Wilbur John Carr, head of the United States Consular Service at Washington, has been in the service of the Department of State since 1892, and was appointed to his present position when the Consular Service was placed on a merit basis in 1909. He has been engaged in developing the Service under the present system since that time, and has made special appeal to the students in the colleges and universities of the country.
It gives me much pleasure to furnish the CRIMSON with a brief outline of the opportunities offered by the American Consular Service to young men who desire to serve their country.
By Executive Order of June 27, 1906, and by Acts of Congress approved April 5, 1905, and February 5, 1915, the consular system of the United States was reorganized in a manner which provides that all appointments to career positions in the Service are subject to examination. These appointments are to the lower classes in the Service, the higher grades being filled by promotion, which is based upon the efficiency of the officer as shown by the work which he has accomplished and the ability, promptness and diligence displayed by him in the performance of his duties, his conduct and his fitness for the Consular Service. Consular Officers are appointed to different grades and may be detailed or assigned to such posts as the President may deem advisable in order best to meet the needs of the Service. Consequently, no specific salary is attached to any particular post in the Consular Service. The appointments are for no definite period, the officer continuing in the Service subject to the proper and efficient performance of his duties and satisfactory personal conduct.
Watched Closely by Government
Though the scene of his activities may be far removed from the United States, a consular officer's work is nevertheless closely watched by the Department of State, and he is given every opportunity to show what he can do and credit for all that he accomplishes. A detailed efficiency record is kept in Washington, based upon his reports, the manner in which he handles business entrusted to him, and his knowledge of the technique of consular administration. Any special commendation which may come to the Department is entered upon this record.
In order that these records may be as exact and complete as possible, provision has been made for the appointment of seven Inspectors of Consuls who are designated and commissioned as Consuls General at Large and who are expected to inspect each consular office once in every two years. The inspectors examine the condition and administration of each office, report the facts to the Department and give the officer counsel and advice. Promotions in the Service are, consequently, now entirely on a merit basis.
Examinations for Aspirants
Out of a total of four hundred and seventy six career officers now in the Service, three hundred and sixty-nine of them entered under the examination regulations established at the time of the reorganization of the Service in 1906. There were examinations previous to that date so that the number of men who have entered the Service without examination prior to June 27, 1906, is only thirty-eight.
The three hundred and sixty-nine men who have entered under the present examination regulations were appointed originally to the following grades in the Service:
These men now hold the following grades in the Service:
It will thus be seen that promotions have come regularly and rapidly for those who have demonstrated their ability and fitness for the Foreign Service.
As regards the examinations for entrance to the Service, only citizens of the United States are designated for the examinations and men under twenty-one or over fifty are not examined for appointment as Consuls or Vice Consuls de carriere and are not eligible for appointment therefor. It is the policy to designate unmarried men between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-eight the examination to determine their eligibility for appointment to the corps of Consular Assistants. Only unmarried men between the ages of nineteen and twenty-six are examined for appointment as Student Interpreters.
The regulations also make provision for the appointment of not more than twenty-five Consuls in Classes Three, Four and Five (salary compensation of these grades being $5,000, $4,500 and $4,000 respectively) to serve as assistants to Consuls General in economic investigational work. Persons not in the Service, to become eligible, must be graduates of a college or university of recognized standing and have had at least two years in economic and statistical investigation. A special examination including a thesis and research and investigation methods for the promotion of commerce is given for this grade.