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Useless Diplomacy

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The Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representativos proposo to cut down the diplomatic and consular expenses, and Ihe Seeretary of Stte resists tho reduotion. In this ho is sup portod by moniborsof tho Foreign Aft'nirs Committee, who, though oalling themselveg Diuuocriits, havo always servod as an ocho for Mr. Fish's policy, whethur in crushing tho Cuban patriota, submitting to British dictulion, or indulging in official extravagance of oxpondiluro. As it is now organizod, the diplomatic service is a collection of conspicuous blunders, favoritism, and ignoranco rospecting tho wauts of our own country, aud its political and commercial relations with the rest of tho world. Tho act of 1850 upon which tho proscut law was grafted, was concocted by a roomber of Cougress, who, after a run through Europo, thought himself fully qualified to reconstruct the whole diplomatic and consular system and to fix the pay and emolumenta of each place. That stood for noarly twonty years, nuf il Mr. Fish undertook to revise it, and to erect upon that foundation a superstructure of his own. This is the law now in forco, and it is no less absurd and anomalous than its predecossor. Whon England, Franco, Gorman y, or any othor enlightened country, desires to change an existing service, whether it be civil or military, the first step taken is to appoint a coruinission of experts, in order to examine lts operations thoroughly, to discover the weak points, and to exposé the abuses. Tho infermation thus collocted furnishes a basis for legislation or for administration, and henee thero is a system as the result. Here, we do things difforently. Investigation is discarded. Knowledge is not osteemed necessary, and the hoads of departmonts are allowcd to prepare the vory laws which it is their business to execute. In Kurope diplomacy is a recogniztd career. lu the United States it is held as a reward for politioal services, and the appoiutments are tberefore generally bad, aud, as at present, too often disgraceful. The stock of ministers is not only too largo but, but entirely too costly, and the congulates are paid without reference to commercial interests. It is next to absurd to ruaintain ministers in Groeco, tho Hawaiian Islands, Liberia, Hayti, and many of the Central and South Amorican States. Some of these countries do not reciprócate this rocognition, and this is a good reason for dropping thein and substituting consuls at one-t'ourth the expense. Belgiuiu and Holland could be united in a single mission, which then would have nothing to do but to officiate at ceremonies. So with Sweden and Denmark and Portugal. Italy is a mere pleasure ground, and ought to be combined with Austria. Consuls are kept in the Barbary States at Tunis, Tripoli, and Tangier, with $3,000 a year each, whose fees do uot pay office rent. A CónsulGeneral is established at Komi; with a full Minister for his next door neighbor. But whilo many of these exarnples are patent, and the abuse of keeping up mere pension places is manifest, there ought to be a searching inquiry i by a competent committeo so as to insure reform. Tho ocean telegraph has raaterially affeoted diplomatic relations of the world. Ministers have become Httle more than a higher order of messengers at all the capitals, since the Minister of Foreign Affairs now directs all important negotiations from his own office, while the Minister at any given court merely delivers the order he has received by telegraph. It is easy to save hundreds of thousands of dollars from the usual appropriutions, and improvo the diplomatic and consular standard at the same time. The Department of State, too, needs . overhauling. Mr. Fish bas modeled it after the Knglish Foreign Offioe. He has three assistant secretarles and six bureaus and other divisions, wholly unknown to the service before he invonted them. Mr. Seward did the work of the war with half the present force. These excrescences should be abolished, and the service simplified.


Old News
Michigan Argus