Page images
PDF
EPUB

for years with this equipment and developed his powers of judgment, discrimination, resourcefulness, energy, and tact.

While we have had a few exceptionally brilliant men who were successful in taking over an embassy or legation without previous training, it must be remembered that this success was, according to their own statements, largely due to the fact that they had competent subordinates to aid them and that they were themselves extremely adaptable. We must also remember that a far larger number of the people appointed from outside have been complete failures, and that, in the main, appointments from outside the service have given us men who have had to be largely guided by their subordinates, and who usually admitted quite frankly that they were not qualified by their training to do a great part of the directive work of the legation.

Walter Hines Page expressed himself briefly and forcibly on this subject. Among other things, he said in one of his published letters:

But the realness and the bigness of the job here in London is simply oppressive. We don't even know what it is in the United States, and, of course, we don't go about doing it right. If we did, we shouldn't pick up a green fellow in the plain of Long Island and send him here. We'd train the most capable male babies we have from the cradle.

Other countries train their diplomats, and we shall continue to be at a disadvantage in dealing with them until we train ours. We have got along so far without trained diplomats, but this has been in spite of our lack of training and not because of it. We should certainly not come to depend on lack of training as a system for the conduct of government any more than a lawyer would prefer untrained men to assist him merely, because he had been blessed by good luck in the past.

It is often said that the work of the diplomat has lost most of its importance in modern times as he is able to receive his instructions from home by telegraph and merely has to repeat what he is told. It is frequently said that he has become a mere office boy. As a matter of fact there never was a time when it was so important to have highly trained diplomatic representatives. It is true that modern facilities of communication (the development of the postal and telegraph services) has during the past hundred years completely transformed the conditions under which diplomats work. This very development, however, has made the world a much smaller place, much more highly organized and therefore more sensitive to developments, and make the diplomat's duties of to-day more important than they have ever been before. It is more than ever important that he keep himself and his Government informed as to developments which in former times could have had no effect on international relations. In old times it was sufficient for him to be on good terms with the court to which he was accredited. Nowadays that is not enough. He must be on good working terms with people in every walk of life and

every shade of opinion. Moreover, as intelligent public opinion grows there is an increasing desire to exhaust every possible means of peaceable negotiation and to have recourse to arbitration rather than accept the rupture of diplomatic relations and war, and this has done and will do much more to elevate the duties of a diplomatist to a still higher plane. It is therefore of the greatest importance that he should be so assisted and equipped as to make him a valuable and efficient instrument for obtaining information and conducting negotiations with foreign governments.

There is an undoubted advantage in being able to command the services of competent men from private life, but this is a thing that should be used with judgment and discretion. As matters now stand, we must certainly have recourse to private life to find chiefs of mission for many important posts, and even if in time we do develop a numerous and highly trained service, it will still be essential for the President to choose distinguished men to represent him in some of the more important posts. Even in this case, however, it must be borne in mind that the ambassador will be able to exercise his talents effectively only if he is supported by a trained and well qualified staff, and this staff can never be developed unless there is some promise of future advancement to the rank of chief of mission. It would be a very bad thing to give too great a sense of security by saying that all ambassadors and ministers must be chosen from the ranks of the service. For many years to come, at any rate, many of our ambassadors and ministers must be chosen from outside the ranks of the service, and, to my way of thinking, no one should be more conservative and careful in pushing the idea of promotions from the ranks than the members of the Diplomatic Service. Our only sound and valid argument is that a trained and experienced diplomat makes a better representative than a man choosen casually from private life. If we can point to every man who has been thus promoted as being able and representatively American, we are justified in asking consideration for our ideas. If, however, one single incompetent or undesirable is appointed ambassador or minister, our best argument falls to the ground, and if I had charge of the administration of the Rogers bill I should submit to the Secretary of Ştate no recommendations for promotion to the rank of ambassador or minister without making sure in my own mind that the individual would be a good argument for the service idea.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. Section 7 of the bill specifically provides that when the bill becomes effective there shall be a weeding-out process.

If that provision is wisely administered I suppose your theory would be that it would go far toward meeting the present defects to which you have alluded ?

Mr. GIBSON. It is one of the great values the bill has that it does provide specifically for that.

