A-24720, OCTOBER 17, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 196

A-24720: Oct 17, 1928

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1928: IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE QUESTION WHETHER SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22. IS APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES IN RETURNING FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY AS WELL AS WHEN GOING THERETO. SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. TRAVEL TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR TO A POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES IS FOR THE MOST PART NECESSARILY FOLLOWED BY A RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. IT MUST BE HELD THAT SAID SECTION 601 WAS INTENDED TO APPLY TO TRAVEL BOTH IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES.

A-24720, OCTOBER 17, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 196

TRAVELING EXPENSES - USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697, REQUIRES OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO USE VESSELS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN AVAILABLE BOTH IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THE FOREIGN COUNTRY UNLESS THERE BE FURNISHED PROOF, SATISFACTORY TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, OF THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF A VESSEL OF SOME OTHER NATIONALITY.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, OCTOBER 17, 1928:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE QUESTION WHETHER SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697, IS APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES IN RETURNING FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY AS WELL AS WHEN GOING THERETO.

SAID SECTION 601 PROVIDES:

ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES, OR TO ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE, UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.

THE WORDS "TRAVELING * * * TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES, OR TO ANY POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES" STANDING ALONE MIGHT SEEM TO REQUIRE THE USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS ONLY ON THE OUTWARD JOURNEY. HOWEVER, THE ENTIRE SECTION MUST BE CONSTRUED AS A WHOLE, AND THE PROVISO SPECIFICALLY REQUIRES THE DENIAL OF CREDIT FOR "ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP" IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR. TRAVEL TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR TO A POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES IS FOR THE MOST PART NECESSARILY FOLLOWED BY A RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. AND AS THE PROVISO REQUIRES THE DENIAL OF CREDIT FOR "ANY ALLOWANCE" ETC., IT MUST BE HELD THAT SAID SECTION 601 WAS INTENDED TO APPLY TO TRAVEL BOTH IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES. THIS CONSTRUCTION IS IN CONSONANCE WITH THE REST OF THE STATUTE THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO ENCOURAGE THE UTILIZATION OF AMERICAN SHIPS AND THE GROWTH OF AN AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE. SEE A-23881, AUGUST 6, 1928, 6 COMP. GEN. 462.

IN VIEW OF THE DOUBT WHICH MAY HAVE EXISTED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THIS SECTION OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT CREDIT WILL NOT BE DISALLOWED FOR ANY TRAVELING EXPENSES IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES UPON A FOREIGN VESSEL PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 1, 1928, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION OF THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF THE FOREIGN VESSEL. CREDIT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED, HOWEVER, FOR TRAVEL ON FOREIGN VESSELS AFTER NOVEMBER 1, 1928, EITHER IN GOING TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES OR RETURNING THEREFROM UNLESS A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION OF THE NECESSITY FOR USING THE FOREIGN VESSEL IS FURNISHED.