A-18364, JUNE 16, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 823

A-18364: Jun 16, 1927

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - VACCINATION - HEALTH CERTIFICATES THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS OF EXPENSES OF VACCINATION AND THE OBTAINING OF HEALTH CERTIFICATES FOR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS INCIDENT TO THEIR CHANGE OF STATION. IT IS NOTED THAT THIS CAN NOT BE ALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE DEPARTMENT CONSIDERS SUCH CHARGES AS PERSONAL. AS A MATTER OF FACT THIS CHARGE WAS INCURRED SOLELY BECAUSE THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT ADMITS NO ALIEN WHO DOES NOT POSSESS SUCH CERTIFICATES. I WAS INFORMED BY THE STEAMSHIP COMPANY THAT IT WOULD BE UNABLE TO SELL ME A PASSAGE TO VENEZUELA UNLESS THESE CERTIFICATES. WERE PRESENTED. I SHALL GREATLY APPRECIATE IT IF THE DEPARTMENT WILL REVIEW THIS ACCOUNT IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

A-18364, JUNE 16, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 823

TRAVELING EXPENSES - VACCINATION - HEALTH CERTIFICATES THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS OF EXPENSES OF VACCINATION AND THE OBTAINING OF HEALTH CERTIFICATES FOR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS INCIDENT TO THEIR CHANGE OF STATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 16, 1927:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 22, 1927, SUBMITTING FOR DECISION A PROTEST MADE BY H. M. WOLCOTT, AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER AT CARACAS, VENEZUELA, AGAINST A DISALLOWANCE OF THE SUM OF $11.19 IN HIS TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNT FOR CHARGES MADE BY HIM OCTOBER 13, 1926, FOR MEDICAL VACCINATION FEE AND HEALTH CERTIFICATE FOR HIMSELF AND WIFE, WHILE IN LONDON BEFORE SAILING TO HIS NEW POST OF DUTY IN VENEZUELA.

IN HIS LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1927, THE OFFICER MAKES THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT RELATIVE TO THE MATTER:

REGARDING THE CHARGE OF $11.19 FOR VACCINATION AND HEALTH CERTIFICATES, IT IS NOTED THAT THIS CAN NOT BE ALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE DEPARTMENT CONSIDERS SUCH CHARGES AS PERSONAL. AS A MATTER OF FACT THIS CHARGE WAS INCURRED SOLELY BECAUSE THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT ADMITS NO ALIEN WHO DOES NOT POSSESS SUCH CERTIFICATES, AND I WAS INFORMED BY THE STEAMSHIP COMPANY THAT IT WOULD BE UNABLE TO SELL ME A PASSAGE TO VENEZUELA UNLESS THESE CERTIFICATES, VISAED BY THE VENEZUELAN CONSUL, WERE PRESENTED. INASMUCH AS NEITHER MY WIFE NOR MYSELF HAD ANY PERSONAL DESIRE TO BE VACCINATED NOR ANY PERSONAL NEED OF A HEALTH CERTIFICATE, THE CHARGE, IT WOULD SEEM, SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A NECESSARY EXPENSE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH MY TRAVEL TO THIS POST. I SHALL GREATLY APPRECIATE IT IF THE DEPARTMENT WILL REVIEW THIS ACCOUNT IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

THE OFFICER'S STATEMENT THAT THE CHARGES FOR UNDERGOING VACCINATION AND OBTAINING THE HEALTH CERTIFICATES WERE INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS CHANGE OF STATION FROM BALBAO, SPAIN, TO CARACAS, VENEZUELA, IS NOT QUESTIONED. BUT IT HAS BEEN SPECIFICALLY DECIDED BY THIS OFFICE, 1 COMP. GEN. 298, AND 5 ID. 802, THAT THE EXPENSE OF VACCINATION OF EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER REQUIREMENTS OF CITY, STATE, OR FOREIGN-COUNTRY HEALTH REGULATIONS IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE TO BE BORNE BY THE INDIVIDUAL AND NOT AN EXPENSE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS. SUCH A HOLDING IS BASED UPON THE THEORY THAT AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS TO QUALIFY AT HIS OWN EXPENSE FOR THE POSITION TO WHICH HE IS APPOINTED, OR THE TRAVEL HE IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM; AND WHILE THE GOVERNMENT PAYS UNDER THE LAW THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF ITS FOREIGN OFFICERS WHEN TRANSFERRED FROM POST TO POST OR TRAVELING TO THEIR ORIGINAL POST OF DUTY, THE EXPENSE OF VACCINATION, ALTHOUGH REQUIRED BEFORE PROCEEDING UPON THE TRAVEL OR PRIOR TO LANDING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, IS NOT A PART OF TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND THEREFORE IS NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW. EXPENSES SUCH AS VACCINATION FEES, HEALTH CERTIFICATE FEES, TC., MUST BE CONSIDERED FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES AS EXPENSES WHICH THE OFFICER HAD TO INCUR NOT AS INCIDENT TO THE TRAVEL OR TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION TO WHICH APPOINTED BUT INCIDENT TO HIS QUALIFICATIONS FOR SUCH POSITION OR AS ENABLING HIM TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL OR LAND IN THE COUNTY IN WHICH HE IS TO PERFORM HIS DUTIES.

YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT THE APPROPRIATION "TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE FICERS," NOT PROVIDING SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF VACCINATION AND THE OBTAINING OF HEALTH CERTIFICATES FOR FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS, IS NOT CHARGEABLE WITH SUCH EXPENSES; NEITHER IS ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION UNDER THE STATE DEPARTMENT AVAILABLE THEREFOR UNLESS SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR THE PURPOSE IS MADE THEREIN.