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give the Department general jurisdiction over all matters relating to merchant shipping. While each of the marine services now in existence has its specific duties, there are various points at which the work of one touches or affects another. In such matters, the best results can be obtained only by joint action or by the exercise of an immediate and constant supervision over all. Two plans have been considered, the first to establish a marine board composed of the heads of all the bureaus concerned in marine affairs, the second to designate one officer of higher rank than a bureau chief as the supervisory authority, under the Secretary.
While committees and boards are useful in legislative and deliberative affairs, competent students of government are agreed that in the administration and execution of laws the most satisfactory results can be obtained by fixed responsibility in one competent head. This will be the principle adopted wherever possible in the administration of the branches of the Department. There is a natural division between marine affairs and land affairs. The appointment of an assistant secretary of the Department will permit a concentration of control over marine affairs in a bureau of marine affairs, from which satisfactory results are anticipated.
PU'RCHASE OF SUPPLIES.
The purchase of supplies for the Department and its various services has been carefully studied. A more businesslike method of buying is being introduced, and it is believed that a substantial saving in this direction can be accomplished. The plan of contracting for supplies in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of the entire Department will be followed wherever practicable, in order to obtain more favorable prices than can be had where the bureaus purchase separately. In order to carry out the plans with regard to purchasing, the various contingent funds of the bureaus, except so far as they provide for supplies that are purely technical—such as scientific instruments and apparatus-should be consolidated into a single fund to be controlled by the Secretary's Office. The creation of a general contingent fund in accordance with this plan will enable the Department to purchase supplies in a more systematic and economical manner and under a uniform method of accounting.
Steps have been taken to systematize the methods of accounting employed in the several bureaus in order to bring them into harmony with each other and to reduce as far as possible the large amount of work that is involved in the adjustment of the accounts, to prevent delay in the settlement of accounts, and to avoid merely perfunctory signatures.
The manner of accounting for the expenditure of the various appro priations provided for the Department and its various services is being carefully studied with the object of still further safeguarding the disbursement of public funds.
TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE SERVICE.
The Department has been equipped with an efficient telegraph and telephone service. As this service is in operation by night as well as by day, time and expense are saved in dispatching the business that has to be conducted by wire. The existence of a night service distributes work in such manner that it can be conducted with greater accuracy and with the least possible delay. The telephone equipment is also fully justified, for at the average department rates the pay of one messenger is about equal to the rental of 28 telephones.
There will be increasing demands upon this service. Agents in the field, whether engaged in investigations at home or abroad, will have frequent occasion to use these facilities, and it would hardly seem necessary to urge the importance of a thoroughly trained and efficient force of this kind for duty both day and night in a branch of the Government devoted to commerce and industry.
While existing laws do not permit the introduction of certain modern appliances, the Department has from its organization made use of such as were available. The best tools are the cheapest. The Department's equipment of mechanical appliances must be at least equal in quality to the equipment of the best private business establishment, if Government work is to be done as promptly and economically as private work.
There are about 90,000 volumes in the various bureau libraries. The collections are devoted wholly to the special needs of the bureaus, and are, for the most part, technical or scientific. The Light-House Establishment has, in addition to its office library, a circulating library of about 50,000 volumes, composed of standard and current literature. This collection is kept in circulation among the light-houses, thus affording to the light-house keepers opportunities for study and recreation they could not otherwise have, owing to their isolation.
It is intended to coordinate all library work and centralize it under a departmental librarian as far as may be consistent with the special needs of the different bureaus. Each bureau will have a thoroughly equipped working library, systematically classified. From the .central departmental library full information can be obtained about all bureau collections and in regard to special subjects relating to the work of the Department.
The Department is cooperating with the Library of Congress, and will use, as far as possible, its resources.
This method of organization will promote economy, reduce to a minimum duplication of material, and make immediately available to every branch of the Department the material at its command.
An appropriate seal has been adopted and regulations promulgated to secure a uniform and consistent use of it throughout the Department. Each bureau has been provided with a seal similar in design to the great seal of the Department, and the use of various seals of dissimilar patterns has been discontinued.
One of the most important branches of the Department's work is that of statistics. By the organic act this new Executive establishment is made the statistical department of the Government. On May 15, 1903, a commission on statistical work was appointed for the purposes outlined in the following letter:
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND LABOR,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, May 15, 1903. My Dear Sir: Section 4 of the act to establish the Department of Commerce and Labor provides that “the Secretary of Commerce and Labor shall have control of the work of gathering and distributing statistical information naturally relating to the subjects confided to his Department; and the Secretary of Commerce and Labor is hereby given the power and authority to rearrange the statistical work of the bureaus and offices confided to said Department, and to consolidate any of the statistical bureaus and offices transferred to said Department; and said Secretary shall also have authority to call upon other departments of the Government for statistical data and results obtained by them; and said Secretary of Commerce and Labor may collate, arrange, and publish such statistical information so obtained in such manner as to him may seem wise.
I have acquainted the heads of the Departments and of the several bureaus and offices concerned with my desire to appoint a commission to assist me in carrying out these provisions of law and other features of the organic act in any way relating to them, and have received their assent to the appointment of the commission in advance of the actual transfer of some of the bureaus and offices. I have therefore appointed the following commission:
Mr. Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labor, chairman.
Mr. Frank H. Hitchcock, chief clerk, Department of Commerce and Labor, secretary.
It will be the duty of this commission to investigate and report, for the consideration of the Secretary, what rearrangement, by transfer or otherwise, in the work
now assigned by law to any of these bureaus and offices will result in an improvement of the service; what field work, if any, now being conducted by any bureaus or offices, can be consolidated or dispensed with; what reports, if any, now published, can be consolidated or dispensed with, with a view to the elimination or any duplication now existing in the work of these bureaus; to define clearly the field and functions of each bureau or office in such manner that no one shall encroach at any point upon any other; and generally to make such recommendations as may commend themselves to the commission for the orderly and scientific readjustment of the work of the several bureaus and offices of the Department of Commerce and Labor.
The report of the commission may be made from time to time, upon separate branches of the investigation, if desired; but its final report should be submitted at the earliest practicable date.
It would greatly facilitate the proper organization of the Department if the commission were to meet at an early date, as it might then be possible to accomplish substantial results before July 1. Very truly yours,
Geo. B. CORTELYOU,
The Commission has made a careful study of the various lines of statistical work carried on by the several bureaus, and has recommended certain changes in the way of readjustment and consolidation that it is believed will increase the efficiency of this work.
The Department aims to furnish the business world with more prompt, more complete, and more reliable statistical reports upon the various subjects of commercial and industrial interest. Special efforts are being made to extend its facilities for supplying foreign trade information, and more active assistance will be required from the consular service. The relation of this service to the new Department is one of its pressing problems, which in the immediate future must be the subject of administrative as well as legislative consideration. Essentially commercial officers, they should play a vital part in the extension of our foreign trade. By careful supervision, and timely and helpful suggestions, reports of a more practical nature, and of greater usefulness to our exporters, than many of those hitherto furnished can be obtained.
COOPERATION WITII THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
In planning measures for the development of American commerce it is the purpose of the Department to devote itself impartially to the various interests concerned in that development. All possible means will be employed for the extension of our export trade in products of the farm as well as in manufactured articles. Wherever possible the cooperation of the Department of Agriculture will be sought, in order that these two branches of the Government service may work together for the benefit of the American farmer. It is highly important that the active measures taken by the Agricultural Department to increase the productivity of our farms should be supplemented in every possible way by efforts to provide a profitable market for their produce.
DIVISION OF FOREIGN TARIFFS.
In addition to the measures that have been taken for the reorganization and improvement of existing branches of the statistical service, it is proposed to establish an office for the collection and distribution of foreign-tariff information, this being one of the directions in which the Department's work can apparently be extended with great advantage. The estimates propose an appropriation of $9,220 for a division of foreign tariffs.
Nations are inclined to regulate their commercial intercourse by means of a double system of tariffs, permitting preferences through commercial treaties. The current agitation in Great Britain for a departure from traditional policy in order to increase commerce between the members of the British Empire may have marked effects upon American trade and incidentally upon American labor.
The industrial and economic facts which accompany such movements must be closely, intelligently, and unremittingly watched. A few competent employees, acting directly under the head of the Department, will suffice for this purpose. From the small expenditure proposed excellent results may be obtained. There is at present no Government office in the United States engaged systematically in the work of collecting information regarding foreign tariffs and making that information available to our exporters. The Department has received frequent inquiries for such information and has been impressed with the importance of providing an agency to supply it.
An effort is being made to secure a prompter issue of the Department's publications without impairing their accuracy. The value of Government documents depends essentially on their presentation of current conditions, rather than the reproduction of facts and figures with which an energetic country is already acquainted. Bulletins containing the rulings, regulations, and notices of the Department, and also statistical and other information of immediate interest to the public, will be issued with the least possible delay.
Among the more comprehensive publications now in course of preparation, and soon to be issued, is a history of the Department, including a compilation of the laws with the administration of which, directly or indirectly, it is charged. The Bureau of Corporations is also preparing several publications that will undoubtedly be serviceable to Congress and to those concerned in the special work of the Bureau.
CHARACTER OF REPORTS.
The Department was not established to control the energies of the people. By furnishing them with needed information it can help intelligence and self-reliance to put forth efforts in trade with the best