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Commerce and Labor). The new Post-Office cost $3,305,490, but from the beginning was inadequate for the Post-Office Department, which this year will spend $36,406 for rented offices.
Probably none of the Department buildings mentioned could be enlarged without a departure from original plans so radical as to destroy its symmetry and thus to forbid such enlargement. Had the growth of the business of the country and of these Departments been foreseen, doubtless at the outset larger sites and different plans would have been provided. On the other hand, in the case of the Capitol, built and extended for $17,071,849, increased accommodations in consonance with original plans at a cost of about $6,000,000 are now proposed. In the case of the Library of Congress, recently completed at a cost of $6,920,081, such extensions are also possible.
I earnestly recommend, therefore, that Congress provide for the construction of a building for the Department of Commerce and Labor to cost, exclusive of the site, the sum of $7,000,000. Very respectfully,
GEO. B. CORTELYOU,
Secretary. The SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Interest here attaches to the following statement of rentals of the Department of Commerce and Labor for the fiscal year 1904: Appropriated March 3, 1903:
Rents, Department of Commerce and Labor, 1903 and 1904.
$16,000.00 Expended to June 30, 1903.
2,582. 82 Balance available July 1, 1903....
$13, 417. 18 Transferred July 1, 1903, from the Treasury Department, and from other sources:
From the Treasury Department, for bureaus transferred...... 11, 640.00 For No. 235 New Jersey avenue SE., for use of the Bureau of Standards...
840.00 For the building occupied by the Bureau of Labor..
6, 750.00 For the building occupied by the Bureau of the Census
26, 600.00 Total appropriations available July 1, 1903.
59, 247. 18 The rentals chargeable against the above appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1904, are as follows:
Location of building.
For what purpose used.
$11, 830.00 26, 600.00
Willard Building, 513-515 Fourteenth street NW... Main building of Department.
avenue and Fifteenth street (in part). Builders' Exchange Building, 719-721 Thirteenth Light-House Board, Steamboat-Instreet NW. (in part).
spection Service, Bureau of Navi
Bureau of Standards (Laboratory)...
For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1904, the estimate for rents for the entire Department is $75,000, the increase being due to an estimate of $10,000 made by the Director of the Census. A small emergency estimate is also submitted for additional funds to be available should further accommodations be required.
The estimates provide for a solicitor and several assistants. Many contracts, some of them involving large súms of money, are entered into by the Department in the daily course of business. That the interests of the Government may be carefully guarded, these contracts should be scrutinized in every instance by competent law officials. Aside from the matter of contracts, legal ability of the highest order is constantly needed in the interpretation and execution of the numerous laws that affect the operations of the Department. As a measure of economy, and frequently also as a matter of justice, it is important that these laws and the various regulations pursuant thereto should be construed in such manner as to leave no doubt of their
To meet the present requirements of the Department in the way of legal assistance an officer of the Department of Justice has been detailed to act as solicitor, but this arrangement is merely temporary. A definite appropriation is strongly recommended in order that the Department may be able to employ its own solicitor and provide the needed assistants. Cases frequently arise involving questions of law that require immediate decision, and it is desirable in such instances to have efficient legal assistance within easy reach. The delay that necessarily accompanies the reference of legal questions to law officers outside of the Department and not subject to its authority often impedes the transaction of public business. The advantages that would accrue to the Department from the creation of a solicitor's office under its immediate control are manifest, and it is hoped that the necessary appropriation will be granted.
Provision is made in the estimates for an appropriation to be expended under the immediate direction of the Secretary for the investigation of trade conditions at home and abroad, with the object of promoting the domestic and foreign commerce of the United States, and for other purposes. Important instruments in the promotion of trade are the agents dispatched from time to time by foreign governments to study commercial opportunities in other countries. Military and naval experts are sent abroad by our Government to report on conditions that are of interest to their respective Departments. In the daily competition of international trade there is even greater need of intelligent outposts abroad. Special agents are also required in the Department itself to inspect the branches of its services in different localities and to secure uniform, businesslike, and economical methods. The need of such agents in other departments has been met by appropriations, and there is of course a similar need in this Department.
PLANS OF ORGANIZATION,
The determination of those responsible for the organization and. administration of the Department to lay its foundations on broad lines and to build thoroughly and conservatively for the future has been very generally understood. In but few instances has there been any criticism of this course, and then only from those unfamiliar with the magnitude of the task of organizing a new department or unmindful of the necessity of making liberal provision for its growth and usefulness. It would have been a dereliction of duty, even in the face of a pronounced demand for immediate action in certain directions, to sacrifice the essentials of sound organization to a desire to make an early showing or to achieve immediate results from ill-considered and ill-timed investigations. The care that has been exercised in the details of organization and the conservatism that has marked the Department's course during the brief period of its existence have been amply justified. It is well to repeat that the act creating the Department received the approval of the President on February 14, 1903; that the first Secretary of the Department was appointed two days later; that until July 1 only elementary details of organization could be considered; that on July 1, by the transfer of bureaus, the Department became the fourth largest of the several executive establishments, and that from that date to the date of this report but five months have elapsed.
Organization under initial appropriations and the estimates for the future have been based on the belief that better work can be obtained from a relatively small clerical force, composed of competent employees paid salaries commensurate with the work done, than from a larger force overpaid in the earlier years of service and underpaid after capacity for intelligent work has been shown. Every competent observer of administrative methods at Washington will, I think, agree that there are many instances where the pay is much higher than in corresponding private employment, the force at times is larger than can be used advantageously, and not infrequently increased compensation comes to be regarded as a necessary incident to service rather than as a just measure of the worth of service. High-grade clerks command good salaries in private business, and the Government can not, and, in fact, does not, retain such in its employ except by paying equally good salaries. To the Department of Commerce and Labor in its relations to the business community this principle applies with peculiar force.
The civil service regulations have been observed in every detail from the establishment of the Department. Appointments have been made, and will be made, strictly upon merit, whether under the civil service requirements or in cases exempt from such requirements. Upon no other basis can such a Department be conducted so as to meet satisfactorily the demands that will be made upon it.
Among other measures required to realize this high standard the Departmental files must be conclusive, and the papers in all cases must disclose the conditions that warranted the action taken. As far as practicable I desire to do away with confidential files. They are often the resort of the blackguard and the blackmailer. Only such files should be held confidential as the law requires or public considerations demand. Every official document in the Department, whether it relate to appointments, contracts, or other subjects, should be accessible to authorized inspection and should afford a full and satisfactory answer to every proper inquiry.
TRANSFER OF BUREAUS.
The Department has been created for certain general purposes, stated in the organic act. To enable it to carry out some of these purposes bureaus of other Departments and offices existing independently were transferred to it at the beginning of the current fiscal year. Further rearrangement of bureaus and offices among the several Departments should in due season be made if these purposes are to be attained in the simplest and most direct fashion. The Department of Commerce and Labor does not seek growth by the absorption of duties now assigned elsewhere. If, in the opinion of the President, however, or of Congress, as the law may provide, the transfer of bureaus and offices to this Department seems to promise a more efficient administration of public affairs, such transfers will be welcomed. On the other hand, if experience plainly shows that certain duties now allotted to this Department can be better performed under a different control the transfer of such duties will be promptly recommended. The names of the great departments of government indicate clearly the division of Federal machinery that has been regarded as best adapted to efficient administration. The creation of a new executive establishment, charged with the administration of laws that fix the relations of the Federal Government with the business and industrial affairs of the country, should involve the ultimate transfer to it of various duties, which, in the absence of such an establishment, have been performed under the direction of officers chosen primarily for purposes altogether different.
When the transferred bureaus were brought together under this Department, many questions arose which required not only a definition of their relations to their new conditions, but in a number of cases a determination of jurisdiction as between the Department of Commerce and Labor and the Departments from which the transfers were made. To remove uncertainty, opinions were obtained from the Attorney-General for the guidance of all concerned. These opinions form a valuable body of authority, and have enabled the organization of the Department to proceed on lines that make for efficient and business-like administration.
Under the Department's plan of organization every opportunity will be afforded for the development in the largest degree of its various bureaus, and the chiefs will be given the greatest latitude and authority consistent with proper supervision by the Secretary. The bureaus will be expected, however, to keep in view the interests of the Department as a whole, and to work together loyally and harmoniously for the general good. In the many affairs concerning more than one office, in the matter of disbursements, appointments, and other features involving the general policy of the Department, the immediate responsibility for action will rest with the head of the Department.
At the very beginning of the work of organization embarrassment was occasioned by the inappropriate names of some of the bureaus and by an illogical assignment of duties. As rapidly as it has been thought advisable to make changes in these regards they have been made. While there has been decided progress in these directions, much still remains to be done, dependent upon such rearrangement of work as experience may show to be wise. At present an anomalous situation exists in regard to the designation of the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Statistics, and the new Bureau of Manufactures. In both the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Statistics considerable work is now performed on some of the lines indicated for the Bureau of Manufactures. The name Bureau of Statistics does not properly describe the functions of that Bureau. The ultimate purpose is to have the various subdivisions of the Department so designated and such assignments made to them as will give public notice of their duties and bring about greater uniformity and efficiency.
CONCENTRATION OF MARINE BUREAU'S,
The Light-House Establishment, Bureau of Navigation, SteamboatInspection Service, Coast and Geodetic Survey, Bureau of Fisheries, and Alaskan Fisheries Service have already been transferred specifically to the Department. Various duties relating to marine affairs, as the regulation of anchorages, regattas, boarding of vessels, and the enforcement of the St. Marys River rules, have also been assigned to the Department. The debates in Congress disclose the purpose to