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IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
January 15, 1901.
Resolved, That there be printed as a Senate document the Compilation of Reports of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate from seventeen hundred and eighty-nine to nineteen hundred, prepared under the direction of the Committee on Foreign Relations, as authorized by the Act approved June sixth, nineteen hundred, entitled "An Act making appropriations to supply deficiencies in the appropriations for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred, and for prior years, and for other purposes."
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH FOREIGN NATIONS.
FIFTY-THIRD CONGRESS, THIRD SESSION.
January 16, 1895.
[Senate Report No. 772.]
Mr. Davis, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations (through Mr. Davis), to whom was referred the bill (S. 1309) to provide for the provisional government of foreign countries and places acquired by treaty or otherwise, recommend the passage of said bill with the following amendments: Strike out the words "with the advice and consent of the Senate" in lines 6 and 7.
In line 8 strike out "five" and insert "three."
[See pp. 33, 979, and p. 120, Vol. VI.]
February 6, 1895.
[Senate Report No. 886.]
Mr. Morgan, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, submitted the following report:
The consular service of the United States, like that of other nations, developed gradually out of the necessities of commerce and the willingness of merchants in foreign countries to represent other governments than their own and to discharge certain fiscal and other duties for the sake of the fees to be collected for such services. While the other great commercial nations of the world have at intervals down to recent times been active in the improvement of their consular service, in order to meet satisfactorily the exigencies of a steadily increasing competition in international trade, the consular system of the United States has remained practically unchanged since the time it was called into existence on a small scale by the acts of July 1, 1790, and of April 14, 1792, and kept alive by a number of subsequent unimportant acts.
The act "to remodel the diplomatic and consular system" of March 1, 1855, is entitled to be regarded as an improvement only so far as it slightly enlarged the service and corrected certain abuses therein by a closer supervision of the fees. It in no way, however, effected a change in the principle of consular representation or in the system of appointment. Apart, therefore, from the act of June 20, 1864, which provided for the establishment of a small body of thirteen consular clerks with a permanent tenure of office, a measure which at its inception was intended to form the nucleus of an entire reform of the
service on that basis, this institution, so important to our foreign trade, has suffered the oversight and indifference of Congress.
This neglect is the more striking and the less excusable when our foreign trade of half a century ago is contrasted with that of to-day. In 1850 the combined value of our imports and domestic exports amounted to $308,409,759; in 1893 it reached the figure of $1,697,431,707. But notwithstanding these present vastly increased and far more intricate commercial relations indicated by these figures, no step whatever to increase the efficiency of the consular service, to which the direction and fostering of these relations are intrusted, has been taken. That this has entailed a great loss annually to our foreign trade can not be questioned; that there is also an urgent necessity to correct this want of efficiency is equally apparent.
Even more applicable to the industrial and commercial conditions of to-day, but with reference to those of a decade ago, Secretary Frelinghuysen said in 1884:
Until recently the demands of Europe, which consumed the greater portion of our exports, and the condition of the producing countries, were such as to give us control in the supply of certain products, such as breadstuffs, provisions, cotton, petroleum, etc. The demands of Europe for all these products, and of the other continents for petroleum especially, were so positive, and our p oducing conditions so favorable, as to give us practically a monopoly for their supply.
These conditions of international demand and supply are undergoing radical changes which the near future will intensify.
The efforts which have been made and which are being made by Europe to enlarge the field of supply in the above-mentioned products, aided by the ambition which prevails in all countries for the development of natural and artificial resources to meet their own wants and to supply the wants of others, have resulted in awakening competition for the supply even of those products which we have heretofore controlled. It is true that thus far this competition has not affected our trade to any appreciable extent, but the desire for development which is now abroad and the ambition which prevails to increase the production (outside of the United States) of the foregoing articles render consular supervision of absolute importance. The complex commercial relations and industrial interests which now prevail in Europe have originated hostility to American products in many countries, and afford additional reasons for the enlargement and perfection of the consular service.1
In 1885 Mr. Cleveland, in his message to Congress, expresses himself to the same effect when he says: "The reorganization of the consular service is a matter of serious importance to our national interests," and in 1893 he again refers to the subject, as follows:
During my former administration I took occasion to recommend a recast of the laws relating to the consular service, in order that it might become a more efficient agency in the promotion of the interests it was intended to subserve. The duties and powers of consuls have been expanded with the growing requirements of our foreign trade. Discharging important duties affecting our commerce and American citizens abroad, and in certain countries exercising judicial functions, these officers should be men of character, intelligence, and ability.
In addition to these expressions from a high official source, the necessity of a reform has been recognized by men of letters, eminent statesmen, journalists, and important boards of trade of this country.
It must be admitted that the present management of our foreign service is burdened with many drawbacks to its efficacy by considerations that relate to domestic politics. Partisan policy, when strictly carried out in making appointments in our foreign service, has no other meaning than that the consular offices are primarily regarded as rewards for political services. The real capacity and usefulness of a consul is too often a secondary consideration.
'Communication of the Secretary of State to the President, March 20, 1884.