A-96671, AUGUST 29, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 203

A-96671: Aug 29, 1938

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WHEN PERSONS WITHIN THE CLASS OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE ACT HAVE BEEN MADE WHOLE THROUGH RECOVERY OF INSURANCE BENEFITS FROM INSURANCE COMPANIES. THEY HAVE SUFFERED NO LOSS WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE ACT AND SINCE THEY HAVE NO CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT STAND IN THE POSITION OF A CO INSURER. AS FOLLOWS: THERE HAVE BEEN RECEIVED IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR CONSIDERATION SEVERAL CLAIMS PRESENTED BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE AMOUNTS PAID TO CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS FOR DAMAGE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY. IF SUCH CLAIMS WERE PRESENTED BY THE PERSONS WHOSE PROPERTY WAS DAMAGED. ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL IN OPINION DATED JUNE 14.

A-96671, AUGUST 29, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 203

PROPERTY - PRIVATE - DAMAGES - MILITARY SERVICE - INSURANCE COMPANIES' RIGHTS OF SUBROGATION AND CONTRIBUTION THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, 41 STAT. 1436, PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT, ETC., TO OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND MEMBERS OF THE NURSE CORPS (FEMALE) OF THE ARMY, FOR THE LOSS, DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PRIVATE PROPERTY OF SPECIFIED CHARACTER UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN THE STATUTE, CREATES NO CONTRACTUAL RELATION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE PERSONS INTENDED TO BE BENEFITED BUT MAKES A STATUTORY GRANT WHICH MAY NOT BE ENLARGED BY IMPLICATION TO INCLUDE OTHER BENEFICIARIES, AND WHEN PERSONS WITHIN THE CLASS OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE ACT HAVE BEEN MADE WHOLE THROUGH RECOVERY OF INSURANCE BENEFITS FROM INSURANCE COMPANIES, THEY HAVE SUFFERED NO LOSS WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE ACT AND SINCE THEY HAVE NO CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT STAND IN THE POSITION OF A CO INSURER, NO RIGHT OF SUBROGATION OR CONTRIBUTION ACCRUES TO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, AUGUST 29, 1938:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAVE BEEN RECEIVED IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR CONSIDERATION SEVERAL CLAIMS PRESENTED BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE AMOUNTS PAID TO CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS FOR DAMAGE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY, THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF WHICH WOULD PROBABLY BRING THE LOSS WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921 (41 STAT. 1436), IF SUCH CLAIMS WERE PRESENTED BY THE PERSONS WHOSE PROPERTY WAS DAMAGED.

IN CONNECTION WITH THESE CLAIMS, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL IN OPINION DATED JUNE 14, 1938, COPY ATTACHED.

IN VIEW OF THE DOUBT EXPRESSED BY THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL AS TO WHETHER SUCH CLAIMS ARE PROPERLY ALLOWABLE, AND IN ORDER THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT MAY PREPARE SPECIFIC REGULATIONS FOR THE INFORMATION OF THE AUTHORITIES IN THE FIELD WHO INVESTIGATE THESE CLAIMS, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER CLAIMS OF SUBROGEES, WHERE THE FACTS WARRANT APPROVAL, MAY BE VIEWED AS FALLING WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, SUPRA, OR, IF YOUR DECISION ON THIS POINT BE IN THE NEGATIVE WHETHER, UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES, THE UNITED STATES STANDS IN THE POSITION OF A CO-INSURER UNDER THE ABOVE-CITED ACT SO AS TO GIVE INSURANCE COMPANIES THE RIGHT TO CLAIM CONTRIBUTION UNDER SAID ACT WITH RESPECT TO SUCH LOSSES WHICH THEY HAVE PAID.

THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, 41 STAT. 1436, TITLE 31 U.S. CODE, SECTIONS 218 TO 222, READS AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIMS OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY FOR LOSS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY DESTROYED IN THE MILITARY SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES," APPROVED MARCH 3, 1885, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 9, 1918 (FORTIETH STATUTES, PAGE 880), BE, AND THE SAME HEREBY IS, AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

"SECTION 1. THAT PRIVATE PROPERTY BELONGING TO OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND MEMBERS OF THE NURSE CORPS (FEMALE) OF THE ARMY, INCLUDING ALL PRESCRIBED ARTICLES OF EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING WHICH THEY ARE REQUIRED BY LAW OR REGULATION TO OWN AND USE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES, AND HORSES AND EQUIPMENT REQUIRED BY LAW OR REGULATIONS TO BE PROVIDED BY MOUNTED OFFICERS, WHICH SINCE THE 5TH DAY OF APRIL 1917 HAS BEEN OR SHALL HEREAFTER BE LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED IN THE MILITARY SERVICE, SHALL BE REPLACED, OR THE DAMAGE THERETO, OR ITS VALUE RECOUPED TO THE OWNER AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED WHEN SUCH LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION HAS OCCURRED OR SHALL HEREAFTER OCCUR WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OWNER IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

"FIRST. WHEN SUCH PRIVATE PROPERTY SO LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED WAS SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL BY ORDER OF AN OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO GIVE SUCH ORDER OR DIRECT SUCH SHIPMENT.

