B-125538, SEP. 29, 1955

B-125538: Sep 29, 1955

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LINEHAN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15. THE INDEBTEDNESS IS FOR A FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE LOAN GRANTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE ON DECEMBER 6. BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION WAS IN ERROR. IT IS YOUR BELIEF THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. IN THAT CONNECTION YOU REFER TO THE VIETNAMESE WHO HAVE BEEN TRANSPORTED TO SOUTH VIETNAM WITHOUT CHARGE ON AMERICAN VESSELS AND TO THE FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR WHO WERE TRANSPORTED BY THE AIR FORCE TO MEET THE PRISONERS OF WAR. YOU ALSO REFER TO ACQUAINTANCES WHO WERE LATER FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION ON VESSELS SIMILAR TO THE ONE ON WHICH YOU RETURNED FOR LESSER AMOUNTS AND YOU THEREFORE QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT BRISBANE TO REQUEST YOU TO SIGN THE PROMISSORY NOTE IN ORDER TO SECURE THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE LOAN.

B-125538, SEP. 29, 1955

TO MR. JOHN F. LINEHAN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1955, CONCERNING YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $554.89. THE INDEBTEDNESS IS FOR A FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE LOAN GRANTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE ON DECEMBER 6, 1944, FOR TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR REPATRIATION TO THE UNITED STATES FROM BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. SINCE YOU HAD NOT AGREED TO PAY YOUR DEBT IN INSTALLMENTS, THE MAILING OF THE DELINQUENT NOTICE DATED JUNE 29, 1955, BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION WAS IN ERROR.

APPARENTLY, IT IS YOUR BELIEF THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. IN THAT CONNECTION YOU REFER TO THE VIETNAMESE WHO HAVE BEEN TRANSPORTED TO SOUTH VIETNAM WITHOUT CHARGE ON AMERICAN VESSELS AND TO THE FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR WHO WERE TRANSPORTED BY THE AIR FORCE TO MEET THE PRISONERS OF WAR. YOU ALSO REFER TO ACQUAINTANCES WHO WERE LATER FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION ON VESSELS SIMILAR TO THE ONE ON WHICH YOU RETURNED FOR LESSER AMOUNTS AND YOU THEREFORE QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT BRISBANE TO REQUEST YOU TO SIGN THE PROMISSORY NOTE IN ORDER TO SECURE THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE LOAN.

ANY RIGHTS YOU MAY HAVE HAD FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WOULD HAVE DEPENDED UPON THE CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR EMPLOYMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY. THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE VIETNAMESE AND THE FAMILIES OF THE AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR WAS MADE UNDER AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, RESPECTIVELY, AND MAY NOT BE USED AS A BASIS FOR CANCELING THE PROMISSORY NOTE WHICH YOU EXECUTED TO COVER YOUR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE LOAN FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. ONE OF THE DUTIES OF THE AMERICAN CONSUL AT BRISBANE WAS TO ASSIST IN THE REPATRIATION OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS. IN CASES SUCH AS YOURS, WHERE THE CITIZEN DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT FUNDS TO PAY FOR HIS TRANSPORTATION, THE CONSUL WAS AUTHORIZED TO ADVANCE THE NECESSARY FUNDS WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE LOAN. HOWEVER, BEFORE THE FUNDS COULD BE ADVANCED, THE CONSUL WAS REQUIRED TO SECURE A PROMISSORY NOTE FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE LOAN. YOU SAY SOME OF YOUR ACQUAINTANCES WERE RETURNED ON SIMILAR VESSELS AT A LATER DATE FOR LESSER AMOUNTS. EVEN THOUGH THE RATES CHARGED ON DIFFERENT VESSELS MAY HAVE VARIED THAT FACT WOULD NOT AFFECT YOUR LIABILITY UNDER THE NOTE.

YOU SAY THAT "THE TENDENCY TO WRITE OFF, AND IGNORE, THE PLIGHT OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE SUDDENLY ENGULFED IN MILITARY ACTION BY HAVING THEIR STATIONS OVERRUN, OR BY BEING LOST BY AIR OR OTHERWISE, WHILE ON DUTY, IS A MATTER THAT DISTURBS ME DEEPLY.' THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT "WRITE OFF OR IGNORE" THESE EMPLOYEES. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO REMOVE ALL AMERICANS FROM THE PHILIPPINES WHEN THE JAPANESE INVADED THE ISLANDS. THE STATEMENTS MADE IN YOUR LETTER SHOW THAT ALL ASSISTANCE POSSIBLE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WAS GIVEN IN YOUR CASE. YOU WERE EVACUATED FROM THE ISLANDS BY NAVY SUBMARINE AND RECEIVED MEDICAL ATTENTION AT SEVERAL GOVERNMENT INSTALLATIONS BOTH ENROUTE TO AUSTRALIA AND AFTER ARRIVAL IN AUSTRALIA, PRESUMABLY WITHOUT ANY CHARGE TO YOU. THE FACT YOU WERE REQUESTED TO SIGN A PROMISSORY NOTE FOR TRANSPORTATION FROM AUSTRALIA TO THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT SUPPORT YOUR STATEMENT CONCERNING CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES.

IN THE EVENT YOU ARE UNABLE TO PAY THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE DEBT AT THIS TIME, OUR OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO YOUR PAYMENT OF THE DEBT IN MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS; HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD ADVISE US OF YOUR INTENTIONS IN THE MATTER IN ORDER TO AVOID THE INSTITUTION OF FURTHER COLLECTION PROCEEDINGS. PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE BY CHECK, DRAFT, OR MONEY ORDERS MADE PAYABLE TO THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES AND MAILED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION, UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, 441 G STREET, N.W., WASHINGTON 25, D.C. ..END :