B-69148, APRIL 5, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 587

B-69148: Apr 5, 1948

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IN THE ABSENCE OF THE COMMISSION'S CERTIFICATION THAT SUCH AMOUNTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE APPLICATION DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. THE TITLE TO WHICH WAS TAKEN OR THE USE OF WHICH TAKEN AND THE VESSELS SUBSEQUENTLY LOST. WERE FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE. IS TO PROPOSE FOR PAYMENT 75 PERCENT OF SUCH AMOUNT AS HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO CONSTITUTE JUST COMPENSATION AND WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED AS IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. 000 GROSS TONS WHICH WERE REQUISITIONED FOR USE BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION. EXCEPT FOR THE PERIOD NECESSARY FOR THE OWNERS TO COMPLETE REPAIRS TO RESTORE THE VESSELS TO THE CONDITION THEY WERE IN ON THE DATE OF DELIVERY UNDER THE CHARTER.

B-69148, APRIL 5, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 587

VESSELS - JUST COMPENSATION PAYMENTS - CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS VOUCHERS PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF 75 PERCENT OR THE BALANCE OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION TO CONSTITUTE JUST COMPENSATION FOR VESSELS OF OVER 1,000 GROSS TONS REQUISITIONED FOR TITLE OR USE AND SUBSEQUENTLY LOST, MAY NOT BE APPROVED FOR PAYMENT BY THIS OFFICE WHEN PRESENTED BY THE MARITIME COMMISSION AS THE SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE ADMINISTRATION, IN THE ABSENCE OF THE COMMISSION'S CERTIFICATION THAT SUCH AMOUNTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE APPLICATION DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. THE RULE AGAINST THE REOPENING OF A PREDECESSOR'S FINAL QUASI JUDICIAL DECISIONS DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE REEXAMINATION REQUIRED TO BE MADE BY THE MARITIME COMMISSION, AND THE SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, TO ASCERTAIN AND CERTIFY THAT AMOUNTS PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED BY THE ADMINISTRATION AS CONSTITUTING JUST COMPENSATION FOR VESSELS OF OVER 1,000 GROSS TONS, THE TITLE TO WHICH WAS TAKEN OR THE USE OF WHICH TAKEN AND THE VESSELS SUBSEQUENTLY LOST, WERE FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE. ALTHOUGH SOME CLAIMANTS MAY OBJECT TO REDETERMINATION BY THE MARITIME COMMISSION OF THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION'S FINDING AS TO AMOUNT PAYABLE AS JUST COMPENSATION FOR VESSELS REQUISITIONED FOR TITLE OR USE, THE DUTY OF THE COMMISSION, IN THE EVENT NO AGREEMENT WITH CLAIMANT CAN BE REACHED, IS TO PROPOSE FOR PAYMENT 75 PERCENT OF SUCH AMOUNT AS HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO CONSTITUTE JUST COMPENSATION AND WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED AS IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, SUCH CLAIMANTS THEN HAVING THE RIGHT TO BRING SUIT UNDER SECTION 902 (D) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, AS AMENDED, FOR ANY AMOUNT BELIEVED DUE. IN THE CASE OF VESSELS OF OVER 1,000 GROSS TONS WHICH WERE REQUISITIONED FOR USE BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, AND FOR WHICH CHARTER HIRE HAS BEEN PAID FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF USE, EXCEPT FOR THE PERIOD NECESSARY FOR THE OWNERS TO COMPLETE REPAIRS TO RESTORE THE VESSELS TO THE CONDITION THEY WERE IN ON THE DATE OF DELIVERY UNDER THE CHARTER, VOUCHERS COVERING PAYMENT OF JUST COMPENSATION FOR USE FOR SUCH PERIOD MUST BE SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATION THAT THE AMOUNTS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. VOUCHERS PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF AMOUNTS DETERMINED AS CONSTITUTING JUST COMPENSATION FOR VESSELS OF LESS THAN 1,000 GROSS TONS, TITLE TO WHICH WAS TAKEN OR THE USE OF WHICH WAS TAKEN AND THE VESSELS SUBSEQUENTLY LOST, NEED NOT BE CERTIFIED BY THE MARITIME COMMISSION AS IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, AND SUCH VOUCHERS WILL BE APPROVED FOR PAYMENT, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT EXCEPTION WILL BE TAKEN IF, IN THE POST AUDIT, EVIDENCE DISCLOSES THAT THE AMOUNT PAID IS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. VOUCHERS COVERING THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST DUE TO DELAY IN PAYMENT OF JUST COMPENSATION FOR VESSELS OF OVER 1,000 GROSS TONS WHICH WERE REQUISITIONED FOR TITLE MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE SAME CERTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR OTHER JUST COMPENSATION PAYMENTS THAT THE PAYMENT IS IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE APPLICATION DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION, APRIL 5, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 10, 1948, IN WHICH YOU OUTLINE SEVERAL PROBLEMS IN CONNECTION WITH PENDING CLAIMS FOR JUST COMPENSATION FOR VESSELS, THE USE OR TITLE OF WHICH WAS TAKEN BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION. AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH CLAIMS BY PUBLIC LAW 299, APPROVED JULY 31, 1947, 61 STAT. 698, ARE NOT AVAILABLE BEYOND MARCH 31, 1948, BUT IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT LEGISLATION EXTENDING THE PERIOD OF AVAILABILITY IS PENDING IN THE CONGRESS. THIS DECISION IS THEREFORE BASED UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT SUCH EXTENSION WILL BE GRANTED.

