Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

States,' and 'to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and permanent harmony.''

“The immediate result of the conference on trade and commerce held at Mt. Vernon was that in the following year, 1786, commissioners from five of the thirteen states assembled by appointment at Annapolis 'to take into consideration the trade and commerce of the United States. In this convention, Hamilton drew up an address, which Madison and Randolph signed with him, recommending a general meeting of the states in a future convention, and an extension of the powers of their delegates to other objects than those of commerce, as in the course of their reflections on the subject they had been 'induced to think that the power to regulate trade is of such comprehensive extent and will enter so far into the general system of the federal government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the federal system.' ?

“In the Constitutional Convention, August 20, 1787, Mr. Gouverneur Morris, seconded by Mr. Pinckney, submitted a proposal that there should be a council of state to 'assist the President in conducting the public affairs,' the third member of this council to be a 'Secretary of Commerce and Finance, whose duties were, in part, to ‘recommend such things as may in his judgment promote the commercial interests of the United States.' This plan also provided for a Secretary of Domestic Affairs, to liave supervision of agriculture, manufactures, roads, and navigation.

"Until the Department of Commerce (and Labor) was organized in 1903, the Treasury Department was the principal agency of government through which a limited supervision of the commercial and industrial life of the nation was administered, and the designation sought to be given its chief officer in the Constitutional Convention was that of 'Secretary of Commerce and Finance.'s

“During the period between the close of the federal convention and the ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, writing on the subject of commerce, said:

“'The importance of the Union, in a commercial light is one of those points about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion, and which has, in fact, commanded the most general assent of men who have any acquaintance with the subject. This applies as well to our intercourse with foreign countries as with each other.' 4

"In 1788, the same year in which the above was written by Hamilton, Commodore John Paul Jones, in a letter to the Marquise de Lafayette concerning the Constitution, stated:

“'Had I the power I would create at least seven ministries in the primary organization of government under the Constitution. In addition to the four already agreed upon, I would ordain a Ministry of Marine, a Ministry of Home

3

2 "The Department of Commerce,” 1915, a pamphlet issued by the Department of Commerce, quoting Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

3 Id., citing Documentary History of the Constitution. 4 Id., quoting "The Federalist.”

8

Affairs, and a General Post Office; and, as commerce must be our great reliance, it would not be amiss to create also as the eighth a Ministry of Commerce.'

“The remarkable foresight of the great commodore enabled him to name the Cabinet very much as it is to-day, practically in the order in which it grew, agriculture being included by him in the Interior (Home) Department, where it actually was for a time. The labor interests, however, are now also provided for in a separate department.

“When the Constitution had been ratified by eleven states, and the Congress, under its authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states, proceeded solemnly to treat the commerce and manufactures of the two remaining states in the same manner as those of any foreign country, it was from a sense of their commercial interests that they hastened to enroll themselves with their sister commonwealths, although one of these two states had not even participated in the convention.

"Thus not only were the commercial and industrial interests of the states an important and controlling influence in bringing them into the federal convention, but a realization of the commercial advantages of the Union induced the states to ratify the Constitution.

"In his first annual address to Congress, President Washington said: "The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation.'

“The first Secretary of the 'Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, gave special consideration to the commerce and industries of the country, and his special reports on these subjects, in which he recommended that a board be established for promoting arts, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, demonstrate that he considered this function of the Treasury Department one of primary impor

[ocr errors]

tance." 3

Although Congress was repeatedly memorialized, especially in 1865 and thereafter, by commercial and manufacturing interests, to create an executive Department of Commerce, it was not until 1901 that such efforts began to bear fruit wlien Senator Knute Nelson introduced a bill in the Senate to establish the Department of Commerce. It passed the Senate with a number of amendments, including one changing the name to “Department of Commerce and Labor." The House, however, substituted a new bill, embracing most of the features of the Senate bill. The culmination of this phase of legislative history was the Act of February 14, 1903,9 creating the Department of Commerce and Labor.

The previously established Department of Labor (see post, Part XI) was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor as a bureau on July 1, 1903.

In 1913 the Department of Commerce and Labor became the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Labor was created as the tenth executive department, which absorbed from the Department of Commerce and Labor the Commissioner General of Immigration, the Commissioners of Immigration, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Divisions of Information and Naturalization, the Immigration Service at Large, and the Children's Bureau.?

8 Id., citing Documentary History of the Constitution. 8 Original Manuscript, Congressional Library Archives. 632 Stat. 826.

The creation of the Federal Trade Commission in 1914 8 abolished the Bureau of Corporations which had been a part of the Department of Commerce.

The further history of the department is that of its bureaus, presented in the following chapters of Part X.

3. Activities

The department serves the nation through its bureaus, q. v. 4. Organization and Duties 4.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

(a) The Office of the Secretary of Commerce.

(1) The Secretary of Commerce is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the purpose of the Department as outlined in its organic act. (See Mission, ante.)

7 Act March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 736). 8 Act Sept. 26, 1914 (38 Stat. 717 [Comp. St. $8 8836a-8836k]). 9 Act Feb. 14, 1903 (32 Stat. 826); Act March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 736).

