B-87319 May 16,1950

B-87319: May 16, 1950

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C. Dear Major Gribble: Reference is made to your claim for reimbursement of personal funds in the sum of $320 alleged to have been expanded in effecting the rescue of the passengers and crew of an airplane which was abandoned while in flight on September 20. You and curtain other officers and enlisted men were directed by verbal orders of the Commanding General. Such orders have been confirmed by paragraph 32. You have alleged that you paid the aforementioned sum of $320 among the natives who helped you and other crew members "in locating the missing members of the crew and bringing them to the lowlands.". Such statement is supported by a certificate to the same affect signed by the pilot and the co-pilot of the airplane.

B-87319 May 16,1950

Major James T. Gribble Jr., AFUS Through: Director of Finance Department of the Air Force Washington 25, D. C.

Dear Major Gribble:

Reference is made to your claim for reimbursement of personal funds in the sum of $320 alleged to have been expanded in effecting the rescue of the passengers and crew of an airplane which was abandoned while in flight on September 20, 1947.

The record indicates that on September 15, 1947, you and curtain other officers and enlisted men were directed by verbal orders of the Commanding General, Headquarters, Thirteenth Air Force, Clark Field Air Base to proceed by military aircraft to Tokyo, Japan for the purpose of an administrative flight to pock up the Thirteenth Air Force baseball team, such orders have been confirmed by paragraph 32, of Special Orders No. 26 issued by the aforementioned headquarters on February 2, 1948. It appears that on the return flight from Okinawa to Nichols Field, Manila, Philippine Islands, on September 20, 1947, the aircraft became lost, presumably over the Philippine Islands, due to mechanical trouble and unfavorable weather conditions, making it necessary for the passengers and crew to abandon the airplane by parachuting. You have alleged that you paid the aforementioned sum of $320 among the natives who helped you and other crew members "in locating the missing members of the crew and bringing them to the lowlands." Such statement is supported by a certificate to the same affect signed by the pilot and the co-pilot of the airplane. Since the payment of the claim from an appropriation available to the Department of the Army or the Department of the Air Force was questionable, the matter was forwarded to this office by the Chief, Receipts and Disbursements Division, Director of Finance Comptroller, Department of the Air Force (sixth endorsement dated February 18, 1949, files reference AFAFN-4 245.6 Gribble, James T.) for consideration under the provisions of the act of April 10, 1928, 45 Stat. 413, 31 U. S. C. 236, which provides:

"When there is filed in the General Accounting Office a claim or demand against the United States that may not lawfully be adjusted by the use of an appropriation theretofore made, but which claim of demand in the judgement of the Comptroller General of the United States contains such elements of legal liability or equity as to be deserving of the consideration of the Congress, he shall submit the same to the Congress by a special report containing the material facts and his recommendation thereon."

It is the long established rule that reimbursement is not authorized for voluntary payments made in the discharge of obligations otherwise valid against the Government except for certain personal expense such as duly authorized travel expenses, or where the exigencies of the situation require such payments in the interest of the Government, it being well established that payment of valid obligations generally must be made directly to the public creditor by a disbursing officer of the United States. See2 Comp. Gen. 581; 3id. 633; 5id. 818; 7 id. 104; 8 id. 627. While your voucher bears a statement to the effect that the expenditures for which reimbursement is claimed were made under urgent and unforeseen public necessity, no information has been furnished as to the basis on which the services of the natives were engaged, the names of number of people to whom the payments were made, the services actually rendered on account of such payments, why receipts were not obtained, and why payment for the services involved could not have been made by a Government disbursing officer. In the absence of such information, this office has no basis for making a determination that your claim "contains such elements of legal liability or equity as to be deserving of the consideration of the Congress." However, future consideration will be given to your claim upon the submission of a complete statement of the facts and circumstances involved as indicated above, supported by affidavits relative to the matter from at least two other persons who have personal knowledge of such facts and circumstances.

Very truly yours,

(Signed) Frank L. Yates Assistant Comptroller General of the United States