The CHAIRMAN. It does, however, vest a very great power in the hands of the parties who decide these matters.

Mr. GIBSON. Theoretically. Legally the power remains as it was before in the hands of the President. Everybody is appointed during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being. It still remains in his power to decide whether he shall accept the resignation of these people or continue them.

The CHAIRMAN. But the President would not have time to attend to a matter of that sort.

Mr. Gibson. No; but it would simply mean an orderly rearrangement of the service, and judging from how these things have been handled in the past I think there would be a wise use of the method provided.

The CHAIRMAN. I am not questioning the wisdom of it, because power and authority must be vested somewhere in matters of the

[ocr errors]

surt and we must assume the party having the power will exercise it wisely.

Mr. O'CONNELL. Who will make the recommendation under section 7 of the bill with respect to promotions and reductions?

Mr. GIBSON. The Secretary of State. Of course he will require assistance in the actual labor of going through the efficiency recordsin preparing his recommendations to the President.

Mr. O'CONNELL. I believe with the chairman that it authorizes a lot of power.

Mr. GIBSON. In reality there is no power that does not exist already. But without that legislation the Secretary of State is now at liberty to make proposals to the President in exactly this sense, with the same recommendations.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. I think all it does is to set up a congressional guidepost with the suggestion that we want to get rid of the unworthy who have crept into the service. It does nothing more than that. I do not think it in the least enhances the existing power of the Executive.

The CHAIRMAN. Is it not a fact that this power has been disi. tributed more or less in the past and it has proven a failure, as we might as well admit? For my part, I think we should put the power and jurisdiction in some one as provided in this bill and see what results are obtained.

Mr. GIBSON. One question which has arisen from different angles is the difference in the work done by the Diplomatic and Consular Service.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me repeat to the committee what Mr. Carr has just said to me. He states that the thing to do is to put power in one place and put the responsibility there, and then focus the limelight on it. That is as good an analogy as I have heard.

Mr. GIBSON. That is the best possible statement of what we ought to do. The question has arisen several times as to just what the Diplomatic and Consular Service do and how they supplement each other. Like a great many of the things that we know about, it is sometimes hard to make a brief statement. For my own information I sat down some time ago and compiled a brief definition of what those activities are, trying to show that they do supplement each other and that there is no logical ground for conflict. I showed this to Mr. Carr, who agrees with me that this gives a clear understanding of the work of the two branches of the service, though I should like to add that it does not purport to be an exhaustive definition. It may be of some interest to examine it.

Briefly the diplomat represents the general interests of his country. The consul protects the special interests of his nationals.

The diplomat is the general agent of his Government in a given country. It is his duty to watch over the maintenance of good relations, to keep his Government informed as to the trend of political events, and protect American interests in general.

The consul is the local agent of his country in his consular district. It is his duty to protect American citizens and interests in that district. In this latter phase of his work his duties are similar to those of a court of first instance. The duties of the diplomat are similar to those of a court of appeal.

[ocr errors]

The difference between the work of an embassy or a legation and that of a consulate general or consulate can be compared with the difference between the work of the head office of a commercial company in a foreign country and its agencies. The head office makes the contracts, buys the property, pays the taxes, negotiates the concessions, establishes and maintains the contacts, protects the company from a legal point of view, and presses the company's claims on the Government, etc. The agencies transact current business, collect the money and transmit it to the central American office, either directly or through the head office in the country, maintain the local contacts, report on local conditions, employ workmen, look after warehouses, etc. If the company is working at a profit the local agencies take in practically all the money earned by the company in the country and, after their salaries and the running expenses have been deducted, a profit is transmitted to the home office in America. Each branch is essential to the other. Each complements the work of the other. Without the local agencies the central office could not perform its full duty. On the other hand, it is obvious that without the protection and assistance of the head office the agencies' activities might be restricted or made impossible.

Another of the duties of the head office of the company--which parallels to a certain extent the duty of an embassy or a legationis to watch competitors and prevent them from obtaining unfair advantage and excluding the company from a field to which it may be entitled. In case of the embassy or legation we have, for instance, a good deal to do in keeping American shipping interests from being barred from concessions and advantages enjoyed by other shipping interests and placed at such a disadvantage that they would be enable to operate ships to the United States from the country in question or to transport emigrants from the country in question to the United States.