His duties also comprise the administration of the Lighthouse Service and the aid and protection to shipping thereby; the taking of the census, and the collection and publication of statistical information connected therewith; the making of coast and geodetic surveys; the collecting of statistics relating to foreign and domestic commerce; the inspection of steamboats, and the enforcement of laws relating thereto for the protection of life and property; the supervision of the fisheries as administered by the federal government; the supervision and control of the Alaskan fur seal, salmon, and other fisheries; the jurisdiction over merchant vessels, their registry, licensing, measurement, entry, clearance, transfers, movement of their cargoes and passengers, and laws relating thereto, and to seamen of the United States; the administration of federal laws governing radio communication, including the licensing and inspection of broadcasting stations and of apparatus on vessels and the licensing of operators; the custody, construction, maintenance, and application of standards of weights and measurements; the gathering and supplying of information regarding industries and markets for the fostering of manufacturing; and the formulation (in conjunction with the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Treasury) of regulations for the enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act of 190610 and the Insecticide Act of 1910.11 He has power to call upon other departments for statistical data obtained by them.

For the proper accomplishment of any or all of the aforesaid work, it is by law provided that all duties performed,12 and all the powers and authority possessed or exercised at the date of the creation of said department by the head of any executive department in and over any bureau, office, officer, board, branch, or division of the public service transferred to said department, or any business arising therefrom or pertaining thereto, or in relation to the duties and authority conferred by law upon such bureau, office, officer, board, branch, or division of the public service, whether of appellate or advisory character or otherwise, are vested in and exercised by the Secretary of Commerce.

It is his further duty to make such special investigations and furnish such information to the President or Congress as may be required by them on the foregoing subject matters, and to make annual reports to Congress upon the work of said department.

(la) The Assistant Secretary of Commerce.—The Assistant Secretary performs such duties as shall be prescribed by the Secretary or may be required by law. In the absence of the Secretary, he acts as head of the department. (2) The Chief Clerk.

The Chief Clerk is charged with the general supervision of the clerks and employees of the department; the enforcement of the general regulations of the department; the supervision of the library and the stock and shipping section of the department; the care of all vehicles employed; the general supervision of all expenditures from the appropriations for contingent expenses and rent; the receipt, distribution, and transmission of the mail; the custody of the department's seal and the records and files of the Secretary's office; the answering of calls from Congress and elsewhere for copies of papers and records; and the discharge of all business of the Secretary's office not otherwise assigned.

10 Act June 30, 1906 (34 Stat. 768 (Comp. St. 88 8717-8728]). 11 Act April 26, 1910 (36 Stat. 331 [Comp. St. $8 8765–8777]). 12 Available only from Superintendent of Documents and at price stated.

(2a) Disbursing Clerk.—The Disbursing Clerk is charged by the Secretary of Commerce with the duty of preparing all requisitions for the advance of public funds from appropriations for the Department of Commerce to disbursing clerks and special disbursing agents charged with the disbursement of public funds; the keeping of appropriation ledgers relating to the advance and expenditure of all items of appropriations. He has charge of the issuing, recording, and accounting for government requests for transportation issued to officers of the department for official travel; the audit and payment of all vouchers and accounts submitted from the various offices, bureaus, and services of the department (except the Coast and Geodetic Survey and those services having special disbursing agents); and the general accounting of the department.

(2b) Appointment Division.—The Chief of the Appointment Division is charged by the Secretary of Commerce with the supervision of matters relating to appointments, transfers, promotions, reductions, removals, and all other changes in the personnel, including applications for positions and recommendations concerning the same, and the correspondence connected therewith; the preparation and submission to the Secretary of all questions affecting the personnel of the department in its relations to the civil service law and rules; the preparation of nominations sent to the Senate and of commissions and appointments of all officers and employees of the department; the preparation of official bonds; the compilation of statistics in regard to the personnel, including material for the Official Register, and the custody of oaths of office, records pertaining to official bonds, service records of officers and employees, correspondence and reports relating to the personnel, reports of bureau officers respecting the efficiency of employees, and records relating to leaves of absence.

(2c) Division of Publications.—The Chief of the Division of Publications is charged by the Secretary of Commerce with the conduct of all business the department transacts with the Government Printing Office; the general supervision of printing, including the editing and preparation of copy, illustrating and binding, the distribution of publications, and the maintenance of mailing lists. The advertising done by the department is in his charge. He also keeps a record of all expenditures for the publishing work of the department and conducts the correspondence it entails.

(20) Division of Supplies. Under the direction of the chief clerk the Chief of the Division of Supplies has personal supervision of all the work incident to the purchase and distribution of supplies for the department proper and for the services of the department outside of Washington, and of the keeping of detailed accounts of all expenditures from the appropriation for contingent expenses of the department. He receives, verifies, and preserves the annual returns of property from the offices and bureaus of the department which are supplied from the contingent appropriation, and examines and reports on the property returns of all other bureaus and services. (2e) Departmental Library (110,000 volumes).

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »