A-4564, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 256

A-4564: Sep 3, 1924

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1924: I HAVE FOR CONSIDERATION THE REQUEST OF THE ACTING SECRETARY OF COMMERCE. IT IS NOTED THAT THE DEPARTMENT DESIRES TO USE THE COAST-TO-COAST AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE TO SEND OUT CERTAIN PRESS RELEASES. SO THAT THEY MAY BE DELIVERED FOR PUBLICATION TO THE VARIOUS PAPERS ON THE PACIFIC COAST AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE RELEASED IN THE EAST. IT IS STATED THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS ADVISED THAT. IT IS UNABLE TO ACCEPT SUCH MAIL AS THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DESIRES TO TRANSMIT WITHOUT PAYMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL SERVICE. IT IS A NEW AND SPECIAL SERVICE WHICH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS DETERMINED IT IS NOT OBLIGATED TO EMPLOY IN TRANSMITTING MAILS ENTITLED TO FREE CARRIAGE AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3.

A-4564, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 256

PURCHASE OF AIRPLANE MAIL STAMPS THE APPROPRIATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR "CONTINGENT EXPENSES" FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR MAY BE USED FOR THE PURCHASE OF AIRPLANE MAIL STAMPS FOR USE IN TRANSMITTING TO THE PACIFIC COAST THE PRESS RELEASES, EMBODYING WEEKLY REPORTS ON WORLD MARKETS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924:

I HAVE FOR CONSIDERATION THE REQUEST OF THE ACTING SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, DATED AUGUST 7, 1924, FOR A DECISION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR "CONTINGENT EXPENSES" FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR MAY BE USED FOR THE PURCHASE OF AIRPLANE MAIL STAMPS.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE DEPARTMENT DESIRES TO USE THE COAST-TO-COAST AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE TO SEND OUT CERTAIN PRESS RELEASES, EMBODYING ITS WEEKLY REPORTS ON WORLD MARKETS, SO THAT THEY MAY BE DELIVERED FOR PUBLICATION TO THE VARIOUS PAPERS ON THE PACIFIC COAST AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE RELEASED IN THE EAST.

IT IS STATED THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS ADVISED THAT, IN VIEW OF THE LIMITED CAPACITY OF THE AIRPLANES USED ON THE COAST-TO COAST ROUTE AND ITS DESIRE TO LIMIT THE SERVICE AS FAR AS POSSIBLE TO PAYING MAIL IN ORDER THAT THIS SERVICE MAY BE PUT ON A PAYING BASIS AND WARRANT ITS CONTINUANCE, IT IS UNABLE TO ACCEPT SUCH MAIL AS THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DESIRES TO TRANSMIT WITHOUT PAYMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL SERVICE.

THE ACT OF APRIL 4, 1924, 43 STAT. 87, PROVIDES FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE FROM COAST-TO-COAST BY CONTINUOUS FLYING BY NIGHT AND BY DAY AND FOR THE MAKING BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR THIS SERVICE.

IT IS A NEW AND SPECIAL SERVICE WHICH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS DETERMINED IT IS NOT OBLIGATED TO EMPLOY IN TRANSMITTING MAILS ENTITLED TO FREE CARRIAGE AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 335, UNLESS PAYMENT IS MADE FOR SUCH SERVICE. IT IS A SERVICE WHICH WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED WHEN THE ACT OF 1877 WAS PASSED-- A SERVICE WHICH GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICES SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO THE MORE EXPEDITIOUS EXERCISE OF THEIR FUNCTIONS OR WHEN ITS USE WILL ENABLE THEM THE BETTER TO SERVE THE INTERESTS OF THE NATION--- A SERVICE FOR WHICH THE PAYMENT BY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICES, WHEN AN APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE, WOULD SEEM TO BE NOT LESS PROPER THAN PAYMENT FOR SPECIAL DELIVERY OR REGISTERED MAIL SERVICE.

IT SEEMS NECESSARY THAT THESE REPORTS BE RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION FAIRLY SIMULTANEOUSLY ON BOTH COASTS, AS OBVIOUSLY NO ONE COMMERCIAL LOCALITY SHOULD BE ENABLED TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION OBTAINED THEREFROM GREATLY IN ADVANCE OF ANY OTHER LOCALITY MERELY ON ACCOUNT OF GEOGRAPHICAL PROXIMITY TO THE SOURCE OF THE REPORTS. THE SIMULTANEOUS RELEASE SHOULD BE EFFECTED, IF POSSIBLE, BY EXPEDITING THE RELEASE AT THE MOST REMOTE POINTS RATHER THAN BY RETARDING THE SAME AT THE CLOSER POINTS, FOR THE PROMPT PUBLICATION OF THE REPORTS IS ASSUMED TO BE OF VITAL IMPORTANCE GENERALLY TO THE COMMERCIAL INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY.

THE USE OF THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE FOR THE TRANSMITTAL OF OFFICIAL MAIL MATTER, ENTITLED TO BE ADMITTED TO THE ORDINARY MAILS FREE, WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE OCCASIONED IS NECESSARY AND MAY BE PAID FROM AN AVAILABLE APPROPRIATION, ESPECIALLY WHERE SUCH SERVICE IS CHEAPER THAN THE TELEPHONE OR TELEGRAPH, SHOULD NOT ONLY BE AUTHORIZED BUT ENCOURAGED.

THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1924, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925, 43 STAT. 224, PROVIDES, UNDER THE TITLE OF "CONTINGENT EXPENSES," SPECIFICALLY FOR CERTAIN ITEMS AND GENERALLY FOR "ALL OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS AND NECESSARY EXPENSES NOT INCLUDED IN THE FOREGOING.'

IT APPEARS THAT THE USE HERE INTENDED IS NECESSARY AND THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL CHARGE PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS A NECESSARY MISCELLANEOUS ITEM OF EXPENSE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT PROVIDING THE APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENT EXPENSES.'

I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE APPROPRIATION,"CONTINGENT EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE," IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE STAMPS, UNDER THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN YOUR SUBMISSION. SEE 19 COMP. DEC. 479; 26 ID. 887.