A-12918, FEBRUARY 15, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 634

A-12918: Feb 15, 1926

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RELIEF OF ALIEN SEAMEN THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER EXISTING LAW FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO ENTER INTO RECIPROCAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT BY WHICH. THE CONSULAR OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES MAY FURNISH OTHER THAN TEMPORARY RELIEF TO SEAMEN WHO ARE CITIZENS OF NORWAY AND WHO WERE SHIPPED UPON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A FOREIGN PORT AND DISCHARGED THEREFROM ALSO IN A FOREIGN PORT. THERE IS ALSO NO AUTHORITY TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION TO SUCH SEAMEN. 1926: THIS OFFICE IS IN RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 29. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS ARE AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH RELIEF AND TRANSPORTATION TO NORWEGIAN SEAMEN WHO HAD SHIPPED ON AMERICAN VESSELS WHILE IN A FOREIGN PORT AND ARE DISCHARGED THEREFROM IN A FOREIGN PORT ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS OR INJURY.

A-12918, FEBRUARY 15, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 634

RELIEF OF ALIEN SEAMEN THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER EXISTING LAW FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO ENTER INTO RECIPROCAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT BY WHICH, IN RETURN FOR LIKE FAVORS, THE CONSULAR OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES MAY FURNISH OTHER THAN TEMPORARY RELIEF TO SEAMEN WHO ARE CITIZENS OF NORWAY AND WHO WERE SHIPPED UPON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A FOREIGN PORT AND DISCHARGED THEREFROM ALSO IN A FOREIGN PORT. THERE IS ALSO NO AUTHORITY TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION TO SUCH SEAMEN.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, FEBRUARY 15, 1926:

THIS OFFICE IS IN RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 29, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS ARE AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH RELIEF AND TRANSPORTATION TO NORWEGIAN SEAMEN WHO HAD SHIPPED ON AMERICAN VESSELS WHILE IN A FOREIGN PORT AND ARE DISCHARGED THEREFROM IN A FOREIGN PORT ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS OR INJURY. IT APPEARS FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT UNDER THE NORWEGIAN LAW NO DISTINCTION ON ACCOUNT OF NATIONALITY IS MADE IN THE RELIEF TO BE FURNISHED SEAMEN WHEN DISCHARGED FROM NORWEGIAN VESSELS IN PORTS FOREIGN TO THAT COUNTRY AND IT IS DESIRED TO ENTER INTO RECIPROCAL ARRANGEMENTS WHERE BY SIMILAR RELIEF MAY BE FURNISHED NORWEGIAN SEAMEN DISCHARGED FROM AMERICAN VESSELS IN FOREIGN PORTS.

THE RIGHT TO GRANT RELIEF TO ALIEN SEAMEN SHIPPED ON AMERICAN VESSELS IN FOREIGN PORTS AND DISCHARGED IN FOREIGN PORTS WAS HERETOFORE PRESENTED BY YOUR SUBMISSION UNDER DATE OF APRIL 7, 1922, AND IN MY DECISION RENDERED TO YOU APRIL 22, 1922, 1 COMP. GEN. 583, IT WAS SAID (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

AN ALIEN SHIPPED ON AN AMERICAN VESSEL IN A FOREIGN PORT AND DISCHARGED IN A FOREIGN PORT BECAUSE OF ILLNESS OR INJURY INCAPACITATING HIM FOR SERVICE IS NOT SUCH AN AMERICAN SEAMAN AS IS ENTITLED TO RELIEF UNDER PARAGRAPH 260 OF THE CONSULAR REGULATIONS, BUT SUCH SEAMEN MAY BE FURNISHED TEMPORARY RELIEF AND PROTECTION WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FROM THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES.

THAT DECISION ALSO CITED WITH APPROVAL THE DECISION OF THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, 27 COMP. DEC. 617, HOLDING THAT TRANSPORTATION COULD NOT BE FURNISHED UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AS SECTION 4581 REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1898, 30 STAT. 759, AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION ONLY FOR THE PURPOSES OF "RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES.' SEE ALSO 5 COMP. GEN. 180. YOU SUGGEST THAT, WITHOUT THE RIGHT TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION, THE CONSUL WOULD HAVE NO MEANS OF TERMINATING THE RELIEF AND THE CHARGE FOR SUCH RELIEF MIGHT EXTEND OVER AN INDEFINITE PERIOD. THE RELIEF WHICH WAS AUTHORIZED IN THE DECISION OF APRIL 22, 1922, SUPRA, WAS TEMPORARY ONLY AND IT SHOULD NOT EXTEND BEYOND THE TIME WHEN RESHIPMENT BY THE SEAMEN COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED OR BEYOND THE TIME NECESSARY TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT FOR HIS CARE AND TRANSPORTATION OR OTHER RELIEF AT THE EXPENSE OF THAT GOVERNMENT.

THE ONLY POINT PRESENTED IN YOUR PRESENT SUBMISSION THAT WAS NOT CONSIDERED IN THE PREVIOUS PUBLISHED CASES IS THE MATTER OF RECIPROCAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH NORWAY. THE RELIEF WHICH YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO EXTEND TO SEAMEN IS, HOWEVER, PRESCRIBED BY STATUTE AND ANY RECIPROCAL ARRANGEMENTS WHICH WOULD ENTAIL EXPENDITURES IN EXCESS OF THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY ARE MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS.

ACCORDINGLY I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE DRAFT OF THE PROPOSED INSTRUCTIONS SUBMITTED BY YOU DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE AUTHORIZED UNDER EXISTING LAW.