THE CLAIMS DISCUSSED IN YOUR LETTER ARE DIVIDED INTO SEVERAL CLASSES.

THE FIRST CLASS OF CLAIMS INVOLVES VESSELS IN EXCESS OF 1,000 GROSS TONS, THE TITLE TO WHICH WAS TAKEN OR THE USE OF WHICH WAS TAKEN AND THE VESSELS SUBSEQUENTLY LOST. IN ALL THESE CASES THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION HAD DETERMINED JUST COMPENSATION. IN SOME INSTANCES 75 PERCENT OF THE AMOUNT SO DETERMINED HAS BEEN PAID, WHILE IN OTHERS NO PAYMENTS TO THE OWNERS OR FORMER OWNERS HAVE BEEN MADE. IN CONNECTION WITH THIS CLASS OF CASES YOUR LETTER RAISES THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(A) IF VOUCHERS AND APPROPRIATE CLOSING PAPERS PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT DETERMINED AS JUST COMPENSATION OR UNPAID BALANCES WHICH, WHEN ADDED TO THE AMOUNT PREVIOUSLY TAKEN, WILL AGGREGATE THE TOTAL AMOUNT DETERMINED AS JUST COMPENSATION, ARE PRESENTED, WILL THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE APPROVE PAYMENT OF SUCH AMOUNTS?

(B) IF VOUCHERS FOR 75 PERCENT, OR THE UNPAID AMOUNTS REQUIRED TO MAKE UP TOTAL PAYMENTS OF 75 PERCENT, ARE PRESENTED, WILL THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE APPROVE PAYMENT OF SUCH AMOUNTS?

PRESUMABLY, THE INTENT OF BOTH QUESTIONS IS TO REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH VESSELS MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE CERTIFICATIONS REQUIRED BY DECISION OF OCTOBER 13, 1947 (B-30613, B 69148).

IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 13, 1947, IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO DETERMINATIONS OF JUST COMPENSATION BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION OR THE UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION. THE DETERMINATIONS MADE BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION WERE MADE AFTER THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 902 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, AS AMENDED, 53 STAT. 1255, HAS BEEN CLARIFIED IN SEVERAL DECISIONS BY THIS OFFICE RENDERED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 304 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921, 31 U.S.C. 74. CONSEQUENTLY, SUCH DETERMINATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PRINCIPLES LAID DOWN IN 22 COMP. GEN. 497 AND OTHER PERTINENT DECISIONS.

YOUR LETTER EXPRESSES DOUBT AS TO THE LEGAL RIGHT OF THE MARITIME COMMISSION TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF JUST COMPENSATION IN CASES WHERE A PRIOR DETERMINATION HAS BEEN MADE BY THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, CITING CERTAIN DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. THE DECISIONS CITED DEAL WITH THE REOPENING OF FINAL DECISIONS OF A PREDECESSOR AND WOULD NOT BE FOR APPLICATION HERE. WHAT IS REQUIRED OF THE MARITIME COMMISSION IS NOT A REOPENING OF A DECISION QUASI JUDICIAL IN NATURE ( UNITED STATES V. STONE, 2 WALL. 525,535), BUT A REEXAMINATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASCERTAINING THAT SUCH DETERMINATIONS ARE IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AS CONSTRUED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN DECISIONS RENDERED AT THE SPECIFIC REQUEST OF THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATOR. IF SUCH REEXAMINATION DISCLOSES THAT THE AMOUNTS PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF SUCH APPLICABLE DECISIONS, CERTIFICATIONS CAN BE MADE ACCORDINGLY. IF, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE THE REEXAMINATION DISCLOSES THAT THE AMOUNTS ARE NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF THOSE DECISIONS, THE MARITIME COMMISSION IS IN NO DIFFERENT POSITION THAN THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION WOULD BE WERE IT STILL IN EXISTENCE. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION WOULD HAVE CLEAR AUTHORITY TO MAKE NEW DETERMINATIONS THAT WOULD JUSTIFY THE EXECUTION OF THE REQUIRED CERTIFICATIONS; THE MARITIME COMMISSION, AS SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION, HAS NO LESS AUTHORITY IN THAT RESPECT. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, WEST V. STANDARD OIL COMPANY, 278 U.S. 200; WILBUR V. UNITED STATES, 281 U.S. 206; NOBLE V. UNION RIVER LOGGING RAILROAD, 147 U.S. 165; UNITED STATES V. STONE, SUPRA.

IT IS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER THAT SOME OF THE CLAIMANTS MAY OBJECT TO REDETERMINATION OF THE AMOUNT PAYABLE AS JUST COMPENSATION AND ELECT TO STAND UPON THE ORIGINAL DETERMINATION IF IN A HIGHER AMOUNT. BE THAT AS IT MAY, ASSUMING NO AGREEMENT WITH THE CLAIMANT CAN BE REACHED, THE DUTY OF YOUR AGENCY IS TO PROPOSE FOR PAYMENT 75 PERCENT OF SUCH AMOUNT AS HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO CONSTITUTE JUST COMPENSATION AND WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED AS IN CONFORMANCE WITH THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. SUCH CLAIMANT THEN HAS THE RIGHT TO PROCEED UNDER SECTION 902 (D) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, AS AMENDED, 53 STAT. 1256, WHICH PROVIDES THAT A CLAIMANT, IF DISSATISFIED WITH THE AMOUNT OF JUST COMPENSATION DETERMINED,"SHALL BE PAID 75 PERCENTUM OF THE AMOUNT SO DETERMINED AND SHALL BE ENTITLED TO SUE THE UNITED STATES TO RECOVER SUCH FURTHER SUM AS, ADDED TO SAID 75 PERCENTUM WILL MAKE UP SUCH AMOUNT AS WILL BE JUST COMPENSATION THEREFOR, IN THE MANNER PROVIDED FOR BY SECTION 24, PARAGRAPH 20, AND SECTION 145 OF THE JUDICIAL CODE.'

YOUR LETTER FURTHER REQUESTS ADVICE AS TO WHETHER CLAIMS FOR JUST COMPENSATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE VESSELS HERE INVOLVED MAY BE REFERRED TO THE COURT OF CLAIMS UNDER SECTION 148 OF THE JUDICIAL CODE, 28 U.S.C. 254, AND, IF SO, REQUESTS ADVICE AS TO THE PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN SUCH REFERENCE. QUESTIONS AS TO THE APPLICABILITY OF SAID PROVISION OF LAW TO PARTICULAR CLAIMS WOULD APPEAR TO BE FOR DETERMINATION, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, BY THE DEPARTMENT HAVING JURISDICTION OVER THE CLAIM AND FOR THE DETERMINATION THEREAFTER BY THE COURT OF CLAIMS ITSELF. AS TO THE PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN MAKING SUCH A REFERENCE, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO SEVERAL CASES HOLDING THAT THE REASON FOR THE SUBMISSION SHOULD BE STATED IN THE LETTER OF SUBMITTAL BUT THAT THE FORMS AND TECHNICALITIES OF THE COURTS NEED NOT NECESSARILY BE OBSERVED. VIZ. MILLS V. UNITED STATES, 19 C.1CLS. 79; HAYES V. UNITED STATES, 44 C.1CLS. 493. REPRESENTATIVES OF THIS OFFICE WILL BE GLAD TO CONFER INFORMALLY WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MARITIME COMMISSION WITH A VIEW TO AFFORDING POSSIBLE ASSISTANCE IN THE PREPARATION OF SUCH REFERENCE, IF IT BE DECIDED TO TAKE THAT COURSE OF ACTION.

HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THAT 15 OF THE VESSELS INCLUDED IN THIS CLASS, AS DESCRIBED IN YOUR EXHIBIT A, ARE FINNISH VESSELS, IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH SUITS HAVE ALREADY BEEN FILED BY THE FORMER OWNERS IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS. THESE VESSELS WERE THE SUBJECT OF MY DECISION TO YOU, B 73577, DATED MARCH 22, 1948, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT THE FUNDS WHICH HAVE BEEN DEPOSITED WITH THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES TO COVER THE PAYMENT OF JUST COMPENSATION FOR SUCH VESSELS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSE IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 29 OF THE TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN ENGLAND, RUSSIA AND FINLAND. NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN MODIFIES OR ALTERS THAT DECISION.

THE SECOND CLASS OF CLAIMS INVOLVES VESSELS IN EXCESS OF 1,000 GROSS TONS WHICH WERE TAKEN FOR USE. IN CONNECTION WITH CERTAIN OF THESE VESSELS IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION DETERMINED JUST COMPENSATION FOR USE BUT THAT THE SHIP OWNERS DID NOT EXECUTE AND DELIVER A CHARTER EMBODYING SAID JUST COMPENSATION FOR USE AS CHARTER HIRE. THESE CASES THE OWNERS HAVE BEEN PAID 75 PERCENT OF THE AMOUNTS SO DETERMINED AS CHARTER HIRE AND THERE REMAINS FOR PAYMENT 25 PERCENT OF SUCH AMOUNT. IN CONNECTION WITH THE REMAINING VESSELS OF THIS CLASS, CHARTER HIRE HAS BEEN PAID FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF USE, BUT CHARTER HIRE FOR THE PERIOD NECESSARY FOR THE OWNER TO COMPLETE REPAIRS TO RESTORE THE VESSEL TO THE CONDITION IT WAS IN ON THE DATE OF DELIVERY UNDER THE CHARTER REMAINS TO BE PAID. WITH RESPECT TO THIS CLASS OF CLAIMS THE SAME QUESTIONS ARE ASKED AS IN CONNECTION WITH THE FIRST CLASS, DISCUSSED ABOVE.

NO NECESSITY IS PERCEIVED FOR REITERATING THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ABOVE. THE POSITION OF THIS OFFICE IS AS CLEAR AS IT IS SIMPLE. IF THE PAYMENT IS FOR JUST COMPENSATION, OR ANY PART OF JUST COMPENSATION- - EXCEPT WITH RESPECT TO SMALL VESSELS HEREINAFTER DISCUSSED--- THE VOUCHER MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE CERTIFICATION SET FORTH IN B-30613, B 69148, OCTOBER 13, 1947.

THE THIRD CLASS OF CLAIMS INVOLVES VESSELS OF LESS THAN 1,000 GROSS TONS, WHICH WERE TAKEN FOR USE OR TITLE. IN CONNECTION WITH THESE CLAIMS YOUR LETTER POINTS OUT THAT ON OCTOBER 22, 1946, THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE A LETTER CONTAINING A CERTIFICATION BASED UPON A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 1, 1946, FROM ADMIRAL EDMOND J. MORAN, IN WHICH THAT OFFICER SET FORTH HIS DETERMINATION THAT THE WAR HAD NOT INCREASED THE VALUE OF YACHTS AND THAT WHILE THE WAR HAD INCREASED THE VALUE OF FISHING VESSELS, THE INCREASE DID NOT EXCEED THE INCREASE FROM 1939 DUE TO THE GENERAL RISE IN ECONOMIC CONDITIONS. ALSO, IT IS POINTED OUT THAT NO REPLY HAS BEEN RECEIVED TO SAID LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1946, BUT THAT YOU HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE AUDIT DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS BEEN INSTRUCTED NOT TO TAKE EXCEPTION TO DETERMINATIONS OF JUST COMPENSATION FOR SMALL VESSELS UNLESS IT CLEARLY APPEARS THAT THE DETERMINATIONS EXCEED THE VALUES AS OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1939. IN THIS CONNECTION, NO REPLY TO SAID LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1946, WAS DEEMED NECESSARY, THE UNDERSTANDING HERE BEING THAT IF A CERTIFICATION SUCH AS THAT MADE IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1946, WERE FURNISHED, OTHERWISE PROPER VOUCHERS COVERING JUST COMPENSATION FOR SMALL VESSELS WOULD--- AS A GENERAL PROPOSITION--- BE PASSED AS BEING IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. IN ANY EVENT YOUR UNDERSTANDING IS CORRECT THAT SINCE RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1946, THAT PRACTICE HAS OBTAINED. ACCORDINGLY, VOUCHERS COVERING SMALL VESSELS, THAT IS, THOSE UNDER 1,000 GROSS TONS, NEED NOT BE CERTIFIED AS REQUIRED IN SAID LETTER OF OCTOBER 13, 1947, AND SUCH VOUCHERS WILL BE APPROVED FOR PAYMENT IF THEY ARE OTHERWISE CORRECT, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING, HOWEVER, THAT IF IN THE POST AUDIT OF PARTICULAR CASES EVIDENCE IS FOUND THAT THE AMOUNT PAID IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CERTIFICATION, EXCEPTION WILL BE TAKEN.

THE FOURTH CLASS OF CLAIMS INVOLVES VESSELS WHICH WERE TAKEN FOR TITLE AND FOR WHICH JUST COMPENSATION HAS BEEN PAID. IN CONNECTION WITH THESE VESSELS THE FORMER OWNERS HAVE CLAIMED ALLOWANCES FOR LOSSES DUE TO DELAY IN PAYMENT. YOUR QUESTION HERE IS, IN EFFECT, WHETHER VOUCHERS COVERING AMOUNTS ALLOWED FOR DELAY IN PAYMENT NEED BE CERTIFIED AS REQUIRED FOR JUST COMPENSATION PAYMENTS GENERALLY. THE COURTS HAVE HELD THAT INTEREST IS PROPERLY INCLUDIBLE AS A PART OF JUST COMPENSATION WHERE THE TAKING PRECEDES THE PAYMENT. PHELPS V. UNITED STATES, 274 U.S. 341; SEABOARD AIR LINE RAILWAY V. UNITED STATES, 261 U.S. 299. TRAILERSHIPS V. UNITED STATES, 66 F.1SUPP. 595; WALKER V. UNITED STATES, 64 F.1SUPP. 135. AND, OF COURSE, IN DETERMINING THE PROPRIETY OF THE INTEREST PAYMENT THERE MUST BE CONSIDERED THE CORRECTNESS OF THE BASE FIGURE UPON WHICH SUCH INTEREST IS COMPUTED. ACCORDINGLY, VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH PAYMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH VESSELS OF 1,000 GROSS TONS OR OVER MUST BE SUPPORTED BY THE SAME CERTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR OTHER JUST COMPENSATION PAYMENTS.

YOUR COMMISSION IS CORRECT IN THE UNDERSTANDING SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER THAT CLOSING PAPERS IN JUST COMPENSATION CASES SHOULD BE EXECUTED IN THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES, ACTING BY AND THROUGH THE MARITIME COMMISSION, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED WAS MADE TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

FINALLY, YOUR LETTER REQUESTS ADVICE AS TO WHETHER REPLIES TO LETTERS RECEIVED FROM THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ASKING FOR INFORMATION WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN PAYMENTS OF JUST COMPENSATION MAY BE FURTHER DEFERRED UNTIL DISPOSITION OF THE PENDING CLAIMS FOR JUST COMPENSATION. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MANY OF THESE LETTERS WERE SENT OVER TWO YEARS AGO. HOWEVER, THE ORDER IN WHICH THE WORK OF YOUR COMMISSION IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER, AND THIS OFFICE IS IN NO POSITION EITHER TO AGREE OR OBJECT WITH RESPECT THERETO.