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

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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P. v., Ch. i.

to his colleagues, and in doing so it is sometimes necessary to take
steps of a personal character. Thus the Consul at
Newcastle-on-Tyne was informed by the Consul-General in London that a Russian
Jew at Glasgow was in possession of an imitation of the official seal
of the Russian Consulate-General in London. A detective was
instructed to investigate the matter, but failed to discover anything.
The Consul then saw the Jew himself, and on informing him that
he was well aware of the existence of the spurious seal, he found out
that the Jew had in fact received the imitation of the Consular seal
and sent it abroad.

It is for the Consular Officer to decide, on each individual
occasion, whether his intervention in favour of Russian subjects is
advisable, and if so what form it should take. In case of doubt an
Elective Consular Officer will find it necessary to apply for special
instructions to the State Consul to whom he is subordinate.

Russian Consular Officers cannot be strongly enough recommended
to be obliging towards all Russian subjects who may apply to them,
and in the conduct of Consular affairs to exercise the utmost civility
and geniality. This line of conduct will be found to be the safest
as avoiding the possibility of misunderstandings and complaints to
head-quarters, and will at the same time secure the best results to the
Consular Officer’s endeavours.

Russian Consular Officers are frequently applied to by persons
who are only inadequately informed as to the assistance they are
entitled to from the Consular representatives of their country. Cases
of this description are a source of misunderstandings, disputes and
complaints against the Russian Consular service, to avoid the
recurrence of which it is desirable to definitely establish the cases which
may receive Consular assistance, and in which assistance cannot be

The laws of Russia, and the instructions issued to Consular Officers
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicate, quite clearly and in detail,
what are the immediate duties of the Consular service in the cases
mentioned in these laws and instructions. Doubts arise regarding the
application for assistance in cases which are not thus provided for.
Such cases are very frequent in Consular practice and their treatment
is a matter of considerable difficulty, the more so as Russian subjects
are much more exacting in their demands on their Consular Officers
than the natives of any other country.

According to them it is the duty of the Consul to interest himself
in their private affairs, and they believe him to be invested with such
power and authority that all difficulties and obstacles that confront
the applicant may be swept away ! The slightest suggestion that
the Consular Officer does not, unhappily, possess the power with which
he is thus credited and is actually unable to accede to the demands
of his applicants is either totally ignored or serves as the signal for
a flood of complaints and reproaches.

Obviously, the main purpose of the Consular service is to
safeguard, in the most effective manner possible, the interests of the mother
country and those of individual compatriots in a foreign land. The
Consular Officer enjoys a position in which he has opportunities of
doing good service to his country and to his fellow countrymen. Avail-


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