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office. At present the consular clerks are distributed as follows: Three at Paris, two at Washington, and one each at Rome, Yokohama, Tunis, Frankfort, Cairo, London, Berlin, and Barcelona. There are some three hundred and eighteen regularly appointed consuls and commercial agents in the service of the United States, although all our commercial representatives abroad number nearly eight hundred.
The American consul is really a commercial watchman who keeps our State Department, and through it, the mercantile interest of the country, promptly and fully informed of everything of commercial interest happening in the foreign country. He keeps close count of all the goods exported to the United States, so that no fraud on its revenues is possible. In general he is charged with the protection of his fellow citizens who may reside in his consular district. He is expected to inform his government of the infringement of treaties and assist and advise merchants and shipmasters to prevent the emigration of paupers and criminals to the United States, to look after sick and needy American citizens and to take charge of the property of those who die in his district. He has full police jurisdiction over the merchant marine of the United States.
One of the important routine duties of the consul is certifying to the shipment of goods to the United States. He must make out three copies of his certification of invoices, or certify in triplicate, as it is put officially. One copy is filed in the consulate, one is forwarded to the collector of the port to which the goods are sent, the third is given to the shipper who sends it to the consignee, so that the goods may be passed through the custom-house and properly assessed with duty. In making out this certificate, the consul must take the oath of the merchant who ships the goods, and himself must have a thorough knowledge of their value, in order to prevent perjury and undervaluation. For his services he charges a certain fee which is set by law. He is expected to keep an accurate record of all invoices made and fees collected, and to
report this to the secretary of the treasury at Washington. The consul must also forward to his home government a list of all passports issued or vicéed, a list of marriages and deaths of American citizens in his jurisdiction, and, if at a seaport town, must record and report the arrival and departure of every ship that visits his port, after he has inspected and signed the manifest of its cargo. When directed by the secretary of the treasury, he must report on the sanitary condition of the port at which he is stationed and certify to bills of health. In all cases he must furnish to his home government a full report covering all the transactions of his consulate, including all receipts and expenditures of money. In time of war with a foreign country, he is expected to watch and report the movements of the enemy's ships and prevent, if possible, all violations of the laws of neutrality. This frequently involves much correspondence of a strictly confidential nature by mail and by cable.
But the greatest and most important work of the consul is to act as a wide-awake reporter of what is going on commercially in the country where he is stationed. He must keep pace with the progress of trade and industry in his district and report fully and at once to the State Department all important inventions and discoveries, improvements in manufacturing and farming, changes in tariff and harbor regulations. The people of the United States are interested in the data and statistics of commerce, navigation, finances, emigration, agriculture, fisheries, mining, forestries, manufactures, population, the prices of goods, the wages of labor the local legislation of the consular district, and the consul is expected to keep the State Department fully informed on these points. Occasionally the department sends blank circulars to the different consuls calling for specific data of importance to various industries at home. This information and the other reports of consuls are published by the Department, first as leaflets, then as pamphlets for free distribution.
One of the most important advance steps recently made in the efficiency of the service
to business men was the publication of the consular daily" begun in 1897 at the recommendation of the Chief of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce of the State Department. The first daily was issued in January, 1898. The advantage of this early publication of data to trade bodies, exporting firms and newspapers can scarcely be estimated. Newspaper correspondents receive a copy of these reports early on the day of issue, and now one can scarcely ever pick up a journal anywhere in the country without seeing quotations from one or more of these reports. They are really excellent monographs on all sorts of topics of interest to American manufacturers and exporters generally. Nor is the interest in them confined to business men in the United States. In a recent report, Consul Grout, at Valletta, Malta, declared that, in 'two months' time after sending out a report on refrigerators, he received newspaper clippings referring to this report from not only the United States but from England, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Austria. "In the above mentioned report," he says, "I gave the addresses of parties here likely to be interested in buying refrigerators, and today the desks of most of them are covered with refrigerator catalogues in various languages."
