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miles or more from the agency, to which he seldom comes. If the warrant is mailed to him he may refuse to indorse it or may not understand what to do with it. Sometimes the Indian payees do not live on the reservation at all. Occasionally an Indian dies before his indorsement can be procured, and then his heirs must be determined after notification and hearing of the interested parties, and their indorsements procured before a collection can be made on the warrant."

As a general rule warrants should be indorsed personally by the payees as the simplest and most direct method of perfecting the record of the payments made thereby. But where there exist material difficulties in the way of procuring the payees' personal indorsements, precluding or materially retarding the accomplishment of the objects for which the payments are made, and where the law itself makes an exception, indorsements for and in the name of the payees by some duly authorized and designated party have been regarded as sufficient.

In 17 Comp. Dec., 848, it was held that 125 Indian settlement warrants issued upon the certificate of the Auditor for the Interior Department in favor of 125 Indians who were either blind, crippled, decrepit, or helpless from old age, disease, or accident, as provided by section 2 of the act of March 2, 1907 (34 Stat., 1221-1222), might be indorsed for and in the name of the payees thereof by the superintendent in charge of the agency to which the payees belonged, under the authority contained in the act that such payments were to be made under such rules, regulations, and conditions as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe.

In the decision of April 7, 1911 (57 MS. Comp. Dec., 1023), the auditor's action in certifying for payment the claims of 276 minors of Devils Lake Sioux Indians for annuities in arrears from 1905 to 1910, by issuance of "one warrant drawn in favor of C. M. Ziebach, superintendent and recognized guardian, Fort Totten, N. Dak.,” was upheld on the ground that such action in that case tended to expedite the accomplishment of the object for which the settlement was made.

In both of these cases the funds were required to be deposited in bonded banks, to the separate credit of the Indian beneficiaries, and disbursed for their benefit under the supervision of the respective superintendents, who were held to account for such disbursements upon their official bonds, and thus the rights of the beneficiaries were amply secured. But both were exceptional cases, and the respective decisions must necessarily be limited to the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case and are not applicable generally.

In each case where it is sought to make an exception to the general rule requiring warrants to be indorsed personally by the payees it must be shown either that the law itself makes the exception or that unless such exception is made the accomplishment of the object

will be precluded or materially retarded. A mere inconvenience will not be sufficient. The question in each case must be decided upon the laws and facts appertaining thereto, and in view of the fact that the laws and conditions pertaining to the different tribes and classes of Indians are not alike you are advised that as a general proposition your question is answered in the negative.

PAYMENT OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS TO ARMY OFFICER ON DUTY WITHOUT TROOPS.

The fact that an officer on duty without troops at a post or station is denied quarters in kind does not entitle him to commutation of quarters if there are public quarters at the post or station which might be assigned to him. However, under existing conditions as to construction of officers' quarters at posts or stations, the rooms in excess of authorized allowance in a single house assigned to an officer and his family are not quarters.

A certificate by the proper military authority on a voucher for payment of commutation of quarters as to the existence of facts tending to show that the officer to whom payment is made is on duty without troops at a post or station where there are no public quarters will be accepted as prima facie evidence of such facts, but is not conclusive, and will not relieve the accounting officers of the duty and responsibility of determining such facts and of securing other evidence when deemed necessary.

The fact that, by permission of the military authorities, public quarters at a post or station are occupied by persons not entitled to them, does not authorize a conclusion of law that there are no quarters available for officers assigned to duty at the post or station.

Decision by Assistant Comptroller Warwick, August 18, 1913:

The Auditor for the War Department has submitted for approval, disapproval, or modification his decision of July 30, 1913, making an original construction of a statute as follows:

"Upon examination of the accounts of disbursing officers of the Quartermaster Corps, United States Army, the question arises as to the right of an officer detailed for duty without troops, at a post or station where there are public quarters, to commutation of quarters, when it appears that no quarters are available for assignment to him by reason of the fact that other officers are occupying more than their authorized number of rooms at such post or station.

"The act of March 2, 1907 (34 Stat., 1168), reads as follows: "Provided further, That section nine of an act approved June seventeenth, eighteen hundred and seventy-eight (Twentieth Statutes at Large, page one hundred and fifty-one), be, and the same is hereby, amended to read as follows: "That at all posts and stations where there are public quarters belonging to the United States officers may be furnished with quarters in kind in such public quarters, and not elsewhere, by the Quartermaster's Department, assigning to the officers of each grade, respectively, such number of rooms as is stated in the following table, namely: Second lieutenants, two rooms; first lieutenants, three rooms; captains, four rooms; majors,

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five rooms; lieutenant colonels, six rooms; colonels, seven rooms; brigadier generals, eight rooms; major generals, nine rooms; lieutenant general, ten rooms:" Provided further, That at places where there are no public quarters commutation therefor may be paid by the Pay Department to the officer entitled to the same at a rate not exceeding twelve dollars per month per room.'

The effect of this law was to increase the number of rooms to which an officer was entitled, and if entitled to commutation, to increase the rate per room.

“ It has been held that an officer assigned to duty without troops, at a post or station where there are public quarters, is entitled to commutation when such public quarters are fully occupied by other offi

(See decision of Second Comptroller Mansur dated Dec. 13, 1893, addressed to the Secretary of War, 62 MS. Second Comp. Dec., 250; also Ops. of Atty. Gen. dated Aug. 7, 1878, 16 Op. Atty. Gen., 611; and Jan. 16, 1879, 16 Op. Atty. Gen., 619.)

