B-42824, AUG 10, 1944

B-42824: Aug 10, 1944

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AS FOLLOWS: "AT THE PRESENT TIME THE SIGNAL CORPS OF THE ARMY PREPARES LITERALLY MILLIONS OF COPIES OF TELEGRAMS IN ORDER THAT YOUR OFFICE MAY HAVE SUCH COPIES ON FILE. THE PREPARATION AND HANDLING OF THESE COPIES IS A TREMENDOUS UNDERTAKING AND REQUIRES CONSIDERABLE MANPOWER. "DURING THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS PRACTICALLY NO EXCEPTIONS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED WHERE SUCH PAYMENTS ARE INVOLVED EXCEPT WHERE THE COPIES HAVE BECOME DETACHED AND ARE NOT WITH THE ORIGINAL VOUCHERS WHEN CONSIDERED BY YOUR AUDITORS. "A CERTIFICATE OF RECEIPT OR DELIVERY OF SERVICE IS ACCEPTED IN MOST CASES BY THE SIGNING OF THE CERTIFICATES ON STANDARD FORM 1034. IT HAS GENERALLY BEEN HELD BY YOUR OFFICE THAT THE CERTIFICATE ON 1034 IS SUFFICIENT AND NEED NOT BE SUPPORTED BY INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING REPORTS.

B-42824, AUG 10, 1944

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

THE HONORABLE, THE SECRETARY OF WAR:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 7, 1944, AS FOLLOWS:

"AT THE PRESENT TIME THE SIGNAL CORPS OF THE ARMY PREPARES LITERALLY MILLIONS OF COPIES OF TELEGRAMS IN ORDER THAT YOUR OFFICE MAY HAVE SUCH COPIES ON FILE. THE PREPARATION AND HANDLING OF THESE COPIES IS A TREMENDOUS UNDERTAKING AND REQUIRES CONSIDERABLE MANPOWER, BOTH IN THE DEPARTMENT AND IN YOUR OFFICE.

"DURING THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS PRACTICALLY NO EXCEPTIONS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED WHERE SUCH PAYMENTS ARE INVOLVED EXCEPT WHERE THE COPIES HAVE BECOME DETACHED AND ARE NOT WITH THE ORIGINAL VOUCHERS WHEN CONSIDERED BY YOUR AUDITORS.

"A CERTIFICATE OF RECEIPT OR DELIVERY OF SERVICE IS ACCEPTED IN MOST CASES BY THE SIGNING OF THE CERTIFICATES ON STANDARD FORM 1034. IT HAS GENERALLY BEEN HELD BY YOUR OFFICE THAT THE CERTIFICATE ON 1034 IS SUFFICIENT AND NEED NOT BE SUPPORTED BY INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING REPORTS.

"THE REQUIRING OF COPIES OF TELEGRAMS IS NOT MATERIALLY DIFFERENT FROM REQUIRING ALL RECEIVING AND INSPECTION REPORTS WHICH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS AND NOT NECESSARY FOR YOUR AUDIT.

"IT WOULD SEEM, THEREFORE, THAT THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE ADEQUATELY PROTECTED IF AT LEAST FOR THE EMERGENCY YOU WOULD WAIVE THE REQUIREMENT THAT EITHER ORIGINAL OR COPIES OF SUCH TELEGRAMS BE FURNISHED YOU IN CONNECTION WITH SIGNAL CORPS OPERATIONS.

"SINCE THE CERTIFICATION APPEARING ON THE VOUCHERS SEEMS ADEQUATE IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE WHETHER YOU HAVE TO OBJECT TO THE DISCONTINUANCE FOR THE EMERGENCY AND SIX MONTHS THEREAFTER TO THE SENDING TO YOUR OFFICE OF THESE COPIES."

THE ACT OF MAY 12, 1917, 40 STAT. 43, AS AMENDED BY THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, AND RESTATED IN 10 U.S.C. 1319, PROVIDES:

"THE SIGNAL CORPS, IN ITS OPERATION OF MILITARY TELEGRAPH LINES, CABLES, OR RADIO STATIONS, IS AUTHORIZED IN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO COLLECT FORWARDING CHARGES DUE CONNECTING COMMERCIAL TELEGRAPH OR RADIO COMPANIES FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF GOVERNMENT RADIOGRAMS OR TELEGRAMS OVER THEIR LINES, AND TO THIS END, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR, IT CAN PRESENT VOUCHERS TO DISBURSING OFFICERS FOR PAYMENT OR FILE CLAIMS WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR THE AMOUNT OF SUCH FORWARDING CHARGES."

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 616, 31 U.S.C. 485, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"ALL MONEYS RECEIVED FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF PRIVATE DISPATCHES OVER ANY AND ALL TELEGRAPH LINES OWNED OR OPERATED BY THE UNITED STATES, SHALL BE PAID INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES, AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 484 OF THIS TITLE."

THE FOREGOING STATUTES-- AS WELL AS STATUTES RESTRICTING THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR UNOFFICIAL TELEGRAMS, SUCH AS, FOR EXAMPLE, SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JULY 11, 1919, 41 STAT. 68, PROHIBITING THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR TELEGRAMS TO INFLUENCE CONGRESS WITH RESPECT TO PENDING LEGISLATION-- REQUIRE THAT COPIES OF TELEGRAMS ACCOMPANY VOUCHERS MAKING PAYMENT THEREFOR FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS IN ORDER NOT ONLY THAT THE RATES CHARGED MAY BE VERIFIED IN THE AUDIT, BUT, ALSO, THAT IT MAY BE DETERMINED WHETHER SUCH TELEGRAMS ARE OF THE CHARACTER WHICH MAY BE TRANSMITTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. IN DECISION A-11166, DATED OCTOBER 10, 1925, TO COLONEL N. F. MCCLURE, SIGNAL CORPS, U.S. ARMY, RELATING TO PAYMENT FOR RADIOGRAMS, IT WAS STATED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"*** IN THE ABSENCE OF A COPY OF THE MESSAGE THERE IS LACKING SUCH EVIDENCE AS WILL DISCLOSE THE MESSAGES TO HAVE BEEN UPON PUBLIC BUSINESS, OR, IF A VALID PUBLIC OBLIGATION, TO WHAT APPROPRIATION PROPERLY CHARGEABLE. SUCH INFORMATION IS NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CONCERNED IN THE MATTER TO EXERCISE THE DUTIES IMPOSED UPON THEM IN ESTABLISHING THE LEGALITY OF A PAYMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS. IN THIS RESPECT IT IS NOT SEEN WHY THE SAME RULES WHICH ARE APPLICABLE TO CASES OF TELEGRAMS AND CABLEGRAMS, SHOULD NOT APPLY TO RADIOGRAMS. ACCORDINGLY YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME VALID REASON WHY AUTHENTIC COPIES OF SUCH MESSAGES CAN NOT BE FURNISHED, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION IS NOT AUTHORIZED."

HOWEVER, IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, THAT YOUR REQUEST HAS REFERENCE ONLY TO TELEGRAMS TRANSMITTED BY THE SIGNAL CORPS FOR OTHER BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE AND THE COPIES REQUIRED TO ACCOMPANY VOUCHERS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH SERVICE FROM OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. AS TO THE PORTION OF SUCH TELEGRAMS RELAYED TO THEIR DESTINATIONS OVER COMMERCIAL TELEGRAPH LINES, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE CHARGES ARE BILLED, ALSO, BY SUCH TELEGRAPH COMPANIES TO THE SIGNAL CORPS AND THAT THE INVOICES OF SUCH TELEGRAPH COMPANIES WOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY COPIES OF THE TRANSMITTED MESSAGES, THUS AFFORDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A PROPER AUDIT EVEN THOUGH COPIES MAY NOT BE ATTACHED TO THE SIGNAL CORPS INVOICES CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FROM OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. IF THAT BE THE SITUATION TO WHICH YOUR LETTER IS DIRECTED, THIS OFFICE, FOR THE DURATION OF THE PRESENT WAR, WILL NOT INSIST UPON COPIES OF THE TELEGRAMS RELAYED TO COMMERCIAL LINES BY THE SIGNAL CORPS ACCOMPANYING THE VOUCHERS OF THE SIGNAL CORPS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FROM OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. COMPARE B-34936, JUNE 15, 1943. AS TO ANY POSSIBLE IMPROPER CHARGES MADE BY THE SIGNAL CORPS IN SUCH CASES, SEE 6 COMP.GEN. 645.

THIS DECISION IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS WAIVING THE SUBMISSION OF COPIES OF TELEGRAMS WITH VOUCHERS OF THE COMMERCIAL TELEGRAPH COMPANIES.