A-69537, MARCH 13, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 789

A-69537: Mar 13, 1936

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TRANSPORTATION - AIR TRAVEL - AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL BY HEAD OF DEPARTMENT THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION WHERE THE COST THEREOF DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST BY OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION COMMONLY USED. WHERE AIR TRANSPORTATION IS MORE EXPENSIVE THE USE THEREOF IS UNAUTHORIZED UNDER PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SUCH TRAVEL IS DULY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN WRITING BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT. 1936: REFERENCE IS HAD TO THE FOLLOWING LETTER DATED DECEMBER 30. PLEASE BE ASSURED IT IS NOT A COMPLAINT BUT AN EXPLANATION AND A REQUEST FOR GUIDANCE IN THE FUTURE. MY POSITION AS THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR IS AN EXECUTIVE ONE.

A-69537, MARCH 13, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 789

TRANSPORTATION - AIR TRAVEL - AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL BY HEAD OF DEPARTMENT THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION WHERE THE COST THEREOF DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST BY OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION COMMONLY USED, BUT WHERE AIR TRANSPORTATION IS MORE EXPENSIVE THE USE THEREOF IS UNAUTHORIZED UNDER PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED DECEMBER 10, 1935, UNLESS DETERMINED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED TO BE DISTINCTLY TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF EMERGENCY IN THE PARTICULAR CASE, AND SUCH TRAVEL IS DULY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN WRITING BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, MARCH 13, 1936:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO THE FOLLOWING LETTER DATED DECEMBER 30, 1935, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR:

I DISLIKE VERY MUCH TO BOTHER YOU ON THIS MATTER, AND PLEASE BE ASSURED IT IS NOT A COMPLAINT BUT AN EXPLANATION AND A REQUEST FOR GUIDANCE IN THE FUTURE.

MY POSITION AS THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR IS AN EXECUTIVE ONE. REPRESENT THE SECRETARY OF LABOR IN INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES AND HAVE A STAFF LOCATED IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE COUNTRY TO TRY AND PREVENT STRIKES FROM TAKING PLACE, AND TO ENDEAVOR TO SETTLE THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF THEY DO TAKE PLACE. SOMETIMES THESE MEN ARE UNABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE AND WHEN THERE IS A GRAVE EMERGENCY, INVOLVING THOUSANDS OF MEN, IT MEANS A TERRIFIC LOSS TO INDUSTRY AS WELL AS LABOR.

WHEN THESE EMERGENCIES ARISE THE LEADERS OF INDUSTRY AND LABOR, BY TELEPHONE OR TELEGRAPH, URGE ME TO PERSONALLY TAKE CHARGE OF THE SITUATION IMMEDIATELY; SUCH AS THE GENERAL STRIKE ON THE PACIFIC COAST, INVOLVING 300,000 PEOPLE; COAL MINING, INVOLVING 400,000 PEOPLE; THE CHEVROLET MOTOR STRIKE, WHICH WAS PARALYZING NOT ONLY THAT CONCERN BUT NASH, STUDEBAKER AND OVERLAND; THE EDISON LIGHT AND POWER COMPANY, OF TOLEDO, OHIO; THE MARITIME STRIKE IN ALL THE PORTS ON THE GULF OF MEXICO, ETC., ETC.

TIME IS A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THESE CASES. IT MAY MEAN THE SAVING OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AS WELL AS THE DESTRUCTION OF LIFE AND PROPERTY UNLESS THE MATTER IS HANDLED QUICKLY; HENCE MY REASON FOR USING THE AIR SERVICE.

