A-64184, OCTOBER 21, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 311

A-64184: Oct 21, 1935

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS - DEPENDENTS OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHERE AN AMERICAN VESSEL IS AVAILABLE AND NO OFFICIAL MISSION IS TO BE PERFORMED BY THE DEPENDENTS OF A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER EN ROUTE TO THE OFFICER'S POST OF DUTY. THE USE OF AN AMERICAN VESSEL IS MANDATORY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22. THE DISALLOWANCE IS ITEMIZED AS FOLLOWS: FEB. 24. STATING THE REASON FOR USING A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY FROM NEW YORK TO ROTTERDAM WERE NOT CLEARLY ENOUGH WORDED. IT IS HOPED THAT FURTHER CONSIDERATION MAY BE GIVEN TO THIS CLAIM FOR $235 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MY WIFE AND FAMILY EN ROUTE TO THIS POST. MANHATTAN) WERE MADE DIFFICULT NOT TO SAY IMPOSSIBLE BY THE NEW YORK AGENTS OF THAT LINE WHO APPARENTLY WISHED TO DISCOURAGE MRS.

A-64184, OCTOBER 21, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 311

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS - DEPENDENTS OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS WHERE AN AMERICAN VESSEL IS AVAILABLE AND NO OFFICIAL MISSION IS TO BE PERFORMED BY THE DEPENDENTS OF A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER EN ROUTE TO THE OFFICER'S POST OF DUTY, THE USE OF AN AMERICAN VESSEL IS MANDATORY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, OCTOBER 21, 1935:

WARDEN MCK. WILSON, FIRST SECRETARY OF LEGATION, THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, REQUESTED JULY 8, 1935, REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE JUNE 13, 1935, IN DISALLOWING CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNT, VOUCHER NO. 1, MARCH 1-31, 1934, IN THE SUM OF $235, PAID TO HIMSELF AS REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIS WIFE AND INFANT SON FROM FEBRUARY 24 TO MARCH 6, 1934, ON THE JOURNEY FROM HOBOKEN, N.J., TO ROTTERDAM, VIA S.S. VOLENDAM, A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY. THE DISALLOWANCE IS ITEMIZED AS FOLLOWS:

FEB. 24, 1934. FARE HOBOKEN TO ROTTERDAM, S.S. VOLENDAM, $200.00. PER DIEM 10 DAYS, $35.00. PAYMENT DISALLOWED.

IN HIS REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE OFFICER STATES:

PERHAPS THE EXPLANATION FURNISHED BY MRS. WILSON UNDER DATE OF MARCH 9, 1934, AND THE STATEMENT ON FORM 2085, DATED OCTOBER 25, 1934, STATING THE REASON FOR USING A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY FROM NEW YORK TO ROTTERDAM WERE NOT CLEARLY ENOUGH WORDED. IT IS HOPED THAT FURTHER CONSIDERATION MAY BE GIVEN TO THIS CLAIM FOR $235 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MY WIFE AND FAMILY EN ROUTE TO THIS POST.

EXCEPTION SHOULD BE MADE TO THE GENERAL RULE IN THIS CASE BECAUSE ATTEMPTS TO OBTAIN PASSAGE ON A UNITED STATES SHIP (S.S. MANHATTAN) WERE MADE DIFFICULT NOT TO SAY IMPOSSIBLE BY THE NEW YORK AGENTS OF THAT LINE WHO APPARENTLY WISHED TO DISCOURAGE MRS. WILSON FROM TRAVELING WITH AN INFANT CHILD. THEY STATED IN THE FIRST PLACE THAT THEY COULD NOT GIVE SATISFACTORY ACCOMMODATIONS (CERTAINLY NOT THE BEST AVAILABLE). IN THE SECOND PLACE THEY CONFUSED MRS. WILSON BY SAYING THAT THEY WOULD NOT GRANT THE USUAL DISCOUNT. IN THE THIRD PLACE, THEY IMPLIED THAT ONLY AMBASSADORS, MINISTERS, AND CONSULS WERE GIVEN DISCOUNT OR SPECIAL CONSIDERATION. SHE KNEW THIS COULD NOT BE A PROPER REGULATION AND FOR THAT REASON GOT INTO COMMUNICATION WITH THE HOLLAND AMERICA LINE WHO OFFERED EXCELLENT ACCOMMODATION WITH THE USUAL 25 PERCENT DISCOUNT.

THE TRUTH IS, INSOFAR AS MRS. WILSON IS CONCERNED, SHE DID NOT KNOW THAT ACCOMMODATIONS WERE ,AVAILABLE" VIA THE U.S. LINES OR SHE WOULD HAVE SAILED ON AN AMERICAN SHIP.

SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697, PROVIDES:

ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES, OR TO ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE, UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.

IN 10 COMP. GEN. 245, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS, THAT:

TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES UPON A FOREIGN VESSEL UNDER SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697, THE USE OF THE FOREIGN VESSEL MUST HAVE BEEN NECESSARY TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE TRAVELER'S MISSION, WHICH NECESSITY MUST HAVE BEEN ONE OF WHICH THE DEPARTMENT WAS AWARE IN ADVANCE AND WHICH FORMED THE SOLE BASIS OF THE ACTION IN AUTHORIZING THE USE OF THE FOREIGN VESSEL.

AS AMERICAN VESSELS WERE, IN FACT, AVAILABLE AND NO OFFICIAL MISSION WAS TO BE PERFORMED BY MRS. WILSON, THE USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS WAS MANDATORY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, SUPRA. SEE 14 COMP. GEN. 95.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN THE SUM OF $235 MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.