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CHAPTER 3

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 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 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.

1R. S. § 202 (Comp. St. $ 300). 2 R. S. § 203 (Comp. St. $ 301).

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.

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, 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, 1819 (9 Stat. 395). 8 Act March 1, 1873 (17 Stat. 481 (Comp. St: 8 682]).

Responsibility in passing upon petitions for pardons under executive clemency was shared between the Department of State and the Attorney General until 1850, and warrants for pardons continued to be issued by the State Department until 1893.

Matters relating to copyrights were also under the State Department from 1790 to 1859.10 It had, when it was organized, the management of the mint, and one of the early acts of Secretary Jefferson was to send to the President two experimental coins, made "by putting a silver plug worth three-fourths of a cent into a copper worth one-fourth of a cent.” In fact, the department at the beginning was considered, as Jefferson said, to embrace "the whole domestic administration (war and finance excepted)."11

The laws passed by Congress, approved by the President or passed over his veto, were published in newspapers until 1874. Since then such publication has been wholly by the Secretary of State. In that year the Revised Statutes were provided for.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, the fundamental laws of the United States, were in the custody of the Secretary of State for 133 years; but by an order of President Harding, dated September 29, 1921, issued at the instance of Secretary Hughes, they were transferred to the custody of the Library of Congress, because the Library of Congress was in a fire-proof building, and the facilities for the exhibition of the documents were better there than they were in the State Department Building.

The first treaty of this country providing for mutual surrender of criminals was that of 1794 with Great Britain. Murder and forgery were the only crimes included in it, and it expired in 12 years. A new treaty was concluded with Great Britain in 1842, and since then treaties have been entered into with many powers, and the practice of extradition has become general.

The treaty of 1778 with France, which was the first made by the United States, provided for a form of passport to be given by the two governments to their respective vessels, but until 1856 there was no law restricting the granting of passports for individuals to federal authority.

In the absence of any statute, however, the issuing of passports to Americans going abroad fell to the Department of State, as one of its manifestly proper functions. Nevertheless, as they had doubtless been issued before the adoption of the Constitution by state or municipal authorities, they continued to be so issued without statutory prohibition until the enactment of the law of 1856. This law provided that the Secretary of State be authorized to grant and issue passports, and cause them to be granted and verified in foreign coun

9 Act May 31, 1790 (1 Stat. 124). 10 Act Feb. 5, 1859 (11 Stat. 379).

11 State Department pamphlet, “Outline of Organization and Work of Department of State," 1911.

Department of State, its history and functions (by Gaillard Hunt), Washington, Department of State, 1893.

Department of State, how it was formed, what are its duties, and how it is run, exhibit of Department of State, Transmississippi and International Exposition at Omaha, 1898.

History of Department of State, its formation and duties, with biographies of its present officers, and Secretaries from beginning, 1901.

tries by diplomatic and consular officers of the United States under such rules as the President might prescribe. No one else was to issue passports, and they must be issued to none but citizens of the United States. Any person not authorized to do so, who granted a passport, should, upon conviction of the offense, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and fined and imprisoned. All returns of passports issued abroad were to be made to the Secretary of State.

In a circular dated October 31, 1834, John Forsyth, Secretary of State, prescribed the distribution of the duties in the department. The Diplomatic Bureau was to have charge of all correspondence between the department and our diplomatic agents abroad and foreign diplomatic agents in the United States, was to prepare treaties, etc., and keep indexes of its correspondence, a function now performed by a separate bureau.

The Consular Bureau had charge, similarly, of all consular correspondence. The Home Bureau was divided into four divisions, one clerk being in charge of each. One division had control of the returns of passengers from foreign ports and registered seamen, miscellaneous and domestic correspondence, treaties, and presents which were permitted to be exhibited. To another was given the custody of the seal of the United States and the seal of the department, the applications for office, the commissions and appointments. A third had the presidential pardons, passports, and all correspondence relating to them. The fourth had in charge the filing and preserving of copyrights and the reports to the President and Congress. The keeper of the archives had charge of all archives other than diplomatic and consular, of the laws and their distribution, and of the publications of the department.

In 1842, when Daniel Webster was Secretary of State, was originated the "Statistical Office.” In 1874 the title was changed to "Bureau of Statistics." Secretary Sherman, acting under authority of a law, passed in 1897, changed the name, by an order dated July 1 of that year, to the Bureau of Foreign Commerce. The bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor February 14, 1903, and the Bureau of Trade Relations was established, to edit the consular reports and formulate commercial instructions to consuls. The bureau became the Office of Foreign Trade Advisers in 1914; then of Foreign Trade Adviser in 1915; of Adviser on Commercial Treaties in 1916; again Foreign Trade Adviser in 1917; and Economic Adviser by order of the Secretary of State dated December 20, 1921.

The Diplomatic and Consular Bureaus continued practically as organized by Secretary Forsyth, but each bureau was for several years divided; there being a First Diplomatic Bureau and a Second Diplomatic Bureau, and a First Consular Bureau and a Second Consular Bureau, each having a separate chief.

The passport business of the department, which had been under Forsyth's arrangement a division of the Home Bureau, was afterwards separated and made a distinct bureau, with one of the clerks in charge of it. In 1894 it was placed under the Bureau of Accounts, but as a division, with the passport clerk at its head. In 1902 it was made a separate bureau, and in 1907 the name was changed to the Bureau of Citizenship. The designation was again changed August 13, 1918, to Division of Passport Control.

The applications for office, custody of the seal of the United States, preparation of commissions and appointments, also formerly a part of the duties of the Home Bureau, were put under the Bureau of Commissions and Pardons, and after the pardons ceased to be made out in the department this was simply the Bureau of Commissions. The name was subsequently changed to Bureau of Appointment, with the appointment clerk in charge of it, by Secretary Olney.

An important development of the machinery of the department was the formation of divisions having charge of the correspondence with diplomatic and consular officers in particular countries or groups of countries. There had always been some sort of division of the correspondence upon geographic' lines; but it was inadequate to the expanding needs of the service, having been put into effect when we were a small nation, having limited intercourse with other governments. So it was to meet what had become a necessity that certain political geographical divisions were created in the department. They deal with our political and commercial relations with different sections of the world. The Division of Far Eastern Affairs was the first established, in 1908. It has general supervision of our relations with China, Japan, Siam, the Far Eastern possessions of European states, and Siberia. In 1909 the Division of Latin-American Affairs, with similar functions for Central and South America, was created; also in that year the division of Western European Affairs and Near Eastern Affairs ; in 1915 the Division of Mexican Affairs; and in 1919 the Division of Russian Affairs, later called Division of Eastern European Affairs.

Under the provisions of a law passed in 1909, the Secretary of State created a Division of Information, whose duty it was to circulate important correspondence among the diplomatic missions abroad, so that the entire diplomatic service might be conversant with such important matters as the department was considering This division also examined the foreign press and made extracts for the benefit of the officers of the department itself. In 1917 (May 7) the division became the Division of Foreign Intelligence, and the preparation of information for the press was added to its other duties. By department order in 1920 (February 6) the Division of Political Information was created, and on May 24, 1921, it became the Division of Political and Economic Information. On the latter date was created also the Division of Current Information, which took over the business of preparing items for the press, which had formerly been with the Division of Foreign Intelligence. The Act of May 24, 1924,12 provides for the reorganization of the Foreign Service, by (1) the amalgamation of the diplomatic and consular branches into a single Foreign Service on an interchangeable basis; (2) the adoption of a new and uniform salary scale, applicable equally to officers in the diplomatic and consular branches, thus making unification and interchangeability possible; (3) the authorization of representation allowances, when necessary; (4) the extension of the civil service retirement act, with appropriate modifications, to the Foreign Service.

3. Activities in General

The most important routine duties of the Department of State are those connected with the Diplomatic and Consular Service. The Department of Foreign Affairs was formed with the chief purpose of taking under its charge

12 43 Stat. 140.

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