« PreviousContinue »
done away with by the Indian Govern- same allowances as officers of correspondment, the Admiralty should recommend ing rank in the army. He understood any allowances in lieu of the batta money. that his hon and gallant Friend did not Upon what principle was the Admiral press for the Returns, and he hoped, thereserving upon that station to be paid very fore, that he would be satisfied with the considerably more than the admirals on explanation he had given. other stations? If on the ground of the cost of living, he would only say that that cost was very high at the Cape of Good Hope, where there was an Admiral, and also on the West India station; and he could scarcely think it right, therefore, that the Admiralty should select India as a favoured station, at which a higher rate of pay should be given than at others, without any sufficient reason. Such, at all events, was the principle on which the Admiralty proceeded in not proposing extra allowances for the naval officer in command in India and China. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had asked whether the Admiralty had found any inconvenience in getting officers to take the command in India and China in consequence of the reduction, and he was sorry that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, in referring to that point, had cast some reflection upon the Admiral who had recently taken command of the India and China station.
SIR JOHN HAY said, he wished to say one word in explanation. It was far from his intention to cast any slur upon the present naval Commander in Chief in India. What he meant to say was, that it used to be the practice to appoint to that command only such persons as had served as flag officers, and that though the gallant Admiral had distinguished himself in China, he had not attained that position.
SIR JOHN HAY denied he had cast any reflection upon the gallant Admiral.
LORD CLARENCE PAGET, said he understood the hon. and gallant Gentleman to have said that he was not so distinguished an officer as others who had gone before him, and upon that point he must beg to differ with him. The gallant Admiral had greatly distinguished himself in China. [Sir JOHN HAY: Hear, hear!] With regard to the difficulty of finding officers to take the command in India, the station was one with respect to which there would always be some difficulty. It was not everybody who wished to go to so remote a quarter of the world, and one or two officers to whom it was intended to offer the command had declined to accept it on the score of health-possibly, also, because of reasons connected with their private affairs. Practically, however, there had been on the part of the Admiralty no difficulty in finding an officer to take the command on the China station, and it was not the character of the service for officers to make any difficulty in going anywhere they were ordered. It was impossible to continue the batta money to officers of the navy in India unless they had duties on shore; but if they were employed on shore, they would receive the
THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE.
MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the Report of the Select Committee on the Diplomatic Service. All who had read that Report must, he thought, have been struck with the unanimity which prevailed among the witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee, and with the vast mass of valuable information which the Report contained. They must also have observed with pleasure the great interest which had been taken by all our Foreign Secretaries in the welfare of the diplomatic service. A Report having been made by the Select Committee, based upon the evidence of distinguished public men, he thought it was not out of place to ask the Government, before the close of the Session, whether they intended to carry out the suggestions embodied in the Report. It was remarkable, that while the expenditure of every other department of the public service had been increased one-third during the last thirty years, the expenditure of the diplomatic profession had been reduced by a very considerable amount. Although the Army Estimates had been increased by £4,000,000 within the last few years, only a very small addition had been made to the rank and file. The increased expense had been caused by the provision of additional comforts to the army, and the same remark applied to the navy. In the diplomatic service the case was far otherwise; for although the business had increased no less than sevenfold since 1830, at which date the number of despatches which passed through the Foreign Office was 10,000 per annum, whereas it was now something like 75,000, and although
a large additional number of gentlemen! expenditure. The House might not, perhad entered the profession, the number haps be aware that Ambassadors and of attachés being now one-third greater Ministers were the only public servants than it used to be, yet the expenditure who were not allowed even one month's of the service had been reduced to a much leave of absence without a deduction
larger extent than was ever contemplated from their salaries. Such an arrangeby Parliament. In 1825 the expenditure ment as that was very bad; it was bitupon the diplomatic service exceeded terly complained of, and he thought the £300,000 a year; in 1830 it was House would agree with him that two £230,000; but now it was no more than months' leave of absence should be granted about £180,000. The profits of the pro- without any reduction of salary. The fession had been diminished, while the whole additional expense would not excost of living in all the European capitals ceed £7,000 or £8,000 a year. He behad been nearly doubled, and while, at lieved it was intended that there should the same time, the business had been be no unpaid attachés. A Vote of £2,300 enormously increased. If the expenditure would be presented to the House before could have been reduced with justice the close of the Session, and he hoped it to the gentlemen who had entered the would be passed without