B-177594, FEB 7, 1973

B-177594: Feb 7, 1973

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SINCE THE DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL TO GUAM WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. THE ORIGINAL CLAIM WAS NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER 6 FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL 131.2 WHICH REQUIRES THAT ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THE INDIRECT ROUTE USED WAS NOT PRIMARILY A MATTER OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY BUT WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ARRANGING PERSONAL MATTERS INCIDENT TO CITIZENSHIP AND ADOPTION OF CLAIMANT'S WIFE'S HALFBROTHER AND HALFSISTER. THE PRIOR SETTLEMENT WAS PROPER AND IS SUSTAINED. MAY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 5. YOU WERE OFFICIALLY TRANSFERRED FROM SAIGON TO WASHINGTON. A HALFBROTHER-IN-LAW AND A HALFSISTER- IN-LAW WHO WERE NATIONALS OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM. THEY WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE EXIT VISAS REQUIRED FOR DEPARTURE FROM VIETNAM.

B-177594, FEB 7, 1973

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - REIMBURSEMENT - DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL - INDIRECT ROUTE PERSONAL NECESSITY DECISION CONCERNING A RECONSIDERATION OF A SETTLEMENT WHICH ALLOWED A PORTION OF JAMES MAY'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIS TWO MINOR DEPENDENTS IN TRAVELING FROM SAIGON, VIETNAM, TO MOGADISHU, SOMALI REPUBLIC, VIA GUAM. SINCE THE DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL TO GUAM WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS, THE ORIGINAL CLAIM WAS NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER 6 FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL 131.2 WHICH REQUIRES THAT ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THUS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S APPROVAL OF DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL VIA GUAM, THE INDIRECT ROUTE USED WAS NOT PRIMARILY A MATTER OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY BUT WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ARRANGING PERSONAL MATTERS INCIDENT TO CITIZENSHIP AND ADOPTION OF CLAIMANT'S WIFE'S HALFBROTHER AND HALFSISTER. ACCORDINGLY, THE PRIOR SETTLEMENT WAS PROPER AND IS SUSTAINED.

TO MR. JAMES A. MAY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURE, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 15, 1971, WHICH ALLOWED A PORTION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOUR TWO MINOR DEPENDENTS IN TRAVELING FROM SAIGON, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, TO MOGADISCIO, SOMALI REPUBLIC, VIA GUAM.

AS A FOREIGN SERVICE EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, YOU WERE OFFICIALLY TRANSFERRED FROM SAIGON TO WASHINGTON, D. C., UNDER A TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZING TRAVEL FOR YOURSELF, YOUR WIFE WHOM YOU HAD MARRIED IN VIETNAM, AND YOUR MINOR DEPENDENTS, A HALFBROTHER-IN-LAW AND A HALFSISTER- IN-LAW WHO WERE NATIONALS OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM. ALTHOUGH THE CHILDREN HAD OBTAINED QUOTA IMMIGRATION VISAS FOR ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES, THEY WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE EXIT VISAS REQUIRED FOR DEPARTURE FROM VIETNAM.

BEFORE THE CHILDREN WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN EXIT VISAS, YOU WERE OFFICIALLY TRANSFERRED TO MOGADISCIO. THE TRAVEL ORDER ISSUED PURSUANT TO THIS TRANSFER AUTHORIZED THE TRAVEL OF THE CHILDREN FROM SAIGON TO MOGADISCIO. HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SOMALI REPUBLIC DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AND APPARENTLY WOULD NOT HAVE PERMITTED THE CHILDREN TO ENTER THE COUNTRY ON VIETNAMESE TRAVEL AND RESIDENT DOCUMENTS. ORDER TO USE THE QUOTA IMMIGRATION VISA BEFORE IT EXPIRED, THE CHILDREN TRAVELED TO GUAM, THE NEAREST UNITED STATES PORT OF ENTRY. ON GUAM THE CHILDREN BECAME CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES BY NATURALIZATION WHICH MADE THEM ELIGIBLE FOR UNITED STATES PASSPORTS AND THUS ENABLED THEM TO PROCEED TO MOGADISCIO VIA NAIROBI, KENYA.

OUR SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 15, 1971, STATED THAT THE TRAVEL TO GUAM WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND ACCORDINGLY WAS NOT REIMBURSABLE DUE TO 6 FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL (FAM) 131.2 AND 131.3-1 WHICH REQUIRE THAT ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. SINCE TARIFFS IN OUR OFFICE INDICATED THAT THE CHILDREN COULD HAVE LEFT SAIGON ON AUGUST 18, 1970, AND ARRIVED IN MOGADISCIO ON AUGUST 20, 1970, VIA BOMBAY, INDIA, AND NAIROBI, ALL EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL VIA GUAM WERE DISALLOWED TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY EXCEEDED THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL EXPENSE OF THE DIRECT ROUTE. FURTHERMORE, YOUR CLAIM FOR THE COST OF EXCESS BAGGAGE AND PART OF THE COST OF THE VIETNAMESE EXIT DOCUMENTS WAS DISALLOWED SINCE THERE WAS NO SHOWING THAT THE EXCESS BAGGAGE WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS REQUIRED BY 6 FAM 147.1, AND NO RECEIPTS WERE PROVIDED TO SUBSTANTIATE THE EXIT DOCUMENTS AS REQUIRED BY 6 FAM 116.3.

YOU HAVE NOW SUBMITTED A COPY OF AN OPERATIONS MEMORANDUM DATED AUGUST 12, 1970, WHICH INDICATES THAT PRIOR TO THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL YOU REQUESTED THAT YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS BE AMENDED TO AUTHORIZE THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL FROM SAIGON TO MOGADISCIO VIA GUAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF USING THE IMMIGRATION VISA BEFORE ITS EXPIRATION AND OBTAINING TRAVEL DOCUMENTS ACCEPTABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SOMALI REPUBLIC. THIS REQUEST WAS SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO 6 FAM 121.1-4 FOR APPROVAL AS AN EXCEPTION TO THE REGULATIONS. IT WAS APPARENTLY ON THIS BASIS THAT YOUR TRAVEL ORDER WAS AMENDED TO AUTHORIZE THE CHILDREN'S INDIRECT TRAVEL. HOWEVER THIS AUTHORIZATION WAS SPECIFICALLY SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION THAT THE TRAVEL VOUCHER BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR FINAL SETTLEMENT.

APPROVAL OF THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL VIA GUAM BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNDER 6 FAM 121.1-4 IS OF NO EFFECT UNLESS THE TRAVEL APPROVED IS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF EXISTING STATUTORY AUTHORITY AUTHORIZING THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES. IN THIS REGARD WE HAVE HELD THAT TRAVEL BY DEPENDENTS FOR PERSONAL REASONS, HAVING NO CONNECTION WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL TRANSFER, ARE NOT ALLOWABLE UNDER ANY EXISTING AUTHORITY. SEE B-157387, SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, COPY ENCLOSED.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THE EXPENSE OF THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL VIA GUAM, INCLUDING THE PER DIEM IN GUAM AND NAIROBI, TO BE ALLOWABLE UNDER EXISTING AUTHORITY. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE INDIRECT ROUTE USED BY THE CHILDREN WAS NOT PRIMARILY A MATTER OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY BUT FOR THE PURPOSE OF ARRANGING PERSONAL MATTERS INCIDENT TO CITIZENSHIP AND ADOPTION OF YOUR WIFE'S HALFBROTHER AND HALFSISTER. THE CHILDREN'S ENTRY INTO UNITED STATES TERRITORY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING THEIR STATUS AS PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS OR TO BE NATURALIZED MAY THEREFORE NOT BE VIEWED AS OCCASIONED BY YOUR TRANSFER TO MOGDISCIO, BUT DUE TO YOUR INTENTION TO HAVE THE CHILDREN LIVE WITH YOU EVEN AFTER COMPLETING YOUR ASSIGNMENT AT THAT POST. THIS VIEW IS SUPPORTED BY THE FACT THAT THE QUOTA IMMIGRATION VISAS HAD ONLY A LIMITED PERIOD OF VALIDITY AND THE FACT THAT THE CHILDREN QUALIFIED ONLY FOR A SIXTH PREFERENCE FOR IMMIGRATION INTO THE UNITED STATES WHICH MADE IT DOUBTFUL WHETHER NEW VISAS COULD BE OBTAINED IF THE PRESENT VISAS WERE ALLOWED TO EXPIRE. ACCORDINGLY, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE EXPENSE OF THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL VIA GUAM FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP IS REIMBURSABLE UNDER EXISTING STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

MOREOVER, THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS REALIZED A SAVINGS BECAUSE THE CHILDREN COULD NOT LEAVE SAIGON TO TRAVEL TO YOUR PREVIOUS STATION IN WASHINGTON WHERE THEY COULD HAVE BEEN NATURALIZED IS NOT RELEVANT TO THE PRESENT SITUATION. PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR DEPENDENTS IS AUTHORIZED WHEN THEY ARE PROCEEDING TO OR RETURNING FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S POST OF DUTY. SEE 22 U.S.C. 1136(2). SINCE YOUR POST OF DUTY IN WASHINGTON HAD BEEN TERMINATED PRIOR TO THE CHILDREN'S TRAVEL, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO ALLOW TRAVEL ON THE BASIS OF YOUR PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENT IN WASHINGTON. THE FACT THAT YOU COULD HAVE CONDUCTED PERSONAL MATTERS AT A LOWER PERSONAL COST AT YOUR PREVIOUS STATION DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH PERSONAL EXPENSES WHICH ARE NOT OTHERWISE REIMBURSABLE AFTER YOUR DUTY AT THAT STATION HAS BEEN TERMINATED.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, THE SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 15, 1971, IN THE AMOUNT OF $935.16, WAS CORRECT AND IS HEREBY SUSTAINED.