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versa. It did not propose to make every first secretary a consul general or the reverse. Probably very few changes from one side to the other would be made among the older men. The bill rather contemplated the application of the principle of interchangeability to those newly in the service and to those who should hereafter enter it. It permitted additional elasticity and flexibility, the benefits of which would become increasingly apparent as the years passed.
To set up the interchangeability feature in law and practice, it seemed necessary to create a new service, to be known as the “Foreign Service of the United States.” This new service is to have nine classes or grades, with a salary range from $3,000 up to $9,000. Every man now or hereafter in the foreign service will be in one of the nine grades and will be known as a foreign service officer of a particular class. At present there are too many gradations in the Consular Service-some 20 or 25 in all; while there are too few in the Diplomatic Service only 4, as we have already seen. The nine proposed grades represent an administratively desirable mean. Before going into the field each foreign service officer will also be commissioned as a secretary or a consul. Later, if and when he is assigned to work in the other branch, he will be given another commission in that other branch. Each time that he is promoted to a higher foreign service class, and as he is, once for all, commissioned secretary or consul, his appointment will be confirmed by the Senate. It should be noted that the appointment of the individual as a foreign service officer is a domestic and administrative matter only, possessing no significance in the foreign country where he is en poste. There he will continue to be known, according to the nature of his assignment, as a secretary or a consul, and not as a foreign service officer.
I desire if possible to make visual exactly the mechanics involved in this transferability feature. Let us imagine that the Diplomatic Service is a tall, perpendicular pole. Near it and of equal height, but in no way connected with it, let us imagine a consular pole. The diplomatic pole has four notches equally spaced from the bottom to the top. These represent the four promotion and salary classes. The consular pole, strangely enough, has about 25 notches more or less equally spaced fro the botto to the top. When a man starts climbing either the diplomatic or the consular pole he necessarily sticks to the one task. No matter how much better he could climb the other pole if given the chance he is, in practice, never allowed to prove this. Once he starts upon his life climb he is never permitted to transfer across to the other pole. What we are proposing in the reorganization bill is very simple. We are making the two poles into a ladder by putting in nine rungs, equally spaced from the bottom to the top. Every man now in either branch of the service and found worthy of retention will be placed opposite one of these nine classes and salary rungs. A consul general of high class or a counselor of embassy will be placed at the first rung, and so on down, in accordance with considerations of ability and seniority. Those newly taken into the foreign service of the United States—which is the name of the ladder we are now creating—will start in on the bottom rung. The rungs serve not only as a convenient basis for classification and for salary scale, but they serve also as a medium by which a man who has been doing diplomatic work can be trnsferred across for consular work, or vice versa. The ranks of the Consular Service and of the Diplomatic Service having been assimilated there can be no confusion. Every man will be an officer in the foreign service of the United States of a particular class and instantly available for work either on the consular side or on the diplomatic side. Nevertheless, and I desire to emphasize this point, the European capitals will know our representative only in accordance with the nature of the duties he is performing. There will be no obliteration of the world-wide distinction between diplomatic functions and consular functions. The creation of the foreign service of the United States is an administrative matter which, like partisan politics, should not go beyond the 3mile limit of the United States.
I desire to repeat my impression that after a man is well established as a specialist either in diplomacy or in consular work it will be rarely wise to shift him across into the other line. The important thing will be that the newer men, especially those who enter the service after the bill becomes law, will almost without exception have the advantage, morally and professionally, of a period of business training in a consulate. This advantage the secretaries of the past, generally appointed fresh from college, have usually lacked.
The new salary scale will give a small increase to the consular officers. Ordinarily this would be not more than 5 per cent or 10 per cent. But to the
secretaries, who are relatively and absolutely so underpaid, the increase will be, and should be, much greater. The counselor of embassy at London or Paris, after 20 years in the service, and with enormous demands upon him, to-day receives $4,000. Under the new scale he would receive $9,000. Is it too much to lay down the maximum for the very best at $9,000?
The comparatively simple changes which I have been describing will do many things:
(1) They will broaden, democratize, and improve the personnel by extending the field of selection.
