ON JULY 10, 1905, 3rd Assistant Secretary of State Herbert H.D. Peirce announced that peace negotiations to end the war between the Empire of Russia and the Japanese Empire would take place in Portsmouth, N.H. The conference that would lead to the formal end of the Russo-Japanese War would be held at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, in August, 1905.
Japanese Prime Minister Koshaku Katsura Taro appointed Foreign Minister Jutaro Komura as the lead plenipotentiary. In diplomatic terms, a plenipotentiary has full authority to act independently on behalf of his or her government. Another Harvard Law School alumni, he had previously served as the Japanese minister in Korea, China, and Russia. His role would be to assure that Japan’s overwhelming victory over Russia would result in tremendous gains for the country.