File No. 8130/10.

The Secretary of State to the German Ambassador.

No. 28.]

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 16th instant, in which you ask that the requisite authority of Congress be obtained for Mr. Harris, the American consular agent at Tripoli, Syria, to act as German vice consul at that place, the occasion for your request being the constitutional provision which forbids a person holding an office of profit or trust under the United States to accept an office from any foreign state without the consent of Congress.

With every disposition to oblige the German Government the department has endeavored to find a precedent for asking the consent of Congress in such cases. It regrets that it has been unable to find one; and it would hesitate to set a precedent now, especially as the pressure of business upon Congress in the closing days of the session would probably defeat action on it.

The department will be pleased, however, if your Government so desires, to instruct the consular agent at Tripoli to take custody of the German consulate, and to use his good offices for German subjects until the vacancy in the German consulate can be regularly filled; but such authorization can not include the performance of consular acts for the German Government.

Accept, etc.,

Robert Bacon.