B-31810, JANUARY 21, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 689

B-31810: Jan 21, 1943

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THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE OF THE LEND-LEASE ADMINISTRATION UNDER WHICH FUNDS FOR DISBURSEMENT IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES FOR PURPOSES OF THE ADMINISTRATION ARE INITIALLY TO BE OBTAINED THROUGH ADVANCES BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO MEMBERS OF LEND-LEASE MISSIONS WHO ARE TO BE APPOINTED AND BONDED AS CERTIFYING OFFICERS AND AGENT-CASHIERS OF THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER. UNDER WHICH PROCEDURE THE FUNDS SO ADVANCED ARE TO BE REPLENISHED FROM TIME TO TIME UPON SUBMISSION BY THE MEMBERS TO STATE DEPARTMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS OF PROPERLY CERTIFIED REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS ACCOMPANIED BY PROPER RECEIPTS OR EXPLANATIONS OF THE EXPENDITURES. 1943: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 16.

B-31810, JANUARY 21, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 689

FUNDS - ADVANCES TO LEND-LEASE MISSIONS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED, THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE OF THE LEND-LEASE ADMINISTRATION UNDER WHICH FUNDS FOR DISBURSEMENT IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES FOR PURPOSES OF THE ADMINISTRATION ARE INITIALLY TO BE OBTAINED THROUGH ADVANCES BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO MEMBERS OF LEND-LEASE MISSIONS WHO ARE TO BE APPOINTED AND BONDED AS CERTIFYING OFFICERS AND AGENT-CASHIERS OF THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AND UNDER WHICH PROCEDURE THE FUNDS SO ADVANCED ARE TO BE REPLENISHED FROM TIME TO TIME UPON SUBMISSION BY THE MEMBERS TO STATE DEPARTMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS OF PROPERLY CERTIFIED REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS ACCOMPANIED BY PROPER RECEIPTS OR EXPLANATIONS OF THE EXPENDITURES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE LEND-LEASE ADMINISTRATOR, JANUARY 21, 1943:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 16, 1943, AS FOLLOWS:

MEMBERS OF LEND-LEASE MISSIONS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES ARE FREQUENTLY OBLIGED TO MAKE OFFICIAL TRIPS TO POINTS DISTANT FROM THEIR FOREIGN POSTS. ON SUCH TRIPS THEY OFTEN FIND IT NECESSARY TO PURCHASE GOODS AND OBTAIN SERVICES ON THE SPOT, WITHOUT ANY DELAY, IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO DISCHARGE THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES. IN MANY INSTANCES--- FOR EXAMPLE, IN RUSSIA, IRAN, AND CHINA--- THE NEEDED GOODS AND SERVICES CAN BE OBTAINED ONLY FOR CASH, AS THE SUPPLIER IS NOT WILLING TO EXTEND CREDIT TO A STRANGER CLAIMING TO REPRESENT A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT WITH OFFICES IN A DISTANT CITY.

UNDER PRESENT ARRANGEMENTS CASH IS IN GENERAL NOT AVAILABLE IN THESE SITUATIONS. THE SERIOUS DIFFICULTIES WHICH HAVE RESULTED HAVE BEEN RECENTLY BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION BY MANY OF OUR MISSIONS, WITH REQUESTS FOR PROMPT REMEDIAL ACTION ON OUR PART.

TO THAT END WE HAVE HAD DISCUSSIONS WITH THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT, AND A PROCEDURE WHICH ENTIRELY MEETS OUR NEEDS HAS BEEN AGREED ON, SUBJECT ONLY TO ONE DETAIL ON WHICH THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS ASKED US TO OBTAIN YOUR VIEWS.

THE PROPOSAL IS AS FOLLOWS: MEMBERS OF LEND-LEASE MISSIONS WILL BE APPOINTED AGENT CASHIERS OF THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND WILL BE BONDED ACCORDINGLY. AS AGENT CASHIERS THEY WILL BE FURNISHED BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WITH A CASH ADVANCE IN AN AMOUNT AGREED UPON AS SUFFICIENT FOR THE PARTICULAR MISSION. THEY WILL USE THIS CASH ADVANCE FOR NECESSARY PURCHASES. THEY WILL OBTAIN RECEIPTS FROM THE SUPPLIER WHEN FEASIBLE; WHEN THAT IS NOT FEASIBLE, THEY WILL PREPARE SUITABLE EXPLANATIONS OF THE DISBURSEMENTS. THEY WILL PREPARE VOUCHERS COVERING ALL DISBURSEMENTS, CERTIFY THE VOUCHERS AS BONDED CERTIFYING OFFICERS AND SUBMIT THE VOUCHERS TO SOME CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT FOR REIMBURSEMENT. THE CASH FUND INITIALLY ADVANCED TO THE MEMBERS OF THE LEND-LEASE MISSION WILL THUS BE REPLENISHED AND WILL CONSTITUTE IN EFFECT A REVOLVING FUND, FOR WHICH A QUARTERLY ACCOUNTING, IN A FORM AGREED ON, WILL BE RENDERED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WHILE THE PARTICULAR AGENT CASHIER IS ABROAD AND FOR WHICH A FINAL ACCOUNTING WILL BE RENDERED WHEN THE AGENT CASHIER RETURNS TO THIS COUNTRY. THE FUNDS USED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS TO TAKE UP THE VOUCHERS FROM THE MEMBERS OF THE LEND-LEASE MISSIONS WILL BE FURNISHED BY THE OFFICE OF LEND-LEASE ADMINISTRATION TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT, EITHER BY ALLOTMENT IN ADVANCE OR BY SUBSEQUENT REIMBURSEMENT.

IN MOST CASES, AND PERHAPS IN ALL CASES, EACH MEMBER OF A LEND-LEASE MISSION WILL BE BOTH AN AGENT CASHIER AND A CERTIFYING OFFICER AND WILL BE BONDED IN EACH CAPACITY AND WILL HIMSELF BE THE CERTIFYING OFFICER WHO CERTIFIES THE VOUCHERS BY WHICH HE OBTAINS REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT DISBURSING OFFICER. THIS COMBINATION OF FUNCTIONS IS UNAVOIDABLE IN THE CASE OF ONE-MAN MISSIONS. IT IS ALSO NECESSARY FOR PRACTICAL REASONS IN THE CASE OF THE OTHER MISSIONS, AS MISSION MEMBERS MUST BE IN A POSITION TO TAKE EXTENDED TRIPS ON SHORT NOTICE.

THE ELEMENT OF THIS PROCEDURE FOR WHICH THE STATE DEPARTMENT DESIRES YOUR APPROVAL IS THE FOLLOWING: THE DATE ON WHICH ANY PARTICULAR VOUCHER IS TAKEN UP INTO THE ACCOUNTS OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT DISBURSING OFFICER WILL NORMALLY BE LATER THAN THE DATE OF PAYMENT TO THE SUPPLIER AS SHOWN IN THE VOUCHER, SINCE THE GOODS OR SERVICES IN QUESTION WILL NORMALLY HAVE BEEN PROCURED BY THE MISSION OFFICER AT A POINT SOME DISTANCE FROM THE STATION OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT DISBURSING OFFICER. THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS SOME APPREHENSION THAT THE RESULTING DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE DATE OF PAYMENT TO THE SUPPLIER AND THE DATE ON WHICH THE VOUCHER IS TAKEN UP ON THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S ACCOUNTS WILL LEAD TO DISALLOWANCE OR QUESTIONING BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AND IT WISHES TO KNOW WHETHER YOU APPROVE OF THIS ELEMENT OF THE PROPOSAL BEFORE IT GIVES ITS FINAL CONSENT. WE AGREED THAT WE WOULD PRESENT THIS QUESTION TO YOU WITH A REQUEST FOR A REPLY ON WHICH THE STATE DEPARTMENT CAN RELY.

IN OUR JUDGMENT THE DISCREPANCY TO WHICH THE STATE DEPARTMENT CALLS ATTENTION NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS AN OBJECTION TO THE PROPOSED ARRANGEMENT. IT APPEARS RATHER THAT THAT DISCREPANCY IS COMMONLY FOUND IN SITUATIONS WHERE--- AS HERE--- THE VOUCHERS IN QUESTION ARE REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS, AND THAT THE DATE ON WHICH A REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER IS TAKEN UP INTO A DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT SHOULD AGREE NOT WITH THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE (FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS BEING MADE) BUT WITH THE DATE OF PAYMENT OF THE REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER ITSELF. CONSEQUENTLY, THE FACT THAT THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE WAS EARLIER DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE A GROUND FOR OBJECTION OR QUESTIONING BY YOUR OFFICE.

I SHOULD APPRECIATE YOUR ADVISING ME WHETHER YOU HAVE ANY OBJECTION TO THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ASPECT REFERRED TO BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OR IN ANY OTHER CONNECTION, AND AS OUR MISSIONS ARE IN URGENT NEED OF CASH FUNDS FOR THE CONDUCT OF THEIR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, A REPLY AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE WILL BE PARTICULARLY APPRECIATED.

MR. FRANKLIN POLLAK OF THIS OFFICE WILL BE GLAD TO CONFER WITH YOUR OFFICE IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS ON WHICH A PERSONAL DISCUSSION WOULD BE HELPFUL.

IN VIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEM INVOLVED AND THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE WITH RESPECT THERETO, THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ELEMENT CONCERNING WHICH THE STATE DEPARTMENT DESIRES ASSURANCES OR TO ANY OTHER PHASE OF THE PROCEDURE SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER--- IT APPEARING THAT THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE CONTEMPLATES A PROPER ACCOUNTING FOR THE FUNDS INVOLVED.