A-72024, APRIL 27, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 942

A-72024: Apr 27, 1936

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TRANSPORTATION - NAVY OFFICERS AS COURIERS OF SECRET DOCUMENTS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR INCREASING THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRANSPORTING A NAVAL OFFICER ON CHANGE OF STATION IN EXCESS OF THE RATE FIXED BY LAW MERELY BECAUSE HE ACTED AS A COURIER IN THE DELIVERY OF SECRET DOCUMENTS. NOR IS THERE AVAILABLE ANY APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH INCREASED COST AS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DOCUMENTS. 1936: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE YOUR REQUEST DATED MARCH 5. YOUR REQUEST IS. PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE 2D INDORSEMENT. WAS OF SUCH AN URGENT CHARACTER AS TO PRECLUDE ITS BEING HELD UP AWAITING AN INDIVIDUAL SAILING OF A NAVAL VESSEL. IN CASES SUCH AS THIS THE NAVY DEPARTMENT CONSIDERS THAT THE FURNISHING OF A COMPARTMENT OR DRAWING ROOM ON PULLMAN CARS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF SECRET DOCUMENTS IS STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND THAT THE EXTRA COST INVOLVED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH DOCUMENTS SHOULD THEREFORE BE AT PUBLIC EXPENSE.

A-72024, APRIL 27, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 942

TRANSPORTATION - NAVY OFFICERS AS COURIERS OF SECRET DOCUMENTS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR INCREASING THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRANSPORTING A NAVAL OFFICER ON CHANGE OF STATION IN EXCESS OF THE RATE FIXED BY LAW MERELY BECAUSE HE ACTED AS A COURIER IN THE DELIVERY OF SECRET DOCUMENTS, NOR IS THERE AVAILABLE ANY APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH INCREASED COST AS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DOCUMENTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, APRIL 27, 1936:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE YOUR REQUEST DATED MARCH 5, 1936, FOR A REVIEW OF THE AUDIT ACTION DISALLOWING CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF LT.COM. E. L. R. BAILEY, SUPPLY CORPS, UNITED STATES NAVY, IN THE SUM OF $80.95, REPRESENTING THE COST OF AN EXTRA HALF-FARE RAILWAY TICKET, $42.95, PLUS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF A LOWER STANDARD BERTH AND A COMPARTMENT, $38, FURNISHED COMMANDER CARY W. MAGRUDER, UNITED STATES NAVY, FOR TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO LOS ANGELES, CALIF., AND NOT DEDUCTED BY THAT OFFICER WHEN PAYING COMMANDER MAGRUDER MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER ORDERS OF APRIL 1 AND 17, 1935. YOUR REQUEST IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

2. PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE 2D INDORSEMENT, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE SECRET MATERIAL DELIVERED BY COMMANDER CARY W. MAGRUDER, U.S. NAVY, UNDER ORDERS OF APRIL 17, 1935, WAS OF SUCH AN URGENT CHARACTER AS TO PRECLUDE ITS BEING HELD UP AWAITING AN INDIVIDUAL SAILING OF A NAVAL VESSEL. IN CASES SUCH AS THIS THE NAVY DEPARTMENT CONSIDERS THAT THE FURNISHING OF A COMPARTMENT OR DRAWING ROOM ON PULLMAN CARS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF SECRET DOCUMENTS IS STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND THAT THE EXTRA COST INVOLVED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH DOCUMENTS SHOULD THEREFORE BE AT PUBLIC EXPENSE. FOR THIS REASON THE NAVY DEPARTMENT REQUESTS THAT THE RULE PRESCRIBED IN YOUR DECISION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF DECEMBER 3, 1935, A-61634, UNDER WHICH THE FURNISHING OF COMPARTMENTS OR DRAWING ROOMS AT PUBLIC EXPENSE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FIRE ARMS IS AUTHORIZED, BE EXTENDED TO INCLUDE THE TRANSPORTATION OF NAVY SECRET DOCUMENTS UNDER THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN THE ATTACHED CORRESPONDENCE.

THE SECOND ENDORSEMENT, DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1936, FROM THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS TO THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION, IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

2. IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE PRESERVATION OF THE SECRECY OF CERTAIN NAVY SECRET DOCUMENTS THAT THEY INVARIABLY BE TRANSFERRED IN THE DIRECT AND CONTINUOUS CUSTODY OF A COMMISSIONED OFFICER. DURING PEACE TIME EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SECRET MATTER WHICH CAN BE TRANSFERRED ONLY BY OFFICER MESSENGER TO A MINIMUM, AND ADVANTAGE IS TAKEN OF SAILINGS OF NAVAL VESSELS WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

3. THERE WILL ARISE INSTANCES WHEN THE URGENCY OF DELIVERY OF THE SECRET DOCUMENT REQUIRES THAT IT CANNOT BE HELD UP AWAITING AN INDIVIDUAL SAILING OF A NAVAL VESSEL. THE MATERIAL DELIVERED BY COMMANDER CARY W. MAGRUDER, UNDER ORDERS OF APRIL 17, 1935, WAS OF THIS NATURE.

4. IN EVERY INSTANCE IN WHICH A COURIER MUST TRAVEL BY TRAIN, AND THE DURATION OF THE JOURNEY IS SIX HOURS OR MORE, IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE OFFICER COURIER MUST BE FURNISHED WITH THE MEANS OF LOCKING THIS MATERIAL IN A COMPARTMENT OF THE TRAIN OR STATEROOM OF A STEAMER AS THE CASE MAY BE IN ORDER THAT HE MAY ADEQUATELY SAFEGUARD IT. WITHOUT THIS ADDITIONAL MEANS, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT TWO OFFICERS PERFORM THIS DUTY IN ORDER THAT THE MATERIAL IN QUESTION MAY BE UNDER CONSTANT OBSERVATION.

5. WHILE THIS USE OF OFFICER COURIERS IS COMPARATIVELY INFREQUENT IN PEACE TIME IT IS NECESSARY THAT AN EXTENSIVE COMMISSIONED OFFICER COURIER SYSTEM BE ESTABLISHED IN TIME OF WAR WITH FREQUENT TRIPS.

6. IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT ARRANGEMENTS BE MADE WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN ORDER THAT A COMPARTMENT OR STATEROOM MAY BE MADE AVAILABLE TO OFFICERS AND OTHER PERSONS DOING COURIER DUTY.

UNDER SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 631, AN OFFICER OF THE NAVY TRAVELING IN A MILEAGE STATUS IS ENTITLED TO HAVE FURNISHED HIM TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY BY LAND, EXCLUSIVE OF SLEEPING AND PULLMAN-CAR ACCOMMODATIONS, AND TO HAVE DEDUCTED FROM HIS MILEAGE AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO 3 CENTS A MILE FOR THE DISTANCE TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED. HOWEVER, WHERE AN OFFICER IS FURNISHED PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS THERE IS FOR DEDUCTION FROM MILEAGE, OTHERWISE DUE HIM, THE COST OF SUCH PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS, TOGETHER WITH THE COST OF ANY ADDITIONAL RAILWAY FARE NECESSARY TO SECURE THE ACCOMMODATIONS, IN ADDITION TO THE 3 CENTS A MILE.

IN THE DECISION OF DECEMBER 3, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 463, IT WAS HELD THAT, UPON A SHOWING OF THE FACTS OF NECESSITY REQUIRING THE PROMPT TRANSPORTATION, BY AND FOR USE OF EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OF FIREARMS OF SUCH UNUSUAL SIZE OR WEIGHT THAT THEY CANNOT BE TRANSPORTED IN LOWER BERTHS WITH THE TRAVELERS, AND CANNOT BE SAFELY TRANSPORTED AS BAGGAGE, OR BY FREIGHT OR EXPRESS, OR OTHERWISE, BUT CAN BE SAFELY TRANSPORTED IN CARE OF AN EMPLOYEE OR EMPLOYEES IN A PULLMAN COMPARTMENT, THE EXCESS COST COULD PROPERLY BE CONSIDERED AS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE FIREARMS AND BE PAYABLE UNDER THE APPROPRIATION FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES.

UNDER THIS DECISION, THERE MUST BE A SHOWING IN EACH PARTICULAR INSTANCE THAT THERE IS INVOLVED SOMETHING MORE THAN THE MERE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS UNDER CUSTODY. A RULE SO LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION REGARDING THE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS MAY NOT BE MORE LIBERALLY APPLIED TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS UNDER CUSTODY OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT.

THE STATUTORY PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN THE NATURE OF A REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL OF THE OFFICER MAY NOT BE INCREASED BECAUSE OF THE BAGGAGE AN OFFICER CARRIES, WHETHER THE BAGGAGE BE PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL, NOR MAY IT BE INCREASED BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE DUTIES THE OFFICER IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM EN ROUTE. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "TRANSPORTATION AND RECRUITING OF NAVAL PERSONNEL" FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DOCUMENTS, AND IT IS QUESTIONABLE WHETHER THE CLAUSE OF THE APPROPRIATION "MAINTENANCE, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS" FOR "FREIGHT, EXPRESS, AND PARCEL-POST CHARGES, INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION OF FUNDS AND COST OF INSURANCE ON SHIPMENTS OF MONEY WHEN NECESSARY," AUTHORIZES THE PURCHASE OF A PASSAGE TICKET AND PULLMAN ACCOMMODATION AS FOR A PERSON TO MAKE POSSIBLE THE TRANSPORTATION IN THE SECURITY THOUGHT TO BE NECESSARY OF SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS OR PUBLICATIONS. SUCH SAFEGUARDING WOULD APPEAR OTHERWISE POSSIBLE OF ACCOMPLISHING THAN THROUGH OCCUPYING A PARTICULAR COMPARTMENT IN TRAVELING. IT IS NOTED THE THIRD ENDORSEMENT OF THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION STATES THAT MOST NAVAL SECRET DOCUMENTS ARE TRANSPORTED BY NAVAL VESSEL BUT THAT WHEN SENDING THEM TO THE NAVAL TRAINING STATION AT GREAT LAKES, ILL., IT IS NECESSARY TO USE AN OFFICER COURIER. WHAT IS SECRET IN THE PLANS FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE MUST NECESSARILY BE DETERMINED BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, BUT IT HAS OPERATED FOR MANY YEARS WITHOUT THE PROPOSED SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN THE COST OF TRAVEL OF OFFICERS TO CARRY "SECRET" DOCUMENTS TO INLAND NAVAL STATIONS IN TIME OF PEACE WITH RESULTING GREATER COMFORT OR LUXURY TO THE TRAVELING OFFICER AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES. IN A-48568, MAY 17, 1933, EXTRA COST OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF CONFIDENTIAL PAPERS IN THE CUSTODY OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WAS HELD NOT TO BE AUTHORIZED. THE SAME RULE IS FOR APPLICATION IN THE PRESENT CASE, THE MERE LABELING OF DOCUMENTS OR COMMUNICATIONS AS SECRET WHEN FORWARDED BY A COURIER WHO IS AT THE SAME TIME TRAVELING IN CONNECTION WITH CHANGE OF STATION FORMING NO BASIS FOR INCREASING THE COST OF TRANSPORTING THE OFFICER IN EXCESS OF THE RATE FIXED BY LAW. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.