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DAILY CONSULAR REPORTS. Beginning January 1, 1898, the miscellaneous reports of consular and diplomatic officers upon commerce and industries in foreign countries will be printed immediately after their receipt at the Department of State in the form of ADVANCE SHEETS, heretofore issued at intervals as occasion seemed to require. The change to what will practically be the daily publication of these reports, excepting Sundays and legal holidays, has been ordered by the Secretary of State, with the view to the promptest and widest possible distribution of the commercial information obtained by the Department of State for the benefit of the mercantile and manufacturing interests of the United States. The daily edition is intended especially for the use of the newspaper press, which will thus be enabled to obtain the reports in full with the least delay, the boards of trade, chambers of commerce, associations of exporters and manufacturers, and other organized bodies engaged in the development of our foreign commerce, and of individual firms especially interested in obtaining such data without loss of time. The monthly CONSULAR REPORTS, being a reprint of the ADVANCE Sheets in convenient form for preservation, will be issued as heretofore. Persons applying for CONSULAR REPORTS should state whether the daily or the monthly edition is desired, as duplication will thus be avoided.
The order of the Secretary of State directing the change is as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 7, 1897. The Chief of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce is hereby authorized to print a special edition of consular reports, to be known as ADVANCE SHEETS, CONSULAR REPORTS, to be issued as soon as possible after the receipt of such reports in the Department, for the benefit of trade organizations, business firms, the newspaper press, etc. This edition is to be printed as frequently as practicable in the form of single reports or series of reports to be numbered consecutively.
Secretary of State. The reasons for the more frequent publication of the CONSULAR REPORTS are explained in a report to the Secretary of State by the
Chief of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce, which is, substantially, as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 7, 1897. Honorable JOHN SHERMAN,
Secretary of State. Sır: I have the honor to call your attention to the condition and prospects of the work of this Bureau, formerly the Bureau of Statistics, with the view to its further improvement. The chief function of the Bureau is the collection and publication of diplomatic and consular reports relating to the commerce and industries of foreign countries. Since the publication of the monthly periodical, ConsuLAR REPORTS, was begun in 1880, the operations of the Bureau have undergone a process of gradual development, until now, the Department of State, notwithstanding inadequate resources for this purpose, has become a great agency for the dissemination, by means of its own publications, the newspaper press, and correspondence with trade organizations and individual firms, of fresh and reliable information from all parts of the world as to commercial movements, industrial activity, development of new fields of enterprise and the practical application of inventions and scientific discoveries to agriculture, mining, and processes of manufacture. Five distinct classes of publications are now issued by the Bureau of Foreign Com
I. COMMERCIAL RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, in two large volumes, being annual reports from consular officers upon trade and commerce, manufacturing and other industries, finance, customs laws, transportation facilities, etc., with special reference to the opportunities for, or obstacles to, the extension of the sales of United States goods abroad. These reports are summarized in an introduction, which is also printed separately in pamphlet form with the title Review of the World's Commerce, for the convenience of those who wish to obtain a comprehensive view of our trade relations with the world at large, rather than to acquaint themselves with facts and figures in detail.
II. CONSULAR REPORTS, issued monthly, and containing, besides the reports of consular officers, either voluntary or in response to instructions from the Department, a great variety of valuable matter from our diplomatic representatives. It is gratifying to be able to state that there has been a noticeable increase in the activity and interest shown by the embassies and legations, as well as by consular officers, in the collection of useful data for this publication, including statistical documents of foreign governments, which are freely availed of. The effort has been made to restrict the contents of the monthly issue, as nearly as possible, to matter of practical value to our industries and commerce, for the reason that other Departments and Bureaus of the Government are charged with the publication of much of the information which formerly found its way into the pages of what was expressly intended to be a commercial periodical. Duplication of matter in Government publications and consequent waste and confusion are thus avoided. The contents of the monthly reports, nevertheless, still continue to cover a wide range of subjects. They may be said to describe, with more or less fullness, the industrial activity and progress of the world from year to year. But few, if any, inventions or discoveries of practical importance are omitted in the reports from the leading industrial countries, and a number of instances might be cited of new industries established or improvements in manufacturing processes adopted in the United States as the result of suggestions or information supplied in these monthly reports.
III. ADVANCE SHEETS, CONSULAR REPORTS. These are selected reports, of more immediate interest or importance, from the contents of the monthly issue, which are printed in advance for the benefit of the newspaper press, boards of trade, chambers of commerce and other trade or industrial organizations, bureaus of commercial information, and individual merchants and manufacturers throughout the country, especially such as are engaged in foreign trade.
IV. SPECIAL CONSULAR REPORTS, being series of reports on particular subjects, prepared under special instructions from the Department. The titles of some of them—such as Tariffs of Foreign Countries, Port Regulations in Foreign Countries, Canals and Irrigation, and Money and Prices in Foreign Countries-sufficiently indicate their general character.
V. DECLARED EXPORTS. This is a quarterly publication, giving the articles exported to the United States and their invoice values as declared at the various consulates throughout the world.
For some time past, the fact has been fully recognized that the element of timeliness in getting these reports before the public is of great importance. To this end, every effort has been made to secure the utmost promptitude in publication in the order of their relative value, and in spite of the embarrassment caused until quite recently by an insufficient working force and a meager appropriation, a steady and, I trust, substantial improvement has been effected. Complaints of tardy publication, which, under old conditions, was in many cases unavoidable, are no longer received, and within the past two years, commendation of the celerity with which the reports are printed has come from so many quarters that the Department may be considered as responding satisfactorily to the demands upon it for this class of