A-93749, APRIL 18, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 857

A-93749: Apr 18, 1938

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POUND RATE THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE LETTING OF A CONTRACT FOR THE OCEAN CARRIAGE OF MAIL AT AN ANNUAL RATE OF PAY. IF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHOULD FIND AND CERTIFY THAT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS WILL BE PROMOTED THEREBY. IS AS FOLLOWS: MAILS ARE BEING CARRIED BY AMERICAN REGISTRY VESSELS ON A LINE FROM NEW YORK BY WAY OF THE CANAL ZONE. THE MAILS CARRIED ARE THOSE OF THE UNITED STATES AND THOSE OF COUNTRIES SIGNATORIES TO THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN. THIS DEPARTMENT IS OBLIGATED TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION OF THE MAILS WITHOUT ANY CHARGE TO SAID SIGNATORY COUNTRIES. SETTLEMENT WITH THE STEAMSHIP COMPANY FOR SERVICE ON THIS LINE IS MADE AT POUNDAGE RATES FOR LETTERS AND CARDS AND DIFFERENT RATES FOR OTHER MAIL ARTICLES (NOT INCLUDING PARCEL POST OF OTHER COUNTRIES).

A-93749, APRIL 18, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 857

TRANSPORTATION - MAILS - OCEAN CARRIAGE - ANNUAL RATE V. POUND RATE THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE LETTING OF A CONTRACT FOR THE OCEAN CARRIAGE OF MAIL AT AN ANNUAL RATE OF PAY, INSTEAD OF A RATE PER POUND, AFTER COMPETITION IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 4007, REVISED STATUTES, IF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHOULD FIND AND CERTIFY THAT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS WILL BE PROMOTED THEREBY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 18, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 25, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

MAILS ARE BEING CARRIED BY AMERICAN REGISTRY VESSELS ON A LINE FROM NEW YORK BY WAY OF THE CANAL ZONE, CALLAO, PERU, AND OTHER POINTS TO VALPARAISO, CHILE, AND RETURN, INCLUDING THE CARRIAGE OF MAILS BETWEEN INTERMEDIATE POINTS. THE MAILS CARRIED ARE THOSE OF THE UNITED STATES AND THOSE OF COUNTRIES SIGNATORIES TO THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN. UNDER ARTICLE 3 OF THAT CONVENTION, THIS DEPARTMENT IS OBLIGATED TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION OF THE MAILS WITHOUT ANY CHARGE TO SAID SIGNATORY COUNTRIES.

SETTLEMENT WITH THE STEAMSHIP COMPANY FOR SERVICE ON THIS LINE IS MADE AT POUNDAGE RATES FOR LETTERS AND CARDS AND DIFFERENT RATES FOR OTHER MAIL ARTICLES (NOT INCLUDING PARCEL POST OF OTHER COUNTRIES), UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 654. IT IS FOUND EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT TO SECURE EVIDENCE OF THE SEPARATE WEIGHTS OF THE DIFFERENT CLASSES OF MAILS CARRIED, ON WHICH TO BASE STATEMENTS OF ACCOUNTS. THAT IS PARTICULARLY TRUE WITH RESPECT TO MAILS CARRIED BETWEEN LOCAL PORTS IN SOUTH AMERICA WHERE THIS DEPARTMENT HAS NO REPRESENTATIVE.

IT APPEARS TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO LET A CONTRACT FOR CARRYING ALL MAILS THIS DEPARTMENT IS OBLIGATED TO CONVEY EACH WAY OVER THIS LINE, AT AN ANNUAL RATE OF PAY, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 652, AND YOU ARE REQUESTED TO ADVISE WHETHER SUCH A CONTRACT IS APPROPRIATE UNDER THE CONDITIONS INDICATED AND WILL BE HONORED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

39 U.S.C. 652 IS A RESTATEMENT OF SECTION 4007, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH PROVIDES:

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY, AFTER ADVERTISING FOR PROPOSALS, ENTER INTO CONTRACT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE MAIL BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ANY FOREIGN COUNTRY WHENEVER THE PUBLIC INTERESTS WILL THEREBY BE PROMOTED.

39 U.S.C. 654 RESTATES SECTION 4009, REVISED STATUTES, SUBDIVISION (A) OF WHICH, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1929, 45 STAT. 1175, PROVIDES:

EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION (B), FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE MAILS, (1) BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS TERRITORIES OR POSSESSIONS AND ANY FOREIGN COUNTRY, (2) BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ITS POSSESSIONS OR ITS NAVAL OR MILITARY FORCES ABROAD, OR (3) BETWEEN ANY SUCH POSSESSION OR NAVAL OR MILITARY FORCES AND ANY OTHER SUCH POSSESSION OR NAVAL OR MILITARY FORCES, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY ALLOW, IN THE CASE OF A VESSEL OF THE UNITED STATES, COMPENSATION NOT IN EXCESS OF 80 CENTS A POUND FOR LETTERS AND POST CARDS AND 8 CENTS A POUND FOR OTHER ARTICLES (INCLUDING PARCEL POST), AND IN THE CASE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL, COMPENSATION NOT IN EXCESS OF THE SEA TRANSIT RATES PRESCRIBED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION CONVENTION: PROVIDED, THAT NOTHING HEREIN SHALL LIMIT THE AUTHORITY OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAILS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1928 AT THE RATES OF COMPENSATION THEREIN AUTHORIZED.

SUBDIVISION (B) OF SECTION 4009, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 414 (E) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1928, 45 STAT. 696, PROVIDES:

THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION (A) OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT LIMIT THE COMPENSATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL WHICH THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY PAY UNDER CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4007 OF THE REVISED STATUTES (U.S.C., TITLE 39, SECTION 652), SECTION 24 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1920 (U.S.C., TITLE 46, SECTION 880), OR TITLE IV OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1928.

SECTION 401 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 1993, TERMINATED AS OF JUNE 30, 1937, ALL OCEAN MAIL CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO UNDER THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1928 AND PROVIDES FOR AID TO THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ON A DIFFERENT BASIS. SECTION 903 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2016, EXPRESSLY REPEALED SECTIONS 401 TO 413 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1928 BUT DOES NOT AFFECT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 414 OF THAT ACT, SUPRA. ACCORDINGLY, SECTION 4007, REVISED STATUTES, AND SECTION 4009, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, ARE STILL IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. SUBDIVISION (A) OF SECTION 4009, REVISED STATUTES, FIXES THE MAXIMUM WHICH MAY BE PAID FOR OCEAN TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL AND APPARENTLY HAS REFERENCE TO SITUATIONS WHERE THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED ON A NONCONTRACT BASIS. INASMUCH AS SECTION 4007, REVISED STATUTES (39 U.S.C. 652), IS STILL IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT AND SINCE UNDER SUBSECTION (B) OF SECTION 4009, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 414 OF THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (A) OF SAID SECTION 4009 DOES NOT LIMIT THE COMPENSATION WHICH MAY BE PAID UNDER CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4007, REVISED STATUTES, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE LETTING OF A CONTRACT FOR THE OCEAN CARRIAGE OF MAIL ON AN ANNUAL BASIS AFTER COMPETITION IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 4007, REVISED STATUTES, IF YOU SHOULD FIND AND CERTIFY THAT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS WILL BE PROMOTED THEREBY.