Every month these daily reports are bound up into more permanent form. Rapidly turning the pages of the report for March, 1902, the eye notes such titles as the following: "United States Trade with Asiatic Turkey," "Petroleum in Greece," "Ocean Transportation for Coal," "Proposed German Duty on Shoes, Drying Beet Pulp in Germany," "The Decline of Company-Promoting in Scotland," Consular Plan in Export Trade, "Port Charges at Copenhagen," "Dairy Products in Brazil," "Homeopathy in Japan," and many others of value and interest.
Soon after the first publication of these daily reports merchants and manufacturers began to write to the State Department with requests for data as to industries or of manufacture unknown in this country but admittedly successful abroad, as to the demand for certain lines of goods,
how competition could be best overcome, and how catalogues, circulars, etc., should be prepared to have the best effect. When such inquiries promise to bring out facts of wide-spread, general value, the consuls are instructed to forward full reports for publication. If the requests are for only small details, the inquirer is referred to certain consuls who obtain the information if they can, and forward two copies to the State Department. One copy is filed for reference or for use should the matter develop. The other is transmitted to the merchant seeking information. This feature of the work of the consuls has already attained large proportions and is capable of still further extension.
All correspondence of the government with consular officers and with departments of the government and individuals on subjects relating to or involving the services of consular officers is in charge of the Consular Bureau. This correspondence includes instructions to consuls and their replies, accounts of salaries and expenses, etc. The bureau is also very busy, especially soon after a new president has been inaugurated, with personal interviews with newly appointed consuls on the way to their posts, and with officials returning home after being superseded. Under the present régime the chief of this bureau is a member of the board of examiners for consular appointments, and it is under his direction that all examinations are prepared and conducted. The chief also prepares estimates for appropriations to be made by congress. The work of compiling and editing the consular and diplomatic reports on commercial and industrial subjects, however, is under the direction of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce. The entire matter of appointments, exequaturs, and warrants of extradition is handled by the Bureau of Appointments.
A consular representative may receive a salary varying from $1,000 to $5,000, or he may take his compensation in the shape of fees, or both. These fees are of two kinds, official and unofficial. The services for which official fees may be charged, and the amounts, are laid down in the consular
regulations. These must be reported to the suffering untold hardships on the desert and United States Treasury Department. Unoffi- in the forest had reached Moscow on their cial fees may be collected for services not way to the United States. They had not enumerated in the consular regulations; they eaten for days. Five of them were women are mostly notarial (preparing papers, whose sheepskin cloaks were stained with attesting documents, taking testimony, man- blood-the blood of their own little ones aging estates, etc.) and need not be reported. who had been massacred in their very arms In the large European cities these fees often by the infuriated Chinese. The sight of an amount to a considerable sum and form a American consul was like a glimpse of the large part of the income of the consul. A promised land. This official was expected certain allowance is made to consuls for office to look after them till they could communicate expenses-usually, however, very small and with their friends, and most conscientiously dependent entirely upon the appropriation did he perform his duty. which may happen to be made by congress.
Consuls are appointed by the president with the consent of the senate. The authority of a consul to perform his official duties comes from an instrument known as an exequatur from the government under which he serves. This is an official document issued to him by the department of foreign affairs, acknowledging his appointment, and recognizing his authority. This authorization is sometimes refused, either because of the personal character of the consul or because of something he has done which is offensive to the government. He is then persona non grata.
The consular service has probably been the subject of more abortive efforts at reorganization and reform than any other branch. of our national governmental service. These attempts continue. There are several measures calling for drastic reorganization pending in congress at the present moment; all of which would seem to indicate that, although the opponents of change are constantly telling us that the service is the best in the world (it undoubtedly is in many respects), yet there are plain needs and unmistakable opportunities for improvement. The consular service is one of the few governmental departments which is not under civil service rules. Although consuls deal more directly than any other governmental officials with foreign trade and should be expected to be chosen with the highest regard for up-to-date, sensible, progressive business methods, consulates are more completely the perquisite of political leaders than any other office in the gift of the people.
The duties of a consul in protecting Americans abroad are many and varied, and occasionally they involve rather dramatic experiences for himself. The writer was in Moscow, Russia, a few months after the siege of the Peking legations by the Boxers, and paid frequent visits to the American consulate in the "mother of Russian cities." One day the consul was aroused from his lunch by a messenger in haste who shouted that he was wanted at the Kurski (TransSiberian) railroad station. The writer accompanied him. Working our way through a dense mass of people about the building, we entered the waiting room. The police, recognizing the consul, let us pass through, and called out that the " 'Amerikanski consul" had arrived. At once a dozen or more gaunt, famine-wasted figures clad in rough skin coats literally fell upon us and wept. They were American and Swedish missionaries who had escaped, three months before, from the beleaguered Chinese capital, and after
The defense of the appointment of the "party workers" instead of the "mere literati" is that the politician who becomes a consul is usually a very practical man; that he is a newspaper man, a merchant, a manufacturer who has dealt with men and is more or less in touch with business affairs. And it must be admitted that, "even with the handicap of the spoils instinct, he sometimes does better work for our business men than would a carefully trained neophyte who has never rubbed about in practical life.” The defenders of the present system also point triumphantly to the fact that other
nations, particularly our most formidable. commercial rivals, Great Britain and Germany, have highly commended our consular service, have held it up to their own as a model, and have actually adopted some of our methods. It is idle, say these defenders, to praise the British civil service principle of training men to be consuls and making profession of the service, when representative British commercial bodies are complaining because United States consuls" do much more, and do it more promptly," for the extension of trade than British consuls do. German authorities also compliment our consular methods. Dr. Vosberg-Rekow, in his recently issued volume on the commercial treaties of the empire, declares that our consular officers in Europe are "inspectors of our exports and vigilant sentinels who spy out every trade advantage and promptly report it." "The Americans," he says further," have acted judiciously in establishing a system which is of the greatest advantage to themselves, but costly and inconvenient for their competitors."
All these facts are admitted by the advocates of reform. The latter, however, hold that a system of practical tests for merit, of promotions for efficiency, and of secured tenure of office during good behavior would not only conserve the good points of the service as at present constituted, but would greatly improve it. Examination is not a new thing in the service. In 1866 an order was issued by the Department of State that all applicants for consulates should be examined, and a board of examiners was appointed. But for some reason or other this order was never really enforced. In 1872 an executive order was issued on the subject, and this was superseded by another executive order the next year. Under this latter order several examinations were held. Then came another lapse. In 1895 President Cleveland issued an order that all consuls whose salaries were not less than $1,000 or more than $2,500 must pass an examination before being commissioned. Under this order examinations have been held and some candidates found wanting.
There is at present a strong feeling among merchants and mercantile organizations all over the country that some radical measure of consular reform is pressingly necessary. This feeling is evidently shared by the president. In his message to congress, President Roosevelt declared:
"The guardianship and fostering of our rapidly expanding foreign commerce, the protection to American citizens resorting to foreign countries in lawful pursuit of their affairs, and the maintenance of the dignity of
the nation abroad, combine to make it essential that our consuls should be men of character, knowledge, and enterprise."
A National Committee on Consular Reorganization has been formed, representing the interests of nearly all the chambers of commerce and similar commercial bodies throughout the country. Last December this committee met in Washington and recommended the measures included in the Lodge bill, which has again been introduced in the senate; and Congressman Burton has introduced a similar one in the house. The Lodge bill, which at this writing is in the hands of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, provides for six reforms: (1) the merit system of appointments, (2) the merit system in promotion, (3) a properly organized board of examinations, (4) better salaries, (5) the end of the fee system which has made some consulates "scandalously profitable," (6) permanent tenure of office. The examining board to consider new appointments to the sixth (the lowest) class is to consist of the secretary of state, some consul-general or consul designated by the president, and the three members of the United States Civil Service Commission. While leaving the character of the examination to be determined mainly by the board of examiners, it nevertheless specifies that it shall include French, German, Spanish, and questions "designed to ascertain each applicant's knowledge of the commercial resources of the United States, especially with reference to the possibilities of increasing and extending the trade of the United States with foreign countries." The present secretary of state has tried to carry into practise a merit system of his own during
the past few years.
He has used both the diplomatic and consular services as provinggrounds, and has recommended men for promotion according to their respective merits. The new bill embodies Mr. Hay's observation of the foreign service, made while he belonged to it, and the judgment of other experts. Another measure for consular reorganization has been presented in the house during the past session by Representative Adams of Pennsylvania. This bill, which has been favorably reported from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, leaves most of the reorganization of the service to be worked out by a commission consisting of the president, two senators, three representatives, and an official from the Department of State.
of dignity, of self-possession, of good address and bearing, of tact and discretion, who should command the respect and confidence of foreign merchants and officials by his savoir vivre and savoir faire, and who should be honored even by his traveling countrymen. These qualifications cannot be determined by a civil service examination, it is true, but they are matters which should receive careful consideration, and they can be brought out by the personal bearing of the candidate at his examination. Cleverness, courtesy, wide knowledge, and dignity are admittedly indispensable qualifications for an efficient consul.
There is no doubt of the efficiency of the United States consular service for spreading the sale of goods, for stimulating home. industry and enterprise, and for informing exporters as to trade conditions in all the world's important markets. Foreign observers all testify to this efficiency. The only point is whether it could not be made much more efficient under the strictly merit system.
It is quite generally held by the advocates of consular reform that the lack in the service is owing more to the short and uncertain tenure of office than to the quality of the material originally appointed. Men of ability and "reach" are not inclined to undertake an occupation which promises no career, and from which they are almost certain to be dismissed after a few years of illy-requited labor. The Lodge bill aims to change all this.
"Evils to be Remedied in Our Consular Service." By W. W. Rockhill. The Forum, February, 1897.
A consul not being a diplomatic agent (although some consuls are also secretaries of legation), has no social standing other than that which he attains by his personal qualifications and gifts. Of course he receives invitations to participate in all sorts of official ceremonies and private functions, but he is not expected to attend unless he cares to. If he is a man of shining social gifts, he will naturally become one of the social leaders of his city, indeed, he is urged to "cultivate the most friendly social relalions with the community," but he may be none the less a good consul, officially, if he possesses no predilections for society.
"Our Inadequate Consular Service." By Stephen M. White. The Forum, July, 1898.
"Our Consular Service." By J. H. Stowe, (late
consul-general at Cape Town South Africa.) The Independent Age, December 23, 1898.
"How Other Countries Do It." By George McAneny. The Century, February, 1899.
"The Consular Service of the United States. By George F. Parker. The Atlantic Monthly, April and May, 1900.
"Consular Inspection." By A. H. Washburn. The Forum, September, 1900.
Yet, while the foregoing is true, the fact remains that a consul is a representative, in large measure, of a great people. To the people among whom he is stationed and to the local authorities, he is the impersona- 66 Ambassadors of Trade." By James Gustavus tion of his goverment. He should be a man Whitely. The Forum, March, 1902.
Articles by Frederic Emory, chief of the Bureau of
A number of very thoughtful articles on our consular service by writers eminently well fitted to speak have appeared in the magazines during the past few years, and readers of THE CHAUTAUQUAN can supplement this brief sketch of the workings of the service by consulting the following papers:
"Reform of the Consular Service." By Oscar S. Straus, United States minister to Turkey. A publication of the National Civil Service Reform League, issued in 1894.