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The primitive law of nations makes no other distinc- 86. Classic tion between the different classes of public ministers, fication of
public minthan that which arises from the nature of their func- isters. tions; but the modern usage of Europe having introduced into the voluntary law of nations certain distinctions in this respect, which, for want of exact definition, became the perpetual source of controversies, uniform rules were at last adopted by the Congress of Vienna, and that of Aix-la-Chapelle, which put an end to those disputes. By the rules thus established, public ministers are divided into the four following classes :
1. Ambassadors, and papal legates or nuncios. 2. Envoys, ministers, or others accredited to sovereigns (auprès des souverains.)
3. Ministers resident accredited to sovereigns. 4. Chargés d'affaires accredited to the minister of foreign affairs.1
The recez of the Congress of Vienna of the 19th of March, 1815, provides : "Art. 1. Les employés diplomatiques sont partagés en trois classes : "Celle des ambassadeurs, légats ou nonces ; *** Celle des envoyés, ministres, ou autres accrédités auprès des souverains; * Celle des clrargés d'affaires accrédités auprès des ministres chargés des affaires étrangères.
"Art. 2. Les ambassadeurs, légats ou nonces, ont seuls le caractère représentatif.
"Art. 3. Les employés diplomatiques en mission extraordinaire, n'ont, à ce titre, aucune supériorité de rang.
"Art. 4. Les employés diplomatiques prendront rang, entre eux, dans chaque classe, d'après la date de la notification officielle de leur arrivée.
"Le présent réglement n'apportera aucune innovation relativement aux représentans du Pape.
"Art. 5. Il sera déterminé dans chaque état un mode uniforme pour la réception des employés diplomatiques de chaque classe.
"Art. 6. Les liens de parenté ou d'alliance de famille entre les cours, ne donnent aucun rang à leurs employés diplomatiques. . “Il en est de même des alliances politiques.
"Art. 7. Dans les actes ou traités entre plusieurs puissances, qui admettent l'alternat, le sort décidera, entre les ministres, de l'ordre qui devra être suivi dans les signatures."
The protocol of the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle of the 21st November, 1818, declares:
"Pour éviter les discussions désagréables qui pourraient avoir lieu à l'avenir sur un point d'étiquette diplomatique, que l'annexe du recez de Vienne, par Ambassadors and other public ministers of the first class are exclusively entitled to what is called the representative character, being considered as peculiarly representing the sovereign or State by whom they are delegated, and entitled to the same honors to which their constituent would be entitled, were he personally present. This must, however, be taken in a general sense, as indicating the sort of honors to which they are entitled; but the exact ceremonial to be observed towards this class of ministers depends upon usage, which has fluctuated at different periods of European history. There is a slight shade of difference between ambassadors ordinary and extraordinary; the former designation being exclusively applied to those sent on permanent missions, the latter to those employed on a particular or extraordinary occasion, though it is sometimes extended to those residing at a foreign court for an indeterminate period.1
The right of sending ambassadors is exclusively confined to crowned heads, the great republics, and other States entitled to royal honors.?
All other public ministers are destitute of that particular character which is supposed to be derived from representing generally the person and dignity of the sovereign. They represent him only in respect to the particular business committed to their charge at the court to which they are accredited. *
Ministers of the second class are envoys, envoys extraordinary, ministers plenipotentiary, envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary, and internuncios of the pope.4
So far as the relative rank of diplomatic agents may be determined by the nature of their respective functions, there is no essential difference between public ministers of the first class and those of the second. Both are accredited by the sovereign, or
lequel les questions de rang ont été réglées, ne parait pas avoir prévu, il est arrêté entre les cinq cours, que les ministres résidens, accrédités auprès d'elles formeront, par rapport à leur rang, une classe intermédiaire entre les ministres du second ordre et les chargés d'affaires."
1 Vattel, Droit des Gens, liv. iv. ch. 6, SS 70–79. Martens, Précis du Droit des Gens Moderne de l'Europe, liv. vii. ch. 9, § 192. Martens, Manuel Diplomatique, ch. 1, $ 9.
2 Martens, Précis, &c., liv. vii. ch. 2, $ 198. Vide ante, Pt. II. ch. 3, § 2, p. 210. 3 Martens, Manuel Diplomatique, ch. 1, $ 10. 4 Ibid.
supreme executive power of the State, to a foreign sovereign. The distinction between ambassadors and envoys was originally grounded upon the supposition, that the former are authorized to negotiate directly with the sovereign himself; whilst the latter, although accredited to him, are only authorized to treat with the minister of foreign affairs or other person empowered by the sovereign. The authority to treat directly with the sovereign was supposed to involve a higher degree of confidence, and to entitle the person, on whom it was conferred, to the honors due to the highest rank of public ministers. This distinction, so far as it is founded upon any essential difference between the functions of the two classes of diplomatic agents, is more apparent than real. The usage of all times, and especially the more recent times, authorizes public ministers of every class to confer, on all suitable occasions, with the sovereign at whose court they are accredited, on the political relations between the two States. But even at those periods when the etiquette of European courts confined this privilege to ambassadors, such verbal conferences with the sovereign were never considered as binding official acts. Negotiations were then, as now, conducted and concluded with the minister of foreign affairs, and it is through him that the determinations of the sovereign are made known to foreign ministers of every class. If this observation be applicable as between States, according to whose constitutions of government negotiations may, under certain circumstances, be conducted directly between their respective sovereigns, it is still more applicable to representative governments, whether constitutional monarchies or republics. In the former, the sovereign acts, or is supposed to act, only through his responsible ministers, and can only bind the State and pledge the national faith through their agency. In the latter, the supreme executive magistrate cannot be supposed to have any relations with a foreign sovereign, such as would require or authorize direct negotiations between them respecting the mutual interests of the two States.
