A-23409, JUNE 28, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 833

A-23409: Jun 28, 1928

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1928: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 20. WHO REQUEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THEIR AUTHORITY TO SUPPLY MAINTENANCE AND HOSPITALIZATION FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN THE CASES OF SEAMEN DISCHARGED BECAUSE THEY ARE SUFFERING FROM VENEREAL DISEASES. THE CORRECTNESS OF INSTRUCTIONS ON THE POINT IS SO IMPORTANT TO CONSULAR OFFICERS THAT YOU ARE REQUESTED TO GIVE FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING THE PORTIONS OF YOUR OPINION REFERRED TO ABOVE. THAT ARE HEREINAFTER CITED. WHICH WAS PRESENTED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT YOKOHAMA. IS QUOTED ON PAGE 624. IS AS FOLLOWS: "DOES THE FACT THAT HE IS AT FAULT RELIEVE THE VESSEL UPON WHICH HE SERVES OF LIABILITY FOR HIS HOSPITALIZATION.

A-23409, JUNE 28, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 833

RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN THE FACT THAT AN AMERICAN SEAMAN MAY BE SUFFERING FROM A VENEREAL DISEASE THE RESULT OF HIS OWN VICES OR MISCONDUCT DOES NOT RELIEVE THE OWNERS OR OPERATORS OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH HE LAST SERVED OF THEIR OBLIGATION TO FURNISH SUCH MAINTENANCE AND HOSPITALIZATION AS MAY BE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH OR INCIDENT TO HIS RETURN TO A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 28, 1928:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 20, 1928, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT HAS RECEIVED A NUMBER OF COMMUNICATIONS FROM AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICERS, WHO REQUEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THEIR AUTHORITY TO SUPPLY MAINTENANCE AND HOSPITALIZATION FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE RELIEF AND PROTECTION OF AMERICAN SEAMEN IN THE CASES OF SEAMEN DISCHARGED BECAUSE THEY ARE SUFFERING FROM VENEREAL DISEASES.

THE DRAFTING OF REPLIES TO THESE INQUIRIES REQUIRES CAREFUL INTERPRETATION OF YOUR OPINION PUBLISHED IN 5 COMP. GEN. 623, AND THE CORRECTNESS OF INSTRUCTIONS ON THE POINT IS SO IMPORTANT TO CONSULAR OFFICERS THAT YOU ARE REQUESTED TO GIVE FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING THE PORTIONS OF YOUR OPINION REFERRED TO ABOVE, THAT ARE HEREINAFTER CITED.

QUESTION NO. 2 (A), WHICH WAS PRESENTED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, AND IS QUOTED ON PAGE 624, VOL. 5, OF YOUR DECISIONS, IS AS FOLLOWS:

"DOES THE FACT THAT HE IS AT FAULT RELIEVE THE VESSEL UPON WHICH HE SERVES OF LIABILITY FOR HIS HOSPITALIZATION, MAINTENANCE, AND REPATRIATION?

ON PAGE 626 OF THE SAME DECISION YOUR REPLY IS AS FOLLOWS:

"2. (A) AND (B) ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE. 14 COMP. DEC. 570; 15 ID. 348; 4 COMP. GEN. .'

QUESTION 2 (C), QUOTED ON PAGE 624 OF THE AFORESAID DECISION, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"/C) SHOULD A SEAMAN DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF VENEREAL DISEASE BECOME A CHARGE UPON THE CONSULATE OR UPON THE VESSEL?

AND YOU MADE THE FOLLOWING REPLY ON PAGE 626:

"/C) IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT WHERE AN AMERICAN SEAMAN IS DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF INJURIES RECEIVED AS A RESULT OF HIS OWN WILLFUL MISCONDUCT AND DISOBEDIENCE OF ORDERS, OR BECAUSE OF DISEASE ARISING FROM HIS OWN VICES OR GROSS INDISCRETION, THE SHIP IS NOT LIABLE FOR CARE AND MAINTENANCE AFTER DISCHARGE. THE ALECTOR, 263 FED. REP. 1007; 15 COMP. DEC. 740. BUT IN SUCH A CASE THE CONSULAR OFFICER SHOULD NEVERTHELESS PROVIDE FOR THE SEAMAN'S RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES, AND IN THIS CONNECTION SEE ANSWER TO QUESTIONS 1 (A), (B), (D), AND (E), SUPRA.'

THE PORTIONS OF YOUR DECISION QUOTED ABOVE PLACE THE OBLIGATION OF REPATRIATION UPON THE VESSEL OR ITS OWNERS IN ALL CASES WHERE SEAMEN HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS OR INJURY CAUSED BY THEIR OWN FAULT, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE DISABILITY IS CAUSED BY VENEREAL DISEASES OR TAKES SOME OTHER FORM; BUT THERE IS A DOUBT IN THE MINDS OF SOME OFFICERS REGARDING THE EFFECT OF THE APPARENT LIMITATIONS PLACED UPON THE OBLIGATION OF VESSELS OR THEIR OWNERS TO SUPPLY MAINTENANCE AND HOSPITALIZATION (AS DISTINCT FROM TRANSPORTATION) IN CASES WHERE SEAMEN ARE DISCHARGED BECAUSE THEY ARE SUFFERING FROM VENEREAL DISEASES. YOU ARE REQUESTED TO GIVE THE DEPARTMENT AN OPINION AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE, UPON WHICH APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTIONS TO CONSULAR OFFICERS IN THE PREMISES MAY BE BASED.

IN REPLY YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE FACT THAT THE SEAMAN MAY BE SUFFERING FROM A VENEREAL DISEASE THE RESULT OF HIS OWN VICES OR MISCONDUCT DOES NOT RELIEVE THE OWNERS OR OPERATORS OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH HE LAST SERVED OF THEIR OBLIGATION TO FURNISH SUCH MAINTENANCE AND HOSPITALIZATION AS MAY BE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH OR INCIDENT TO HIS RETURN TO A PORT OF THE UNITED STATES.