B-132858, MAR. 12, 1958

B-132858: Mar 12, 1958

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED AUGUST 6. PRESENTING FOR OUR CONSIDERATION A PROPOSAL THAT THE AIR FORCE BE PERMITTED TO ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM ACCOMMODATIONS THAT ARE TO BE CONSIDERED FIRST CLASS WHEN PERSONNEL ASSIGNED TO MILITARY MISSIONS TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES. IT IS POINTED OUT IN THE LETTER. THAT THE HOST GOVERNMENT TO WHICH THE MILITARY MISSION MEMBER IS BEING ASSIGNED AGREES TO REIMBURSE THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE MOVEMENT OF THE INDIVIDUALS AND A "TYPICAL TRANSPORTATION CLAUSE" CONTAINED IN A "MISSION CONTRACT. THAT " "EACH MEMBER OF THE MISSION AND HIS FAMILY SHALL BE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE (HOST GOVERNMENT) WITH FIRST CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS FOR TRAVEL * * *.'" THE LETTER CONTAINS THE RECOMMENDATION THAT WHEN CHARGES FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONNEL TO MILITARY MISSIONS ARE PAID THROUGH REIMBURSEMENT PROCEDURES FROM FUNDS OF THE HOST GOVERNMENT.

B-132858, MAR. 12, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED AUGUST 6, 1957, AND ENCLOSURE, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, PRESENTING FOR OUR CONSIDERATION A PROPOSAL THAT THE AIR FORCE BE PERMITTED TO ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM ACCOMMODATIONS THAT ARE TO BE CONSIDERED FIRST CLASS WHEN PERSONNEL ASSIGNED TO MILITARY MISSIONS TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES. THE LETTER CONTAINS THE STATEMENT THAT THE INABILITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE TO PRESCRIBE THE MINIMUM STANDARDS ACCEPTABLE FOR THE MOVEMENT OF THESE PERSONNEL HAS, IN SOME INSTANCES, WORKED ADVERSELY. IT IS POINTED OUT IN THE LETTER, AS A MATTER FOR SPECIAL CONSIDERATION, THAT THE HOST GOVERNMENT TO WHICH THE MILITARY MISSION MEMBER IS BEING ASSIGNED AGREES TO REIMBURSE THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE MOVEMENT OF THE INDIVIDUALS AND A "TYPICAL TRANSPORTATION CLAUSE" CONTAINED IN A "MISSION CONTRACT," AS QUOTED IN THE STATEMENT FURNISHED WITH THE AIR FORCE PROPOSAL, PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT " "EACH MEMBER OF THE MISSION AND HIS FAMILY SHALL BE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE (HOST GOVERNMENT) WITH FIRST CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS FOR TRAVEL * * *.'"

THE LETTER CONTAINS THE RECOMMENDATION THAT WHEN CHARGES FOR THE MOVEMENT OF PERSONNEL TO MILITARY MISSIONS ARE PAID THROUGH REIMBURSEMENT PROCEDURES FROM FUNDS OF THE HOST GOVERNMENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE BE PERMITTED TO ESTABLISH THE STANDARDS WHICH COMPRISE MINIMUM FIRST -CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS.

IN APPLYING THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR VESSEL TRANSPORTATION, OUR OFFICE CONSISTENTLY HAS ACCEPTED THE DETERMINATIONS OF THE VARIOUS STEAMSHIP COMPANIES AS TO WHETHER PARTICULAR PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS ARE FIRST CLASS, AS REFLECTED BY THEIR PUBLISHED TARIFFS. NO DEVIATION FROM THAT POSITION IS DEEMED TO BE EITHER PROPER OR ADVISABLE, EXCEPT IN THOSE INSTANCES IN WHICH IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT THE ACCOMMODATIONS OFFERED TO THE PUBLIC AS FIRST CLASS ARE NOT IN FACT FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SEE 28 COMP. GEN. 399; 27 ID. 55.

THERE IS NO APPARENT JUSTIFICATION, UNDER APPLICABLE STATUTES, REGULATIONS, OR OTHERWISE, FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A DOUBLE STANDARD SANCTIONING ONE FORM OF ACCOMMODATION AND CHARGE FOR AIR FORCE PERSONNEL MOVING UNDER ORDERS AND TRAVELING AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ANOTHER POSSIBLY BETTER FORM OF ACCOMMODATION AT A HIGHER CHARGE FOR THE SAME AIR FORCE PERSONNEL MOVING UNDER ORDERS BUT TRAVELING PURSUANT TO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT UNDER WHICH THE UNITED STATES IS TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION.

ACCORDINGLY, NO DEVIATION FROM THE ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE IS JUSTIFIED, AND THE PROPOSAL HERE CONCERNED IS NOT APPROVED.