B-3591 May 27,1939

B-3591: May 27, 1939

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Is submitted for advance secession as to its validity for payment. Attached to the voucher is a true copy of the initial request for apprehension and detention. 2. The facts in this case are that Authur J. That they were wanted on the charge of embezzlement as well as desertion. Request was made by the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss. The deserters were subsequently apprehended by Sheriff Stanley at the request of the F. Were detained and subsisted by him for the period of seven days from December 23-29. Incident cost of subsistence incurred are request of the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss. As the soldiers in question were wanted on the charge of embezzlement as well as for desertion. Request for apprehension by the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss was addressed to the Special Agent in charge.

B-3591 May 27,1939

Major Herbert Baldwin, F.D., U.S. Army, Fort Bliss, Texas. Through Chief of Finance.

Sir:

There has been received your letter of April 22, 1939, as follows;

1. The inclosed approved voucher covering a proposed payment to A. F. Stanley Sheriff, New Madrid County, New Madrid, Missouri, in the amount of $15.75, for Sheriff's fees earned in boarding three Army deserters, is submitted for advance secession as to its validity for payment. Attached to the voucher is a true copy of the initial request for apprehension and detention.

2. The facts in this case are that Authur J. Russel, 6373941, Robert R. Doherty, 6819440, and Robert L. Jones, 6268148, deserted from Troop "b" 16th Quartermaster Squadron, Fort Bliss, Texas, on December 2, 1938, taking with them Government property of the value of $64.23, that they were wanted on the charge of embezzlement as well as desertion, that under date of December 14,1938, request was made by the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss, Texas, on the local bureau of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Justice, El Paso, Texas, to hold these men if apprehended and to notify the office of the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss, Texas. The deserters were subsequently apprehended by Sheriff Stanley at the request of the F. B. I. Authorities, were detained and subsisted by him for the period of seven days from December 23-29, 1938, at a total cost of $15.75 for subsistence. The apprehension, detention, and incident cost of subsistence incurred are request of the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss, Texas.

3. As the soldiers in question were wanted on the charge of embezzlement as well as for desertion, request for apprehension by the Provost Marshal at Fort Bliss was addressed to the Special Agent in charge, F. B. I. United States Department of Justice, El Paso, Texas, and not to the civil authorities. The local office of the F. B. I. Has no prisoners and Section II, War Department Circular No. 80, December 30, 1938, suspends payment of rewards of reimbursement of expenses for the apprehension of deserters, draft deserters, or men without leave, until further instructions are issued."

The act of June 11, 1938, 52 Stat. 648, making appropriations for the Military Establishment for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1939, under the heading "Apprehension of Deserters, and so forth," provides:

"For the apprehension securing, and delivering of folders absent without leave and of deserters, including escaped military prisoners, and the expenses incident to their pursuit, and no greater sum than $25 for each deserter or escaped military prisoner shall, in the discretion of the Secretary of War, be paid to any civil officer or citizen for such services and expenses, for a donation of $10 to prisoner discharged otherwise than honorable upon his release from confinement under court- martial sentence involving dishonorable discharge, 15,000."

Section LL of Circular No. 80, War Department, dated December 30, 1938, is as follows:

"II-Suspension of payment of rewards for apprehension of deserters, etc. - The following policy in connection with the suspension of payment of rewards for apprehension of deserters, etc., is continued in effect until further instructions are issued.

"Payment of a reward or reimbursement of expenses for the apprehension and delivery of deserters, draft deserters, or men absent without leave, will not be made from the appropriation "Apprehension of deserters, and so forth", and the maximum amount payable as a reward of reimbursement of expenses for the apprehension of an escaped military prisoner is $25, which is the maximum amount provided in that appropriation for the purpose."

The cited appropriation act provides funds for the apprehension, securing and delivering of soldiers absent without leave and of deserters, including escaped military prisoners, and the expenses incident to their pursuit. While these men were deserters, the funds appropriated for apprehension, and so forth, were available only as authorized in the discretion of the Secretary of War. In view of the regulations contained in War Department Circular No. 80 of 1938, such appropriations is not available for their apprehension of deserters. A-96443, August 16. 1938.

In addition to the charge of desertion, you state these men were on the charge of embezzlement. There is no specific appropriation under the War Department for payment of expenses for apprehending soldiers on a charge of embezzlement. In the absence of an express appropriation, and assuming the apprehension of these men was based solely upon the ground that they had taken with them Government property, if the Secretary of War should so direct reimbursement as claimed may be made under the appropriation "Contingencies of the Army". See 11 Comp. Dec. 124, id. 132. The appropriation "Contingencies of the Army", 52 Stat. 644, June 11, 1938, is in the following language:

"For all emergencies and emergencies expenses, including the employment of translators, and exclusive of all other personal services in the War Department or any of its subordinate bureaus or possible to be anticipated or classified, and for examination of estimates of appropriation and of military activities in the field, to be expanded on the approval or authority of the Secretary of War, and for such purposes as he may decide proper, and his determination thereon shall be final and conclusive upon the accounting offices of the Government, $17,500."

You are advised that payment is not authorized on the voucher stated for payment under appropriation "2190420, A of D, 1939". The voucher and supporting papers are returned herewith.

Respectfully,

(Signed ) Fred H. Brown Comptroller General of the United States