1909-05-11 /NAVAL BILL VETOED BY THE TSAR
London Times, 11 May 1909, p. 5: M. STOLYPIN’S MINISTRY./NAVAL BILL VETOED BY THE TSAR. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) ST. PETERSBURG, MAY 10. The reactionary intrigues against the Stolypin Cabinet have partially succeeded. It became known to-day that the Tsar had definitely declined to give his assent to the Bill on the Reform of the Naval Staff. The campaign conducted by Count Witte and M. Durnovo and their allies with the object of persuading the Sovereign that the introduction of the Bill in the Duma constituted a dangerous infringement of the Imperial prerogative concerning naval and military affairs has thus attained its direct object. Whether the real purpose of the campaign – namely, the departure of the Stolypin Ministry and the advent of the promoters of the intrigue – will be accomplished remains doubtful. His Majesty has refused to accept the resignation of the Cabinet tendered by M. Stolypin. In well-informed circles his refusal is attributed as much to the Emperor’s unwillingness to part with M. Stolypin as to the absence of a suitable successor.
Throughout the week which has elapsed since the Premier’s return to St. Petersburg frequent conferences have been held between M. Stolypin and his colleagues regarding the question of the Imperial assentr to the Naval Bill. The Cabinet agreed that their collective resignation would be necessary if the Emperor found it impossible to give his assent. The Premier’s audiences at Tsarskoe Selo showed that his Majesty hesitated as to the course to pursue. The final decision was reached last night. It is said that when, on learning his Majesty’s will, the Premier offered the resignation of the Cabinet, the Emperor replied that it was not for his Ministers but for him to choose the time of their leaving office.
The general belief is that the Ministry will remain, but none the less the incident connected with the Naval Bill creates profound disquiet and uncertainty as to the future.
The Official Messenger will to-morrow publish a Ukase promulgating a reform of the Naval Staff, and giving an explanation of the reasons why the measure is applied by ordinance and not by the Parliamentary Bill, the assent to which was withheld.
It is rumoured that a special courier has gone to Wiesbaden with a letter to M. Goremykin.
The Premier had another audience at Tsarskoe Selo to-day at which, it is believed, he pressed his resignation. Should M. Stolypin go, it is considered certain that M. Kokovtseff, M. Timiriazeff, and M. Isvolsky will also leave. In German and Austrian circles the whole incident causes unbounded satisfaction.
Provided by Stephen McLaughlin