B-134230 November 18, 1957

B-134230: Nov 18, 1957

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The referred-to statute reads in part as follows: "No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used to pay the compensation of any officer or employee of the Government of the United States * * * whose post of duty is in continental United States unless such person (1) is a citizen of the United States. * * * or (4) is an alien from 'the Baltic countries' lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence: Provided. An affidavit signed by any such person shall be considered prima facie evidence that the requirements of this section with respect to his status have been complied with.". Is covered by the term "the Baltic countries" as used in the statute.

B-134230 November 18, 1957

Mr. Ralph R. Roberts, Clerk House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Roberts:

On October 26, 1957, you requested our opinion as to whether a citizen of Poland may be paid compensation as an employee of the House of Representatives in view of section 202 of the General Government Matters Appropriation Act, 1958, 71 Stat. 53.

The referred-to statute reads in part as follows:

"No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used to pay the compensation of any officer or employee of the Government of the United States * * * whose post of duty is in continental United States unless such person (1) is a citizen of the United States, * * * or (4) is an alien from 'the Baltic countries' lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence: Provided, That for the purpose of this section, an affidavit signed by any such person shall be considered prima facie evidence that the requirements of this section with respect to his status have been complied with." (Emphasis supplied).

Your doubt in the matter appears to be whether Poland, one of the countries bordering on the Baltic Sea, is covered by the term "the Baltic countries" as used in the statute.

The "Baltic countries" exception to the citizenship requirement first appeared in section 1302 of Public Law 207, 83d Congress, 1st Session. The countries bordering on the Baltic Sea are Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, and Finland. The term "Baltic States" generally relates, however, to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Also, the terms "country" and "state" are often used synonymously and interchangeably in the international sense. United States v. Canless, 61 F. 2d 366; Burnett v. Chicago Portrait Co., 285 U.S. 1. The history of contemperaneous legislation shows that in discussion on the floor of the House, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were specifically referred to as "the Baltic countries." See House Resolutions 346 and 356, 83d Congress, 1st Session, which created a select committee to investigate the seizure of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by the Russian Government. Congressional Record--House, July 27, 1953, p. 10207. Similar reference was made in the discussion on the floor of House Resolution 438, 83d Congress, 2d Session, which amended House Resolution 346 to broaden to scope of its inquiry. Congressional Record--House, March 4, 1954, pp. 2566 and 2569.

In view of the foregoing we conclude that the term "the Baltic countries" as appearing in section 202 refers specifically to "the Baltic States" which are Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to the exclusion of other countries bordering on the Baltic Sea. Therefore, under the statute, a citizen of Poland is precluded from receiving compensation as an employee of the House of Representatives.

Sincerely,

Joseph Campbell Comptroller General of the United States