B-93451, APRIL 27, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 428

B-93451: Apr 27, 1950

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APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD OFFICE IN THE PHILIPPINES BY WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION INASMUCH AS FUNDS OF THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION ARE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL. NO OBJECTION IS PERCEIVED TO USING SUCH FUNDS TO PAY THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION SENT TO THE PHILIPPINES TO PROCESS CLAIMS FILED BY CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO HAVE BEEN FOUND BY THE COMMISSION TO COME WITHIN THE TERM "PRISONER OF WAR" AS DEFINED IN SECTION 6 OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948. INASMUCH AS THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION SPECIFICALLY IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 (B) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948 TO USE THE FACILITIES AND SERVICES OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES IN CARRYING OUT ITS FUNCTIONS.

B-93451, APRIL 27, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 428

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD OFFICE IN THE PHILIPPINES BY WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION INASMUCH AS FUNDS OF THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION ARE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL, NO OBJECTION IS PERCEIVED TO USING SUCH FUNDS TO PAY THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION SENT TO THE PHILIPPINES TO PROCESS CLAIMS FILED BY CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO HAVE BEEN FOUND BY THE COMMISSION TO COME WITHIN THE TERM "PRISONER OF WAR" AS DEFINED IN SECTION 6 OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948; ALSO, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY LAW PROHIBITING SUCH ACTION, LOCAL FILIPINOS MAY BE EMPLOYED BY THE COMMISSION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL- SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 2 (B) OF THE 1948 ACT. SINCE THE CONGRESS HAS BEEN APPRISED OF THE INTENTION OF THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION TO OPEN AN OFFICE IN THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE CONSIDERATION AND PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FILED UNDER THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948 BY CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY PERSONNEL CONSTITUTE A NECESSARY PART OF THE COMMISSION'S AUTHORIZED PROGRAM, THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE COMMISSION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1951 MAY BE USED FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A FIELD OFFICE IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME SPECIFIC INDICATION BY THE CONGRESS TO THE CONTRARY. INASMUCH AS THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION SPECIFICALLY IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 (B) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948 TO USE THE FACILITIES AND SERVICES OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES IN CARRYING OUT ITS FUNCTIONS, AND THE FUNDS PROVIDED IN THE THIRD DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1949 ARE MADE AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES FURNISHING SUCH FACILITIES OR SERVICES, THE COMMISSION MAY REIMBURSE OTHER AGENCIES FOR FACILITIES AND SERVICES FURNISHED IT IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHAIRMAN, WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION, APRIL 27, 1950:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 3, 1950, STATING THAT THE ORDERLY PLANNING OF THE COMMISSION'S ACTIVITIES WITH RESPECT TO SENDING PERSONNEL TO THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS AND/OR THE ESTABLISHING OF A FIELD OFFICE THERE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1951 REQUIRES A DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) MAY THE COMMISSION WITHOUT EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY EXPEND APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SENDING MEMBERS OF ITS STAFF TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND PAYING SUCH LOCAL FILIPINO EMPLOYEES AS MAY BE REQUIRED BY THE COMMISSION?

(2) MAY THE COMMISSION WITHOUT EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY EXPEND APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING A FIELD OFFICE IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES?

(3) MAY THE COMMISSION WITHOUT EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY REIMBURSE OTHER AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FOR FACILITIES AND SERVICES FURNISHED THE COMMISSION IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES? (UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 (B) OF THE MENTIONED ACT, WHICH PROVIDES IN PART THAT "THE COMMISSION MAY, WITH THE CONSENT OF THE HEAD OF ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT, UTILIZE THE FACILITIES AND SERVICES OF SUCH DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IN CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION.''

IT IS EXPLAINED THAT THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION WAS CREATED BY THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, APPROVED JULY 3, 1948, 62 STAT. 1240, AND SECTION 6 THEREOF, 62 STAT. 1244, PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION UNDER CERTAIN SPECIFIED CONDITIONS TO PRISONERS OF WAR AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED THEREIN. THE COMMISSION IS CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF RECEIVING, ADJUDICATING, AND PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FILED PURSUANT TO SUCH SECTION AND IT IS STATED THAT THE COMMISSION FOUND THAT CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY PERSONNEL COME WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM ,PRISONER OF WAR" AND THAT SUCH FINDING HAS BEEN EMBODIED IN ITS REGULATION 507.4 PUBLISHED IN VOL. 14 FEDERAL REGISTER 7844, DECEMBER 30, 1949.

