Page images
PDF
EPUB

ex-Senators of this country, two of the Democratic Party and one of the Republican Party. Their names are familiar to you all. They knew, and I do not mean to disparage them in the least, very little French and no Spanish. In that conference there were four languages spoken and used, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, on account of the fact that Brazil employs the Portuguese language, that French is spoken in Haiti, and the other nations, with the exception of ourselves, speak Spanish. Most of the conferences and active debates were conducted in Spanish. These gentlemen were almost entirely in the hands of their secretariat, as regards interpretation or translation, before they could understand one single written or spoken word, and I should like to improve this opportunity, although it may not be wholly germane to this discussion, to pay the highest possible tribute to the courtesy, the patience, and the consideration of those gentlemen who during five solid weeks depended upon the secretaries to interpret to them what was going on. Their opinions were sound, their attitude reflected great credit to this country, and I think that we may be reasonably proud of the achievements of the conference. But the point I am trying to make is that each one of those gentlemen, whom I happen to know very well personally as well as officially, said afterwards that they felt very strongly that no one should represent this country abroad who did not know at least one other language than English, preferably French, and that they not only would decline to serve again in a similar capacity but they would be willing to support the Department of State in any recommendation that it might make to the end that our representatives abroad should have that qualification.

Mr. Rogers of Massachusetts. Does that complete what you had to state?

Mr. WRIGHT. Not entirely. I was asked yesterday about the representation in the service by States and the chairman asked whether I could supply the names of the cities and the home States of all the men in the service. I have prepared that list. It is here and I will place it in the record if you so desire. I have here a recapitulation of the officers in the States. Perhaps the committee might care to have it read.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. This includes a great mass of material with which it seems unnecessary to encumber the record.

Mr. WRIGHT. I brought it thinking it might be useful in debate to-day.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. This includes military and naval attachés and ambassadors and ministers.

Mr. CONNALLY. You might put in a summary.
Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. That is all we want.

Mr. WRIGHT. I have the summary prepared. I will submit the fuller statement to Mr. Porter for his own information.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. Just give us the summary.
Mr. WRIGHT. It is as follows:

[blocks in formation]

Mr. LINTHICUM. I notice that Massachusetts got more than one chief. I was waiting to hear from Massachusetts.

Mr. O'CONNELL. Wait until you hear from Indiana.
Mr. CONNALLY. Those chiefs are political appointments.

Mr. WRIGHT. Not in all instances. We have in the present service 3 ambassadors and 13 ministers appointed from the service.

Mr. CONNALLY. And they were political appointments in the sense that Secretary Hughes referred to the other day. They have to be selected by the President. He had the whole field. He did not select them from the service but he found them in the service and appointed them.

Mr. WRIGHT. Of course they were all originally found in the service. Those to whom I referred were service men who went into the secretarial service and were promoted through the grades.

Mr. CONNALLY. They are not covered by this bill, so it is not really pertinent.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. They can not be under the Constitution.

Mr. CONNALLY. I was simply suggesting that is one reason that Massachusetts had more than three because they were political appointments.

Mr. MOORES. Wait until you hear from Wisconsin.

Mr. WRIGHT. Reference was made yesterday to the office hours of diplomatic missions and whether it was not proper that they should correspond to those of the Department of State or the official office hours of the Government. In every post where I have been we have endeavored to arrange either that a secretary shall be on duty during these hours or that a responsible member of the chancery shall be on duty with instructions and information as to exactly where any one or all of the commissioned officers of the mission are, in order that they may be instantly communicated with if necessary. Pursuant to the suggestion of yesterday I have already given directions that instructions be drafted along those lines, which, however, will merely recall to the attention of the chiefs of mission previous instructions of similar character.

Reference was also made to the desirability of bringing men home for duty. I do not think the importance of that can be overestimated. It is the basis of the British plan of the administration of their foreign service. It has been our practice. We have endeavored in the promotions, transfers, and assignments to the department in recent years, and particularly within the last six or eight months, to bring men in from the service either for conspicuous service or in order that we might supply certain deficiencies in their general experience, to bring them into contact with the institutions of their own country and to assist the politico-geographical divisions in the administration of affairs, with the idea of turning out men well rounded, neither concave nor convex. There are only two more points that I had in mind. One is the value of personal contact which, I think, is the basis of successful diplomacy, because our experience has been that no matter how deftly notes may be drafted, no matter how sound the policy underlying those notes and expressions of official opinions may be, we can accomplish infinitely more by the personal equation of well-informed men of pleasing address, information, intelligence, and courage in their contacts with officials of the foreign office than we ever can by the mere exchange of written notes and words.

Mr. CONNALLY. This bill deals with secretaries and not with chiefs of missions.

Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir.

Mr. CONNALLY. Are the secretaries the ones that get all this information and do all the dealing with the foreign representatives and social contracts and so forth? I thought the chiefs of mission did some of that.

Mr. WRIGHT. I hope that I can explain that quite clearly. May I visualize an embassy in which there are three or four secretaries and a counselor. The junior secretary will have charge of the routine work of the office such as the direction of the clerical staff, ciphers, and matters of routine correspondence. The secretary senior to him will have charge of a more important division of the correspendence, presumably working in conjunction with the first secretary on matters of research and the digesting of reports. The first secretary corresponds, I should say, to the second mate of any ship or to the second officer; he is an administrative officer of tried capacity and worth; he has the oversight of all the clerical work which in an embassy like that in London or Berlin or Paris is a large plant and he works under the direction of the counselor; he has some contact with the foreign office through juniors in the foreign office. The counselor is the ambassador's eyes and ears and right hand; he deals very often directly with the foreign office, sometimes on matters of major policy, always with matters of minor policy, and drafts or approves notes on such subjects. The chief of mission, as is quite proper, deals with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on such matters of major importance as can not be dealt with by his first or second officers and of course he signs all communications to his government and to the foreign office. The social contacts and obligations of these officers are in proportion. Does that answer your question? Mr. CONNALLY. Yes.

