A-32690, A-32894, DECEMBER 18, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 268

A-32690,A-32894: Dec 18, 1930

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IT MUST APPEAR THAT THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES WERE INCURRED ONLY AFTER TITLE TO THE PROPERTY PASSED TO THE OFFICER AND SUCH CHARGES MAY INCLUDE ONLY THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION. 1930: REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 10. WHEREBY CREDIT WAS SUSPENDED FOR $230.26. REPRESENTING THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION TO PRAGUE OF AN AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS PURCHASED BY DAVID A. REFERENCE IS MADE ALSO TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24. IN THE TURNURE CASE CREDIT WAS WITHHELD UPON THE BASIS THAT THE CHARGES CONSTITUTED A PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND WERE NOT ITEMS OF TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS AT PUBLIC EXPENSE.

A-32690, A-32894, DECEMBER 18, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 268

TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND AUTOMOBILES - FOREIGN SERVICE TO ENTITLE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, INCLUDING AUTOMOBILES, PURCHASED WHILE EN ROUTE TO A NEW POST OF DUTY, IT MUST APPEAR THAT THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES WERE INCURRED ONLY AFTER TITLE TO THE PROPERTY PASSED TO THE OFFICER AND SUCH CHARGES MAY INCLUDE ONLY THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION, SUBJECT TO LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED IN THE REGULATIONS, DIRECTLY FROM THE PLACE WHERE TITLE PASSES TO HIM TO HIS NEW POST.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, DECEMBER 18, 1930:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 10, 1930, RELATIVE TO THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF ARTHUR C. FROST, AMERICAN CONSUL GENERAL AT PRAGUE, FOR THE DECEMBER, 1928, QUARTER, CERTIFICATE NO. K-49331-S, WHEREBY CREDIT WAS SUSPENDED FOR $230.26, REPRESENTING THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION TO PRAGUE OF AN AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS PURCHASED BY DAVID A. TURNURE, VICE CONSUL, WHILE EN ROUTE TO HIS POST, THE AMOUNT INCLUDING THREE ITEMS AS FOLLOWS: TRANSPORTATION CHARGES FROM PARIS TO LONDON, $48.53; PACKING AND FREIGHT CHARGES FROM LONDON TO PRAGUE $155.29; AND CARTAGE IN PRAGUE, $26.44. REFERENCE IS MADE ALSO TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24, 1930, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 30, 1930, DISALLOWING CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF VICE CONSUL G. G. ACKERSON, JR., FOR $311.34 PAID TO HIMSELF AS COST OF PACKING, CRATING, FREIGHT AND DOCK DUES UPON AN AUTOMOBILE SHIPPED FROM DETROIT, MICH., TO CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA.

IN THE TURNURE CASE CREDIT WAS WITHHELD UPON THE BASIS THAT THE CHARGES CONSTITUTED A PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND WERE NOT ITEMS OF TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS AT PUBLIC EXPENSE. AS A GROUND FOR DISALLOWANCE IN THE ACKERSON CASE IT WAS STATED THAT THE LAW AUTHORIZES THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTING AN OFFICER'S EFFECTS FROM HIS OLD TO HIS NEW STATION AND IT HAD BEEN CONSIDERED TO RELATE TO THOSE EFFECTS IN POSSESSION AND NOT THOSE ACQUIRED LATER. YOU NOW URGE THAT THE NECESSITIES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ARE SUCH THAT A LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE PLACED UPON THE LAW AND REGULATIONS TO AVOID HARDSHIPS OCCASIONED BY FREQUENT CHANGES REQUIRED OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS FROM ONE STATION TO ANOTHER INVOLVING WHOLLY DIFFERENT SURROUNDINGS, CLIMATE, ETC. THE QUESTION INVOLVED IN THE TWO CASES IS WHETHER ON CHANGE OF POST THE UNITED STATES IS REQUIRED TO PAY THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE PURCHASED AT OR ABOUT THE TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM THE UNITED STATES OR PURCHASED EN ROUTE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY BEFORE ARRIVAL AT THE NEW POST. ALSO, WHETHER AN AUTOMOBILE PURCHASED AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE NEW POST COMES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE LAW AND REGULATIONS. THE GROUND FOR DISALLOWANCE IN THE ACKERSON CASE, IF CORRECT, WOULD SEEM APPLICABLE TO THE TURNURE CASE AS WELL, VIZ., THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT IN THE OFFICER'S POSSESSION WHEN HE ENTERED UPON HIS TRAVEL FOR CHANGE OF POST.

THE APPROPRIATION "TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS, 1929," ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1928, 45 STAT. 68, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

TRANSPORTATION OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS: TO PAY THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND CLERKS TO EMBASSIES, LEGATIONS, AND CONSULATES, INCLUDING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CHINA, AND THE ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENTS OF THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF STATE MAY PRESCRIBE, OF THEIR FAMILIES AND EFFECTS, IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS. * * *

PARAGRAPHS 19 AND 20 OF THE SUPPLEMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE, APRIL 27, 1927, AND APPLICABLE TO FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS, PROVIDE:

THE EXPENSES OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS SHIPPED BY FREIGHT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE AND WITHIN THE LIMITS SET FORTH THEREIN, WILL BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT WHETHER SHIPPED FROM THE OLD POST TO THE NEW OR FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE NEW POST, OR PARTLY FROM THE UNITED STATES AND PARTLY FROM THE OLD POST, OR, IF SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE PARTLY OR WHOLLY FROM SOME OTHER POINT TO THE NEW POST OR ANOTHER DESTINATION, PROVIDED THE TOTAL COST DOES NOT EXCEED THE EXPENSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN SHIPPING THE EFFECTS FROM THE LAST PLACE OF DUTY TO THE NEW.

HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS SHALL BE DEEMED TO INCLUDE ONLY THE USUAL NECESSARY FURNITURE AND FITTINGS FOR A HOUSEHOLD ESTABLISHMENT. IF AN AUTOMOBILE IS INCLUDED IN THE EFFECTS SHIPPED THE COST OF CRATING, UNCRATING, AND TRANSPORTING IT (NOT TO EXCEED ONE AUTOMOBILE) WILL BE PAID PROVIDED BY ITS INCLUSION THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF CUBIC FEET OR WEIGHT ALLOWED TO THE OFFICER IS NOT EXCEEDED THEREBY. IN CASE IT IS EXCEEDED THE EXCESS COST MUST BE BORNE PERSONALLY BY THE OFFICER AND LIKEWISE IN CASE THE INCLUSION OF AN AUTOMOBILE INCREASES THE FREIGHT RATE ON THE SHIPMENT, SUCH INCREASE IN FREIGHT RATE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED AS A CHARGE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT * *

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY ENTITLES FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS TO TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR EFFECTS IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS. IN THE DECISION OF JULY 29, 1925, A-9378, IT WAS SAID:

* * * THE LAW CONTEMPLATES NORMALLY THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EFFECTS FROM THE PLACE FROM WHICH HE IS APPOINTED--- USUALLY IN ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS FROM THE PLACE OF HIS RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES. IT MAY BE SAID ALSO TO CONTEMPLATE THE TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS ALREADY IN POSSESSION AND NOT THOSE AFTER ACQUIRED. THERE MAY BE FACTS OF NECESSITY IN WHICH IF IT APPEARS THAT NO GREATER EXPENSE WAS PLACED UPON THE GOVERNMENT THAN A SHIPMENT FROM THE NORMAL PLACE CONTEMPLATED BY THE LAW, THE TRANSPORTATION MAY BE ALLOWED. THE PURCHASE OF EFFECTS AS DISTINGUISHED FROM EFFECTS IN POSSESSION RAISES ALSO THE QUESTION WHETHER THEREBY EFFECTS MAY NOT BE INVOLVED TO A GREATER EXTENT THAN OF SUCH AS WOULD BE IN POSSESSION. THERE IS HERE THE POSSIBILITY OF ABUSE, BUT THERE MUST BE ESTABLISHED IN THE FIRST PLACE THE NECESSITY OF TRANSPORTATION AS MADE, AND IF THE FACTS ARE ESTABLISHED IN THAT CONNECTION THE PURCHASES THEMSELVES WILL PROBABLY BE GOVERNED THEREBY.

THE FACTS IN THE CASE IN WHICH THIS DECISION WAS RENDERED WERE THAT THE OFFICER WAS PROCEEDING TO HIS NEW POST AND WHILE IN LONDON OR PARIS, OR BOTH, OR SOON THEREAFTER, ADDITIONAL EFFECTS WERE PURCHASED ON HIS BEHALF AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH EFFECTS TO HIS NEW POST WAS AUTHORIZED.

THE FACTS IN THE TWO MATTERS NOW BEFORE THIS OFFICE MAY BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: VICE CONSUL TURNURE WAS TRANSFERRED FROM WASHINGTON TO PRAGUE AND STOPPED EN ROUTE IN LONDON, WHERE HE BOUGHT AN AUTOMOBILE OF FRENCH MAKE. THE FREIGHT CHARGE FROM THE FACTORY IN FRANCE TO LONDON WAS $48.53, PACKING AND FREIGHT CHARGES FROM LONDON TO PRAGUE $155.29, AND CARTAGE AND DRAYAGE $26.44. THE JOURNEY WAS MADE IN JULY AND AUGUST, 1928. VICE CONSUL ACKERSON, UPON BEING ASSIGNED TO THE CONSULATE AT CAPE TOWN, DEPARTED FROM WASHINGTON JANUARY 5, 1929. THE AUTOMOBILE WAS PURCHASED BY HIM AFTER ARRIVAL AT HIS POST, THROUGH THE AGENCY OF THE MAKER IN CAPE TOWN, AT A COST OF $311.34, INCLUDING PACKING AND CRATING FROM DETROIT TO CAPE TOWN VIA NEW YORK, AND DOCK DUES AT CAPE TOWN. THE PURCHASE OF THE AUTOMOBILE WAS CONSUMMATED AT CAPE TOWN AND APPARENTLY THE TITLE TO IT PASSED TO HIM THERE. THE TRANSPORTATION CONSTITUTED A PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE AND NO AUTHORITY EXISTS TO REIMBURSE ON THAT ACCOUNT.

TO ENTITLE A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION, WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE REGULATIONS, OF AN AUTOMOBILE OR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS PURCHASED WHILE EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW POST, IT MUST APPEAR THAT THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES WERE INCURRED ONLY AFTER TITLE TO THE PROPERTY PASSED TO THE OFFICER, AND SUCH CHARGES MAY INCLUDE ONLY THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION, SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED IN THE REGULATIONS, DIRECTLY FROM THE PLACE WHERE TITLE PASSES TO HIM TO HIS NEW POST, ON ARTICLES REASONABLY NECESSARY FOR THE USE OF HIMSELF OR FAMILY AT THE NEW POST. THE SAME RULE IS FOR APPLICATION IN THE CASE OF PURCHASES MADE WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED TIME AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE NEW POST.

THE ACCOUNTS WILL BE ADJUSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES HEREIN ANNOUNCED.