"SECOND. WHEN IT APPEARS THAT SUCH PRIVATE PROPERTY WAS SO LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED IN CONSEQUENCE OF ITS OWNER HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF HUMAN LIFE OR PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS IN DANGER AT THE SAME TIME AND UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES, OR WHILE, AT THE TIME OF SUCH LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION, THE CLAIMANT WAS ENGAGED IN AUTHORIZED MILITARY DUTIES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.

"THIRD. WHEN DURING TRAVEL UNDER ORDERS SUCH PRIVATE PROPERTY, INCLUDING THE REGULATING ALLOWANCE OF BAGGAGE, TRANSFERRED BY A COMMON CARRIER, OR OTHERWISE TRANSPORTED BY THE PROPER AGENT OR AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, IS LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED; BUT REPLACEMENT, RECOUPMENT, OR COMMUTATION IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, WHERE THE PROPERTY WAS OR SHALL BE TRANSPORTED BY A COMMON CARRIER, SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE EXTENT OF SUCH LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT RECOVERABLE FROM SAID CARRIER.

"FOURTH. WHEN SUCH PRIVATE PROPERTY IS DESTROYED OR CAPTURED BY THE ENEMY, OR IS DESTROYED TO PREVENT ITS FALLING INTO THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY, OR IS ABANDONED ON ACCOUNT OF LACK OF TRANSPORTATION OR BY REASON OF MILITARY EMERGENCY REQUIRING ITS ABANDONMENT, OR IS OTHERWISE LOST IN THE FIELD DURING CAMPAIGN.

"SEC. 2. THAT EXCEPT AS TO SUCH PROPERTY AS BY LAW OR REGULATION IS REQUIRED TO BE POSSESSED AND USED BY OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE), RESPECTIVELY, THE LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THIS ACT SHALL BE LIMITED TO DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF SUCH SUMS OF MONEY OR SUCH ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AS THE SECRETARY OF WAR SHALL DECIDE OR DECLARE TO BE REASONABLE, USEFUL, NECESSARY, AND PROPER FOR OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, OR MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE), RESPECTIVELY, AS THE CASE MAY BE, TO HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION WHILE IN QUARTERS, OR IN THE FIELD, ENGAGED IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE IN THE LINE OF DUTY.

"SEC. 3. THAT THE SECRETARY OF WAR IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO EXAMINE INTO, ASCERTAIN, AND DETERMINE THE VALUE OF SUCH PROPERTY LOST, DESTROYED, CAPTURED, OR ABANDONED AS SPECIFIED IN THE FOREGOING PARAGRAPHS, OR THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE THERETO, AS THE CASE MAY BE; AND THE AMOUNT OF SUCH VALUE OR DAMAGE SO ASCERTAINED AND DETERMINED SHALL BE PAID BY DISBURSING OFFICERS OF THE ARMY, OR SUCH PROPERTY LOST, DESTROYED, CAPTURED, OR ABANDONED, OR SO DAMAGED AS TO BE UNFIT FOR SERVICE, MAY BE REPLACED IN KIND FROM GOVERNMENT PROPERTY ON HAND WHEN THE SECRETARY OF WAR SHALL SO DIRECT.

"SEC. 4. THAT THE TENDER OF REPLACEMENT OR OF COMMUTATION OR THE DETERMINATION MADE BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR UPON A CLAIM PRESENTED, AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE FOREGOING SECTION, SHALL CONSTITUTE A FINAL DETERMINATION OF ANY CLAIM COGNIZABLE UNDER THIS CHAPTER, AND SUCH CLAIM SHALL NOT HEREAFTER BE REOPENED OR CONSIDERED.

"SEC. 5. THAT NO CLAIM ARISING UNDER THIS ACT SHALL BE CONSIDERED UNLESS MADE WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE TIME THAT IT ACCRUED, EXCEPT THAT WHEN A CLAIM ACCRUES IN TIME OF WAR, OR WHEN WAR INTERVENES WITHIN TWO YEARS AFTER ITS ACCRUAL, SUCH CLAIM MAY BE PRESENTED WITHIN TWO YEARS AFTER PEACE IS ESTABLISHED.

"SEC. 6. THAT FOR THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS ARISING AND ESTABLISHED UNDER THIS ACT THERE IS HEREBY APPROPRIATED, OUT OF ANY MONEYS IN THE TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED, THE SUM OF $300,000.

"SEC. 7. THAT SO MUCH OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1918 (FORTIETH STATUTES, PAGES 479, 480), AS MAKES PROVISION FOR THE PRESENTATION, ADJUSTMENT, AND PAYMENT OF CLAIMS OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN FOR LOSS OF PRIVATE PROPERTY DESTROYED IN THE MILITARY SERVICE BE, AND THE SAME HEREBY IS, REPEALED.'

THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, WAS TO CONFER UPON THE LIMITED CLASS OF PERSONS REFERRED TO THEREIN, NAMELY, OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND MEMBERS OF THE NURSE CORPS (FEMALE) OF THE ARMY, THE BENEFITS OF REPLACEMENTS, OR COMMUTATION IN LIEU THEREOF, FOR THE LOSS, DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PRIVATE PROPERTY, OF THE CHARACTER MENTIONED UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN THE STATUTE. THE LAW PLACED UPON THE SECRETARY OF WAR JURISDICTION TO EXAMINE INTO, ASCERTAIN AND DETERMINE THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED, AND WITHIN HIS DISCRETION TO TENDER REPLACEMENT OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR OF A VALUE DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR WHEN HE HAS FOUND THAT THE ARTICLES SO LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED ARE REASONABLE, USEFUL, NECESSARY, AND PROPER IN THE MILITARY SERVICE. IF THE CLAIMANT IS OF THE CLASS DESCRIBED AND THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION HAS OCCURRED IN ANY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED IN THE ACT, SUCH DETERMINATION BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR UNDER THE ACT IS FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE. UNITED STATES V. BABCOCK, 250 U.S. 328.

THE ACT CREATES NO CONTRACTUAL RELATION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE PERSONS INTENDED TO BE BENEFITED, SUCH BENEFITS ARISING THEREFROM REPRESENTING A STATUTORY GRANT WITHIN ITS TERMS WHICH MAY NOT BE ENLARGED BY IMPLICATION TO INCLUDE OTHER BENEFICIARIES OR PROPERTY OF A CLASS WITHOUT ITS TERMS. IT WILL BE NOTED WITH RESPECT TO THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF SECTION ONE THAT THE REPLACEMENT OF THE LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED PROPERTY IS LIMITED WHEN TRANSPORTED BY COMMON CARRIER OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT RECOVERABLE FROM SAID CARRIER. THIS EXCEPTION OR LIMITATION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY IS ANALOGOUS TO THAT CONTAINED IN SOME COMMON CARRIER COMMERCIAL BILLS OF LADING OR CONTRACTS OF CARRIAGE WHERE THE CARRIER'S LIABILITY IS EXPRESSLY LIMITED IN AMOUNTS OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNTS RECOVERABLE BY THE SHIPPER FROM THE INSURER. IN SUCH CASES, EVEN WHERE THE LOSS OR DAMAGE IS THE RESULT OF NEGLIGENCE OF THE CARRIER, ITS LIABILITY TO THE SHIPPER IS EXCLUSIVE OF THE AMOUNT OF INSURANCE RECOVERABLE FROM THE INSURER. IN SUCH EVENT AND TO THE EXTENT OF RECOVERY FROM THE INSURER, THE LATTER OBTAINS NO BENEFITS BY SUBROGATION FROM THE CARRIER. SEE PHOENIX INSURANCE COMPANY V. ERIE AND WESTERN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, 117 U.S. 312, 29 L.ED. 873.

INASMUCH AS THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, AS HEREINBEFORE STATED, REPRESENTS A GRANT TO A LIMITED CLASS OF BENEFICIARIES FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF REPLACEMENT IN KIND OF CERTAIN DEFINED PRIVATE PROPERTY, OR REIMBURSEMENT BY WAY OF COMMUTATION, FOR LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT WHEN SUCH PERSONS HAVE BEEN MADE WHOLE BY REASON OF CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS WITH THIRD PARTIES THROUGH RECOVERY OF INSURANCE BENEFITS, SUCH LIMITED CLASS OF PERSONS HAVE SUFFERED NO LOSS WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE ACT AND HAVE NO CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT CLEARLY SHOWING THAT IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO BE ONE OF ENRICHMENT OR PROFIT.

