B-66823, AUGUST 1, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 55

B-66823: Aug 1, 1947

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

AS FOLLOWS: IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT MANY TRANSOCEANIC COMMERCIAL STEAMSHIP COMPANIES ARE QUOTING TWO FIRST-CLASS RATES. THE COMPARTMENTS IN QUESTION ACCOMMODATE FROM EIGHT (8) TO FIFTY (50) OR MORE PEOPLE AND ARE USUALLY OF THE TYPE UTILIZED FOR THE EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OF TROOPS DURING THE WAR. THERE IS NOW BEFORE THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION WHETHER. ACCOMMODATIONS OF THE TYPE DESCRIBED AS COMPARTMENTS ARE IN FACT FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AND IT IS REQUIRED THAT SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS BE UTILIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MILITARY PERSONNEL ENTITLED TO FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS OTHER THAN IN A TRAVEL WITH TROOPS STATUS.

B-66823, AUGUST 1, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 55

TRANSPORTATION - VESSELS - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - ACCOMMODATIONS ON TROOP CARRIERS PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS OFFERED BY AGENTS OF THE MARITIME COMMISSION IN DORMITORIES AND OPEN TROOP AREAS ON C4-TYPE VESSELS (TROOP CARRIERS) PRESENTLY ENGAGED IN TRANSOCEANIC PASSENGER SERVICE, NOT BEING SUPERIOR OR EVEN EQUAL TO INFERIOR PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS OF REGULARLY SCHEDULED COMMERCIAL VESSELS IN THE SAME SERVICE, NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS FIRST- CLASS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE COST LIMITATION OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED, EVEN THOUGH OFFERED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON THAT BASIS, SO THAT MILITARY PERSONNEL MAY BE FURNISHED STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE LOWEST RATE THEREFOR WHEN REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON SUCH VESSELS.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, AUGUST 1, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT MANY TRANSOCEANIC COMMERCIAL STEAMSHIP COMPANIES ARE QUOTING TWO FIRST-CLASS RATES, I.E., COMPARTMENT AND STATEROOM. THE COMPARTMENTS IN QUESTION ACCOMMODATE FROM EIGHT (8) TO FIFTY (50) OR MORE PEOPLE AND ARE USUALLY OF THE TYPE UTILIZED FOR THE EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION OF TROOPS DURING THE WAR.

THERE IS NOW BEFORE THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION WHETHER, UNDER EXISTING LAW, ACCOMMODATIONS OF THE TYPE DESCRIBED AS COMPARTMENTS ARE IN FACT FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AND IT IS REQUIRED THAT SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS BE UTILIZED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MILITARY PERSONNEL ENTITLED TO FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS OTHER THAN IN A TRAVEL WITH TROOPS STATUS. THE DEPARTMENT FEELS THAT THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS REFERRED TO IN THE ACT OF 3 MARCH 1933 (47 STAT. 1516) IS INTENDED TO MEAN, IN THIS CASE, THE LOWEST STATEROOM ACCOMMODATION.

IT IS THEREFORE REQUESTED THAT I BE ADVISED WHETHER YOU WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE FURNISHING OF THE USUAL STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS AS THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED ABOVE.

IN THIS CONNECTION, REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE RULING ANNOUNCED IN DECISION A-50504, DATED 23 SEPTEMBER 1933, WHEREIN IT IS HELD "FROM THE FACTS SET FORTH IT APPEARS THAT THE "INSIDE BERTHROOMS" AT $1.25 ON THE NORFOLK AND WASHINGTON STEAMBOAT COMPANIES LINE ARE NOT IN FACT FIRST-CLASS ROOMS BUT ARE INFERIOR ROOMS. ACCORDINGLY, SETTLEMENT WILL BE MADE AT THE LOWEST RATE FOR OUTSIDE ROOMS.' REFERENCE IS ALSO MADE TO SO MUCH OF THE PROVISIONS OF CIRCULAR A-7, REVISED, DATED 5 SEPTEMBER 1946, ISSUED BY THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, WASHINGTON 25, D.C., TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, SUBJECT: PROMULGATION AND AMENDMENTS OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS DEFINES STEAMER ACCOMMODATIONS " STATEROOMS: ONE LOWEST AVAILABLE FIRST -CLASS RATE STATEROOM ACCOMMODATION * * *.'

THE PROVISIONS REFERRED TO IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, ARE CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THAT ACT, 47 STAT. 1516. THAT SECTION WAS AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808, TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 10. WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION MAY BE ALLOWED, SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRANSPORTATION UNLESS IT IS CERTIFIED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY.

IN VIEW OF THE RESTRICTIVE PROVISIONS OF THE QUOTED STATUTE, THIS OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ALLOW CREDIT IN DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS FOR ANY AMOUNT PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION IN EXCESS OF THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED. GENERALLY, THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER PARTICULAR PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS ARE FIRST CLASS OR OTHERWISE HAS BEEN LEFT TO THE STEAMSHIP COMPANIES INVOLVED, AND THIS OFFICE HAS, AS A GENERAL PRACTICE, ACCEPTED THEIR DETERMINATIONS IN THE MATTER, AS REFLECTED BY THEIR PUBLISHED TARIFFS, AND ALLOWED CREDIT FOR THE COST AT THE LOWEST PUBLISHED RATE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS DESCRIBED AS FIRST-CLASS.

THE NAMES OF THE COMMERCIAL STEAMSHIP COMPANIES REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER HAVE NOT BEEN FURNISHED. HOWEVER, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE "COMPARTMENT" ACCOMMODATIONS DESCRIBED ARE THOSE BEING OFFERED TO THE PUBLIC BY VARIOUS COMMERCIAL STEAMSHIP COMPANIES ACTING AS AGENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION ON VESSELS OF THAT COMMISSION CURRENTLY, OPERATING IN TRANSOCEANIC SERVICE. A SCHEDULE OF SAILINGS DURING JULY AND AUGUST, 1947, OF VARIOUS VESSELS OF THAT TYPE, PUBLISHED BY THE UNITED STATES LINES, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNDER DATE OF JULY 1, 1947, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING DESCRIPTIVE INFORMATION:

THE STEAMERS LISTED ABOVE ARE C4 TYPE VESSELS WHICH WERE BUILT AS TROOP CARRIERS WITH A LIMITED NUMBER OF STATEROOMS AND THE BALANCE OF PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS IN DORMITORIES AND OPEN TROOP AREAS. THEY ARE NOT REGULAR PASSENGER SHIPS AND ARE BEING OPERATED ON AN EMERGENCY BASIS TO ASSIST IN TRANSPORTING THE LARGE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS WHO CANNOT BE ACCOMMODATED OTHERWISE. IT IS STRONGLY EMPHASIZED THAT THESE VESSELS HAVE VERY FEW FACILITIES FOR THE CONVENIENCE AND COMFORT OF PASSENGERS.

FROM SUCH INFORMATION IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS OFFERED IN THE DORMITORY AND OPEN TROOP AREAS ON THOSE VESSELS ARE IN FACT FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS, OR THAT THEY ARE SUPERIOR OR EVEN EQUAL TO THE SO-CALLED INFERIOR PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS OF THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED VESSELS OF COMMERCIAL LINES IN THE SAME SERVICE. SUCH ARE THE FACTS, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED, SUPRA, REQUIRE THAT SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS BE CONSIDERED AS FIRST-CLASS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT ACT, EVEN THOUGH OFFERED TO THE PUBLIC ON THAT BASIS.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE FURNISHING TO THE MILITARY PERSONNEL DESCRIBED OF STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE LOWEST RATE FOR SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS WHEN REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON VESSELS OF THE TYPE HEREIN DISCUSSED.