« ZurückWeiter »
be superseded by a President's house more in harmony with the wealth and dignity of the nation. But when this is done, another site should be chosen, and the present dwelling with its fittings and furniture be preserved intact-a second Mount Vernonfor the instruction and inspiration of the people.
THE President calls to aid him in his official duties seven administrative officers, who form collectively his Cabinet. These officers are: the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of the Interior, the Postmaster-General, and the Attorney-General. Each of these officials, in addition to his advisory duties, is the head of a department in which a certain specified order of government business is transacted. We can most readily learn the nature and volume of this business by a tour of the departments themselves.
The State, War, and Navy Departments are lodged in the grand Renaissance building adjoining the White House on the west, which was begun in 1871, from designs of A. B. Mullett, supervising architect of the Treasury, and which is not yet entirely finished. In this building the State Department occupies the south front, the War Department the north front, and the Navy Department the east front.
We will first visit the State Department, which, as having charge of the entire foreign business of
government, is considered the most important. It is presided over, as we have seen, by the Secretary of State, who has to aid him in his duties three Assistant Secretaries, a Chief Clerk, and six Chiefs of Bureaus.
The duties of the Secretary of State, as officially defined, are: the conducting of correspondence with the public ministers and consuls of the United States, and with the representatives of foreign powers accredited to the United States; and to negotiations, of whatever character, relating to the foreign affairs of the United States. He is also the medium of correspondence between the President and the chief executive of the several States of the United States. He has the custody of the great seal of the United States, and affixes it to all state papers. He is also the custodian of the treaties made with foreign states, and of the laws of the United States. Further, he grants and issues passports, and exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States must pass through his office. He publishes the laws and resolutions of Congress, amendments to the Constitution, and proclamations declaring the admission of new States, and he prepares certain annual reports to Congress, containing the commercial information which has been collected by consuls and other diplomatic agents.
The First Assistant Secretary becomes acting Secretary of State in case of the absence or disability of the Secretary, and he, with his subordinates, the Second and Third Assistant Secretaries, are charged with the supervision of the correspondence
of the diplomatic and consular offices in the countries named in divisions A, B, and C of those bureaus, and in general with the preparation of the correspondence upon any questions arising in the course of public business. The Chief Clerk has the care of all the clerks and employés of the department. Of the six bureaus, it is the duty of the Bureau of Indexes and Archives to register and index daily the correspondence of the Department, to preserve the archives, and to be ready to produce at demand any letter or state paper that may be called for.
The Diplomatic Bureau has charge of the diplomatic correspondence with foreign countries, included in three divisions, A, B, and C, each under a responsible head.
The Consular Bureau conducts correspondence with consulates, and also has three divisions.
The Bureau of Accounts has the custody and disbursement of appropriations.
The Bureau of Rolls and Library has the care of the rolls, treaties, library, and public documents, including the very interesting revolutionary archives.
The Bureau of Statistics prepares the reports upon commercial relations.
The great volume of work thrown upon the department comes from the “foreign intercourse,” as it is called, which is maintained by thirty-five legations and ten hundred and sixty-eight consular offices. There are also thirty foreign governments who have legations in this country.
The State Department was created in 1789 by the first Congress, and for some years had charge also of