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ROSSEN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER. THESE FEES WERE INCURRED INCIDENTAL TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE SOVIET UNION. THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED HAVE ALREADY BEEN ONCE DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON THE AUTHORITY OF THIS OFFICE'S DECISION IN 38 COMP. THE AMOUNTS ALLOCABLE TO CABLE FEES ARE NOT CLAIMED IN THESE VOUCHERS. THE CLAIMANTS ATTEMPTED TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS DIRECTLY THROUGH INTOURIST IN NEW YORK BUT WERE INFORMED THAT INTOURIST. WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN APPROVED.'. "THE TEST AS TO WHETHER THE * * * SERVICE FEE CLAIMED IN EACH VOUCHER MAY BE REIMBURSABLE IS THE ACTUAL NECESSITY OF INCURRING SUCH EXPENSE IN ORDER TO TRANSACT THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS OCCASIONING THE TRAVEL.'. IT APPEARS THAT WHEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION ARE PERFORMING AN EXCHANGE AGREEMENT.

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B-139733, JUL. 25, 1968

TO MR. JANKWELL S. ROSSEN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER, WITH ENCLOSURES, OF JUNE 19, 1968, REQUESTING A DETERMINATION WHETHER CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON TWO IDENTICAL RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHERS COVERING SERVICE FEES CHARGED BY THE AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY FOR ARRANGING INTOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS AND SERVICES. THESE FEES WERE INCURRED INCIDENTAL TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE SOVIET UNION. THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED HAVE ALREADY BEEN ONCE DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON THE AUTHORITY OF THIS OFFICE'S DECISION IN 38 COMP. GEN. 879. THE AMOUNTS ALLOCABLE TO CABLE FEES ARE NOT CLAIMED IN THESE VOUCHERS.

THE CLAIMANTS, ETHAN A. HURD AND RICHARD A. SPENCER, RELATE IN THE VOUCHERS THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT ADVISED THEM TO CONTACT THE SOVIET EMBASSY WITH REGARD TO MAKING TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS. THE EMBASSY IN TURN INSTRUCTED THEM TO CONSULT A RECOGNIZED TRAVEL AGENCY. THE CLAIMANTS ATTEMPTED TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS DIRECTLY THROUGH INTOURIST IN NEW YORK BUT WERE INFORMED THAT INTOURIST, THE OFFICIAL SOVIET AGENCY FOR TRAVEL OF NON-SOVIETS WITHIN RUSSIA, OPERATES IN THE UNITED STATES ONLY THROUGH SUCH ORGANIZATIONS AS AMERICAN EXPRESS.

THIS CASE ARISES, AS DID 38 COMP. GEN. 879, UNDER PARAGRAPH 10.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES:

"OTHER EXPENSES.--- MISCELLANEOUS EXPENDITURES, NOT ENUMERATED HEREIN, WHEN NECESSARILY INCURRED BY THE TRAVELER IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN APPROVED.' STATED IN THE EARLIER CASE,"THE TEST AS TO WHETHER THE * * * SERVICE FEE CLAIMED IN EACH VOUCHER MAY BE REIMBURSABLE IS THE ACTUAL NECESSITY OF INCURRING SUCH EXPENSE IN ORDER TO TRANSACT THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS OCCASIONING THE TRAVEL.'

A REVIEW OF THE FILE IN 38 COMP. GEN. 879 INDICATES THAT TRAVEL INSIDE RUSSIA COULD BE ARRANGED EITHER THROUGH THE AMERICAN EMBASSY OR INTOURIST, DEPENDING ON THE STATUS OF THE TRAVELER. FOR INSTANCE, IT APPEARS THAT WHEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE SOVIET UNION ARE PERFORMING AN EXCHANGE AGREEMENT, TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS FOR UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL ARE MADE THROUGH THE AMERICAN EMBASSY. IN THE SAME CATEGORY ARE TRIPS BY CONGRESSMEN AND SPECIAL EVENTS REQUIRING UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVES.

SUBSEQUENT INFORMAL CONTACT WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT REVEALS THAT UTILIZATION OF INTOURIST IS NECESSARY FOR TRAVEL IN THE SOVIET UNION, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THOSE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TO AND FROM THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN MOSCOW FOR CONSULTATION PURPOSES. THE PATENT OFFICE ADVISED US BY TELEPHONE THAT MR. HURD AND MR. SPENCER WENTTO MOSCOW NOT PURSUANT TO AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM BUT RATHER TO STUDY THE SOVIET SYSTEM FOR MICROFILMING PATENT RECORDS. THIS TRIP, ACCORDING TO THE PATENT OFFICE, APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN INITIATED BY OUR GOVERNMENT.

UNDER THE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES IT REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT THE SERVICE FEES PAID BY THE TRAVELERS WERE NECESSARY TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TRAVEL. THE VOUCHERS WHICH ARE RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

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