opposition. Anservice, nobody would have a word to say other point of importance was embodied against the arrangement; but when every in the sixth recommendation, which was— witness examined before the Select Committee declared that those gentlemen were very insufficiently paid, and that justice was not done to them, it became the duty of the House of Commons to give its attention to the subject, and take care that it did not countenance the continuance of an unwise economy. The Select Committee had made seven recommendations, the first of which related to the examination of attachés. Upon that subject a good deal of evidence was taken, and all the witnesses agreed in thinking that the system of examination should not be pressed too far. Mr. Elliot stated that a man accustomed to good society was the person best fitted for the diplomatic service. The Earl of Clarendon declared that many qualities were required which could not be tested by an examination. Sir Andrew Buchanan made a remark of the same kind, while Earl Russell admitted that there were great practical inconveniences in the examination of attachés. It was essential, of course, that no incompetent person should be appointed, but the Civil Service Commissioners should not be allowed to interfere too much with candidates. The next three recommendations of the Select Committee bore simply upon the regulations of the Foreign Office, and he would not trouble the House with any remarks on them. But then came a very important suggestion
"That the present regulations with regard to leave of absence of Ambassadors and Ministers appear to press upon them with undue severity, and that the attention of the Secretary of State may be advantageously directed to the subject." That recommendation involved a certain Mr. Baillie Cochrane
"That, whenever it is practicable and fit, a residence for a term of years should be secured for the British Embassy or Mission, the rent and repairs to be defrayed at the public expense." He thought that a deduction should be made from the salary of an Ambassador or Minister for house rent; but it was most important that there should be a fixed residence in every capital, in order that the representatives of Her Majesty abroad might not be put to unnecessary expense. The French system in this respect was much better than our own. The last suggestion of the Select Committee was
be directed to the salaries and allowances of the "That the attention of the Secretary of State larger missions, with the view of considering whether they are adequate to meet greatly increased expenditure of living at the principal European capitals."
Upon that point the evidence was strong, unanimous, and conclusive. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe was asked
"Do you consider the efficiency of the service
has suffered from its not being so profitable as a
out of their own means than allow the service to
"I cannot undertake to say, as far as my experience has gone, that it has so suffered; there is, generally such a spirit among the gentlemen employed that they would rather make sacrifices suffer; but it is hardly fair to leave an opening for such sacrifices. To speak from conjecture, I should presume that adequate remuneration, and the prospect of high eventual prizes, would obtain for the public a greater command of talent. I think that the appointments should be sufficient for the due performance of the duties, and that any individual employed in the diplomatic service of Her Majesty's Government should be placed on terms of society with the native gentlemen ;
an ambassador with those of the first rank, and
tlemen would be glad to undertake the office with its present conditions. England was a great country, and it ought to be represented with due dignity. While diplomacy in France cost £150,000 a
In your Lordship's administration were there frequently complaints on the part of the diplo-year, it only cost England £140,000; and matic body as to the inadequacy of their salaries to support their position in a proper manner ?—A great many."
"Do you remember what were the main grounds on which those complaints were founded?-Principally the great increase of prices everywhere, in both hemispheres. The increase of prices in South America is astonishing. We also know that at Paris everything has increased 40 per cent within our recent recollection. That, I believe, was the principal ground which they put forward when they stated that their salaries were not sufficient, and that they were obliged to trench upon their private means." Earl Russell said our representatives abroad were not sufficiently paid. Earl Cowley stated that he was out of pocket every year, while Sir A. Buchanan frankly told the Committee that his expenses in Madrid exceeded his salary by £1,000 per annum, and that he had been obliged to borrow a sum of money. The Earl of Clarendon gave the following evidence:
to make that up, about £12,000 which used to stand on the consular had been placed on the diplomatic charges. Parliament allowed £180,000 for the diplomatic service and pensions, but, instead of that, sometimes not more than £160,000 was spent, and therefore there had been £130,000 saved out of the diplomatic expenditure and applied to the Consolidated Fund during the last seven years. He did not think he was asking too much of the Government to support his views, and of the House of Commons to adopt them. If this year it was impossible to do anything in raising the salaries of these most deserving public servants, he hoped the Government would, at all events, concede one point, and allow two months' leave of absence without any deductions from their salary. Everybody admitted how admirably the diplomatic service of the country had been carried out in recent times-without forgetting the services of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe-by such men as Lord Lyons, Lord Napier, Earl Cowley, Sir Henry Bulwer, and Sir James Hudson. It was only, therefore, simple justice that the Report of the Select Committee should be carried into effect.
MR. THOMSON HANKEY seconded the Motion.
