B-75900 June 11, 1948
B-75900: Jun 11, 1948
My dear Admiral Smith: Reference is made to your letter dated April 28. Isolator (ex Olivia) were deposited with the Treasurer of the United States on September 5. Whichever date is later. Maintain in the United States District Court from whose custody such vessel was taken or in whose territorial jurisdiction the vessel was lying at the time of requisition or taking of title or possession. It was held that due to the provisions of article 29 of the Treaty of Peace between England. Were not available to pay the claims of Finland or of Finnish nationals for just compensation for said vessels. Who apparently are not Finnish nationals and whose rights therefore would not be affected by the referred-to treaty article.
B-75900 June 11, 1948
United States Maritime Commission.
My dear Admiral Smith:
Reference is made to your letter dated April 28, 1948, forwarding a copy of the final decree, dated December 8, 1947, entered by the District Court of the United States, District of Massachusetts, in the case of Olson Marine Supplies et al. v. a Certain Sum of Money Deposited with the Treasurer of the United States As Compensation for the Finnish Steamship "OLIVIA" Now the SS. "ISOLATOR" (in Admiralty Nos. 1002, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1008, and 1011) and asking to be advised as to whether a request of the Attorney General of the United States that payments be made in accordance with directions set forth in said decree may be complied with.
Sums totaling $86,019 to cover the S.S. Isolator (ex Olivia) were deposited with the Treasurer of the United States on September 5, 1042, and May 6, 1946, in accordance with the provisions of section 1 of the act of June 6, 1941, 55 Stat. 48. This section specifically provides that such sums shall be subject to be applied to the payment of the amount of any valid claims by way of mortgage or maritime lien or attachment lien upon a vessel requisitioned by the United States under the act of June 6, 1941, as amended, or any stipulation therefor in a court of the United States, or of any State, subsisting at the time of the requisition or taking of title or possession of said vessel. The section further provides that holder of any such lien may commence prior to June 30, 1943, or within six months after the first such deposit with the Treasurer of the United States and publication of notice thereof in the Federal Registrar, whichever date is later, and maintain in the United States District Court from whose custody such vessel was taken or in whose territorial jurisdiction the vessel was lying at the time of requisition or taking of title or possession, a suit in admiralty, according to the principles of libels in rem, against the fund. The decree of December 8, 1947, recites that the maritime liens here involved subsisted at the time of the requisition of the vessel by the United States.
By decision dated March 22, 1948, B-73577, it was held that due to the provisions of article 29 of the Treaty of Peace between England, Russia and Finland, wherein Finland expressly waived its claims and the claims of its nationals arising out of action taken by the Allied and Associated Powers with respect to Finnish ships between September 1, 1939, and the effective date of said treaty, the sums which had been deposited with the Treasurer of the United States pursuant to the act of June 6, 1941, as amended, to cover 17 Finnish vessels, including the Olivia, were not available to pay the claims of Finland or of Finnish nationals for just compensation for said vessels. This decision, however, would not operate to bar the claims of the libellants here involved, who apparently are not Finnish nationals and whose rights therefore would not be affected by the referred-to treaty article. Similarly, since the amount remaining in the fund deposited to cover the Olivia, after t he payment of the amounts here involved, will be larger than any possible prohibited enhancement that might be included in the amount so deposited, nothing contained in decision dated April 5, 1948, B-69148, 27 Comp. Gen, would operate to prevent the payment of the claims.
Your letter refers to Section 28, Title 31, United States Code. It is presumed that reference was intended to section 228, Title 31, which provides that final judgments rendered against the United States by the District Courts of the United States shall be paid on settlements issued by the General Accounting Office. The decree here involved, not being against the United States, but against the fund on deposit with the Treasurer of the United States in an in rem action, would not be governed by this provision. Accordingly, payment as directed in the final decree dated December 8, 1947, may be made by your Commission on Standard Forms 1034, Public Vouchers for Purchases and Services other than Personal, charging account "69F5868, Special Deposits, Compensation for Merchant Vessels Act, March 24, 1943, War Shipping Administration Functions, United States Maritime Commission." An Accounts and Procedures Letter continuing the availability of the funds in this account beyond March 31, 1943, in accordance with the provisions of Public Law 519, 80th Congress, approved May 10, 1948, 62 Stat. 213 is being prepared and when issued, copies thereof will be forwarded to your Commission.
Comptroller General of the United States