Abbildungen der Seite


ONE night Jack attended a meeting at which an address upon consular reform was delivered and he was deeply impressed. The speaker said in part:

"I hold that the day for commercial optimism in this country has passed away and the hour for commercial opportunism has come. Up to now our export system has been in the kindergarten class compared to those of Germany and England.

Our exporters have simply supplied the voluntary demands. In the near future they will be struggling anxiously for foreign markets in order to rid themselves of a troublesome surplus, and they must succeed if American labor is to be employed at fair wages.

"The Government will dig the Panarna Canal, but the Government is not itself an exporter, and when the canal is in operation you will find the finished products of the Orient floating more easily and freely this way than the finished products of the Occident will float toward the Japan Sea. You will find many things coming our way natu

rally, and without the least exertion on our part, but you will not find many things going the other way unless we push them.

"To do this the American consular corps must be deployed along the commercial picket lines of the world's trade, under a control and discipline as rigid as that of the army and navy. This being the case the question arises, 'How can we improve the consular service to meet this task?'


right here permit me to say that the subject is too important, the needed reforms too varied and pressing, and the best means to obtain all of the ends are still too undetermined to be explained in the time limit of this address; and yet in the presence of this intelligent audience I am willing to say that if Congress will do four things and do them thoroughly, the American consular service will soon become the best in the world, and these four things are as follows:

"First. A proper classification of all of the positions, a thing which has never been done. Then readjust and pay reasonable salaries to all of the incumbents and place the entire service under a rigid inspection by able, energetic, and impartial consuls-general. Congress must arrange for this.

"Second. Cover all fees, official and un

official, into the Treasury of the United States, every dollar of them. Congress must legislate for this.

"Third. Construct and pass a law that no man holding an American consular commission, who does his duty, can be catapulted out of the service like a tramp, without warning and without cause, upon the political change of an administration; and for that matter, at any other time. Congress can prevent this.

"Fourth. Beneath every American consular shield place a worthy and representative American citizen to care for the interests of the American people. Congress must help to do this.

"And if Congress will do these four things the patriotic Chief Magistrate of this nation and his great Secretary of State will certainly do the rest and do it well. If Congress will make those four propositions operative the commercial interests of this country will realize what they have long and earnestly sought, a perfectly organized, well disciplined and efficient consular corps.

"And right here permit me to state that when these things obtain:

"The invalid in search of a benign climate near some comfortable sanitarium;

"The man who has special business interests in the consular district to which he wishes to be assigned;

"The specialist who wants to make a special study in conjunction with consular work;

"The man who feels that he has rendered sufficient political services at home to make him immune from any exertion abroad;

"The man who wants to go to Europe to obtain a social standing which he cannot get at home;

"The retired tired business or professional man who desires to go abroad at government expense for travel or for rest;

"The American father who wants to go to Europe at government expense in order to give his American children a foreign education;

[ocr errors]

"And above all, the citizen of a foreign power who wants to hang the American consular shield and flag above his shop for what there is in it,' need no longer apply for positions in the American consular service, for the Government, aroused to the importance of its task, will, under this new order of things, bar all cheap, impractical, alien, and useless material from the American consular corps.

[ocr errors]

Practical work, intelligent and well-directed industry, patriotic impulse, and clean personal and official records are what the service needs. To get these things the Government must pay for them, and to pay for them right, the Congress of the United States must give fair salaries to representative American citizens for honest consular work.

"The next step," said the speaker, "is the complete abolition of the present pernicious unofficial fee system. It is one of the most formidable barriers that now confronts an improvement of the service. It tempts to the falsification of returns. It leads to extortion. It makes easy the invasion of a colleague's territory. It creates friction among consuls. It sometimes wrongs the American citizen. It often burdens the foreign subject, and it has been, and always and forever will be if maintained, a fertile mother of graft. Every dollar collected by the unofficial fee system should be covered into the Treasury of the United States, just as every official fee is supposed to be, and any failure to make full and honest returns should be followed by swift recall and quick dismissal. Then and this, after careful consideration of the subject, I feel is a very important thing

« ZurückWeiter »