A BLUE FLAG WITH A WHITE LETTER “C” INCLOSED IN A CIRCLE OF THIRTEEN WHITE STARS WAS ADOPTED IN 1903 BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AS A “CONSULAR-BOAT FLAG”
In 1777 a dark blue flag with 13 white stars, called the “Jack,” was first flown on small naval vessels whenever an ambassador or minister of the diplomatic corps was on board. On April 27, 1903 a “C” was added to the center of the stars on the Jack and this new flag was authorized as the Consular Flag for the use of consular officers traveling by boat in the ports to which they were accredited. According to instructions, the flag was to be used by consular officers who had occasion to employ small boats for official purposes and was designed to indicate to vessels of war and port officials that a consular officer of the United States was on board. During that year, consular flags were sent to officers at many seaports, including Canton, Constantinople, Naples, Nice, Rio de Janeiro, Tampico and Yokohama. In 1909 the United States Navy began to display the consular flag on a staff in the bow whenever a consular representative of the United States made an official visit onboard. Other nations which provide a consular flag include the United Kingdom, Mexico and Paraguay. Consular flags today, in accordance with Foreign Affairs Regulations, are to be displayed along with the U.S. flag in consular waiting rooms and in the offices of Consuls General and consular chiefs.