B-124435, DEC. 21, 1956

B-124435: Dec 21, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 3. - CONTROLLER IN WHICH A REQUEST IS MADE THAT WE RECONSIDER OUR EXCEPTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $391.60 AGAINST V. THE EXCEPTION IS STATED FOR THE REASON THAT MR. WHICH TRAVEL WAS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936. INASMUCH AS HE COULD HAVE RETURNED ON THE S.S. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY-CONTROLLER INDICATES THAT IT IS THE OPINION IN YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT THE CONDITION OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY PRESCRIBED BY THE CITED ACT FOR THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL WAS MET BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION MADE IN THE CASE AND THAT NEITHER THE TRAVELER NOR THE CERTIFYING OFFICER SHOULD BE HELD PECUNIARILY RESPONSIBLE.

B-124435, DEC. 21, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1956, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY--- CONTROLLER IN WHICH A REQUEST IS MADE THAT WE RECONSIDER OUR EXCEPTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $391.60 AGAINST V. L. WILLIAMS IN HER CAPACITY OF AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. THE EXCEPTION IS STATED FOR THE REASON THAT MR. IRVING SALOMON, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE TO THE SECOND EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF UNESCO AT GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, RETURNED FROM THAT SESSION ON THE S.S. SATURNIA, A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY SAILING FROM THE PORT OF GENOA, ITALY, ON AUGUST 19 AND ARRIVING IN NEW YORK ON AUGUST 31, 1953, WHICH TRAVEL WAS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, INASMUCH AS HE COULD HAVE RETURNED ON THE S.S. EXOCHORDA, A VESSEL OF THE AMERICAN EXPORT LINES SAILING FROM GENOA ON AUGUST 20 AND ARRIVING IN NEW YORK ON SEPTEMBER 2, 1953. IN ADDITION, IT APPEARS THAT THE S.S. INDEPENDENCE, WHICH DEPARTED FROM GENOA ON AUGUST 25, ALSO ARRIVED IN NEW YORK ON SEPTEMBER 2.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. SALOMON WORKED ON HIS FINAL REPORT WHILE TRAVELING, AND FROM AUGUST 31 TO SEPTEMBER 3 AFTER ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES. IN EXPLAINING THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR HIS USE OF THE S.S. SATURNIA, HE STATED THAT THE ARRIVAL OF THIS VESSEL ON AUGUST 31 ENABLED HIM TO COMPLETE, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE TO REVIEW AND REVISE AS NECESSARY, HIS REPORT AS CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED STATES DELEGATION SO THAT IT WOULD BE READY FOR THE MEETING OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 14 IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA. THE THEN ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR UNITED NATIONS AFFAIRS, IN A MEMORANDUM DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1953, TO THE OFFICE OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, REACHED SIMILAR CONCLUSIONS. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY-CONTROLLER INDICATES THAT IT IS THE OPINION IN YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT THE CONDITION OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY PRESCRIBED BY THE CITED ACT FOR THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL WAS MET BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION MADE IN THE CASE AND THAT NEITHER THE TRAVELER NOR THE CERTIFYING OFFICER SHOULD BE HELD PECUNIARILY RESPONSIBLE.

THE STATUTE HERE INVOLVED, SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 1985, 2015, 46 U.S.C. 1241, PROVIDES:

"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.'

AS YOU WILL NO DOUBT PERCEIVE, THE STATUTE HAS THE EFFECT OF REQUIRING US, AS A PREREQUISITE TO CREDITING ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN VESSEL, TO DETERMINE THAT SATISFACTORY PROOF OF NECESSITY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED. IN MAKING SUCH DETERMINATION, WE NATURALLY ACCORD TO ADMINISTRATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS THE GREATEST POSSIBLE WEIGHT; HOWEVER, WE ARE REQUIRED TO CONSIDER ALL THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE IN THE MATTER AND WE CANNOT ACCORD FINALITY TO ADMINISTRATIVE FINDINGS THAT ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY SATISFACTORY PROOF.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE FILE PERTAINING TO MR. SALOMON'S TRAVEL MADE AVAILABLE TO OUR AUDITORS INDICATED THAT HAD HE TRAVELED BY EITHER OF THE TWO AVAILABLE VESSELS OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY, HIS REPORT COULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED BY SEPTEMBER 8. THE FILE CONTAINED NO INDICATION THAT USE OF THE REPORT WAS NECESSARY PRIOR TO THE SEPTEMBER 14 DATE MENTIONED IN MR. SALOMON'S LETTER AND IN THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S MEMORANDUM.

WE HAVE NOW BEEN INFORMED, HOWEVER, THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO HAVE THE REPORT COMPLETED IN TIME TO PRESENT IT TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION AT ITS MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 4, 1953, IN WASHINGTON. ON THE BASIS OF THIS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WE ARE NOWABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS SUFFICIENT PROOF OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY TO JUSTIFY MR. SALOMON'S USE OF THE FOREIGN VESSEL.