B-17735, DECEMBER 2, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 505

B-17735: Dec 2, 1941

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1941: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 18. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE DIRECTOR. IN THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S COMMENTS ON THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION IT IS STATED. AS FOLLOWS: "THIS OFFICE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE HAD BEFORE IT FOR DECISION FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE SPECIFIC QUESTION AS TO WHETHER OFFICERS MAY BE PAID PER DIEM OR ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR PERIODS OF UNAVOIDABLE DELAY AT PORT OF EMBARKATION WHERE THEY ARE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS BY AIR FROM A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES TO AN ULTIMATE DESTINATION OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES. WAS A BILL PROPOSED BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO REIMBURSE OFFICERS OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED $7 PER DAY DURING PERIODS OF DELAYS INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL WITHOUT ANY DEFINED LIMITATION AND IN ILLUSTRATION OF THE NECESSITY FOR SUCH LEGISLATION AN EXTREME CASE WAS GIVEN WHERE A DELAY OF 10 DAYS ELAPSED BETWEEN THE TIME OF ARRIVAL OF THE TRAVELER AT NEW YORK AND THE TIME HE WAS FINALLY ABLE TO LEAVE NEW YORK FOR LONDON.

B-17735, DECEMBER 2, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 505

TRAVELING EXPENSES - AIR TRAVEL - DELAYS INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL IF AN OFFICER'S ORDERS DIRECT TRAVEL BY AIR, WITHOUT TROOPS, FROM A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES TO AN ULTIMATE DESTINATION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AND PRESCRIBE REIMBURSEMENT AS FOR SUCH TRAVEL, A DELAY INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL AT PORT OF EMBARKATION FOR THE OVERSEAS PORTION OF THE JOURNEY WOULD NOT AFFECT THE OFFICER'S TRAVEL STATUS SO AS TO DENY REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES OR PER DIEM IN LIEU THEREOF.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY DECEMBER 2, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 18, 1941, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, DATED JUNE 26, 1941, B-17735, SETTING FORTH THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATION ON THE DRAFT OF A PROPOSED BILL INITIATED BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT " TO PROVIDE FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF OFFICERS FOR EXPENSES INCURRED DURING DELAY INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL.'

IN THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S COMMENTS ON THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION IT IS STATED, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THIS OFFICE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE HAD BEFORE IT FOR DECISION FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES, THE TRAVEL STATUS OF AN OFFICER DURING A PERIOD OF DELAY AT PORT OF EMBARKATION IN A SITUATION WHERE HIS ORDERS DIRECTED COMMERCIAL AIR TRAVEL WITHOUT TROOPS, FROM A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES TO SUCH PORT OF EMBARKATION AND TRAVEL BY THE SAME MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY. * * *"

IN CONNECTION WITH THE ABOVE QUOTED STATEMENT, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE SPECIFIC QUESTION AS TO WHETHER OFFICERS MAY BE PAID PER DIEM OR ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR PERIODS OF UNAVOIDABLE DELAY AT PORT OF EMBARKATION WHERE THEY ARE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS BY AIR FROM A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES TO AN ULTIMATE DESTINATION OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE SUBJECT OF THE REPORT TO THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, DATED JUNE 26, 1941, REFERRED TO IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, WAS A BILL PROPOSED BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO REIMBURSE OFFICERS OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED $7 PER DAY DURING PERIODS OF DELAYS INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL WITHOUT ANY DEFINED LIMITATION AND IN ILLUSTRATION OF THE NECESSITY FOR SUCH LEGISLATION AN EXTREME CASE WAS GIVEN WHERE A DELAY OF 10 DAYS ELAPSED BETWEEN THE TIME OF ARRIVAL OF THE TRAVELER AT NEW YORK AND THE TIME HE WAS FINALLY ABLE TO LEAVE NEW YORK FOR LONDON, DUE TO MOTOR TROUBLE OF A CLIPPER PLANE AND ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. THE STATUS OF THE OFFICER PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT NEW YORK; THE NATURE OF HIS ORDERS AND THE DIRECTIONS WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN CONTAINED THEREIN AS TO THE METHOD OF TRAVEL WERE NOT EVEN SUGGESTED, AND IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT THE STATUS OF THE TRAVELER COULD POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN SUCH THAT EVEN ALLOWING FOR THE 10 DAY DELAY AT NEW YORK HE WOULD HAVE BEEN PUT TO NO PERSONAL EXPENSE INCIDENT TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THE TERMINAL POINTS OF THE JOURNEY. AS WAS POINTED OUT IN THE REPORT OF JUNE 26, 1941, THAT SITUATION COULD HAVE ARISEN AND UNDOUBTEDLY DOES ARISE WHERE AN OFFICER IN A MILEAGE STATUS ELECTS TO TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR LINE OVER A JOURNEY OF CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE.

YOUR PRESENT QUESTION RELATES TO TRAVEL BY AIR OF AN OFFICER NOT IN A MILEAGE STATUS, BUT WHO BY COMPETENT ORDERS IS DIRECTED TO PROCEED BY AIR FROM A POINT WITHIN, TO A DESTINATION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

SECTION 204 (C) OF THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1938, 52 STAT. 983, 984, PROVIDES:

TRAVEL BY PERSONNEL OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ON COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT, DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN, INCLUDING TRAVEL BETWEEN AIRPORTS AND CENTERS OF POPULATION OR POSTS OF DUTY WHEN INCIDENTAL TO TRAVEL ON COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT, SHALL BE ALLOWED AT PUBLIC EXPENSE WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY, AND TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR SUCH TRAVEL MAY BE ISSUED UPON SUCH AUTHORIZATIONS. SUCH EXPENSE SHALL BE ALLOWED WITHOUT REGARD TO COMPARATIVE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION BY AIRCRAFT WITH OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION.

IN 18 COMP. GEN. 256, IT WAS HELD:

AN ARMY OFFICER ORDERED TO TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT WITH TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 204 (C) OF THE ACT OF JUNE 23, 1938, 52 STAT. 983, IS NOT ENTITLED TO MILEAGE, WITH DEDUCTIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED, BUT TO ACTUAL EXPENSES, OR PER DIEM IN LIEU THEREOF, UNDER AND WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1931, 46 STAT. 1461.

IF BY UNAVOIDABLE DELAY IS MEANT DELAY DUE TO MODE OF TRAVEL, THE TRAVEL BY AIR FROM A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES TO AN ULTIMATE DESTINATION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WOULD CONSTITUTE A CONTINUOUS JOURNEY BY AIR; AND IF THE ORDERS DIRECT TRAVEL BY AIR, WITHOUT TROOPS, AND PRESCRIBE REIMBURSEMENT AS FOR SUCH TRAVEL, THE DELAY INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL AT PORT OF EMBARKATION FOR THE OVERSEAS PORTION OF THE JOURNEY WOULD NOT AFFECT THE TRAVEL STATUS SO AS TO DENY REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL TRAVEL EXPENSES OR PER DIEM IN LIEU THEREOF, WHICHEVER METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT MAY HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED AS PRESCRIBED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1931, 46 STAT. 1461.