Washington, August 24, 1906.
To the diplomatic officers of the United States.
Gentlemen: I transmit herewith copies of the act of April 5, 1906, providing for the reorganization of the consular service of the United States.
Among the various provisions of the act is one creating a corps of five inspectors of consulates, to be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, from the members of the consular force possessing the requisite qualifications of experience and ability and to be designated and commissioned as consuls-general at large.
These officers are to make such inspections of consular offices as the Secretary of State shall direct, an inspection of each consular office to be made at least once in every two years. Whenever the President shall have reason to believe that the business of a consulate-general or consulate is not being properly conducted, the act provides that he may authorize a consul-general at large to suspend the officer or officers in charge and administer the office for a period not exceeding ninety days. Consuls-general at large are bonded officers, and possess the rights and powers which are ordinarily enjoyed by other consular officers.
Each consul-general at large will be assigned to a territory embracing several political divisions, and it will not be practicable to make application in the usual way for an exequatur. It therefore becomes of the highest importance that an arrangement be effected whereby these officers may be so recognized by foreign governments that in case it should become necessary for one of them to take charge of any consular office and administer it the only formality necessary to complete recognition sufficiently broad to enable the officer to perform all the duties ordinarily devolving upon a consul-general shall be a formal notification to the government of the country in which the office is situated, through the diplomatic representative of the United States, and the usual notification to the local authorities by the consul-general at large.
As the title of consul-general at large was selected with special reference to bringing these officers within the scope of our consular treaties, and as the occasions upon which it will be necessary to take charge of consular offices will probably be of infrequent occurrence, it is hoped that the plan outlined will be agreeable to the government to which you are accredited.
You will lay the matter before the proper authority, together with the inclosed list of the members of the corps of consuls-general at large and copy of the commission that has been issued to each of them, and you will request that recognition be granted in such form that, in case it should be necessary hereafter for one of those officers to take charge of an American consular office in the country in which you reside, he may be enabled to enter upon his duties without delay and without further formalities than a notification given to the government through our diplomatic representative, together with an [Page 7]announcement to the local authorities of the fact that he has taken charge of the consular office.
I am, etc.,