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assign to his Department, and furthermore, he must manage the business as the President may
direct. The Department of State is thus the legal organ of communication between the President and foreign countries, and is so recognized by foreign powers, for it is to the Secretary of State that they address their communications to our government. When the French minister, in 1793, directed a letter to the President of the United States, the Secretary replied that it was not proper for diplomatic representatives residing here to institute correspondence with the chief executive.? Of course, in actual practice this strict official routine is not always observed; many questions of foreign policy are undoubtedly considered by the President in his informal relations with the ministers of other countries. In final analysis, the practice depends on the nature of the business and the personality of the President.
It is through the Secretary of State, also, that the President transmits letters and papers to foreign governments, and the latter must recognize as official only those communications which come through this agency. No officer of the United States, civil or military, should address a foreign government, except through the Department of State, or our diplomatic representatives abroad. Even when the President writes to a foreign ruler an autograph letter of condolence on the death of a relative, it is countersigned and transmitted by the Secretary of State."
The important business of the Department has the personal attention of the Secretary. International disputes, questions of general policy, or any matters of great weight, are considered by him, and he keeps in close touch with the President, discussing with him, and sometimes with the entire Cabinet, matters of special significance.
* Readings, p. 200.
2 The communications thus made to the Department of State are transmitted to the President whenever they are deemed of sufficient importance, or there are special reasons for such an action.
3 The President himself may draft a despatch to a foreign country, with or without the advice of his Cabinet, but the despatch is signed by the Secretary, so that all communications appear to be through him officially. Congratulatory letters which the President signs are sometimes even drafted by a clerk in the Department of State.
Official Representatives of the United States in Foreign countries
The representatives of the United States charged with conducting our relations with other countries fall into two general groups: diplomatic and consular.
I. The first of these groups is divided into four classes: (1) ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary; (2) envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary and special commissioners; (3) ministers resident; and (4) chargés d'affaires.
This classification originated in the ceremonials of European courts which gave precedence in processions and social affairs to diplomatic representatives according to their rank. In the international congresses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there was constant wrangling over the positions to be assigned to representatives of various countries; and it was finally decided by the practice of the nineteenth century that nations were equal when their representatives were assembled in general congress for negotiations; but in each country the old custom of assigning to diplomatic agents social and official positions in accordance with their rank was continued.
For over a century the United States did not send ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary, but was represented abroad only by agents falling within the second, third, and fourth classes. It thus came about sometimes that a minister of the United States was compelled, on public occasions, at receptions, and in interviews with foreign officers, to step aside in favor of the representative of some small nation, who happened to bear the title of ambassador. Though all European courts did not follow this rigid system, American ministers were often mortified by treatment which was deemed humiliating to the spokesmen of so great a nation. Accordingly, in 1893, Congress provided that our representative to any foreign country should have the same rank as the representative of that country to the United States. Therefore, whenever a nation sends an ambassador to us, we return the honor. This means, of course, that more money must be spent in maintaining the higher rank, but Congress has not made a proportionate increase in salaries.?
Sometimes, however, we take the initiative in raising the rank by making overtures to other countries, as in the case of Turkey.
? On this point, Readings, p. 295.
All diplomatic representatives of the United States are nominated by the President and appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. In spite of the special knowledge and experience which are required of those who enter the diplomatic 'service, our representatives have been too often selected without regard to their qualifications. Diplomatic appointments are made too frequently as rewards for political service. As Secretary Hay once remarked, “A quiet legation is a stuffed mattress which the political acrobat wants always to see ready under him, in case of a slip.” The term of office is uncertain and liable to be brief, for, whenever a change of party occurs at Washington, there is a general change in our representation abroad. There is no arrangement for prolonged tenure of office, beginning with the lower grades of the diplomatic service and ending with a position at the foremost court of Europe.'
In nominating ministers, the President should always ascertain in advance whether any particular appointee is personally acceptable to the government to which it is proposed to send him.” After his appointment, a minister is given a formal letter of credence, and on his arrival at his foreign post he must at once enter into communication with the representative of that government in charge of foreign affairs. It is customary for the minister's predecessor to remain until his arrival and arrange for his induction into office. It is also customary for the minister to be received in audience by the head of the government to which he is accredited; and the ceremonials at that audience are conducted in accordance with the custom of the country in which it is held.
