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This important and indispensable part of the machinery by which our foreign intercourse is conducted is often employed to pension political favorites. That to subserve the interests of the service ought to be the sole end in view in the selection of incumbents can not be disputed. To consider the offices merely as sources from which these partisan officeholders may derive four years of maintenance is as absurd as it would be to construct a navy to defend the country and to intrust its command to landsmen without experience for whom we might desire to provide a living and comfortable quarters.

Such a purpose, or one not more gratifying, has often been put into practice in our diplomatic and consular service. To protect and promote in time of peace our varied foreign interests through the agency of a trained personnel is not a less-important subject for legislative consideration and provision than in time of war to defend them by the most efficient means at our command.

The object of this act is to provide a system by which persons shall be trained for the duties of the consular service, so that they shall be able to perform them in the best possible way at a reasonable expense to the Government. That this can not be obtained without removing the selection of persons for this service from the control of party politics is shown by our experience, if any proof were required to establish a conclusion so entirely true and indisputable.

Fitness of the candidate, permanency of tenure during good behavior, and an impartial method of selection and to govern promotion as reward for efficiency are the principles on which a useful consular service can alone be based, with an expectation of the best results. Under our present system a consular or diplomatic officer has no sooner familiarized himself with the duties of his office and begun to acquire a knowledge of its business and fitness for his duties than he is removed to make room for another novice, who is likewise superseded as soon as his experience begins to enable him to discharge the duties of his office to the satisfaction of himself and others. Thus, in one generation the same post is frequently filled by a number of men, who are successively displaced as soon as they have learned to transact the business of their offices with something of professional knowledge and skill.

This system is not only unjust to the people, but it is equally unjust to the agents, who are thrown back upon their own resources just at the time when a three or four years' preparation has fitted them to devote their energies and capacity with advantage to the foreign service.

To compete successfully with the agents of foreign powers, and to conduct advantageously the political and commercial affairs of our own country, the appointees to this service should be familiar not only with the laws, customs, industries, manufactures, and natural products of our own land, but they should be instructed in the laws, pursuits, language, the contributions to commerce, and the character of the people to whom they are accredited. To this should be added a competent knowledge of the law of nations and of commercial law. As long as these officers are transferred from pursuits and associations which have no connection with commerce or the foreign service, however able and skillful they may be in other things, they can not possess the special knowledge and skill which will render their labors either useful or creditable to the consular service.

The foreign service of European governments for many years has

been the object of careful solicitude on their part. An outline statement of them will better enable us to understand the disadvantage we suffer from a defective system.

The French consular service is composed of—

40 consuls-general, at a salary each. 50 consuls of the first class, each

80 consuls of the second class, each 100 vice-consuls.

24 pupil consuls






The conditions for admission to the diplomatic and consular service of France are prescribed in a decree of October 15, 1892, and, to show how important France considers its foreign service, attention is called to the fact that over thirty decrees have been issued since 1880 tending to perfect the system.

The pupil consuls are appointed by the minister of foreign affairs. They can only be drawn from the body of attachés on probation who have passed a competitive examination for admission into the service and who have served not less than one year in the home office.

Before being assigned to a diplomatic or consular post they are required to spend at least one year at one of the principal chambers of commerce, where they are to acquire a thorough knowledge of the methods and needs of commerce, and whence they must send the minister periodical reports on the trade of the district. After three years of service, half of which time must be rendered abroad, the pupil consul becomes eligible for vice-consul, and after a service of three years in each subsequent grade he becomes eligible for promotion to a higher one.

Candidates for admission in the French diplomatic and consular service must be under 27 years of age, and must have taken a collegiate degree in law, science, or letters, or must have passed certain other examinations, or be the holders of commissions in the army or navy.

The examination for entrance into the service is either written or oral, as may be required.

The written test consists of a composition on public and private international law, and a translation into French from English and German, which is dictated. Those candidates who aspire to the diplomatic career are to write also a composition on a subject of diplomatic history that occurred since 1648; those destined for the consular service must write a composition on a subject of political economy or of political and commercial geography.

Those whose papers are sufficiently creditable in the opinion of the examiners to warrant their going any further are then subjected to a public oral examination on public and private international law, political and commercial geography, political economy, and a conversation in English and German. Candidates for the diplomatic career are further examined orally in diplomatic history since 1648, and candidates for the consular service are examined on maritime and customs laws.

The French foreign service is under very strict discipline, and for misconduct or inefficiency there are the following penalties:

(1) Reprimand.

(2) Withholding a part of the salary, not exceeding one-half thereof and not for a longer period than two months.

(3) Suspension from the service, without salary, for two or more years.

(4) Dismissal.

The last three penalties are imposed by the minister of foreign affairs, with the consent of the council of directors, and after a written or oral hearing of the party under censure.

In addition to their regular salaries, the French consular officers are entitled to traveling expenses and allowances for house and office rent, and for entertaining where it is necessary.

Such a course of training and discipline must produce thorough efficiency, and the generous rewards given for faithful and profitable service must encourage a good class of men to adopt such employment as a profession to which all their energies and abilities are industriously devoted. The permanency of employment during good behavior gives confidence to the officer and constantly increasing benefit to the Government.

The British system of regulations for the admission of applicants to the consular service are as follows:

Persons selected for the consular service, whenever the circumstance of their being resident in England, on their first appointment, or of their passing through England on their way to take up such first appointment, may admit of their being subject to examination, will be expected to satisfy the civil service commission


(1) That they have a correct knowledge of the English language so as to be able to express themselves clearly and correctly in writing.

(2) That they can write and speak French correctly and fluently.

(3) That they have a sufficient knowledge of the current language, as far as commerce is concerned, of the port at which they are appointed to reside to enable them to communicate directly with the authorities and natives of the place-a knowledge of the German language being taken to meet this requirement for ports in northern Europe: of the Spanish or Portuguese language, as may be determined by the secretary of state, for ports in Spain. Portugal, Morocco, and South or Central America, and of the Italian language for poits in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and on the Black Sea or Mediterranean, except those in Morocco or Spain. (4) A sufficient knowledge of British mercantile and commercial law to enable them to deal with questions arising between British shipowners, shipmasters, and seamen. As regards this head of examination, candidates must be prepared to be examined in "Smith's Compendium of Mercantile Law."

(5) A sufficient knowledge of arithmetic for the nature of the duties which consuls are required to perform in drawing up commercial tables and reports. As regards this head of examination, candidates must be prepared to be examined in Bishop Colenso's Arithmetic.

Moreover, all persons on their first nomination to consulships, and after having passed their examination before the civil service commissioners, will be required, as far as practicable, to attend for at least three months in the foreign office, in order that they may become acquainted with the forms of business as carried on there.

Limit of age for candidates, 25 and 50, both years inclusive. tion, £1 to £6.)

(Fee for examina

Mr. Henry White, formerly secretary of legation at London, in an article contributed to the North American Review makes the following instructive statement concerning the British consular service:

The British service was established in its present form by act of Parliament in 1825 (6 Geo. IV, cap. 87). Up to that time its members had been appointed, on no regular system, by the King, and were paid from his civil list. This act placed the service under the foreign office, and provided for its payment out of funds to be voted by Parliament. Since then it has been the subject of periodical investigation by royal commissions and Parliamentary committees, with a view to the improvement of its efficiency. The evidence taken on these occasions is published in voluminous blue books, the perusal of which I recommend to those interested in the reform in our service.

Appointments are made by the secretary of state for foreign affairs. Candidates must be recommended by some one known to him, and their names and qualifications are thereupon entered on a list, from which he selects a name when a vacancy occurs. The candidate selected, whose age must be between 25 and 50, is then required to pass an examination before the civil service commissioners.

The salaries of British consular officers are fixed, under the act of Parliament of July 21, 1891 (54 and 55 Vict., cap. 36), by the secretary of state, with the approval of the treasury, and no increase can be made in any salary without the approval of the latter. They average about £600 ($3,000) a year, but, of course, some of the important posts are much more highly paid, the salary of the consul-general at New York being £2,000 (nearly $10,000), with an office allowance besides of £1,660, and a staff consisting of a consul at £600, and two vice-consuls at £400 and £250, respectively: that of the consul at San Francisco, £1,200 (nearly $6,000), with an office allowance of £600 besides.

British consular officials are retired at the age of 70 with a pension.

There is also an unpaid branch of the service, consisting chiefly of vice-consuls, appointed at places which are not of sufficient importance to merit a paid official. They are usually British merchants, but may be foreigners. They are not subjected to an examination, and are rarely promoted to a paid appointment. Consular clerks are required to pass an examination in handwriting and orthography, arithmetic, and one foreign language (speaking, translating, and copying).

Mr. White through a series of years was our secretary of legation at London, and is thoroughly informed on the subject of consular duties and the acquirements that are essential to an efficient and respectable service. His approval of the plan adopted in this bill for the reformation of our consular system and service is a strong recommendation of its future advantages.

In Germany persons are appointed to the office of consular chancellor who have passed their examinations as "referendary," a title which requires graduation at a German university and requires a thorough knowledge of law, political science, statistics, etc. The chancellor of the consulate is promoted gradually until he reaches the rank of consul-general.

As a rule the personnel of our consular establishment is not in unfavorable contrast with that of the leading European States as to intelligence and sagacity; but our consuls have not usually the liberal education characteristic of the consular representatives of the great European States, nor are they so well informed as to commerce and its great variety of contributory pursuits, or with the exact business methods employed in conducting the commerce of the leading nations. This seems to be our point of most serious deficiency.

It is proper, and may be necessary, that the laws should designate the places at which consulates are established, but discretion should be given to the President to send consuls to other places, at least temporarily, to meet the demands of trade and intercourse that may arise in new and unexpected quarters. Especially is this necessary in cases where other countries are engaged in war and a sudden emergency calls for the protection of our citizens in places which are not designated by law as the location of consular establishments.

But the laws should not designate the individual who is to be the consul at any particular locality. That matter should be left to the discretion of the President, so that he can at all times have the right man at the right place, to meet any demand of trade, or to secure the adequate protection of the persons and property of our citizens in any emergency, or for any public reason.

The arrangement of the fixed residences of consuls of the several classes is not attempted in this bill. The laws and the practice of the Department of State are, for the present at least, a sufficient guide in that matter.

The President should, however, be left free in his authority to send a consul of any class to any consulate when he may consider that the demands of the public service require such transfers.

The reasons for such a provision of law are many and cogent, and they are so obvious as not to require any elaboration in this report. They relate as well to the fitness of consular officers for the particular duties of the occasion as to their usefulness because of their experience as to the condition of the people, the trade, and the language of the particulr locality where their services are required.

The consular establishments thus mobilized would soon show a great growth in useful knowledge of the affairs of various parts of foreign countries, and our trade with many foreign countries would be greatly increased and rendered more secure.

The following statements, showing the present condition of our consular service, will show that the change in the organization of the system will add materially to the revenue derived from that source, without a material increase of the expenditures:

Expenditures for salaries of consular officers and amount of compensation in fees, where the officer has no salary, for the year 1894.

26 consuls-general (not including those also commissioned ministers


188 salaried consuls

11 salaried commercial agents

13 salaried consular clerks.

62 feed consuls (personal perquisites in official fees)

33 feed commercial agents (personal perquisites in official fees) Notarial and unofficial fees retained by consular officers as personal perquisites (lowest estimate)

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36, 152, 85

36, 505.53


829, 158.38

$13,875.00 31, 975.00


According to the Annual Report of the Fifth Auditor of the Treasury for the year ended June 30, 1894

The expenses for last year of the consular service were
The consular fees received for official services were..

$1,055, 417.43

758, 410.81

Excess of expenditures over receipts.



This excess of expenses is larger than it has been for ten years. 1893 it only amounted to $96,042. The difference is not due to an increase of expenditures, but, no doubt, may be found to a great extent in the changes of our tariff laws. This excess, though larger than customary, is, after all, a small sum when considered with reference to the important purposes for which it is disbursed, and, with the payment into the Treasury of the unofficial fees, as proposed under this bill, it is likely to be greatly reduced, if not changed into a balance in favor of the income from that source.

The entire excess of expenditures for salaries in the Department of State and in the diplomatic and consular service over the receipts amounts to only $615,909.19, the smallest amount expended by any of the great powers of the world. The expenditures of the foreign service of Great Britain, Russia, Germany, Italy, and Spain exceed this

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