B-6066, SEPTEMBER 22, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 387

B-6066: Sep 22, 1939

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" IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENSE OF PACKING. 1939: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15. MANY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE ARE FACING THE NECESSITY OF GIVING UP THEIR PRESENT LIVING QUARTERS AND SHIPPING THEIR EFFECTS TO PLACES OF SAFETY FOR STORAGE. EMBODYING THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE HANDLING OF EFFECTS IS ENCLOSED FOR READY REFERENCE. WHEN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ARE TRANSFERRED TO NEW POSTS THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THE CHARGES FOR HANDLING EFFECTS. IN THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES THEY ARE REMAINING AT THEIR POSTS BUT MOVING INTO HOTELS AND PENSIONS WHERE AIR-RAID SAFEGUARDS ARE MORE ADEQUATE. IN SOME CASES IT WILL BE FEASIBLE TO SHIP EFFECTS TO NEARBY PLACES WHILE IN OTHERS IT PROBABLY WILL BE MORE PRACTICABLE TO TRANSPORT THEM TO THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S HOME IN THE UNITED STATES FOR STORAGE.

B-6066, SEPTEMBER 22, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 387

TRANSPORTATION, PACKING, AND STORING OF EFFECTS OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AT PLACES OF SAFETY - DISTURBED CONDITIONS IN EUROPE THE APPROPRIATION " TRANSPORTATION, FOREIGN SERVICE," MADE IN THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1939, 53 STAT. 887, AND PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ONLY "IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS," IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENSE OF PACKING, SHIPPING, AND STORAGE OF THE EFFECTS OF SUCH PERSONNEL WHO WHILE REMAINING AT THEIR POSTS OF DUTY FIND IT NECESSARY, BECAUSE OF EXISTING DISTURBED CONDITIONS IN EUROPE, TO GIVE UP THEIR PRESENT LIVING QUARTERS AND SHIP THEIR EFFECTS TO PLACES OF SAFETY FOR STORAGE, SUCH EXPENSES, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, NOT BEING ACTUALLY INCIDENT TO TRAVEL BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO OR FROM HIS POST OF DUTY AND AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE TRANSFER OF EFFECTS NOT BEING AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF STORAGE. DECISIONS INVOLVING EVACUATION OF DEPENDENTS OF NAVAL OFFICERS TO PLACES OF SAFETY AS AN INCIDENT TO TRANSPORTATION OF OFFICERS FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY AND EVACUATION TO A PLACE OF SAFETY OF FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL BROWN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SEPTEMBER 22, 1939:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

DUE TO THE EXISTING DISTURBED CONDITIONS IN EUROPE, MANY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE ARE FACING THE NECESSITY OF GIVING UP THEIR PRESENT LIVING QUARTERS AND SHIPPING THEIR EFFECTS TO PLACES OF SAFETY FOR STORAGE. THE QUESTION NATURALLY ARISES WHETHER THE COSTS INCIDENT TO THE PACKING, SHIPPING, STORAGE AND RETURN SHIPMENT TO THE PRESENT POST OR TO A NEW PLACE OF ASSIGNMENT MAY BE AUTHORIZED AS PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION," TRANSPORTATION, FOREIGN SERVICE," THE PERTINENT PORTION OF WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"TO PAY THE TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE, OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS, AND OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE, INCLUDING FOREIGN SERVICE INSPECTORS, AND UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF STATE MAY PRESCRIBE, OF THEIR FAMILIES AND EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS, IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS * *

A COPY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, EMBODYING THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE HANDLING OF EFFECTS IS ENCLOSED FOR READY REFERENCE.

WHEN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ARE TRANSFERRED TO NEW POSTS THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THE CHARGES FOR HANDLING EFFECTS. HOWEVER, IN THE PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES THEY ARE REMAINING AT THEIR POSTS BUT MOVING INTO HOTELS AND PENSIONS WHERE AIR-RAID SAFEGUARDS ARE MORE ADEQUATE. IN SOME CASES IT WILL BE FEASIBLE TO SHIP EFFECTS TO NEARBY PLACES WHILE IN OTHERS IT PROBABLY WILL BE MORE PRACTICABLE TO TRANSPORT THEM TO THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S HOME IN THE UNITED STATES FOR STORAGE. I DO NOT CONSIDER THAT STORAGE CHARGES SHOULD BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ON ANY EFFECTS SHIPPED TO THE UNITED STATES, BUT, IF IT IS LEGALLY POSSIBLE TO DO SO, I THINK SUCH CHARGES MIGHT BE PAID ON THE EFFECTS SHIPPED TO NEARBY PLACES ABROAD FOR STORAGE.

IN THIS CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO DECISIONS A-88570 OF SEPTEMBER 13, 1937, CONCERNING THE EVACUATION OF NAVAL PERSONNEL AND DEPENDENTS FROM CHINA; A-89472 OF OCTOBER 12, 1937, RELATING TO PERSONS AND DEPENDENTS OF THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE; AND NOTE 35 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ENCLOSED.

I WOULD APPRECIATE AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR OPINION CONCERNING THE LEGALITY OF AUTHORIZING THE PACKING, SHIPPING, AND STORAGE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF THE EFFECTS OF SUCH OF THE PERSONNEL OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE WHO FIND IT NECESSARY IN VIEW OF THE EMERGENCY CONDITIONS DESCRIBED TO REMOVE THEIR EFFECTS AS INDICATED.

THE APPROPRIATION " TRANSPORTATION, FOREIGN SERVICE," MADE IN THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1939, 53 STAT. 887, QUOTED IN PART IN YOUR LETTER, PROVIDES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR, AND FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ONLY "IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS.' THEREFORE, THAT APPROPRIATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF PACKING, CRATING, OR TRANSPORTING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN SUCH EXPENSES ARE NOT ACTUALLY INCIDENT TO TRAVEL BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO OR FROM HIS POST OF DUTY. ALSO, AN APPROPRIATION PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES HAS BEEN HELD AS NOT AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF THE COST OF STORAGE OF SUCH EFFECTS. 9 COMP. GEN. 517. WHILE NOTE 35 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE SUPPLEMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY AND EFFECTS NEED NOT NECESSARILY BE PROCURED CONCURRENTLY WITH THE TRAVEL OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, SUCH REGULATION NEVERTHELESS RELATES TO THE MATTER OF EXPENSES INCIDENTAL TO THE EXPENSES OF THE INVOLVED OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS, AND IS NOT, THEREFORE CONTROLLING UPON, OR DECISIVE OF, THE MATTER HERE PRESENTED. CF. 7 COMP. GEN. 330.

THE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 13, 1937, A-88570, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, AUTHORIZED THE EVACUATION OF DEPENDENTS OF NAVAL OFFICERS FROM THE SHANGHAI AREA AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BUT DIRECTED THAT THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH SHOULD CONSTITUTE A CHARGE AGAINST THE ULTIMATE COST OF RETURNING THE DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES AT THE EXPIRATION OF THE OFFICER'S TOUR OF DUTY, WHICH IS USUALLY LIMITED TO 2 YEARS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES IN THE CASE OF NAVAL OFFICERS. THAT IS TO SAY, THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED AS AN INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICER FROM HIS POST OF DUTY. THAT DECISION IS NOT CONTEMPLATED ARE NOT INCIDENTAL TO TRAVEL BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO OR FROM HIS POST OF DUTY. IN THE OTHER DECISION CITED IN YOUR LETTER, THAT OF OCTOBER 12, 1937, A-89472, THE EXPENSES OF EVACUATING EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE TO A PLACE OF SAFETY WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE CHARGED TO THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION, BUT THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS INVOLVED IN THAT CASE WERE MUCH BROADER IN TERMS THAN THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION HERE.

IN VIEW OF THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE CITED APPROPRIATION ACT PROVIDING FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ONLY "IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS"--- THERE BEING NO SUCH TRANSPORTATION INVOLVED HERE--- AND OF THE FURTHER FACT THAT AN APPROPRIATION PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS HAS BEEN HELD NOT TO COVER EXPENSES OF STORAGE, I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT THE CITED APPROPRIATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSE INDICATED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER.