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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 5, 1898

Russia,   pp. 531-557 PDF (2.0 MB)

Page 531

Mr. Hitchcock to Mr. Sherman.
St. Pet çrsburg, April 80, 1898.
SIR: During the coming month a new list of the diplomatic corps at
tl~is capital is to be issued by the department of ceremonies of the court
a this capital, and inquiries have been made by the officials whose
d ty it is to prepare it, as to the designation of the members of the
e bassy. The official who requested this information considers that
it would be anomalous should the first secretary of an embassy not
b designated as coiiseiller. In view, however, of the Department's
o. 153 of December 16, 1895, to my predecessor, I do not feel j stifled in
sanctionifig this designation ' without authority from the
In referring to the dispatch above mentioned, it is but fair to say
t at the ruling of the Department appears to have been given upon a
s mewhat incomplete understanding of the premises. The diplomatic
ii t here does not emanate from the ministry of foreign affairs, to which
t e secretary of embassy is accredited, but is a list of the officers of
t e various missions accredited here, with their families, including
h~dies, published by a bureau of the court as a social convenience,
t~ie names being communicated to an officer of that bureau informally
a~id only semiofficially.
I regard it as highly desirable that the first secretary of our embassy ~ere
should be designated as conseiller, in conformity with the almost ~niversal
usage at this court, and in support of the dignity of the ~iission. The French
and British Governments have, with this policy ~i view, given their first
secretaries here the rank of "Minister Plenij~otentiary performing the duties
of conseiller," with advantage to t~uir missions both when the ambassador
is present and when abroad qn leave of absence. While the rank of conseiller
does not exist in t~e British service, the first secretary of that embassy
here has for r~iany years been so designated upon the diplomatic list until
the pres~nt change was instituted last winter.
As, in addition to all the embassies, four of the legations at this court
~esignate their secretaries as conseillers, not to so designate øur
*ould be socially disadvantageous both to the secretary and myself. As pointed
out in the Department's No. 153, the title of conseiller is special designation
applied to a secretary of embassy or legation by ertain governments only.
Martens says (Guide Diplomatique, Chaper V) "Some governments give to the
first secretaries of their higher i'iissions the title of conseiller of embassy
or legation." The functions f conseiller and secretary are identical, differing
only in name, and ~o legal character or office is implied by the former term.
I trust, therefore, that in this first list in which this mission appears
~s an embassy it may be found permissible for the first secretary to e termed
 I have, etc., ETHAN A. HITCHCOCK.

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