B-168759, APR. 15, 1970

B-168759: Apr 15, 1970

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ALTHOUGH FAILURE TO NAME VESSEL WAS MATTER OF RESPONSIBILITY RATHER THAN OF RESPONSIVENESS. PROTESTANT'S BID WAS RESPONSIVE TO DELIVERY DATE REQUIREMENT. IT WAS QUALIFIED IN STATING "SELLERS OPTION TO SUPPLY IN PARTIAL SHIPMENTS IN VIEW WORKING LINER FREIGHT" ON REQUIREMENT "OFFERS MUST BE FOR MINIMUM 5. CONTRACT LANGUAGE IS GENERALLY INTERPRETED ACCORDING TO TRADE MEANING. "OFFER" ENCOMPASSED DELIVERY AND QUALIFICATIONS IN BID WHICH MATERIALLY AFFECT DELIVERY PROVISIONS ARE SUBSTANTIVE. AID IS NOT BOUND BY FEDERAL PROCUREMENT RULES. TO SMITH-DOUGLASS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A TELEGRAM DATED JANUARY 7. THE PROCUREMENT WAS FINANCED BY THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (AID) PURSUANT TO THE 1969 FERTILIZER AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GVN.

B-168759, APR. 15, 1970

BIDS--EVALUATION--DELIVERY PROVISIONS--OVERSEAS SHIPMENTS ON AID-FINANCED PROCUREMENT, ALTHOUGH FAILURE TO NAME VESSEL WAS MATTER OF RESPONSIBILITY RATHER THAN OF RESPONSIVENESS, AND PROTESTANT'S BID WAS RESPONSIVE TO DELIVERY DATE REQUIREMENT, IT WAS QUALIFIED IN STATING "SELLERS OPTION TO SUPPLY IN PARTIAL SHIPMENTS IN VIEW WORKING LINER FREIGHT" ON REQUIREMENT "OFFERS MUST BE FOR MINIMUM 5,000 MT PER ITEM" SINCE TO EFFECTUATE PARTIES' INTENT, CONTRACT LANGUAGE IS GENERALLY INTERPRETED ACCORDING TO TRADE MEANING. CONSEQUENTLY, "OFFER" ENCOMPASSED DELIVERY AND QUALIFICATIONS IN BID WHICH MATERIALLY AFFECT DELIVERY PROVISIONS ARE SUBSTANTIVE, RENDERING QUALIFIED BID NONRESPONSIVE. MOREOVER, AID IS NOT BOUND BY FEDERAL PROCUREMENT RULES. SEE COMP. GEN. DECS. CITED.

TO SMITH-DOUGLASS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A TELEGRAM DATED JANUARY 7, 1970, FROM THE HONORABLE G. WILLIAM WHITEHURST, MEMBER OF CONGRESS, YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 9, 1970, AND CORRESPONDENCE FROM YOUR CO-PROTESTANT, CHEMOLEUM CORPORATION (CHEMOLEUM), DATED JANUARY 16, FEBRUARY 2 AND MARCH 6, 1970, CONCERNING YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO W. R. GRACE COVERING THE PROCUREMENT OF FERTILIZER FOR VIETNAM UNDER REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM (GVN), MINISTRY OF ECONOMY, DIRECTORATE OF COMMERCIAL AID (DCA) TENDER NO. 4467.

THE PROCUREMENT WAS FINANCED BY THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (AID) PURSUANT TO THE 1969 FERTILIZER AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GVN. THE FERTILIZER AGREEMENT WAS ENTERED INTO UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 401 OF THE FOREIGN ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961, AS AMENDED, 22 U.S.C. 2241, ET SEQ. AND PROVIDED FOR DCA TO SOLICIT QUARTERLY TENDERS FOR FERTILIZER AND OCEAN FREIGHT ON BEHALF OF LOCAL IMPORTERS. THE APPROVAL OF BOTH GVN AND AID OF THE TENDERS WAS REQUIRED PRIOR TO ISSUANCE.

TENDER NO. 4467 WAS ISSUED BY DCA, ON BEHALF OF AND FOR THE ACCOUNT AND RISK OF LOCAL VIETNAMESE FERTILIZER IMPORTERS, ON NOVEMBER 10, 1969. THE TENDER INVITED BIDS FROM UNITED STATES FERTILIZER EXPORTERS FOR VARIOUS QUANTITIES AND TYPES OF FERTILIZERS, INCLUDING A REQUIREMENT OF 35,000 METRIC TONS OF "MIXED FERTILIZER" FOR DELIVERY TO SAIGON. PARAGRAPH 2A OF THE TENDER REQUIRED DELIVERY OF THE MIXED FERTILIZER TO SAIGON DURING THE FIRST HALF OF APRIL, MAY AND JUNE 1970, OF 15,000, 10,000, AND 10,000 METRIC TONS, RESPECTIVELY. PARAGRAPHS 2B AND 2C READ AS FOLLOWS:

"B. OFFERS SUBMITTED ON AN F.O.B. VESSEL-STOWED BASIS WILL BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN A GUARANTEE OF AVAILABILITY FOR LOADING TO MEET ARRIVAL DATES VIETNAM AS SET FORTH PARA 2A.

"C. OFFERS SUBMITTED ON A C&F BASIS SHALL GUARANTEE ARRIVAL OF THE LISTED TONNAGES TO THE DESTINATIONS LISTED, DURING THE MONTHS SPECIFIED IN PARAGRAPH (A) ABOVE."

PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE TENDER RESERVES IN DCA THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY AND ALL OFFERS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE TENDER, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OF THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED THEREIN. THE PARAGRAPH CONTINUES AS FOLLOWS:

"ALL OFFERS MUST CONFORM WITH ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE TENDER. ANY NON-CONFORMITY MUST BE CLEARLY STATED ON THE OFFER SHEET, IF THE BIDDER WISHES TO SOLICIT SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FROM THE TENDER COMMITTEE."

PARAGRAPH 4A CONTAINED RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING FERTILIZER PURCHASE AND PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"A. ALL ORDERS RESULTING FROM THIS TENDER WILL BE FINANCED WITH AID AND GVN FUNDS AS REQUIRED AND WILL BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF AID REGULATION I AS FROM TIME TO TIME AMENDED AND IN EFFECT AND SHALL BE AUTHORIZED FOR PROCUREMENT FROM THE SOURCES SHOWN UNDER SECTION I, PAGE 1 OF THIS TENDER. WHERE ANY PROVISION OF THIS INVITATION CONFLICTS WITH ANY PROVISION OF AID REGULATION I, THE PROVISIONS OF AID REGULATION I SHALL PREVAIL. FREIGHT CHARGES ON NON-US FLAG CARRIERS WILL BE FINANCED WITH GVN FUNDS."

AID REGULATION I, CODIFIED, AT 22 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR) 201.22 (D), READS AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * EVERY AWARD SHALL BE MADE TO THAT RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WHOSE BID, CONFORMING TO THE INVITATION FOR BIDS, IS LOWEST IN PRICE, UNLESS ANOTHER BID IS DEMONSTRABLY MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE IMPORTER BECAUSE OF ANY FACTOR (OTHER THAN PRICE) SET FORTH IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS AS A FACTOR TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION OF BIDS."

OFFERS WERE TO BE SUBMITTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH A SAMPLE BID FORM WHICH WAS ATTACHED AS AN APPENDIX TO THE TENDER. SUPPLIERS WERE PERMITTED TO OFFER MATERIAL ON A FOB VESSEL AND/OR C&F BASIS. PARAGRAPH 5H PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

"H. OFFERS MUST BE FOR MINIMUM 5,000 METRIC TONS PER ITEM. WHERE THE TOTAL QUANTITY OF A REQUIRED ITEM IS LESS THAN 5,000 METRIC TONS, THE OFFER MUST BE FOR THE EXACT AMOUNT OF THE REQUIRED ITEM." THE TENDER MADE REFERENCE TO A CONCURRENTLY-ISSUED INVITATION (NO. 4468), WHICH SOLICITED OCEAN FREIGHT OFFERS, RESERVING TO DCA THE RIGHT TO COMBINE EITHER F.O.B; AND/OR C&F OCEAN FREIGHT OFFERS, TO "ENSURE DELIVERY OF MATERIAL AT THE LOWEST LANDED COST PER UNIT OF PLANT NUTRIENT."

YOUR COMPANY SUBMITTED A C&F BERTH TERMS BID FOR 10,000 METRIC TONS OF MIXED FERTILIZER ON A BID FORM WHICH READ, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"MONTH DELIVERY DETAILED SPECIFICATION PORT OF SHIPMENT

TO PORT

(5) (7) (8)

ARRIVAL APRIL C.F. BERTH TERMS SAIGON US FLAG NORFOLK"

SELLERS OPTION TO SUPPLY IN

PARTIAL SHIPMENTS IN VIEW

WORKING LINER FREIGHT

ALTHOUGH YOUR BID REPRESENTED THE LOWEST LANDED COST OF MIXED FERTILIZER TO THE VIETNAMESE IMPORTERS, DCA WITH AID'S CONCURRENCE FOUND THAT THE BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE TO THE TERMS OF THE TENDER. ON DECEMBER 26, 1969, AWARD WAS MADE TO W. R. GRACE OF THE ENTIRE 35,000 METRIC TON MIXED FERTILIZER REQUIREMENT FOR SAIGON.

DURING THE COURSE OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN AID REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON AND VIETNAM AND YOUR COMPANY AND CHEMOLEUM, MANY REASONS WERE ADVANCED AS A BASIS FOR REJECTION OF YOUR BID. HOWEVER, THE BASES GIVEN FOR NONRESPONSIVENESS CRYSTALLIZED INTO THREE PRINCIPAL OBJECTIONS: NAMELY, (1) THE FAILURE OF YOUR BID TO GUARANTEE ARRIVAL OF THE FERTILIZER IN SAIGON ON THE SPECIFIC DATES REQUIRED IN THE TENDER; (2) THE FAILURE OF YOUR BID TO INCLUDE THE NAME OF THE CARRIER AND/OR VESSEL TO BE UTILIZED IN THE DELIVERY OF THE FERTILIZER; AND (3) THE FAILURE OF YOUR BID TO GUARANTEE SHIPMENT OF THE FERTILIZER IN MINIMUM LOTS OF 5,000 METRIC TONS, DUE TO YOUR BID QUALIFICATION: "SELLERS OPTION TO SUPPLY IN PARTIAL SHIPMENTS IN VIEW WORKING LINER FREIGHT."

IN ANSWER TO THE OBJECTIONS OF AID AND DCA, YOU CONTEND THAT (1) YOUR BID DID GUARANTEE ARRIVAL AT SAIGON OF THE FERTILIZER WITHIN THE TENDER'S REQUIRED TIME FRAME; (2) ALTHOUGH YOUR BID DID NOT INCLUDE THE CARRIER'S NAME, YOUR "U.S. FLAG" DESIGNATION PRECLUDED ANY DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIVENESS SINCE ONLY ONE U.S. LINE SAILS TO VIETNAM FROM NORFOLK, VIRGINIA; AND (3) THE TENDER DID NOT REQUIRE DELIVERY IN MINIMUM 5,000 METRIC TON LOTS.

A REVIEW READING OF YOUR BID LEADS TO THE CONCLUSION THAT IT DID CONFORM TO THE ESTABLISHED DELIVERY PROVISIONS OF THE TENDER SINCE IT AFFIRMATIVELY GUARANTEED DELIVERY OF THE MIXED FERTILIZER WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME FRAME. YOUR BID FORM INDICATED "APRIL" AS THE MONTH DURING WHICH THE FERTILIZER WAS TO ARRIVE IN PORT. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE NOTATION "C.F. BERTH TERMS SAIGON" IN THE DETAILED SPECIFICATION OF THE TENDER STATES THE DESTINATION OF THE MATERIAL AS SAIGON. WE DO NOT CONCUR WITH AID'S COROLLARY POSITION THAT YOUR COMPANY'S BID DISCLOSED A GUARANTEE TO DELIVER THE FERTILIZER TO NORFOLK, THE POINT OF EMBARKATION, IN APRIL RATHER THAN TO SAIGON, THE PORT OF DEBARKATION. PARAGRAPH 2C OF THE TENDER BY ITS TERMS PROVIDED THAT OFFERS SUBMITTED ON A C&F BASIS GUARANTEE ARRIVAL OF THE LISTED TONNAGES TO THE DESTINATION LISTED DURING THE MONTHS SPECIFIED IN THE DELIVERY SCHEDULE - SAIGON. THEREFORE, CLEARLY, YOUR BID EVIDENCED AN INTENTION TO OBLIGATE YOUR COMPANY TO DELIVER THE 10,000 METRIC TON REQUIREMENT OF MIXED FERTILIZER TO SAIGON DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE MONTH OF APRIL 1970, AS REQUIRED BY THE TENDER.

EVEN IF WE ASSUME THE CORRECTNESS OF AID'S INTERPRETATION THAT YOUR COMPANY'S BID COULD BE CONSTRUED AS GUARANTEEING ONLY DELIVERY OF THE FERTILIZER TO NORFOLK IN APRIL, THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE. AID HAS REPORTED THAT THE DURATION OF THE LINER VOYAGE FROM NORFOLK TO SAIGON IS APPROXIMATELY 6 WEEKS. THIS FACT WOULD HAVE GUARANTEED TIMELY DELIVERY OF THE OFFERED 10,000 METRIC TONS OF FERTILIZER TO FULFILL THE DCA'S JUNE 1970 REQUIREMENTS.

WITH RESPECT TO THE FAILURE OF YOUR BID TO CONTAIN THE NAME OF THE VESSEL AND/OR CARRIER, WE CONSIDER SUCH INFORMATION TO BE GERMANE TO THE QUESTION OF RESPONSIBILITY, RATHER THAN TO RESPONSIVENESS, WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN SUPPLIED SUBSEQUENT TO BID OPENING BUT PRIOR TO AWARD. SEE B-163626, MAY 8, 1968.

WHILE WE FEEL THAT YOUR COMPANY'S BID COMPLIED WITH THE GUARANTEED ARRIVAL PROVISIONS OF THE TENDER, WE CANNOT DISREGARD THE AFFIRMATIVE BID QUALIFICATION SET FORTH ON THE BID FORM. AID OBSERVES THAT YOUR BID, AS SUBMITTED, NEITHER COMPLIED WITH NOR CONFORMED TO THE TERMS OF THE TENDER REQUIREMENT FOR DELIVERY IN MINIMUM 5,000 METRIC TON LOTS OF FERTILIZER. IN ADDITION, AID REPORTS THAT, IN THE COMMERCIAL FERTILIZER TRADE, THE MEANING OF THE WORD "OFFER" INCLUDES "OFFER TO DELIVER"; THEREFORE, IT STATES THAT REJECTION OF THE BID WAS PROPER SINCE THE OPTION CLAUSE "RESERVED THE RIGHT TO SHIP IN AN UNSPECIFIED NUMBER OF 'PARTIAL SHIPMENTS' DEPENDING ON THE AVAILABILITY OF SHIPPING SPACE." CONCLUSION, AID DISCUSSES THE EFFECT OF THIS QUALIFICATION OR EXCEPTION TO THE TENDER'S TERMS BY STATING "* * * IT IS NOT REASONABLE TO CONSTRUE THE WORD 'OFFER' TO MEAN THAT THE SUPPLIER COULD OFFER 5,000 TONS AND WOULD HAVE THE OPTION TO SHIP THIS QUANTITY IN TWO POUND BAGS."

YOUR COMPANY VIGOROUSLY OPPOSES AID AND GVN'S POSITION WHICH "CONTINUES TO READ WORDS INTO THE TENDER WHICH ARE NOT THERE." AS QUOTED, SUPRA, PARAGRAPH 5H OF THE TENDER STATES: "OFFERS MUST BE FOR MINIMUM 5,000 METRIC TONS PER ITEM. * * *" WE NOTE THAT YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE WORD "OFFER" CAN HAVE A PARTICULAR TRADE MEANING ENCOMPASSING DELIVERY, BUT ALLEGE THAT THE PARAGRAPH 5H REQUIREMENT APPLIES ONLY TO FOB OFFERS AND NOT TO C&F OFFERS. CHEMOLEUM STATED IN ITS LETTER OF FEBRUARY 2, 1970, THAT: "AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE 5,000 TON MINIMUM LOT IS TO ALLOW THE RECIPIENT COUNTRY TO ARRANGE FREIGHT ON AN EQUITABLE BASIS. HOWEVER, THE SELLER, IF HE CAN ARRANGE SUCH, CAN SHIP IN OTHER SIZE LOTS. THIS CLAUSE IS STRICTLY A MATTER OF EASING FREIGHTING REQUIREMENTS OF THE RECIPIENT." IN THIS REGARD, WE NOTE THAT PARAGRAPH 5 OF THE TENDER IS ENTITLED "ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS," AND WE BELIEVE THAT PARAGRAPH 5H IS APPLICABLE TO ALL OFFERS WHETHER SUBMITTED ON A C&F OR FOB BASIS.

IT THEN BECOMES NECESSARY FOR OUR OFFICE TO RESOLVE THE DEFINITIONAL CONFLICT CONCERNING THE WORD "OFFER" AS UTILIZED IN PARAGRAPH 5H OF THE TENDER. IF WE CONSTRUE THE WORD TO REASONABLY CONTEMPLATE AND EVIDENCE AN OBLIGATION TO DELIVER, THE ISSUE FOR RESOLUTION IS WHETHER THE OPTION CLAUSE INSERTED IN YOUR BID FORM MATERIALLY QUALIFIED YOUR OFFER SO AS TO RENDER IT NONRESPONSIVE. IF NOT, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT YOUR COMPANY'S BID WAS RESPONSIVE TO THE TERMS OF THE TENDER IN LIGHT OF OUR DISCUSSION, SUPRA.

IN GENERAL, ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT IT IS THE INTENTION OF THE PARTIES WHICH IS TO PREVAIL, THE LANGUAGE OF A CONTRACT IS TO BE GIVEN EFFECT ACCORDING TO ITS TRADE MEANING NOTWITHSTANDING THAT ITS MEANING ON A CASUAL READING MAY BE UNAMBIGUOUS. 39 COMP. GEN. 330,334 (1959) AND CASES CITED THEREIN. IN THIS REGARD, THE USE OF EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT UNAMBIGUOUS WORDS EMPLOYED IN A CONTRACT HAVE ACQUIRED A SPECIAL TRADE MEANING WHEN USED WITH REFERENCE TO A PARTICULAR TRADE IS CONSISTENT WITH OUR HOLDINGS THAT NOTHING IN THE NATURE OF A TRADE CUSTOM, PRACTICE, OR USAGE, MAY BE ACCEPTED TO CONTRADICT THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT. SEE, GENERALLY, 18 COMP. GEN. 60, 65 (1938); 27 COMP. GEN. 724, 728 (1948); B- 143127, JANUARY 25, 1961; 21 AM. JUR. 2D, CUSTOMS AND USAGES, SEC. 28; 25 C.J.S; CUSTOMS & USAGES, SEC. 27D WITH PARTICULAR RESPECT TO TIME AND PLACE OF DELIVERY; 89 A.L.R. 1222, 1228, ET SEQ. WHETHER OR NOT A TRADE MEANING EXISTS WITH RESPECT TO WORDS USED IN A PARTICULAR CONTRACT IS A QUESTION OF FACT, ALTHOUGH THE VALIDITY OF THE TRADE MEANING AND ITS EFFECT, IF ANY, ON THE CONTRACT OF THE PARTIES, IS A QUESTION OF LAW. SEE, 5 WILLISTON ON CONTRACTS, SEC. 662, AND CASES CITED THEREIN. LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE DISPUTE CONCERNING THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "OFFER" IN PARAGRAPH 5H OF THE TENDER IS ONE OF FACT WHICH MUST BE RESOLVED IN FAVOR OF THE AID POSITION IN THE ABSENCE OF SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. 40 COMP. GEN. 178, 180 (1960).

