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(c) Formal salutation may be "Sir;" or "My Dear Mr. Secretary;" or "My Dear Mr. Attorney General;" or "My Dear Mr. Postmaster General;" or "My Dear Mr. President;" or "My Dear Mr. Chief Justice;" or "My Dear Mr. Justice Blank."

(d) Envelopes should be addressed:

The President,

The White House,

Washington, D. C.

The Secretary of War,
Washington, D. C.

The Attorney General,
Washington, D. C.
Honorable John Jones,

United States Senate.
Washington, D. C.

Honorable George Smith,

House of Representatives,

Washington, D. C.




21 *


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


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).

Foreign Affairs. The bill introduced in the House of Representatives June 2 provided for such a department, completely separated from the conduct of domestic affairs.

It passed the House June 27 by a vote of 29 to 22. A few unimportant amendments, to which the House subsequently agreed, were made in the Senate, and the bill became a law July 27, 1789,3 establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs-the oldest of the Executive Departments. Agitation for a home department resulted in a change of name from the "Department of Foreign Affairs" to "Department of State," with enlarged duties.4

This law required the Secretary to receive and publish the laws of the United States, to be custodian of the seal of the United States, to authenticate copies of records and papers properly coming before him, and to receive all records and papers in the office of the late Secretary of Congress, except such as related to the Treasury and War Departments.

From the beginning the Department of State has been more closely connected with the President than any other executive department. In the Secretary of State were combined the two offices, usually separated in other governments, of chancellor or keeper of the great seal and minister of foreign relations. Washington not only referred to the State Department all official letters bearing upon its business, but made it the repository of the drafts of many other letters. The volume of business of the government rendered it possible for the President to attend personally to matters which are now rarely, if ever, brought before him. It was Jefferson's custom to consult his chief frequently. He sent him the rough draft of his letters for approval or correction, and carried to him all communications of consequence. The foreign ministers to the United States were not permitted to correspond directly with the President, but were required to address the Secretary of State. This rule had been laid down before Jefferson's appointment, when Washington declined direct correspondence with Moustier, the French minister. In 1790 authority was vested jointly in the Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and the Attorney General to grant letters patent, subject to the approval of the President, which letters patent were recorded in the Department of State. The Secretary of War was dropped out of this connection with patents in 1793,6 and the Department of State became more closely identified with such patent jurisdiction, which continued thus until 1849, when it was transferred to the Department of the Interior.

The State Department superintended census enumeration until May 23, 1850, when the business of the census was transferred to the Interior Department. The department also maintained at one time a register of American seamen and incoming alien passengers.

Territorial affairs were under the State Department until transferred to the Interior Department.8

31 Stat. 28.

4 Act Sept. 15, 1789 (1 Stat. 68).

5 Act April 10, 1790 (1 Stat. 109).

6 Act Feb. 21, 1793 (1 Stat. 318).

7 Act March 3, 1849 (9 Stat. 395).

8 Act March 1, 1873 (17 Stat. 484 [Comp. St: § 682]).

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