Now, just as no sensible man will say that Governments do not often oppress the people under their care, so no sensible man will contend that Foreign Offices do not sometimes sin in the same way. But let us try to give an accurate picture of the work on which the British Foreign Office spends its time.
The organisation of the Foreign Office consists of:
(1) An office, situated in Downing Street, manned by a number of clerks, under the direction of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
(2) The Diplomatic Service—that is to say, from three to eight officials residing in the capital of each foreign country. In the more important countries these officials are called an Embassy, and are under the direction of an Ambassador; in the smaller countries they are called a Legation, and are under the direction of a Minister. These Ambassadors and Ministers receive instructions from and report to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and are the mouthpiece of the British Government in all business which Great Britain transacts with foreign countries.
(3) The Consular Service—that is to say, a large number of officials, called Consuls, distributed over all the towns of the world where British subjects have important trade connections or where there are a considerable number of British subjects. These Consuls are under the direction of the Foreign Office and of the Embassy or Legation in the country where they reside, and their business is to assist British trade and protect British subjects.
Sec.2. The Work of the Foreign Office.—The work of this whole organisation may be divided into four classes:
(1) The protection of individual British subjects. This protection often extends to the most petty matters. Through the offices of a Consul and of an Embassy or Legation flows day by day a continual stream of British subjects who are in small difficulties or have small grievances against the officials of the country. One old lady has lost her luggage; a working man is stranded without work and wants to get back to England; a commercial traveller has got into trouble with the customs officials and asks for redress. But the protection thus given is often concerned with very important matters, and is constantly employed on behalf of the poorest and the most helpless. For instance, our officials in the United States are constantly occupied, in assisting British immigrant working men and women who are suffering hardships under the stringent provisions of the United States immigration laws.