- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /
386

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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з88 A PLEA FOR CONSULAR CONVENTIONS. P. хш.

foreign Consuls. According to a Memorandum1 of the Chief Secretary’s
Office at Adelaide, dated 8th August 1906, the Secretary of State for the
Colonies, after communication with the Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, laid down under date 9th June 1906, the principles that foreign
Consuls in England were treated like any other foreigners resident
in England and were not visitors of the Court ; that there were no
privileges to which foreign Consuls were strictly or legally entitled ; that
the law could hardly be said to recognise them in their official character ;
that no difference should be made in treatment between professional
Consuls (Consuls de carriere) and other Consular Officers ; that it
would be in the highest degree inconvenient if, in British Colonies,
Consuls of foreign powers were permitted to acquire a claim to the
privileges or immunities of diplomatic agents ; and that foreign Consuls
would not be permitted to approach the local Government with
representations on general, political questions. The Memorandum above
quoted requires comment, in order to bring out the different points
involved. No one intends to claim for Consular Officers the privilege
of exterritoriality which is accorded to diplomatic representatives,
and nobody questions that representations on general political matters
are altogether outside the province of Consular Officers. As a matter
of fact, in those countries which have concluded Consular Conventions
and in which the position of Consular representatives is quite
satisfactory, they are not entitled to exterritorial rights and are not at
liberty to engage in questions of general politics. The reasons which
should induce the English Government to conclude Consular
Conventions lie therefore in quite another direction.

International relations are based on the principle of reciprocity.
From the point of view of that principle it does not seem right that the
foreign Consuls who reside in the British Empire should not enjoy,
in their places of residence, the rights and privileges which are necessary
for successfully and efficiently canying out their duties, while English
Consuls abroad are in full possession of such rights. Moreover, not
only the foreign Consuls but also the British authorities would find it
useful and advantageous that the Consular service should have a better
and more efficient standing than has been the case in Great Britain
heretofore. The fact ought not to be lost sight of that Consular
Officers, albeit they are foreign representatives, are, at the same time,
local officials and are ever ready, not only to assist their own
countrymen, but also to co-operate with the local authorities. In their capacity
of official residents of the country, not for private purposes but by
appointment of their own Government and by the express consent of
the local Government, they need a special legal status distinguishing
them from private persons. Foreign Consular Officers are expected
to act for the benefit, not only of their own countrymen, but also of
those local residents and authorities who apply to them. Having no
administrative and executive power whatever and no status defined
by law they find themselves in a somewhat constrained position, which

1 Published in New Zealand under date 1st October 1906, in Gazette of
4th October 1906, p. 2608 ; in South Australia under date 6th August 1906, in the
Gazette of 9th August 1906, pp. 282-3, and in the Gazettes of other Australian
States.

The Duties
of Consuls.

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