A-16803, JANUARY 10, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 462

A-16803: Jan 10, 1927

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TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ON AMERICAN VESSELS THE CERTIFICATION "THAT THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS ON WHICH SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS MAY BE TRANSPORTED. " REQUIRED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ON OTHER THAN AMERICAN VESSELS MAY NOT BE USED WITH JUSTIFICATION BECAUSE THE AMERICAN VESSEL SHOULD HAPPEN TO CARRY BUT ONE CLASS OF PASSENGERS AND WAS OF SMALLER TONNAGE WHILE THE FOREIGN VESSEL CARRIED SEVERAL CLASSES OF PASSENGERS AND WAS OF LARGE TONNAGE. IF THE AMERICAN VESSEL WAS EQUALLY AVAILABLE WITH THE FOREIGN VESSEL AS TO TIME AND PLACE OF SAILING. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER A CERTIFICATE MAY PROPERLY ISSUE BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT NO AMERICAN VESSEL IS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A HIGH RANKING DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICER TO WASHINGTON.

A-16803, JANUARY 10, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 462

TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ON AMERICAN VESSELS THE CERTIFICATION "THAT THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS ON WHICH SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS MAY BE TRANSPORTED," REQUIRED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ON OTHER THAN AMERICAN VESSELS MAY NOT BE USED WITH JUSTIFICATION BECAUSE THE AMERICAN VESSEL SHOULD HAPPEN TO CARRY BUT ONE CLASS OF PASSENGERS AND WAS OF SMALLER TONNAGE WHILE THE FOREIGN VESSEL CARRIED SEVERAL CLASSES OF PASSENGERS AND WAS OF LARGE TONNAGE, IF THE AMERICAN VESSEL WAS EQUALLY AVAILABLE WITH THE FOREIGN VESSEL AS TO TIME AND PLACE OF SAILING.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JANUARY 10, 1927:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 21, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER A CERTIFICATE MAY PROPERLY ISSUE BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT NO AMERICAN VESSEL IS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A HIGH RANKING DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICER TO WASHINGTON, FOR CONFERENCE, FROM HIS FOREIGN POST, AND TRANSPORTATION BE AUTHORIZED ON AN AVAILABLE FOREIGN VESSEL, WHERE THE ONLY AMERICAN VESSEL SAILING ANYWHERE NEAR THE TIME AT WHICH THE OFFICER MUST SAIL IS A CABIN OR ONE-CLASS VESSEL OF SMALL TONNAGE AND CONSIDERED AS NOT OFFERING TRAVELING ACCOMMODATIONS COMMENSURATE WITH THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POSITION HELD BY THE OFFICER AND THE DUTIES REQUIRED OF HIM.

ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR FISCAL YEARS 1924 TO 1927 PROVIDING FUNDS FOR "TRANSPORTATION OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS" CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISO:

* * * THAT NO PART OF SAID SUM SHALL BE PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION ON FOREIGN VESSELS WITHOUT A CERTIFICATE FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS ON WHICH SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS MAY BE TRANSPORTED.

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927, SEE THE ACT OF APRIL 29, 1926, 44 STAT. 334.

THE GENERAL PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THIS PROVISO WAS STATED IN DECISION OF MARCH 22, 1926, A-12808, AS FOLLOWS:

THE INTENDMENT OF THIS PROVISION IS CLEARLY TO ADVANCE THE INTERESTS OF AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE AND TO PROHIBIT EXPENDITURES FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR TRANSPORTATION ON FOREIGN VESSELS EXCEPT WHEN AMERICAN VESSELS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR WHEN THE PUBLIC INTERESTS REQUIRE A DIFFERENT COURSE. DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE OR REQUIRE THAT TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE SECURED IN ALL CASES FROM AMERICAN VESSELS WITHOUT REGARD TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE TIME AND PLACE OF SAILING, ETC. * * *

IN THAT CASE THE CONDITIONS OR CIRCUMSTANCES HELD TO JUSTIFY ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFICATE UNDER THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS WERE THAT TRAVEL ON THE AMERICAN VESSEL WOULD HAVE CAUSED DELAY AND INCONVENIENCE. IN THE PRESENT CASE, APPARENTLY, THE AMERICAN AND FOREIGN VESSELS ARE EQUALLY AVAILABLE AS TO TIME AND PLACE OF SAILING. IT IS ONLY BECAUSE THE AMERICAN VESSEL CARRIES ONE CLASS OF PASSENGERS AND IS OF SMALL TONNAGE WHILE THE FOREIGN VESSEL CARRIES SEVERAL CLASSES OF PASSENGERS AND IS OF LARGE TONNAGE, THAT TRANSPORTATION ON THE FOREIGN VESSEL IS DESIRED. IF THE AMERICAN VESSEL IS A REGULAR PASSENGER-CARRYING VESSEL--- THAT IS TO SAY, HAS ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PASSENGERS OTHER THAN SUCH AS ORDINARILY WOULD TRAVEL AS STEERAGE PASSENGERS--- AND IS EQUALLY AVAILABLE WITH THE FOREIGN VESSEL AS TO TIME AND PLACE OF SAILING, THE FACT THAT IT CARRIES BUT ONE CLASS OF PASSENGERS AND IS OF SMALLER TONNAGE THAN THE FOREIGN VESSEL WOULD NOT APPEAR TO JUSTIFY A CERTIFICATION "THAT THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS ON WHICH SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS MAY BE TRANSPORTED," THE PARAMOUNT PURPOSE OR INTENT OF THE STATUTORY RESTRICTION BEING TO REQUIRE THE USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF AMERICAN REPRESENTATIVES ABROAD, EITHER GOING TO OR RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY.