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1. Mission




The Department of State, under the direction of the President, conducts the correspondence with the public ministers and the consuls of the United States and with the representatives of foreign powers accredited to the United States, and is charged with the negotiations of whatever character relating to the foreign affairs of the United States. It is also the medium of correspondence between the President and the chief executives of the several states of the United State, and has the custody of the great seal of the United States, which is affixed to all executive proclamations, to various commissions, and to warrants for the extradition of fugitives from justice. The department has custody of the treaties made with foreign states, and of the laws of the United States, and publishes the laws and resolutions of Congress, amendments to the Constitution, and proclamations declaring the admission of new states into the Union. It grants and issues passports and exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States.

2. History

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Before the formation of the Union, several of the colonies had agents in England. They were called "friends of American liberty." To them was sent the loyal address, adopted by the Continental Congress in 1774, for presentation to the King, asking him to recall unjust and oppressive measures. The efforts of the American agents, among whom were Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, having failed, the Congress had to choose its next course of action in the drift toward revolution. An important means of rebellion was provided in the selection, November 29, 1775, of a Committee of Secret Correspondence, with Benjamin Franklin as chairman, and Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, John Dickinson, and John Jay as members. This was really a Committee of Foreign Affairs. It got in touch with Arthur Lee, who was instructed to communicate with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and thus was found the way to the French alliance. The title of the committee, which by 1777 had lost its importance, was changed to "Committee of Foreign Affairs" on April 17th of that year. This, too, sank into near oblivion, and in August 10, 1781, a Department of Foreign Affairs was organized. The "Secretary to the United States for Foreign Affairs" in 1783 had a salary of $4,000 per annum, while Franklin, Adams, Jay, Jefferson, and Laurens, as ministers plenipotentiary abroad, received more than $11,000. The new government under the Constitution assembled in New York early in April, 1789. After Washington had been elected President and John Adams Vice President, the business of providing executive departments was taken up, and the first one considered was a Department for

1 R. S. § 202 (Comp. St. § 300).

2 R. S. § 203 (Comp. St. § 301).

34. Contract; Signing and Reducing to Writing

A contract for public works is regarded as signed by the United States when it recites that it is made by the United States by a specified officer, described as the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, and signed by such with his official title. “

Failure to reduce the contract made by the Secretary of War to writing, signed by the contracting parties, as required by R. S. § 3744 Comp. St. § 6895), does not preclude enforcement by the government, though unenforceable against the government

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35. Chief Clerks to Supervise Subordinate Clerks and Distribute Duties

Each chief clerk in the several departments, and in the other bureaus and offices connected with the departments, is charged with the duty of supervising the duties of the other clerks and of distributing duties equitably. He must report monthly to his superior any existing defect that he discovers in the management or dispatch of business. "

36. Disbursing Clerks


Provision is made for the appointment of a Estursing clerk in each department, to keep and disburse the funds of his department and to superintend the buildings thereci* They are required to give bood. The superintendence of buildings is now usually a duty of the chief clerk.

37. Transfer of Employees from Department to Department

Frior to March 4, 1923, no clerk or other employee could be transferred from cne department to another until he had served three years in the department inm which he sought transfer, which promsite included applicabio to transfers inc executive departments to independent establishments and vice versa, and between mdependent establishments, mdading the United States Shipping Board Ene:gency Fleet Corporation but the restrictive did not apply to employess = post ¿Õões, pension agencies, subcreasuries, castoms brases, ordnance establishments, tavy yards, and quartermasters establishments The Act of March 4, 19. however, provided that transfers me be made then to such rules and regu lators as the Fres lent may from time to time prescribe. * accordance with cul service rules, any provision of existing statutes to the cremary arte withstanding" 53 The and service role governing transfers is to the effect that




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any person proposed for transfer must have received absolute appointment and must have actually served for at least six months next preceding transfer.

38. Voluntary Service Not Acceptable

No department or officer of the United States may accept voluntary service for the government or engage service in excess of that authorized by law, except in case of sudden emergency involving loss of human life or destruction of property.56

39. Attorney Disqualified to Act as Notary

A notary appointed in one of the states is not authorized to certify in his official capacity to an instrument filed by him in one of the departments as attorney for the party to whom he has administered the oath; and when such an instrument is in opposition to an application for registration of a trade-mark, a demurrer thereto on such ground will be sustained, and the opposition dismissed.57 40. Budget Officer

A budget officer for each department and establishment is required to be designated by the head of such department or establishment.58

41. Bureau of the Budget; Information for

Under regulations prescribed by the President, (1) every department and establishment must furnish the Bureau of the Budget such information as the bureau may from time to time require, and (2) the personnel of the Bureau of the Budget, when duly authorized, has access to, and the right to examine, any books, documents, papers, or records of any such department or establishment for the purpose of securing information for the preparation of the budget.59

42. Comptroller General; Information for

All departments and establishments are required to furnish the Comptroller General such information regarding the powers, duties, activities, organization, financial transactions, and methods of business of their respective offices as he may from time to time require, and the Comptroller General is authorized to have access to obtain such information.60

43. Copies of Departmental Records; Evidence

Copies of any books, records, papers, or documents in any of the executive departments authenticated under the seals of such departments, respectively, are admissible in evidence equally with the originals thereof.61 This does not include every paper on file but only such as were made by an officer or agent of the government in the course of his official duty.62

56 Act May 1, 1884 (23 Stat. 17).

57 Hall's Safe Co. v. Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Co., 31 App. D. C. 498. See Code D. C. $558 (31 Stat. 1279, c. 854, and 34 Stat. 622).

58 Act June 10, 1921, § 214 (42 Stat. 23 [Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 400h]). 59 Act June 10, 1921, § 213 (42 Stat. 23 [Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 400%gg]).

60 Act June 10, 1921, § 313 (42 Stat. 26 [Comp. St. Ann. Supp. 1923, § 400% g]). 61 R. S. § 882 (Comp. St. § 1494).

62 Block's Case, 7 Ct. Cl. 406.

44. Immunity of Records Against Subpoena

Although it has been questioned, it is now settled that a state court cannot impose the duty upon a federal officer, custodian of papers or records of a department, to produce the same as evidence, nor pomst by process for contempt the refusal of a subordinate either to obey a subpoena fuces tecum, or to testify concerning matters connected with his department a violator of prescribed regulations lawfully emanating from his executive chef

45. Vacancies: Head of Department


In case of the death, resignation, absence, or sickness of the head of any department, the first or scle assistant thereof shall, unless otherwise directed by the President, perform the duties of such head until a successor is appointed or such absence or sickness shall cease."

The signature of such an acting head, so indicated, to a document of his department, implies that one of the conditions named has ansen *

46. Vacancies in Subordinate Offices

In case of the death, resignation. absence or sickness of the chief of any bureau, or of any officer thereof, whose appointment is not vested in the head of the department, the assistant or deputy of such chief or of such officer, or if there be none, then the chief clerk of such bureau, shall, unless otherwise directed by the President, perform the duties of the office so vacated until a successor is named, or such absence or sickness shall cease." 16515

47. Only Recess Appointments to be Made Otherwise

No temporary appointment, designation or assignment of one officer to perform the duties of another, in cases covered by the two next preceding paragraphs, shall be made otherwise than as therein provided, except to fill a vacancy occurring during a Senate recess.67


Temporary Appointments Limited to Thirty Days

A vacancy occasioned by death or resignation must not be temporarily filled under R. S. §§ 177, 178, and 179 Comp. St. §§ 259-261), for a lenger period than 30 days.68

63 In re Huttman (D. C) 70 F. 69; In re Weeks (D C) $2 F. 729: Boske v. Comingore, 177 U. S. 459, 20 S. Ct. 701, 44 L. Ed S4 But see In re Hirsch (C. C4, 74 F. 928.

64 R. S § 177 (Comp St. § 2791.

63 Miller v. New York, 109 U. S. 385. 3 S. Ct. 228. 27 L. El. 971: Cf. In re Jem Yuen (D. C.) 188 F. 350; U. S. v. Peralta, 19 How. 343, 15 L Ed 678; Parish v. U. S., 100 U. S. 500 25 L. Ed. 763; Chadwick v. U. S. (C. CJ 3 F. 756; U. S v. Adams (C, C. 24 F. 348, 66 R. S. § 178 (Comp. St. § 2001 See 19 Op. Attys. Gen. 503; 2 Op. Attys. Gen. 95; Weitzel Brown, 224 Mass, 190, 112 N. E. 945; 23 Op. Attys. Gen. 473; 20 Op. Attys. Gen 43; U. S. v. Duell 17 App. D. C. 575.

67 R. S§ 181 (Comp. St. § 263). 68 R. S. § 150 (Comp. St. § 262).


49. Power of Removal

The power of removal is a purely executive power, which is not intrusted to the judicial branch of the government.


50. Hours of Business and Holidays

All the bureaus and offices in the State, War, Treasury, Navy, and Post Office Departments, and in the General Land Office, must be open for the transaction of public business at least eight hours in each day from the first day of October until the first day of April, in each year, and for at least ten hours each day during the remainder of each year, except Sundays and legally declared public holidays. Heads of departments must require of all clerks and other employees, of whatever grade or class, at least seven hours of labor each day, except Sundays and days declared public holidays by law or executive order (with 30 days' annual leave with pay and not to exceed 30 days additional in any one year in meritorious cases of sickness); and they may by special order, stating reasons, further extend the hours of labor of any employee.70 Holidays in this connection are the first day of January, twenty-second day of February, fourth day of July, twenty-fifth day of December, the day proclaimed by the President as national Thanksgiving Day," "Memorial" or "Decoration Day" (not applicable to the Philippine Islands73), and "Labor's Holiday," on the first Monday in September. Inauguration Day is added to the foregoing in reference to the Government Printing Office.75 Heads of departments are not obliged to require labor of employees in the executive departments after twelve o'clock noon on every Saturday, declared a holiday for all purposes in the District of Columbia.76

51. Correspondence in General

(a) Unless otherwise specified, letters, especially the initial letter, ordinarily should be addressed to the chief of the department having jurisdiction. Later correspondence may then go directly to the bureau or unit immediately concerned, as directed in the official letter received from such government agency. (b) An approved form of address to a department chief is:

The Honorable

The Secretary of State.

The President,

The White House.

69 Keim v. U. S., 33 Ct. Cl. 174, affirmed 177 U. S. 290, 20 S. Ct. 574, 44 L. Ed. 774; Lellmann v. U. S., 37 Ct. Cl. 128. See U. S. ex rel. Brown v. Root, 18 App. D. C. 239, 29 W. L. R. 477, as to power of President to dismiss Army or Navy officer for any cause which in his judgment would promote the public service.

7o R. S. § 162 (Comp. St. § 236); Act March 15, 1898, c. 68, § 7 (30 Stat. 316 [Comp. St. § 238]).

71 Resolution of Jan. 6, 1885, No. 5 (23 Stat. 516 [Comp. St. § 3244]).

72 Resolution of Feb. 23, 1887, No. 6 (24 Stat. 644 [Comp. St. § 3245]). 73 25 Op. Attys. Gen. 127.

74 Act June 28, 1894, c. 118 (28 Stat. 96 [Comp. St. § 3246]).

75 Act Jan. 12, 1895, c. 23 (28 Stat. 607 [Comp. St. § 7010]).

76 25 Op. Attys. Gen. 40.

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