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of another without reimbursement. The intentional acquisition of supplies, for consumption or use in succeeding years by purchases from appropriations for a current fiscal year is inconsistent with the provisions of this act. This is emphasized by the exceptions of the proviso. Supplies thus purchased should be utilized in advance of stores regularly purchased under the annual appropriations for the current fiscal year; and Congress should be advised of the circumstances of these accumulations, if they can be properly called accumulations, to guide it in making the regular annual appropriations for the year in which they are to be used.

However, even if not found in this statute, I understand it is contended that authority to create this common general stock fund and to include it in the naval supply fund is found in the act of June 30, 1890 (26 Stat. 205), as enlarged by the act of March 2, 1891 (26 Stat. 807).

These statutes are as follows:

“For expenses of arranging, classifying, consolidating, and cataloguing supplies for the Navy, herein provided for and now on hand, ten thousand dollars; and all supplies purchased with moneys appropriated by this act shall be deemed to be purchased for the Navy and not for any bureau thereof, and these supplies, together with all supplies now on hand, shall be arranged, classified, consolidated, and catalogued, and issued for consumption or use, under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, without regard to the bureau for which they were purchased.

and all supplies hereafter purchased with moneys appropriated for any branch of the naval establishment shall be purchased, classified, and issued for consumption or use subject to the provisions contained in the act making appropriations for the naval service, approved June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety, in reference to supplies therein provided for and on hand.”

This act can not be construed as repealing any of the previous acts regarding the purchase and disposition of naval supplies. The manner of appropriation of money

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for the purchase of supplies in the different bureaus was not affected. The supplies were still to be purchased for the specified bureaus according to the existing law. All the supplies were to be classified so that accounts might be correctly kept. Where supplies, purchased for one bureau, were required for consumption or use in another bureau, the Secretary was authorized to prescribe regulations by which they could be taken or transferred for that purpose; and such regulations, as all regulations, must be in conformity with law existing when promulgated. The enactment was evidently intended to avoid any question as to the authority of the Secretary to meet a required need for the use or consumption of articles in a different bureau from the one from whose specified appropriation such articles had been purchased.

I have referred to these statutes to show how the annual appropriations for the naval service are made by Congress; and how the manner in which they are to be expended and accounted for is carefully provided by law.

The statute creating the naval supply fund is upon entirely different and incompatible principles. The appropriation made by it is a permanent specific appropriation. It is differentiated from annual appropriations, which we have been examining, and from permanent annual appropriations, which are mentioned in section 3689, Revised Statutes. It designates the exact amount and the object of the appropriation. It leaves nothing to the executive officers except to administer the specific obligation imposed by it. It differs from every other specific permanent appropriation in that it is never exhausted. By the process of reimbursement for all supplies furnished by it to be consumed or used, the fund is maintained uniform and unimpaired. It is, in the Navy Department, of its own kind. It can never have a balance to be covered into the Treasury. It can never have an accumulation to be transferred elsewhere.

This distinctive character, we have seen, has been until recently recognized in the department by Congress. The Navy Department for many years declared the account of the supplies purchased for the naval supply fund should be kept separate in every particular from supplies purchased under the various appropriations. Congress made four distinct additions to the original amount and then refused to further increase it.

When this fund was created in 1893 the laws of March 2, 1889, and March 2, 1891, were in force. It was as feasible to augment the naval-supply fund from the supplies mentioned in these acts then as it was in 1907 or 1908. And yet to carry out and effectuate the policy established by this legislation no means were considered except additional specific appropriations.

To say that a distinction must be made between the naval-supply fund and stock placed in the fund, that the fund itself is not disturbed, but that a sum equal to its fixed amount is always retained, is without any justification in the statute or in fact.

The act of Congress has set the limit of the amount of the permanent fund which is to be kept constant by purchases and reimbursements. It may seem desirable to increase the limit, but, until Congress, which fixed it, deems it proper to increase it, no. oflicer can legally do so.

Whether or not the scheme, as detailed by the PaymasterGeneral and adopted by the department, is wise and prudent and tends to economy and certainty of administration, is not within my province to determine. I can only say that, however admirable it may appear, the executive oflicers of the Government can not put it into operation unless it is sanctioned by law. If the laws are not comprehensive enough to accomplish, what are considered by the executive to be the best and most desirable results, the defects can not be supplied by executive order, but resort must be had to the law-making power.

For the reasons stated, I am constrained to the opinion that the increase of the permanent naval-supply fund, beyond the statutory limit of $2,700,000, described in your communication, was without warrant of law.

You further request my opinion as to whether the expense of handling stores purchased under the naval-supply fund can be legally charged to the working appropriations. In the act making appropriations for the nava!

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service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1910 (35 Stat. 767), under the heading of “Provisions, Navy," among other things, is provision for “expenses in handling stores purchased under the naval-supply fund.” These expenses, being thus specifically provided for, must be paid in this and in no other way. The appropriation is an annual one and for a specific object and comes within the provisions of section 3678, Revised Statutes.

My attention has also been called to charges made for "fire insurance and depreciation on account of the capital account of the plant of the navy-yard as an industrial yard.” These charges seem to be more in contemplation than in actual exercise except at one navy-yard. It is not within my authority to pass upon the elaborate system of accounting involved in these matters.

Those are questions of administration wholly within the control of the Secretary of the Navy.

As far as the legality of these charges is concerned, I refer you to what I have already said as to receipts and expenditures in the departments. The statutes are plain and peremptory.

“SEC. 3678, Revised Statutes. All sums appropriated for the various branches of expenditure in the public service shall be applied solely to the objects for which they are respectively made, and for no other.

“SEC. 3732. No contract or purchase on behalf of the United States shall be made, unless the same is authorized by law or is under an appropriation adequate to its fulfillment, except in the War and Navy Departments, for clothing, subsistence, forage, fuel, quarters, or transportation, which, however, shall not exceed the necessities of the current year.”

The general public system for the appropriation and disbursement of public moneys is permanent and must be regarded by all executive officers. Unless the charges referred to are within the objects for which an appropriation is made they can not be applied to that appropriation. Very respectfully,



[See also Index to Subjects, p. xxi.] ABANDONMENT.



Field Assistant on the Geological Survey-Acceptance of an order

from the King of Sweden.-- A field assistant on the United States Geological Survey designated as special agent, whose service is not continuous, who is paid by the day when actually employed, and who does not take any oath of oflice, is not an officer under the United States within the meaning of Article I, section 9, paragraph 8, of the Constitution, and he may therefore accept from the King of Sweden the order of the “Knighthood of the North


Secretary of Agriculture has no authority to allow a manufacturer in Alaska to purchase deer skins in that Territory during the closed season, for the purpose of manufacturing the skins into gloves and other novelties to be shipped beyond the boundaries of the Territory, notwithstanding the hides are claimed to have been accumulated from the legal kill since the Alaska

game law of May 11, 1908 (35 Stat. 102), became operative. 318. 2. Same.-Section 4 of the act of May 11, 1908 (35 Stat. 103), forbids

traffic in the hides, skins, or heads of game animals in Alaska at any time during the closed season. This includes purchase as

well as sale. Ib. 3. Coal lands-Payment of Purchase Price by Entryman Pending a

Protest.—The payment required by section 2 of the act of April 28, 1904 (33 Stat. 525), to be made by locators of Alaska coal lands, as a condition precedent to patent therefor, need not be made, in cases where protest is filed, until after the termination of the protest. 448.


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