PERSONS SEEKING THE BENEFITS OF THE EQUITABLE DOCTRINE OF SUBROGATION BEING LIMITED TO THE RIGHTS OF THE PARTY INSURED AND NO MORE, IT FOLLOWS THAT WHEN THE PAYMENT TO THE INSURED ESTOPS THE ASSERTION OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, THE CLAIM OF THE INSURER LIKEWISE FALLS, AND AT MOST THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE OFFICERS WAS MERELY CONTINGENT. WHILE PAYMENT BY THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE ACT HAS SOME ASPECT OF INSURANCE IN THAT IT MAKES GOOD A LOSS, YET IT IS NOT IN LANGUAGE OR EFFECT AN AGREEMENT BY THE UNITED STATES TO INSURE, BUT IS A GRANT BY GRACE IN THE NATURE OF A SUPPLEMENT TO THE EMOLUMENTS OF THOSE WITHIN THE ACT TO REPLACE OR RECOUP LOSSES OCCURRING UNDER ANY OF THE DESCRIBED CONDITIONS. SINCE PAYMENT BY THE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO THE INSURED EXTINGUISHED THE INSURED'S LOSS, NO BENEFITS ACCRUED TO THE OFFICERS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, CONSEQUENTLY NO RIGHT TO SUBROGATION ACCRUED TO THE COMPANIES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE RIGHT OF THE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO CONTRIBUTION FROM THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, BY REASON OF HAVING PAID CLAIMS UNDER POLICIES OF INSURANCE WITH THE OWNERS OF THE PROPERTY, THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE ARMY IN HIS OPINION OF JUNE 14, 1938, STATED:

IN INSURANCE LAW THE TERM "CONTRIBUTION" HAS A FIXED LEGAL MEANING. IS A PRINCIPLE SANCTIONED IN EQUITY AND ARISES BETWEEN COINSURERS ONLY, PERMITTING ONE WHO HAS PAID THE WHOLE LOSS TO OBTAIN CONTRIBUTION FROM OTHER INSURERS WHO ARE ALSO LIABLE THEREFOR (NATIONAL FIRE INS. CO. V. DENNISON, 113 N.E. 260; L.R.A. 1916 F. 992; 26 C.J. 455, NOTE 85 (A) ).

UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, IT HAS BEEN THE UNVARYING POLICY OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT NOT TO ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT TO INSURANCE COMPANIES FOR PAYMENTS MADE TO PERSONS COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ACT ON THE GROUND THAT SUCH PAYMENTS ARE ACTS OF GRACE BASED ON THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND NOT ON ANY LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT (J.A.G. 153, APR. 9, 1926).

9. LOOKING AT THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, THERE IS NOTHING WITHIN ITS FOUR CORNERS TO INDICATE THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO PLACE THE GOVERNMENT IN THE POSITION OF A COINSURER WITH RESPECT TO OTHER INSURERS. IN FACT, ANY SUCH INTENTION IS NEGATIVED BY THE WORDS OF THE STATUTE WHICH SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT ANY REPLACEMENT OR RECOUPMENT MADE WILL BE "TO THE OWNER.' THE DISCUSSIONS ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS ALSO FAIL TO REVEAL ANY INTENT UPON THE PART OF CONGRESS TO SUBJECT THE GOVERNMENT TO LIABILITY TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THE MILITARY PERSONNEL NAMED IN THE ACT (CONG.REC.,VOL. 59, PT. 3, PP. 2349, 2350; CONG.REC.VOL. 60, PT. 4, PP. 4467-4470). MOREOVER, THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, WAS ENACTED AFTER THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1885 HAD RECEIVED A PRACTICAL CONSTRUCTION BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT DENYING CONTRIBUTION TO INSURANCE COMPANIES. IT IS A WELL-SETTLED RULE OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION THAT THE REENACTMENT OF A STATUTE OR THE PASSAGE OF A SIMILAR ONE IN THE SAME, OR SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME, TERMS AFTER IT HAS RECEIVED A PRACTICAL CONSTRUCTION BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, IS HIGHLY PERSUASIVE OF THE ADOPTION OF THAT CONSTRUCTION (59 C.J. 1064, 1065).

THE FOREGOING IMPELS THIS OFFICE TO THE CONCLUSION THAT BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, THE GOVERNMENT ASSUMED LIABILITY ONLY WITH RESPECT TO ACTUAL LOSSES SUFFERED BY THE PERSONS NAMED IN THE ACT. MANIFESTLY, IF THE PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED WAS COVERED BY INSURANCE, WHICH HAS BEEN COLLECTED, THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY HAS SUFFERED NO LOSS. ALSO, THE AMOUNT TO BE PAID TO ANY PERSON COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ACT, AND, EXCEPT FOR SUCH PROPERTY AS BY LAW OR REGULATION IS REQUIRED TO BE POSSESSED AND USED BY SUCH PERSONS, THE EXTENT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY, LIES WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR. THIS LIABILITY IS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF A PRIVATE INSURER. CONSEQUENTLY THERE IS NOT PRESENT THE EQUALITY OF LIABILITY ESSENTIAL TO CONTRIBUTION. THIS OFFICE AGREES WITH THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE ARMY THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT STAND IN THE POSITION OF A COINSURER AND THAT THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, DOES NOT CONFER UPON THE INSURANCE COMPANIES ANY RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION.