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“household effects,” it would seem difficult to find one which contributes more, or more directly, to the health, comfort, or welfare of the family, or one more appropriately classed as a family or household article.

In view of the principle contained in the decisions referred to, and especially with a view to uniformity of decision in the administration of the customs service, I recommend that the former ruling of your Department in this behalf, be changed to one which will admit the importation, free of duty, of cows, under the conditions of former ownership and use abroad, and purpose of importation required by the existing tariff act. Respectfully,



The members of the general arbitration board provided for hy the

treaty of The Hague, who are to be appointed by the President, are not officers of the United States whose appointments require confirma

tion by the Senate. Nor are they, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, persons holding

office. Their work is not only occasional, but contingent upon an appointment by foreign powers to act as arbitrators in the settlement of disputes between the nations so appointing them.


Veber 7, 1900. Sir: I have received your request for an opinion, dated the 16th instant, reading as follows:

"I will be obliged if you will give me your opinion as to whether the members of the general arbitration board provided for by the treaty of The Hague, who are to be appointed by the President, are officers of the United States within the meaning of the Constitution, and as such require to be nominated to and confirmed by the Senate."

The convention referred to by you as the treaty of The Hague was made by the President and other chiefs of governments. at the conclusion of an international conference proposed by the Czar of Russia, whose principal object was to secure a reduction of the armaments of the European powers.

Nearly all of the countries of Europe, and several others, were represented at the conference by persons named for that purpose, the President naming Andrew D. White and others, and most of the delegates signed a series of articles concerning the arbitration of international disputes which might arise in the future.

Among those articles I find the following language, which gives us some general idea of the arbitration board to which you refer:

"With the end of facilitating the immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which fail of diplomatic adjustment, the signatory powers agree to organize a permanent court of arbitration, accessible at all times and proceeding, in the absence of a contrary stipulation of the parties, conformably to the rules of procedure inserted in the present convention.

“The permanent court shall be competent for all cases of arbitration, at least where there is no agreement between the parties for the establishment of a special arbitral jurisdiction.


“Each signatory power will designate, within three months after the date hereof, four persons at most, of a recognized competency in questions of international law, enjoying the highest moral consideration and willing to accept the functions of arbitrators.

* The persons so designated shall be inscribed, with titles, as members of the court, on a list which shall be notified by the Bureau to all the signatory powers.

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"The members of the court are named for a term of six years.

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“When the signatory powers wish to address themselves to the permanent court for the arrangement of a difference arisen between them, the choice of arbitrators called to form

the tribunal competent to pass upon that difference is to be made from the general list of members of the court.


“The powers that have recourse to arbitration sign a special document (compact), in which are briefly determined the objects of the delegation as well as the extent of the powers of the arbitrators. The document implies the engagement of the parties to submit in good faith to the arbitral sentence."

The members of the arbitration board, or persons whose names are to be placed upon the list above referred to, do not seem to me to be officers of the United States in the ordinary acceptation of the phrase. They are not expected to exercise any part of the sovereignty of the United States; they are not expected to perform any functions in the Government of the United States; they are not expected to attend to any business such as would naturally be called business of the United States. They are to serve, or they may possibly be called upon to serve, when actually employed, two foreign nations that may select them and authorize them to settle a dispute between those two nations.

Nor are they, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, persons holding office. Nominally they may be appointed for six years, but they may never actually exercise any functions at all. Their work is not only occasional, but contingent upon what is practically an appointment to act as arbitrators, to be received from foreign powers in the future.

While a treaty may be a law, and while it is unnecessary to assert that no offices can be established by treaty within the meaning of Article II, section 2, of the Constitution, yet it seems probable that that section, in speaking of offices “which shall be established by law,” and adding that “Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, etc.,” uses the word “ law" rather in the sense of a Congressional statute passed in pursuance of the power given to Congress to pass all laws which shall be necessary to carry into effect the other granted powers.

For these reasons, and others set forth in the opinion furnished you on the 18th of August, 1898, concerning the appointment of Hon. William L. Putnam as one of the two commissioners under the convention of February 8, 18 concerning claims growing out of seizures of vessels in Bering Sea, I am of opinion that the members of the general arbitration board are not officers whose appointment requires to be confirmed by the Senate. Respectfully.




The second proviso of the third section of the act of July 5, 1884 (23

Stat., 158), which authorizes the registering without the payment of a rezistry fee of any official letter or packet, by either of the “Executive Departments, or Bureaus thereof;" embraces a department officer who, in the course of public business, is called temporarily to discharge his official duties at some place away from the seat of government; but such words do not embrace examiners, special agents, inspectors, etc.. of the various departments, who are located at points outside of Washington, or are traveling throughout the country. The opinion of Attorney-General Devens, of May 16, 1877 ( 15 Opin., 262),

commented on; and the opinion of Acting Attorney-General Phillips, of August 2, 1884 (18 Opin., 49), affirmed.


Vorember 12, 1900. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of October 15, 1900, in which you ask me to advise you whether official mail matter can be registered elsewhere than at Washington without the prepayment of the regular registry fee, under the provisions of the act of July 5, 188+ (23 Stat., 158), which provides as follows:

Provided further. That any letter or packet to be registered by either of the Executive Departments, or Bureaus thereof, or by the Agricultural Department, or by the Public Printer, may be registered without the payment of any registry fee.

You state that your Department has always regarded that the free registration of official mail matter by public officers was confined to those located in the Executive Departments at Washington and to the Public Printer, with the exceptions specifically authorized by Revised Statutes 3927 and the acts of August 15, 1876 (1 Supp. R. S., 119), and March 3, 1899 (30 Stat., 1021). You also inclose a communication from the Acting Secretary of Agriculture, dated the 1st ultimo, and a letter from the Chief of the Division of Soils of the Department of Agriculture, dated September 28, in which the question is raised by a matter now pending in your Department. It seems from these inclosures that a field agent of the Department of Agriculture had occasion to mail some valuable records of the Department of Agriculture, and he sought to register them at some post-office in New Mexico. The postmaster at the point of mailing demanded payment of 8 cents for registration fee, and the field agent paid it and included such disbursement in his account of expenses, and the said payment was disallowed by the disbursing officer of the Department of Agriculture, on the ground that official matter should be registered without charge. The letter further states that the officers of the Department of Agriculture have numerous occasions to register matter, and that free registration thereof has been refused by postmasters elsewhere than in Washington, under departmental directions to demand prepayment for registration except in the case of census matter.

Before answering your inquiry, let me first quote the statutes bearing upon the matter of the free use of the mails by officers of the Government, and the opinions of this Department with reference to the extent of such privilege. Section 3915 of the Revised Statutes provides

The Postmaster-General shall cause to be prepared a special stamp or stamped envelope, to be used only for official mail matter, for each of the Executive Departments; and said stamps and stamped envelopes shall be supplied by the proper officer of said Departments to all persons under its direction requiring the same for official use; and all appropriations for postage made prior to March 3, 1873, -ball no longer be available for said purpose: and all stamps and stamped envelopes shall be sold or furnished to said several Departments or clerks only at the price for which stamps and stamped envelopes of like value are sold at the several post-offices."

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