RECENTLY A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF MY EXPENSES TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, ON SEPTEMBER 30; NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, ON OCTOBER 6; HOUSTON, TEXAS, AND OTHER GULF PORTS ON OCTOBER 26, HAS BEEN HELD UP BECAUSE IT IS MAINTAINED BY YOUR OFFICE THAT I SHOULD HAVE GONE BY RAIL INSTEAD OF BY PLANE. THE EXPLANATION FOR THESE THREE CASES IS AS FOLLOWS:

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--- SEPTEMBER 30, 1935.--- DURING THE LAST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER I WAS NEGOTIATING A SETTLEMENT OF THE COAL STRIKE, INVOLVING 400,000 PEOPLE, AND AT THE SAME TIME THE PRESIDENT WAS PREPARING TO LEAVE WASHINGTON ON HIS WESTERN TRIP. I WAS NOTIFIED THAT SEVERAL LABOR ORGANIZATIONS IN LOS ANGELES HAD APPOINTED PROTEST COMMITTEES TO WAIT UPON THE PRESIDENT WHEN HE ARRIVED IN THAT CITY, ALL OF WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY EMBARRASSING.

I DID NOT SETTLE THE COAL STRIKE UNTIL THE VERY NIGHT THE PRESIDENT WAS LEAVING FOR THE WEST, AND EVEN THEN WAS DELAYED TWENTY-FOUR HOURS LONGER IN WASHINGTON ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IN ORDER TO GET TO LOS ANGELES AND STRAIGHTEN THE MATTER OUT BEFORE THE PRESIDENT'S TRAIN ARRIVED, I HAD TO FLY. IT WAS THE ONLY WAY I COULD GET THERE IN TIME. I GOT THERE THE NIGHT BEFORE THE PRESIDENT ARRIVED AND WAS SUCCESSFUL IN STRAIGHTENING OUT THE SITUATION WITHOUT ANY EMBARRASSMENT TO THE PRESIDENT WHILE IN LOS ANGELES.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--- OCTOBER 6, 1935.--- DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER, A STRIKE DEVELOPED ALONG THE WATER FRONT IN THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS. THE CREWS WALKED OFF THE BOATS; SHIPPING WAS TIED UP GOING INTO THE ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC PORTS, AND IT LOOKED LIKE A GENERAL STRIKE. THERE WAS A LOSS OF $50,000 A DAY.

ON OCTOBER 6, AT THE URGENT REQUEST OF THE SHIPPING INTERESTS AND PROMINENT CITIZENS OF NEW ORLEANS, I FLEW TO NEW ORLEANS. AT THE CONFERENCE IT WAS AGREED THAT CERTAIN MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE SITUATION SHOULD BE TAKEN UP IN WASHINGTON AT ONCE, AND, AGAIN, IN ORDER TO SAVE TIME AND LOSS OF MONEY, I RETURNED TO WASHINGTON BY PLANE.

HOUSTON, TEXAS, AND OTHER GULF PORTS--- OCTOBER 26, 1935.--- ON OCTOBER 26 I LEFT BY TRAIN FOR BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. DUTIES WERE TO KEEP ME IN THAT VICINITY FOR SEVERAL DAYS, BUT WHEN I ARRIVED IN BOSTON I RECEIVED SEVERAL LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS FROM THE SHIPOWNERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF LABOR TO LEAVE IMMEDIATELY FOR THE PORT OF HOUSTON, TEXAS, AS A GRAVE EMERGENCY HAD ARISEN THERE.

TIME, AGAIN, WAS A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR, SO I FLEW FROM BOSTON THE MORNING OF OCTOBER 27 AND TOOK THE 3:40 P.M. PLANE OUT OF WASHINGTON FOR HOUSTON.

A VAST AMOUNT OF MONEY WAS INVOLVED, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT LOSS TO INDUSTRY, NOT MENTIONING WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST LABOR, AND IT ALSO MEANT KEEPING THE PORT OPEN FOR FOREIGN AND INTERSTATE COMMERCE.

PLEASE BE ASSURED I WANT TO COOPERATE, BUT I SHOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHETHER OR NOT I SHALL BE PERMITTED TO GO BY PLANE WHEN THESE EMERGENCIES ARISE, AS VERY OFTEN I AM CALLED UPON TO LEAVE THE DEPARTMENT AT LESS THAN AN HOUR'S NOTICE.

IT APPEARS THAT THE LETTER HAS REFERENCE TO THE DEDUCTION MADE ON VOUCHER NO. 815240, DECEMBER 1935, ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN, FOR EXPENSES CLAIMED FOR AIRPLANE TRAVEL TO LOS ANGELES, NEW ORLEANS, HOUSTON, TEX., AND OTHER GULF PORTS, AND BOSTON, MASS.--- THE DEDUCTION HAVING BEEN MADE IN THE PREAUDIT THEREOF BECAUSE OF THE FAILURE OF THE VOUCHER TO ESTABLISH THE NECESSITY FOR THE AIRPLANE TRAVEL. THE ITEMS THUS DEDUCTED ON THE MENTIONED VOUCHER WERE LATER RECLAIMED ON VOUCHER NO. 955663, JANUARY 1936, ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN. THE BONA-FIDE NEED FOR THE AIRPLANE TRAVEL HAVING BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE SUBMISSION OF THE LATTER VOUCHER--- CONTAINING AN EXPLANATION OF THE NEED FOR AIR TRAVEL, SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL WITH THAT SET OUT IN THE LETTER, SUPRA--- IT WAS CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE FULL AMOUNT.

PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED DECEMBER 10, 1935, PROVIDES IN PART THAT:

* * * ACTUAL COST OF AIR-LINE TRANSPORTATION WILL BE ALLOWED IN ANY CASE (A) WHERE IT IS SATISFACTORILY SHOWN THAT NO OTHER USUAL MEANS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ARE AVAILABLE, OR (B) WHERE, IN THE OPINION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY, THE USE OF AIR LINE TRANSPORTATION IS DISTINCTLY TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF THE EXISTENCE OF AN EMERGENCY OR EXIGENCY IN THE PARTICULAR CASE, AND SUCH TRAVEL IS DULY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN WRITING BY SUCH HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY. * * *

THERE IS NO OBJECTION, OF COURSE, TO THE USE OF AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION WHERE THE COST THEREOF DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST BY OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION COMMONLY USED, SUCH AS RAIL, STEAMER TRANSPORTATION, ETC. OBJECTION, THEREFORE, IS MADE ONLY WHERE SUCH FORM OF TRANSPORTATION IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER FORMS OF TRANSPORTATION COMMONLY USED, AND WHEN THERE IS NO SHOWING OF A BONA FIDE NEED THEREFOR.

IT HAS BEEN HELD IN A LONG LINE OF DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE THAT THE MERE EXPEDITION OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IS NOT A SUFFICIENT REASON FOR USING THE MORE EXPENSIVE FORM OF TRANSPORTATION, AND THAT TO AUTHORIZE THE INCURRING OF ADDITIONAL EXPENSE FOR TRANSPORTATION BY AIR THERE MUST BE ESTABLISHED FACTS SHOWING AN EMERGENCY OR EXIGENCY OF THE SERVICE NECESSITATING THE UTILIZATION OF AIR TRANSPORTATION TO ACCOMPLISH THE AUTHORIZED WORK. 53857, MARCH 12, 1934; 10 COMP. GEN. 201, 408; 14 ID. 920. IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT THE AMENDED TRAVEL REGULATIONS QUOTED ABOVE ADOPT THE PRINCIPLE ENUNCIATED IN THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE IN RESPECT OF AIR TRAVEL AT PUBLIC EXPENSE, AND PRECLUDE THE MORE EXPENSIVE AIR TRAVEL IN SUCH CASES EXCEPT WHERE, IN THE OPINION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, THE USE OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS DISTINCTLY TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF THE EXISTENCE OF AN EMERGENCY OR EXIGENCY IN THE PARTICULAR CASE, AND SUCH TRAVEL IS DULY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN WRITING BY SUCH HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT.