A-63459, FEBRUARY 7, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 566

A-63459: Feb 7, 1944

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

THAT IS. CASH FOUND IN THE POSSESSION OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND THE PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF THEIR EFFECTS IN THE FILED BY SUMMARY COURTS ARE FOR DEPOSITING INTO THE TRUST FUND RECEIPT ACCOUNT " PROCEEDS FROM ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS REGULAR ARMY. " WHICH FUNDS ARE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO " SOLDIERS HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND)" FOR USE OF THE HOME IF NOT CLAIMED BY THE SOLDIERS' HEIRS. ARE FOR DEPOSITING TO THE CREDIT OF THE TRUST FUND RECEIPT ACCOUNT. " AND SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS INVOLVING SAID FUND ARE TO BE MADE BY THIS OFFICE. WAS DULY RECEIVED AND THERE NOW HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE MATTER DISCUSSED IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 26.

A-63459, FEBRUARY 7, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 566

U.S. SOLDIERS' HOME - DISPOSITION OF CASH AND EFFECTS OF DECEASED SOLDIERS, ETC. THE TERM "SUCH EFFECTS" AS USED IN SECTION 2 (C) OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, PROVIDING THAT THE NET PROCEEDS RECEIVED BY THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME FROM THE SALE OF SUCH EFFECTS SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE BENEFIT OF THE " SOLDIERS' HOME, PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND)," REFERS TO THOSE EFFECTS THEN IN THE POSSESSION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND "SIMILAR EFFECTS HEREAFTER RECEIVED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT"---- THAT IS, EFFECTS NOT OTHERWISE DISPOSED OF IN THE FIELD BY SUMMARY COURTS UNDER ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 112. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, AND SECTION 4818, REVISED STATUTES, CASH FOUND IN THE POSSESSION OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND THE PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF THEIR EFFECTS IN THE FILED BY SUMMARY COURTS ARE FOR DEPOSITING INTO THE TRUST FUND RECEIPT ACCOUNT " PROCEEDS FROM ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS REGULAR ARMY," WHICH FUNDS ARE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO " SOLDIERS HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND)" FOR USE OF THE HOME IF NOT CLAIMED BY THE SOLDIERS' HEIRS, ETC., WITHIN THREE FULL FISCAL YEARS FROM THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH DEATH OCCURRED. CASH FOUND IN THE POSSESSION OF PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF THEIR EFFECTS IN THE FIELD BY SUMMARY COURTS, EXCEPT IN THE CASES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY, MAY NOT BE DEPOSITED EITHER IMMEDIATELY OR ULTIMATELY TO THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND, BUT RATHER, ARE FOR DEPOSITING TO THE CREDIT OF THE TRUST FUND RECEIPT ACCOUNT," PROCEEDS FROM ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONNEL, WAR DEPARTMENT," AND SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS INVOLVING SAID FUND ARE TO BE MADE BY THIS OFFICE, AS PROVIDED UNDER THE ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 112.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE GOVERNOR, UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME, FEBRUARY 7, 944:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 21, 1944, WAS DULY RECEIVED AND THERE NOW HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE MATTER DISCUSSED IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 26, 1943, ADDRESSED TO A DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE, AND REFERRED TO IN LETTER OF DECEMBER 15, 1943, FROM THE SECRETARY-1TREASURER, UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME.

THE LETTER OF MAY 26, 1943, READS AS FOLLOWS:

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURE LETTER NO. 4726, JUNE 30, 1942, COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED, YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING:

AT A MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THIS HOME, FEBRUARY 23, 1924, IT WAS DIRECTED THAT A LETTER BE ADDRESSED TO THE HONORABLE JOHN R. MCCARL, COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AT THAT TIME, POINTING OUT THAT THE LAW PROVIDED AS A SOURCE OF REVENUE FOR THE SOLDIERS' HOME "ALL MONEYS BELONGING TO ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS; WHICH NOW ARE OR MAY HEREAFTER BE UNCLAIMED FOR THE PERIOD OF THREE YEARS; " THAT NO FUNDS HAD BEEN RECEIVED BY THE HOME FROM THIS SOURCE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS; AND REQUESTING THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL TO CAUSE THE SETTLEMENT OF THESE CLAIMS TO BE RESUMED FROM APRIL 29, 1902, THE DATE THE LAST CLAIM HAD BEEN SETTLED.

