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Department of State with official dispatches, for transmis sion to persons in the United States. (Paragraph 546.)
VERIFICATION OF POWERS TO TRANSFER STOCKS OF THE
446. To be verified by consuls.-All powers of attorney in a foreign country for the transfer of any stock of the United States, or for the receipt of interest thereon, shall be verified by the certificate and seal of a consul, vice-consul, commer. cial agent, or vice-commercial agent, if any there be at the place where the same shall be executed. (See Form No. 88 for a general form for the authentication of a signature and No. 89 for a certificate that an officer is qualified to administer an oath.)
447. No fee.-No fee is to be charged for witnessing the execution and taking the acknowledgment of assignments of registered bonds or stocks of the United States, or of powers of attorney to assign such bonds or stocks, or to collect the interest thereon; it being apprehended that such charges might affect the value of our securities abroad.
LETTERS UNCALLED FOR.
448. To be returned to local post-office. — All letters, except as below, addressed to the care or in the custody of consular officers remaining uncalled for for a period of six months should, on the 1st days of January and July in each year, be returned unopened and with stamps intact to the local postoffice from which the consular officer received them, in order that they may be returned to the United States, in pursuance of a provision in the Universal Postal Union Convention without expense, and go to the Dead-Letter Office. Consuls will not return uncalled-for letters by masters of vessels.
449. For navy and whaling vessels. - Letters intended for offi cers and seamen of the Navy in the Pacific and Asiatic squad rons, and letters intended for the crews of whaling vessels,
may be retained one year before returning them as aforesaid. l'pon returning such letters an indorsement should be made on each, giving the reason for detaining it beyond the six months above prescribed.
LETTERS DETAINED AT FOREIGN PORTS.
450. It is provided by statute that the Secretary of State may empower the consuls of the United States to pay the foreign postage on such letters destined for the United States as may be detained at the ports of foreign countries for the nonpayment of postage, which postage shall be marked by the consul as paid by him; and the amount so paid may be credited in the account of the consul with the Department of State. In carrying out this statute consular officers are authorized to state the amount paid for such postage in their postage account with the Department; but it should be entered as a separate item, in order that upon its repayment by the PostOffice Department the proper appropriation may be credited.-R. S., sec. 4014.
PRESENTS AND TESTIMONIALS FROM FOREIGN POWERS.
451. Consular officers are forbidden by law to ask or accept, for themselves or any other persons, any present, emolument, pecuniary favor, office, or title of any kind from any foreign government. This statute is substantially the provision of the Constitution in this respect. If consular officers are tendered presents, orders, or other testimonials in acknowlfdgment of services rendered to the citizens or the governments of foreign states, they may apply to Congress through the Department of State for permission to accept the same.l'. S. Const., Art. I, sec. 9, cl. 8; R. S., sec. 1751; 18 Stat. L., 77. 17824 CR
452. Diplomatic officers are forbidden by statute to wear any uniform or official costume not previously authorized by Congress. Consular officers are not authorized by law to wear any uniform, and the prohibition imposed by statụte on diplomatic officers is hereby extended to consular officers. It is provided, however, that all officers who served during the rebellion as volunteers in the Army of the United States and have been honorably mustered out of the volunteer service shall be entitled to bear the official title and upon occasions of ceremony to wear the uniform of the highest grade they held, by brevet or other commissions, in the volunteer service. They may also, on like occasions, wear the distinctive army badge of the corps or division in which they served. These provisions are held to apply to consular officers whose service and discharge from the Volunteer Army bring them under its terms.—R. S., secs. 1226, 1688.
CONSULAR OFFICERS ACTING FOR FOREIGN STATES.
453. A person holding an office of profit or trust under the United States is forbidden to accept an office from any foreign state.-U. S. Const., Art. I, sec. 9, c. 8. Consular officers may, however, upon request and with the approval of the Department of State, discharge temporarily consular duties for other countries. Except in cases of emergency the permission of the Department of State should be first obtained. (Paragraph 174.)
AUTHENTICATION OF PENSION PAPERS.
454. The Commissioner of Pensions is authorized by statute to accept the declarations and other papers of pension claimants residing in foreign countries made before a United States minister or consul or other consular officer, or before some officer of that country duly authorized to administer oaths for general purposes, and whose official character and signature shall be duly authenticated by the certificate of a United States minister or consul or other consular officer.—27 Stat. L., 272, sec. 2.
455. To be free of charge. — All United States officers now authorized to administer oaths are required and directed to administer any and all oaths required to be made by pensioners and their witnesses in the execution of their vouchers for their pensions free of charge.—25 Stat. L., 782. Where the voucher is sworn to before a competent local official the consul is expected to certify without charge to the competency of that official. No pension can be paid to a nonresident who is not a citizen of the United States, except for actual disabilities incurred in the service.—27 Stat. L., 524.
USE OF OFFICIAL TITLE AND SEAL.
456. The consul's official title and seal must not be used in the consul's private business transactions or affixed to notes, bills, bonds, or other personal obligations. The Government can assume and can be held to no liability for such obligations. Such proceedings are regarded as involving grave irregularity. Impressing the consular seal on letters or other papers when its use is unnecessary is forbidden. The seal should be used for the purpose of authentication or certification only, and should be kept under lock to prevent the possibility of its use by unauthorized persons.
CONSULS NOT TO ASSUME PECUNIARY RESPONSIBILITY FOR
CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.
457. Consular officers are not authorized to indorse notes or bills of exchange, nor in other ways to become responsible pecuniarily for American citizens or others who have no personal claims upon them, but who seek them as persons who from their position are available for the purpose.
Such transactions are not a part of the official duties of a consular officer. He is not authorized to lend money to indigent citizens of the United States or others, nor to incur expenses or liabilities for any persons, except seamen of the United States, in the expectation of reimbursement by the Government.
USE OF NAME AS BUSINESS REFERENCE-REPORTING FINAN
CIAL STANDING OF FOREIGN BUSINESS MEN OR HOUSES.
458. Consular officers are forbidden to allow the use of their names as references for business or other enterprises, and they are not authorized to report to private inquirers concerning the financial standing or commercial repute of business men or houses in their districts. They may, however, refer such inquiries to banks or other business agencies, if any that can answer them; or they may quote the ratings of local business agencies.
ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.
459. Inquiries made by citizens of the United States touching business matters, or other matters not of mere curiosity, should be answered as far as they can be consistently with the consul's other duties. All inquiries of this character should be acknowledged, even when it is impracticable to answer them. The postage on such correspondence is a proper charge against the allowance for contingent expenses. When the information sought relates to commercial or industrial matters of general interest, the answer should be sent to the Department of State, to be transmitted to the inquirer after the Department has extracted any portion that it may desire to publish for the information of the public.