« ZurückWeiter »
MANUSCRIPT COPIES OF PATENT OFFICE RECORDS.
MARCH 17, 1916.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the
Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. OGLESBY, from the Committee on Patents, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 11798.]
The Committee on Patents, to whom was referred House bill 11798, respectfully report that they have had the same under consideration and recommend that the bill do pass.
The purpose of this bill is to enable the Commissioner of Patents to promptly comply with requests for manuscript copies of records on file in his office.
The principal demand for copies of such records is for use in patent litigation, and delay in securing them when wanted means inconvenience and often serious loss to the interested parties.
The charge made by the Commissioner of Patents for furnishing such copies is 10 cents a folio. One hundred folios is an average day's work for a competent typist. The enactment of this bill will greatly convenience those persons having use for copies of Patent Office records, and at the same time result in substantial profit to the Government.
64TH CONGRESS, | HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. 1st Sassion.
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR APPROPRIATION BILL.
March 17, 1916.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the
Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. FLOOD, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 13383.)
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to which was referred the estimates for the Diplomatic and Consular Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1917, having carefully considered the same, report the accompanying bill with a recommendation that it do pass.
A summary of the estimates for the year 1917 compared with the actual appropriations for the year 1916, follows: Total estimates submitted for 1917.....
$5, 426, 283. 70 Total appropriations by law of 1916...
4,061, 280.01 Increase of estimates over law 1916........
1, 365, 003. 69 The following items of extended appropriations are carried by the bill: Nineteenth Conference Interparliamentary Union..
$40,000.00 International Commission on Public and Private International Law 15. 000.00 Fifth International Conference of American States....
75,000.00 Total of reappropriations....
130, 000.00 The changes made in the accompanying bill, as compared with the Diplomatic and Consular bill for 1916, are shown in detail by the tables following:
Payment to Government of Panama..
1.500.00 10,000.00 150,000.00 20.3, 000.00 100, 000.00 100.000.00 100.000.00
Salaries of secretaries, Diplomatic Service..
$21, 000.00 65, 000.00 75, 000.00 125, 000.00
3,000.00 71, 000.00 10, 000.00
400.00 20, 000.00 56, 666. 65 30, 000.00 132, 000.00
609, 816. 65
Net increase of 1917 over 1916 ...
1,421,966. 65 The appendix to the letter of estimates, prepared by the Department of State, gives so fully and clearly the reasons for asking for increases in certain appropriations, as well as for the new appropriations carried by the bill, the committee deems it useless to repeat them herein. This document is attached to this report for the information of members.
The items of increased appropriations and of new appropriations were carefully considered by the committee, as shown by the hearings, which have been printed.
The committee also investigated the expenditures made and the work done by the several commissions and boards operating under the supervision of the Department of State, as will also be shown by the printed hearings.
The committee has made every effort to keep the total appropriations carried by the bill within the bounds of reasonable economy, and
while some of the increases for the Diplomatic and Consular Service are apparently considerable, the committee deems them wise and necessary. The continuance of the European war has devolved upon our entire Diplomatic Service a vast amount of labor as well as unavoidable expense, and if the efficiency of the service is to be maintained the additional appropriations asked for are imperative.
The committee deems it proper to call attention to and emphasize the fact that under normal conditions the fees collected and actually paid into the Treasury by the Consular Service are almost equal in amount to the entire cost of that service—approximately $2,000,000 per year.
In fact, this service has been heretofore almost self-supporting. This should be taken into account when appropriations for this branch of the service are under consideration. In view of the extraordinary and exigent conditions now existing, with every expectation that they will continue perhaps indefinitely, the committee feels that it can not too strongly urge upon the Congress liberal, but necessary, appropriations for the Diplomatic and Consular Seryice as proposed in the accompanying bill.
CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES AD INTERIM AND VICE CONSUL,
An increase of $25,000 is asked for under this heading, for the following reason: Previous to the Diplomatic and Consular appropriation act for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1916, Congress provided an annual appropriation of $50,000 for the payment of the compensation authorized by section 1685 of the Revised Statutes to secretaries of embassy or legation while acting as chargé d'affaires ad interim. The act of Congress approved February 5, 1915, entitled "An act for the improvement of the foreign service," amended section 1085 of the Revised Statutes by adding thereto a provision that any vice consul lawfully authorized to assume charge of a consulate general or consulate during the absence of the principal officer at the post to which the vice consul shall have been appointed or assigned shall be entitled to receive, in addition to his regular salary or compensation as a subordinate consular officer or employee. compensation equal to the difference between such salary or compensation and 50 per cent of the salary provided by law for the principal consular officer at
To meet this additional compensation to vice consuls when in charge of a consulate general or consulate, the act making appropriations for the Diplomatic and Consular Service for the fiscal year ending June 30. 1916, added to the item “chargé d'affaires ad interim'' the words “and vice consuls,” but the act made no increase in the appropriation which had theretofore been made for chargé d'affaires ad interim only. It is thought that the additional charge against the appropriation by reason of the payment of vice consuls therefrom will require an increase of at least $25,000.