THIS LETTER WAS FOLLOWED UP BY THE OFFICIALS OF THIS HOME THROUGH PERSONAL INTERVIEWS AND LETTERS WITH THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AND THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THIS RESULTED IN JUNE, 1924, IN THE ESTABLISHMENT ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT OF THE FISCAL YEAR TRUST FUNDS ACCOUNTS INTO WHICH WAS DEPOSITED THE PROCEEDS OF ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OR MEMBERS OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME, BY FISCAL YEARS. TO QUOTE FROM A LETTER OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, DATED JULY 31, 1924, ADDRESSED TO THE HONORABLE, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY (A-3112), IT WAS STATED:

"THE PROCEDURE WILL BE THAT WHEN THE WAR DEPARTMENT, SOLDIERS' HOME, OR THIS OFFICE RECEIVES AMOUNTS REPRESENTING ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OR INMATES OF SOLDIERS' HOME, AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE ARTICLES OF WAR HAVE BEEN COMPLIED WITH, THE AMOUNTS WILL IMMEDIATELY BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY AS INDICATED AND CARRIED TO THE CREDIT OF THE PROPER FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION, FOR INSTANCE, IF THE DEATH OCCURS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1925, TO " ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS, UNITED STATES ARMY ( TRUST FUND), 1925.' THIS FUND WILL REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR SETTLEMENT OF VALID CLAIMS UNTIL JUNE 30, 1928, AFTER WHICH THE BALANCE, IF ANY, REMAINING WILL BE TRANSFERRED TO " SOLDIERS' HOME, PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND).'"

IF CLAIMS WERE ADJUDICATED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AFTER THE BALANCE IN FISCAL YEAR ACCOUNTS HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE PERMANENT FUND, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT FOR THE ACTION OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONER IN AUTHORIZING THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE AMOUNT INVOLVED FROM THE PERMANENT FUND.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THESE SPECIAL FISCAL YEAR ACCOUNTS IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT ELIMINATED MUCH UNNECESSARY ADMINISTRATIVE AND ACCOUNTING PROCEDURE AND WAS FOUND TO BE MOST SATISFACTORY TO ALL CONCERNED SINCE IT PROVIDED FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF VALID CLAIMS BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AND RESULTED IN A SINGLE TRANSFER OF THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF INDIVIDUAL ESTATES IN THE FISCAL YEAR ACCOUNTS TO THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND) THREE YEARS FROM THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE DEATHS OCCURRED, RATHER THAN SEPARATE TRANSFERS OF THE AMOUNTS IN EACH INDIVIDUAL ESTATE THREE YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

FROM THE ABOVE IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE FISCAL YEAR ACCOUNTS IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WERE ESTABLISHED PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF THE REQUEST OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THIS HOME AND AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE VARIOUS AGENCIES CONCERNED. IT NOW DEVELOPS THAT ON JUNE 30, 1942, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BY ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURE LETTER NO. 4726 CHANGED THE FOREGOING SET/UP TO THE EXTENT THAT OFFICERS IN THE FIELD WERE DIRECTED TO DEPOSIT EVERYTHING IN THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND DIRECT, INCLUDING WITHHELD PAY, CASH FOUND AMONG THE EFFECTS OF DECEASED SOLDIERS AND CASH RECEIVED FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS BY SUMMARY COURTS. IN THIS LETTER THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL STATES THAT THE 112TH ARTICLE OF WAR IS SUPPLEMENTED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, WHICH PROVIDES IN PART THAT ---

"THE EFFECTS * * * OF PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW

* * * SHALL BE DELIVERED TO THE SOLDIERS' HOME * * *.' HOWEVER, THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, ALSO PROVIDES THAT:

"CLAIMS FOR THE NET PROCEEDS OF EFFECTS MAY BE FILED WITH THE GENERAL

ACCOUNTING OFFICE AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF SIX YEARS

FROM THE DATE OF DEATH OF SUCH DECEASED * * * .' THEREFORE, WHILE THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL STILL MUST PASS UPON THE CLAIMS OF HEIRS, HE NOW HAS TO ISSUE A FAR GREATER NUMBER OF CERTIFICATES OF SETTLEMENT FOR THE ACTION OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AS THE FUNDS ARE IMMEDIATELY DEPOSITED IN THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND). FORTY EIGHT SUCH CLAIMS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED HERE IN APRIL, 1943, WHEREAS ONLY FORTY WERE RECEIVED IN THE FULL FISCAL YEAR 1942.

