Extraterritorial Lands Bureau
The Extraterritorial Lands Bureau is a government organization/agency within the North American League, under the auspices of the Secretary of State for Internal Affairs.
The Bureau is one of the most ancient arms of the government of the NAL-SLC, and apart from the original signatories to the Covenant, every province since 1805 has spent some amount of time under the auspices of the Bureau. In earlier times, the Bureau was busy exploring, mapping, measuring, surveying, cataloguing, describing and collecting artifacts from everywhere west of the great Appalachian Mountains: the Southwest Territories, the Northwest Territory, Transylvania, the Great Hudson's Bay Company Land, Rupert's Land, Labrador and several others. In the 21st century, most of the Bureau's activities are limited to general territorial oversight, as most of the lands under the Bureau's governance have some kind of internal government that handles all local issues. The only weighty duty of the Ministers is to ensure that these local governments recognise the NAL's sovereignty over all matters of national import and international relations. It is something like a buffer between two somewhat equal governments.
The Bureau was established in 1805 to "...govern and tame the vast western wilderness beyond the Mountains; to send thither explorers armed with surveying equipment and return them with maps and gazetters and descriptions of all they see." (Whittington). The first Ministers were appointed by the General Moderator in 1807.
The Bureau doesn't actually rule anything. Its role is more like "ambassadors within the nation" (as opposed to ambassadors outside the nation who act as liasons with foreign countries and organisations). The role of the Bureau is more to act as liason between Philadelphia and territories that are not ruled by Philadelphia. These territories have local governments and local structures of law; Ministers work under a "general territorial oversight" capacity solely to coordinate the efforts of local governments with national law; they also ensure that the activities of the local governments do not violate national security concerns. The Bureau enjoys considerable independence from the entanglements of Philadelphia and this status allows it to pretty much allow its various territories to do what they want. The relationship between the Bureau and the local territorial government is spelled out by treaty. The principle duty of a territory's Minister vis-a-vis the treaties is to ensure both sides abide by the terms of the treaty. Ministers also engage in needful revision and periodic ratification of the residents of the territory. Semi-officially, this means the Bureau acts as a sort of buffer between the federal and local governments.
This state of affairs is what the vast majority of the territories under the Bureau's auspices want. There are enough people in many parts of the Unincorporated Terriories, for example, and sufficient resources to carve up into several appealing provinces -- and Philadelphia has been sniffing around north of Les Plaines for a few decades now -- but the people of the UT have by and large been opposed to formally joining the NAL as a province. Their association with the Bureau has been their greatest guarantor of their liberty.
Also set by treaty, the roles of the individual Minsters are varied. Typically, a Minister's duties largely involve periodic tours of the territory and an inspection of the State Papers, to make sure they're minding their Ps and Qs. Other duties, such as giving assent to local Acts of Parliament or overseeing some aspect of local government, vary from territory to territory. The Minister to the Unincorporated Territories serves as its de jure "supreme executive"; various treaties limit his authority. He has the right to halt national legislation that contradicts the treaties between the NAL and the UT territories without the consent of the UT's parliament. He may also allow the law to stand until specifically striken down or affirmed by the territorial parliament. He also has the duty to give assent to statutes passed by the territorial parliament. The UT has the right to expand or contract his authority and scope of duty. The only way he could really countermand an act of the UT's parliament is if they tried to do something counter to national security or that is in violation of the treaties with the NAL or another country.
In the Dry Tortugas, the Minister has almost limitless authority, there being no local government at all. There are also no permanent residents, so no harm is done. Up in New Zandam, the Minister there has essentially no authority at all except the "national security" veto, since the territory is privately owned and administered.
The offices of the Bureau are in Philadelphia, and are considered one of the most opulent of all government offices. The suite comprises three floors of the north wing of the old Library of the Continental Congress, which now houses both the Bureau and the Macey Institution's offices.
The Territories governed by the Bureau include:
- Unincorporated Territories
- Kingdom of Beaver Island
- Northwest Territories
- Nieuw Zaandam Ecotours LLC
- Dry Tortugas
For the Kingdom of Beaver Island (originally the Northwest Territory): the Rt. Hon. Gerald Scanlon, Esq., has offices at No. 1 Kings Highway at the corner of Kings Highway and Mark St. This Minister can generally be found out on the lake fishing (weather permitting) on Sat. through Weds. (or else hiking round the island or skiing, again weather permitting) and has office hours (by appt.) on Thurs. and Fri. (9a to 1p). He generally takes a fortnight or so in the summer to vacation in Calgary for the big pauwau. Really great fishing up that way, too.
For the Dry Tortugas: the Rt. Hon. Dr. Madeline Cardoza can generally be found racing her yacht in various Caribbean courses or conducting research in the local waters. She favours Jamaica as a landing spot, though her office is located in Port Rogeres. She was born in Wallace Cay and detests cold weather and almost never visits Calgary. Or Philadelphia for that matter.
For the Unincorporated Territories: the Rt. Hon. Aldon Grey can generally be found hunting or fishing in the bush. Offices are at No. 6 Constantine Av., Winnipeg. The eye in the jar of formaldehyde on the mantle in his office is Mr Grey's own left; having been removed after a black bear attack in 2000. Said black bear resides in the corner of the office.
- Sir John Patrick Urquart (1807-1812)
- James L. Macey (1812-1829)
The second Chief Minister, Mr. Macey, enflamed by the massive collections of artifacts and maps and descriptive tracts brought back by Lord Urquhart's surveyors, undertook the work of collating and extending the Bureau's collection. In 1828, he personally financed the foundation of the Macey Institution which would serve as "...an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." Bequeathed to the Convention upon his death in 1835, the nation pledged to continue the work of the Institution. In 1869, the Institution was formally separated from the Lands Bureau which had provided much of its vast collection. Several of the surveyors and explorers that had worked for the Lands Bureau and also the Macey Institution would go on to found, in 1881, the American Geographical Association with similar aims as the Institution but encompassing the whole world, rather than just the territories of the NAL.