A-74150, MAY 14, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 996

A-74150: May 14, 1936

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THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONNEL AND PURCHASE OF MATERIALS FOR BINDING OR REBINDING GOVERNMENT RECORDS DEPOSITED THERE EXCEPT SUCH AS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH MINOR REPAIRS. NOTWITHSTANDING THE ARCHIVIST IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CUSTODY OF THE RECORDS SO DEPOSITED. AS FOLLOWS: YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO SECTIONS 2. ALL ARCHIVES OR RECORDS BELONGING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES * * * SHALL BE UNDER THE CHARGE AND SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE ARCHIVIST TO THIS EXTENT: HE SHALL HAVE FULL POWER TO INSPECT * * * THE RECORDS OF ANY AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT * * * AND TO REQUISITION FOR TRANSFER TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ESTABLISHMENT SUCH ARCHIVES OR RECORDS AS THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES COUNCIL HEREAFTER PROVIDED SHALL APPROVE FOR SUCH TRANSFER.

A-74150, MAY 14, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 996

BINDING GOVERNMENT RECORDS - NATIONAL ARCHIVES ALL PRINTING AND BINDING BEING REQUIRED BY STATUTE TO BE DONE AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, EXCEPT AS PERMITTED OTHERWISE BY THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING, THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONNEL AND PURCHASE OF MATERIALS FOR BINDING OR REBINDING GOVERNMENT RECORDS DEPOSITED THERE EXCEPT SUCH AS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH MINOR REPAIRS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ARCHIVIST IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CUSTODY OF THE RECORDS SO DEPOSITED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ARCHIVIST, NATIONAL ARCHIVES, MAY 14, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 17, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO SECTIONS 2, 3, AND 11 OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ACT APPROVED JUNE 19, 1934 (48 STAT. 1122-1124; U.S.C., TITLE 40, SECS. 232, 233, AND 241), WITH THE REQUEST THAT YOU RENDER AN OPINION AS TO THEIR BEARING UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR EXPENDITURES DEEMED NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE CUSTODY AND THE PRESERVATION OF GOVERNMENT RECORDS DEPOSITED IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING.

SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT INCLUDES THE PROVISION THAT "THE ARCHIVIST SHALL MAKE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES," AND SECTION 3 PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT ,ALL ARCHIVES OR RECORDS BELONGING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES * * * SHALL BE UNDER THE CHARGE AND SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE ARCHIVIST TO THIS EXTENT: HE SHALL HAVE FULL POWER TO INSPECT * * * THE RECORDS OF ANY AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT * * * AND TO REQUISITION FOR TRANSFER TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ESTABLISHMENT SUCH ARCHIVES OR RECORDS AS THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES COUNCIL HEREAFTER PROVIDED SHALL APPROVE FOR SUCH TRANSFER, AND HE SHALL HAVE AUTHORITY TO MAKE REGULATIONS FOR THE ARRANGEMENT, CUSTODY, USE, AND WITHDRAWAL OF MATERIAL DEPOSITED IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING: PROVIDED, THAT ANY HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT * * * MAY * * * EXEMPT FROM EXAMINATION AND CONSULTATION * * * SUCH CONFIDENTIAL MATTER TRANSFERRED FROM HIS DEPARTMENT OR OFFICE, AS HE MAY DEEM WISE.'

THE ARCHIVIST IS NOW PREPARING THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS. DIFFICULTY HAS BEEN ENCOUNTERED, AND NONE IS ANTICIPATED, WITH RESPECT TO THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE "ARRANGEMENT" AND THE "WITHDRAWAL" OF THE ARCHIVES, BUT SUCH IS NOT THE CASE WITH RESPECT TO THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THEIR "CUSTODY," AND THEIR "USE.' OUR PROBLEM MAY BE BRIEFLY STATED AS FOLLOWS:

1. IT APPEARS THAT IT WAS THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS IN ESTABLISHING THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES TO MAKE GOVERNMENT RECORDS (EXCEPT THOSE DEPOSITED AS CONFIDENTIAL) AVAILABLE FOR "USE.'

2. IT ALSO APPEARS THAT THE ONLY TRANSFER OF CUSTODY WHICH THE ARCHIVIST IS AUTHORIZED TO PERMIT AFTER RECORDS ARE ACCESSIONED BY THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IS THEIR TEMPORARY WITHDRAWAL FOR OFFICIAL USE BY THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY FROM WHICH THEY WERE REQUISITIONED.

3. SURVEYS NOW BEING MADE INDICATE THAT MANY DOCUMENTS TO BE ACCESSIONED ARE IN SUCH PHYSICAL CONDITION THAT THEY CANNOT BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR USE UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN REPAIRED. INCLUDED IN THIS CLASS OF RECORDS ARE MANY BOUND VOLUMES SUCH AS LEDGERS, JOURNALS, AND OTHER RECORDS WHICH ANTEDATE MODERN METHODS OF BINDING DOCUMENTS. SURVEYS INDICATE THAT SUCH BOUND RECORDS WHICH MUST BE REPAIRED BEFORE THEY ARE MADE AVAILABLE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES WILL CONSTITUTE ABOUT 8 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL VOLUME OF ARCHIVES TO BE ACCESSIONED.

4. SINCE THESE VOLUMES ARE OF WIDELY VARYING SIZES, AND WERE ORIGINALLY BOUND IN A GREAT VARIETY OF WAYS, THEIR REPAIR WILL NECESSARILY BE A HAND OPERATION. MANY DIFFERENT METHODS WILL BE FOUND NECESSARY TO RESTORE THEM TO A STATE OF USEFULNESS AND, THEREAFTER, TO KEEP THEM IN A USABLE CONDITION. THE OPERATIONS WILL RANGE FROM THE CATCHING UP OF BROKEN THREADS OR THE GLUEING OF A TEAR TO THE REPLACING OF A BROKEN BOARD OR, WHEN NECESSARY, THE ENTIRE COVER, ALL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BEST ARCHIVAL PRACTICE, WHICH SEEKS ALWAYS THE PRESERVATION OF THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT.

5. IF THE WORDS "PRINTING" AND "BINDING" AS USED IN SEC. 11 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919, 40 STAT. 1270, BE CONSTRUED AS COVERING THE TYPE OF WORK CONTEMPLATED AND THEREFORE REQUIRED TO BE DONE BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (OR, POSSIBLY, BY A BRANCH THEREOF IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING), THERE WILL ARISE THE NECESSITY FOR A TRANSFER OF CUSTODY OF THE ARCHIVES, FOR WHICH IT APPEARS THAT THE ARCHIVIST IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS DEEMED NECESSARY FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE STANDPOINT, FROM CONSIDERATION OF PROPER SAFEGUARDING AND CARE OF THE DOCUMENTS INVOLVED AND BECAUSE OF THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM, TO HAVE THIS WORK DONE IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING BY EMPLOYEES OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES UNDER THE IMMEDIATE SUPERVISION OF THE ARCHIVIST. FURTHERMORE, IF THE TYPE OF WORK WE CONTEMPLATE BE PROHIBITED IN THE CASE OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, IT IS BELIEVED THAT SEC. 11 OF THE ACT CREATING THIS OFFICE MAY BE CONSTRUED AS MAKING AN EXCEPTION OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES. THIS SECTION READS,"ALL ACTS OR PARTS OF ACTS RELATING TO THE CHARGE AND SUPERINTENDENCY, CUSTODY, PRESERVATION, AND DISPOSITION OF OFFICIAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT ARE HEREBY REPEALED.'

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR DECISION IS, RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT LISTED ON THE ATTACHED SHEET AND THE MATERIALS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR USE.

THE SHEET REFERRED TO IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH LISTS THE FOLLOWING ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS:

TABLE 1 33 IN. BOARD CUTTER--- JACQUES. 1 YARD STICK. 1 30 IN. HAND LEVER CUTTER.

1 MITRE SAW. 1 21 IN. BY 29 IN. STANDING PRESS. 1 ROUNDING HAMMER 2 LBS. 1 00 1/2 STANDING PRESS. 2 OZ. 1 POTDEVIN STRIP GLUER.

1 BRACKING HAMMER MEDIUM. 1 2-QT. ELECTRIC GLUE POT. 1 BEATING HAMMER MEDIUM. 1 5-GAL. STAYWARM GLUE HEATER. 1 SET SEWING NEEDLES. ELECTRIC HEATED LETTERING PALLETT 5 IN. 1 BENCH PLATE 24 BY 20 BY 2

BRASS TYPE AND FIGURES ASSORTED. 1 15038 STEEL TABLE WITH 1 24 BY 36--- 22 GAUGE ZINC. GLUE ATTACHMENT. 1 WET STONE. 2 15038 STEEL TABLES. 10 IN. BONE FOLDERS. 1 HICKOK FORMING IRON. 1 CABINET WITH 14 16 BY 24 BOARDS. 1 36 INC. HICKOK EDITION 1 PLASTER POT.

SEWING BENCH. 2 GLUE BRUSHES. 1 24 IN. HICKOK EDITION 1 PAIR INDEX SHEARS. SEWING BENCH. 2 GALV. BUCKETS.

1 21 IN. HICKOK JOB BACKER. 2 OAK BLOCKS 18 BY 6 BY 8. 1 FLAT POLISHER. 2 OAK BOARDS 18 BY 8 BY 10. 1 ROUND POLISHER. 1 CASE GAUGE.

1 HAND WRINGER. 2 6 IN. BB KNIVES. 1 JACKLIFT TRUCK.

6 SKIDS.

6 STOOLS.

WHILE THE ACT OF JUNE 19, 1934, MAKES THE ARCHIVIST RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CUSTODY OF THE RECORDS DEPOSITED WITH THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SUCH RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT DIFFER FROM THAT WHICH IS INHERENT IN THE HEAD OF ANY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT TO PRESERVE AND MAINTAIN THE CUSTODY OF ALL RECORDS UNDER HIS CONTROL. THE PRINTING AND BINDING ACT OF MARCH 11, 1919 (40 STAT. 1270), AS AMENDED FEBRUARY 28, 1929 (45 STAT. 1400), IS MANDATORY IN ITS TERMS AND ADMITS OF NO EXCEPTION OTHER THAN THAT VESTED IN THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING IN RESPECT OF CERTAIN SPECIFIED MATTERS NOT HERE INVOLVED. A CAREFUL READING OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ACT DOES NOT DISCLOSE ANY PURPOSE TO EXEMPT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES FROM THE OPERATION OF THE SAID PRINTING AND BINDING ACT. IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT NECESSARY FOR BINDING OR REBINDING RECORDS OR VOLUMES UNDER YOUR CUSTODY, AS THE CITED ACT OF 1919 AS AMENDED, REQUIRES ALL BINDING TO BE DONE AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.

THE FOREGOING IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD, OF COURSE, AS REQUIRING THAT MINOR REPAIRS SUCH AS GLUING A TEAR BE DONE AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, NOR AS PROHIBITING THE USE OF YOUR APPROPRIATION FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONNEL AND PURCHASE OF MATERIALS NECESSARY TO MAKE SUCH MINOR REPAIRS.