A-3951, AUGUST 14, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 179

A-3951: Aug 14, 1924

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IF THE STATE OF TEXAS IS UNABLE TO FURNISH A CLEAR TITLE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL STATION TO THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE VALUATION AGREED UPON. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF ANY PORTION OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR ACQUIRING TITLE TO ONLY SUCH STATIONS AS CAN BE CONVEYED AT THIS TIME. 1924: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 10. AS FOLLOWS: YOUR ATTENTION IS RESPECTFULLY INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THE SUNDRY CIVIL ACT APPROVED JUNE 5. THIS APPRAISAL WAS MADE BY SAID COMMISSION ON AUGUST 16. A COPY OF THE REPORT IS INCLOSED HEREWITH. A LEASE (COPY INCLOSED) OF SAID PROPERTIES TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES WAS ENTERED INTO BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF TEXAS AND THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

A-3951, AUGUST 14, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 179

APPROPRIATIONS, SPECIFIC - PURCHASE OF QUARANTINE STATIONS OF TEXAS THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 875, AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF TEXAS QUARANTINE STATIONS PROVIDED FOR THE TRANSFER AND PURCHASE OF ALL STATIONS THEN ESTABLISHED AND CONSTITUTING THE QUARANTINE SYSTEM OF TEXAS, AND IF THE STATE OF TEXAS IS UNABLE TO FURNISH A CLEAR TITLE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL STATION TO THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE VALUATION AGREED UPON, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF ANY PORTION OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR ACQUIRING TITLE TO ONLY SUCH STATIONS AS CAN BE CONVEYED AT THIS TIME.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AUGUST 14, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 10, 1924, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR ATTENTION IS RESPECTFULLY INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THE SUNDRY CIVIL ACT APPROVED JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 875, APPROPRIATING $90,071 TO PURCHASE TEXAS QUARANTINE STATIONS, LAND, BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT, AND ALL OTHER PROPERTY USED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH. THE ACTS APPROVED FEBRUARY 15, 1893, 27 STAT. 449, AND JUNE 19, 1906, 34 STAT. 299, PROVIDED FOR THE ACQUISITION OF STATE QUARANTINE STATIONS, ETC., AND THE OPERATION OF THE SAME BY THE GOVERNMENT.

THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS IN ITS THIRTY-SIXTH SESSION PASSED A BILL KNOWN AS HOUSE BILL NO. 27, PROVIDING FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF A COMMISSION, COMPOSED OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND THE STATE HEALTH OFFICER, IN CONNECTION WITH A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, TO MAKE A SURVEY AND APPRAISE THE VALUE OF QUARANTINE PROPERTIES OWNED AND USED BY THE STATE OF TEXAS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSFERRING THE SAME TO THE GOVERNMENT. THIS APPRAISAL WAS MADE BY SAID COMMISSION ON AUGUST 16, 1919, THE GOVERNMENT BEING REPRESENTED BY THE SENIOR SURGEON AND A CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER OF THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. A COPY OF THE REPORT IS INCLOSED HEREWITH.

UNDER DATE OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1919, A LEASE (COPY INCLOSED) OF SAID PROPERTIES TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES WAS ENTERED INTO BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF TEXAS AND THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. UNDER ONE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS LEASE IT WAS AGREED THAT THE VALUE FIXED BY THE COMMISSION ABOVE REFERRED TO, VIZ, $90,071, SHOULD BE HELD AS THE TRUE PURCHASE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY, AND AT SUCH TIME AS THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD APPROPRIATE THIS AMOUNT TO PAY FOR SAID PROPERTY, UPON APPROVAL OF THE TITLE OF THE SAME BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, IT WOULD BE CONVEYED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY APPROPRIATE DEEDS, ETC.THE SUNDRY CIVIL ACT APPROVED JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 875, APPROPRIATED THE AMOUNT REFERRED TO FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE TEXAS QUARANTINE STATIONS, ETC.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE LEGISLATION STEPS WERE TAKEN TO ACQUIRE THE PROPERTIES FROM THE STATE, AND AFTER CONSIDERABLE CORRESPONDENCE THE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS ADVISED THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE THAT CERTAIN DIFFICULTIES HAD BEEN ENCOUNTERED WITH THE PREPARATION OF DEEDS OF CONVEYANCE FOR THE PROPERTY, DUE PRINCIPALLY TO THE FACT THAT THE COMMISSION HAD LISTED AND VALUED AS BELONGING TO THE STATE CERTAIN LAND, WHICH AS A MATTER OF FACT THE STATE DID NOT OWN; THAT THIS FACT WAS EVIDENTLY NOT KNOWN EITHER TO THE STATE COMMISSION NOR TO THE OFFICIALS REPRESENTING THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

UNDER DATE OF JULY 5, 1924, THE SURGEON GENERAL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE TRANSMITTED TO THE SURVEYOR GENERAL OF REAL ESTATE A COMMUNICATION WHICH HE HAD RECEIVED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS, AND COPIES OF THIS COMMUNICATION AND THAT OF THE SURGEON GENERAL ARE HEREWITH INCLOSED. AS WILL BE SEEN FROM THESE PAPERS IT IS THE DESIRE OF BOTH THE TEXAS AUTHORITIES AND THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE TO TRANSFER SUCH PROPERTIES AS THE STATE CAN PROPERLY CONVEY TO THE GOVERNMENT.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER UNDER THE TERMS OF EXISTING LEGISLATION STEPS CAN BE TAKEN TO ACQUIRE ONLY SUCH PROPERTIES AS CAN BE CONVEYED AT THIS TIME, AND NOT, THEREFORE, ALL OF THE SO-CALLED QUARANTINE STATIONS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS; THE PRICE PAID FOR THE SAME BEING SUCH AN AMOUNT AS MAY BE AGREED UPON, AND AN APPROPRIATE DEDUCTION ACCORDINGLY MADE FROM THE TOTAL APPROPRIATION PROVIDED BY CONGRESS IN THE SUNDRY CIVIL ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1893, 27 STAT. 449, PROVIDED FOR GENERAL SUPERVISION OF ALL STATE QUARANTINE STATIONS BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO ISSUE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THEIR CONTROL. SECTIONS 5 AND 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 19, 1906, 34 STAT. 301, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 5. THAT IN ANY PLACE WHERE A QUARANTINE STATION AND PLANT IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED BY STATE OR LOCAL AUTHORITIES IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, BEFORE SELECTING AND DESIGNATING A QUARANTINE STATION AND GROUNDS AND ANCHORAGE FOR VESSELS, TO EXAMINE SUCH ESTABLISHED STATIONS AND PLANTS, WITH A VIEW OF OBTAINING A TRANSFER OF THE SITE AND PLANTS TO THE UNITED STATES, AND WHENEVER THE PROPER AUTHORITIES SHALL BE READY TO TRANSFER THE SAME OR SURRENDER THE USE THEREOF TO THE UNITED STATES, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO OBTAIN TITLE THERETO OR POSSESSION AND USE THEREOF, AND TO PAY A REASONABLE COMPENSATION THEREFORE, IF, IN HIS OPINION, SUCH PURCHASE OR USE WILL BE NECESSARY TO THE UNITED STATES FOR QUARANTINE PURPOSES AND THE QUARANTINE STATIONS ESTABLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THIS ACT SHALL, WHEN SO ESTABLISHED, BE USED TO PREVENT THE INTRODUCTION OF ALL QUARANTINABLE DISEASES.

SEC. 6. THAT WHENEVER ANY ESTABLISHED STATION, OR ANY LAND OR WATER, OR ANY PART THEREOF, SHALL BE ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, JURISDICTION OVER THE SAME SHALL BE CEDED TO THE UNITED STATES BY ANY STATE IN WHICH THE SAME IS SITUATED BEFORE ANY COMPENSATION THEREFOR SHALL BE PAID.

THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 875, PROVIDING FOR THE SUNDRY CIVIL EXPENSES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1921, CONTAINED AN ITEM UNDER THE HEADING "QUARANTINE STATIONS" AS FOLLOWS:

FOR TRANSFER AND PURCHASE OF TEXAS QUARANTINE STATIONS, $90,071.

THIS CONSTITUTES A PERMANENT SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS WHICH DID NOT LAPSE TO THE SURPLUS FUND JUNE 30, 1923, ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487.

THE INTENDMENT OF THE APPROPRIATION WAS TO PURCHASE THE TEXAS QUARANTINE PROPERTIES FOR $90,071. IT WAS NOT AN APPROPRIATION FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURCHASE, BUT FOR THE TEXAS STATIONS GENERALLY, INCLUDING ALL STATIONS THEN ESTABLISHED AS THEY CONSTITUTED A QUARANTINE SYSTEM. THERE WERE FIVE IN NUMBER LEASED BY TEXAS TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1919. THE AMOUNT APPROPRIATED WAS BASED ON A VALUATION AGREED UPON FOR THESE FIVE STATIONS AS CONSTITUTING THE QUARANTINE SYSTEM OF TEXAS, ON THE BASIS THAT THE STATE OF TEXAS COULD PROVIDE A CLEAR TITLE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE FIVE STATIONS. ACCORDINGLY IT BECOMES INCUMBENT ON THE STATE OF TEXAS TO ACQUIRE THE TITLE FOR THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE VALUATION AGREED UPON FOR EACH STATION, PENDING WHICH THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF ANY PORTION OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR ACQUIRING THE TITLE TO ANY OF THE STATIONS.