Actions Recommended to Make the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act More Effective

ID-77-31: Published: Jun 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1977.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

A followup review was made of the Secretary of State's implementation of recommendations made in 1975, which were designed to strengthen the administration of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966. The act prohibits U.S. Government employees from soliciting gifts and decorations from foreign governments and discourages the acceptance of unsolicited gifts and decorations. Where refusal might embarrass the donor or adversely affect U.S. foreign relations, the item(s) may be accepted. They may be retained by the individual if less than $50 in value; if their value is more than $50, they must be turned over to the Government.

The status of the Department of State's actions on the recommendations was: (1) definitive procedures for handling foreign gifts received by the President and members of his family had been developed; (2) the Department of State does not plan to implement the recommendation that Federal Agencies and U.S. Missions report gifts or decorations received in excess of minimal value by Federal employees; (3) no additional steps are being taken by the Office of Protocol to publicly disclose gifts reported; (4) no action has been taken in terms of providing comprehensive and overall guidance concerning the act; (5) no action has been taken to note and document gifts received but not reported or deposited; (6) new criteria were developed, but not formalized in writing, as to followup on gifts retained for official use; and (7) no new blanket concurrences to the Armed Forces for badges and medals have been granted.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: Legislative action is still needed to strengthen provisions to the act to: establish points of responsibility in each of the three branches of the Government to assure compliance with the act; report and deposit gifts within a specified period of time from their receipt; provide coverage for temporary or intermittent experts and consultants; establish effective penalties for noncompliance with the act; give the General Services Administration responsibility for defining minimal value subject to evaluation every 3 years; and provide for approval of the Secretary of State or his delegate before foreign gifts may be sold, and give the General Services Administration explicit authority to conduct negotiated sales.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Nov 21, 2017

Nov 13, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Oct 19, 2017

Oct 12, 2017

Oct 4, 2017

Sep 28, 2017

Sep 19, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here