A-63273, JULY 17, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 36

A-63273: Jul 17, 1935

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EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION - CANAL ZONE SINCE THE RIGHTS ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO THE CANAL ZONE ARE ALL INCLUSIVE AND THAT TERRITORY IS SUBJECT TO SUCH LAWS AS MAY BE MADE APPLICABLE THERETO BY THE CONGRESS. IT IS WITHIN THE BROAD TERM "TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS" OF THE UNITED STATES AS USED IN SECTION 2 OF THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935. LIMITING THE AREA WITHIN WHICH THE FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE ACT ARE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE. THE APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE AVAILABLE IN ADDITION TO OTHER PURPOSES FOR NEW BUILDINGS. NO. 301 51 310 60 342 105 348 111 IN THE CASE OF EACH OF SUCH APPLICATIONS THE PROJECT FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE SOUGHT IS LOCATED IN THE CANAL ZONE.

A-63273, JULY 17, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 36

EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION - CANAL ZONE SINCE THE RIGHTS ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO THE CANAL ZONE ARE ALL INCLUSIVE AND THAT TERRITORY IS SUBJECT TO SUCH LAWS AS MAY BE MADE APPLICABLE THERETO BY THE CONGRESS, IT IS WITHIN THE BROAD TERM "TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS" OF THE UNITED STATES AS USED IN SECTION 2 OF THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935, LIMITING THE AREA WITHIN WHICH THE FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE ACT ARE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JULY 17, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 24, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935 (PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 11, 74TH CONGRESS) APPROVED APRIL 8, 1935, PROVIDED APPROPRIATIONS FOR RELIEF, WORK RELIEF, AND TO INCREASE EMPLOYMENT "TO BE USED IN THE DISCRETION AND UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT.' THE APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE AVAILABLE IN ADDITION TO OTHER PURPOSES FOR NEW BUILDINGS, RECONSTRUCTION OF BUILDINGS, AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN MILITARY OR NAVAL RESERVATIONS OR FOR PROJECTS FOR NONMILITARY OR NONNAVAL PURPOSES IN SUCH PLACES.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT READS IN PART:

"THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE HEREIN SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR USE ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS.'

THE NAVY DEPARTMENT MADE APPLICATION FOR AN ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS UNDER SAID ACT BEARING NAVY DEPARTMENT PROJECT NUMBERS, AND NATIONAL EMERGENCY COUNCIL NUMBERS AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

DEPT. PROJECT N.E.C.

NO. NO.

301 51

310 60

342 105

348 111

IN THE CASE OF EACH OF SUCH APPLICATIONS THE PROJECT FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE SOUGHT IS LOCATED IN THE CANAL ZONE, AND, IF THE FUNDS APPLIED FOR ARE ALLOTTED, SAID FUNDS WOULD BE USED THERE.

IN CONSIDERING SUCH APPLICATIONS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY COUNCIL RAISED THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE CANAL ZONE IS A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT CITED, AND THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION SUGGESTED THAT YOUR DECISION BE OBTAINED AS TO THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENDITURE IN THE CANAL ZONE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER IN THE EVENT FUNDS ARE ALLOTTED AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE APPLICATIONS REFERRED TO AND OBLIGATIONS UNDER SUCH ALLOTMENTS ARE INCURRED, BY CONTRACT OR OTHERWISE, CONTRACT VOUCHERS OR PUBLIC BILLS LIQUIDATING SUCH OBLIGATIONS WOULD BE PASSED FOR PAYMENT AS A CHARGE AGAINST SUCH ALLOTTED FUNDS.

THE PANAMA CANAL WAS ACQUIRED BY TREATY OF NOVEMBER 18, 1903, 33 STAT. 2234, BY THE TERMS OF WHICH THE UNITED STATES OBTAINED A PERPETUAL LEASE AND WAS GRANTED ALL THE RIGHTS, POWER, AND AUTHORITY WITHIN THE ZONE WHICH THE UNITED STATES WOULD POSSESS AND EXERCISE AS A SOVEREIGN OF THE TERRITORY SO ACQUIRED. UNDER THIS TREATY THE UNITED STATES UNDOUBTEDLY ACQUIRED POSSESSION OF THE CANAL ZONE AND HAS EXERCISED ALL THE RIGHTS OF POSSESSION BY ENACTING VARIOUS LAWS PERTAINING THERETO.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PANAMA CANAL IS TREATED AS A FOREIGN COUNTRY BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES EXCEPT FOR PURPOSES OF EXTRADITION "AND SUCH PURPOSES ONLY.' MACOMBER AND WHYTE ROPE CO. V. UNITED FRUIT CO., 225 ILL.APP. 286. ALSO, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PORTS OF THE CANAL ZONE ARE FOREIGN PORTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF VARIOUS UNITED STATES STATUTES. 5 COMP. GEN. 647; LUCKENBACH STEAMSHIP COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 280 U.S. 173. SUCH RULINGS, HOWEVER, ARE NOT NECESSARILY DETERMINATIVE OF THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE CANAL ZONE IS A POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES. SINCE THE RIGHTS OF THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO THE ZONE ARE ALL INCLUSIVE, AND THE TERRITORY IS SUBJECT TO SUCH LAWS AS MAY BE MADE APPLICABLE THERETO BY THE CONGRESS, IT MUST BE CONSIDERED AS INCLUDED IN THE BROAD TERM "TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS" OF THE UNITED STATES AS USED IN SECTION 2 OF THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935.