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Hoylman: Reference is made to your letter dated May 7. It is explained that the Office of the United States Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization at montreal. Receives a number of expressions of folicitations during the Christmas and New Year period not only from individuals who have been on foreign delegations to "Y.C.A.C." meetings but also from foreign government agencies. It is pointed out that if no card or printed form is used acknowledgment would have to be made by letter and that the cheapest and least time-consuming way of meeting the problem is to use a simple Season's Greetings card issued at the proper time which also avoids writing numerous letters of acknowledgment.

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B-115132 June 17, 1953

Mr. D. Heylman, Authorized Certifying Officer Department of States

My dear Mr. Hoylman:

Reference is made to your letter dated May 7, 1953, transmitting a voucher submitted by Bear Admiral Paul A. Smith, United States Representative, International Civil Aviation Organization, Montreal, Quebec, in the amount of $35.33 representing the purchase cost and plant printing cost of Christmas greeting cards for use by the United States Mission. You call attention to decisions of this office, 7 Comp. Gen. 481 and 12 id. 565, prohibiting the purchase of cards from public funds and request the opinion of this Office as to whether the transmitted voucher may be certified for payment in view of the explanation furnished.

You refer to the appropriation "Missions to International Organization" appearing under the Department of State Appropriation Act, 1953, 66 Stat. 551, which provides "for expenses necessary for permanent representation to certain international organizations in which the United States participates pursuant to treaties, conventions, or specific Acts of Congress, including * * * printing and binding, without regard to section 11 of the act of March 1, 1919 (44 U.S.C. 111)."

It is explained that the Office of the United States Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization at montreal, Quebec, receives a number of expressions of folicitations during the Christmas and New Year period not only from individuals who have been on foreign delegations to "Y.C.A.C." meetings but also from foreign government agencies. It is pointed out that if no card or printed form is used acknowledgment would have to be made by letter and that the cheapest and least time-consuming way of meeting the problem is to use a simple Season's Greetings card issued at the proper time which also avoids writing numerous letters of acknowledgment. It is pointed out also that under the circumstances the greeting card in, in effect, an item of stationery.

As pointed out by your in your letter, the accounting officers of the Government have long held that, in the absence of a specific provision therefor in the appropriation, the cost of angraving Christmas greeting cards is considered a personal rather than an official expense and is not chargeable to public funds. See 10 Comp. Gen. 507, 12 id. 601, 20 id. 248, 7 Comp. Gen. 481 and 12 id. 565. The reasons given in your letter does not appear to be of efficient forms or persuasion to warrant any change with respect to the above rule.

Accordingly, the voucher which is returned herewith may not be certified for payment.

Sincerely yours,

Lindsay C. Warren Comptroller General of the United States

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