A-19318, SEPTEMBER 15, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 208

A-19318: Sep 15, 1927

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OR DAMAGE IS DUE TO "THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER. " AND IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSING AN ENLISTED MAN FOR A PEACE-TIME LOSS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IN A FIRE AT A SHORE STATION. 1927: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE MATTER SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 21. APPEARS FROM THE CLAIM THAT THE PROPERTY LOST WAS DESTROYED IN A FIRE AT THE U.S. THAT SUCH LOSS WAS DUE TO THE ATTENTION OF SAVING PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES. THE CLAIMANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE ABOVE- MENTIONED CREDIT UNDER THE ACT OF OCT. 6. THE SUSPENSION QUOTED ABOVE STATES IN PART THAT "THE CLAIMANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE ABOVE-MENTIONED CREDIT UNDER THE ACT OF OCT. 6. WAS SUBMITTED ON S. STATED THAT THE LOSS OF CLAIMANT'S PROPERTY WAS DUE TO "THE ATTENTION OF SAVING PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES AND WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE.'.

A-19318, SEPTEMBER 15, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 208

PROPERTY, PRIVATE - LOST IN THE NAVAL SERVICE THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 389, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF NAVAL PERSONNEL FOR LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF OR DAMAGE TO THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY IN THE NAVAL SERVICE, UNDER THE CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS THEREIN NAMED, ONLY WHERE SUCH LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE IS DUE TO "THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER," AND IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSING AN ENLISTED MAN FOR A PEACE-TIME LOSS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IN A FIRE AT A SHORE STATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1927:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE MATTER SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 21, 1924, AS FOLLOWS:

THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS HAS REPORTED THAT A PAYMENT MADE BY LIEUTENANT H. R. DYE, SUPPLY CORPS, U.S. NAVY, IN THE SUM OF $90.03 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY LOST IN A FIRE AT THE U.S. NAVAL TRAINING STATION, HAMPTON ROADS, VA., ON APRIL 21, 1926 HAS BEEN SUSPENDED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, THE SUSPENSION READING AS FOLLOWS:

"6 287 SUSPENDED IN PART: C AND SS FUND, $90.03. HUGH GEORGE WALKER, PH.M. 1C. CREDITED IN SUNDRY ITEMS COLUMN $90.03 AS A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR 1C. CREDITED IN SUNDRY ITEMS COLUMN $90.03 AS ACLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY LOST IN A MARINE DISASTER. APPEARS FROM THE CLAIM THAT THE PROPERTY LOST WAS DESTROYED IN A FIRE AT THE U.S. NAVAL TRAINING STATION, HAMPTON ROADS, VA., OCCURRING ON OR ABOUT APRIL 21, 1926, AND THAT SUCH LOSS WAS DUE TO THE ATTENTION OF SAVING PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES. THE CLAIMANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE ABOVE- MENTIONED CREDIT UNDER THE ACT OF OCT. 6, 1917. A FIRE AT A SHORE STATION CAN NOT BE REGARDED AS WITHIN ANY OF THE CAUSES NAMED BY THE ACT, SHIPWRECK, OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER OR OPERATIONS OF WAR. SEE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED SEPT. 2, 1921 VOL. 1 P. 105.'

THE SUSPENSION QUOTED ABOVE STATES IN PART THAT "THE CLAIMANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE ABOVE-MENTIONED CREDIT UNDER THE ACT OF OCT. 6, 1917. FIRE AT A SHORE STATION CAN NOT BE REGARDED AS WITHIN ANY OF THE CAUSES NAMED BY THE ACT, SHIPWRECK, OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER OR OPERATIONS OF WAR.' THE CLAIM OF HUGH GEORGE WALKER, PHARMACIST'SMATE, FIRST CLASS, U.S. NAVY, WAS SUBMITTED ON S. AND A. FORM NO. 378, AND STATED THAT THE LOSS OF CLAIMANT'S PROPERTY WAS DUE TO "THE ATTENTION OF SAVING PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES AND WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE.' INVESTIGATION WAS MADE OF THE FACTS IN THIS CASE AND AS A RESULT IT WAS DETERMINED THAT WALKER'S EFFECTS WERE LOST "IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF * * * PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.' IT WAS ON THIS BASIS THAT THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION APPROVED THE CLAIM.

THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, SUPRA, THAT REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE TO ,OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND OTHERS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES AS MAY HAVE SUFFERED, OR OR MAY HEREAFTER SUFFER, LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF OR DAMAGE TO THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY AND EFFECTS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE * * * WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OF OR TO THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE CLAIMANT WAS IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF THE LIVES OF OTHERS OR OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES" HAVE NO CONNECTION WHATEVER, IN THE OPINION OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, WITH THE OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE ACT WHICH REFER TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR, SHIPWRECKS, OR OTHER MARINE DISASTERS. SEEMS OBVIOUS THAT IF THE CLAUSE "OR WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OF OR TO THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE CLAIMANT WAS IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF THE LIVES OF OTHERS OR OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES" REFERS TO PROPERTY LOST "DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" SUCH CLAUSE IS ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY AS PERSONNEL CAN BE REIMBURSED FOR PROPERTY LOST UNDER THE LATTER CONDITIONS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE ENGAGED IN SAVING LIVES OR PUBLIC PROPERTY. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS THE OPINION OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT THAT THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM OF HUGH GEORGE WALKER, PHARMACIST'S MATE, FIRST CLASS, U.S. NAVY, IS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917.

THE CITATION IN THE SUSPENSION, VIZ, 1 COMP. GEN. 104, IS CLEARLY NOT IN POINT. THIS DECISION REFERS TO THE PAYMENT OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES FOR PROPERTY LOST AT THE NAVAL TRAINING STATION, GREAT LAKES, ILL. IT DOES NOT APPEAR FROM THE FACTS REPORTED THAT THESE EMPLOYEES WERE ENGAGED IN SAVING GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AT THE TIME THE LOSS OF THEIR OWN PROPERTY OCCURRED AND FURTHERMORE THE DECISION WAS PRINCIPALLY BASED ON THE FACT THAT CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE TERM ,OTHERS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE.'

RECONSIDERATION OF THE DISALLOWANCE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF LIEUTENANT H. R. DYE, SUPPLY CORPS, U.S. NAVY, IS REQUESTED.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 389, PROVIDES:

THAT THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE NAVY BE, AND HE IS HEREBY, AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO REIMBURSE SUCH OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND OTHERS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES AS MAY HAVE SUFFERED, OR MAY HEREAFTER SUFFER, LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF OR DAMAGE TO THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY AND EFFECTS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER WHEN SUCH LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT, OR WHERE THE PRIVATE PROPERTY SO LOST, DESTROYED, OR DAMAGED WAS SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL BY ORDER OF AN OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO GIVE SUCH ORDER OR DIRECT SUCH SHIPMENT, OR WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OF OR TO THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE CLAIMANT WAS IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF THE LIVES OF OTHERS OR OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES. AND THE LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THIS ACT SHALL BE LIMITED TO SUCH ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AS THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, WITH REFERENCE TO THE PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY, OR THE MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS, WITH REFERENCE TO THE PERSONNEL OF THAT CORPS, IN HIS DISCRETION, SHALL DECIDE TO BE REASONABLE, USEFUL, AND PROPER FOR SUCH OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR OTHER PERSON WHILE ENGAGED IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE IN LINE OF DUTY, AND THE CERTIFICATE OF SAID CHIEF OF BUREAU OR MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT, AS THE CASE MAY BE, SHALL BE SUFFICIENT VOUCHER FOR AND SHALL BE FINAL AS TO ALL MATTERS NECESSARY TO THE ESTABLISHMENT AND PAYMENT OR SETTLEMENT OF ANY CLAIM FILED HEREUNDER; AND THE ACTION OF THE SAID CHIEF OF BUREAU OR MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT, AS THE CASE MAY BE, UPON ALL CLAIMS ARISING UNDER THIS ACT SHALL BE FINAL, AND NO RIGHT TO PROSECUTE A CLAIM OR ACTION IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS OR IN ANY OTHER COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, OR BEFORE ANY ACCOUNTING OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES, OR ELSEWHERE, EXCEPT AS HEREIN PROVIDED, SHALL ACCRUE TO ANY PERSON BY VIRTUE OF THIS ACT: * * * AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE TERM "IN THE NAVAL SERVICE," AS HEREIN EMPLOYED, SHALL BE HELD TO INCLUDE SERVICE PERFORMED ON BOARD ANY VESSEL, WHETHER OF THE NAVY OR NOT, PROVIDED THE CLAIMANT IS SERVING ON SUCH VESSEL PURSUANT TO THE ORDERS OF DULY CONSTITUTED NAVAL AUTHORITY: * * *.

WHILE THE LEGISLATION IN QUESTION PROVIDES THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION SHALL BE FINAL AS TO ALL MATTERS NECESSARY TO THE ESTABLISHMENT AND PAYMENT OR SETTLEMENT OF ANY CLAIM FILED THEREUNDER, THE PRIMARY QUESTION OF WHETHER THERE IS A CLAIM WITHIN THE GENERAL PURVIEW OF THE ACT AS TO WHICH SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER MAY LEGALLY ISSUE A CERTIFICATE IS ONE WHICH MUST BE DETERMINED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS WHEN CALLED UPON TO ALLOW CREDIT IN A DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT FOR EXPENDITURES BASED ON SUCH CERTIFICATE. A-9426, APRIL 10, 1926, 56 MS. COMP. GEN. 411. SEE ALSO 1 COMP. GEN. 104; 5 ID. 887.

THE CONSTRUCTION ADOPTED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS, AND WHICH YOU NOW QUESTION, IS THAT IT IS ONLY A "LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF OR DAMAGE TO THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY AND EFFECTS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER WHEN SUCH LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE" OCCURS UNDER ONE OF THE THREE CONDITIONS THEREAFTER NAMED. THE LANGUAGE OF THE ACT FAIRLY SUPPORTS SUCH CONSTRUCTION, AND IS IN CONSONANCE WITH THE EXPRESSED PURPOSE OF THE ACT IN THE REQUEST OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE LEGISLATION AND IN THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAVING THE MATTER IN CHARGE. ON JULY 7, 1917, THE THEN SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ADDRESSED A LETTER TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, QUOTING THE THEN EXISTING LAWS, SECTIONS 288, 289, AND 290, REVISED STATUTES, AND THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, 28 STAT. 962, PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSSES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY BY PERSONS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE, AND POINTING OUT THAT UNDER SUCH LAWS OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN IN THE NAVAL SERVICE SERVING ON BOARD MERCHANT VESSELS AS ARMED GUARDS COULD NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE LOSS OF THEIR CLOTHING AND OTHER PERSONAL EFFECTS WHEN SUCH VESSELS WERE SUNK BY THE ENEMY, FOR THE REASON THAT SUCH VESSELS WERE NOT IN THE EMPLOY OF THE UNITED STATES AS REQUIRED BY THE REVISED STATUTES AND BECAUSE THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED LOSSES SUSTAINED IN TIME OF WAR. THE SECRETARY'S LETTER PROCEEDED:

MOREOVER, UNDER THE EXISTING LAW MUCH DELAY IS NECESSARILY INVOLVED IN SECURING A REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOST EFFECTS. THE DRAFT OF THE BILL WHICH I AM SUBMITTING TO YOU PROVIDES FOR THE PROMPT REIMBURSEMENT IN KIND FOR SUCH ARTICLES AS ARE DESTROYED AND WHICH ARE CUSTOMARILY ISSUED TO THE SERVICE, AND FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN CASH FOR SUCH ARTICLES AS ARE NOT ISSUED. THE NECESSITY FOR THIS MAY BE READILY PERCEIVED FROM THE FACT THAT IT IS EASILY CONCEIVABLE THAT A MEMBER OF A GUN'S CREW MIGHT BE SUCCESSIVELY IN TWO OR MORE SINKINGS. A LAWFUL CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE OF SMALL VALUE TO A MAN NEEDING CLOTHING AND OUTFIT AT ONCE WITH WHICH AGAIN TO GO TO SEA, WHEN SETTLEMENT OF SUCH CLAIM MUST NEEDS BE POSTPONED SEVERAL MONTHS. THESE MEN DO NOT, OF COURSE, HAVE MUCH RESERVE CAPITAL.

IN CONCLUSION THE LETTER STATED:

I HAVE CONSIDERED IT DESIRABLE THAT ALL THE LAW ON THIS SUBJECT BE EMBODIED IN ONE CONCISE PROVISION, HENCE HAVE NOT SUGGESTED AMENDMENT OF THE EXISTING ACTS ON THE SUBJECT.

THE SECRETARY'S LETTER REQUESTING THE LEGISLATION WAS QUOTED VERBATIM IN THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS WITH THE RECOMMENDATION THAT THE BILL BE ENACTED INTO LAW. IT THUS APPEARS THAT WHAT WAS INTENDED WAS TO REENACT THE PROVISIONS OF EXISTING LAW IN ONE CONCISE PROVISION WITH MODIFICATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR A MORE PROMPT METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT, TO PROVIDE FOR THE INCLUSION OF LOSSES OF NAVAL PERSONNEL ON DUTY ON VESSELS NOT IN THE EMPLOY OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR WAR-TIME LOSSES EXCLUDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895. NOTHING WAS SAID, EITHER DIRECTLY OR BY INFERENCE, OF A PURPOSE TO EXPAND THE GENERAL CLASS OF CASES THERETOFORE PROVIDED FOR TO INCLUDE LOSSES AT SHORE STATIONS. SECTIONS 288, 289, AND 290, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDED FOR LIMITED REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSSES "ON BOARD OF ANY VESSEL IN THE EMPLOY OF THE UNITED STATES, WHICH, BY ANY CASUALTY, OR IN ACTION WITH THE ENEMY, HAS BEEN OR MAY BE SUNK OR OTHERWISE DESTROYED.' THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, PROVIDED FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSSES---

* * * OF THE PRIVATE PROPERTY BELONGING TO OFFICERS, PETTY OFFICERS, SEAMEN, AND OTHERS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES WHICH HAS BEEN OR MAY HEREAFTER BE LOST AND DESTROYED IN THE NAVAL SERVICE BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER, UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

FIRST. WHEN SUCH LOSS OR DESTRUCTION WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT.

SECOND. WHERE THE PRIVATE PROPERTY SO LOST OR DESTROYED WAS SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL BY ORDER OF ANY OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO GIVE SUCH ORDER OR DIRECT SUCH SHIPMENT.

UNQUESTIONABLY, THIS ENACTMENT DID NOT INCLUDE LOSSES AT A SHORE STATION, BUT ONLY LOSSES "BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" AS LIMITED BY THE SUCCEEDING LANGUAGE. SO FAR AS THE CLASS OF CASES INTENDED FOR RELIEF IS CONCERNED, IT IS MATERIAL TO NOTE THAT THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, FOLLOWS ALMOST WORD FOR WORD THE QUOTED PART OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, EXCEPT THAT THE WHOLE MATTER IS CONTAINED IN ONE SENTENCE, THE TERM "OPERATIONS OF WAR" IS INCLUDED WITH SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER AS BASIC CIRCUMSTANCES ENTITLING TO RELIEF AND A PROVISION IS ADDED FOR RELIEF "WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OF OR TO THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE CLAIMANT WAS IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF THE LIVES OF OTHERS OR OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.' THE WHOLE QUESTION RESOLVES ITSELF INTO WHETHER CONGRESS INTENDED THE TERM "THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE" CONTAINED IN THIS ADDED PROVISION TO REFER BACK TO THE GENERAL TERM "LOSS OR DESTRUCTION OF OR DAMAGE TO THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY AND EFFECTS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" OR ONLY TO THE FIRST PART OF SUCH TERM ENDING WITH "IN THE NAVAL SERVICE.' THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE SENTENCE, CONSISTING OF THE GRANT OF A RIGHT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, WITH SUBSEQUENT QUALIFICATIONS OR RESTRICTIONS ON THE GENERALITY OF THE GRANT, TOGETHER WITH THE AVOWED PURPOSE SOUGHT IN REENACTING FORMER LEGISLATION IN A MODIFIED FORM TO PROVIDE FOR THE THEN EXISTING WAR SITUATION, AS DISCLOSED BY THE SECRETARY'S LETTER CONTAINED IN THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, COMPELS THE CONCLUSION THERE WAS NO INTENT TO EXPAND THE FORMER LAW TO COVER PEACE-TIME LOSSES AT SHORE STATIONS. THE INTENT WAS TO PROVIDE FOR LOSSES "DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER," UNDER THREE DISTINCT CLASSES OF CASES, NAMELY:

WHEN SUCH LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF CLAIMANT.

OR WHERE THE PRIVATE PROPERTY SO LOST, DESTROYED, OR DAMAGED WAS SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL BY ORDER OF ANY OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO GIVE SUCH ORDER OR DIRECT SUCH SHIPMENT.

OR WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OF OR TO THE PRIVATE PROPERTY OF THE CLAIMANT WAS IN CONSEQUENCE OF HIS HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF THE LIVES OF OTHERS OR OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.

THE SAME AS THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, THERETOFORE DEFINITELY PROVIDED FOR TWO CLASSES OF CASES UNDER LOSSES "BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER," NAMELY:

FIRST. WHEN SUCH LOSS OR DESTRUCTION WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT.

SECOND. WHERE THE PRIVATE PROPERTY SO LOST OR DESTROYED WAS SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL BY ORDER OF ANY OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO GIVE SUCH ORDER OR DIRECT SUCH SHIPMENT.

IT IS SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER THAT SUCH CONSTRUCTION IS UNREASONABLE AS LEAVING WITHOUT ANY PRACTICAL EFFECT THE ADDED PROVISION FOR REIMBURSEMENT WHERE THE CLAIMANT LOST HIS PROPERTY IN CONSEQUENCE OF HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF LIVES OR GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, FOR THE REASON THAT SUCH CLAIMANTS COULD BE REIMBURSED FOR LOSSES "DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" WITHOUT REFERENCE TO SUCH ADDED PROVISION, AND THEREFORE TO GIVE EFFECT TO SUCH PROVISION IT MUST BE HELD TO APPLY GENERALLY TO ALL LOSSES IN THE NAVAL SERVICE. THIS MIGHT BE SO IF REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSSES "DUE TO THE OPERATIONS OF WAR OR BY SHIPWRECK OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER" WAS NOT LIMITED BY THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE TO CASES OF LOSS ,WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT" OR WHERE "SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL.' WITH THESE LIMITATIONS, HOWEVER, AND WITHOUT THE ADDED PROVISION COVERING CASES WHERE THE CLAIMANT GAVE HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF LIVES OR GOVERNMENT PROPERTY CASES MIGHT OCCUR WHERE SUCH CLAIMANTS WERE CHARGEABLE WITH SOME FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE IN NOT SAVING THEIR OWN PROPERTY AND THEREFORE WERE NOT WITHIN THE STATUTE.

THE ONLY SUPPORT FOR THE PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE IS THAT THE LANGUAGE USED MAY CONCEIVABLY BE READ TO CONVEY THE MEANING SOUGHT. BUT AS SHOWN ABOVE, AUTHORIZED AIDS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE EVINCES NO SUCH INTENT.

REIMBURSEMENT TO WALKER FOR THE LOSS OF HIS PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THE FIRE AT THE NAVAL TRAINING STATION, HAMPTON ROADS, VA., WAS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE LAW AND THE SUSPENSION OF CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF LIEUTENANT DYE FOR THE AMOUNT CREDITED TO WALKER AS REIMBURSEMENT WAS PROPER. THE AMOUNT SUSPENDED WILL BE DISALLOWED IN A LATER SETTLEMENT OF LIEUTENANT DYE'S ACCOUNTS.