A-54093, FEBRUARY 27, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 645

A-54093: Feb 27, 1935

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS THE FAILURE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO MAKE TIMELY DECISION AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRAVEL CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AS SATISFACTORY PROOF UNDER SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT THAT THERE WAS NO AMERICAN VESSEL AVAILABLE FOR THE TRAVEL INVOLVED AND IT MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED THAT THE TRAVELER'S MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL WHEN THERE IS NOTHING ON THE PARTICULAR VESSEL ACTUALLY USED BY THE TRAVELER WHICH HAD SUCH RELATION TO HIS MISSION AS TO HAVE REQUIRED ITS USE. 1935: REFERENCE IS HAD TO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 6. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM NO. 92092 1/2. UNDER WHICH THERE WAS DISALLOWED $220.00 COVERING PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED BY THE ITALIAN LINE.

A-54093, FEBRUARY 27, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 645

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS THE FAILURE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO MAKE TIMELY DECISION AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRAVEL CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AS SATISFACTORY PROOF UNDER SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT THAT THERE WAS NO AMERICAN VESSEL AVAILABLE FOR THE TRAVEL INVOLVED AND IT MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED THAT THE TRAVELER'S MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL WHEN THERE IS NOTHING ON THE PARTICULAR VESSEL ACTUALLY USED BY THE TRAVELER WHICH HAD SUCH RELATION TO HIS MISSION AS TO HAVE REQUIRED ITS USE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, FEBRUARY 27, 1935:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 6, 1934, FROM THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM NO. 92092 1/2, UNDER WHICH THERE WAS DISALLOWED $220.00 COVERING PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED BY THE ITALIAN LINE, 1 STATE STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, FROM NEW YORK TO ATHENS, GREECE, ON JULY 14, 1933, IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUEST A- 642,907, ISSUED BY W. D. REED, AN EMPLOYEE OF THIS DEPARTMENT. THIS DISALLOWANCE WAS MADE, ACCORDING TO YOUR FORM 43 DATED APRIL 24, 1934, BECAUSE THE TRANSPORTATION WAS ACCOMPLISHED ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, CONTRARY TO PROVISION OF SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928 (45 STAT. 697).

IT APPEARS TO THIS DEPARTMENT THAT YOU WERE PROBABLY NOT IN POSSESSION OF ALL THE FACTS WHEN THIS SETTLEMENT WAS MADE. THE ADVANTAGE OF MAKING THE TRIP, AS COMPARED WITH THE VALUE OF MR. REED'S SERVICES IN HIS REGULAR ASSIGNMENT, WAS CONSIDERED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR SOME TIME, BUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A FIRST-HAND STUDY MADE OF TOBACCO CONDITIONS IN CERTAIN PRODUCING AREAS ABROAD WAS SUCH THAT IT WAS FINALLY DECIDED TO SEND MR. REED. THIS DECISION WAS REACHED ON JUNE 29, 1933, WHEN MR. REED HAD ALREADY OUTLINED AND STARTED A FULL PROGRAM OF SEASONAL EXPERIMENTS AT THE RICHMOND LABORATORY OF THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY. THAT WORK COULD NOT BE TERMINATED ABRUPTLY WITHOUT GREAT EXPENSE AND LOSS TO THE DEPARTMENT. UPON RECEIVING INFORMATION AS TO THE APPROVAL OF THE TRIP, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO ARRANGE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ASSISTANT IN THE LABORATORY AND THE INSTRUCTING OF THIS ASSISTANT IN THE DETAILS OF THE EXPERIMENTAL WORK THEN UNDER WAY. IN ADDITION, HE HAD TO ARRANGE WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF VARIOUS TOBACCO COMPANIES WHO WERE COOPERATING IN THIS INVESTIGATION TO HAVE THEIR FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES IN THE COUNTRIES TO BE VISITED TO ISSUE LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION TO VARIOUS TOBACCO INTERESTS IN GREECE, TURKEY, AND ITALY, WHICH CREDENTIALS WERE NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES OF THE TRIP.

BECAUSE OF THESE VARIOUS TRANSACTIONS, IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE FOR MR. REED TO USE THE SHIP OF THE AMERICAN EXPORT LINES, WHICH SAILED FROM NEW YORK ON JULY 10, 1933. THE NEXT SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY SAILING FROM NEW YORK TO GREECE WAS SCHEDULED FOR JULY 25, 1933, ON THE AMERICAN EXPORT LINES. IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO USE THIS SHIP BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT IT REQUIRED FROM 21 TO 23 DAYS TO REACH THE PORT OF PIRAEUS. HAD HE SAILED ON JULY 25, HE WOULD NOT HAVE ARRIVED IN GREECE UNTIL AUGUST 15 OR 16, WHICH WOULD HAVE LEFT INSUFFICIENT TIME DURING THE ACTIVE SEASON OF THE INSECTS TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP, WHICH WAS TO INSPECT TOBACCO FARMS, FACTORIES, AND WAREHOUSES TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT AND SEVERITY OF INSECT INFESTATION, AND TO STUDY THE METHODS OF CONTROL USED. THIS WORK COULD BE DONE ONLY DURING THE ACTIVE SEASON OF THE INSECTS, THAT IS, FROM ABOUT MAY 15 TO OCTOBER 1.