SALARIES OF SECRETARIES IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE.
Under this hrading an increase of $1,500 is requested. The object of the department in making the request is to do away with the grade of secretary of class 5, for which there seems to be no real us, and to transfer the secretaries now of that class (5 in Dumber) to class 4. By doing this there would be an increase of $300 in the salary of each, making $1,500 in all.
TRANSPORTATION OF DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICERS IN GOING TO AND RETURN
ING FROM THEIR POSTS.
For a number of years Congress has appropriated an allowance of 5 cents a mile to reimburse diplomatic and consular officers for the expenses of traveling to and from their posts or upon official business under the orders of the Secretary of State.
That allowance has been recognized as entirely inadequate for the purpose, but until now the department has not been in a position to recommend a change. The matter has now become so urgent that a larger allowance is imperative. A careful computation based upon the number of actual transfers and promotions of officers shows that the existing allowance, 5 cents a mile, fails to reimburse the actual expenses of traveling of an unmarried consular officer by from 2 mills to 10 cents a mile; and where an officer is married the allowance has failed to reimburse actual expenses by from 6 mills to $1.02 a mile, according to the number of members of the officer's family and the quantity of household effects transferred to the new post. The average loss of each officer is estimated to have been 18 cents a mile, or $215.47 for each promotion or transfer.
To illustrate the operation of the existing allowance the following cases may be cited:
The cost of transportation and subsistence of an officer transferred from Washington to Hongkong was (for himself and wife) $820.50. The Government reimbursed $587.80, leaving the officer to suffer a personal loss of $232.70.
The cost of transportation and subsistence of an officer (and his wife) transferred from London to Naples was $200, of which the Government reimbursed but $67.65.
From Naples to Gothenburg the cost was $283, of which the Government reimbursed only $95.85.
In none of these cases is the cost of transferring household effecte included. If added they would increase the cost of transportation very considerably.
The foregoing shows that every consul must save enough from his salary to defray a part of the cost of transportation for himself and his family when he is transferred or promoted. How difficult this may be in many cases is obvious when it is remembered that many consuls receive salaries of only $2,000 to $3,000, and moreover compete in their official work with consuls of other Governments whose entire expense of traveling and moving of their families and effects is paid by their Government.
It would be sufficiently unjust to consular officers if the 5 cents a mile were the rate allowed for traveling to all officers of the United States, but that is not the case. Naval officers traveling in the United States receive 8 cents a mile, and when traveling abroad are allowed actual expenses. An allowance for baggage varying according to rank is also included when naval officers are transferred between shore stations outside the continental limits of the United States. This is also generally true of Army officers, while the traveling allowance for Senators and Representatives in Congrass is 20 cents a mile.
Besides the inadequacy of the present rate of mileage, the allowance of so much a mile operates unevenly and does not meet the existing requirements. If transportation charges were alike in all countries and the mode of travel was the same, a flat rate of so many cents a mile would be adequate. But conditions of travel differ. One consul may be able to travel by rail, another must go by steamer, another may have to make part of the journey by wagon or even on horseback. The cost for the same distance is therefore different in each case. If, as has occurred several times since the outbreak of the European war, transportation conditions necessitate delay at junction points, the incidental expenses of the officer must be borne by himself
. Therefore, the only fair way to provide for transportation of consuls is by paying their actual and reasonable expenses.
It is not, however, sufficient to pay only the expenses of the consul. Nearly every first-class Government, except that of the United States, pays also all or part of the expenses of transportation of the families of consuls, as well as for the transportation of a limited quantity of household effects. Every consul who leaves one post to go to another must either sell his furniture and other housrhold effects or take them with him. The sale involves great personal loss, for the officer is obliged to purchase new furniture upon his arrival at his new post. On the other hand, if he retains his furniture and ships it to his new post he is obliged to pay heavy freight charges. The Government at present makes no allowance to reimburse consular officers for losses incurred in the sale of their effects or for cost of transferring them. It should do so without delay. Accordingly, there is submitted and strongly recommended a change in the existing law which will authorize payment of actual expenses of transportation and subsistence of diplomatic and consular officers and their families, including the transportation of household effects, together with an increase in the existing appropriation from $50,000 to $125,000. If this recommendation should be adopted by the Congress, it would be the purpose of the President to prescribe regulations covering the expenditure of the money in such manner as to limit the number of members of officers' families and the quantity of household effects to be transported, as well as to insure the expenditure of the money in an economical manner. In the interest of the efficiency and usefulness of diplomatic and consular officers it is earnestly hoped that the foregoing recommendation will be adopted.