B-131995, JUN. 5, 1957

B-131995: Jun 5, 1957

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THE DATE ON WHICH YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ADVISE THE CONGRESS CONCERNING DISPOSITION OF THE TEXAS CITY DISASTER CLAIMS. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT DELAYS WHICH WILL EXTEND BEYOND AUGUST 12. ARE ANTICIPATED IN RECEIVING PROPERLY EXECUTED ASSIGNMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES OF RIGHTS OF ACTION AGAINST THIRD PARTIES. ON BEHALF OF 32 FRENCH CHILDREN FOR WHOM AWARDS HAVE BEEN APPROVED. APPARENTLY UNCERTAINTY IN THE MATTER IS ENTERTAINED BECAUSE OF THE REQUIREMENT IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT THAT. CAREFUL STUDY OF THE STATUTE AS A WHOLE AND OF THE PROCEEDINGS ATTENDING ITS ADOPTION DISCLOSES NO INDICATION THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 WERE INTENDED AS LIMITATIONS. A SPECIFIC LIMITATION UPON THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE AND FIX AMOUNT OF AWARDS IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 3.

B-131995, JUN. 5, 1957

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:

ON MAY 23, 1957, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, GEORGE H. RODERICK, REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT CERTAIN AWARDS UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 12, 1955, 69 STAT. 707, AS AMENDED, SUBSEQUENT TO AUGUST 12, 1957, THE DATE ON WHICH YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ADVISE THE CONGRESS CONCERNING DISPOSITION OF THE TEXAS CITY DISASTER CLAIMS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT DELAYS WHICH WILL EXTEND BEYOND AUGUST 12, 1957, ARE ANTICIPATED IN RECEIVING PROPERLY EXECUTED ASSIGNMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES OF RIGHTS OF ACTION AGAINST THIRD PARTIES, AS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 9 OF THE ACT, ON BEHALF OF 32 FRENCH CHILDREN FOR WHOM AWARDS HAVE BEEN APPROVED. THEIR ATTORNEY HAS ADVISED THAT THE APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS IN FRANCE TO PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THESE MINORS, AND TO EXECUTE ASSIGNMENTS OF THEIR CLAIMS, IF AUTHORIZED TO DO SO BY THE APPROPRIATE FRENCH COURT, REQUIRES A CONSIDERABLE LENGTH OF TIME.

APPARENTLY UNCERTAINTY IN THE MATTER IS ENTERTAINED BECAUSE OF THE REQUIREMENT IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT THAT---

"THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY SHALL, TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT TRANSMIT TO THE CONGRESS---

(A) A STATEMENT OF EACH CLAIM SUBMITTED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS ACT WHICH HAS NOT BEEN SETTLED BY HIM, WITH SUPPORTING PAPERS AND A REPORT OF HIS FINDINGS OF FACTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS; AND

(B) A REPORT OF EACH CLAIM SETTLED BY HIM AND PAID PURSUANT TO THIS ACT. THE REPORTS SHALL CONTAIN A BRIEF STATEMENT CONCERNING THE CHARACTER AND JUSTICE OF EACH CLAIM, THE AMOUNT CLAIMED, AND THE AMOUNT APPROVED AND PAID.'

CAREFUL STUDY OF THE STATUTE AS A WHOLE AND OF THE PROCEEDINGS ATTENDING ITS ADOPTION DISCLOSES NO INDICATION THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 WERE INTENDED AS LIMITATIONS. A SPECIFIC LIMITATION UPON THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE AND FIX AMOUNT OF AWARDS IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 3, AND NO LIMITATION AT ALL IS PROVIDED REGARDING THE TIME OF REFERRING SUCH AWARDS TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY OR FOR PAYMENT BY HIM OF THE AMOUNTS OF AWARDS (SECTION 7). THE DIRECTION TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING UNSETTLED CLAIMS OBVIOUSLY REFERS TO INSTANCES IN WHICH AWARDS HAVE NOT BEEN DETERMINED, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM INSTANCES IN WHICH, ALTHOUGH NOT ANTICIPATED, DELAYS IN OBTAINING ASSIGNMENTS PREREQUISITE TO ACTUAL PAYMENT HAVE BEEN ENCOUNTERED.

CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE REPORT REQUIREMENT IS ONE OF PROVIDING INFORMATION, RATHER THAN TERMINATING THE PAYMENT AUTHORITIES PLACED IN YOU AND IN THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AND NO OBJECTION WILL BE INTERPOSED TO CERTIFICATION AND PAYMENT OF THE AWARDS AFTER AUGUST 12, 1957, IF APPROPRIATE ASSIGNMENTS CANNOT BE OBTAINED BEFORE THAT TIME.