B-121355, DECEMBER 10, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 286

B-121355: Dec 10, 1954

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AMERICAN - GRANTEES UNDER INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION EXCHANGE PROGRAM WHILE TRAVEL ON FOREIGN VESSELS BY EITHER AMERICAN OR FOREIGN CITIZENS AWARDED GRANTS UNDER TITLE II OF THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AND EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE ACT OF 1948 IS NOT SUBJECT TO SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT. 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 2. THE EXCEPTION WAS TAKEN BY REASON OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936. WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED.

B-121355, DECEMBER 10, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 286

TRANSPORTATION - VESSELS - FOREIGN V. AMERICAN - GRANTEES UNDER INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION EXCHANGE PROGRAM WHILE TRAVEL ON FOREIGN VESSELS BY EITHER AMERICAN OR FOREIGN CITIZENS AWARDED GRANTS UNDER TITLE II OF THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AND EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE ACT OF 1948 IS NOT SUBJECT TO SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, WHICH REQUIRES THE USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS FOR OVERSEAS TRAVEL BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, AMERICAN VESSELS SHOULD BE USED WHENEVER FEASIBLE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, DECEMBER 10, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 2, 1954, FROM THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE, REQUESTING REVIEW OF AN AUDIT EXCEPTION BY THIS OFFICE TO A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF DR. ROBEN J. MAASKE, BECAUSE OF THE USE OF A FOREIGN SHIP BY THE TRAVELER IN TRAVELING FROM THE UNITED STATES TO ENGLAND EN ROUTE TO ANKARA, TURKEY, IN DECEMBER 1952 AS A GRANTEE UNDER THE DEPARTMENT'S INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM.

THE EXCEPTION WAS TAKEN BY REASON OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 46 STAT. 2015, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.

DR. MAASKE WAS AWARDED A GRANT TO PROCEED TO ANKARA, TURKEY, TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DEPARTMENT'S EXCHANGE OF PERSONS PROGRAM AS A SPECIALIST IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION. THE GRANT APPARENTLY WAS MADE PURSUANT TO TITLE II OF THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AND EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE ACT OF 1948, 62 STAT. 6. UNDER THAT TITLE OF THE ACT AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO, GRANTS ARE AWARDED TO STUDENTS, TRAINEES AND LEADERS OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES AS WELL AS OF THE UNITED STATES. ALTHOUGH IN THE INSTANT CASE THE TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE PERFORMED PURSUANT TO THE STANDARDIZATION GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH REGULATIONS CONTAINED AN EXACT QUOTATION OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, IT IS NOTED FROM THE FILE THAT A STATE DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR LETTER WAS ISSUED UNDER DATE OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1952, TO EXEMPT GRANTEES FROM THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF AMERICAN CARRIERS, WHICH PRESUMABLY INCLUDED GRANTEES WHO ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS, SIMILAR TO DR. MAASKE. COMPARE B-24169 DATED MARCH 5, 1942, TO THE THEN SECRETARY OF STATE. ALSO, THERE HAS BEEN NOTED THE STATEMENTS IN THE REPLY TO THE EXCEPTION THAT IT IS THE STATED POLICY TO USE AMERICAN SHIPS AND AIRLINES FOR BOTH FOREIGN AND AMERICAN GRANTEES WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN SOME CASES THE FOREIGN GRANTEES DO NOT SPEAK THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND DESIRE TO TRAVEL ON VESSELS OPERATED BY CITIZENS OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY WHERE THEY WILL NOT EXPERIENCE LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES, AT LEAST FOR THE FIRST PART OF THEIR TRAVEL. IN ADDITION, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MANY GRANTEES BRING THEIR WIVES AND FAMILIES ALONG AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE AND THUS DESIRE TO TRAVEL ON FOREIGN VESSELS AT A CHEAPER RATE. USUALLY THIS SAVES THE UNITED STATES THE NECESSITY FOR PAYING A FIRST- CLASS FARE FOR THE GRANTEE WHERE HE TRAVELS WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY IN A LOWER CLASS. AT THE SAME TIME THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF SUCH ARRANGEMENTS SECURES AN ADDITIONAL PERSON OR PERSONS TO FACILITATE ITS EXCHANGE PROGRAM WITHOUT COST. IT IS REPORTED THAT SIMILAR ARRANGEMENTS OCCASIONALLY ARE MADE BY GRANTEES WHO ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES WHO WOULD NOT OTHERWISE ACCEPT THE GRANT UNLESS THEY WERE ABLE TO TAKE THEIR WIVES ALONG AND TO PAY RATES OF THEIR OWN CHOOSING.

BECAUSE OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, AND SINCE TITLE II OF THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AND EXCHANGE ACT OF 1948 MAKES NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN AMERICAN AND FOREIGN GRANTEES, I AM OF THE OPINION THAT IT WAS NEVER CONTEMPLATED THE TRAVEL OF GRANTEES, EITHER AMERICAN OR FOREIGN, WOULD BE SUBJECT TO SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936. HOWEVER, IT WOULD SEEM THAT TRAVEL ON AMERICAN VESSELS SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE REQUIRED IN SUCH CASES WHENEVER FEASIBLE, SO AS TO AID IN CARRYING OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE LATTER STATUTE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE EXCEPTION AGAINST THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION IS BEING REMOVED.