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Congress to take action without the knowledge of foreign governments that may be interested, but it has very seldom been resorted to. The consideration of treaties in secret session by the Senate is for the same reason, and the rule requiring nominations to be considered behind closed doors is to protect the reputation of persons who have been appointed to office, and to enable the Senators to discuss their qualifications with greater freedom than public session would permit.
The word diplomacy, according to its modern meaning, as defined by Webster, is "the science or art of conducting negotiations between nations"; but it formerly had a very different signification. Several centuries ago a "diplomatist " was an official attached to a court, whose duty was to prepare diplomas, patents of nobility, charters, commissions, and other state papers. He was a sort of executive clerk to a king, and before the days of mails, ambassadors, and legations, sovereigns were in the habit of sending such officials as messengers to the courts of other nations, intrusted with delicate and important duties. From this practice the present meaning of the title was derived, and it was first used in its present sense by Count Vergennes in French, and Burke in English. Every independent nation has the right to send or receive agents or representatives to and from other governments with which it has relations, and this has been the practice since the beginning of civilization; but so many differences arose as to the rank and dignity of such agents that an international congress was held in Vienna in 1815, to prepare certain rules for their observance which have been adopted by all civilized countries. According to these rules diplomatic agents were divided into three classes:
(1). Ambassadors, who are sent by one sovereign to another; and legates or nuncios, who are sent by the pope alone.
(2). Envoys extraordinary, ministers plenipotentiary, and ministers resident.
(3). Chargés d' affaires, who are accredited not to sovereigns but only to ministers of foreign affairs.
Ambassadors are supposed to represent not only the country from which they come, but the person of the sovereign, and have the right to communicate personally with the sovereign to whom they are sent. Diplomatic agents of the two lower grades communicate with the sovereign through his or her ministers. There is very little difference however, between envoys extraordinary and agents of a lower grade, except in rank, for both have the same duties, functions, and privileges. During the absence of a minister the senior secretary of legation acts as chargé d'affaires, is entitled to the privileges and dignities of his principal, and under our laws is entitled to an allowance equal to one half his pay, which however is not deducted from the minister's salary and is in lieu for the time being of the salary provided for the secretary. As the Constitution of the United States does not recognize the President as a sovereign, we have no embassadors in our diplomatic service, but the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary is the highest grade, and the laws of the United States authorize the appointment of twenty-nine officers of this rank, who are divided into classes, according to the importance of the nation to which they are sent and the compensation that is paid them.
The envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary to France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and Mexico are paid $17,500 each; to Austria, Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, and Spain, $12,000 each; to Chile, Argentine Republic, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala and Honduras, Turkey, and to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Salvador, $10,000; to Paraguay and Uruguay, Venezuela, Hawaiian Islands, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden
and Norway, and Denmark, $7,500; to Greece, Roumania and Servia (one), $6,500; to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Switzerland, $5,000.
There are ministers resident, who also act as consuls general, to Corea, $7,500; to Hayti, Persia, Portugal, and Siam, $5,000, and to Liberia with a salary of $4,000. The minister to Hayti is accredited as chargé d'affaires to Santo Domingo.
There are two secretaries of the legations at Berlin, London, Paris, China, and Japan. The first secretaries receive salaries of $2,625 a year; and the second secretaries, at Berlin, London, and Paris, $2,000. The second secretaries in China and Japan are required by law to devote their attention to the study of the languages of those countries, receiving yearly salaries of $1,600. There are also secretaries of legation at Bogota and Guatemala who also act as consuls general, and receive salaries of $2,000; in Austria, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and Turkey, at $1,800; in Chile, Peru, Argentine Republic, Venezuela, and Corea, $1,500.
There are interpreters at the legations in Turkey and China, who receive a salary of $3,000; in Japan, $2,500; in Persia and Corea, $1,000; and in Siam, $500.
The secretary of state at his discretion allows additional clerical assistance at nearly all the legations, which is paid for out of a general fund. The ministers are allowed a certain amount of money each year for the rent of legations, offices, messengers, stationery, light, fuel, and other necessary expenses. There is also a fund for the payment of the funeral expenses of diplomatic officials who die abroad, and their widows are allowed an amount equal to their month's compensation.
As we have no diplomatic relations with the pope, the United States sends no minister to the Vatican and receives no papal nuncio.
The qualifications for employment in the diplomatic service of most countries consist of a thorough education in international law, history, and treaties, and a knowledge of French, which is recognized the world over as the language of diplomacy, but in the United States no special qualifications are required. In other countries also the diplomatic service is recognized as a profession, which is entered after special preparation in youth and followed through life, being attended with promotion from the lower to the higher grades according to ability and proficiency, and when by reason of age or infirmity the members become incapacitated they are retired on liberal pensions. But in the United States, where rotation in office is one of the fixed principles of political economy, every foreign minister is expected to tender his resignation with a change in the executive administration, and returns home to resume his previous occupation as soon as his successor is appointed. This practice is condemned by many people as a serious defect and an embarrassment, but there is much to be said on both sides of the question.
Among the first officials appointed after the inauguration of a new President and the installation of his cabinet, are the ministers to foreign nations, and it is customary for those who seek such honors to present their applications indorsed by the senators and representatives of the states in which they live, and other citizens who are supposed to have influence with the executive. These papers are filed at the Department of State and are there classified and briefed. When the President takes up the subject of appointments, the secretary of state lays the papers before him, and the friends of the candidates supplement the written testimonials by personal interviews with both the secretary and the President. The selections for the most important places are usually made, however, upon the personal acquaintance of the President
with the candidates and he considers not only their qualifications, but their political services and influence and their geographical location, for it is an unwritten law that such appointments shall be distributed as fairly as possible among the several states. It is at the same time recognized as a privilege of the President to select his personal friends for the diplomatic service, as a diplomatic office is in no sense a political one, and like the members of his cabinet should be in sympathy with the policy he intends to carry out during his administration.
The selections having been made, the President sends the nominations to the Senate, where they are referred to the committee on foreign relations, whose duty it is to inquire into the character and qualifications of the appointee and to report the result of their investigations to their colleagues in executive session. It is a custom observed in almost every case that when a man who has once been a member of the Senate is appointed to office, his nomination shall be considered and confirmed without reference to a committee. This is called "senatorial courtesy," and is based upon the assumption that the qualifications of such a man must be known to every member of the Senate and that one who has once occupied a seat in that body is competent to serve his country in any other capacity. Nominations are, however, sometimes rejected by the Senate for either personal or political reasons; and there are some famous cases on record of the refusal of the Senate to "advise and consent to "the appointment of certain persons who have, in the press or in published volumes, criticised the official acts or attacked the personal character of members of the Senate. There is another practice in senatorial proIcedure that when a member of that body of recognized integrity and influence shall denounce a nominee as personally offensive to him and give good reasons for his objections,