AS A MATTER OF FACT CERTIFICATES OF SETTLEMENT HAVE BEEN RECEIVED HERE BEFORE THE HOME HAD INFORMATION FROM THE DIVISION OF BOOKKEEPING AND WARRANTS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, THAT THE FUNDS HAD BEEN CREDITED IN THE PERMANENT FUND.

FURTHERMORE, WITHOUT A VERY CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF BOOKKEEPING, THIS OFFICE CAN NOT CERTIFY TO THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS THAT THE MONEY HAS ACTUALLY BEEN DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND. FROM INFORMATION SUPPLIED MONTHLY BY THE DIVISION OF BOOKKEEPING AND WARRANTS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, ON FORM 601, THIS OFFICE CAN DETERMINE THAT A LUMP SUM WAS DEPOSITED IN THE PERMANENT FUND ON A GIVEN DATE BY A GIVEN OFFICER, BUT THIS LUMP SUM CAN NOT BE BROKEN DOWN INTO INDIVIDUAL ESTATES. THIS INFORMATION MUST BE AVAILABLE IN THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL. THE APRIL FORM 601 CONTAINED 103 SHEETS WHEREAS A YEAR AND A HALF AGO IT CONSISTED OF ONLY 14 SHEETS.

ALTHOUGH THE HOME IS ENTITLED TO THE UNCLAIMED ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL STILL ACTS ON CLAIMS PRESENTED BY HEIRS AND IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MAY BE FINDING ADDITIONAL WORK ALSO BY REASON OF THE METHOD OF SETTLEMENT NOW IN EFFECT.

I REGRET VERY MUCH INDEED THAT WE DID NOT HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY OF GIVING YOU OUR THOUGHT ON THIS SUBJECT BEFORE THE PRESENT METHOD OF SETTLEMENT WAS ADOPTED. IT IS BELIEVED WE WOULD HAVE ANTICIPATED SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES WE ARE NOW ENCOUNTERING IN THE WAY OF INCREASED LABOR AS COMPARED WITH THE FORMER SYSTEM WHICH WORKED OUT SO SATISFACTORILY WITH A MINIMUM AMOUNT OF HELP--- A GREAT ITEM IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF ANY OFFICE AT THE PRESENT TIME.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS AS SET FORTH ABOVE, I TRUST THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR WAY CLEAR TO RETURNING TO THE FORMER SET-UP.

IT APPEARS THAT AT LEAST SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES CONFRONTING THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE HOME) RESULT FROM A MISINTERPRETATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, 46 STAT. 1203. SAID ACT READS AS FOLLOWS:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, THAT THE EFFECTS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW, INCLUDING PAPERS OF VALUE, SABERS, INSIGNIA, DECORATIONS, MEDALS, WATCHES, TRINKETS, MANUSCRIPTS, AND OTHER ARTICLES VALUABLE CHIEFLY AS KEEPSAKES, INCLUDING THOSE OF DECEASED INMATES OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME DYING IN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY HOSPITAL, WHERE SENT FROM SAID HOME FOR TREATMENT, AND SIMILAR EFFECTS HEREAFTER RECEIVED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920 (41 STAT. L. 809; U.S.C., TITLE 10, SEC. 1584), AS AMENDED, SHALL BE DELIVERED TO THE SOLDIERS' HOME; THAT WILLS OR OTHER PAPERS INVOLVING PROPERTY RIGHTS SHALL BE PROMPTLY DELIVERED TO PROPER COURTS OF RECORD; THAT THE REMAINING EFFECTS, IF THE HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES CAN NOT BE ASCERTAINED, SHALL BE RETAINED BY THE HOME INTACT UNTIL THREE YEARS FROM THE DATE OF THE DEATH OF THE PERSON ON WHOSE BEHALF THEY WERE RECEIVED SHALL HAVE EXPIRED (IN THE EVENT SAID PERIOD SHALL NOT HAVE ALREADY ELAPSED), FOR THE PURPOSE OF DELIVERY TO THE WIDOW OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEASED, OR TO THE SON, DAUGHTER, FATHER (PROVIDED THE FATHER HAD NOT ABANDONED THE SUPPORT OF HIS FAMILY), MOTHER, BROTHER, SISTER, OR THE NEXT OF KIN IN THE ORDER NAMED, OR BENEFICIARY NAMED IN THE WILL OF THE DECEASED, UPON THE ESTABLISHMENT TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE HOME OF A RIGHT THERETO.

