- 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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dealing in certain articles or prosecuting a given business, with a view
to establishing trade relations with that firm, it is advisable for the
Consul to give several addresses. Any expenses incurred in procuring
the information must be paid, in advance, by the person making the
application, the Consular Officer giving him a voucher.

Requests for information, when made by persons who are not
Russian subjects, need only be attended to by the Consul if they
relate to business matters between the questioners and Russia.
When inquiries are addressed to him, therefore, which only affect
foreign interests, he should refer the persons making them to their
own Governments, or to the representatives of those Governments
in Russia. In the case, for instance, of a Russian subject residing in
Russia owing money to a person residing in England, his creditor
should address himself for information and assistance, not to the
Russian Consular Officer, but to the proper British Consul in Russia.

Consular assistance is of special importance with regard to Russian
trade. The Consular Regulations stipulate, that the Consular Officer
shall " be concerned for the benefit of Russian Trade " (Art. 1) and
" shall endeavour to strengthen, facilitate and extend the commercial
relations of his own country with that in which he is stationed"
(Art. 89). As the Regulations are confined to this general indication,
practical experience must be enlisted to elaborate more concrete rules
for Consular guidance.

It is unquestionably incumbent upon all Consular Officers, whether
State or Elective, when application is made to them by Russian
subjects, to give them, if possible, the addresses of firms, foreign or Russian,
whom they may address and with whom they can open business
relations ; give information as to prices and as to the reliability of firms,
and, generally, to supply all the information that can be productive
of advantage to the commerce of the Empire or the individual

It should also be borne in mind, that business enquiries prosecuted
by Consular Officers at the request of private individuals or firms can
only be of a general character and not such as to obviate the necessity
for regular business correspondents. A Consul cannot take the place
of such correspondents, and anyone hoping to dispense with them and
to obtain the same services from the Consul is guilty of imposing upon
the latter and risks injury to his own business interests. Art. 3 of the
Consular Regulations expressly states, that Russian State Consuls
are not permitted to engage in trade or industry. This makes it
impossible for them to obtain the insight into commercial or industrial
matters which is possessed by the private man of business. Nor
has the Consul the time or the opportunity to make a special study
of each of the many classes of business that may be prosecuted within
his Consular district. Obviously, therefore, it is absurd to demand
from our Consular Officers services which they cannot possibly render.

The experience of every State with flourishing foreign trade has
proved abundantly, that the chief causes of the commercial prosperity
of a nation are, the initiative, the energy, the conscientiousness and
the careful training of the mercantile and industrial classes themselves.
The part of the administrative personnel of the Government, and this
includes Consular Officers, is confined in all countries to a measure of


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