A-80455, JANUARY 28, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 691

A-80455: Jan 28, 1937

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TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS - STEAMSHIP TRAVEL FROM FOREIGN PORTS - USE WHEN COST IS IN EXCESS OF THAT OF PAYMENT IN FOREIGN CURRENCY PARAGRAPH 17 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. 1937: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 31. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION A-80455 OF OCTOBER 10. WHO HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE GOVERNMENT REQUESTS. IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL GIVE A RULING ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN ORDER THAT THERE WILL BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING AS TO WHEN REQUESTS SHOULD BE USED: 1. THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS AVAILABLE BETWEEN SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG. VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY (DOLLAR LINE) ARE AVAILABLE FROM YOKOHAMA TO SHANGHAI. AMERICAN VESSELS (DOLLAR LINE) ARE AVAILABLE BETWEEN SHANGHAI AND SAN FRANCISCO.

A-80455, JANUARY 28, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 691

TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS - STEAMSHIP TRAVEL FROM FOREIGN PORTS - USE WHEN COST IS IN EXCESS OF THAT OF PAYMENT IN FOREIGN CURRENCY PARAGRAPH 17 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT JANUARY 30, 1934, AND DECEMBER 10, 1935, WOULD NOT APPEAR TO CONTEMPLATE THE MANDATORY USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN FOREIGN PORTS, EITHER FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN SUCH PORTS ON VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY OR VESSELS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY HAVING PORTS IN THE UNITED STATES, OR FOR TRAVEL ON VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY BETWEEN A FOREIGN PORT AND A PORT IN THE UNITED STATES, WHERE THE COST TO THE UNITED STATES OF THE TRANSPORTATION, IF SO OBTAINED, WOULD BE IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF PROCUREMENT BY PAYMENT IN FOREIGN CURRENCY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JANUARY 28, 1937:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 31, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION A-80455 OF OCTOBER 10, 1936, CONCERNING THE USE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WHEN PURCHASING STEAMER TRANSPORTATION ABROAD.

BEFORE SENDING A CIRCULAR INSTRUCTION REGARDING THIS MATTER TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, WHO HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE GOVERNMENT REQUESTS, IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL GIVE A RULING ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN ORDER THAT THERE WILL BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING AS TO WHEN REQUESTS SHOULD BE USED:

1. THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS AVAILABLE BETWEEN SINGAPORE AND HONG KONG, BUT VESSELS OF THE N.Y.K. LINE (FOREIGN) HAVING PORTS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES PLY BETWEEN THESE POINTS. IN CASES OF THIS KIND AND SIMILAR CASES, SHOULD REQUESTS BE USED IF ACCEPTABLE BY THE FOREIGN LINE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT BY PURCHASING THE TRANSPORTATION IN FOREIGN CURRENCY THE SAME TRANSPORTATION MAY BE PROCURED AT A LOWER PRICE?

2. VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY (DOLLAR LINE) ARE AVAILABLE FROM YOKOHAMA TO SHANGHAI. SHOULD GOVERNMENT REQUESTS BE USED FOR AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BETWEEN THESE POINTS, AND ALL OTHER SIMILAR CASES, REGARDLESS OF THE COST IN AMERICAN CURRENCY, OR SHOULD FOREIGN CURRENCY BE USED TO PURCHASE THE TRANSPORTATION IN THE EVENT THAT BY SO DOING THE TRANSPORTATION MAY BE PROCURED AT A LOWER PRICE?

3. AMERICAN VESSELS (DOLLAR LINE) ARE AVAILABLE BETWEEN SHANGHAI AND SAN FRANCISCO. YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 2 WILL NO DOUBT APPLY TO QUESTION NO. 3 ALSO, BUT IN ORDER TO BE CERTAIN THE SAME QUESTION IS REPEATED. SHOULD GOVERNMENT REQUESTS BE USED FOR AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BETWEEN THESE POINTS, AND ALL SIMILAR CASES, REGARDLESS OF THE COST IN AMERICAN CURRENCY, OR SHOULD FOREIGN CURRENCY BE USED TO PURCHASE THE TRANSPORTATION IN THE EVENT THAT BY SO DOING THE TRANSPORTATION MAY BE PROCURED AT A LOWER PRICE?

AS WAS POINTED OUT IN THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 10, 1936, PARAGRAPH 20 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS SHOULD BE USED, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO OBTAIN ALL OFFICIAL TRANSPORTATION WHERE THE AMOUNT INVOLVED IS $1 OR MORE, AND PARAGRAPH 17 OF THE SAID REGULATIONS DEFINES A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST AS AN ORDER BY PROPER AUTHORITY UPON THE PRESCRIBED STANDARD FORM, FOR SPECIFIED PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS, FOR PRESENTATION BY PERSONS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS "TO TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES IN THE UNITED STATES AND STEAMSHIP LINES HAVING PORTS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES" FOR EXCHANGE BY THEM FOR SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS.

IT WAS SAID IN THE DECISION, FOLLOWING THE WORDING OF PARAGRAPH 17, THAT THESE REGULATIONS DO NOT CONTEMPLATE THE REQUIRED USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR FOREIGN TRAVEL "EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF STEAMSHIP LINES HAVING PORTS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES" AND THAT WHERE FOREIGN TRAVEL ACCOMMODATIONS "CAN BE PROCURED AT A LESS COST BY A CASH PAYMENT IN FOREIGN CURRENCY THERE APPEARS NO MANDATORY REQUIREMENT TO USE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS.'

YOUR PRESENT SUBMISSION RAISES THE FURTHER QUESTION AS TO THE MANDATORY USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN OBTAINING STEAMER TRANSPORTATION FROM STEAMSHIP COMPANIES WHICH OPERATE TO PORTS IN THE UNITED STATES WHEN THE TRANSPORTATION IS NOT OBTAINED AT SUCH PORTS IN THE UNITED STATES BUT AT FOREIGN PORTS WHERE SUCH TRANSPORTATION CAN BE PROCURED AT A LESS COST BY PAYMENT IN FOREIGN CURRENCY. THE INTENT OF THE REGULATIONS AS APPLIED TO THIS SITUATION IS NOT CLEAR. BASICALLY, THE DEFINITION OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN PARAGRAPH 17 OF THE REGULATIONS REQUIRES THEIR USE FOR OBTAINING ACCOMMODATIONS FROM TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES "IN THE UNITED STATES" AND THE ADDITION OF THE PHASE "AND STEAMSHIP LINES HAVING PORTS IN THE UNITED STATES" MAY WELL BE VIEWED AS RELATING TO THE PROCUREMENT OF STEAMER TRANSPORTATION AT SUCH PORTS IN THE UNITED STATES, WHERE NO QUESTION COULD ARISE AS TO ANY DIFFERENCE IN COST BASED ON THE MEDIUM OF PAYMENT. AT LEAST, ANY CONTRARY INTENT OF THE REGULATIONS IN THIS RESPECT IS NOT SO PLAIN AS TO REQUIRE A HOLDING BY THIS OFFICE THAT THEY CONTEMPLATE THE MANDATORY USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS IN FOREIGN PORTS WHERE THE USE OF SUCH REQUESTS WOULD INCREASE THE COST TO THE UNITED STATES OF THE TRANSPORTATION OBTAINED.

SPECIFICALLY, THEREFORE, QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE; THE FIRST PART OF QUESTION 2 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE AND THE LAST PART THEREOF IN THE AFFIRMATIVE; AND THE FIRST PART OF QUESTION 3 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE AND THE LAST PART THEREOF IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.