SEC. 2. (A) THAT AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THREE YEARS FROM DATE OF DEATH OF SAID DECEASED, THE SOLDIERS' HOME MAY SELL, EITHER AT PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SALE, AS DEEMED MOST ADVANTAGEOUS, ALL OR ANY OF SUCH EFFECTS TO WHICH A RIGHT THERETO SHALL NOT HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED ON BEHALF OF SAID DECEASED, HIS HEIRS, OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES: PROVIDED, THAT DECORATIONS, MEDALS, AND CITATIONS SHALL NOT BE SOLD, BUT SHALL BE DISPOSED OF AS IN SECTION (B) FOLLOWING:

(B) THAT SUCH OF SAID EFFECTS AS AT THE EXPIRATION OF FIVE YEARS FROM DATE OF DEATH OF DECEASED HAVE NEITHER BEEN SOLD NOR A RIGHT THERETO ESTABLISHED ON BEHALF OF THE DECEASED SHALL BE FINALLY DISPOSED OF BY SAID HOME IN SUCH MANNER AS IN THE INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC IT DEEMS MOST FITTING, HELPFUL, AND APPROPRIATE, EITHER BY PERMANENT RETENTION THEREOF, DISTRIBUTION TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, STATE OR OTHER MILITARY HONES, MUSEUMS, OR OTHER APPROPRIATE INSTITUTIONS, OR BY THEIR DESTRUCTION, IF, IN THE OPINION OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS THEREOF, THEY NO LONGER POSSESS ANY VALUE.

(C) THAT THE NET PROCEEDS RECEIVED BY THE HOME FROM THE SALE OF SUCH EFFECTS SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE BENEFIT OF THE FUND " SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND)," AND SUCH PRINCIPAL FUND AS THUS AUGMENTED SHALL DRAW INTEREST AT 3 PERCENTUM PER ANNUM, PAYABLE QUARTERLY TO THE TREASURER OF THE HOME.

SEC. 3. (A) CLAIMS FOR THE NET PROCEEDS OF EFFECTS MAY BE FILED WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF SIX YEARS FROM DATE OF DEATH OF SUCH DECEASED FOR ACTION AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY ( ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906; 34 STAT. 750; U.S.C. TITLE 10, SEC. 868), AND, IF NOT SO FILED, ARE BARRED FROM BEING ACTED ON EITHER BY THE COURTS OR THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS.

(B) ALL CLAIMS FOR THE NET PROCEEDS OF SUCH EFFECTS WHICH ARE ALLOWED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SHALL BE CERTIFIED TO THE TREASURER OF THE HOME FOR PAYMENT BY CHECK, IN THE AMOUNT THUS FOUND DUE AND ACCRUED INTEREST THEREON, FROM THE FUND " SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND)," HEREBY APPROPRIATED THEREFOR IN SUCH AMOUNT AS NECESSARY. CLAIM THUS ALLOWED OR PAID SHALL EXCEED THE NET PROCEEDS AND ACCRUED INTEREST DERIVED FROM THE PARTICULAR ESTATE AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS AFORESAID.

SEC. 4. THAT THE CONTAINERS NOW IN THE POSSESSION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, IN WHICH ARE STORED THE EFFECTS ENUMERATED IN SECTION 1 HEREOF, SHALL BE TRANSFERRED THEREFROM TO THE SOLDIERS' HOME TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION AND SAFEKEEPING OF SUCH EFFECTS.

SEC. 5. ALL LAWS AND PARTS OF LAWS, IN SO FAR AS IN CONFLICT HEREWITH ARE REPEALED.

SECTION 1584, TITLE 10, U.S.C. ( ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 112), REFERRED TO IN SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, SUPRA, READS AS FOLLOWS:

IN CASE OF THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE PLACE OF COMMAND WILL PERMIT THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OR WIDOW OF THE DECEASED, IF PRESENT, TO TAKE POSSESSION OF ALL HIS EFFECTS THEN IN CAMP OR QUARTERS; AND IF NO LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OR WIDOW BE PRESENT, THE COMMANDING OFFICER SHALL DIRECT A SUMMARY COURT TO SECURE ALL SUCH EFFECTS, AND SAID SUMMARY COURT SHALL HAVE AUTHORITY TO COLLECT AND RECEIVE ANY DEBTS DUE DECEDENT'S ESTATE BY LOCAL DEBTORS AND TO PAY THE UNDISPUTED LOCAL CREDITORS OF DECEDENT IN SO FAR AS ANY MONEY BELONGING TO THE DECEASED WHICH MAY COME INTO SAID SUMMARY COURT'S POSSESSION UNDER THIS ARTICLE WILL PERMIT, TAKING RECEIPTS THEREFOR FOR FILE WITH SAID COURT'S FINAL REPORT UPON ITS TRANSACTIONS TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT; AND AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AFTER THE COLLECTION OF SUCH EFFECTS SAID SUMMARY COURT SHALL TRANSMIT SUCH EFFECTS AND ANY MONEY COLLECTED, THROUGH THE QUARTERMASTER CORPS, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, TO THE WIDOW OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEASED, IF SUCH BE FOUND BY SAID COURT, OR TO THE SON, DAUGHTER, FATHER, PROVIDED THE FATHER HAD NOT ABANDONED THE SUPPORT OF HIS FAMILY, MOTHER, BROTHER, SISTER, OR THE NEXT OF KIN IN THE ORDER NAMED, IF SUCH BE FOUND BY SAID COURT, OR THE BENEFICIARY NAMED IN THE WILL OF THE DECEASED, IF SUCH BE FOUND BY SAID COURT, AND SAID COURT SHALL THEREUPON MAKE TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT A FULL REPORT OF ITS TRANSACTIONS; BUT IF THERE BE NONE OF THE PERSONS HEREINABOVE NAMED, OR SUCH PERSONS OR THEIR ADDRESSES ARE NOT KNOWN TO OR READILY ASCERTAINABLE BY SAID COURT, AND THE SAID COURT SHALL SO FIND, SAID SUMMARY COURT SHALL HAVE AUTHORITY TO CONVERT INTO CASH, BY PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SALE, NOT EARLIER THAN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED, ALL EFFECTS OF DECEASED EXCEPT SABERS, INSIGNIA, DECORATIONS, MEDALS, WATCHES, TRINKETS, MANUSCRIPTS,AND OTHER ARTICLES VALUABLE CHIEFLY AS KEEPSAKES; AND AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AFTER CONVERTING SUCH EFFECTS INTO CASH SAID SUMMARY COURT SHALL DEPOSIT WITH THE PROPER OFFICER, TO BE DESIGNATED IN REGULATIONS, ANY CASH BELONGING TO DECEDENT'S ESTATE, AND SHALL TRANSMIT A RECEIPT FOR SUCH DEPOSITS, ANY WILL OR OTHER PAPERS OF VALUE BELONGING TO THE DECEASED, ANY SABERS, INSIGNIA, DECORATIONS, MEDALS, WATCHES, TRINKETS, MANUSCRIPTS, AND OTHER ARTICLES VALUABLE CHIEFLY AS KEEPSAKES, TOGETHER WITH AN INVENTORY OF THE EFFECTS SECURED BY SAID SUMMARY COURT, AND A FULL ACCOUNT OF ITS TRANSACTIONS, TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSMISSION TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR ACTION AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY.

THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE APPLICABLE TO INMATES OF THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME WHO DIE IN ANY UNITED STATES MILITARY HOSPITAL OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHERE SENT FROM THE HOME FOR TREATMENT.

UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS OF THE CODE, IN CASE OF THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW (DEFINED IN ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 2, 41 STAT. 787), THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE PLACE OF COMMAND DIRECTS A SUMMARY COURT TO SECURE ALL EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED; AND IF SUCH EFFECTS CANNOT BE DISPOSED OF AS THEREIN PROVIDED, THE SUMMARY COURT IS AUTHORIZED TO CONVERT INTO CASH ALL EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED EXCEPT SABERS, INSIGNIA, DECORATIONS, MEDALS, WATCHES, TRINKETS, MANUSCRIPTS AND OTHER ARTICLES VALUABLE CHIEFLY AS KEEPSAKES. AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AFTER CONVERTING THE INVOLVED EFFECTS INTO CASH THE SUMMARY COURT DEPOSITS WITH THE PROPER OFFICER ANY CASH, INCLUDING THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS OF THE DECEDENT. PRIOR TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, THE ARTICLES NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE SOLD WERE FORWARDED TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSMISSION TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

