April 21, 1900

Three new positions were established following passage of the federal appropriations act of April 17: an Assistant Solicitor, a second translator, and a confidential clerk to the Secretary (31 Stat. 97).

February 1, 1902

Wilbur J. Carr became chief of the Consular Bureau.

March 22, 1902

The Diplomatic and Consular Appropriation Act (32 Stat. 78) authorized the creation of a corps of 10 student interpreters at the Legation in Peking.

July 3, 1902

The Passport Bureau was established, with Gaillard Hunt as its first Chief.


Third Assistant Secretary of State Herbert H. D. Peirce made inspection tours of U.S. consulates in Europe and Asia.

May 28, 1903

The Bureau of Trade Relations was established, following the transfer of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce to the newly-formed Department of Commerce and Labor (32 Stat. 827). It was abolished in 1912 and its duties were assigned to the Consular Bureau.

July 1, 1903

The Department of Commerce and Labor assumed responsibility for publishing Annual Reports on Commercial Relations and Consular Reports.

November 10, 1905

President Theodore Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 367, extending the merit system to all consular appointments with salaries of over $1,000; and No. 368, requiring examinations for entry into the Diplomatic Service and providing for promotion by merit. The Assistant Secretary of State, the Solicitor, and the Chief of the Diplomatic Bureau were to form an examination board.

April 5, 1906

An “act to provide for the reorganization of the Consular Service of the United States” (34 Stat. 99) reclassified consular posts, provided salaries for all posts (heretofore, lower-level consuls earned only income from fees), and authorized inspections of consular posts every two years by five Consuls-General at Large. The Act established seven classes of consuls general, with salaries ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, and nine classes of consuls, with salaries ranging from $2,000 to $8,000. Consular officers with salaries over $1,000 could no longer engage in trade, all fees were to be paid to the Treasury Department, and the grade of commercial agent was abolished.

June 16, 1906

A Diplomatic and Consular Services appropriations act (34 Stat. 288) authorized funds to pay the expenses of Diplomatic and Consular officers traveling to and from their posts. The initial rate was 5 cents per mile. The Act also authorized a corps of six student interpreters at the Embassy in Tokyo.

June 27, 1906

President Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 469, requiring oral and written examinations for entry into the Consular Service, and establishing a Board of Examiners.

August 15, 1906

Secretary of State Elihu Root introduced a decimal system for organization and classification of the Department’s records. The system was based upon one used by the War Department (Root had been Secretary of War from 1899 to 1905). A variation of the system, introduced in 1910, remained in use until 1963.

March 2, 1907

An “act in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad” allowed passports to be issued to persons who had made a declaration of intent to become citizens, provided that they had resided in the United States for three years. Such passports would only be valid for six months, and would not entitle the bearer to protection in the bearer’s country of origin.

The Act also discouraged Diplomatic and Consular officers from issuing passports to applicants abroad who could apply for one in Washington. The Secretary of State could authorize the issuance of emergency passports valid for up to six months.

May 31, 1907

The Passport Bureau was renamed the Bureau of Citizenship. Gaillard Hunt had pointed out to Secretary Root that since all questions dealing with citizenship were referred to the Passport Bureau, it should be renamed accordingly.

March 20, 1908

Departmental Order 2 established the Division of Far Eastern Affairs. This was the first geographically specific office to be established in the Department.

July 28, 1909

Departmental Order 15 established the Division of Information. It published an “Information Series” describing U.S. diplomatic activities for the use of U.S. diplomatic missions. It also published Foreign Relations of the United States.

August 5, 1909

A deficiency appropriations act (36 Stat. 119) established the office of Counselor for the Department. The first appointee, Henry M. Hoyt, was formerly Solicitor General of the United States. He served from August 27, 1909, until his death on November 20, 1910. The Act also authorized the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.

August 1909

Following passage of the deficiency appropriations act, Secretary of State Philander C. Knox and Assistant Secretary of State Huntington Wilson conducted a reorganization of the Department.

The position of Resident Diplomatic Officer was established to provide the Secretary with policy input from the Department’s career officers. Thomas C. Dawson held the post from August 31, 1909 to June 1910, and again from June 27, 1911 until his death on May 1, 1912. The position was then allowed to lapse.

The Third Assistant Secretary of State assumed responsibility for administration of the Diplomatic Service, international conferences, ceremonials, and financial expenditures.

Three classes of principal officers were recognized: Administrative Officers (the Second and Third Assistant Secretaries and the Director of the Consular Service), Advisory Officers (the Counselor, the Solicitor, the Assistant Solicitors, and the Resident Diplomatic Officer), and Other Administrative Officers (the Chief Clerk and the chiefs of the divisions and bureaus).

Wilbur J. Carr, formerly Chief of the Consular Bureau, became Director of the Consular Service.

November 19, 1909

Departmental Order 19 established the Division of Latin American Affairs. Thomas C. Dawson was its first Chief.

November 26, 1909

President William H. Taft issued Executive Order No. 1143, providing for an examination for persons wishing to enter the Diplomatic Service. Efficiency records would be kept for officers in the Diplomatic Service, so as to make promotion by merit possible. The Assistant Secretary of State, the Solicitor, the Chiefs of the Diplomatic Bureau and the Bureau of Appointments, and the Chief Examiner of the Civil Service Commission were to form a Board of Examiners.

December 13, 1909

Departmental Orders 20 and 21 established the Divisions of Western European Affairs and Near Eastern Affairs. The Third Assistant Secretary of State was chief of the Division of Western European Affairs. Western European Affairs included Morocco, the Congo, and Liberia. Near Eastern Affairs included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia as well as Turkey, Greece, Italy, the Balkan States, Abyssinia, Egypt, and Persia.