A-17443, MARCH 22, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 613

A-17443: Mar 22, 1927

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

REFERRING TO CERTAIN TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS THAT HAVE BEEN TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT AS CLAIMS. PROVIDES (SECTION 6): "THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS DIRECTED TO REPORT FROM TIME TO TIME TO THE PRESIDENT. HAVE DEMONSTRATED SPECIAL CAPACITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE GRADE OF MINISTER. HAVE DEMONSTRATED SPECIAL EFFICIENCY * * *.'. AMONG THE DUTIES OF WHICH IS THAT OF SUBMITTING TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE THE NAMES OF THOSE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHO. HAVE DEMONSTRATED SPECIAL CAPACITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE GRADE OF MINISTER. THE ACCOUNTS WHICH FORM THE SUBJECT OF THIS LETTER ARE FOR SUBSISTENCE OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHILE IN WASHINGTON SERVING AS MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF REVIEW SO CONSTITUTED. * * * ALTHOUGH THE WORK OF THE BOARD OF REVIEW IS ACTUALLY PERFORMED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

A-17443, MARCH 22, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 613

SUBSISTENCE AT WASHINGTON, D.C. - FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ORDERED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FROM THEIR DUTY STATIONS FOR TEMPORARY DUTY ON THE BOARD OF REVIEW OF FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL FOR CONFERENCES, OR FOR TEMPORARY DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES, MAY BE PAID THEIR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE, OR PER DIEM IN LIEU THEREOF WHEN PRESCRIBED IN ADVANCE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS IMPOSED BY THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 688, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER, SUCH TEMPORARY DETAILS NOT BEING AN ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 14 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF MAY 24, 1924, 43 STAT. 143.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MARCH 22, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 15, 1927, REFERRING TO CERTAIN TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS THAT HAVE BEEN TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT AS CLAIMS, AND REQUESTING DECISION OF QUESTIONS PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT OF MAY 24, 1924, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE ROGERS ACT, PROVIDES (SECTION 6):

"THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS DIRECTED TO REPORT FROM TIME TO TIME TO THE PRESIDENT, ALONG WITH HIS RECOMMENDATIONS, THE NAMES OF THOSE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHO, BY REASON OF EFFICIENT SERVICE, HAVE DEMONSTRATED SPECIAL CAPACITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE GRADE OF MINISTER, AND THE NAMES OF THOSE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES AND OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE WHO, BY REASON OF EFFICIENT SERVICE, AN ACCURATE RECORD OF WHICH SHALL BE KEPT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, HAVE DEMONSTRATED SPECIAL EFFICIENCY * * *.'

THE EXECUTIVE ORDER OF JUNE 7, 1924, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF MAY 24, 1924, CONSTITUTED A FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL BOARD, AMONG THE DUTIES OF WHICH IS THAT OF SUBMITTING TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE THE NAMES OF THOSE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHO, IN THE OPINION OF THE BOARD, HAVE DEMONSTRATED SPECIAL CAPACITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE GRADE OF MINISTER, AND ALSO THOSE WHOSE RECORDS OF EFFICIENCY ENTITLE THEM TO ADVANCEMENT IN THE SERVICE. THAT ORDER ALSO CONSTITUTED AN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL BOARD TO BE COMPOSED OF A CHAIRMAN AND TWO OTHER MEMBERS, WHO SHALL BE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS OF HIGH RANK, REPRESENTING BOTH THE DIPLOMATIC AND THE CONSULAR BRANCHES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE, TO BE SELECTED BY THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE PERSONNEL BOARD WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE, AND AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO PRESCRIBE THE DUTIES OF THAT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.

IN A DEPARTMENTAL ORDER, ISSUED JUNE 9, 1924, THE SECRETARY OF STATE PRESENTED THE DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND STATED FURTHER THAT---

"AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR, OR WHENEVER THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL SO ORDER, ALL PERSONNEL RECORDS, RATINGS, AND ACCUMULATED MATERIAL SHALL BE EXAMINED IMPARTIALLY BY A BOARD OF REVIEW AND A REPORT RENDERED TO THE FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL BOARD AS TO THE RELATIVE STANDING OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. THE BOARD OF REVIEW SHALL BE COMPOSED OF FIVE MEMBERS, SELECTED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE AMONG FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS OF HIGH RANK, REPRESENTING BOTH THE DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR BRANCHES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE. THE BOARD OF REVIEW SHALL ELECT ITS CHAIRMAN FROM AMONG ITS MEMBERS. NO FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER, WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL BOARD, SHALL BE A MEMBER OF A BOARD OF REVIEW.'

THE ACCOUNTS WHICH FORM THE SUBJECT OF THIS LETTER ARE FOR SUBSISTENCE OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHILE IN WASHINGTON SERVING AS MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF REVIEW SO CONSTITUTED.

* * * ALTHOUGH THE WORK OF THE BOARD OF REVIEW IS ACTUALLY PERFORMED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, IT IS WORK WHICH CAN NOT, WITHIN THE SPIRIT OF THE ORDER CREATING THE BOARD OF REVIEW, BE PERFORMED BY ANY MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT ITSELF OR BY ANY PERSONS FOR WHOSE EMPLOYMENT IN THE DEPARTMENT CONGRESS MIGHT PROVIDE. THE WORK OF THE BOARD OF REVIEW IS ESSENTIALLY A FIELD WORK AND CAN ONLY BE EFFECTIVE IF PERFORMED BY MEMBERS OF THE FIELD PERSONNEL. THEREFORE IT WOULD APPEAR TO THE DEPARTMENT NOT TO FALL WITHIN THE PROHIBITION OF SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1882, BUT RATHER WITHIN THE EXCEPTION THEREIN PERMITTING TEMPORARY DETAILS OF CIVIL OFFICERS FOR DUTY WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CONNECTED WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES. SERVICE ON THE BOARD OF REVIEW IN NO WAY DISTURBS THE REGULAR ASSIGNMENTS OF THE OFFICERS AND THEIR DETAIL TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR THIS SPECIAL DUTY WOULD APPEAR TO BE ANALOGOUS TO THE RECALL TEMPORARILY OF A DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, OR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSULTATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE OR OTHER DUTY IN RELATION TO MATTERS PERTAINING TO THEIR OFFICES IN THE FIELD, IN RESPECT TO WHICH IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN HELD THAT THE OFFICER SO RECALLED HAS BEEN ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE, INCLUDING SUBSISTENCE DURING THE PERIOD THE OFFICER HAS BEEN OBLIGED TO REMAIN IN WASHINGTON.

IN VIEW OF THE CONSIDERATIONS SET FORTH, THE DEPARTMENT WOULD BE GLAD TO HAVE YOUR DECISION NOT ONLY UPON THE ACCOUNTS FOR SUBSISTENCE OF THE OFFICERS CONSTITUTING THE EXISTING BOARD OF REVIEW, WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, BUT ALSO UPON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

1. IS A DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR OR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE, OR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, NOT IN EXCESS OF THE RATES FIXED BY THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, WHEN ORDERED TO WASHINGTON FOR CONFERENCE OR DUTY IN RELATION TO THE WORK OF HIS OFFICE, OR FOR SERVICE UPON THE BOARD OF REVIEW OF FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL, SAID SUBSISTENCE OR PER DIEM TO COVER THE PERIOD OF THE OFFICER'S STAY IN WASHINGTON?

2. IS THE LENGTH OF SUCH DETAILS AS ARE SPECIFIED IN QUESTION 1 UNLIMITED, OR ARE THEY AFFECTED BY THE LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 14 OF THE ACT OF MAY 24, 1924?

SECTION 14 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF MAY 24, 1924, 43 STAT. 143, PROVIDES:

THAT ANY FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER MAY BE ASSIGNED FOR DUTY IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE WITHOUT LOSS OF CLASS OR SALARY, SUCH ASSIGNMENT TO BE FOR A PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN THREE YEARS, UNLESS THE PUBLIC INTERESTS DEMAND FURTHER SERVICE, WHEN SUCH ASSIGNMENT MAY BE EXTENDED FOR A PERIOD NOT TO EXCEED ONE YEAR. ANY FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER OF WHATEVER CLASS DETAILED FOR SPECIAL DUTY NOT AT HIS POST OR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SHALL BE PAID HIS ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL AND NOT EXCEEDING AN AVERAGE OF $8 PER DAY FOR SUBSISTENCE DURING SUCH SPECIAL DETAIL: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH SPECIAL DUTY SHALL NOT CONTINUE FOR MORE THAN SIXTY DAYS, UNLESS IN THE CASE OF TRADE CONFERENCES OR INTERNATIONAL GATHERINGS, CONGRESSES, OR CONFERENCES, WHEN SUCH SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES SHALL RUN ONLY DURING THE PERIOD THEREOF AND THE NECESSARY PERIOD OF TRANSIT TO AND FROM THE PLACE OF GATHERING: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS AUTHORIZED TO PRESCRIBE A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOT EXCEEDING $6, IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ON SPECIAL DUTY OR FOREIGN SERVICE INSPECTORS.

THE ACT OF APRIL 29, 1926, 44 STAT. 334, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927, PROVIDES AN APPROPRIATION:

TO PAY THE ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENTS OF THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF STATE MAY PRESCRIBE OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND CLERKS IN EMBASSIES, LEGATIONS, AND CONSULATES * * * IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS OR OF SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS WHEN TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE, * * *.

IN THE SAME ACT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES, FOREIGN MISSIONS, 44 STAT. 332, IS ALSO FOUND A PROVISION FOR---

* * * TRAVELING EXPENSES OF DIPLOMATIC AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS INCLUDING ATTENDANCE AT TRADE AND OTHER CONFERENCES OR CONGRESSES UNDER ORDERS OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 14 OF THE ACT APPROVED MAY 24, 1924 * * *.