IT WAS THE VAST ACCUMULATION OF SUCH EFFECTS--- THAT IS, THOSE NOT SOLD BY THE SUMMARY COURTS--- THAT CAUSE THIS OFFICE TO MAKE TO THE CONGRESS THE RECOMMENDATION WHICH RESULTED IN THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, SUPRA. WHEN SUCH LEGISLATION WAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THERE WAS SUBMITTED BY THIS OFFICE TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR FOR CONSIDERATION A DRAFT OF A PROPOSED BILL IN WHICH PROVISION WAS MADE FOR COVERING THE NET PROCEEDS OF THE SALE OF EFFECTS INTO THE TREASURY AND FOR THE MAKING OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS THEREAFTER PRESENTED AND ALLOWED WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD. BY LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1929, THE SECRETARY OF WAR ADVISED THIS OFFICE THAT THE MATTER HAD BEEN CONSIDERED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE HOME AND THAT ONE OF THE CHANGES SUGGESTED BY THE BOARD WAS TO MAKE PROVISION FOR DEPOSITING THE NET PROCEEDS RECEIVED BY THE HOME FROM THE SALES OF EFFECTS TO THE CREDIT OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND. SINCE THE HOME WAS ASSUMING THE CUSTODY AND THE BURDEN OF DISPOSING OF THE EFFECTS IT WAS FELT THAT THE HOME SHOULD RECEIVE SUCH BENEFITS AS SHOULD ACCRUE THEREFROM. HENCE, THE SUGGESTED CHANGE WAS CONCURRED IN AND MADE BY THIS OFFICE.

SECTION 2 (C) OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

THAT THE NET PROCEEDS RECEIVED BY THE HOME FROM THE SALE OF SUCH EFFECTS SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE BENEFIT OF THE FUND " SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND ( TRUST FUND)" * * *. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED). THE TERM,"SUCH EFFECTS," AS USED IN SAID SECTION RELATES TO THE EFFECTS REFERRED TO IN SECTION 1 OF THE ACT, NAMELY, THOSE EFFECTS THEN IN THE POSSESSION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND "SIMILAR EFFECTS HEREAFTER RECEIVED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT.' THE EFFECTS RECEIVED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT ARE THOSE EFFECTS NOT OTHERWISE DISPOSED OF IN THE FIELD BY THE SUMMARY COURTS UNDER ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 112, SUPRA.

THE CASH FOUND IN THE POSSESSION OF PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND THE PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS OF SUCH PERSONS BY THE SUMMARY COURTS IN THE FIELD CONSTITUTE ASSETS OF THE ESTATES OF SUCH DECEDENTS AND ARE NOT COMPREHENDED BY THE TERMS,"SUCH EFFECTS" OR ,EFFECTS" AS USED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, AND ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR SUPPORT OF THE HOME IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR.

THE DECISION OF JULY 31, 1924, A-3112, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 26, 1943, SUPRA, REGARDING THE HANDLING OF FUNDS REPRESENTING ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PREDICATED UPON THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE FUNDS INVOLVED WERE THOSE OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY, WHICH FUNDS--- UNDER SECTION 4818 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, IF REMAINING UNCLAIMED FOR THE PERIOD OF THREE YEARS SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF SUCH SOLDIERS--- WERE FOR TRANSFERRING TO THE HOME, TO BE REPAID BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE HOME UPON THE DEMAND OF THE LEGAL HEIRS OR REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DECEASED. THE DECISION OF JULY 31, 1924, PRESCRIBED A PROCEDURE FOR THE HANDLING OF SUCH FUNDS, WHICH PROCEDURE INCLUDED CASH IN POSSESSION AND THE CASH DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY BY SUMMARY COURTS IN THE FIELD. IT IS PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT THAT CLAIMS FOR PROCEEDS OF EFFECTS DISPOSED OF BY THE HOME UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, ARE BARRED IF NOT PRESENTED WITHIN SIX YEARS AFTER DEATH, WHEREAS NO SUCH TIME LIMITATION EXISTS WITH RESPECT TO CLAIMS FOR THE PROCEEDS OF THE ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY AFTER TRANSFER THEREOF TO THE HOME.

ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 112 EMBRACES ALL PERSONS SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY AND--- WITH THE ADVENT OF WORLD WAR II--- OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE NATIONAL GUARD CALLED INTO SERVICE PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF AUGUST 27, 1940, 54 STAT. 858, AS MENDED; MALE CITIZENS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE SELECTIVE SERVICE AND TRAINING ACT OF SEPTEMBER 16, 1940, 54 STAT. 885, AS AMENDED; AND OTHER PERSONS SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW.