8412924 6

[ocr errors]

Mr. Wright. There is only one more point: The amalgamation of the two services will provide for something which we have long desired in the Diplomatic Service, and that is the inspection of the diplomatic offices. The Consular Service, through the functioning of the consuls general at large or consular inspectors, has a firsthand report from the consular inspecting officer every two years as to the condition of the archives and the records of each office, the personnel of each office, and the record of each officer. We have not. We have the efficiency records supplied by the chiefs of mission regarding the secretaries, but further than that we do not go. I think there is hardly a man in the Diplomatic Service who would not welcome a system whereby officers of this amalgamated and reasonably interchangeable service which we anticipate would have an opportunity to assist not only the department but the men in the field in keeping officers at the high state of efficiency which I am sure, gentlemen, it is your desire that they should attain.

Those are all of the points I wish to cover.

Mr. CONNALLY. In your 15 years' experience, how do the American secretarial staffs in the Diplomatic Service, in efficiency and all-around usefulness, compare with those of other nations!

Mr. WRIGHT. I should say with a certain amount of reasonable pride, and with certain individual exceptions, that they not only compare favorably but that they probably excel all but one.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. If we have the best or second best service now, where is your argument for this bill?

Mr. WRIGHT. I think the argument for the bill lies in the fact that many of the men, two of whom are here to-day, have remained or in the service through a love of country and a pride of service and an almost selfish interest and satisfaction in the discharge of their duties which justify their sacrifice of time and strength and perhaps years of their life and certainly their financial resources and because of the hope that the constantly increasing interest which we see maintained in this country in behalf of the service may reach final fruition in the creation of a service which will attract capable younger men to carry on this work without the sacrifices which they have undergone.

Mr. ROGERS of Massachusetts. You do not agree with Mr. Gibson's testimony yesterday, that there are a lot of people who need to be weeded out of the Diplomatic Service?

Mr. WRIGHT. I do agree with it.

Mr. Rogers of Massachusetts. Is not that the argument? Could we not procure improved personnel if there were increased rewards?

Mr. WRIGHT. Our idea and hope is that we shall be able to eliminate the misfits in both services. I do not wish to stress their number, but I do wish to state that such there are, that we can increase the efficiency of the service by replacing these misfits by men who will be attracted to this service for the reasons which we have endeavored to explain, and that we will then not only favorably compare with other nations but will thereby be placed in advance of all other nations in malleability of personnel, esprit de corps and efficiency.

Mr. CoxxALLY. In considering the advantages and the compensation of these positions, is it not a fact that as compared with other

governmental positions here at home the gentlemen who are attached to the Diplomatic Service have a great many advantages due to their peculiar situation? They move in high circles of society, have the advantages of travel and the advantage of cultural contacts. Are there not a great many that fill this particular line purely for love of it? Take the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Rogers. If he were willing to remain in Massachusetts and practice law he could probably make three or four times as much as he makes in Congress but he likes this work, likes the governmental service. Does not that element enter into the Diplomatic Service also? Is not that in a way a degree of compensation for their services as well as the money and should not we, in fixing these salaries when we have got to fix the other governmental salaries, take that into consideration? Is it just as fair to pay a man, one of these fellows that has got an office out in the wilderness in the Reclamation Service that have not had these advantages and put him on a monetary basis just the same as those gentlemen when they have these added attractions? What do you think of that?

Mr. Wright. I think your point as to the advantages of culture and education, that accrue from travel and association with the better classes of other nations, is indubitably and indisputably true. I know that many men follow this work because they love it. They are, however, enabled to do so because they are so fortunate as to possess sufficient means in addition to their present emolument, and I say, recalling my answer to your previous questions, that unfortunately and much as I regret it, such individuals must possess certain additional means in order that they may properly fulfill their duties. In that connection, let me refer to what I said on the subject of representation allowances which are applicable only to chiefs of mission. Those representation allowances would not accrue, and are not intended to accrue, and it is not our suggestion that they should accrue, to the benefit of the secretarial members of the staff who, however, have certain obligations upon them which, I think, can only be met by an emolument which probably represents the extent and nature of their endeavor and which would enable men of modest means to enjoy those same cultural advantages with the assurance that they had the financial ability with which to meet their minimum obligations and would not be continually embarrassed and haunted by the knowledge that they were not going to be able to make both ends meet.

Mr. CONNALLY. Those considerations enter into any kind of public service. A Member of Congress or a Senator, if he indulged his social ambitions to the limit, could not live on his salary, and a great many of us for that reason do not indulge in it. So the Government, if it undertook to furnish every public servant with enough salary to lead a social career, would never get anywhere. Members of Congress and other Government officials all the time have to curtail their social activities because their income is not sufficient, and a social career as it gains momentum gains expense, and the more it feeds on the more it wants. So I want our representatives abroad to have a decent wage and decent compensation to live right and discharge all the social obligations that rest upon them, but it seems to me that most of these social obligations, or a great many of them, in the case of secretaries that you are talking about, are self-assumed,

« PreviousContinue »