B-19088, JULY 31, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 94

B-19088: Jul 31, 1941

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TELEGRAMS - EVIDENCE REQUIREMENTS FOR PAYMENT WHILE THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT CLAIMS FOR TELEGRAPHIC SERVICES. WHERE THE MESSAGES ORIGINATE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN WHICH THE TRANSMITTING COMPANY IS NOT PERMITTED BY ITS REGULATIONS TO SURRENDER THE ORIGINALS. COPIES OF THE ORIGINALS WILL BE ACCEPTED IN SUPPORT OF VOUCHERS. PROVIDED APPROPRIATE STEPS ARE TAKEN BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO PREVENT A DUPLICATE PAYMENT FOR THE SAME SERVICES. 1941: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 3. REQUESTING TO BE INFORMED WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED UPON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF THE CABLE AND WIRELESS ( WEST INDIES) LIMITED. IT IS EXPLAINED. BILLS PREPARED FOR PAYMENT HAVE ACCORDINGLY HAD ATTACHED THERETO COPIES OF THE ORIGINALS. 2.

B-19088, JULY 31, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 94

TELEGRAMS - EVIDENCE REQUIREMENTS FOR PAYMENT WHILE THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT CLAIMS FOR TELEGRAPHIC SERVICES, NOT OF A CONFIDENTIAL NATURE, MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINALS OF THE OUTGOING MESSAGES WHEN PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR PAYMENT, WHERE THE MESSAGES ORIGINATE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN WHICH THE TRANSMITTING COMPANY IS NOT PERMITTED BY ITS REGULATIONS TO SURRENDER THE ORIGINALS, COPIES OF THE ORIGINALS WILL BE ACCEPTED IN SUPPORT OF VOUCHERS, PROVIDED APPROPRIATE STEPS ARE TAKEN BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO PREVENT A DUPLICATE PAYMENT FOR THE SAME SERVICES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO MAJ. F. G. STAGLIANO, U.S. ARMY, JULY 31, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 3, 1941, REQUESTING TO BE INFORMED WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED UPON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF THE CABLE AND WIRELESS ( WEST INDIES) LIMITED, OF BERMUDA, IN THE AMOUNT OF $36.41, REPRESENTING THE FEES FOR TRANSMITTING CABLE AND TELEGRAPH MESSAGES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT COPIES, INSTEAD OF THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES, ACCOMPANY THE VOUCHER, IT ORDINARILY BEING REQUIRED THAT SUCH VOUCHERS BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE ORIGINALS RATHER THAN COPIES. 14 COMP. GEN. 825; 16 ID. 217.

IN A STATEMENT DATED JULY 3, 1941, FROM MAJOR JOHN TOWERS, ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER, IT IS EXPLAINED---

1. THE CABLE AND WIRELESS ( WEST INDIES) LTD. INFORM ME THAT COMPANY REGULATIONS PREVENT THEM FROM SUPPLYING OPERATOR SERVICED ORIGINALS OF MESSAGES TRANSMITTED FOR THIS STATION. BILLS PREPARED FOR PAYMENT HAVE ACCORDINGLY HAD ATTACHED THERETO COPIES OF THE ORIGINALS.

2. IT IS DESIRED TO STRESS THE NECESSITY OF REACHING AN EARLY DECISION AS TO HOW THESE BILLS CAN BE PAID WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME. ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FACT THAT WE ARE DEALING WITH A BRITISH COMPANY AND ONE WHICH HAS COOPERATED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT IN FURNISHING THIS BASE WITH COMMUNICATIONS WHEN OUR OWN FACILITIES HAD NOT BEEN COMPLETED.

THE GENERAL RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICES OF THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRING THE FURNISHING OF ORIGINAL MESSAGES IS SET FORTH CONCISELY IN THE SYLLABUS OF THE DECISION CITED, SUPRA, 14 COMP. GEN. 825, AS FOLLOWS:

CLAIMS FOR TELEGRAPH SERVICES, NOT OF A CONFIDENTIAL NATURE, WHEN PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR PAYMENT, MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL OF THE OUTGOING MESSAGES.

THIS GENERAL RULE HAS BEEN ADHERED TO CONSISTENTLY FOR MANY YEARS. HOWEVER, IN CASE OF OBLIGATIONS INCURRED IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES THERE MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION THE LAWS, CUSTOMS, AND BUSINESS METHODS OF SUCH COUNTRIES. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE MESSAGES ORIGINATED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN WHICH IT IS REPRESENTED THE TRANSMITTING COMPANY IS NOT PERMITTED BY ITS REGULATIONS TO SURRENDER THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE FURNISHING OF THE ORIGINAL MESSAGES NEED NOT BE REQUIRED.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT UPON THE VOUCHER AS SUPPORTED BY COPIES IS AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, AND PROVIDED APPROPRIATE STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN ADMINISTRATIVELY TO PREVENT A DUPLICATE PAYMENT FOR THE SAME SERVICES.