SUBSEQUENT TO THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, AND UP TO THE ISSUANCE OF ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 4726, DATED JUNE 30, 1942, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 26, 1943, IT APPEARS THAT THE PROCEDURE IN THE FIELD OFFICES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT GENERALLY WAS TO DEPOSIT (THROUGH APPROPRIATE RECEIPT TITLES) MONEYS REPRESENTING CASH FOUND IN POSSESSION OF DECEASED OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY AND CASH DERIVED FROM SALE OF EFFECTS INTO THE APPROPRIATION "218902 ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONNEL, WAR DEPARTMENT," CASE OF OFFICERS, AND INTO THE APPROPRIATION,"218920 ESTATE DECEASED SOLDIERS (FISCAL YEAR)," IN CASES OF ENLISTED MEN. IN THE COURSE OF SETTLING CLAIMS IT WAS NOTED THAT CASH IN THE POSSESSION OF DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND DECEASED SELECTIVE SERVICE TRAINEES AND CASH DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF THEIR EFFECTS IN THE FIELD, ALSO, WERE BEING TAKEN UP FOR EVENTUAL CREDIT TO THE APPROPRIATION " ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS.' THE MATTER WAS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE FORMER ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL BY A DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE AND CERTAIN INSTRUCTIONS WERE ISSUED WITH RESPECT THERETO WHICH RESULTED IN THE ISSUANCE OF ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 4726, DATED JUNE 30, 1942, WHICH LETTER WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT CASH IN POSSESSION OF ALL PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS BY SUMMARY COURTS SHOULD BE ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE SAME MANNER AS PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS WHICH HAD BEEN TRANSMITTED IN KIND AND DISPOSED OF FOR CASH BY THE HOME UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931.

THE MATTER NOW HAS BEEN GIVEN THOROUGH CONSIDERATION AND, IN VIEW OF WHAT HAS BEEN SET FORTH HEREIN, I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT THE CASH FOUND IN THE POSSESSION OF PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND THE PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF THEIR EFFECTS IN THE FIELD, EXCEPT IN THE CASES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY, ARE NOT FOR DEPOSIT EITHER IMMEDIATELY OR ULTIMATELY TO THE SOLDIERS' HOME PERMANENT FUND. THAT CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE DECISION OF JUNE 7, 1941, B- 16450, TO COLONEL T. A. CLARK, O.D., U.S. ARMY, HOLDING THAT SINCE SELECTIVE TRAINEES ARE NOT ENLISTED MEN ON THE ACTIVE LIST OF THE REGULAR ARMY, THEY ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE DEDUCTION PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 13, 1936, 49 STAT. 1137, FOR THE FURTHER MAINTENANCE OF THE HOME. ALSO, SEE THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 7, 1941, B-18804, TO MAJOR LOUIS WEISS, F.D., U.S. ARMY, HOLDING THAT INDUCTED SELECTEES ARE NOT SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 4818 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, IN VIEW OF WHICH THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF SUCH PERSONS UPON DESERTION WERE HELD NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE HOME.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT, HEREAFTER, THERE WILL BE DEPOSITING INTO THE TRUST FUND RECEIPT ACCOUNT " PROCEEDS FROM ESTATES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS REGULAR ARMY (FISCAL YEAR)"--- TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE HOME IF NOT CLAIMED WITHIN THREE FULL FISCAL YEARS FROM THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE DEATH OCCURRED--- CASH IN THE POSSESSION OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY AND CASH DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF EFFECTS OF SUCH SOLDIERS IN THE FIELD, AS HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE HERETOFORE; AND THAT CASH IN THE POSSESSION OF ALL OTHER PERSONS DYING WHILE SUBJECT TO MILITARY LAW AND CASH DERIVED FROM THE SALE OF THEIR EFFECTS IN THE FIELD ARE FOR DEPOSITING TO THE CREDIT OF THE TRUST FUND RECEIPT ACCOUNT," PROCEEDS FROM ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONNEL, WAR DEPARTMENT," THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WHICH ACCOUNT WAS AUTHORIZED BY DECISION OF APRIL 3, 1931, A-35988, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY--- SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS INVOLVING SAID FUND TO BE MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AS PROVIDED UNDER ARTICLE OF WAR NO. 112. THEREFORE, THERE SHOULD BE DISREGARDED ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURE LETTER NO. 4726, DATED JUNE 30, 1942, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE HOLDING HEREIN.

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