HAVING SO CONCLUDED, WE MUST CONSIDER THE IMPACT OF THE OPTION CLAUSE IN YOUR BID. NO EXCEPTION DELIBERATELY TAKEN TO AN INVITATION CAN BE CONSIDERED TO BE TRIVIAL OR MINIMAL. B-168809, MARCH 17, 1970; B 165217, NOVEMBER 13, 1968; 47 COMP. GEN. 496, 499 (1968). QUALIFICATIONS OR EXCEPTIONS DELIBERATELY INSERTED IN A BID WHICH MATERIALLY AFFECT OR ALTER THE DELIVERY PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN HELD TO BE OF A SUBSTANTIVE NATURE RENDERING THE QUALIFIED BID NONRESPONSIVE TO THE TERMS OF AN INVITATION. B-165217, SUPRA. B-156811, JULY 8, 1965; 36 COMP. GEN. 181 (1956); B- 166873, OCTOBER 15, 1969; B-158019, NOVEMBER 17, 1965; B-152946, MAY 14, 1964; B-167242, SEPTEMBER 4, 1969. THEREFORE, ALTHOUGH WE FIND THAT YOUR BID CONFORMED TO THE INVITATION BY GUARANTEEING DELIVERY OF 10,000 METRIC TONS OF MIXED FERTILIZER TO SAIGON ON THE REQUIRED DATES, THE ABOVE- MENTIONED QUALIFICATION FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THE TENDER REQUIREMENT FOR SHIPMENT IN MINIMUM LOTS OF 5,000 METRIC TONS. SEE, ALSO, B-164401, JULY 22, 1968; B-166873, SUPRA. WE AGREE WITH AID IN ITS CONCLUSION THAT, IF YOU HAD BEEN AWARDED THE CONTRACT, YOU WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO DELIVER THE FERTILIZER IN MINIMUM 5,000 TON LOTS TO SAIGON. ASSUMING, ARGUENDO, THAT YOUR COMPANY'S LOW LANDED BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REJECTED BY AID AND GVN AS NONRESPONSIVE, IT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT THAT THE UNITED STATES IS NOT A PARTY TO THE CONTRACTS RESULTING FROM THE ISSUANCE OF THE INSTANT TENDER. WE HAVE HELD THAT IN REVIEWING PROCUREMENTS BY FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS UNDER CONTRACTS FINANCED BY THE UNITED STATES, AID IS NOT BOUND BY THE GENERAL RULES GOVERNING DIRECT FEDERAL PROCUREMENTS. 168809, SUPRA; B-165600, SEPTEMBER 12, 1969; B 152326, DECEMBER 6, 1963; B -163492, OCTOBER 11, 1968; B-149843, NOVEMBER 5, 1962; B-158692, APRIL 11, 1966. IN THIS CONNECTION, A FINANCING AGENCY IS GIVEN THE PRIMARY AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE COMPLIANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY IT IN FURTHERANCE OF ITS STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITIES. B-168809, SUPRA; B- 141932, MAY 2, 1960.