A-9498, MAY 22, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 980

A-9498: May 22, 1925

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AS TO THE EXPENDITURE OF ANY PART OF THE MONEYS APPROPRIATED FOR TRANSPORTATION ON FOREIGN VESSELS IN THE ABSENCE OF A CERTIFICATE FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT NO AMERICAN VESSELS ARE AVAILABLE IS APPLICABLE TO THE FAMILIES AND EFFECTS OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE AS WELL AS TO TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES THEMSELVES. COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH RESTRICTION WILL BE REQUIRED ON AND AFTER JULY 1. 1925: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICERS THE QUESTION WHETHER THE REQUIREMENT IN THE ACTS OF MAY 28. OF A CERTIFICATE BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT NO AMERICAN VESSELS WERE AVAILABLE AS A PREREQUISITE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION ON A FOREIGN VESSEL OF PERSONNEL OF THE DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR SERVICE.

A-9498, MAY 22, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 980

TRANSPORTATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF FOREIGN SERVICE, THEIR FAMILIES AND EFFECTS, ON AMERICAN VESSELS THE RESTRICTION IN THE ACTS OF MAY 28, 1924, 43 STAT. 205, AND FEBRUARY 27, 1925, 43 STAT. 1018, AS TO THE EXPENDITURE OF ANY PART OF THE MONEYS APPROPRIATED FOR TRANSPORTATION ON FOREIGN VESSELS IN THE ABSENCE OF A CERTIFICATE FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT NO AMERICAN VESSELS ARE AVAILABLE IS APPLICABLE TO THE FAMILIES AND EFFECTS OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE AS WELL AS TO TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES THEMSELVES. COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH RESTRICTION WILL BE REQUIRED ON AND AFTER JULY 1, 1925.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, MAY 22, 1925:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICERS THE QUESTION WHETHER THE REQUIREMENT IN THE ACTS OF MAY 28, 1924, 43 STAT. 205, AND FEBRUARY 27, 1925, 43 STAT. 1018, OF A CERTIFICATE BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT NO AMERICAN VESSELS WERE AVAILABLE AS A PREREQUISITE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION ON A FOREIGN VESSEL OF PERSONNEL OF THE DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR SERVICE, NOW KNOWN AS THE FOREIGN SERVICE, APPLIES ALSO TO TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS.

THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1924, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

TO PAY THE ITEMIZED AND VERIFIED STATEMENTS OF THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF STATE MAY PRESCRIBE, OF DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR OFFICERS AND CLERKS IN EMBASSIES, LEGATIONS, AND CONSULATES, INCLUDING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES COURT FOR CHINA, AND THEIR FAMILIES AND EFFECTS IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS, OR OF SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS WHEN TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE, BUT NOT INCLUDING ANY EXPENSE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH LEAVES OF ABSENCE, $275,000: PROVIDED, THAT NO PART OF SAID SUM SHALL BE PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION ON FOREIGN VESSELS WITHOUT A CERTIFICATE FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT THERE ARE NO AMERICAN VESSELS ON WHICH SUCH OFFICERS AND CLERKS MAY BE TRANSPORTED.

THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 27, 1925, 43 STAT. 1018, APPROPRIATING FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926, ARE PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL.

THE RESPECTIVE ACTS APPROPRIATE LUMP SUMS FOR THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE OF THE VARIOUS CLASSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES NAMED THEREIN AND SPECIFICALLY INCLUDE THEREIN TRANSPORTATION OF "THEIR FAMILIES AND EFFECTS IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS.' THE REQUIREMENT THAT NO PART OF THE SUMS APPROPRIATED SHALL BE PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION ON FOREIGN VESSELS WITHOUT A CERTIFICATE FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE THAT THERE WERE NO AMERICAN VESSELS AVAILABLE IS ACCORDINGLY APPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION OF THE FAMILIES AND THE EFFECTS OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES THEREIN MENTIONED WHEN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS AS WELL AS TO TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE WORDING OF THE STATUTE IS NOT ENTIRELY FREE FROM AMBIGUITY AND MAY HAVE RESULTED IN ITS BEING GIVEN AN ERRONEOUS CONSTRUCTION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, THIS DECISION WILL NOT BE APPLIED TO REQUIRE THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR PAYMENTS MADE TO FOREIGN VESSELS WITHOUT THE REQUIRED CERTIFICATE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS WHEN SUCH TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1925, AND THE PAYMENTS ARE OTHERWISE LEGAL AND PROPER.