B-24227, MARCH 17, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 867

B-24227: Mar 17, 1942

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EVEN THOUGH HE WAS REQUIRED BY HIS ORDERS TO HAVE BOTH UNIFORM AND CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHILE PERFORMING THE ASSIGNED DUTY. TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHICH WERE LOST BY HIM IN A "MARINE DISASTER.'. THERE WAS FORWARDED WITH YOUR REQUEST A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 21. IT IS REQUESTED THAT AN ADVANCE DECISION BE OBTAINED FROM THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AS TO THE LEGALITY OF REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ABOVE NAMED MAN UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6. YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE CERTIFIED COPY OF ORDERS ATTACHED WHICH SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED BABCOCK TO HAVE CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHILE ON DUTY IN ENGLAND. 3. IS LIMITED TO THOSE ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6. IS LIMITED TO THOSE ARTICLES "AS ARE REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVY REGULATIONS AND IN FORCE AT THE TIME OF LOSS.

B-24227, MARCH 17, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 867

LOSSES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY BY NAVY PERSONNEL IN MARINE DISASTERS--- CIVILIAN CLOTHING THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, PROVIDING FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF NAVY PERSONNEL FOR CERTAIN LOSSES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY IN MARINE DISASTERS, ETC., DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHES LOST IN A MARINE DISASTER BY A NAVY ENLISTED MAN EN ROUTE TO DUTY IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, EVEN THOUGH HE WAS REQUIRED BY HIS ORDERS TO HAVE BOTH UNIFORM AND CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHILE PERFORMING THE ASSIGNED DUTY.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MARCH 17, 1942:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 27, 1942, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE RIGHT OF HOWARD WILLIAM BABCOCK, 638 102 59, YEOMAN, SECOND CLASS, V-6, UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE, TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHICH WERE LOST BY HIM IN A "MARINE DISASTER.' THERE WAS FORWARDED WITH YOUR REQUEST A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 21, 1942, FROM THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION, AS FOLLOWS: SUBJECT: BABCOCK, HOWARD WILLIAM, 638 102 59, Y2C, V-6, U.S.N.R. CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHING LOST BECAUSE OF SHIPWRECK ON JANUARY 18, 1942, WHILE EN ROUTE TO DUTY IN ENGLAND. ENCLOSURE: (A) CERTIFIED COPY OF ORDERS DATED JANUARY 12, 1942.

1. IT IS REQUESTED THAT AN ADVANCE DECISION BE OBTAINED FROM THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AS TO THE LEGALITY OF REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ABOVE NAMED MAN UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. (389) FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHES LOST IN A " MARINE DISASTER.'

2. YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE CERTIFIED COPY OF ORDERS ATTACHED WHICH SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED BABCOCK TO HAVE CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHILE ON DUTY IN ENGLAND.

3. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, IS LIMITED TO THOSE ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, IS LIMITED TO THOSE ARTICLES "AS ARE REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVY REGULATIONS AND IN FORCE AT THE TIME OF LOSS," IT MIGHT WELL BE CONSIDERED THAT UNDER ARTICLE 90, U.S. NAVY REGULATIONS (1920), THE MAN IN OBEYING HIS ORDERS WAS REQUIRED BY NAVY REGULATIONS TO HAVE CIVILIAN CLOTHING. ALSO, SINCE IN 2 COMP. DEC. 150, WHICH WAS CITED IN DECISION OF THE ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL, B-20612 OF NOVEMBER 19, 1941, IT WAS STATED---

"A STRICT CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE MIGHT LIMIT THE ALLOWANCE TO ARTICLES SPECIFICALLY REQUIRED IN THE VOLUME KNOWN AS " NAVY REGULATIONS; " BUT THE MANIFEST PURPOSE OF CONGRESS BEING TO REIMBURSE THE OFFICERS AND SEAMEN FOR THE LOSS OF CLOTHING REQUIRED BY THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE NAVY, THE STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL RAMSAY, TRANSMITTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, GIVING THE NUMBER AND CHARACTER OF ARTICLES REQUIRED BY THE REGULATIONS, MUST BE TREATED AS THE BEST EVIDENCE OF WHAT WAS REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVAL REGULATIONS REFERRED TO IN THE ACT.'

4. THIS DECISION IS REQUESTED BECAUSE IT IS THOUGHT THAT REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, MAY BE PROPERLY MADE IN THOSE CASES WHERE MEN ARE ASSIGNED TO DUTY DURING WAR TIME IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY (NOT TO DUTY ON BOARD A SHIP OF THE NAVY) AND THE WEARING OF CIVILIAN CLOTHING IS REQUIRED EITHER (1) SPECIFICALLY BY THE ORDERS DETAILING THE MAN TO SUCH DUTY, OR (2) BY " NAVAL REGULATIONS.'

ORDERS DATED JANUARY 12, 1942, ADDRESSED TO THE ENLISTED MAN FROM THE COMMANDING OFFICER, RECEIVING STATION, NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, D.C., ARE AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE: (A) BUNAV LTR. ( R.S.T.R.) NAV. 63 JJL/1MM F 1-10- 42.

1. UPON RECEIPT OF THESE ORDERS AND WHEN DIRECTED BY PROPER AUTHORITY YOU WILL PROCEED TO NEW YORK, N.Y., ON OR ABOUT 14 JANUARY, 1942, TO ARRIVE THAT PORT THAT DATE AND TAKE PASSAGE VIA A VESSEL SAILING FROM NEW YORK, N.Y., ON OR ABOUT 15 JANUARY, 1942, TO FURTHER PROCEED AND REPORT TO THE U.S. NAVAL ATTACHE, AMERICAN EMBASSY, LONDON, ENGLAND, FOR DUTY.

2. TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NEW YORK, N.Y., IS FURNISHED HEREWITH. THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION WILL ARRANGE AND FURNISH TRANSPORTATION FROM NEW YORK, N.Y. TO THE PORT OF ENTRY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. YOU WILL DEFRAY EXPENSES FROM THE PORT OF ENTRY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM TO LONDON, ENGLAND, SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT.

3. YOUR RECORDS AND ACCOUNTS WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE U.S. NAVAL ATTACHE, LONDON, ENGLAND, IN THE CUSTODY OF BABCOCK, H. W., Y2C, V6, U.S.N.R.

4. THE BUREAU AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF $4.00 PER DIEM IN THE ABSENCE OF QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES FOR YOU WHILE ON DUTY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. ( EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8759 APPROVED MAY 24, 1941, AND ALNAV 58- 1941).

5. YOU WILL BE PREPARED TO LAND IN UNIFORM IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE ENTRY AND LANDING OF PERSONAL EFFECTS AND GOVERNMENT PROPERTY.

6. YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE BOTH UNIFORM AND CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHILE ON DUTY IN ENGLAND.

7. MEN ASSIGNED TO DUTY WITH THE U.S. NAVAL ATTACHE, LONDON, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE THEIR DEPENDENTS ACCOMPANY THEM.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 389, 390 (34 U.S.C. 981), IN PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN LOSSES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY OF NAVAL PERSONNEL AS THEREIN DESCRIBED CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISO:

* * * THAT THE LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THIS ACT SHALL BE LIMITED TO SUCH ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AS ARE REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVAL REGULATIONS AND IN FORCE AT THE TIME OF LOSS OR DESTRUCTION FOR SUCH OFFICERS, PETTY OFFICERS, SEAMEN, OR OTHERS ENGAGED IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE IN THE LINE OF DUTY: * * * THE SAME PROVISION WAS CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, 28 STAT. 962, 963, WHICH WAS REPEALED BY THE 1917 ACT. THE FORMER ACT WAS CONSIDERED BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY SOON AFTER ITS ENACTMENT AND IT WAS HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT WAS AUTHORIZED FOR ONLY "SUCH ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AS ARE REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVAL REGULATIONS" AND CIVILIAN CLOTHES THAT AN OFFICER WAS PERMITTED TO HAVE IN HIS POSSESSION WERE NOT WITHIN THE STATUTE. SEE 1 COMP. DEC. 441; 2 ID. 150. IN THE LATTER DECISION IT WAS STATED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE CONGRESS IN ENACTING THE LEGISLATION WAS "TO REIMBURSE OFFICERS AND SEAMEN FOR THE LOSS OF CLOTHING REQUIRED BY THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE NAVY" AND IN THAT CASE, DUE TO THE UNAVAILABILITY OF SPECIFIC REGULATIONS, A STATEMENT BY THE OFFICER GIVING THE NUMBER AND ARTICLES REQUIRED BY THE REGULATIONS WAS ACCEPTED AS SHOWING WHAT WAS REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVAL REGULATIONS REFERRED TO IN THE ACT. REIMBURSEMENT WAS AUTHORIZED FOR ONLY THOSE ARTICLES REQUIRED BY THE NAVAL REGULATIONS. THIS CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE HAD BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS WHEN THE 1917 ACT WAS ENACTED AND THE REENACTMENT OF THE SAME LANGUAGE REQUIRES THE SAME CONSTRUCTION.

THE PRESENT CASE IS THAT OF AN ENLISTED MAN WHOSE ORDERS PROVIDE THAT HE WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE BOTH UNIFORM AND CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHILE PERFORMING THE DUTY ASSIGNED, AND THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER IN VIEW OF THIS REQUIREMENT, REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE 1917 ACT FOR SUCH CIVILIAN CLOTHES AS WERE LOST IN A "MARINE DISASTER.' NONE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE LOSS OCCURRED HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED.

PARAGRAPH 1-7, UNIFORM REGULATIONS, UNITED STATES NAVY, 1941, PROVIDES:

(A) ENLISTED MEN SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE CIVILIAN CLOTHING IN THEIR POSSESSION ON BOARD SHIP. ENLISTED MEN MAY BE PERMITTED TO WEAR CIVILIAN CLOTHES WHEN ON LEAVE OR LIBERTY IN UNITED STATES PORTS, BUT THEY SHALL NOT WEAR CIVILIAN CLOTHING ASHORE IN A FOREIGN PORT, EXCEPT WHERE THE LAWS PROHIBIT THE WEARING OF FOREIGN UNIFORMS. (FOREIGN UNIFORMS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE WORN IN SWITZERLAND UNLESS PRIOR AUTHORITY HAS BEEN OBTAINED THROUGH DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS.)

(C) WHEN ON DUTY, OR WHEN ASHORE IN A FOREIGN PORT, ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY OR MARINE CORPS SHALL WEAR THE PRESCRIBED UNIFORM, WHETHER SERVING ON SHORE OR AFLOAT.

THESE REGULATIONS NOT ONLY DO NOT REQUIRE THE ENLISTED MAN TO HAVE CIVILIAN CLOTHES IN HIS POSSESSION BUT THE WEARING OF SUCH CLOTHES, EXCEPTED AS PROVIDED THEREIN, IS PROHIBITED.

THE ASSUMPTION APPARENTLY IS THAT IF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN SHALL HAVE CIVILIAN CLOTHES THAT WOULD AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE ACT. THE REGULATIONS HAVE NOT, TO THIS TIME, PRESCRIBED CIVILIAN CLOTHING FOR PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY. IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT THE REGULATIONS COULD PRESCRIBE CIVILIAN CLOTHES. THE REFERENCE IN THE ACT TO "SUCH ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AS ARE REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES NAVAL REGULATIONS" WAS DESIGNED TO LIMIT REIMBURSEMENT TO UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT REQUIRED BY NAVY REGULATIONS TO BE POSSESSED BY NAVAL PERSONNEL. THERE IS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHAT IS REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE LAW, AND WHAT MAY BE REQUIRED OF INDIVIDUAL OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN IN THE MATTER OF CIVILIAN CLOTHING FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH PARTICULAR DUTIES TO WHICH THEY MAY BE ASSIGNED. IT WAS NOT THE INTENTION OF THE ACT TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHING AND THE PROVISION QUOTED WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF NEGATIVING SUCH AN ALLOWANCE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO MAKE REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, FOR CIVILIAN CLOTHING.