(2) They will enable the entrants into the service to become thoroughy grounded both in diplomacy and business, to the advantage of themselves and their country.
(3) They will tend to diminish the snobbery which is occasionally found in the service. A secretary to-day may be a consul to-morrow, and vice versa. The esprit de corps will be for our foreign service as a unit.
(4) They will provide a reasonable living wage, which, besides being democratic, tends to keep the right man in the service, even though he has no private means.
(5) They will simplify and improve administration by enabling the right man to be instantly available for the right place.
(6) They will encourage the President to promote the best of the foreign service officers, whether diplomatic or consular, to the rank of minister. While under the enlightened administration of Mr. Lansing and Mr. Hughes such promotions of secretaries have been frequent, there has scarcely been an instance in 25 years where a consul general or consul has been so promoted.
(7) They reduce from about 30 to 9 the different grades and types of foreign-service officials. This modification spells simplicity in administration without any countervailing inconvenience.
(8) And above all, they will break down the vertical wall which now divides the service into two compartments, to the advantage of flexibility, economy, efficiency, and accomplishment.
(9) All this will be brought about at an additional annual outlay of some $300,000_less than 1 per cent of the cost of a vessel of war. There is no greater step toward peace insurance than this.
Our foreign service ought to be better. But it is a good service even now. When I reflect upon the limited horizon it offers to our best young men, I am astonished that it ranks so high. Let me quote the summing up of Secretary Hughes:
" What is necessary is to give a man an assurance that he will be able, at least, to live; that he will be able to get married ; that he will be able to support himself according to reasonable and modest American standards. Is it too much to lay down the maximum for the very best at $9,000 at this time? Well, if I thought I should have to argue that question, I should despair of any consideration of the department. It can not be possible that I must argue this, that for a man who has chosen this career, who year after year sees his friends at college get rich about him, a maximum of $9,000 and a minimum of $3,000 should be considered excessive. The maximum will only be, of course, for the best men of long service. It runs down to $3,000.
“ It is not a good thing for the Diplomatic Service to be recruited, even on a merit basis, exclusively from men of families of fortune, who can afford the life on the present basis. When I say that, I want to say that I am the last man in the world to deny the fine ambition, the qualifications, the creditable work of our young men of families of fortune who have not tried to add to their pecuniary competency but have made it available for public service. I do not know what we would do to-day if it was not that we can draw upon men who not only have had the advantages of culture and refinement, but who have private means and can afford to enter the service and are selected because of their ability and not because of any fortune they may have. With all credit to them, however, it is a great mistake, utterly undemocratic, for the Government to so arrange its affairs as to exclude others.
This is not an extravagant proposal. This is an effort to make a reasonable classification which will give an opportunity, first, to put men where experience shows their best fitness lies, and next, to make a career attractive within limits so that those who enter the service may feel that if they are reasonable and modest that they can get along just as our boys want to get along if they are normal; that they can have a fair livelihood and a reasonable position in the world.”
Let me turn to another important feature of the bill that is, the contributory retirement feature.
Retirement systems are now well established in our scheme of government. Judges and Army and Navy officers have for many years been retired on three-fourths pay without contribution by them. Every civil-service employee of the Government now has the benefit of retirement, though on a contributory basis. There is an analogy between the foreign-service officer and the naval officer, each of whom must in line of duty travel over the world during the long period of his active service. Clearly retirement pay on some basis is only fair in the case of the foreign-service officer. The Navy analogy would indicate a noncontributory retirement plan. But rather reluctantly we are not going so far. We are recommending a contributory system. We provide that each foreign-service officer shall contribute 5 per cent of his salary to the retirement fund. The ordinary civil servant of the United States contributes 21 per cent. We provide that the normal retirement age shall be 65, subject to extension to 70 at the discretion of the President. We establish a sliding scale of annuities, based both on average salary for 10 years prior to retirement and on length of service. The highest annuity payable to a man who has served 30 years or more and whose salary has been $9,000 for 10 years would be 60 per cent of $9,000, or $5,400. A man who had served 15 or 18 years and whose average salary for 10 years had been $3,000 would receive $900 annuity. The retirement system would be self-supporting for many years. It is doubtful whether even at the peak it would cost the Government $250,000 in any one year. The certainty which the foreign-service officers would thereby receive that they and their families would be cared for in their old age would vastly improve both the morale and the stability and permanence of the service. Further, it would insure the retirement of the superannuated when their service had become less valued. The usefulness to the country thus resulting is a most important feature of the proposal. But above all, it is fair, and it is consonant with the repeatedly declared policy of the country.
It should be noted that every other first-class power has a retirement system for its foreign service. This runs up, in Great Britain, for example, to twothirds of the average pay in case of long-service men, although the British system is entirely noncontributory.
Of only one other feature of the proposed bill shall I have time to speak in any detail. That is the provision for representation allowances. Not only are our secretaries and consuls underpaid, our ambassadors and ministers, considering the enormous demands upon them, are still more flagrantly underpaid.
By way of illustration, the testimony of a great ambassador to Great Britain, Hon. John W. Davis, is illuminating:
“No man likes to talk about his private or personal affairs, but you will forgive my doing that because of the facts I have to offer about the conditions. I went to London at a salary of $17,500. The State Department had been given the right during the war to make an allowance of $5.000 a year for the purpose of entertaining American officers who were abroad, recognizing that two or three million Americans were coming over there, all of whom had the iriea that the ambassador's house was theirs, and that he certainly would have some additional expense, so it allowed $5,000 for that purpose. At the end of my first year, that allowance was revoked, and after some more or less earnest protest on my part, I think they made it $3,000 the second year. That was all. I am quite sure that my establishment in London was more modest than that of any other ambassador there. My house was not large; my whole establishment was the most modest. I did not do a great deal of entertaining. I only did the entertaining which was indispensable to return the courtesies which I officially received. Of course, you can not always take and never give. You must entertain the officials of the Government who entertain you to be recognized as on a friendly footing with them.
“I paid as rent for my house $8,000 in round figures--that is, paid 1,500 pounds sterling, plus rates and taxes, which are the real estate rents on it; which it cost me every year I was there, roughly. There was also a very low rate of exchange which I had in my favor the whole time, the low rate of exchange on the pound sterling, which went once as low as $3.30 and ran from that to $4.10, and up and down. Living as I was, without any ostentation-it was not a time for ostentation, and had I been a multimillionaire I would not at that particular time, under the circumstances, have indulged in the slightest ostentation whatever; the British people were just coming out of the war,
were all distressed, still had the wounds on their persons and were bowed down with financial difficulty, and any man who could have made a display at that time would have made himself unpopular; it was eminently a time for conservatism and quietudebut with all that, living as I was, counting the expenses of myself and family, which is small, it cost me, roughly, three times my salary every year I was there, between fifty thousand and sixty thousand dollars. I do not believe that anybody could possibly have done it, done it decently, with any less expenditure than that. Now, of course, that fair."
Former Undersecretary of State Polk testified that it was perfectly safe to say that any representative of the United States abroad, from ambassador down, would have to expend at least twice as much as his salary out of his own pocket in order to get along and do the decent, reasonable thing for his country. Any man who serves the United States abroad must pay to serve. This is both undemocratic and unfair.
The proposed bill provides a representation allowance fund, allotments out of which may be made to assist our representative at a particular post to meet the obligations which he must fulfill. The size of the allotment will be dependent on the importance of the post, the nature and extent of the demands and the cost of living in the particular city.
It is believed that such a program, if wisely administered, constitutes a fairer basis of recompense than a wholesale salary increase, of large dimensions, for it bases the total remuneration upon the demands of the particular post. The British ambassador to Washington, for example, receives a salary of $12,000. But his representation allowance makes his total remuneration nearly $100,000. Our ambassador to London receives $17,500 for everything.
Akin to the matter of representation allowance is the question of providing suitable embassies, legations, and consulates in the principal cities of the world. Such a program would be a long step in the direction of real economy and national prestige. It would also be a democratic step, by pulling down the very rich man to a proper level and by helping the cultivated man without large means to maintain his position in a dignified way. A beginning, but only a beginning, has been made in this field. Many of us are eager to go ahead as fast as possible. But it has been repeatedly made evident that Congress is not yet ready to embark upon a comprehensive world program. For this reason only has such a provision been omitted from the bill.
I forbear to mention many other features of the proposed reorganization bill. Comprehensive as it is, it might well go much further. In a review of the measure in the April American Journal of International Law, Mr. Lansing, after analysing and commending its provisions, indicates that in at least one respect it is deficient. He suggests that there should be created within the Department of State itself a “service of the department,” entry to which and promotion in which should be by merit. After commenting specifically and favorably upon the interchangeability feature, the uniformity of salaries provision, the retirement feature, and the representation fund proposal, Mr. Lansing says:
There are other provisions in the bill which space will not permit us to review, but they are all goood and make for the general improvement of the foreign service.
“If there is a criticism, it is that the bill failed to include in its general scheme of consolidation certain officers of the Department of State, such as chiefs and assistant chiefs of bureaus and divisions, assistant solicitors, drafting officers, and in fact all officers who do not belong to the clerical force. It would have improved the bill if such officers had been graded and made eligible for transfer to the foreign service, whenever it seemed advisable to send them into the foreign field. It would unquestionably improve the efficiency of the departmental organization and give them a proper standing not only with foreign diplomats, but also with the members of our foreign service. Of course, such a provision would impose upon the officers affected by it the passing of the examinations for entry into the foreign-service grades, but that ought not to be a hardship upon men holding these responsible offices, if they are qualified to perform their departmental duties.
“ The Rogers bill, if it is reintroduced in the Sixty-eighth Congress, as it doubtless will be, since it apparently has called forth no serious opposition, may be improved by including provisions grading officers of the Department
of State. It is to be hoped that this can be done without jeopardizing the passage of the bill."
I agree with Mr. Lansing that such an arrangement would give permanence and stability to the department personnel and that it possesses much merit. A stronger foreign service woud ultimately result, for, of course, in these modern days the supervision from Washington is so constant and searching that the service in the field reflects in quality the degree of excellence of the service in the department. The inclusion of some such provision in the reorganization bill was for this reason carefully considered. It was omitted because we did not wish to try too much. We feared to overload the bill and thus to imperil those things which seemed of paramount importance.
When we consider how recent has been the birth of the merit system in our foreign service, it is remarkable how much has already been achieved. Until 1906 the Consular Service was the football of politics. A change of administration from one party to the other meant a wholesale slaughter of the consuls then in office, and their replacement by men who were the political hacks of the incoming party and who all too frequently were manifestly unfit to represent their country. In the last 15 years—with the exception of a few instances when Secretary Bryan held the portfolio of state--the Consular Service has been laudably free from even the suspicion of partisan taint in respect to appointments or promotions. Until 1909 diplomatic secretaries were appointed on a nonmerit basis. Since that time this service also has ceased to be the football of politics. Up to 1915 these changes rested only upon Executive orders of the President. In that year the new régime received the sanction of an act of Congress.
The proposals discussed in this paper are simply the natural extension of the principles of fair play and of rewarding merit. As I have said, the bill embodying them died on March 4. It will be reintroduced when the new Congress convenes in December. I believe the bill will this time be passed, for it has behind it the weight of the administration, of the Secretary of State, of men generally in both branches of the service and almost without exception of those in public and private life who have made any study of the question. Nevertheless it should be noted that Congress is not particularly interested in the mechanical conduct of foreign affairs, however, vital in fact that conduct is to the country and to the world. The force and insistence of public opinion will alone ensure success. I bespeak your aid and cooperation.
Let us strive for a foreign service which will be flexible and democratic; which will attract and retain the best men we have; which will offer reasonable pay, reasonable prospects for promotion, and reasonable provision against want when old age comes to a faithful servant who has served long and ably. These three things and many more are in the proposed bill. Let us push for its enactment. Success will mean that instead of having merely the good foreign service which is ours to-day we shall possess incomparably and admittedly the best in the world.