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The Bureau of Corporations was created by the Department's organic act.
The Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce is a consolidation (effected by the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation act of August 23, 1912) of the former Bureaus of Manufactures and Statistics, the first of which was created by the act of February 14, 1903, and the second was transferred to the Department by the same act, being a consolidation of the Bureau of Statistics of the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Foreign Commerce of the State Department.
A short history and description of the work of each of these several bureaus appears under its respective heading.
DUTIES ASSIGNED TO OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY. The duties of the Office of the Secretary of Commerce are largely of a supervisory nature, but embrace also some matters not properly coming directly under one of the several bureaus of the Department. The organization consists of the offices of the Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Solicitor, and Chief Clerk, the Disbursing Office, the Appointment Division, and the Divisions of Publications and Supplies. Each of these units has assigned to it certain well-defined duties, as indicated under the headings which follow.
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE. The organic act of February 14, 1903, creating the Department, as modified by the act of March 4, 1913, creating the Department of Labor, provides for a Secretary of Commerce, whose term of office shall be the same as that of other Cabinet officers. The provisions of Title IV of the Revised Statutes with amendments thereto are made applicable to this Department. The organic act also provides for an Assistant Secretary, a Chief Clerk, and a Disbursing Clerk.
Under its organic act it is the duty of the Department to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce, the mining, manufacturing, shipping, and fishery industries, and the transportation facilities of the United States, and the Secretary of Commerce is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the purpose of the Department as thus broadly outlined. Specifically, however, the powers and duties of the Secretary may be briefly summarized as follows:
The investigation of management of corporations (except railroads) engaged in interstate commerce.
The administration of the Lighthouse Service, including the establishment and maintenance of aids to navigation.
The taking of the census.
The collection and publication of statistics on foreign and domestic commerce, and the investigation of markets for American products.
The inspection of steamboats and the enforcement of laws pertaining thereto for the protection of life and property.
The propagation and distribution of useful food fishes and the supervising of Alaskan fur-seal and salmon fisheries.
Jurisdiction over merchant vessels, including their registry, measurement, licensing, entry, clearance, etc., and the enforcement of the act requiring wireless equipment on vessels.
The standardization of weights and measures.
The formulation of regulations (in conjunction with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Agriculture) for the enforcement of the food and drugs act and the insecticide act.
It is the further duty of the Secretary of Commerce to make such special investigations and furnish such information to the President or Congress as may be required by them on the foregoing subject matters and to make annual reports to Congress upon the work of his Department.
By the act of March 2, 1907, the Secretary of Commerce is created a trustee of the Foundation for the Promotion of Industrial Peace.
The Assistant Secretary performs such duties as are prescribed by the Secretary, and in his absence acts as head of the Department.
SOLICITOR. The office of the Solicitor of the Department of Commerce was authorized by the legislative act of March 18, 1904. The Solicitor, who is an officer of the Department of Justice, is the chief law officer of the Department. His duties are to act as legal adviser to the Secretary of Commerce and the chiefs of the various bureaus, and to render opinions on questions of law arising in the course of business in the Department. He prepares and examines all contracts and bonds entered into or required by the Department, and has charge of the preparation of all legal papers to which the Department is a party. He also renders such legal service in connection with matters arising in the administrative work as may be required of him by the Secretary or the Attorney General.
The Assistant Solicitor, who acts as Solicitor in the absence of the latter, is charged with the general superintendence of the clerical force of the office. He also has general charge of the preparation and examination of all legal papers of the Department, and performs other legal service in connection with the work of the office.
CHIEF CLERK. The Chief Clerk enforces the general regulations of the Department and exercises general supervision over its employees. He superintends all the Department's buildings in the District of Columbia; supervises all expenditures from the appropriations for contingent expenses and rent; receives, distributes, and transmits the mail; and has general charge of the telegraph and telephones, and of all property and equipment. He also discharges all business of a miscellaneous character which does not come specifically within the scope of one of the regular bureaus.
The Disbursing Clerk, whose office was created by the act establishing the Department, has general supervision of the financial transactions of the Department. In his office are kept the appropriation ledgers covering all appropriations made for the support of the Department, and all transactions, whether by the Treasury Department or any bureau or office of the Department, affecting those appropriations are recorded therein.
It is his duty to prepare for submission to the Secretary of the Treasury, to be forwarded to Congress in accordance with law, all estimates covering appropriations desired for the various activities of the Department.
He disburses all appropriations made for the support of the Department with the exception of those for the support of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and most of the appropriations for the Lighthouse Service at large, which are disbursed by special disbursing agents appointed for that purpose.
He prepares for the signature of the Secretary all requisitions for advances of funds from appropriations under the control of the Department, and makes the proper entries in the appropriation records of the Department kept in his office.
All claims against the Department received for payment by the Disbursing Clerk are given an examination to determine whether they are legal claims against the Government and are paid either by check or by cash, according to the nature of the account.
The collections by the Department covering amounts for property sold and various other miscellaneous receipts are handled through and accounted for in the office of the Disbursing Clerk.
The Appointment Division was organized in February, 1904. Previous to that time the appointment work had been conducted by the Disbursing Office. The office of Chief of Division was created by the act making appropriations for the legislative, execu
tive, and judicial expenses of the Government for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1907, and the position has since been included in the annual appropriation acts.
The duties of the Appointment Division involve the supervision of matters relating to appointments, transfers, promotions, reductions, removals, and all other changes in the personnel, including applications for positions and recommendations concerning the same, and the correspondence connected therewith; the preparation and submission to the Secretary of all questions affecting the personnel of the Department in its relations to the civilservice law and rules; the preparation of nominations sent to the Senate and of commissions and appointments of all officers and employees of the Department; the preparation of official bonds; the compilation of statistics in regard to the personnel, including material for the Official Register, and the custody of oaths of office, records pertaining to official bonds, service records of officers and employees, correspondence and reports relating to the personnel, reports of bureau officers respecting the efficiency of employees, and records relating to leaves of absence.
the Officiae fficial bol reports
for the one statistics in the prepara
DIVISION OF PUBLICATIONS. The preliminary work looking to the organization of the Division of Publications was begun in April, 1903, by the detail of a clerk from the then Bureau of Statistics, one of the bureaus transferred to the new Department by the act of February 14, 1903, though the Division was not formally organized until July 1, 1903. The purpose in creating a division of publications was to have in one central office complete control over the Department's publication work and over all expenditures for the same, in order to secure uniformity and effect economy. The Division is charged with the conduct of the business which the Department transacts with the Government Printing Office, and with general supervision over all printing for the Department, including editing and preparing copy, illustrating and binding, and keeping records of expenditures. It has in charge the distribution of publications and the maintenance of the mailing lists. Blank books, blank forms, and printed stationery of all kinds used by the several services of the Department are kept in stock and supplied by it on requisition. It also has charge of the advertising done by the Department.
DIVISION OF SUPPLIES. The Division of Supplies is charged, under the immediate direction of the Chief Clerk, with the purchase and distribution of all supplies for the use of the Department in Washington, except certain supplies for the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Bureau of Standards. It
also purchases and distributes such supplies for the field services as are purchased from contractors under the general supply schedule. All accounts under the appropriations for contingent expenses and rent are maintained in this Division. .
The Chief of the Division of Supplies, by virtue of an order of the Secretary, is Auditor of Property Returns. All property records are maintained in his office, as are also the records of all sales of property belonging to the Department within the District of Columbia. The Division prepares annually a compilation of the estimated requirements of the bureaus for the guidance of the General Supply Committee in making contracts for supplies. The annual contracts made by the Department for the hauling of ashes and rubbish, the laundering of towels, the shoeing of horses, and the sale of waste paper are handled in the Division.
1 The title of the Secretary was “Secretary of Commerce and Labor" prior to the approval of the act of March 4, 1913, to create the Department of Labor.
Stat., 825), sec. 1.
LAW PERTAINING TO THE DEPARTMENT.
(As modified by act of March 4, 1913, to create the Department of Labor.] Constitution, The Congress shall have Power To * * * regulate ComArt. 1, sec. 8.
merce with Foreign Nations, and among the several States. Secretary of There shall be at the seat of government an executive Feb. 14, 1903 (32 department to be known as the Department of Commerce,
". and a Secretary of Commerce, who shall be the head
thereof, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall receive a salary of eight thousand dollars i per annum,
and whose term and tenure of office shall be like that of Revised Stat- the heads of the other Executive Departments; and sec
tion one hundred and fifty-eight of the Revised Statutes is hereby amended to include such Department, and the provisions of title four of the Revised Statutes, including
all amendments thereto, are hereby made applicable to Seal.
said Department. The said Secretary shall cause a seal of office to be made for the said Department of such device as the President shall approve, and judicial notice shall
be taken of the said seal. Assistant Sec. There shall be in said Department an Assistant Secreretary of Com
tary of Commerce, to be appointed by the President, Ibid., see. 2.
1 Increased to $12,000 by act of February 26, 1907.