The necessity of mastering the somewhat intricate ceremonies of foreign courts has been at times a source of trepidation to American representatives. Mr. John W. Foster relates an amusing incident of his reception at the court of Russia in the great hall
1 President Roosevelt, however, in 1905, issued an order that the important office of secretary to embassies or legations should be filled by transfer or promotion from some branch of our foreign service, or by the appointment of persons whose qualifications had been determined by an examination. Moreover, within recent years, there has been a tendency toward the elimination of the grosser forms of politics from diplomatic appointments. This service was still further advanced by an executive order of November 26, 1909, making the examinations more difficult.
2 For the illustrative case of Mr. Keiley, see Foster, Practice of Diplomacy, p. 40.
of the Anitchkoff Palace. He was required after the interview to retire backward, down the long hall, with his face fixed upon the Grand Ducal party and to make his farewell bow on reaching the door. He states that he succeeded in getting to the entrance without knocking over any furniture, but that his hand fell unfortunately upon one of the two knobs which did not open the door but merely turned round and round, much to his vexation and embarrassment. In the midst of his perplexity, the Tsaravitch, seeing his predicament, cried out in excellent English: "Mr. Foster, take the other knob!” He at once heeded this advice and bowed himself out of the imperial presence.'
A diplomatic mission abroad may be closed by one of two methods. A minister may exercise his constitutional right of resigning at pleasure, or he may be recalled by the President, perhaps at the request of the foreign government. In an extreme case, he might be summarily dismissed by the government to which he is accredited.
A diplomatic representative enjoys abroad, under the rules of international law, several special privileges and immunities.” Any injury or affront to him is an offence against the country which he represents and the principle of international comity. The house in which he resides is under the particular protection of the law; it may not be entered or disturbed by any one against his will. A minister is entitled to special protection while travelling on land or sea. He and his official family, including even his domestic servants, are exempt from arrest, -in short, from all criminal and civil processes at all times.
The functions of our diplomatic agents may be given in the language of a report made by the Department of State some years ago. According to this report the duties of ministers are not confined to the transmission of instructions from their government. Official communications, indeed, constitute a relatively unimportant part of the minister's business. He should cultivate friendly personal relations with the officers of the government to which he is accredited, so that on proper occasions he may have easy access to them and, having thus gained their confidence in advance, may converse freely with them; it is, therefore, neces
* Foster, The Practice of Diplomacy, p. 60.
sary for the ambassador to adapt himself to the mode of life of the official class of the country in which he is stationed. Tod) this, he must study the sensibilities, prejudices, form of govern ment, and spirit of public life there. When issues arise between his country and the foreign government, he must endeavor to adjust matters as informally and genially as possible, without resorting to any official representations or discussions. Many examples might be cited of American citizens being spared serious inconvenience, imprisonment, or loss of property by the informal and confidential interposition of our ministers with official friends in foreign governments, whereas formal complaints made openly by the citizens might easily have led to tedious discussions and endless delays, to say nothing of the liability of arousing unfriendly feeling by public controversies. Thus, the real successes of diplomacy are usually not heralded far and wide, and are unknown save to the few immediately involved in them. As the report concludes, a diplomat does his duty by discharging innumerable daily obligations that attract no attention; and he may be regarded as successful just in proportion to the constant tranquillity which he is able to maintain in the relations of his government with the foreign country.
The Honorable Andrew D. White in his Autobiography gives an interesting account of his life as representative at Berlin and incidentally affords insight into the character of the duties which fall upon a minister abroad. Almost every conceivable case involving the relation of Americans to the German government seems to have come within the range of Mr. White's experience. Hardly a day passed without the necessity of engaging in some kind of a skirmish with the German minister of foreign affairs over the rights of the German-Americans in the Fatherland. One American, moved by patriotic impulses, denounced, in a crowded railway carriage, Germany, the German people, and the German Imperial Government; and, after passing the night in the guard-house, sought relief at the hands of our minister. Another American, who thought that he ought to get married in Berlin as easily as in New York City, appealed to him for aid in getting through the complications of the German law of matrimony. Then there were vexatious questions with regard to the tariff. The commer
· Vol. I, pp. 534-547.