BY SAILING FROM NEW YORK ON JULY 14, HE ARRIVED IN GREECE ON JULY 29, WHICH ENABLED HIM TO ENTIRELY COMPLETE THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP WITHIN THE ACTIVE SEASON OF THE INSECTS. HAD HE NOT COMPLETED THIS WORK IN THE SEASON OF 1933, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY TO SEND HIM TO THAT REGION THE FOLLOWING YEAR TO COMPLETE THE WORK, WITH CONSEQUENT ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO THE DEPARTMENT.

DUE TO THE FORMALITIES INVOLVED IN FOREIGN TRAVEL IN THE NEAR EAST, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO SECURE AN OFFICIAL PASSPORT CONTAINING THE COURTESY VISAS FROM THE LEGATIONS OF GREECE, ITALY, TURKEY, RUMANIA, BULGARIA, YUGOSLAVIA, FRANCE, AND ENGLAND. HE WAS ABLE TO SAIL ON JULY 14 ONLY AFTER HAVING EXERTED THE UTMOST EFFORTS TO COMPLETE THE NUMEROUS DETAILS INVOLVED IN THE PREPARATION FOR THE TRIP.

SINCE THE STEAMSHIP COMPANY HAS NOT RECEIVED PAYMENT FROM THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE ABOVE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, DEMAND HAS BEEN MADE BY THAT COMPANY UPON THE TRAVELER FOR PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS. SINCE IT WOULD BE MANIFESTLY UNJUST TO COMPEL THIS EMPLOYEE TO PAY FOR THIS OFFICIAL TRAVEL FROM PERSONAL FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF FAULT ON HIS PART IN THE MATTER, THIS DEPARTMENT RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS THAT THE SETTLEMENT IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED CLAIM BE REVIEWED, AND THAT PAYMENT BE MADE TO THE ITALIAN LINE.

IT SEEMS FROM YOUR STATEMENT OF THE FACTS IN THE INSTANT MATTER THAT YOUR DEPARTMENT HAS OVERLOOKED THE OBVIOUS PURPOSE AND CLEAR PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697. SAID SECTION PRECLUDES THE ALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF THAT THERE WAS AVAILABLE NO SHIP OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY, OR THAT THE TRAVELER'S MISSION REQUIRED USE OF SUCH FOREIGN SHIP. AS THE FACTS HAVE BEEN SUPPLIED BY YOU THE TRAVELER'S MISSION, THAT OF GOING ABROAD TO MAKE A FIRST-HAND STUDY OF TOBACCO CONDITIONS IN CERTAIN PRODUCING AREAS, INVOLVED NOTHING REQUIRING THE USE OF A PARTICULAR SHIP. OF COURSE THERE WAS NOTHING ON THE PARTICULAR SHIP (FOREIGN) ACTUALLY USED BY THE TRAVELER WHICH HAD SUCH RELATION TO HIS MISSION AS TO HAVE REQUIRED ITS USE, AND IT MAY NOT PROPERLY BE SAID THAT HIS MISSION REQUIRED USE OF A FOREIGN SHIP. IF NOT, WAS NO SHIP OF THE UNITED STATES REGISTRY AVAILABLE WITHIN THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE LAW?

IT APPEARS THE MATTER OF SENDING A REPRESENTATIVE TO MAKE A FIRST HAND STUDY OF CONDITIONS, INCLUDING INSECT INFESTATION AND METHODS OF CONTROL EMPLOYED, HAD BEEN UNDER CONSIDERATION BY YOUR DEPARTMENT FOR SOME TIME AND THAT AFTER MEASURING THE VALUE OF THE TRAVELER'S TIME ON HIS DUTIES HERE AS COMPARED WITH WHAT HE MIGHT LEARN THROUGH MAKING THE PROPOSED STUDY ABROAD, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT HE SHOULD MAKE THE TRIP-- BUT THAT SUCH DECISION WAS NOT REACHED UNTIL JUNE 29, 1933, AND IT IS CLAIMED HE COULD NOT MAKE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS TO DEPART FROM NEW YORK ON A SHIP OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY, ON JULY 10, 1934, SO USED A SHIP OF FOREIGN REGISTRY LEAVING NEW YORK ON JULY 14, 1934--- 4 DAYS LATER.

IT SEEMS APPARENT THERE WOULD BE REQUIRED NO SUCH USE OF SHIPS OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY AS THE LAW CLEARLY CONTEMPLATES IN CONNECTION WITH OFFICIAL TRAVEL ABROAD, IF IT SHOULD BE HELD THAT FAILURE OF ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE TIMELY DECISION AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRAVEL COULD BE ACCEPTED AS SATISFACTORY PROOF UNDER THE LAW, THAT THERE WAS NO SHIP OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY AVAILABLE FOR THE TRAVEL ABROAD INVOLVED.

WHILE THE MATTER OF THE WISDOM OF AUTHORIZING THE TRAVEL WAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THERE WAS INCUMBENT FOR ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION ALSO, THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT TO USE SHIPS OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY, AND DOUBTLESS THE MATTERS COULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED AT SUCH TIME AS TO HAVE MADE POSSIBLE COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT; AND WHEN THERE IS CONSIDERED THE VAST AMOUNT OF PUBLIC MONEYS EXPENDED YEARLY IN AN EFFORT TO DEVELOP AN AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE, THE DUTY UPON THIS OFFICE TO SEE THAT THE USES OF PUBLIC MONEYS FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ABROAD ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT (ON AMERICAN VESSELS) DOES NOT INVOLVE DISCRETION.

THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION BY A FOREIGN VESSEL WAS REQUIRED BY THE LAW AND IS AFFIRMED.