In 1871 the Attorney General of the United States ruled that: ''A minister of the United States abroad is not prohibited by the Constitution from rendering a friendly service to a foreign power, even that of negotiating a treaty for it, provided he does not become an officer of that power . . . but the acceptance of a formal commission, as minister plenipotentiary, creates an official relation between the individual thus commissioned and the government which in this way accredits him as its representative,'' which is prohibited by this clause of the Constitution. 1796
[Footnote 1796] 13 Ops. Atty. Gen. 538 (1871).