B-126596, JAN. 16, 1956

B-126596: Jan 16, 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 HONORABLE SECRETARY OF STATE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF JANUARY 11. HE SAYS THOSE OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED TO SERVE AS THE UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE AND AS AN ADVISER. TO THE SENIOR CIVIL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE OF NATO (SCEPC) WHICH IS HOLDING ITS FIRST MEETING IN PARIS. AUTHORITY IS REQUESTED FOR THEIR TRAVELING TO FRANCE ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY. PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: "ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO AND 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-126596, JAN. 16, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF STATE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1956, OIC, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY-CONTROLLER, RELATING TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED BY MR. ARTHUR FLEMMING, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF DEFENSE MOBILIZATION, AND MR. WESLEY C. HARALDSON, DEPARTMENT OF STATE. HE SAYS THOSE OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED TO SERVE AS THE UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE AND AS AN ADVISER, RESPECTIVELY, TO THE SENIOR CIVIL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE OF NATO (SCEPC) WHICH IS HOLDING ITS FIRST MEETING IN PARIS, FRANCE, ON JANUARY 26 AND 27, 1956. AUTHORITY IS REQUESTED FOR THEIR TRAVELING TO FRANCE ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY.

SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, 16 U.S.C. 1241, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO AND 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 REFOR.'

WE HAVE ASCERTAINED THAT THE ONLY VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY FOR CONSIDERATION HERE WOULD BE THE S.S. UNITED STATES AND THE S.S. AMERICA. THE S.S. UNITED STATES WAS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE NEW YORK, NEW YORK, ON JANUARY 11, 1956, ARRIVING IN LE HAVRE, FRANCE, ON JANUARY 16. THIS WOULD NECESSITATE A STAY-OVER OF TEN DAYS BEFORE THE MEETING WHICH THE LETTER STATES COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE ARRANGED DUE TO MR. FLEMMING'S AND MR. HARALDSON'S HEAVY WORK SCHEDULES. THE S.S. AMERICA IS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE NEW YORK ON JANUARY 19, 1956, ARRIVING IN LE HAVRE ON THE MORNING OF JANUARY 26, WHICH WOULD NOT PERMIT TIMELY ATTENDANCE AT THE MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE OR PROVIDE TIME FOR ONE DAY OF ESSENTIAL CONSULTATION IN PARIS PRIOR TO THE CONVENING OF THE COMMITTEE. HOWEVER, THE S.S. QUEEN MARY OF THE CUNARD LINES IS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE NEW YORK ON JANUARY 19, 1956, ARRIVING IN CHERBOURG, FRANCE, THE MORNING OF JANUARY 24. THE LETTER STATES THAT THIS SAILING WOULD NOT ONLY ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME FOR MR. FLEMMING AND MR. HARALDSON TO ATTEND THE MEETING BUT WOULD ALSO PROVIDE FOR THE ONE DAY OF CONSULTATION IN PARIS.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS IN QUESTION WOULD EITHER RESULT IN AN EXCESSIVE LOSS OF PRODUCTIVE TIME OR IN THE TRAVELERS' ARRIVAL IN PARIS TOO LATE FOR THE SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES, WE CONCLUDE THAT AMERICAN VESSELS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF THE STATUTORY PROVISION. ACCORDINGLY, THE USE OF A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY IN THIS INSTANCE IS AUTHORIZED.