SECTION 14 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT, SUPRA, MAKES TWO DISTINCT PROVISIONS: FIRST, IT PROVIDES FOR ASSIGNMENTS FOR DUTY IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR NOT MORE THAN 3 YEARS, WHICH MAY BE EXTENDED FOR CERTAIN REASONS FOR 1 ADDITIONAL YEAR; SECOND, IT PROVIDES FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE DURING DETAILS FOR SPECIAL DUTY NOT AT THE POST OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER AND NOT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR NOT MORE THAN 60 DAYS OR FOR THE PERIOD OF TRADE CONFERENCES OR INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES WHEN DETAILED THERETO. NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE IN WASHINGTON UNDER THE ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THE LENGTH OF THE PERIOD FOR SUCH ASSIGNMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED WOULD INDICATE THAT IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT THE OFFICER SHOULD HAVE NO OTHER STATION DURING THE PERIOD OF SUCH ASSIGNMENT, HIS POST OF DUTY FOR THAT PERIOD BEING THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. THE SECOND PROVISION EVIDENTLY CONTEMPLATES DETAILS FOR SPECIAL DUTY WITHOUT CHANGING THE POST OF DUTY OF THE OFFICER SO DETAILED AND MAKES SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AT NOT EXCEEDING AN AVERAGE OF $8 PER DAY ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS OR $6 PER DAY ON A PER DIEM BASIS.

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, OR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS ORDERED TO WASHINGTON FOR CONFERENCES, OR DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES, OR FOR SERVICE ON THE BOARD OF REVIEW OF FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL, ARE NOT PERMANENTLY RELIEVED FROM DUTY AT THEIR REGULAR POSTS, SUCH ASSIGNMENTS BEING IN THE NATURE OF DETAILS FOR SPECIAL DUTY RATHER THAN ASSIGNMENTS TO DUTY IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT SUCH AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE FIRST PART OF SECTION 14 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT. OFFICERS SERVING UNDER SUCH DETAILS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE AT AN AVERAGE OF $8 A DAY UNDER THE SECOND PROVISION AS DETAILS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE ARE SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED THEREFROM. IT MUST BE CONCLUDED, THEREFORE, THAT SAID SECTION 14 DOES NOT CONTROL THE SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES OF OFFICERS SERVING UNDER SUCH TEMPORARY DETAILS TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT AS ARE REFERRED TO IN YOUR SUBMISSION. THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE DURING SUCH TEMPORARY DETAILS ARE ACCORDINGLY GOVERNED BY THE GENERAL LAWS AND THE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE THEREFOR. THE QUESTIONS INVOLVED IN YOUR SUBMISSION ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

THE APPROPRIATION CITED ABOVE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS PROVIDES ONLY FOR THE PAYMENT OF ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENTS OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES AND STANDING BY ITSELF THIS APPROPRIATION WOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. 4 COMP. GEN. 825. IT WAS, HOWEVER, ENACTED PRIOR TO THE GENERAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 688, WHICH PROVIDES IN SECTION 4 THEREOF THAT THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS MAY PRESCRIBE A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF NOT EXCEEDING $6 FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR DAY AND IN SECTION 9 REPEALED ALL LAWS OR PARTS OF LAWS IN CONFLICT OR INCONSISTENT WITH SAID ACT, EXCEPT SUCH AS PROVIDED FOR A HIGHER MAXIMUM RATE. IT MAY BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT THE RESTRICTION IN THE APPROPRIATION CITED WAS MODIFIED BY THE GENERAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT TO THE EXTENT OF PERMITTING PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN PROPER CASES. THIS VIEW IS STRENGTHENED BY THE CHANGE IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE CORRESPONDING APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1928, ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1927, 44 STAT. 1183.

IT IS TO BE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT PER DIEM RATES IN ORDER TO BE ALLOWABLE MUST BE PRESCRIBED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT AND MAY NOT ORDINARILY BE ALLOWED UNLESS AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE. 1 COMP. GEN. 120; 22 COMP. DEC. 601.

BUT IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE TEMPORARY DUTY AT WASHINGTON WAS PERFORMED BY THE FIVE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHOSE CLAIMS FOR PER DIEM ALLOWANCES ARE REFERRED TO BY YOU, IT IS NOT PROBABLE THAT THEY COULD NOW SUBMIT ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENTS OF ACTUAL EXPENSES, AND, ACCORDINGLY, THESE CLAIMS WILL BE SETTLED UPON THE PER DIEM BASIS, BUT WITH RESPECT TO SUCH CLAIMS HEREAFTER, ALLOWANCE MAY BE MADE ONLY UPON AN ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENT OF EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED OR A SHOWING THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES WERE PRESCRIBED OR AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE.