B-12876, NOVEMBER 20, 1940, 20 COMP. GEN. 270

B-12876: Nov 20, 1940

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EVEN THOUGH SAID MAIL IS CARRIED ON VESSELS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND ARTICLE 75 OF THE CONVENTION OF CAIRO DOES NOT ENLARGE OR CHANGE SAID SECTION IN THIS RESPECT. 1940: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10. AS FOLLOWS: WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY MR. COPIES OF WHICH ARE ATTACHED. IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF TIME THESE ITEMS HAVE BEEN OUTSTANDING. THIS REQUEST FOR SETTLEMENT APPARENTLY IS INTENDED AS A REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE ACTION HERETOFORE TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE IN REFUSING TO ALLOW PAYMENT FOR THE ITEMS IN QUESTION IN PREVIOUS SETTLEMENTS. B. M-386A APPEAR TO CONTAIN EXCESSIVE CHARGES FOR THE MAIL ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN TRANSPORTED PAYMENT FOR THE VARIOUS ITEMS INVOLVED WAS WITHHELD FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAILS SOLELY BETWEEN TWO PORTS OF THE SAME COUNTRY WAS CONSIDERED TO BE STRICTLY A DOMESTIC MATTER AND NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE FREE-TRANSIT PROVISIONS OF THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN.

B-12876, NOVEMBER 20, 1940, 20 COMP. GEN. 270

TRANSPORTATION - MAILS - OCEAN CARRIAGE SECTION 1 OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN DOES NOT OBLIGATE THE UNITED STATES TO PAY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MAILS BETWEEN TWO PORTS OF THE SAME COUNTRY IN WHICH THE MAIL ORIGINATES, EVEN THOUGH SAID MAIL IS CARRIED ON VESSELS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND ARTICLE 75 OF THE CONVENTION OF CAIRO DOES NOT ENLARGE OR CHANGE SAID SECTION IN THIS RESPECT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE UNITED FRUIT CO., NOVEMBER 20, 1940:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY MR. J. E. LAMIELL OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT THAT OUR LETTER OF JULY 2, 1940, AND ACCOMPANYING COPIES OF INVOICES AMOUNTING TO $54.89, COPIES OF WHICH ARE ATTACHED, COVERING FREE TRANSIT MAILS CARRIED BY OUR VESSELS FROM BARRANQUILLA TO CARTAGENA HAS BEEN REFERRED TO YOUR OFFICE FOR ATTENTION. IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF TIME THESE ITEMS HAVE BEEN OUTSTANDING, WE WOULD APPRECIATE SETTLEMENT WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.

THIS REQUEST FOR SETTLEMENT APPARENTLY IS INTENDED AS A REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE ACTION HERETOFORE TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE IN REFUSING TO ALLOW PAYMENT FOR THE ITEMS IN QUESTION IN PREVIOUS SETTLEMENTS.

ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT BILLS F. B. M-216A AND F. B. M-386A APPEAR TO CONTAIN EXCESSIVE CHARGES FOR THE MAIL ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN TRANSPORTED PAYMENT FOR THE VARIOUS ITEMS INVOLVED WAS WITHHELD FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAILS SOLELY BETWEEN TWO PORTS OF THE SAME COUNTRY WAS CONSIDERED TO BE STRICTLY A DOMESTIC MATTER AND NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE FREE-TRANSIT PROVISIONS OF THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN, AND, THEREFORE, THE FACT THAT THESE MAILS MAY HAVE BEEN CARRIED ON VESSELS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, DID NOT RENDER THE UNITED STATES LIABLE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION.

SECTION 1 OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN PROVIDES:

THE GRATUITY OF TERRITORIAL, FLUVIAL AND MARITIME TRANSIT IS ABSOLUTE IN THE TERRITORY OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN; CONSEQUENTLY, THE COUNTRIES WHICH FORM IT OBLIGATE THEMSELVES TO TRANSPORT ACROSS THEIR TERRITORIES, AND TO CONVEY BY THE SHIPS OF THEIR REGISTRY OR FLAG WHICH THEY UTILIZE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR OWN CORRESPONDENCE WITHOUT ANY CHARGE WHATSOEVER TO THE CONTRACTING COUNTRIES, ALL THAT WHICH THE LATTER SEND TO ANY DESTINATION.

THIS ARTICLE HAS REFERENCE TO MAILS DISPATCHED BY THE SIGNATORY COUNTRIES TO POINTS OUTSIDE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE JURISDICTIONS AND DOES NOT OBLIGATE THE UNITED STATES TO PAY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAILS BETWEEN TWO PORTS OF THE SAME COUNTRY IN WHICH THE MAIL ORIGINATES.

IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED THAT SECTION 4 OF ARTICLE 75 OF THE CONVENTION OF CAIRO IS FOR CONSIDERATION IN CONNECTION WITH CLAIMS OF THIS CHARACTER. SECTIONS 1 AND 4 OF THE SAID ARTICLE 75, PROVIDE:

ARTICLES OF CORRESPONDENCE EXCHANGED IN CLOSED MAILS BETWEEN TWO ADMINISTRATIONS, BY MEANS OF THE SERVICES OF ONE OR MORE OTHER ADMINISTRATIONS (THIRD SERVICES,) ARE LIABLE, FOR THE BENEFIT OF EACH OF THE COUNTRIES TRAVERSED OR WHOSE SERVICES PARTICIPATE IN THE CONVEYANCE TO THE TRANSIT CHARGES INDICATED IN THE FOLLOWING TABLE:

BARRING CONTRARY AGREEMENT, MARITIME TRANSPORTATION EFFECTED DIRECTLY BETWEEN TWO COUNTRIES BY MEANS OF SHIPS OF ONE OF THEM, AS WELL AS CONVEYANCE EFFECTED BETWEEN TWO OFFICES OF ONE AND THE SAME COUNTRY THRU THE INTERMEDIARY OF SERVICES OF ANOTHER COUNTRY, IS CONSIDERED AS A THIRD SERVICE.

WHEN READ IN CONNECTION WITH SECTION 1 IT IS READILY APPARENT THAT THE "THIRD SERVICE" REFERRED TO IN SECTION 4 IS NOT SERVICE WITHIN THE FREE TRANSIT PROVISIONS OF THE CONVENTION OF THE POSTAL UNION OF THE AMERICAS AND SPAIN BUT SERVICE FOR WHICH TRANSIT CHARGES ARE PROVIDED IN SECTION 1 OF THE CAIRO CONVENTION. ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN WITHHOLDING PAYMENT FOR SERVICES IN TRANSPORTING COLOMBIA MAILS BETWEEN TWO PORTS OF COLUMBIA WAS CORRECT AND UPON REVIEW MUST BE, AND IS, SUSTAINED.