A-40707, MARCH 19, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 355

A-40707: Mar 19, 1932

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

DONATIONS - NAVAL HOSPITALS - GIFTS TO BE HELD IN TRUST THE AMOUNT OF A BEQUEST TO A NAVAL HOSPITAL DIRECTED IN THE WILL OF A TESTATOR TO BE INVESTED AND THE INTEREST USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF A CLASS OF PERSONS NAMED THEREIN MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR. 1932: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1. IT APPEARS THAT THE EXECUTOR OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE SAID SARAH LYON HAS TRANSMITTED TO THE NAVY DEPARTMENT A CHECK FOR $2. 509.30 IN PAYMENT OF THE BEQUEST MADE IN THE WILL AS FOLLOWS: SEVENTH: ALL THE REST. PROVIDES: THE PRESIDENT IS AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE DONATIONS OF REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY. THIS PROVISION OF THE REVISED STATUTES WAS DERIVED FROM THE ACT OF JULY 16.

A-40707, MARCH 19, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 355

DONATIONS - NAVAL HOSPITALS - GIFTS TO BE HELD IN TRUST THE AMOUNT OF A BEQUEST TO A NAVAL HOSPITAL DIRECTED IN THE WILL OF A TESTATOR TO BE INVESTED AND THE INTEREST USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF A CLASS OF PERSONS NAMED THEREIN MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, AND THERE WOULD BE NO AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF ANY APPROPRIATION FOR ANY SERVICES OR EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH INVESTING OR ADMINISTERING SUCH A TRUST FUND UNLESS THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE DONATION AS MADE SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED BY THE CONGRESS. SECTION 4801, REVISED STATUTES, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE ACCEPTANCE OF PRIVATE DONATIONS FOR NAVAL HOSPITALS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MARCH 19, 1932:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1, 1932, NH4/L22 1/320119/- K, CONCERNING THE BEQUEST BY THE LATE MISS SARAH LYON OF HER RESIDUARY ESTATE TO THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., AND INQUIRING WHETHER THE GIFT MAY LEGALLY BE ACCEPTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4801, REVISED STATUTES.

IT APPEARS THAT THE EXECUTOR OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE SAID SARAH LYON HAS TRANSMITTED TO THE NAVY DEPARTMENT A CHECK FOR $2,509.30 IN PAYMENT OF THE BEQUEST MADE IN THE WILL AS FOLLOWS:

SEVENTH: ALL THE REST, RESIDUE, AND REMAINDER OF MY PROPERTY, WHETHER MUCH OR LITTLE, I GIVE IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER, EDNA LINES, TO THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL, NOW LOCATED ON FLUSHING AVENUE, OPPOSITE RYERSON STREET, IN THE SAID BOROUGH OF BROOKLYN, CITY OF NEW YORK, SAID SUM TO BE INVESTED AND TO BE KNOWN AS THE EDNA LINES MEMORIAL FUND, AND THE INTEREST THEREON TO BE USED FOR THE COMFORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SAILORS IN SAID HOSPITAL.

SECTION 4801, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES:

THE PRESIDENT IS AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE DONATIONS OF REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY, IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE ERECTION OR SUPPORT OF HOSPITALS FOR SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN.

THIS PROVISION OF THE REVISED STATUTES WAS DERIVED FROM THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1798, 1 STAT. 605, ENTITLED "AN ACT FOR THE RELIEF OF SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN.' THAT THIS ORIGINAL ACT HAD REFERENCE TO HOSPITALS FOR MERCHANT SEAMEN, AND NOT TO NAVAL HOSPITALS FOR NAVY PERSONNEL, IS SHOWN NOT ONLY BY THE CONTEXT OF THE ORIGINAL ACT BUT BY THE AMENDATORY ACTS OF MARCH 2, 1799, 1 STAT. 729, AND FEBRUARY 26, 1811, 2 STAT. 650, THE FIRST OF WHICH PROVIDED THAT NAVY PERSONNEL SHOULD HAVE THE SAME BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES AS PROVIDED IN THE ORIGINAL ACT FOR "SICK AND DISABLED SEAMEN OF THE MERCHANT VESSELS OF THE UNITED STATES," AND THE SECOND OF WHICH PROVIDED FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF "NAVY HOSPITALS" FOR NAVY OFFICERS, SEAMEN, AND MARINES. THE ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NAVAL HOSPITALS CONTAINED NO PROVISION FOR THE ACCEPTANCE OF PRIVATE DONATIONS FOR THEIR ERECTION OR SUPPORT OR FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE, AND, ACCORDINGLY, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE CITED PROVISION OF SECTION 4801, REVISED STATUTES, HAS REFERENCE TO DONATIONS FOR HOSPITALS FOR MERCHANT SEAMEN AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1798, SUPRA, AND NOW DESIGNATED UNITED STATES MARINE HOSPITALS, AND IS NOT AUTHORITY FOR ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS FOR NAVAL HOSPITALS FOR NAVY PERSONNEL.

FURTHERMORE, THE PROPOSED DONATION IN THE PRESENT CASE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE UNCONDITIONAL, BUT, UNDER THE TERMS OF THE WILL IS REQUIRED TO BE INVESTED AND ONLY THE INCOME USED FOR SPECIFIED PURPOSES. IF ACCEPTED, THE UNITED STATES WOULD BECOME, IN EFFECT, A TRUSTEE FOR CHARITABLE USES, WOULD NEVER GAIN A LEGAL TITLE TO THE MONEY, BUT WOULD HAVE THE BURDEN AND OBLIGATION OF ADMINISTERING IN PERPETUITY A TRUST FUND NOT EVEN STRICTLY FOR ITS OWN BENEFIT BUT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CLASS OF PERSONS NAMED IN THE BEQUEST. IT WOULD SEEM CLEAR THAT SUCH AN OBLIGATION COULD NOT LEGALLY BE ASSUMED BY ANY OFFICER ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, AND THAT THERE WOULD BE NO AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF ANY APPROPRIATIONS FOR ANY SERVICE OR EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH INVESTING OR ADMINISTERING SUCH A TRUST FUND UNLESS THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE DONATION AS MADE SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED BY THE CONGRESS. SEE 10 COMP. GEN. 395; A-36678, MAY 26, 1931; A-40305, JANUARY 18, 1932; 22 COMP. DEC. 465; 27 ID. 1068; 13 OP.ATTY.GEN. 465; 21 ID. 537; 30 ID. 527 ..END :