Seward Alaska Agreement

Stoeckl returned to Washington, met Seward on 11 March 1867 in the new State Department building, and wasted no time in diplomatic maneuvers; he said he had the right to get an offer for Russian America. At a second meeting on Thursday, March 14, Seward announced that he had consulted with President Andrew Johnson, who is “not inclined” to make the purchase, but is nevertheless willing to accept Seward`s verdict. Seward said he was interested, but he needed to see the firm. Stoeckl offered to promote the sale by talking to some of his friends in the Senate and the House of Representatives, but Seward insisted on secrecy until the cabinet was agreed. They discussed the price. Seward offered $5 million, or “maybe $5.5 million, but no more.” Having made his own offer, Stoeckl decided to keep quiet and suggested in a cable to Russia that he would try to get $6.5 million, or at least $6 million. Until Friday, March 15, Seward had a draft contract prepared for the firm`s discussion and asked the authority to pay $7 million to Russia for Alaska. There was little interest, no comment from President Johnson and no disagreements within the cabinet. On March 30, 1867, the United States entered into an agreement to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. The treaty with Russia was negotiated and signed by Secretary of State William Seward and Russian Minister of the United States, Edward de Stoeckl. Critics of the Alaskan purchase agreement called it “Seward`s Folly” or “Seward`s Icebox.” Resistance to the purchase of Alaska eased with the Klondike Gold Strike in 1896. When they met, Seward Stoeckl said the firm contained resistance and could not offer more than $6.5 million.

But Seward also wanted to buy all the ownership of the Russian-American company, and he wanted a contract before Congress was postponed until April. Stoeckl asked for $7 million and Seward agreed. Although both sides started with a $5 million trading price, Stoeckl`s silence and Seward`s wish led to a $2 million increase for Russia. On 25 March, Seward asked Stoeckl to pass the proposed agreement in St. Petersburg; If the response arrives within six days, the contract could be signed and confirmed by the Senate before it is adjourned. Lit.: Болховитинов Н. Н. Русско-американские отношения и продажа Аляски. М., 1990; Гринёв А. Российский политаризм как гглавная причина продажи Аляски // Acta Slavica Iaponica.

T. 23. Sapporo, 2006, 171-202; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:; История Русской Америки (1732-1867). М., 1997; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:; Ковалевский В. П. Аляска. М., 1952; Марков С. Н. Летопись Аляски. М., 1977; Договор о продаже Россией полуострова Аляска Соединённым Штатам Америки // Ключников Ю., Сабанин А.

Международная политика новейшего времени в договорах, нотах и декларациях. I. I. 1925. С. 194-195; Толмачёв Е.