use in schools, an archival record of the 100th anniversary, a bibliography  and continued research. For details about 100th anniversary commemorative events, click here. 

For a month's view Calendar, click here.

The Japan-America Society is the 501c3 nonprofit that supports the efforts of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum. To join, click here.

© Richard Haynes
Haynes Images

For information about ordering fine art prints of this Treaty Centennial symbol, and other commemorative items, click here.

For information about the Russia Society of New Hampshire, write to
PO Box 177
Concord NH 03302-0177

For a Russian-language description of the Treaty exhibit click here.

For the Russian-language Library of Congress description of the Treaty of Portsmouth, click here.


 News and Links

To learn nore, the following books are available:

Heroes & Friends: Behind the Scenes of the Treaty of Portsmouth by Michiko Nakanishi

There Are No Victors Here: A Local Perspective on the Treaty of Portsmouth by Peter E. Randall

Also available:

An Uncommon Commitment to Peace Exhibit Catalogue published by the Japan-America Society of NH

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: The Service of Thanksgiving for the Portsmouth Treaty, September 5, 1905 by Marina Grot Turkevich Naumann

Original 1905 newsreel footage on DVD

Treaty of Portsmouth 1905-2005 book of reproduction historical postcards.

The Portsmouth Peace Process: Guide for Teachers by Northeast Cultural Coop

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail

For hours, directions, details on the Portsmouth Historical Society museum where the Portsmouth Peace Treaty exhibit is displayed, click here.

For hours, directions, details on Strawbery Banke Museum and the Shapiro House, owned by one of the founders of Temple Israel who figured in the Treaty citizen diplomacy, click here.

For information about Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Building 86 where the formal negotiations were held. click here.

For more information about Wentworth By the Sea Hotel, where both delegations stayed, click here.

For more information about Green Acre Bahai School and Sarah Farmer's commitment to the peace process, click here.

The Portsmouth Public Library maintains an micorfilm archive of local newspapers and an index of the relevant Treaty reporting and other related materials. The archive of original newspapers, photographs and other documents is maintained by the Portsmouth Athenaeum.



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