No. 527.
Mr. Cushing to Mr. Fish.

No. 270.]

Sir: I annex hereto copy and translation of a decree of January 25, 1875, re-organizing the ministry of state, which, if not containing anything useful to you by way of practical suggestion, may yet be not unacceptable as general information.

I have, &c.,

[Page 1104]
[Inclosure in No. 270.—Translation]

Decree of January 25, 1875, organizing the ministry of state.

[From the “Gaceta de Madrid,” January 26, 1875.]

The actual organization of the ministry of state does not respond to the special service intrusted to it, neither does there exist due harmony between its diverse branches; the result of which is confusion and delay in the dispatch of its affairs for want of the proper classification of its business, which is one of the most indispensable conditions of efficient service.

For some time past, with the laudable purpose of reducing the budget, but with lamentable want of foresight, gradual reduction has been made in the official grades of the functionaries of this important department, diminishing the number of its officers and the official hierarchy to such limits that the former is insufficient for the necessities of the service, while the latter fails to correspond in rank with the relations which, in the transaction of business, the most prominent employés of the ministry are obliged to maintain with foreign representatives.

To remedy these inconveniences, giving at the same time somewhat of just development to the relative grades of the diplomatic career, it is urgently necessary to augment the personnel of this department and create certain posts, whose chief officers, by their rank and greater power of initiative, may be better fitted to investigate the matters confided to them and facilitate their resolution.

To this end, and bearing in mind that the slight increase which is incurred in this behalf in the working-force of employés remains abundantly compensated by the diminution of other expenses which are thereupon in a large measure reduced,

The King, and in his name the regency-ministry of the King, has seen fit to approve the following organization which, for the future, is to control the ministry of state.

Article 1. The working-force of the ministry of state is reformed in the following terms:

One secretary, minister plenipotentiary of the first class ...... Pesetas 12,500
One chief of the section of political affairs, minister plenipotentiary of the second class 11,250
One chief of the section of administration and accounts, minister plenipotentiary of the second class 11,250
One chief of the section of commerce and consulates, minister plenipotentiary of the second class 11,250
Three first clerks, chargés d’affaires, at 10,000 pesetas each 30,000
Four second clerks, secretaries of the first class, at 7,500 pesetas each 30,000
Six first auxiliaries, secretaries of the second class, at 5,000 pesetas each 30,000
Eight second auxiliaries, secretaries of the third class, at 3,000 pesetas each 24,000
Total 160,250

Article 2. It corresponds to the subsecretary’s office to draw up royal letters, letters of credential, and letters of recall, and those of the chancery and the cabinet, draught and prepare treaties, ratifications, full powers, commissions, and exequaturs and other analogous documents, issue passports, and sign the visés thereof, take cognizance of international matters corresponding to the royal household, and of questions relating to etiquette, ceremonials, and protocols; and to institute the proceedings relative to crosses and honors, grandeeships, maestranzas and titles of nobility, and draw up the royal decrees referring to the concession of these.

It shall, moreover, have in charge all that relates to the diplomatic personnel, the consular corps, and the staff of interpreters, the tribunal of the rota, [the supreme ecclesiastical tribunal of Spain,] the orders and their assemblies, agency of preces, [through which, the papal bulls pass,] the archives, the subalterns of the ministry and its dependencies, the “section” of special couriers, and the private secretaryship of the minister.

It shall likewise have under its care the preparation of the escalafones, [classified lists of officers according to their respective rank,] and the special regulations of each branch of the service, as well as the general register of official correspondence received and sent out, and the cipher.

Article 3. It corresponds to the section of political affairs to institute all proceedings relative to diplomatic questions and to those of international policy in the provinces of ultramar; to prepare and put in form treaties of peace, friendship, and recognition, conventions for the adjustment of the judicial relations of Spain with other powers, both in civil and criminal matters, and treaties of boundaries, maritime prizes, extradition of seamen, literary copyright, civil rights, and the foreign debt, and to have cognizance in matters of the royal patronage and the ecclesiastical jurisdiction [Page 1105] in so far as relates to international acts; to institute proceedings affecting nationality, and to dispatch judicial letters requisitorial, and judicial and litigious business.

Article 4. It corresponds to the section of administration and accounts to audit all the expenses of the dependencies of the ministry, both ordinary and extraordinary, to keep the accounts and computations of the productive branches of the same: to open credits in foreign countries, and to authorize the expenses of the secret service and that of vigilance; to draw up the tariffs of consular fees and the like; to prepare the general estimates, and to supervise the service performed by the disbursing office, which is at present a dependence of the ministry of finance. It shall also have under its administrative charge the Obra Pia of Jerusalem, with the personnel thereof, the beneficent establishments of Santiago and of Monserrat in Rome; all the ecclesiastical foundations in Italy which pertain or which shall pertain to Spain by royal right, patronage, or protectorate, and the property of the nation in the East and in Morocco. To it also corresponds to supervise and examine the accounts of the collections of customs in the said empire, (Morocco,) and the staff of collectors employed therein, so long as the intervention shall last.

Article 5. It corresponds to the section of commerce and consulates to have cognizance of mercantile affairs and of international traffic, and of those which affect the arts and industry in their relation with foreign countries to prepare and put into form treaties and conventions of commerce, navigation, fisheries, health, beneficence, postal service, telegraphic service, and consular representation; to have cognizance of all matters concerning the exercise of consular jurisdiction, as well in civil and commercial matters as in criminal proceedings, and of the further rights and attributions of consuls; to give information respecting the general measures which may be adopted with regard to customs and to commerce in general by the other ministers, as well as with regard to universal expositions of arts and industry, to revise and publish the commercial reports of the consuls, and to take charge of the preparation of the statistical data which affect navigation and the development of international traffic.

Article 6. The force of the ministry shall be distributed as follows:

  • Subsecretary’s office.—Chief, the subsecretary; one first clerk; one second clerk; two first auxiliaries; two second auxiliaries.
  • Section of political affairs.—The chief of the section; one first clerk; one second clerk; one first auxiliary; two second auxiliaries.
  • Section of administration and accounts.—The chief of the section; one first clerk; one second clerk; one first auxiliary; two second auxiliaries.
  • Section of commerce and consulates.—The chief of the section; one first clerk; two first, auxiliaries; two second auxiliaries.

The president of the regency-ministry,

The minister of state,