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The Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce was created by the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation act approved August 23, 1912, which consolidated under that name the Bureau of Manufactures and the Bureau of Statistics. This action by Congress was predicated on a suggestion emanating from the Department, which in September, 1907, appointed a committee to inquire into its statistical work, and this committee after a very extensive inquiry recommended “that the Bureau of Manufactures and the Bureau of Statistics be consolidated into one bureau; and that the bureau thus formed be called the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce.”


The Bureau of Manufactures was authorized by section 5 of the act of February 14, 1903 (the organic act of the Department), in response to a demand which had long since grown persistent for a Government office to be especially charged with the duty of fostering, promoting, and developing the manufacturing industries of the United States. The Bureau was organized in 1904 and at once commenced to build up in great part the service described on succeeding pages.


The Bureau of Statistics, before being merged into the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, had had almost a century of development.

The value of the systematic and careful collection of information concerning the status of our commerce was recognized early in our history; and, in response to resolutions of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury made frequent reports on the subject, which were subsequently collected and published in two volumes of the American State Papers.

By act of Congress approved February 10, 1820, the regular collection and publication of statistics of our foreign commerce was undertaken. This information was gathered through the collectors of customs, and there was organized in the Treasury Department a division of commerce and navigation, which collated and published

the information thus obtained. Joint resolution of Congress of June 15, 1844, authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to direct the collecting, arranging, and classifying of statistical information showing each year the condition of agriculture and domestic trade, and to report on these subjects annually.

By act approved July 28, 1866, the Bureau of Statistics, with a Director, was established in the Treasury Department. The former division of commerce and navigation was consolidated with the Bureau of Statistics, and a broad range of subjects upon which to compile statistics was prescribed. The act of July 20, 1868, abolished the office of Director, provided that the Special Commissioner of the Revenue should superintend the Bureau, and provided for a Deputy Special Commissioner to have charge of the Bureau of Statistics. The office of Special Commissioner of the Revenue expired July 1, 1870, and the titlə of Chief of Bureau of Statistics was given to the officer in charge and afterwards authorized by law.

The work of the Bureau of Statistics was enlarged by act of March 3, 1875, and statistics relating to the internal commerce of the country were published from that year until 1912 under special appropriations.

The old law of 1820 omitted statistics relating to commerce other than that borne in vessels, but the act of March 3, 1893, amending section 1 of the act of July 16, 1892, remedied this by providing for statistics of exports of commodities by railways and land carriages. By act approved April 29, 1902, the work of the Bureau was extended to include statistics of commerce with Alaska, Porto Rico, Hawaii, Philippine Islands, Guam, and other noncontiguous territory.


By the act of February 14, 1903 (the organic act of the Department), the Bureau of Statistics was transferred from the Treasury Department to the new Department, from and after July 1, 1903. The same act provided also for the transfer of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce from the State Department and for its consolidation with the Bureau of Statistics, the two to constitute one bureau to be called the Bureau of Statistics. By authority of section 11 of the act the Bureau of Trade Relations was organized in the State Department for the formulation and transmission of correspondence between the new Department and consular officers.

The Bureau of Foreign Commerce was, until July 1, 1897, the Bureau of Statistics of the Department of State. Owing to the confusion arising from the fact that there was also a Bureau of Statistics in the Treasury Department and a Division of Statistics in the Department of Agriculture, Congress authorized the change of the

name to Bureau of Foreign Commerce on July 1, 1897, this name more clearly indicating the functions of the Bureau.

The Bureau had its origin in an act of Congress approved August 16, 1842, which made it the duty of the Secretary of State “to lay before Congress, annually, at the commencement of its session, in a compendious form, all such changes and modifications in the commercial systems of other nations, whether by treaties, duties on imports and exports, or other regulations, as shall have come to the knowledge of the Department.” In a communication to the President of the Senate, February 4, 1857 (Ex. Doc. No. 35, 34th Cong., 3d sess.), Secretary of State Marcy called attention to a previous statement (in 1855) in which he said that “but three attempts had been made to comply with the requisitions of the act of 1842; the first by Mr. Secretary Webster in 1842, the second by Mr. Secretary Upshur in 1843, and the third, and last, by Mr. Secretary Calhoun, in 1844.” Mr. Webster, in 1842, recommended to Congress that the work “be intrusted to one person, under the direction of the Department, who should arrange and condense information on commercial subjects from time to time, as it should be received, and should have charge of the correspondence on these subjects with agents of the Government abroad.”

No action was taken by Congress until 14 years later. By an act approved August 18, 1856 (11 Stat., 62), the act of 1842 was amended so as to make it obligatory upon the Secretary of State, in addition to changes and modifications in the commercial systems of other nations, to include in his annual report to Congress "all other commercial information communicated to the State Department by consular and diplomatic agents of this Government abroad, or contained in the official publications of other Governments, which he shall deem sufficiently important.” It was further declared to be the duty of consuls and commercial agents to procure such information in such manner and at such times as the Department of State might prescribe, and the Secretary of State was "authorized and required to appoint one clerk who shall have charge of statistics in said department and shall be called 'Superintendent of Statistics.'”

"Thus," says Secretary Marcy, in his letter of February 4, 1857, “the ‘Statistical Office of the Department of State,' which had been organized two years before for the preparation of a general Report on the Commercial Relations of the United States with Foreign Nations, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives, was, by that law, placed on a permanent basis.” ' The “Bureau of Statistics” was substituted for the “Statistical Office,” July 1, 1874, under authority conferred by the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation act of June 20, 1874, in an item

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providing a salary of $2,400 each for six chiefs of bureau, including one of Statistics.

Until October 1, 1880, the duties of the Bureau were restricted to the preparation of annual and occasional reports from consular officers, but on that date the publication of the monthly Consular Reports was begun, in pursuance of a recommendation of Secretary of State Evarts, in response to which Congress, at the previous session, had made provision “for printing and distributing more frequently the publications by the Department of State of the consular and other reports." The daily publication of consular 'reports was begun January 1, 1898, by order of the Secretary of State of December 7, 1897.

WORK OF THE BUREAU. Broadly, the function of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce is to promote commerce and manufacturing by collecting and distributing information for the use and benefit of commercial interests. In carrying out this function advantage is taken of the relations of the Bureau with many other branches of the Federal service.

Consular reports.—Use is made especially of the consular service, through the Department of State, to obtain reports on the current development of the trade of foreign countries and opportunities for the sale abroad of articles produced in the United States. This material is edited in the Bureau and distributed to the commercial public by means of the Daily Consular and Trade Reports, the annual volume called the “Commercial Relations of the United States," special bulletins and pamphlets, and confidential circulars or letters.

Commercial agents. Further, the Bureau is equipped with a corps of field agents, called commercial agents, who supplement the work of consular officers through special investigations for which they are fitted by training or experience in various branches of commerce. These special investigations cover a wide range of subjects, such as the trade in cotton textiles, cottonseed products, machinery, lumber, boots and shoes and other leather goods, chemical products, and other articles of domestic manufacture or export.

Foreign tariffs.To supplement this volume of commercial information there are distributed accurate statements concerning the customs tariffs of foreign countries, a work which is carried on currently by the Division of Foreign Tariffs. Not only are translations of these tariffs made and published at frequent intervals, but through consular reports and from other official sources there is maintained a record of the existing regulations with respect to customs charges in all foreign countries.

The tariff publications of the Bureau usually present either a complete tariff of a particular country or the rates on a particular group of articles as applied in various countries. As far as possible these published editions of foreign tariffs are revised to date, and, in addition, changes in foreign tariffs are noted in the Daily Consular and Trade Reports and are reprinted in special pamphlets entitled “Foreign Tariff Notes.” The Bureau, by virtue of its close relations with American consular officers, and its files of the current official publications of foreign countries, possesses exceptional facilities for keeping informed as to tariff rates and customs formalities incident to the entry of goods into foreign countries.

Commercial statistics.—Statistical information in regard to imports and exports is received by the Bureau in monthly returns from the collectors of customs, showing the principal articles imported and exported, stating quantities where possible and values in all cases; the countries from which each article or group of articles was imported and to which each article or group of articles was exported. These statements are printed primarily in the Monthly Summary of Commerce and Finance and distributed to individuals and firms engaged in commerce, to commercial organizations, educational institutions, and libraries, and to such commercial and other newspapers of the country as may request the same.

Other tables of imports, much more complete in detail are published quarterly, showing the quantity and value of the imports entered for consumption, the rate of duty, and the duty collected on each article or group of articles; and these quarterly statements are subsequently presented in the form of an annual statement. This statement of merchandise imported for consumption includes: (1) The merchandise entered for consumption and duty paid upon its arrival at the port, and (2) merchandise withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on payment of duty. Merchandise entering the country and deposited in warehouse is not included in the statement of imports for consumption unless subsequently withdrawn from warehouse.

The Monthly Summary also contains tables showing the principal articles forming the trade between the United States and its noncontiguous territories—Alaska, Porto Rico, Hawaii, the Philippine Islands, Guam, and Tutuila.

Annual statements of the commerce of the United States presenting trade movements in much greater detail than those of the Monthly Summary of Commerce and Finance are published in a volume entitled “Commerce and Navigation of the United States." This volume shows in great detail the trade by articles and countries, stating the countries from which each article or class of articles was imported and to which each article or class of articles was exported during a five-year period; also statements showing the movements of merchandise and of gold and silver by customs districts, the imports

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