B-65385, MAY 13, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 864

B-65385: May 13, 1947

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SUCH EXPENSES ARE NOT PAYABLE IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO. WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH A PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE NEVER BEFORE HAD IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL UNDER A HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ORDER. SHOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR DECISION AS TO HOW THIS CASE SHOULD BE HANDLED. IN 1945 AN ORDER GRANTING HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO AN OFFICER IN SWITZERLAND WAS ISSUED. SEVERAL MONTHS LATER THE OFFICER WAS TRANSFERRED FROM HIS POST IN SWITZERLAND TO GERMANY. WAS GIVEN AUTHORITY TO PROCEED FROM SWITZERLAND TO THE UNITED STATES ON HOME LEAVE ORDER PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED. HE WAS TO PROCEED TO HIS NEW POST IN GERMANY. HIS WIFE AND OTHER CHILDREN WERE UNABLE TO ACCOMPANY HIM.

B-65385, MAY 13, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 864

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS - TRAVEL SUBSEQUENT TO OFFICER'S TRAVEL UNDER SECTION 22 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES IN TRAVELING FROM THEIR OVERSEAS POSTS TO THE UNITED STATES AND RETURN ON STATUTORY LEAVE, SUCH EXPENSES ARE NOT PAYABLE IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO, BECAUSE OF ILLNESS, TRAVELED TO THE UNITED STATES AND RETURNED TO THE OFFICER'S OVERSEAS POST SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE THE OFFICER COMPLETED THE TRAVEL INCIDENT TO HIS STATUTORY LEAVE--- SUCH TRAVEL HAVING NO REASONABLE CONNECTION WITH THE STATUTORY LEAVE PREVIOUSLY TAKEN AND COMPLETED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MAY 13, 1947:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1947, REFERENCE FP, AS FOLLOWS.

WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH A PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE NEVER BEFORE HAD IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL UNDER A HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ORDER, AND SHOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR DECISION AS TO HOW THIS CASE SHOULD BE HANDLED.

IN 1945 AN ORDER GRANTING HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO AN OFFICER IN SWITZERLAND WAS ISSUED. THE ORDER, OF COURSE, CONTAINED AUTHORIZATION FOR HIS WIFE AND MINOR CHILDREN TO PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES WITH HIM. SEVERAL MONTHS LATER THE OFFICER WAS TRANSFERRED FROM HIS POST IN SWITZERLAND TO GERMANY, BUT WAS GIVEN AUTHORITY TO PROCEED FROM SWITZERLAND TO THE UNITED STATES ON HOME LEAVE ORDER PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED. AT THE EXPIRATION OF SUCH LEAVE, HE WAS TO PROCEED TO HIS NEW POST IN GERMANY. THE OFFICER PROCEEDED TO THE UNITED STATES WITH ONE OF HIS MINOR CHILDREN, AND AT THE EXPIRATION OF HIS LEAVE PROCEEDED TO HIS NEW POSITION. DUE TO ILLNESS, HOWEVER, HIS WIFE AND OTHER CHILDREN WERE UNABLE TO ACCOMPANY HIM. THE OFFICER NOW INQUIRES AS TO WHETHER HIS WIFE AND MINOR CHILDREN MAY PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ORDER.

IT WOULD SEEM FROM HIS INQUIRY THAT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, RATHER THAN PROCEEDING TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE FUTURE AND THEN GOING TO GERMANY UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF HIS TRANSFER ORDER, HAVE PROCEEDED FROM SWITZERLAND TO GERMANY ALREADY AND WISH NOW TO PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES AND BACK FROM HIS NEW POST.

IT WOULD SEEM FROM HIS INQUIRY THAT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, RATHER THAN PROCEEDING TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE FUTURE AND THEN GOING TO GERMANY UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF HIS TRANSFER ORDER, HAVE PROCEEDED FROM SWITZERLAND TO GERMANY ALREADY AND WISH NOW TO PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES AND BACK FROM HIS NEW POST.

IT WOULD SEEM ALSO TO US THAT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN VOLUNTARILY PROCEEDED DIRECT FROM THE OLD POST TO THE NEW, WE WOULD BE UNABLE TO ISSUE AN EXTENSION OF THE HOME LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ORDER FOR THEM. IS THIS OPINION THE CORRECT ONE?

IN AS MUCH AS, HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT CLEAR WHETHER ALL OF THE CHILDREN ARE IN GERMANY, WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR ANY OF THE MINOR CHILDREN WHO HAVE NOT PROCEEDED TO THE NEW POST TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES ON STATUTORY LEAVE ORDERS AND THEN PROCEED TO THEIR FATHER'S NEW POST?

SECTION 22 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1210, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 17, 1941 (22 U.S.C. 17), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS AUTHORIZED, WHENEVER HE DEEMS IT TO BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, TO ORDER TO THE UNITED STATES ON HIS STATUTORY LEAVE OF ABSENCE ANY FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER OF VICE CONSUL OF CAREER WHO HAS PERFORMED THREE YEARS OR MORE OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE ABROAD: PROVIDED, THAT THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE OF SUCH OFFICERS AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, IN TRAVELING FROM THEIR POSTS TO THEIR HOMES IN THE UNITED STATES AND RETURN, SHALL BE PAID UNDER THE SAME RULES AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE IN THE CASE OF OFFICERS GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS UNDER ORDERS OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE WHEN NOT ON LEAVE * *

THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED ACT--- IN EFFECT IN RESPECT OF THE PRESENT MATTER--- WAS TO AUTHORIZE THE GRANTING OF STATUTORY LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS OR VICE CONSULS, AND THE TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED THEREUNDER FOR THE FAMILIES OF SUCH OFFICERS IS ONLY SUCH AS MAY BE INCIDENTAL TO THE LEAVE SO GRANTED AND THE TRAVEL OF SUCH OFFICERS TO THEIR HOMES IN THE UNITED STATES. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS THE OFFICE--- NOT HIS FAMILY--- WHO IS AUTHORIZED BY THE STATUTE TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES ON LEAVE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. THE AUTHORITY TO TRANSPORT HIS FAMILY MERELY IS INCIDENTAL TO THE STATUTORY LEAVE AND MAY NOT OPERATE INDEPENDENTLY THEREOF.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE OFFICER TOOK THE LEAVE AUTHORIZED BY THE ORDER ISSUED IN 1945, COMPLETED THE TRAVEL INCIDENT THERETO AND HAS RETURNED TO HIS POST OF DUTY ABROAD. UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, SUBSEQUENT TRAVEL BY THE OFFICER'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES WOULD HAVE NO REASONABLE CONNECTION WITH THE STATUTORY LEAVE PREVIOUSLY TAKEN AND COMPLETED BY THE OFFICER, AND SUCH TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW.