A-98935, MARCH 29, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 759

A-98935: Mar 29, 1939

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THE DEPARTURE FROM VILLEFRANCHE IS IN FACT THE TERMINATION OF THE DUTIES FOR WHICH ASSIGNED TO EUROPEAN WATERS FOR EXCHANGE RELIEF PURPOSES. EXCHANGE LOSSES ARE FOR COMPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF THE EXCHANGE SITUATION EXISTING AT VILLEFRANCHE ON THE DATE OF DEPARTURE THEREFROM RATHER THAN ON THE EXCHANGE SITUATION EXISTING AT GILBRALTAR. 1939: THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE NAVY UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 15. RALEIGH FOR THE PERIOD 1 TO 3 MAY 1938 HAVE BEEN RECEIVED STATING THAT THESE PAYMENTS WILL BE DISALLOWED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF MY ACCOUNTS. 2. THESE EXCEPTIONS WHICH ARE THE SAME FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT ARE QUOTED: "AMOUNT CREDITED FOR EXCHANGE LOSSES MAY 1-3.

A-98935, MARCH 29, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 759

EXCHANGE - LOSS BY - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - NAVAL VESSEL'S DEPARTURE FROM FOREIGN PORT WITH STOP EN ROUTE IN FOREIGN WATERS WHERE A NAVAL VESSEL TEMPORARILY BASED AT VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE, SAILED FROM THAT PORT UNDER ORDERS TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES AND WHILE EN ROUTE TOUCHED AT GILBRALTAR, B.P., FOR THE PURPOSE ONLY OF OBTAINING FUEL OIL AND TO EFFECT THE TRANSFER OF A HOSPITALIZED ENLISTED MAN TO THE SHIP, THE DEPARTURE FROM VILLEFRANCHE IS IN FACT THE TERMINATION OF THE DUTIES FOR WHICH ASSIGNED TO EUROPEAN WATERS FOR EXCHANGE RELIEF PURPOSES, AND EXCHANGE LOSSES ARE FOR COMPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF THE EXCHANGE SITUATION EXISTING AT VILLEFRANCHE ON THE DATE OF DEPARTURE THEREFROM RATHER THAN ON THE EXCHANGE SITUATION EXISTING AT GILBRALTAR, B.P., ON THE DATE OF DEPARTURE FROM THAT PORT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MARCH 29, 1939:

THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE NAVY UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 15, 1939, A LETTER OF D. B. HILTON, LIEUTENANT (SUPPLY CORPS), UNITED STATES NAVY, DATED JANUARY 29, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

1. NOTICES OF EXCEPTION (TREAS./FORM 2084) ON PAYMENTS OF EXCHANGE RELIEF TO THE OFFICERS AND CREW OF THE U.S.S. RALEIGH FOR THE PERIOD 1 TO 3 MAY 1938 HAVE BEEN RECEIVED STATING THAT THESE PAYMENTS WILL BE DISALLOWED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF MY ACCOUNTS.

2. THESE EXCEPTIONS WHICH ARE THE SAME FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT ARE QUOTED: "AMOUNT CREDITED FOR EXCHANGE LOSSES MAY 1-3, 1938. SINCE THE STOP AT GIBRALTAR, B.P., ON MAY 3, 1938, IS NOT CONSIDERED DIVERSION OF THE VESSEL AT ANOTHER FOREIGN PORT, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR USING THE RATE OF EXCHANGE AT GIBRALTAR, B.P., ON 3 MAY 1938 IN LIEU OF THE RATE OF EXCHANGE AT VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE, ON APRIL 30, 1938, THE PLACE AND DATE OF DEPARTURE (U.S.S. RALEIGH) FROM SERVICE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. THE ITEM IS DISALLOWED.'

3. PAR. 7 (A), REFERENCE (B), STATES: "COMPUTATION OF RELIEF AND THE CREDIT THEREOF WILL BE MADE AT THE END OF THE MONTH, EXCEPT UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS, IN WHICH CASES COMPUTATION AND CREDIT WILL BE MADE AS OF THE DATE OF SUCH OCCURRENCE: (A) DEPARTURE OF A VESSEL FROM SERVICE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES.' PAR. 2 (A), REFERENCE (B), STATES: "VESSELS STATIONED IN FOREIGN WATERS MEANS FROM THE DATE OF ARRIVAL IN A FOREIGN PORT FROM U.S. WATERS TO THE DATE OF DEPARTURE FROM A FOREIGN PORT FOR U.S. WATERS, BOTH DATES INCLUSIVE.'

4. FROM ENCLOSURE (A), IT WILL BE NOTED THAT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE U.S.S. RALEIGH TO MAKE SEVERAL TRIPS TO GIBRALTAR AS A PART OF THE DUTY ASSIGNED THAT VESSEL AS FLAGSHIP OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SQUADRON. IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, THE STOP OF A DAY AT GILBRALTAR ON 3 MAY WAS CONSIDERED INCIDENT TO AND PART OF THE RALEIGH'S ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY ON A FOREIGN STATION AND A DIVERSION OF THE VESSEL TO ANOTHER FOREIGN PORT FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: (1) IT WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR AND OBTAIN REQUIRED FUEL OIL WHICH IS NOT AVAILABLE AT VILLEFRANCHE. (2) TO EFFECT THE TRANSFER OF AN INVALID ENLISTED MAN ATTACHED TO THE RALEIGH FROM THE BRITISH HOSPITAL WHERE HE HAD BEEN LEFT ON THE PREVIOUS TRIP. IS PROBABLE THAT THERE ARE SOME OTHER REASONS OF WHICH THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE RALEIGH AT THAT TIME HAS KNOWLEDGE.

5. IN VIEW OF THE FACTS STATED ABOVE, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE DATE OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE RALEIGH FROM SERVICE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WAS 3 MAY, AND IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THE DISALLOWANCE OF THESE PAYMENTS BE RECONSIDERED.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT AFTER A TOUR OF DUTY OF SOME 20 MONTHS IN MEDITERRANEAN WATERS, APPROXIMATELY TWO-THIRDS OF WHICH TIME WAS SPENT AT VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE, THE TEMPORARY BASE OF OPERATIONS OF THE VESSEL, THE U.S.S. RALEIGH SAILED FROM THAT PART ON APRIL 30, 1938, UNDER ORDERS TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES, AND WHILE EN ROUTE TOUCHED AT GIBRALTER, B.P., ON MAY 3, 1938, FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING FUEL OIL AND TO EFFECT THE TRANSFER OF A HOSPITALIZED ENLISTED MAN TO THE SHIP, AND CONTINUED ON HER VOYAGE TO THE UNITED STATES ON THE SAME DATE.

THE DEPARTURE OF THE RALEIGH FROM VILLEFRANCHE, EN ROUTE TO THE UNITED STATES, WAS IN FACT A TERMINATION OF THE DUTIES FOR WHICH SHE HAD BEEN ASSIGNED TO EUROPEAN WATERS, AND SUCH DUTIES AS ARE SUBSEQUENTLY PERFORMED AT GIBRALTAR WERE MERELY INCIDENTAL TO THE RETURN VOYAGE.

THE AUDIT ACTION IN THIS CASE WAS IDENTICAL WITH THE AUDIT ACTION IN THE CASE OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE U.S.S. QUINCY FROM EUROPEAN WATERS IN SEPTEMBER 1936. THE ACTION OF THE SUPPLY OFFICERS IN BOTH CASES SUGGESTS THE PRACTICE OF APPLYING THE LAW AND REGULATIONS TO IDENTICAL FACTS DIFFERENTLY AS THE EXCHANGE SITUATION MAY BENEFIT THEMSELVES AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CREWS OF THE VESSELS ON WHICH THEY ARE DISBURSING. THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE QUINCY ARE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE ACCOUNT OF CAPT. WILLIAM F. AMSDEN, UNITED STATES NAVY, AS CARRIED BY LT.COMDR. W. B. BEACHAM (SUPPLY CORPS), UNITED STATES NAVY, ON THE ROLLS OF THE U.S.S. QUINCY FOR THE SEPTEMBER QUARTER, 1936, THERE WAS CREDITED EXCHANGE RELIEF IN THE AMOUNT OF $759.57, COMPUTED ON $1,111.13 NET PAY AND ALLOWANCES ACCRUED DURING THE PERIOD JULY 25 TO SEPTEMBER 25, 1936. THE CREDIT WAS BASED UPON THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 26, 1934, 48 STAT. 466, AND EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO. THE AMOUNT WAS BASED UPON A DETERMINED LOSS BY EXCHANGE OF 68.38 PERCENT OBTAINED BY COMPARING THE RATE, $1 EQUALS 15.15 FRANCS, FURNISHED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT NICE, FRANCE, WITH THE BASIC RATE, 1 FRANC EQUALS 3.92 CENTS. THIS PAYMENT WAS TYPICAL OF APPROXIMATELY 700 ACCOUNTS OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS ON THE ROLLS OF THE QUINCY.

IN SUBSTANTIATION OF THE CREDITS IN QUESTION THERE WAS FURNISHED THE ITINERARY OF THE VESSEL IN THE FORM OF A CERTIFICATE BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER TO THE EFFECT THAT THE QUINCY ENTERED THE STATUS OF "SERVICE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES" UPON ITS ARRIVAL AT GIBRALTAR, B.P., JULY 26, 1936, AND THAT SUCH STATUS WAS TERMINATED SEPTEMBER 25, 1936, DATE OF DEPARTURE FROM VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE," FOR UNITED STATES WATERS.'

AS THE VESSEL DEPARTED FROM SERVICE IN FOREIGN WATERS BEFORE THE END OF THE MONTH IN WHICH 60 DAYS' SERVICE WAS COMPLETED, WHETHER SEPTEMBER 25 OR 27 BE CONSIDERED AS THE DATE OF DEPARTURE, THAT DATE BECAME THE COMPUTATION DATE UNDER PARAGRAPH 7 (A) OF THE INSTRUCTIONS. THE RATE OF EXCHANGE IN EFFECT AT GIBRALTAR ON SEPTEMBER 25, THE LAST BUSINESS DAY PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 27 (16 COMP. GEN. 364), AS INDICATED BY BANK EVIDENCE FURNISHED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL, WAS 1 POUND STERLING EQUALS $4.92. THE USE OF THIS RATE IN COMPUTING EXCHANGE RELIEF IN THE ACCOUNTS OF PERSONNEL OF THE QUINCY WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN CREDITS OF SOMEWHAT MORE THAN 12.73 PERCENT OF THEIR NET PAY AND ALLOWANCES INSTEAD OF THE CREDITS OF 68.38 PERCENT. IN THE CASE OF CAPTAIN AMSDEN THE CREDIT WOULD HAVE BEEN $146.20 (INCLUDING THE 2 ADDITIONAL DAYS) INSTEAD OF $759.57, A DIFFERENCE OF $613.37. THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TOTAL WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROXIMATELY $48,000.

