B-129155, SEP. 7, 1956

B-129155: Sep 7, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 6. 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. IT IS STATED THAT THE DELEGATION IS EXPECTED TO BE HEADED BY THE DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND WILL INCLUDE EXPERTS FROM VARIOUS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AS WELL AS ONE MEMBER EACH FROM THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

B-129155, SEP. 7, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1956, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY-CONTROLLER, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE UNITED STATES DELEGATES TO THE ELEVENTH SESSION ON THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE AT GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, CONVENING ON OCTOBER 11, 1956, MAY TRAVEL BY FOREIGN VESSEL.

SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, 46 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.'

IT IS STATED THAT THE DELEGATION IS EXPECTED TO BE HEADED BY THE DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND WILL INCLUDE EXPERTS FROM VARIOUS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AS WELL AS ONE MEMBER EACH FROM THE UNITED STATES SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. FURTHER, THAT THE CLOSEST SAILING DATE OF A SHIP OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY IS THAT OF THE S.S. AMERICA LEAVING NEW YORK CITY ON SEPTEMBER 27, 1956, AND ARRIVING AT LE HAVRE ON OCTOBER 4, 1956, PERMITTING ARRIVAL AT THE CONFERENCE SITE ON OCTOBER 5, 1956, SIX DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING, WHICH, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE HEAVY WORK SCHEDULE OF THE DELEGATES, IS NOT TENABLE. IN VIEW THEREOF, OUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER IT WILL BE PERMISSIBLE FOR THE DELEGATES TRAVELING BY SHIP TO USE THE S.S. QUEEN MARY WHICH SAILS FROM NEW YORK ON OCTOBER 3 AND ARRIVES AT LE HAVRE ON OCTOBER 9, PERMITTING ARRIVAL AT GENEVA ON OCTOBER 9, 1956, ONLY TWO DAYS PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF THE MEETING.

BY REASON OF THE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE USE OF AN AMERICAN VESSEL WOULD RESULT IN EXCESSIVE LOSS OF PRODUCTIVE TIME BY THE OFFICIALS EXPECTED TO SERVE AS DELEGATES TO THE MEETING. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT AN AMERICAN VESSEL IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE FOREGOING STATUTE AND THAT THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL IS AUTHORIZED FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION.