The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Combs.
Washington, May 11, 1905.
Sir: Answering your No. 266, of April 18 last,a with reference to the case of Mr. Darling, I have to say that the Department did not contemplate any change in your attitude, which appears to have been correct throughout.
While a consul-general or consul in the exercise of his consular functions has a right to approach a local court for the purpose of obtaining information or of preferring courteous requests in behalf of American citizens, the Department is decidedly of the opinion that where an American minister and consul are accredited to the same place the functions of the latter should be subordinated to the judgment of the minister; and the Department is further of the opinion that after the minister has taken in hand the interests of American citizens before the local courts he should have the exclusive right of representation and that the consul-general or consul should submit himself to the direction of the minister with respect to any representations or action which may be taken by him, unless the Department [Page 522]should give express instructions to the consul-general or consul to the contrary. This has not been contemplated in this case by the Department, which has accordingly instructed Consul-General Winslow in this sense.
You are aware, of course, that frequently the Department is compelled to deal directly with consuls residing at places remote from the capital of the country to which a minister is accredited in order to obtain information and sometimes to direct their action; but whenever it is convenient and practicable for the American minister to deal with the cases of American citizens the Department usually communicates directly to the minister its instructions, who, in turn, will give such directions to the consul as he finds useful and necessary to accomplish the desired proper results.
I am, etc.,
- Not printed.↩