A-28927, NOVEMBER 16, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 205

A-28927: Nov 16, 1929

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ARE NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. ARE ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. REGARDLESS WHETHER SUCH AILMENTS OR DISEASES ARE DUE TO MILITARY SERVICE OR OTHERWISE. THE DIRECTOR IS FURTHER AUTHORIZED. THERE HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY EXAMINED. AS WELL AS THOSE OF WHICH COPIES HAVE BEEN FURNISHED BY DR. ARE NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OR ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. THERE IS NO RECORD OF ANY OTHER SERVICE WITH THE WAR DEPARTMENT. IS STATED AS FOLLOWS: FACTS: SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

A-28927, NOVEMBER 16, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 205

MEDICAL TREATMENT - CONTRACT SURGEONS - PAYMASTERS' CLERKS CONTRACT SURGEONS, MEDICAL AND DENTAL, OF THE ARMY AND NAVY, AND PAYMASTERS' CLERKS OF THE ARMY, WHO SERVED AS SUCH DURING THE PERIOD OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, NOVEMBER 16, 1929:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 24, 1929, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER CONTRACT SURGEONS AND ACTING ASSISTANT SURGEONS, MEDICAL OR DENTAL, OF THE ARMY AND NAVY, AND PAYMASTERS' CLERKS OF THE ARMY, WHO SERVED AS SUCH DURING THE PERIOD OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, ARE ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796, PROVIDING AS FOLLOWS:

THAT ALL HOSPITAL FACILITIES UNDER THE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OF THE BUREAU SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EVERY HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERAN OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, THE PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION, THE BOXER REBELLION, OR THE WORLD WAR SUFFERING FROM NEUROPSYCHIATRIC OR TUBERCULAR AILMENTS AND DISEASES, PARALYSIS AGITANS, ENCEPHALITIS LETHARGICA, OR AMOEBIC DYSENTERY, OR THE LOSS OF SIGHT OF BOTH EYES, REGARDLESS WHETHER SUCH AILMENTS OR DISEASES ARE DUE TO MILITARY SERVICE OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING TRAVELING EXPENSES AS GRANTED TO THOSE RECEIVING COMPENSATION AND HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS ACT. THE DIRECTOR IS FURTHER AUTHORIZED, SO FAR AS HE SHALL FIND THAT EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES PERMIT, TO FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION AND NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION TO VETERANS OF ANY WAR, MILITARY OCCUPATION, OR MILITARY EXPEDITION, INCLUDING THOSE WOMEN WHO SERVED AS ARMY NURSES UNDER CONTRACTS BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NATURE OR ORIGIN OF THEIR DISABILITIES: PROVIDED, THAT ANY AND ALL LAWS APPLICABLE TO WOMEN WHO BELONGED TO THE NURSE CORPS OF THE ARMY AFTER FEBRUARY 2, 1901, SHALL APPLY EQUALLY TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS WHO SERVED UNDER CONTRACT BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, INCLUDING ALL WOMEN WHO SERVED HONORABLY AS NURSES, CHIEF NURSES, OR SUPERINTENDENT OF SAID CORPS IN SAID PERIOD.

THERE HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY EXAMINED, IN THE CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTIONS HERE INVOLVED, THE CITATIONS OF STATUTES, OPINIONS, DECISIONS, AND REGULATIONS MENTIONED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, AS WELL AS THOSE OF WHICH COPIES HAVE BEEN FURNISHED BY DR. WILLIAM K. MITTENDORF, POST DEPARTMENT SURGEON, DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK, UNITED SPANISH WAR VETERANS.

YOU REFER TO DIRECTOR'S DECISION NO. 372, DATED FEBRUARY 29, 1928, WHEREIN YOU HELD---

THAT CONTRACT SURGEONS OR ACTING ASSISTANT SURGEONS, MEDICAL OR DENTAL, IN THE ARMY OR NAVY, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OR ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. (OPINION OF GENERAL COUNSEL, FEB. 6, 1928.)

YOU MENTION NO ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION AS TO THE RIGHTS TO HOSPITALIZATION OF ARMY PAYMASTERS' CLERKS WHO SERVED DURING THE SPANISH- AMERICAN WAR, BUT YOU SUBMIT THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF CARL COLLIER, WHOSE SERVICE HAD BEEN REPORTED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AS FOLLOWS:

PAY DEPARTMENT, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, AS A PAYMASTER'S CLERK, RATE OF PAY $1,400 PER ANNUM FROM JULY 15, 1888, TO JUNE 13, 1899.

PAY DEPARTMENT, HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, AS PAYMASTER'S CLERK, $1,400 PER ANNUM FROM JULY 1, 1899.

TRANSFERRED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AS PAYMASTER'S CLERK IN THE OFFICE OF THE PAYMASTER GENERAL, ARMY, AT A SALARY OF $1,000 PER ANNUM ON AUGUST 1, 1899.

TRANSFERRED TO THE PAY DEPARTMENT, SAN JUAN, PORTO RICO, AS AN ASSISTANT PAYMASTER'S CLERK AT $1,400 PER ANNUM ON OCTOBER 16, 1899, RESIGNING ON MAY 10, 1900, FROM A CIVILIAN STATUS AS AN ASSISTANT PAYMASTER'S CLERK. THERE IS NO RECORD OF ANY OTHER SERVICE WITH THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

THE BASIS OF YOUR DECISION OF FEBRUARY 29, 1928, SUPRA, IS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

FACTS: SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION FOR DEATH OR DISABILITY INCURRED OR AGGRAVATED DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR, CONFINES THE BENEFITS OF COMPENSATION IN SO FAR AS MALES ARE CONCERNED TO COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN. SECTION 202 (6), AUTHORIZING THE FURNISHING OF HOSPITALIZATION, ETC., TO COMPENSABLE CASES, THEREFORE LIMITS HOSPITALIZATION IN SO FAR AS MALES ARE CONCERNED TO COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN. WHILE OTHER TERMS ARE USED IN SECTIONS 202 (9) AND 202 (10) IN PLACE OF THE TERMS ,COMMISSIONED OFFICERS" AND "ENLISTED MEN," BEARING IN MIND THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THESE SECTIONS WERE ENACTED, IT IS APPARENT THAT CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND TO EXTEND THE BENEFITS OF HOSPITALIZATION IN SO FAR AS MALES ARE CONCERNED TO INCLUDE OTHER THAN COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN, AND SUCH EXCEPTIONAL CLASSES AS WERE SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED. FURTHERMORE, BY USING THE EXPRESSION "HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERANS" AND "VETERANS NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED," CONGRESS CONTEMPLATED AUTHORIZING HOSPITALIZATION ONLY TO VETERANS WHO WERE SUBJECT TO HONORABLE OR DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE. CONTRACT SURGEONS OR ACTING ASSISTANT SURGEONS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO HONORABLE OR DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE, BUT ARE EMPLOYED UNDER A CONTRACT FOR A SPECIFIED PERIOD OF TIME, THE WAR DEPARTMENT RESERVING THE RIGHT TO TERMINATE THE CONTRACT SOONER AND ALSO HAVING THE RIGHT TO ANNUL THE CONTRACT FOR MISCONDUCT OR NEGLECT OF DUTY.

THEREFORE YOUR SUBMISSION PRESENTS THE QUESTION AS TO CORRECTNESS OF YOUR DECISION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE TERM "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" AS USED IN SECTION 202 (10) OF THE STATUTE GRANTING THE BENEFITS OF HOSPITALIZATION WAS INTENDED TO BE AND IS RESTRICTED WITH RESPECT TO PERSONS WHO SERVED IN ANY WAR, TO THOSE CLASSES CORRESPONDING TO THE CLASSES OF PERSONS WHO SERVED IN THE WORLD WAR AND WHO WERE SPECIFICALLY GRANTED BENEFITS OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT INCIDENT THERETO UNDER THE TERMS OF SECTION 200 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION OF THE TERM "VETERANS OF ANY WAR," ADOPTED BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU, WAS FIRST APPROVED BY THIS OFFICE IN DECISION OF JUNE 11, 1923, 2 COMP. GEN. 791 (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

* * * PERSONS WHO SERVED IN ANY OF THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE MEXICAN WAR, THE CIVIL WAR, THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR, OR THE WORLD WAR, OR WHO SERVED IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES ACTUALLY PARTICIPATING IN THE BOXER EXPEDITION, CUBAN PACIFICATION, NICARAGUAN CAMPAIGN, VERA CRUZ EXPEDITION, OR THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO.

