B-155590, JAN. 14, 1965

B-155590: Jan 14, 1965

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THE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE PER DIEM WAS FORWARDED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR SETTLEMENT. SINCE THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE YOU WERE ALLOWED TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR YOUR WIFE AND CHILD FROM MOGADISCIO TO NAPLES. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE TRAVEL TO NEW YORK WAS DISALLOWED UNDER THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT WHEN A SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY IS AVAILABLE OVER A DIRECT ROUTE. REIMBURSEMENT OR CREDIT FOR TRAVEL OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE INVOLVING USE OF SHIPS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY IS LIMITED TO TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR LAND AND AIR TRAVEL. WHICH IS SERVED BY AMERICAN VESSELS. WAS NAPLES. IT APPEARS FROM INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE AMERICAN EXPORT LINES THAT IT WAS POSSIBLE AT THE TIME TO OBTAIN ACCOMMODATIONS WITHIN TWO HOURS OF DEPARTURE OF THE SS.

B-155590, JAN. 14, 1965

TO MR. JAMES F. WILSON:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 1, 1964, RELATIVE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOUR DEPENDENT WIFE AND CHILD, AND IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED FROM MOGADISCIO TO BELGRADE, MONTANA, UNDER TRAVEL ORDER DATED DECEMBER 4, 1962.

THE TRAVEL ORDER ISSUED BY THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORIZED MRS. WILSON TO TRAVEL FROM MOGADISCIO TO BELGRADE, MONTANA, ON ADVANCE HOME LEAVE TRAVEL. THE INFORMATION FURNISHED SHOWS THAT MRS. WILSON AND HER MINOR DAUGHTER SERRETTA TRAVELED BY AIR FROM MOGADISCIO TO ADEN, DECEMBER 4, 1962; BY FOREIGN FLAGSHIP SS. CANBERRA FROM ADEN TO SOUTHAMPTON AND BY FOREIGN FLAGSHIP SS. FRANCE FROM SOUTHAMPTON TO NEW YORK. THE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES AND APPLICABLE PER DIEM WAS FORWARDED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR SETTLEMENT. SINCE THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE YOU WERE ALLOWED TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR YOUR WIFE AND CHILD FROM MOGADISCIO TO NAPLES. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE TRAVEL TO NEW YORK WAS DISALLOWED UNDER THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT WHEN A SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY IS AVAILABLE OVER A DIRECT ROUTE, REIMBURSEMENT OR CREDIT FOR TRAVEL OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE INVOLVING USE OF SHIPS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY IS LIMITED TO TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR LAND AND AIR TRAVEL, NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE FIRST PORT ON THE MEDITERRANEAN AT WHICH THE SS. CANBERRA CALLED, WHICH IS SERVED BY AMERICAN VESSELS, WAS NAPLES, ITALY. IT ARRIVED AT THAT PORT ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 13, 1962. THE SS. CONSTITUTION, A SHIP OF AMERICAN REGISTRY, SAILED FROM NAPLES ON DECEMBER 17, 1962. ALSO, IT APPEARS FROM INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE AMERICAN EXPORT LINES THAT IT WAS POSSIBLE AT THE TIME TO OBTAIN ACCOMMODATIONS WITHIN TWO HOURS OF DEPARTURE OF THE SS. CONSTITUTION FROM NAPLES ON DECEMBER 17, 1962.

YOU SAY THAT THE DELAY OF MRS. WILSON IN LONDON WAS DUE TO THE SHIPPING STRIKE AND THAT NO AMERICAN FLAG VESSEL WAS AVAILABLE WHICH WAS THROUGH NO FAULT OF HER OWN, AND, THEREFORE, HER DELAY FROM DECEMBER 16, 1962 TO FEBRUARY 8, 1963, WAS AT THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE MARITIME STRIKE TO WHICH YOU REFER BEGAN ON DECEMBER 23, 1962, AND ENDED JANUARY 26, 1963. THE MOST DIRECT AND USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FOR THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZED FOR YOUR DEPENDENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN VIA NAPLES, ITALY, WHERE THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TRAVEL BY THE SS. CONSTITUTION, DECEMBER 17, 1962, WHICH WAS BEFORE THE START OF THE STRIKE. AT THE TIME OF THE TRAVEL IT WAS THE POLICY OF AID TO REQUIRE THAT OFFICIAL TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY A DIRECT, USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. SEE AID MANUAL ORDER NO. 561.1, PARAGRAPH C4. YOU SAY THAT SECTION III B, AID MANUAL ORDER NO. 561.1 STATES THAT AID EMPLOYEES ARE EXEMPT BY EXECUTIVE ORDER, STEMMING FROM 22 U.S.C. 1793, FROM THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936 WHICH OTHERWISE REQUIRES GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO USE SHIPS OF U.S. REGISTRY WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. THE SAME SECTION OF THE MANUAL ALSO STATES THAT AMERICAN FLAG CARRIERS ARE TO BE USED UNLESS THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THEIR USE IS NOT FEASIBLE AND "WHENEVER A FOREIGN FLAG CARRIER IS USED, MISSIONS ARE TO ANNOTATE THEIR RECORDS TO INDICATE THE REASON FOR SUCH USE.' YOU SAY THAT THE MESSAGE TO LONDON (AID TO 190) DRAFTED BY MR. DANIEL G. HAGMANN PROVIDED THE EMBASSY WITH THE PERMISSION THEY NEEDED SO MRS. WILSON COULD TRAVEL TO NEW YORK BY A FOREIGN VESSEL. THE MESSAGE STATED, IN PART, THAT "USE OF FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL APPEARS IN ORDER IN ACCORDANCE M.O. 561.1 III B. ADVISE.' (SIGNED) RUSK. WE HAVE INFORMALLY CONTACTED MR. HAGMANN BY PHONE AND HE HAS INFORMED US THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN THEIR RECORDS TO SHOW THAT YOUR DEPENDENTS WERE AUTHORIZED, AS REQUIRED BY AID MANUAL ORDER NO. 561.1, TO TRAVEL BY A FOREIGN VESSEL. WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO WAIVE THE RULES OR REGULATIONS OF AID OR THE EXECUTIVE ORDER.

WE CANNOT COMMENT ON THE TRAVEL OF OTHER EMPLOYEES MENTIONED BY YOU AS WE DO NOT HAVE THE FACTS PERTINENT TO THEIR CASES. HOWEVER, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THEY USED AMERICAN SHIPS OR SUBMITTED EVIDENCE THAT SUCH SHIPS WERE NOT AVAILABLE BY DIRECT ROUTES BACK TO THE UNITED STATES.

THEREFORE, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, THE PRIOR ACTION OF DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.