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LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION.
460. An official letter of introduction, when given to a citizen of the United States, is valuable to the holder for prompt identification in case he needs the intervention of a consular officer in his behalf. But in no case must the letter be understood or taken as implying any claim upon the consul for hospitality or personal courtesies beyond the politeness always due to citizens of the United States when they have legitimate business with a consulate.
USE OF THE TELEGRAPH.
461. The use of the telegraph at the expense of the Government is restricted to cases of urgency, and to those in which some injury to the public interests would result from delay. It is not permitted in the ordinary business of a consulate, or in communicating with the Department of State, except when justified by the importance and urgency of the case, or when it is done under instructions from the Department. Applications by telegraph or cable for leave of absence and telegraphic replies thereto will generally be at the private expense of the consul.
462. Accounts for telegrams.--In verifying official telegrams in the accounts for the same transmitted to the Department of State for approval at the expiration of each quarter, it is required that each voucher for telegrams should either be indorsed with a reference to the number and date of the dispatch to the Department reporting the telegram or be accompanied with a slip, pinned to it, giving the exact text of the message as sent.
463. All circulars issued over the signature of a consular officer must be submitted to the Department of State and receive its approval before publication, unless they conform to a draft furnished by the Department or follow the exact language of an instruction or circular of the Department.
ALTERATION OF OFFICIAL FORMS.
4 4. The official forms contained in Appendix VI have been prescribed by the President, under authority of law, to be used in cases to which they apply; and consular officers are forbidden to alter any of them without permission and the approval by the Department of State of the substitute offered. Suggestions for the improvement of forms are, however, invited, and they will always receive consideration. Exact translation of English forms into the language of the country to which the consul is accredited is not within this prohibition, where the local conditions require translation. (As to unofficial and miscellaneous forms, see paragraphs 188 and 335.)
LEAVE OF ABSENCE.
465. Absence exceeding forty-eight hours.—All absences of a consul from his post exceeding forty-eight hours, whether by leave or otherwise, must be reported to the Department of State, and are regarded as a part of the sixty days during which a consul may be absent in one year without loss of salary.-12 Op. Att. Gen., 410.
466. Consuls not to be absent more than ten days without leave.No consul-general, consul, commercial agent, consular clerk, consular agent, marshal, or interpreter at a consulate shall be absent from his post or the performance of his duties for a longer period than ten days at any one time without permission previously obtained of the President.—R. S., sec. 1741; 18 Stat. L., 77. This provision in regard to an absence of ten days is intended to meet those cases of sudden emergency which do not allow sufficient time for communicating with the Department of State, and in which some serious detriment to the health or the affairs of the officer, or otherwise, is likely to occur before a formal application can be acted upon. It is not to be assumed that an unauthorized absence of ten days can be taken as a matter of course. The circumstance of distance between the Department and its officers abroad requires that the use of the permission granted by statute should be intrusted to their fidelity and honor; and when an officer is known to violate the confidence reposed in him in this respect, he must expect to incur the serious displeasure of the President. Application for leave of absence must be addressed to the Department of State in the manner directed by paragraphs 97–99, 105, and 106.
467. Salary during absence from post. The statute referring to consuls-general, consuls, and commercial agents, who are the only consular officers entitled to any compensation when not in the actual performance of duty at the post, provides that no consular officer shall receive salary for the time during which he may be absent from his post, by leave or otherwise, beyond the term of sixty days in any one year; but the time equal to that usually occupied in going to and from the United States, in case of the return on leave of such consular officer to the United States, may be allowed in addition to such sixty days. The Department of State may, for good reason, grant leave for a longer time; but it carries no right to salary beyond the time fixed by law.-R. S., secs. 1740, 1742.
468. Leave of absence discretionary with President. The statute limits the period of a consul's absence from his post, but it does not entitle him to leave of absence each year.-R. S., sec. 1742. The President, acting through the Department of State, will determine in each case whether the consul may be absent.
469. Applications for leave of absence.—Every application for leave of absence must contain a statement of the number of days the consul has been absent from his post during the previous twelve months, and whether with or without leave; referring by number and date, if with leave, to the dispatch granting it. Every such application must state specifically whether the applicant wishes to come to the United States. (Paragraph 470.)
Leaves of absence are not cumulative. In case of leave not being asked or granted in any one calendar year, the term for which such leave might have been granted can not be added to the leave of a subsequent year.
470. Leave with permission to visit the United States.—Leaves of absence are of two kinds—simple leave and leave with permission to visit the United States. Both classes of leave are subject to the statutory conditions explained above. (Paragraphs 465–467.) In case leave is asked and granted to return to the United States, the term for which it is granted is computed from the day of the arrival in the United States to the day of departure therefrom on the return of the officer to his post; but a reasonable time in addition is allowed for going to and returning from his place of residence, provided a visit to his residence is made, but not otherwise. The transit periods prescribed in paragraph 478 are maximum allowances to cover delay through sickness or other unavoidable cause. It is not contemplated that the whole time so allotted shall be ordinarily employed in the transit, nor is it permissible that an officer proceeding on leave to the United States in a shorter time than that given in the schedule, and returning to his post in the same way, can thereby accumulate or add time to the leave prescribed by the statute.
471. Simple leave does not give permission to return to the United States.—The granting of a simple leave of absence does not give permission to return to the United States also. Should a consular officer desire to revisit the United States, he must ask express permission to do so, in order to entitle him to the benefit of the statutory allowance.
LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR VICE-CONSULAR OFFICERS
SUBORDINATE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES.
472. Vice-consular officers.— When the chief consular officer is at his post and in charge of the office, he may grant leave of absence to his vice-consular officer, reporting the fact to the Department of State. When the vice-consul is in charge of the office, he should apply for leave in the same manner as the consul, and should give the name and authenticated signature of the person he desires shall be left in charge of the office during his absence. The vice-consul receives pay only while he is in charge of the office, and he can receive nothing when on leave.
473. Deputy consular officers and clerks.—Deputy consular officers and office clerks may be granted leave by the principal officer.
474. Consular agents.—Consular agents should apply for leave of absence to the principal officer, who will forward the application to the Department of State in the usual manner, with the name and authenticated signature of the person whom it is proposed to put temporarily in charge of the consular agency. In case of an emergency which compels the consular agent to leave his post before permission to do so can be obtained from the Department of State, the principal consular officer is authorized to grant the agent the requisite jeave of absence, reporting the fact to the Department of State, and sending the name and authentic signature of the person placed temporarily in charge of the consular agency.
475. Consular clerks.—Consular clerks should apply for leave of absence to the Department of State, their applications being indorsed favorably or unfavorably by the chief consular office.. at the post where they are serving.
476. Interpreters and marshals.-Interpreters and marshals should apply for leave of absence through the consular officer