A-39262, NOVEMBER 23, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 204

A-39262: Nov 23, 1931

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IS BARRED BY SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT. FROM REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY PORTION OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED UPON SUCH FOREIGN VESSELS NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE HAD ACCOMPLISHED THE TRAVEL BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE TWO STATIONS BY RAIL NO STEAMSHIP TRAVEL WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY. WHO WAS FORMERLY A VICE CONSUL AT PLYMOUTH. WAS IN THE UNITED STATES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE WHEN HE WAS TRANSFERRED AS VICE CONSUL TO TALLINN. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO INCUR EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION IN REPORTING TO HIS NEW STATION IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF THE DIRECT TRIP FROM THE FORMER POST AT PLYMOUTH TO HIS NEW STATION. ALTHOUGH ITS NAME WAS NOT GIVEN. HIS EXPENSE VOUCHER CLAIMED SO MUCH OF THE COST AS WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE COST BY RAILROAD BETWEEN HIS OLD AND NEW STATIONS AS.

A-39262, NOVEMBER 23, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 204

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS AN AMERICAN VICE CONSUL NOTIFIED OF HIS TRANSFER FROM PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND, TO TALLINN, ESTONIA, WHILE IN THE UNITED STATES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE, AND WHO TRAVELS TO HIS NEW STATION BY FOREIGN VESSELS, IS BARRED BY SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, FROM REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY PORTION OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED UPON SUCH FOREIGN VESSELS NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE HAD ACCOMPLISHED THE TRAVEL BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE TWO STATIONS BY RAIL NO STEAMSHIP TRAVEL WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, NOVEMBER 23, 1931:

HARRY E. CARLSON, AMERICAN CONSUL AT TALLINN, ESTONIA, HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 1, 1930, TO JUNE 30, 1930, FOR $67.74 OF THE AMOUNT REIMBURSED TO ELLIS A. JOHNSON, AMERICAN VICE CONSUL, UPON HIS EXPENSE VOUCHER COVERING THE PERIOD MAY 10 TO MAY 27, 1930.

IT APPEARS THAT JOHNSON, WHO WAS FORMERLY A VICE CONSUL AT PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND, WAS IN THE UNITED STATES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE WHEN HE WAS TRANSFERRED AS VICE CONSUL TO TALLINN, ESTONIA, EFFECTIVE UPON THE EXPIRATION OF HIS LEAVE OF ABSENCE. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO INCUR EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION IN REPORTING TO HIS NEW STATION IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF THE DIRECT TRIP FROM THE FORMER POST AT PLYMOUTH TO HIS NEW STATION. HE TRAVELED FROM NEW YORK TO HELSINGFORS, FINLAND, VIA COPENHAGEN, ON THE S.S. UNITED STATES AND S.S. ARCTURUS, VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, AND FROM HELSINGFORS TO TALLINN ON A STEAMSHIP PRESUMABLY ALSO OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, ALTHOUGH ITS NAME WAS NOT GIVEN. HIS EXPENSE VOUCHER CLAIMED SO MUCH OF THE COST AS WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE COST BY RAILROAD BETWEEN HIS OLD AND NEW STATIONS AS, HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN DIRECTLY BETWEEN THE TWO STATIONS, NO STEAMSHIP TRAVEL WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY. THE ONLY EXPLANATION OFFERED FOR THE USE OF THE FOREIGN VESSEL FROM NEW YORK TO HELSINGFORS IS THE STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN CONSUL IN HIS LETTER OF MAY 12, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

VICE CONSUL JOHNSON WAS TRANSFERRED WHILE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES IN APRIL, 1930. HE WAS INFORMED THAT IT WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY FOR HIM TO RETURN TO HIS PREVIOUS POST, PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND, BUT THAT HE MIGHT PROCEED TO HIS NEW POST BY ANY TRAVEL ROUTE HE DESIRED, INASMUCH AS IN ANY EVENT HE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO PAY HIS OWN TRANSPORTATION BACK TO HIS PREVIOUS POST OF DUTY. THE STIPULATION WAS MADE, HOWEVER, THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS PROPERLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MR. JOHNSON'S TRANSPORTATION FROM PLYMOUTH TO TALLINN AND HE WAS INSTRUCTED TO SEND IN HIS ACTUAL TRAVEL ACCOUNTS SHOWING, FOR RECORD PURPOSES ONLY, WHAT ROUTE HE TRAVELED AND HOW MUCH HE SPENT. HE, HOWEVER, IT WILL BE NOTED, CLAIMED ONLY FOR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM PLYMOUTH TO TALLINN.

SECTION 601 OF THER MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697, 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 TRAVEL FROM NEW YORK TO HELSINGFORS, ACCORDING TO INFORMATION ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE, COULD HAVE BEEN PERFORMED BY A VESSEL OF AMERICAN REGISTRY OF THE AMERICAN SCANTIC LINE. IRRESPECTIVE OF THAT FACT, HOWEVER, THE TRAVELER'S OFFICIAL TRAVEL WAS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A TRANSFER FROM PLYMOUTH TO TALLINN, WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS BY RAIL, AND, ACCORDINGLY, NO NECESSITY OF SUCH MISSION REQUIRED THE USE OF A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY. SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, SUPRA, PRECLUDES ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED UPON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY UNLESS REQUIRED BY THE TRAVELER'S MISSION. SEE DECISIONS OF AUGUST 11, 1930, A-32618, AND OCTOBER 5, 1931, A-36920.

THE SETTLEMENT HERE IN QUESTION FAILED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION A CHARGE OF $3.75 FOR STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HELSINGFORS AND TALLINN. WHILE THE STEAMSHIP IS NOT NAMED IN THE VOUCHER, IT MAY BE PRESUMED THAT IT, ALSO, WAS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY. THE AMOUNT DISALLOWED WILL, THEREFORE, BE INCREASED BY $3.75, MAKING THE TOTAL DISALLOWANCE $71.49.

UPON REVIEW, THE SETTLEMENT, AS HEREIN AMENDED, MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.