A-84580, APRIL 8, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 911

A-84580: Apr 8, 1937

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DONATIONS - PRIVATE FUNDS - BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE - ESTABLISHMENT OF BRITISH HOUSING UNIT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS FROM PRIVATE SOURCES BY THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BRITISH HOUSING UNIT IN ITS LONDON OFFICE FOR THE GATHERING AND DISSEMINATION OF BRITISH HOUSING INFORMATION TO AMERICAN OFFICIALS AND PRIVATE CITIZENS. IS AS FOLLOWS: THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THE SETTING UP OF A REPORTING UNIT ON BRITISH HOUSING IN THE LONDON OFFICE OF THAT BUREAU. AS IT IS NOW. THERE IS A STREAM OF HOUSING ENTHUSIASTS INVADING ENGLAND AND BESIEGING BRITISH HOUSING AUTHORITIES FOR THE SAME SORT OF INFORMATION.

A-84580, APRIL 8, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 911

DONATIONS - PRIVATE FUNDS - BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE - ESTABLISHMENT OF BRITISH HOUSING UNIT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS FROM PRIVATE SOURCES BY THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BRITISH HOUSING UNIT IN ITS LONDON OFFICE FOR THE GATHERING AND DISSEMINATION OF BRITISH HOUSING INFORMATION TO AMERICAN OFFICIALS AND PRIVATE CITIZENS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, APRIL 8, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAS UNDER CONSIDERATION THE SETTING UP OF A REPORTING UNIT ON BRITISH HOUSING IN THE LONDON OFFICE OF THAT BUREAU. IT ESTIMATES THAT IT WOULD COST ABOUT $10,000 PER YEAR TO OPERATE SUCH A UNIT, WHICH WOULD SERVE AS A SINGLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON BRITISH HOUSING FOR AMERICANS, BOTH OFFICIALS AND PRIVATE CITIZENS. THE BUREAU STATES THAT, AS IT IS NOW, THERE IS A STREAM OF HOUSING ENTHUSIASTS INVADING ENGLAND AND BESIEGING BRITISH HOUSING AUTHORITIES FOR THE SAME SORT OF INFORMATION, AND THE BUREAU STATES THAT SUCH A UNIT WOULD SERVE TO CENTRALIZE AND SIMPLIFY PROCEDURE FOR SUPPLYING AMERICANS WITH BRITISH HOUSING DATA. IT FURTHER STATES THAT IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE NECESSARY FUNDS FOR THIS UNIT CAN BE SECURED FROM PRIVATE SOURCES INTERESTED IN HOUSING RESEARCH.

BEFORE ADVISING THE BUREAU IN THIS MATTER, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER, UNDER THE LAW, THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE MAY RECEIVE SUCH PRIVATE FUNDS IN TRUST AND UTILIZE THE SAME TO HIRE THE NECESSARY EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING NATIVE BRITISH HOUSING EXPERTS, TO RENT SUFFICIENT SPACE, AND HAVE REPORTS PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED.

THE DUTIES FOR WHICH THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE WAS ESTABLISHED ARE STATED IN SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927, 44 STAT. 1394-1395, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 2. UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE ,SECRETARY"), THE OFFICERS OF THE FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE SHALL---

(A) PROMOTE THE FOREIGN COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES;

(B) INVESTIGATE AND REPORT UPON COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL CONDITIONS AND ACTIVITIES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHICH MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE UNITED STATES;

(C) PERFORM SUCH OTHER DUTIES AS THE SECRETARY MAY DIRECT IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROMOTION OF THE INDUSTRIES, TRADE, OR COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES;

(D) MAKE SUCH INSPECTIONS OF THE FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE AS THE SECRETARY MAY DIRECT.

SECTIONS 1 AND 2 OF THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1935, 49 STAT. 292, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE BE, AND HEREBY IS, AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, UPON THE WRITTEN REQUEST OF ANY PERSON, FIRM, OR CORPORATION, TO MAKE SPECIAL STATISTICAL STUDIES RELATING TO FOREIGN TRADE, DOMESTIC TRADE, AND OTHER ECONOMIC MATTERS FALLING WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE; TO PREPARE FROM ITS RECORDS SPECIAL STATISTICAL COMPILATIONS; AND TO FURNISH TRANSCRIPTS OF ITS STUDIES, TABLES, AND OTHER RECORDS, UPON THE PAYMENT OF THE ACTUAL COST OF SUCH WORK BY THE PERSON, FIRM, OR CORPORATION REQUESTING IT.

SEC. 2. ALL MONEYS HEREAFTER RECEIVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE IN PAYMENT OF THE COST OF SUCH WORK SHALL BE DEPOSITED IN A SPECIAL ACCOUNT TO BE ADMINISTERED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE. THESE MONEYS MAY BE USED, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, AND NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, FOR THE ORDINARY EXPENSES INCIDENTAL TO THE WORK AND/OR TO SECURE IN CONNECTION THEREWITH THE SPECIAL SERVICES OF PERSONS WHO ARE NEITHER OFFICERS NOR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE NATURE OF THE WORK PROPOSED TO BE PERFORMED BY A BRITISH HOUSING UNIT IS NOT CLEAR FROM YOUR SUBMISSION BUT APPARENTLY IT DOES NOT INVOLVE SUCH STATISTICAL STUDIES, COMPILATIONS, ETC., AS ARE CONTEMPLATED BY THE CITED ACT OF MAY 27, 1935, AND DOES NOT HAVE SUCH A CONNECTION WITH FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES AS TO AUTHORIZE ITS PERFORMANCE AS A PART OF THE REGULAR DUTIES OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE AS PRESCRIBED IN THE CITED ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927. THE CONGRESS HAS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE AND, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY THE ABOVE QUOTED ACT OF MAY 27, 1935, I FIND NO LAW AUTHORIZING SAID BUREAU TO ACCEPT DONATIONS EITHER TO SUPPLEMENT THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS REGULAR DUTIES OR TO ENABLE IT TO UNDERTAKE NEW DUTIES. WHEN THE CONGRESS HAS CONSIDERED DESIRABLE THE RECEIPT OF DONATIONS OR THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS FOR NON-GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IT HAS GENERALLY MADE SPECIFIC PROVISION THEREFOR AS, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE ABOVE ACT OF MAY 27, 1935. ACCORDINGLY, UNDER EXISTING LAW, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO AUTHORITY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BRITISH HOUSING UNIT UNDER THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE AS PROPOSED.