B-116922, OCTOBER 2, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 138

B-116922: Oct 2, 1953

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WHICH REQUIRES AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECT ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. IS NOT CONSIDERED TO REQUIRE THE USE OF AN AMERICAN VESSEL CLASSIFIED AS A FREIGHT VESSEL. WITH LIMITED PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS EVEN THOUGH SUCH VESSEL IS THE ONLY SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY AVAILABLE. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3. WAS DETACHED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT ST. UPON COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY WAS TRANSFERRED TO NEW YORK. COMMANDER MORRIS WAS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AS DIRECTOR OF THE LIBERIAN CARTOGRAPHIC SERVICE AT MONROVIA.

B-116922, OCTOBER 2, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 138

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FOREIGN VESSELS - INDIRECT ROUTES - REIMBURSEMENT - TECHNICAL COOPERATION PROGRAM SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, WHICH REQUIRES AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECT ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE, IS NOT CONSIDERED TO REQUIRE THE USE OF AN AMERICAN VESSEL CLASSIFIED AS A FREIGHT VESSEL, WITH LIMITED PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS EVEN THOUGH SUCH VESSEL IS THE ONLY SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY AVAILABLE. A COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY SERVING IN LIBERIA INCIDENT TO A TECHNICAL COOPERATION PROGRAM UNDER THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, ON REASSIGNMENT TO DUTY IN FLORIDA, MAY TRAVEL WITH DEPENDENTS AT OWN EXPENSE FROM LIBERIA TO NEW YORK VIA EUROPE USING FOREIGN VESSEL PART OF THE WAY--- NO AMERICAN VESSELS BEING AVAILABLE--- WITH LEAVE EN ROUTE AND BE REIMBURSED, INCLUDING PER DIEM, FOR SUCH TRAVEL NOT TO EXCEED COSTS WHICH WOULD BE INCURRED BY A USUALLY-TRAVELED ROUTE FROM LIBERIA TO NEW YORK, AND BE PAID PER DIEM FOR RAIL TRAVEL FROM NEW YORK TO FLORIDA; ALSO ALL TRAVEL COSTS MAY BE PAID FROM FUNDS TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE BY THE FOREIGN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, OCTOBER 2, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1953, SUBMITTING FOR DECISION TWO QUESTIONS IN CONNECTION WITH A CONTEMPLATED ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY AT ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, OF COMMANDER GEORGE E. MORRIS, A COMMISSIONED OFFICER IN THE U.S. COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY, PRESENTLY SERVING AS DIRECTOR OF THE LIBERIAN CARTOGRAPHIC SERVICE AT MONROVIA, LIBERIA, INCIDENT TO A TECHNICAL COOPERATION PROGRAM UNDER THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, 22 U.S.C. 1557.

IN FURTHERANCE OF THE TECHNICAL COOPERATION PROGRAM, COMMANDER MORRIS, ON JUNE 6, 1951, UNDER ORDERS DATED JUNE 4, 1951, WAS DETACHED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AT WASHINGTON, D.C., AND UPON COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY WAS TRANSFERRED TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNDER ORDERS DATED AUGUST 31, 1951. BOTH ORDERS PROVIDED FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES. IN SEPTEMBER 1951, COMMANDER MORRIS WAS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AS DIRECTOR OF THE LIBERIAN CARTOGRAPHIC SERVICE AT MONROVIA. THE TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF AND HIS DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED IN A TRAVEL ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 25, 1951, PROVIDING FOR TRAVEL AND PER DIEM AND TRANSFER OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 535, 81ST CONGRESS ( TITLE IV OF WHICH IS THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT), AND THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL AND ALLOWANCE REGULATIONS.

SHORTLY AFTER OCTOBER 15, 1953, COMMANDER MORRIS IS TO BE RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES IN LIBERIA AND AGAIN ASSIGNED TO DUTY WITH THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY AT ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA. WITH REGARD TO THE RETURN TRAVEL, COMMANDER MORRIS HAS REQUESTED THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS INCLUDE AUTHORIZATION FOR TRAVEL VIA EUROPE WITH LEAVE EN ROUTE. HE FURTHER REQUESTS AUTHORIZATION FOR TRAVEL FROM MONROVIA TO A POINT IN EUROPE ON A SHIP OF A FOREIGN FLAG BECAUSE NO VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY SAIL BETWEEN THOSE POINTS--- TRAVEL FROM EUROPE TO THE UNITED STATES TO BE BY SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE REQUEST OF COMMANDER MORRIS THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE SUBMITTED:

1. (A) MAY HE TRAVEL AT HIS OWN EXPENSE FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO NEW YORK, VIA EUROPE, USING A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY PART OF THE WAY WITH LEAVE EN ROUTE, AND BE REIMBURSED, INCLUDING PER DIEM, IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY VESSEL OF AMERICAN REGISTRY FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK?

(B) AND, BE PAID PER DIEM FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS BY RAIL FROM NEW YORK, N.Y., TO ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO BE ISSUED FOR FIRST CLASS RAIL AND PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS FROM NEW YORK, N.Y., TO ST. PETERSBURG, FLA./?

2. MAY ALL TRAVEL COSTS BE PAID FROM FUNDS TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE BY THE FOREIGN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION ( TECHNICAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION/?

THE FIRST PART OF QUESTION 1 IS PRESENTED NO DOUBT WITH REFERENCE TO PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, REQUIRING AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, IT MAY BE POINTED OUT THAT, ASIDE FROM THE QUESTION OF THE APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 901 TO "THE PERFORMANCE OF FUNCTIONS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT" (SEE IN THAT CONNECTION EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10387, AUGUST 25, 1952), THE INFORMATION BEFORE THIS OFFICE IS THAT THE ONLY SHIPS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY SAILING FROM MONROVIA TO THE UNITED STATES ARE FREIGHTERS WITH LIMITED PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS, THE USE OF WHICH IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE REQUIRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT. SEE 15 COMP. GEN. 378. IN VIEW THEREOF, AND ASSUMING THAT THE TRAVEL, AS PERMITTED BY THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, WILL BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION HEREIN THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPHS 10 AND 49 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, RELATIVE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR INDIRECT-ROUTE TRAVEL, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

IN CASE A PERSON TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR HIS CONVENIENCE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIMSELF AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES WILL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY- TRAVELED ROUTE.

PARAGRAPH 49, AS TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CASES OF INDIRECT- ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL, PROVIDES:

WHERE FOR TRAVELER'S PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR THROUGH THE TAKING OF LEAVE THERE IS INTERRUPTION OF TRAVEL OR DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT ROUTE, THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED WILL NOT EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON UNINTERRUPTED TRAVEL BY A USUALLY-TRAVELED ROUTE.

CONSEQUENTLY, IN RESPONSE TO THE FIRST PART OF QUESTION 1, COMMANDER MORRIS MAY BE REIMBURSED THE EXPENSES, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, FOR THE TRAVEL AS OUTLINED, BUT NOT TO EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD BE INCURRED BY A USUALLY-TRAVELED ROUTE FROM MONROVIA TO NEW YORK. SEE, ALSO, 180 FSTR 3.5.

THE SECOND PART OF QUESTION 1 AND QUESTION 2 ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE OFFICER NOT BEING CONSIDERED TO HAVE RESUMED HIS DUTIES WITH THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, HIS NEW POST OF DUTY.