"Do you consider that the present pay of heads of missions is sufficient?-I am sure that it is not. The scale of salaries, I believe, was fixed thirty or forty years ago, and I believe very properly and fairly, and even liberally, with reference to the prices of the necessaries and comforts, and perhaps even the luxuries, of life; but I believe that there is no part of Europe, or America either, in which the prices of all those things have not risen from 40 to 60 or 70 per cent; consequently the rate at which the salaries were fixed thirty or forty years ago can be hardly fair now although they were fair then, and I believe that many Ministers are put to very considerable straits." He thought it essential to the position and influence of a country that its diplomatic servants should be able to entertain. There could not be better evidence on that point than that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. Before the Official Salaries Committee the noble Lord stated that no man could live in Paris on £10,000 a year. Earl Granville spent a great deal more. Let the House compare the salaries paid by England with those paid by other countries. The French Ambassador in London received 300,000f., or £12,000 a year; the French Mininster
MR. LAYARD said, he would admit that the hon. Gentleman had made a very fair and impartial statement to the House. The Committee which sat last year on the diplomatic service was composed of hon. Gentlemen of great experience. They went very fully into the subject, and, after a long investigation, the Committee made a Report which contained seven recommendations. The Foreign Office were desirous of carrying out all those recommendations, which no doubt were entirely warranted by the evidence. To some extent they were put forward by Earl Russell himself; they received the almost una
at St. Petersburg also received £12,000 nimous adhesion of the members of the per annum. It was not fair to place a Committee; and the Foreign Office would representative in a capital-for instance, have acted in accordance with the feelings Lord Napier at St. Petersburg-on a scale of the Committee if they had been able of salary which would not allow him to to carry out all their recommendations at receive in the same manner as the French once. But it must be recollected that ambassador. That was a hardship. It the Foreign Office did not hold the pursewas no answer to say that plenty of gen- strings, and after due consideration it was
not thought in the present state of things | period annually to the heads of missions, advisable to come down to the House of without deduction from their salaries. Commons and ask a considerable addition He did not quite agree with his hon. to the Estimates in order to give effect Friend, that when the head of a mission to all those recommendations. What the was on leave he should have his full hon. Gentleman had stated was quite pay, because much of his official income correct-that while all other branches of was expended in entertaining, and that the public service had enormously in- could not go on while he was away. creased, the expenditure of the Foreign What the Foreign Office proposed as a reaOffice had remained stationary for thirty sonable compromise was, that during an years. A certain sum placed on the Con- annual leave of absence-and it was highly solidated Fund-namely, £180,000-was important that heads of departments still applied to the diplomatic service, and should occasionally come to England, and out of that sum from £7,000 to £10,000 thus have opportunities of communicating had been annually returned to the Exche- personally with the Foreign Office and quer. In 1831, when the new system with the leading men in this country, and was introduced, the annual amount voted of making themselves acquainted with the for the diplomatic service was about state of public feeling at home-a certain £200,000; and his conviction was, that sum should be deducted from their pay, if annual sums had been asked of the which would go to increase the salary of House, instead of the amount being fixed the chargé d'affaires in their absence. upon the Consolidated Fund, it would The sixth recommendation was as to prohave increased with the other branches of viding houses for the principal missions. the public expenditure. He would state That, no doubt, would be a very great very shortly what Government were pre- benefit to our diplomatic servants; but pared to do. The first recommendation again they were met by a question of exwas that two sets of examinations-one pense. As the hon. Gentleman opposite on being appointed an unpaid attaché, had observed, diplomatic officers were often and the other when made a paid attaché appointed to missions without any cershall not be obligatory. These examina- tainty as to how long they would remain tions had been found extremely inconve- there, and frequently incurred expenses nient, especially when gentlemen were in hiring and fitting up their houses, serving at distant posts. It was proposed which were made useless by their removal to leave it to the option of an attaché to very shortly afterwards. At Naples, for undergo one examination on entering the instance, Mr. Elliot had gone to some service. The next recommendation was, expense in furnishing his house, and that after a probationary period of four immediately afterwards the mission was years' service unpaid attachés should be abolished: he had return to this country, promoted to become paid attachés. There and had suffered considerable pecuniary were instances of young gentlemen having loss. The seventh recommendation was served eleven years without any pay. He with regard to the increase of salaries. thought, as a rule, public servants should No doubt the cost of living, not only be paid, and he had been in favour of throughout Europe, but throughout the all attachés being paid. It was, how- whole world, had increased of late ever, finally agreed that after four years much more than