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HOLDING THAT THE COSTS OF SEASONAL GREETING CARDS ARE NOT CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS. YOU STATE THAT "EXPENDITURES FOR SUCH CARDS WERE MADE IN RELIANCE UPON AGENCY VIEWS THAT RAPPORT WITH PERSONS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THIS AGENCY WAS CREATED. - THAT SENDING OF SEASONAL GREETING CARDS TO KEY DIGNITARIES AND OTHER IMPORTANT INDIVIDUALS OF THE HOST COUNTRY WAS AN INEXPENSIVE AND EFFECTIVE MEANS OF PROMOTING MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE PEOPLES OF UNITED STATES AND PEOPLES OF SUCH COUNTRY.'. IT IS STATED THAT THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE LONG HELD THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION THEREFOR IN THE APPROPRIATION THE COST OF ENGRAVING CHRISTMAS GREETING CARDS IS CONSIDERED A PERSONAL RATHER THAN AN OFFICIAL EXPENSE TO BE BORNE BY THE OFFICER WHO ORDERED AND SENT THE CARDS AND IS NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS.

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B-133991, NOV. 25, 1959

TO HONORABLE GEORGE V. ALLEN, DIRECTOR, U.S. INFORMATION AGENCY:

IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14, 1959, WHICH CONCERNS DECISION OF OUR OFFICE DATED NOVEMBER 25, 1959, B-133991, 37 COMP. GEN. 360, HOLDING THAT THE COSTS OF SEASONAL GREETING CARDS ARE NOT CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS, YOU STATE THAT

"EXPENDITURES FOR SUCH CARDS WERE MADE IN RELIANCE UPON AGENCY VIEWS THAT RAPPORT WITH PERSONS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THIS AGENCY WAS CREATED--- THAT SENDING OF SEASONAL GREETING CARDS TO KEY DIGNITARIES AND OTHER IMPORTANT INDIVIDUALS OF THE HOST COUNTRY WAS AN INEXPENSIVE AND EFFECTIVE MEANS OF PROMOTING MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE PEOPLES OF UNITED STATES AND PEOPLES OF SUCH COUNTRY.'

AND RECOMMEND THAT THE EXCEPTIONS BE REMOVED SINCE THE OFFICIALS INVOLVED ACTED IN GOOD FAITH IN INCURRING THE INVOLVED EXPENDITURES.

IN THE DECISION DATED NOVEMBER 25, 1957, IT IS STATED THAT THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE LONG HELD THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION THEREFOR IN THE APPROPRIATION THE COST OF ENGRAVING CHRISTMAS GREETING CARDS IS CONSIDERED A PERSONAL RATHER THAN AN OFFICIAL EXPENSE TO BE BORNE BY THE OFFICER WHO ORDERED AND SENT THE CARDS AND IS NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS. OFFICERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THAT WELL-ESTABLISHED RULE.

THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN YOUR STATEMENT OF JUSTIFICATION OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN THESE CASES AS SET FORTH IN YOUR CURRENT LETTER AND THE JUSTIFICATION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 2, 1957, WHICH WAS THE BASIS FOR OUR DECISION OF NOVEMBER 25, 1957. IN VIEW OF THE LONG- STANDING RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS HERE INVOLVED AND THE INTANGIBILITY OF ANY VALUE RECEIVED FOR SUCH PAYMENTS, THE GRANTING OF RELIEF FROM THE PAYMENTS BY US UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 875, 31 U.S.C. 82C, IS NOT WARRANTED AND, THEREFORE, MUST BE DENIED.

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