YOU FURTHER STATE THAT THE COMMISSION HAS BEEN ADVISED THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE THAT THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT IS OF THE OPINION THAT APPROXIMATELY 130,000 CLAIMANTS MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO FILE SUCH CLAIMS AND THAT IT WOULD BE THE PURPOSE OF THE COMMISSION EITHER THROUGH A FIELD OFFICE OR THROUGH A STAFF TO ACQUAINT THE RESIDENTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES WITH THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPENSATION UNDER SAID SECTION 6. ALSO, IT IS EXPLAINED THAT REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMISSION IN MANILA WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF OFFICIAL CLAIMS FORMS, ASSISTANCE TO CLAIMANTS IN FILLING OUT THESE FORMS, THE SCREENING, REJECTION, AND, IN APPROPRIATE CASES, ACCEPTANCE OF CLAIMS FROM THOSE WHO MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO FILE CLAIMS, AND FOR DISCOURAGING THE FILING OF CLAIMS BY PERSONS CLEARLY NOT ENTITLED TO AN AWARD.

SECTION 2 (B) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, 62 STAT. 1241, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE COMMISSION MAY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL- SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, APPOINT AND FIX THE COMPENSATION OF SUCH OFFICERS, ATTORNEYS, AND EMPLOYEES, AND MAY MAKE SUCH EXPENDITURES, AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT ITS FUNCTIONS. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY, WITH THE CONSENT OF THE HEAD OF SUCH DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY, BE ASSIGNED TO ASSIST THE COMMISSION IN CARRYING OUT ITS FUNCTIONS. THE COMMISSION MAY, WITH THE CONSENT OF THE HEAD OF ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT, UTILIZE THE FACILITIES AND SERVICES OF SUCH DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IN CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION.

AND SECTION 13 (E) OF THE SAID ACT, 62 STAT. 1247, AUTHORIZES THE APPROPRIATION "OUT OF ANY MONEY IN THE WAR CLAIMS FUND, SUCH SUMS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE COMMISSION TO CARRY OUT ITS FUNCTIONS UNDER THIS ACT.'

PURSUANT TO SUCH AUTHORIZATION, THE THIRD DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, APPROVED OCTOBER 10, 1949, 63 STAT. 744, PROVIDES:

FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1950 FOR THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; TRAVEL; PRINTING AND BINDING; SERVICES AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 15 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946 (5 U.S.C. 55A); AND ADVANCES OR REIMBURSEMENTS TO OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR USE OF THEIR FACILITIES AND SERVICES IN CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION; $300,000 TO BE DERIVED FROM THE WAR CLAIMS FUND CREATED BY SECTION 13 (A) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE BUDGET, 1951, INDICATES THAT SIMILAR LANGUAGE WILL BE CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE COMMISSION FOR SUCH FISCAL YEAR.

INASMUCH AS FUNDS FOR YOUR COMMISSION PRESENTLY ARE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL, NO OBJECTION IS PERCEIVED TO THE EXPENDITURE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SENDING MEMBERS OF ITS STAFF TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES TO CARRY OUT THE FUNCTIONS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR FURTHER QUESTION CONCERNING THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO LOCAL FILIPINO EMPLOYEES, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SINCE THERE IS NO APPLICABLE PROVISION OF LAW PROHIBITING SUCH ACTION, THE HIRING OF LOCAL FILIPINO EMPLOYEES IS NOT LEGALLY OBJECTIONABLE PROVIDED THEY ARE EMPLOYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL-SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 2 (B) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, SUPRA.

APPARENTLY YOUR QUESTION WITH RESPECT TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A FIELD OFFICE IN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES ARISES BY REASON OF THE TERMS OF SECTION 108 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1950, 63 STAT. 656, PROHIBITING THE USE OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED THEREIN TO ESTABLISH NEW OFFICES OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, EXCEPT AS TO PROGRAMS WHICH HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE CONGRESS AND APPROPRIATIONS MADE THEREFOR, AND THE PROBABILITY THAT A SIMILAR PROHIBITION WILL BE CONTAINED IN THE 1951 ACT.

ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THE CONSIDERATION AND PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FILED BY CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY PERSONNEL WOULD APPEAR TO CONSTITUTE A NECESSARY PART OF THE PROGRAM WHICH YOUR COMMISSION HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER, AN EXAMINATION OF THE HEARINGS ON THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1951 BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (P. 288), INDICATES THAT THE SUBCOMMITTEE WAS FULLY APPRISED OF YOUR COMMISSION'S INTENTION TO OPEN AN OFFICE IN THE PHILIPPINES IN ORDER TO PROCESS CLAIMS ORIGINATING THERE. THEREFORE, UNLESS THERE IS SOME SPECIFIC INDICATION BY THE CONGRESS THAT THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO YOUR COMMISSION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1951 SHOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A FIELD OFFICE, THE USE OF THE FUNDS FOR THAT PURPOSE WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE OBJECTIONABLE.

YOUR FIRST TWO QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR THIRD QUESTION, INASMUCH AS THE COMMISSION SPECIFICALLY IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 (B) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948 TO USE THE FACILITIES AND SERVICES OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES IN CARRYING OUT ITS FUNCTIONS, AND SINCE THE FUNDS PROVIDED IN THE THIRD DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, ARE MADE AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO THE DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES FURNISHING SUCH FACILITIES OR SERVICES, THE SAID QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.