A-88804, SEPTEMBER 15, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 255

A-88804: Sep 15, 1937

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IS A "SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS EXPLAINED IN 16 COMP. WITH REFERENCE TO RECENT RULINGS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL REGARDING THE COMPUTATION OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF WHILE AN OFFICER IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS. THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC CASE IS PRESENTED WITH THE REQUEST THAT THE DEPARTMENT REFER THE QUESTION INVOLVED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IN ORDER THAT AN APPROPRIATE RULING MAY BE OBTAINED. 2. WHO REPORTED IN BERLIN AND WAS DETACHED TWO DAYS AFTER HIS DEPARTURE FROM RIGA. THE BUREAU STATED: "THIS OFFICER WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS SUBSEQUENT TO (HIS DEPARTURE FROM RIGA). HIS REPORTING TO AND DETACHMENT AT BERLIN WAS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY AND DID NOT CONSTITUTE A CHANGE OF DUTY STATIONS FOR EXCHANGE RELIEF COMPUTATION PURPOSES.

A-88804, SEPTEMBER 15, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 255

EXCHANGE - LOSS BY - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES - TEMPORARY DUTY FOR 1 WEEK ONE WEEK'S TEMPORARY DUTY IN GERMANY PERFORMED BY NAVY ENLISTED MAN UNDER ORDERS WHILE EN ROUTE FROM RUSSIA TO THE UNITED STATES UPON CHANGE OF STATION, IS A "SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS EXPLAINED IN 16 COMP. GEN. 156 IN CONNECTION WITH THE COMPUTATION OF EXCHANGE LOSSES, AND ANY EXCHANGE LOSS FOR THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY SHOULD BE COMPUTED AT THE RATE APPLICABLE IN GERMANY FOR THE LAST DAY OF DUTY IN THAT COUNTRY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1937, REQUESTED DECISION UPON THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN A LATTER, DATED JULY 30, 1937, FROM THE NAVAL ATTACHE AT BERLIN, GERMANY, AS FOLLOWS:

1. WITH REFERENCE TO RECENT RULINGS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL REGARDING THE COMPUTATION OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF WHILE AN OFFICER IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS, THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC CASE IS PRESENTED WITH THE REQUEST THAT THE DEPARTMENT REFER THE QUESTION INVOLVED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IN ORDER THAT AN APPROPRIATE RULING MAY BE OBTAINED.

2. IN A MEMORANDUM FROM THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS (REFERENCE "A") REGARDING THE COMPUTATION OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER ON DUTY IN RIGA, LATVIA, WHO REPORTED IN BERLIN AND WAS DETACHED TWO DAYS AFTER HIS DEPARTURE FROM RIGA, THE BUREAU STATED:

"THIS OFFICER WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS SUBSEQUENT TO (HIS DEPARTURE FROM RIGA). HIS REPORTING TO AND DETACHMENT AT BERLIN WAS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY AND DID NOT CONSTITUTE A CHANGE OF DUTY STATIONS FOR EXCHANGE RELIEF COMPUTATION PURPOSES. SIMILARLY, WHEN AN OFFICER IS ORDERED TO A DUTY STATION LOCATED IN A COUNTRY OTHER THAN GERMANY, AND REPORTS AT BERLIN FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES, HE IS CONSIDERED IN A TRAVEL STATUS UNTIL HE REPORTS TO THE DUTY STATION TO WHICH ORDERED. SUCH CASES EXCHANGE RELIEF WILL BE COMPUTED AT THE EXCHANGE RATE IN EFFECT AT THE END OF THE MONTH DURING WHICH THE OFFICER REPORTS FOR DUTY, BASED ON THE CURRENCY OF THE COUNTRY IN WHICH DUTY STATION IS LOCATED, INCLUDING THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF TRAVEL.'

3. ALBERT FRED HAMPEL, CEM (AA), U.S. NAVY, WAS ON DUTY AT THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN MOSCOW AND WAS ORDERED TO DUTY IN THE UNITED STATES. WHILE IN RUSSIA, HE WAS PAID FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF ON THE BASIS OF THE FRENCH FRANC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STIPULATIONS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7312, DATED MARCH 9, 1936. THE PERCENTAGE OF LOSS SUSTAINED ON THIS BASIS IS APPROXIMATELY 14 PERCENT. THIS MAN'S ACCOUNTS WERE CARRIED BY THE NAVAL ATTACHE, BERLIN, WHO DIRECTED HIM TO REPORT IN BERLIN FOR ONE WEEK'S TEMPORARY DUTY WHILE EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION, I.E., RECEIVING STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.

4. IF THE INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS MEMORANDUM QUOTED IN PARAGRAPH 2 ARE APPLIED, THIS MAN COULD COLLECT NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF FROM THE DATE OF HIS DEPARTURE FROM RUSSIA INASMUCH AS NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF ACCRUES AT HIS NEW "DUTY STATION" (WASHINGTON, D.C.). DOES THE "TEMPORARY DUTY" IN BERLIN, HOWEVER, CONSTITUTE A NEW DUTY STATION WHICH WOULD ENTITLE HIM TO CLAIM FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF AT THE GERMAN RATE, OR IS HE CONSIDERED IN HIS ORIGINAL DUTY STATUS UNTIL HE IS DEFINITELY DETACHED AT BERLIN? SINCE THE APPRECIATION OF RUSSIAN CURRENCY, COMPUTED AT THE RATE OF THE FRENCH FRANC, IS VERY SMALL IN COMPARISON WITH THAT OF GERMAN CURRENCY, THIS MAN WOULD BE SUBJECTED TO A VERY HEAVY LOSS DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS TEMPORARY DUTY IN BERLIN, IF SUCH FOREIGN EXCHANGE RELIEF WERE COMPUTED AT ANY RATE OTHER THAN THAT OF GERMANY.

5. TWO CERTIFIED COPIES OF HAMPEL'S ORDERS ARE FORWARDED HEREWITH AS ILLUSTRATION.

IN 14 COMP. GEN. 577 IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE LOSS DUE TO APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCY DURING A PERIOD AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR WHEN TRAVELING THROUGH A FOREIGN COUNTRY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE BASIC RATE PRESCRIBED FOR THE PARTICULAR COUNTRY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS ACTUALLY LOCATED FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES.

THE FOREGOING DECISION WAS AMPLIFIED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 857, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

REIMBURSEMENT OF SALARY LOSSES INCURRED BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BUT NOT STATIONED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IS CONFINED TO AMOUNTS ACTUALLY CONVERTED FOR EXPENDITURE AND MUST BE BASED UPON EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL CONVERSION AND AT THE RATE OF EXCHANGE AT WHICH THE CONVERSION WAS EFFECTED.

LOSSES UPON PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ARE TO BE COMPUTED AT THE EXCHANGE RATE IN FORCE FOR THE PARTICULAR COUNTRY ON THE LAST DAY OF TRAVEL WITHIN THAT COUNTRY, OR IF THE PERIOD EXTENDS OVER ONE MONTH, ON THE LAST DAY OF EACH MONTH WITHIN THE TRAVEL PERIOD.

IN DECISION OF JUNE 23, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 1123, IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

EXCHANGE LOSSES UPON SALARIES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OF DIPLOMATIC OFFICERS ON TEMPORARY DUTY FOR A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OTHER THAN THAT IN WHICH STATIONED ARE FOR COMPUTATION, IN THE CASE OF SALARIES, AT THE RATE APPLICABLE AT THE PLACE AT WHICH LOCATED ON THE LAST DAY OF THE RESPECTIVE MONTHS INVOLVED, AND, IN THE CASE OF PER DIEM, AT THE RATE APPLICABLE AT THE TEMPORARY STATION.

IN DECISION OF AUGUST 20, 1936, TO YOU, 16 COMP. GEN. 156, IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE WORDS "SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME," AS USED IN DECISION OF APRIL 6, 1936, A-72752, QUOTED IN DECISION IN 15 COMP. GEN. 1125, IN CONNECTION WITH THE COMPUTATION OF EXCHANGE LOSSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRAVELING IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES, MEAN ANY PERIOD IN EXCESS OF THAT REQUIRED FOR MERE TRANSIT THROUGH A PARTICULAR COUNTRY.

APPLYING THE FOREGOING DECISIONS TO THE CASE OF ALBERT FRED HAMPEL, C.E.M., YOU ARE ADVISED THAT FOR THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY IN GERMANY-- - WHICH COVERS A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE DECISION, 16 COMP. GEN. 156--- EXCHANGE LOSSES TO WHICH HE MAY OTHERWISE BE ENTITLED SHOULD BE COMPUTED AT THE RATE APPLICABLE IN GERMANY FOR THE LAST DAY OF HIS DUTY IN THAT COUNTRY.