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Appropriation Bill of 1912, Department of State, Foreign Service, Latin American Division, Far Eastern Division, Near Eastern Division, European Division, Division of Information, diplomatic corps, modernization, efficiency
The document is a carbon copy of typed notes on the appropriations bill that had just passed the House and the numerous negative effects the bill will have on the State Department.
Folder 1-15, Document 12
Washington, D. C.
May 11, 1912.
If the Legislative, Executive and Judicial appropriation bill should stand as it has just passed the House, it would wreck the whole reorganized Department of State, which has given the American people for the first time a modernized Foreign Office. By doing this it would almost nullify all the efforts of the whole Foreign Service establishment, because a Foreign Service is useless without an efficient Foreign Office to direct it. In particular, this astoundingly reactionary legislation if passed would destroy the Divisions of Latin-American, Far Eastern, Near Eastern and European Affairs, and would deprive the Department of the service of the some dozen Foreign Service men who are attached to the Department in order to give advice from intimate personal knowledge and to carry on all the detail of important political and commercial diplomatic correspondence with each country. It would deprive the business men of the United States of the advantage of all that these men are able to give them in the way of accurate information. It would destroy the Bureau of Trade Relations, whose efficient efforts to expand American foreign trade have brought applause and expressions of appreciation from the manufacturers and business men of the whole country, North, South, East and West. It is ridiculous to say that the Bureau of Trade Relations was created entirely to apply the Maximum and Minimum tariff provisions. Although, if that were so, it is obvious that the continued application of those provisions calls for a continued watchfulness. Anyone who would take the trouble to read the published pamphlet on the outline of the reorganization and work of the Department of State would perceive how essential to foreign trade expansion is the work of that Bureau, which cannot work except in direct cooperation with the Diplomatic and Consular Services.
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The proposed legislation eliminates the Director of the Consular Service, an office created to give that service, so vastly important to our commerce, the live and energetic direction essential to its present high efficiency. This bill destroys the Division of Information, the only means by which two or three embassies, cooperating for the same purpose, are kept informed each what the other is doing.
Without further elaboration, it may be said with absolute accuracy that such legislation would put the United States in the rear rank of all governments in the matter of legitimate and effective support to worthy American enterprises and to foreign commerce and would do all this at the very epoch in our history when our foreign relations and our foreign trade have become vastly more important than ever before and are plainly seen to be on the way to an importance which will be every year greater to the manufacturer, the business man, the exporter, the farmer and the laborer of the United States.
Before the reorganization, three or four men were expected to handle the mass of the most heterogeneous matters, Chinese, Latin-American and whatnot; result, a large proportion of opportunities to advance the nation interest simple went by the board. It was physically impossible to do the work. Since the reorganization, the business men of the country, finding in the Department an up-to-date, efficient machine to help them in their efforts for foreign trade, were at first surprised and then began eagerly taking advantage of the opportunities offered. The result is that the business of the Department in promoting foreign trade as, indeed, in all political and diplomatic directions as well, as incredibly increased. If all these instrumentalities are to be destroyed, it will be far worse than if we had never tried to have a modern Foreign Office.
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Practically without debate and apparently without knowledge or realization of what was being done on the part of the public and the Press, a really momentous thing has been done. In a few hours a great deartment has been practically wiped out, so far as any hope of the continuance of real efficiency is concerned.
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Huntington-Wilson, Francis Mairs, "Notes on the Appropriation Bill of 1912, May 11, 1912" (1912). Organization of the State Department. 15.