The CHAIRMAN. This statement of yours is something I have been trying to get hold of for a long time and I thank you for presenting it to the committee. It defines the duties of the Diplomatic Service and the duties of the Consular Service. I think it is quite a valuable statement and ought to be made a part of the record.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. That will be printed in the record ? The CHAIRMAN. Yes. (The statement referred to is as follows:)

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

DIPLOMATIC SERVICE.

1

Status fixed by international law and reciprocal custom.
Stationed at capitals only.
Deal with central government through ministry for foreign affairs.

DUTIES.

1. Treaty relations.--(a) Negotiation of treaties of amity and commerce, extradition, naturalization, consular rights, etc.

(b) Defence of treaty rights, both commercial and political; for example, protection against discrimination against American products imported into foreign countries; measures designed to hamper American activities in contravention of treaty rights.

2. Information, Political.—(a) Reports to the Secretary of State on general conditions in the country; for instance, impending changes in the government revolutions, strikes, or other movements which would affect American interests, business, exports, loans, shipping, etc.

(6) Reports on treaties, laws and regulations, their negotiation or enactment and possible bearing on American interests.

(c) Reports on the policies and actions of foreign governments toward the United States and in relation with each other.

Commercial.-(a) Reports on treaties, laws and regulations which may directly or indirectly affect American commercial interests.

(b) Reports on activities and negotiations of other governments with country of residence.

(c) Reports and comments on political and economic situation in consultation with consul general and commercial attaché.

(d) Reports on national finance. 3. Promotion and protection.-(a) Maintenance of equality of opportunity.

(b) Furtherance of American ventures requiring negotiations with central government. Exercise of good offices to avert difficulties and litigation.

(c) Protection of American citizens and interests against unjust or discriminatory treatment. These cases usually taken up at instance of consular officers after they have exhausted efforts to effect direct settlement with local authorities.

4. Maintenance of good relations.-(a) Interpretation to foreigners of American institutions, ideas, conditions, and aims. Correction of misapprehensions. Accentuation of all grounds of common interest and good understanding. Patient endeavor to adjust conflicting interests and feelings.

(6) Encouragement and assistance to unofficial bodies or persons whose activities are calculated to promote good feeling toward the United Statesrelief and charitable organizations, learned societies, students, etc.

(c) Intercourse with officials and leading citizens in all walks of life. Relations with colleagues in Diplomatic Corps.

5. Miscellaneous.-Granting of passports.

CONSULAR SERVICE.

[ocr errors]

Status fixed by specific treaties and international usage.
Stationed at various cities throughout the country.
Deal with local authorities.

DUTIES.

Information-Political.-(a) Reports to the Secretary of State on conditions in consular district on same subjects covered by Diplomatic Service for the whole country. Copies to the embassy or legation in order to place fullest possible fund of information at disposal of diplomatic representative for his own reports.

(6) Reports to the embassy or legation on all happenings of a political nature in the consular district.

Commercial.—Reports on trade openings, trade conditions, local finance, current prices, and general commercial activities in the consular district.

Promotion and protection.—(a) Furtherance of American business interests requiring negotiation or intervention with local authorities. Exercise of good offices to avert difficulties, litigation, etc.

(b) Protection of American citizens and interests against unjust or discriminatory treatment by local authorities. If satisfactory adjustment not secured, cases are generally referred to embassy or legation so that an effort may be made to obtain corrective action by central Government.

Maintenance of good relations.-(a) Same duties in consular district.
(b) Same duties in consular district.

(c) Intercourse with local authorities and leading citizens and with colleagues in consular corps.

Miscellaneous.-(a) Certification of export invoices.
(6) Notarial acts.
(c) Alien visé control. Registration of American citizens.

(d) Shipping matters, including settlement of disputes between masters and crews. Relief of seamen.

(e) Estates of deceased Americans.
(f) Arbitration of trade disputes between American and foreign merchants.
(9) In extraterritorial countries, judicial and other functions.

Mr. GIBSON. The difference in qualifications at the beginning is largely a matter of personality. Some men are more attracted to the

84129-248

« PreviousContinue »