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mestic affairs, and the bill introduced in the House June 2 was framed accordingly. One clause of this bill, to the effect that the Secretary for Foreign Affairs should be “removable from office by the President of the United States,” gave rise to debate, which continued a week.
William Smith, of South Carolina, said:
Either that the constitution has given the President the power of removal, and therefore it is nugatory to make the declaration here; or it has not given the power to him, and therefore it is improper to make an attempt to confer it upon him.
It was contended that the power of appointment carried with it the power of removal; but an appointment required the advice and consent of the Senate—did not a removal also require it?
Boudinot, of New Jersey, said: If the President complains to the Senate of the misconduct of an officer, and desires their advice and consent to the removal, what are the Senate to do? Most certainly they will inquire if the complaint is well founded. To do
this they must call the officer before them to answer. Who, then, are the parties? The Supreme Executive against his assistant; and the Senate to sit as judges to determine whether sufficient cause of removal exists. Does not this set the Senate over the head of the President? But suppose they shall decide in favor of the officer, what a situation is the President then in, surrounded by officers with whom he can have no confidence.
He thought the President had the right of removal, but that, as some doubt respecting the construction of the Constitution had arisen, the clause ought to remain in the bill. Madison also supported this view, and the bill, containing in the second section an expression of the right of removal, passed the House by a vote of twenty-nine to twenty-two June 27.* As it went to the Senate it read as follows:
Be it enacted by the Congress of the United States that there shall be an executive department to be denominated the department of Foreign affairs: and that there shall be a principal officer therein, to be called the Secretary for the department of foreign affairs, who shall perform and ex- . ecute such duties, as shall from time to time be enjoined on, or be entrusted to, him by the President of the United States agreeable to the Constitution, relative to correspondencies Commissions, or instructions, to or with public Ministers or Consuls, from the United States, or to negotiations from foreign States or Princes, or to memorials or other applications, from foreign public ministers, or other foreigners, or to such other matters respecting foreign affairs, as the President of the United States may assign to the said department: and furthermore that the said principal officer, shall conduct the business of the said department in such a manner as the President of the United States shall from time to time, order or instruct.
*Annals of Congress, 1, 417 et seq.
And be it further enacted That there shall be in the said department, an inferior officer, to be appointed by the said principal officer, and to be employed therein as he shall deem proper, and to be called the Chief Clerk in the department of foreign affairs, and who' whenever, the said principal officer shall be removed from office by the President of the United States, or in any other case of Vacancy shall during such vacancy have the charge and custody of all records, books and papers appertaining to the said department—Provided, nevertheless that no appointment of such chief Clerk shall be valid until the same shall have been approved by the President of the United States.
And be it further enacted, That the said principal officer, and every other person to be appointed or employed in the said department, shall before he enters on the exercise of his office or employment take an oath or affirmation, well and faithfully to execute the trust committed to him.
And be it further enacted that the Secretary for the department of foreign affairs, to be appointed in consequence of this act shall forthwith after his appointment be entitled to have the Custody and charge of all records books, and papers in the office of Secretary for the department of foreign affairs heretofore established by the United States in Congress assembled. Passed the House June 24, 1789.
This is indorsed “Copy as it came from House.”*
In the Senate the bill was again debated; but, as the sessions were held behind closed doors, there is no record of what was said. It was passed July 18, with slight amendment, the proviso requiring the President's approval of the Chief Clerk being struck out, and the phrase “Congress of the United States” being altered to “Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.”* On the 20th the House agreed to the Senate amendments, † and the President signed the bill the 27th. The final act read: An act for establishing an Executive Department, to be
*U.S. Senate MS. archives. The archives of the House covering this period were destroyed by the British in the war of 1812.
denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Sect. 1.) Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled, That there shall be an executive department, to be denominated the department of foreign affairs, and that there shall be a principal officer therein, to be called the secretary for the department of foreign affairs, who shall perform and execute such duties as shall, from time to time, be enjoined on or intrusted to him by the president of the United States, agreeable to the constitution, relative to correspondences, commissions, or instructions to or with public ministers or consuls, from the United States, or to negotiations with public ministers from foreign states or princes, or to memorials or other applications from foreign public ministers, or other foreigners, or to such other matters respecting foreign affairs as the president of the United States shall assign to the said department; And furthermore, that the said principal officer shall conduct the business of the said department in such manner as the
*U. S. Senate MS, archives.
Annals of Congress, I, 51, 52.