In the third class are included ministers, ministers resident, residents, and ministers chargés d'affaires, accredited to sovereigns.
Pinheiro-Ferreira, Notes to Martens, Précis du Droit des Gens, tom. ii. Notes 12, 14.
? Martens, Précis, &c., ltv. vii. ch. ï. § 194.
Chargés d'affaires, accredited to the ministers of foreign affairs of the court at which they reside, are either chargés d'affaires ad hoc, who are originally sent and accredited by their governments, or chargés d'affaires per interim, substituted in the place of the minister of their respective nations during his absence. (a)
According to the rule prescribed by the Congress of Vienna, and which has since been generally adopted, public ministers take rank between themselves, in each class, according to the date of the official notification of their arrival at the court to which they are accredited.
The same decision of the Congress of Vienna has also abolished all distinctions of rank between public ministers, arising from consanguinity and family or political relations between their different courts.3
A State which has a right to send public ministers of different classes, may determine for itself what rank it chooses to confer upon its diplomatic agents; but usage generally requires that those who maintain permanent missions near the government of each other should send and receive ministers of equal rank. One minister may represent his sovereign at different courts, and a State may send several ministers to the same court. A minister or ministers may also have full powers to treat with foreign States, as at a Congress of different nations, without being accre. dited to any particular court.* (b)
1 Martens, Manuel Diplomatique, ch. 1, $ 11.
(a) [On occasion of an appeal made by Mr. Hülsemann, chargé d'affaires of Austria, to the President, in reference to some proceedings of the Secretary of State, Mr. Webster thus wrote, under date of June 8, 1852, to the American chargé d'affaires, at Vienna :-“The Chevalier Hülsemann should know that a chargé d'affaires, whether regularly commissioned or acting as such without commission, can hold official intercourse only with the Department of State. He had no right even to converse with the President on matters of business, and may consider it a liberal courtesy that he is presented to him at all. Although usually we are not rigid in these matters, yet a marked disregard of ordinary forms implies disrespect to the government itself.” Congressional Documents.]
2 Recez du Congrès de Vienne du 19 Mars, 1815, art. 4.
(6) [Eu égard à l'état de la part duquel un ministre public est envoyé, celui-ci réunit dans sa personne deux qualités différentes. Il est fonctionnaire public de cet état, et il est son mandataire par rapport à sa mission diplomatique. Relativement aux états autres que ceux près lesquels il est accredité, un ministre Consuls, and other commercial agents, not being accredited to the sovereign or minister of foreign affairs, are not, in general, considered as public ministers; but the consuls maintained by the Christian Powers of Europe and America near the Barbary States are accredited and treated as public ministers.1
Every diplomatic agent, in order to be received in $7. Let
a ters of crethat character, and to enjoy the privileges and honors dence. attached to his rank; must be furnished with a letter of credence. In the case of an ambassador, envoy, or minister, of either of the three first classes, this letter of credence is addressed by the sovereign, or other chief magistrate of his own State, to the sovereign or State to whom the minister is delegated. In the case of a chargé d'affaires, it is addressed by the secretary, or minister of state charged with the department of foreign affairs, to the minister of foreign affairs of the other government. It may be in the form of a cabinet letter, but is more generally in that of a letter of council. If the latter, it is signed by the sovereign or chief magistrate, and sealed with the great seal of State. The minister is furnished with an authenticated copy, to be delivered to the minister of foreign affairs, on asking an audience for the purpose of delivering the original to the sovereign, or other chief magistrate of the State, to whom he is sent. The letter of credence states the general object of his mission, and requests that full faith and credit may be given to what he shall say on the part of his court.?
public n'est considéré que sous les rapports généraux d'un citoyen, (Wicquefort, liv. i. sec. 15.) Il est néanmoins d'usage d'accorder, par complaisance, certaines immunités à un ministre public étranger à son passage par le pays. Il n'est point dérogé à la qualité ni aux prérogatives d'un ministre public, chargé de négotiations avec des puissances étrangères, lorsqu'il est revêtu du titre de commissaire ou de commission, de deputé ou de députation, comme cela a quelquefois eu lieu dans les négotiations, sur les limites de l'état, &c. Ce n'est point encore proprement un ministre public que celui qu'un gouvernement envoie à celui d'un autre état pour des affaires publiques, mais sans le revêtir d'un titre d'envoyé diplomatique, quoique d'ailleurs le fait de sa mission ne soit point caché. Klüber, Droit des Gens Moderne de l'Europe, 9$ 170, 171, 172.]
Bynkershoek, de Foro Competent. Legat. cap. 10, SS 4-6. Martens, Manuel Diplomatique, cb. 1, $ 13. Vattel, liv. ii. ch. 2, § 34. Wicquefort, de l’Ambassadeur, liv. i. & 1, p. 63.
? Martens, Précis, &c., liv. vii. ch. 3, § 202. Wicquefort, de l'Ambassadeur, liv. i. $ 15.