B-124585, SEPTEMBER 9, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 142

B-124585: Sep 9, 1955

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TRANSPORTATION OF REPLACEMENT AUTOMOBILE - FOREIGN SERVICE EMPLOYEES SECTION 913 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946 WAS ENACTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILES ONLY WHEN INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS AND. 1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF JULY 6. IS SUFFICIENTLY BROAD TO PERMIT AMENDMENT OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS (1 FSM III 180 FSTR 5) "TO AUTHORIZE THE COST OF PERIODICAL REPLACEMENT OF AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICERS OF THE SERVICE AT POSTS ABROAD OR WHETHER ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION WILL BE REQUIRED BEFORE IT WILL BE PROPER TO SO PROVIDE.'. THE LETTER STATES THAT IT IS NECESSARY FOR FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL TO REPLACE THEIR AUTOMOBILES FROM TIME TO TIME.

B-124585, SEPTEMBER 9, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 142

TRANSPORTATION OF REPLACEMENT AUTOMOBILE - FOREIGN SERVICE EMPLOYEES SECTION 913 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946 WAS ENACTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILES ONLY WHEN INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS AND, THEREFORE, THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF A SECOND AUTOMOBILE AS A REPLACEMENT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED.

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 9, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF JULY 6, 1955, FROM THE DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER SECTION 913 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, 22 U.S.C. 1138, IS SUFFICIENTLY BROAD TO PERMIT AMENDMENT OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS (1 FSM III 180 FSTR 5) "TO AUTHORIZE THE COST OF PERIODICAL REPLACEMENT OF AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICERS OF THE SERVICE AT POSTS ABROAD OR WHETHER ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION WILL BE REQUIRED BEFORE IT WILL BE PROPER TO SO PROVIDE.'

THE LETTER STATES THAT IT IS NECESSARY FOR FOREIGN SERVICE PERSONNEL TO REPLACE THEIR AUTOMOBILES FROM TIME TO TIME, PARTICULARLY AT POSTS HAVING ADVERSE CLIMATIC AND ROAD CONDITIONS IN ORDER TO HAVE ADEQUATE TRANSPORTATION AS WELL AS TO MAINTAIN THE DIGNITY OF THEIR POSITIONS AS OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

SECTION 913 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 1027, PROVIDES:

THE SECRETARY MAY, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF ANY OTHER LAW, TRANSPORT FOR OR ON BEHALF OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE SERVICE, A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN ANY CASE WHERE HE SHALL DETERMINE THAT WATER, RAIL OR AIR TRANSPORTATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE IS NECESSARY OR EXPEDIENT FOR ANY PART OR OF ALL THE DISTANCE BETWEEN POINTS OF ORIGIN AND DESTINATION.

SECTION 913 REPLACED THE ACT OF APRIL 30, 1940, 54 STAT. 174, WHICH PROVIDES IN PART:

* * * FUNDS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE MAY BE EXPENDED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN ANY CASE WHERE THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL DETERMINE THAT OCEAN TRANSPORTATION IS NECESSARY FOR ANY PART OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN POINTS OF ORIGINAL DESTINATION * *

THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF APRIL 30, 1940 ( H.R. 8508), WAS TO GRANT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AN EXCEPTION TO THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 5 U.S.C. 823A, AGAINST TRANSPORTING A PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AS PART OF THE EFFECTS OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL. THE FOLLOWING EXCERPTS ARE FROM A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 12, 1940, SIGNED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE, AND INCLUDED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 1923, 76TH CONGRESS, ON H.R. 8508:

THE GOVERNMENT NOW REIMBURSES OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES WITHIN CERTAIN PRESCRIBED LIMITS FOR THE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEMSELVES, THEIR FAMILIES, AND THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN PROCEEDING TO A POST ABROAD. THERE ARE, HOWEVER, MANY EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO TRANSFERS * * * FOR WHICH NO REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED, * * *. OFTEN THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM. CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS IN MANY CASES QUITE IMPOSSIBLE FOR OFFICERS TO FINANCE THE SHIPMENT OF AN AUTOMOBILE AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE.

ACCORDINGLY, AND WITHIN THE LIMITS HEREINAFTER INDICATED, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT GRANT AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF AN OFFICER'S PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. THE LEGISLATION PROPOSED IS DESIGNED TO PERMIT THE INCLUSION OF AN AUTOMOBILE IN THE PERSONAL EFFECTS WHICH AN OFFICER MAY TRANSPORT, WITHOUT IN ANY WAY INCREASING THE AUTHORIZED QUANTITY OF EFFECTS.

IT IS BELIEVED ESSENTIAL AND A MATTER OF REAL IMPORTANCE THAT AN OFFICER BE PERMITTED SO TO TRANSPORT AN AUTOMOBILE AMONG HIS EFFECTS.

SECTION 913 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946 WAS INTENDED, AS REGARDS THE MATTER IN POINT, TO PERMIT THE SHIPMENT OF PERSONAL AUTOMOBILES BY MEANS OTHER THAN OCEAN TRANSPORTATION. HOUSE REPORT NO. 2508, 79TH CONGRESS, ON THE REORGANIZATION OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE, PAGES 135-136, PRESENTS THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION:

THE EXISTING LANGUAGE RESTRICTS TRANSPORTATION OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO OCEAN TRANSPORTATION, WHICH RESTRICTION HAS FREQUENTLY CAUSED HARDSHIP, INCONVENIENCE, AND EXPENSE TO THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CONCERNED. THE EXISTING LEGISLATION HAS THEREFORE BEEN AMENDED TO PERMIT THE SECRETARY TO AUTHORIZE SHIPMENT OF AUTOMOBILES BY RAIL, WATER, OR AIR.

FROM THE FOREGOING, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE ACT OF APRIL 30, 1940, AND SECTION 913 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946 WERE ENACTED SO AS MERELY TO PERMIT AN OFFICER OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE TO INCLUDE AN AUTOMOBILE IN THE PERSONAL EFFECTS WHICH COULD BE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. MOREOVER, THE ACT REFERS TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF "A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.'

WE CONCLUDE THAT THE INTENT OF CONGRESS IN ENACTING SECTION 913 WAS TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION OF A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER'S PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ONLY WHEN SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS INCIDENT TO THOSE PROVISIONS OF LAW AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS. SECTION 911, SUBSECTIONS (3), (6) AND (7), FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 1027. WE FIND NO INDICATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OR THE LEGISLATION ITSELF THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF A SECOND AUTOMOBILE AS A REPLACEMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS CONTEMPLATED. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER EXISTING LAW.