THIS DEFINITION HAS SINCE BEEN ENLARGED TO INCLUDE VETERANS OF MILITARY OCCUPATIONS, EXPEDITIONS, CAMPAIGNS, OR OTHER DISTURBANCES IN WHICH ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN CALLED TO DUTY SINCE THE WORLD WAR. DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 13, 1928, A-23965, 8 COMP. GEN. 112. THERE HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED FROM THE APPLICATION OF THE TERM NATIONAL GUARDSMEN WHOSE ORGANIZATIONS WERE MUSTERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE BUT WHO WERE REJECTED FROM FEDERAL SERVICE, 6 COMP. GEN. 327, AND DISCHARGED DRAFTEES WHO NEVER ACTUALLY SERVED IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES, 7 COMP. GEN. 570. THE BASIS OF THESE DECISIONS WAS THAT NO SERVICE IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES HAD BEEN RENDERED IN SUCH CASES. BY YOUR DECISION, SUPRA, YOU HAVE NOW RESTRICTED THE WORD "PERSONS," APPEARING IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED DEFINITION, TO INCLUDE ONLY COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND NURSES (FEMALE), AS THOSE TERMS ARE DEFINED IN THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

COMPENSATION AND MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT ARE ALL PROVIDED FOR UNDER ONE MAJOR HEADING OF THE STATUTE, VIZ.'TITLE II, COMPENSATION AND TREATMENT.' UNDER SECTION 200 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT THE RIGHT TO COMPENSATION IS LIMITED TO "ANY COMMISSIONED OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN * * *, ANY MEMBER OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE), OR OF THE NAVY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE), WHEN EMPLOYED IN THE ACTIVE SERVICE UNDER THE WAR DEPARTMENT OR NAVY DEPARTMENT.

MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT WAS FIRST PROVIDED ONLY AS INCIDENT TO THE RECEIPT OF SOME OTHER BENEFIT, SUCH AS COMPENSATION OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING. SEE SECTION 202 (6) OF THE STATUTE. FOR THE HISTORY OF, AND CHANGES IN, THIS SECTION SEE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 406; ACT OF DECEMBER 24, 1919, 41 STAT. 374; ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT 1524; ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT 619; AND ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1306. THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT, OF COURSE, BUT THAT THE TREATMENT AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS SECTION IS LIMITED TO COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND NURSES (FEMALE), AS THOSE TERMS ARE DEFINED IN THE LAW, WHO ARE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF COMPENSATION.

LATER THE BENEFITS OF MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT WERE EXTENDED TO "ANY MEMBER OF THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED" FOR INJURIES OR DISEASES RESULTING FROM OR AGGRAVATED BY WORLD WAR SERVICE. SEE SECTION 202 (9) OF THE STATUTE. FOR THE HISTORY OF, AND CHANGES IN, THIS SECTION SEE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, 42 STAT. 152; ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 620; AND ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1307. UNQUESTIONABLY THIS EXTENDED THE BENEFITS OF TREATMENT TO PERSONS NOT ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION. BUT THERE IS NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT THE PHRASE "ANY MEMBER OF THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES" AS USED THEREIN WAS INTENDED TO INCLUDE ANY CLASS OF PERSONS OTHER THAN COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND NURSES (FEMALE), AS DEFINED IN THE LAW. THE REASONABLE INFERENCE WOULD SEEM TO BE THAT THE INTENT WAS TO EXTEND THE HOSPITALIZATION BENEFITS TO THE SAME CLASSES OF PERSONS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEIR DISABILITIES WERE COMPENSABLE. THIS INFERENCE IS STRENGTHENED BY THE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS IN THE STATUTE THAT THE MEMBER MUST NOT HAVE BEEN DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED. THIS CONDITION WOULD SEEM TO IMPLY A STATUS SUBJECT TO HONORABLE AND DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE AS THOSE TERMS ARE ORDINARILY UNDERSTOOD UNDER THE MILITARY AND NAVAL LAWS AND PROCEDURE.