hon. Gentlemen would, they should be paid. That recommenda- perhaps, believe without reading through tion the Foreign Office was prepared to the returns made to the Foreign Office. carry out, and a supplementary Estimate Everywhere, almost, the cost of living of £2,800 would be asked for that pur- had increased by one-third, and in some pose. The next recommendation was, that cases by one-half. Here, again, they commissions as secretaries should be given were met by the question of expense. to attachés on their first appointment to But if, under more favourable circumbe paid attachés. The object was, that stances, the House of Commons could be when those gentlemen received pay, they inclined to take into consideration the case should also receive a commission, which of public servants who performed their would give them a claim for a pension from duties so well, nobody would be more dethat day forward; and that recommenda- lighted than himself. Still it was a question they also hoped to carry out. The tion more for the Chancellor of the Exfifth recommendation was, that leave of chequer than for the Foreign Office. He absence should be given for a certain concurred entirely in all that had been Mr. Layard
said as to the merits of the diplomatic year they had £18,700 for payments in service. There was no country which connection with our diplomatic relations was so adequately served in that depart- in China, besides £4,000 for travelling ment at so little cost as England; and if a expenses. Altogether, the cost of the time should come when an increase in the service was not £180,000, but £340,000. salaries of the diplomatic servants could The Repor of the Select Committee be proposed, no one would rejoice more on the diplomatic service was based on a than he should. string of seven resolutions, six of which recommended an increased expenditure, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. If the House was not careful how it sanctioned such demands, the Secretary of State, who was then limited to an expenditure of £180,000 on diplomatic salaries, would be constantly pressed to appoint more paid attachés, while, on the other hand, the House would be constantly pressed for more supplementary Votes to pay them. One of the resolutions of the Committee had reference to the stoppage of salaries of ministers when absent from their posts, in reference to which he believed some alteration had already been made. But this was a matter in the hands of the Foreign Secretary, who could distribute the £180,000 as he pleased. Another of the resolutions recommended that embassy houses should be provided in the different European capitals for the Ministers. The unfortunate precedents of Paris and Constantinople ought to act as a warning to them against adopting any such rule. Our embassy house at the latter of those two capitals was to have cost £40,000, but it actually cost £90,000; from £2,000 to £3,000 a year more was required to keep it in repair; and, after all, it was one of the worst structures in Europe. Much had been said about the increased cost of living on the Continent, but the reduced charges for travelling, postage, telegraphic communication, and other things, in some degree compensated for such extra expense. A diplomatic career was a highly honourable one, which men were anxious to enter not for the sake of pecuniary emolument only, but for the position it gave them, and the prospect it opened to them of rising to posts of great dignity and importance in Europe. The Select Committee was composed of a majority of men who were then either in office or had been in office, and who might naturally have had a bias in favour of officials. The Chairman of the Committee-the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Monckton Milnes) proposed an elaborate Report framed with a view to make the diplomatic service more strictly professional. That end was to be attained
MR. W. WILLIAMS said, he rose to protest against any increase in the expenditure of the country. Only a few evenings previously there was a discussion in that House on the public charges, and it was then agreed on all sides that the expenditure ought to be reduced. Yet the Foreign Office were ready to increase the burdens of the people, and, as he believed, without any just reason. When the Committee was moved for, he (Mr. Williams) stated, that unless very great care was taken, the result would be to increase the public expenditure; and so it had proved from what had just been stated on the part of the Government. He contended that the diplomatic service was, as a rule, rather overpaid than underpaid. The Ambassador at Paris had a salary of £10,000 a year, with house rent, provided for him, and frequent demands on the country for furniture and other such expenses, and yet he said that his salary was insufficient. Certainly he could not spend that amount on anything connected with the duties of his office. It could only be in entertaining distinguished personages from his own country, and that was a purpose for which the people of this country ought not to be taxed. He was not surprised at the Government sanctioning increased expenditure in the department, because, of course, it would give them increased patronage. If they assented to increase the salaries and allowances of the diplomatic service, they would soon be again asked to augment them further. He hoped, therefore, the question would not be entertained.
MR. DODSON said, he was sorry to hear his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs intimate that he should have been prepared to adopt the Resolution of the hon. Member opposite, if he thought the House would endure it. The hon. Gentleman opposite spoke in terms of compassion of the diplomatic service having only the sum of £180,000 a year spent upon its members; but, besides £10,000 secret service money, he (Mr. Dodson) found scattered up and down the Estimates all sorts of expenses for the diplomatic service. In the Estimates of that