ON THAT STATE OF FACTS, INSTRUCTIONS WERE ISSUED TO THE AUDIT DIVISION AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUINCY SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN IN SOME RESPECTS BASED ON VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE; SHE PROCURED SUPPLIES THERE AND SHE DELIVERED REFUGEES THERE. THE TOTAL PERIOD OF SIXTY DAYS, NOT COUNTING THE DAY OF ARRIVAL, SHE WAS IN THE PORT OF VILLEFRANCHE SEVENTEEN DAYS. ON HER DEPARTURE FROM THAT PORT A RENDEZVOUS WAS ARRANGED WITH OTHER AMERICAN NAVAL VESSELS AT GIBRALTAR, CERTAIN TRANSFERS OF PERSONNEL WERE MADE, AND THE VESSEL THEN CONTINUED HER VOYAGE TO THE UNITED STATES. THIS ARRANGED MEETING WITH OTHER NAVAL VESSELS AT THE PORT OF GIBRALTAR ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1936, WAS NOT A DIVERSION OF THE VESSEL TO ANOTHER FOREIGN PORT, AND IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES THERE IS NO BASIS FOR USING THE RATE OF EXCHANGE AT GIBRALTAR ON THE LAST BUSINESS DAY--- SEPTEMBER 25--- IN LIEU OF THE RATE OF EXCHANGE AT VILLEFRANCHE ON THE 25TH--- THE SAME DAY--- AND THE DATE OF DEPARTURE OF THE VESSEL FROM THE PORT AT WHICH SHE MADE CONTACT WITH SHORE IN CIRCUMSTANCES MAKING SHORE LIBERTY AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE CREW. IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, THE ITEMS MAY BE PASSED TO CREDIT.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE U.S.S. RALEIGH ARE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PAY ACCOUNT OF COMMANDER ELLIOT B. NIXON, UNITED STATES NAVY, AS CARRIED BY LT. D. B. HILTON (SUPPLY CORPS), U.S. NAVY, ON THE ROLLS OF THE U.S.S. RALEIGH, JUNE QUARTER, 1938, SHOWS HE WAS CREDITED EXCHANGE RELIEF AMOUNTING TO $7.30 FOR THE PERIOD FROM MAY 1 TO 3, 1938. ON THIS SAME ROLL THERE WAS CREDITED EXCHANGE RELIEF TO 160 OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN FOR THE SAME PERIOD, AMOUNTS RANGING FROM LESS THAN $1 TO A MAXIMUM OF $7.30, THE AGGREGATE OF WHICH AMOUNTS TO $482.15.

FROM THE LISTS OF MOVEMENTS OF VESSELS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE, ITINERARY OF THE U.S.S. RALEIGH, AND ORDERS FROM THE COMMANDER, SQUADRON 40-T, IT APPEARS THAT THE FLAG OF THE COMMANDER, SQUADRON 40 T, WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE U.S.S. RALEIGH TO THE U.S.S. OMAHA, APRIL 28, 1938, AND THAT THE RALEIGH RETURNED FROM FOREIGN SERVICE TO THE UNITED STATES. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT THE RALEIGH DEPARTED FROM VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE, APRIL 30, 1938, ARRIVED AT GIBRALTAR, B.P., MAY 3, 1938, AND SAILED THE SAME DAY FOR NORFOLK, VA., WHERE IT ARRIVED MAY 13, 1938.

APPARENTLY BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT THE VALUE OF THE FRENCH FRANC IN RELATION TO THE AMERICAN DOLLAR WAS LESS THAN THE BASIC RATE, THERE WAS NO EXCHANGE RELIEF CREDITED FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL. THERE IS NO RATE AVAILABLE FOR APRIL 31, BUT SUCH WAS THE CASE ON APRIL 28 AND 29. THE CREDITS FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION WERE BASED UPON THE COST RATE OF THE POUND STERLING AT GIBRALTAR ON MAY 3, 1938, EVIDENCING A LOSS OF APPROXIMATELY 12 1/2 PERCENT.

IN THIS CASE THE AUDIT DIVISION WAS DIRECTED TO MAKE THE DISALLOWANCE NOW IN QUESTION AND OF WHICH REVIEW IS REQUESTED. AS STATED ABOVE, THE FACTS ARE SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL. WHETHER VILLEFRANCHE OR GIBRALTAR IS TO BE USED AS A PORT OF DEPARTURE IN IDENTICAL CIRCUMSTANCES SEEMS TO DEPEND ACCORDING TO THE ACTION OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS CONCERNED UPON THE BENEFIT ACCRUING TO THE MEMBERS OF THE CREW FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS BY EXCHANGE. THIS OFFICE CANNOT ACCEPT SUCH A BASIS FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS, AND IT WOULD APPEAR THE MATTER SHOULD ALSO HAVE THE ATTENTION OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT.

UPON REVIEW THE DISALLOWANCE MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED. THE AMOUNT OF THE OVERPAYMENTS SHOULD BE DEPOSITED FORTHWITH BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER CONCERNED.