FINALLY, THE BENEFITS OF TREATMENT WERE EXTENDED TO "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NATURE OR ORIGIN OF THEIR DISABILITIES, UNDER THE TERMS AND SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS SPECIFIED IN THE ABOVE QUOTED SECTION 202 (10). FOR THE HISTORY OF, AND CHANGES IN, THIS SECTION SEE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1524; ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 620; AND ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796, ABOVE QUOTED. HERE THERE IS USED THE TERM "VETERAN" WHICH DID NOT APPEAR IN THE EARLIER AUTHORIZATIONS FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT, BUT THERE IS AGAIN COUPLED WITH THE BENEFIT THE CONDITION RESTRICTING IT TO THOSE "NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED," IMPLYING A STATUS SUBJECT TO HONORABLE AND DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE.

FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1916, 39 STAT. 166, 171 (SECS. 1 AND 10), WHICH EXPRESSLY INCLUDED CONTRACT SURGEONS IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, CONTRACT SURGEONS OF THE ARMY EMPLOYED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACTS OF JUNE 23, 1874, 18 STAT. 245, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, 31 STAT. 752, WERE NOT GENERALLY CONSIDERED AS HAVING A MILITARY STATUS. SEE 7 COMP. DEC. 195, 10 ID. 1, AND PARTICULARLY BYRNES V. UNITED STATES, 26 CT.CLS. 302; AND YEMANS V. UNITED STATES, 52 CT.CLS. 388. AS TO THE STATUS OF CONTRACT SURGEONS FOR PERIODS AFTER JUNE 3, 1916, SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 523, 524, AND CASES THEREIN CITED. IN DECISION DATED JULY 11, 1919, 26 COMP. DEC. 31, 32, THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, IN DENYING THE RIGHT OF CONTRACT SURGEONS OF THE ARMY TO THE $60 BONUS UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1919, 40 STAT. 1151, DETERMINED THE QUESTION ON THE CHARACTER OF THEIR DISCHARGE AND THE GENERAL NATURE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT AS FOLLOWS:

EVEN IF IT IS GRANTED THAT SECTION 1406 IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS EMBRACING CONTRACT SURGEONS WITHIN ITS DESCRIPTIVE CLASSIFICATION OF "PERSONS SERVING IN THE MILITARY FORCES," THE LIMITATIONS AS TO RESIGNATION, DISCHARGE, OR RETURN TO AN INACTIVE DUTY STATUS WOULD EFFECTUALLY BAR THEM FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT. WHILE IT MIGHT BE SAID THAT THE ANNULMENT OF A CONTRACT IS A DISCHARGE FROM SERVICE IN A BROAD USE OF THE TERM, IT MUST BE REMEMBERED THAT IT IS NOT SO IN A LITERAL OR MILITARY SENSE, AND THAT THE ACT UNDER CONSIDERATION IS A MILITARY ACT, TO BE INTERPRETED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MILITARY TERMS WHICH DEFINE THE MILITARY STATUS OF ITS BENEFICIARIES.

IT IS TO BE NOTED ALSO THAT IN ALL APPROPRIATION ACTS OR OTHER LEGISLATION RELATING TO CONTRACT SURGEONS IT HAS BEEN THE CUSTOM OF CONGRESS TO NAME THEM SEPARATELY AS A CLASS APART FROM OFFICERS OF THE ARMY OR FROM ANY OTHER CLASS HAVING A RECOGNIZED MILITARY STATUS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES.

UNDER ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF CONTRACT RELATIONS, CIVILIAN STATUS, LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE, AND STATUTORY AND CONTRACTUAL LIMITATIONS AS TO COMPENSATION, I AM OF OPINION THAT CONTRACT SURGEONS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE SECTION HEREINBEFORE QUOTED.

WHILE THE MATTER MAY NOT BE ENTIRELY FREE FROM DOUBT, I FIND NO SUFFICIENT REASON OR BASIS IN LAW FOR REVERSING OR DISAGREEING WITH YOUR CONCLUSION THAT CONTRACT SURGEONS OF THE ARMY AND ACTING ASSISTANT SURGEONS OF THE NAVY, WHO HAD A CORRESPONDING STATUS (REV.STATS., 1369, 1411, THE ACT OF MAY 4, 1898, 30 STAT. 380), WHO SERVED DURING THE SPANISH -AMERICAN WAR, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT THE STATUTE HAS SPECIFICALLY INCLUDED WITHIN THE BENEFITS THEREOF ,MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS WHO SERVED UNDER CONTRACT BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901," AND THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS THUS APPEARS THAT THOSE NAMED ONLY, AS UNDER CONTRACT CONDITIONS, MAY BE EMBRACED WITHIN THE BENEFITS OF THE LAW, AND HENCE THAT THOSE CLASSES OF PERSONS, IN A CONTRACT OR QUASI-MILITARY STATUS DURING THE SPANISH- AMERICAN WAR NOT SO NAMED THEREIN MAY NOT BE INCLUDED WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE STATUTE.

AS TO ARMY PAYMASTERS' CLERKS, THE DECISIONS SEEM GENERALLY TO HAVE RECOGNIZED A MILITARY STATUS. SEE 7 COMP. DEC. 715; 9 ID. 90; 13 ID. 654; 14 ID. 198; 15 ID. 141; 18 ID. 564; 27 OP.ATTY.GEN. 493, 506.SEE ALSO UNITED STATES V. HENDEE, 124 U.S. 309, AND, CONTRA, AS TO MILEAGE, UNITED STATES V. MOUAT, 124 U.S. 303, WHEREIN WAS CONSIDERED THE STATUS OF PAYMASTERS' CLERKS OF THE NAVY. HOWEVER, IT IS CLEAR THAT THEY WERE NEITHER ENLISTED NOR COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND THEY WERE NOT GIVEN AN HONORABLE OR DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE IN THE SENSE IN WHICH THOSE TERMS ARE ORDINARILY APPLIED UNDER THE MILITARY AND NAVAL LAWS. THEREFORE, FOR THE REASONS HEREINBEFORE STATED WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO OTHER CLASSES, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT ARMY PAYMASTERS' CLERKS WHO SERVED DURING THE PERIOD OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT PROVIDED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT FOR "VETERANS OF ANY WAR.'

WHILE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED THE TERM "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" TO INCLUDE PERSONS OTHER THAN COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND NURSES (FEMALE), AS THOSE TERMS ARE DEFINED IN THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY LEGISLATIVE EXPRESSION OF SUCH INTENT I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT SUCH EXTENSION OR ENLARGEMENT OF THE TERM BY CONSTRUCTION IS NOT AUTHORIZED, AND THAT BEFORE APPROPRIATED FUNDS MAY BE USED TO FURNISH MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT TO CLASSES OF PERSONS OTHER THAT COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND NURSES (FEMALE) THERE MUST BE SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THEREFOR.

FURTHERMORE, THE HOSPITALIZATION OF "VETERANS OF ANY WAR" WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NATURE OR ORIGIN OF THEIR DISABILITIES UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OF THE STATUTE IS NOT AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT BUT MERELY A PRIVILEGE TO BE EXTENDED BY THE DIRECTOR ONLY "SO FAR AS HE SHALL FIND THAT EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES PERMIT.' THEREFORE, EVEN IF IT COULD BE HELD THAT CONTRACT SURGEONS OF THE ARMY, ACTING ASSISTANT SURGEONS OF THE NAVY AND ARMY, AND PAYMASTERS' CLERKS OF THE ARMY WHO SERVED DURING THE PERIOD OF THE SPANISH -AMERICAN WAR MAY BE TREATED OR CONSIDERED AS "VETERANS" AS THAT TERM IS USED IN THE STATUTE, IT WOULD STILL BE WITHIN THE AUTHORITY OF THE DIRECTOR TO EXCLUDE THEM FROM THE BENEFITS IF HE SHOULD FIND THAT EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO TAKE CARE OF ALL VETERANS OF ANY WAR, INCLUDING SUCH CLASSES.