- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
130

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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150

GENERAL.

P. v., Сн. i.

similar occasions the Consul is entitled to make it delicately
understood that the applicant should apply to a local solicitor or to the
local courts of justice if there be no prospect of an amicable settlement
of the dispute. In 90 out of every 100 cases in which Russians
travelling abroad are concerned in petty quarrels, their personal and national
dignity would not suffer if they desisted from applying to the Consul,
but recognised the simple fact that they must comply with the order
of things peculiar to the particular foreign country in which they are
temporarily sojourning. This may be pointed out to them by the
Consular Officer.

The assistance asked for from Russian Consular Officers must not
require special knowledge which would come under the competency of
specialists, nor must it exceed certain limits of time and work, nor must
it be connected with a responsibility of a commercial nature. To
make it clear what is meant, it is necessary to quote the following
instances of the abuse of the service to be rendered to the public by
Consular Officers.

A Russian tradesman applied to the Russian Consulate-General
in London to obtain some information about the standing and
trustworthiness of an English firm. His request was complied with, and
confidential information was communicated to him from local sources
-—even from the Bank where the said English firm had their banking
account. However, this did not satisfy the applicant, who put forward
a request that the Russian Consulate-General should give him a
certificate under the Consular seal, that the said firm deserved credit,
and was in a good commercial position. As other instances of
applications exceeding the ordinary limits of Consular assistance,
it may be quoted that a Russian scientist applied to the Russian
Consul in Bombay, with a request to make a collection of Indian
minerals for him. On another occasion, the Russian Consul in
London was requested to gather pamphlets and books written on
astronomical matters ; also, on the treatment of lunatics in the
different asylums of the United Kingdom, and, at the same time,
to give an essay on this question. State Consular Officers are
supposed only to be specialists for legal matters concerning their own
country, and for affairs concerning trade, commerce, finance and
general State administration. It is therefore unfair to treat them as
a " Jack-of-all-trades," demanding from them information which does
not enter into their competency.

The protection afforded by the Consular Officer to Russian subjects
may sometimes be in the nature of friendly services, and in this respect
very much can be done, provided that the Consular Officer wishes to
do his duty and is prepared to employ all available resources which
circumstances or his personal relations may place at his disposal.
In such cases the action to be taken by the Consul will necessarily
vary according to the circumstances of the particular case. It is
impossible to establish a general rule, but it will be useful to mention
some cases in which it was advisable that Consular intervention of a
friendly nature should be undertaken, and in which the result was
successful. A Russian Pole, В., had the misfortune to be knocked
down in the streets of Newcastle by the careless driver of an omnibus.
He was severely injured and compelled to remain in hospital for several

§108.

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