“ The question that is first presented for determination is whether it is the accounting officers or the administrative officers who are to decide whether the quarters at such posts or station are fully occupied or available for assignment. The law quoted above expressly and specifically limits the number of rooms to which each officer is entitled.

“ It has developed, from inquiries made by this office, that at most of the Army posts or stations officers are in possession of and occupying as quarters an average of double the number of rooms to which their rank entitled them under the act of March 2, 1907, supra. The reason for such occupancy is concisely stated in the reply of the commanding officer at Fort Myer, Va., as follows:

“61. No quarters were available for assignment to officer attending garrison school during the month of January, 1913.

“ * Rooms constituting a set of quarters are determined by the construction of the houses, which precludes the division into suites in all except No. 86, which was originally so constructed and was so occupied.'

It would appear, from the replies received that public quarters constructed for the use of married officers at Army posts and stations in the United States contain from 6 to 16 rooms, and such quarters are arranged for the sole use of one family.

“There has, in recent years, been constructed at the various posts what are known as bachelor quarters, arranged in suites of two rooms. They are intended for and assigned only to unmarried officers.

“ It is apparent, from a consideration of the facts developed in this connection, that as a practical proposition it is impossible to assign two officers to the occupancy of quarters that were only designed for the occupancy of one officer, such quarters having but one kitchen, one dining room, one parlor, etc.

“ Under this state of facts, is it the duty of the accounting officers to withhold payment of commutation of quarters to an officer assigned to duty without troops at a post where such officer might have been furnished quarters in kind, had the public quarters been so arranged as to accommodate each officer with only the number of rooms to which he is entitled ?

“ The Comptroller of the Treasury, in his decision of October 3, 1895 (2 Comp. Dec., 187), held that the Quartermaster General was

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not authorized to hire quarters for an officer assigned to duty at Madison Barracks, N. Y., when the record showed that officers on duty there were entitled to 70 rooms and the number of assignable rooms was 204. This decision, however, does not undertake to decide by

, whom or in what manner the assignability of such rooms shall be determined.

“There are certain questions, upon the determination of which payment of public funds depend, which have been recognized by the accounting officers as committed to the administrative department for determination. Such, for instance, as to the date and cause of a soldier's discharge, his absence with or without leave, etc. (See Opinion of Judge Advocate General dated Apr. 24, 1901, to Chief of Record and Pension Division and published as War Department Circular, dated Nov. 21, 1901.) The assignment of quarters to officers at Army posts is undoubtedly wholly within the jurisdiction of the administrative department, and there is no way by which this office can question the assignment of such quarters.

“If the responsible heads of the War Department choose to violate the act of March 2, 1907, supra, by assigning to Army officers more rooms than their rank entitled them under said act, it would appear to be a matter solely for proper disciplinary action by the War Department. When such quarters are fully occupied, is another officer assigned to duty there, who is thus deprived of his right to quarters in kind, to be deprived of commutation by reason of the illegal assignment of such quarters to officers already occupying the same?

“I am of the opinion, and so decide, that when it is certified to this office by the proper officer, on a voucher for payment of commutation of quarters, that the officer to whom payment is made is on duty without troops, and that the public quarters at the post or station at which he is serving are fully occupied, it is the duty of this office to admit such voucher regardless of the fact that it is known that the officers occupying such quarters are occupying more than their authorized allowance of rooms."

Section 9 of the act of June 18, 1878 (20 Stat., 151), provided :

“ That at all posts and stations where there are public quarters belonging to the United States, officers may be furnished with quarters in kind in such public quarters, and not elsewhere, by the Quartermaster's Department, assigning to the officers of each grade, respectively, such number of rooms as is now allowed to such grade by the rules and regulations of the Army: Provided, That at places where there are no public quarters commutation therefor may be paid by the Pay Department to the officer entitled to the same at a rate not exceeding ten dollars per room per month, *.'

The act of June 23, 1879 (21 Stat., 31), provides: 《多

That the rate of commutation shall hereafter be twelve dollars per room per month for officers' quarters, in lieu of ten dollars, as now provided by law.” The act of February 27, 1893 (27 Stat., 480), provides:

That hereafter officers temporarily absent on duty in the field shall not lose their right to quarters or commutation thereof at their permanent station while so temporarily absent.”

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The act of March 2, 1907, quoted in the auditor's decision, supra, fixed the number of rooms to which officers of the various grades are entitled.

The Army appropriation act of March 2, 1913 (37 Stat., 704), contains a provision (p. 709) —

“For commutation of quarters to commissioned officers, acting dental surgeons, veterinarians, and pay clerks on duty without troops at stations where there are no public quarters, Said act also contains a provision (p. 714)—

For rental of the authorized allowance of quarters for officers on duty with the troops at posts and stations where no public quarters are available;

The Attorney General and the accounting officers have construed these laws, which expressly provide for commutation of quarters to officers on duty without troops at stations where there are no public quarters, as authorizing the payment of commutation of quarters to an officer on duty without troops at stations where there are public quarters, but where no public quarters are available for assignment to him. (16 Op. Att. Gen., 611, 613; 62 MS. Dec. of Sec. Comp., 250, Dec. 13, 1893; 41 MS. Comp. Dec., 1447, June 20, 1907.) And it has been the practice to allow commutation of quarters to officers on duty without troops at stations where there are public quarters upon certificates to the effect that said quarters are inadequate, fully occupied, or unavailable for assignment to said officers. It appears that such certificates are made when the number of rooms in public quarters at a station are largely in excess of the number of rooms to which the officers on duty at said station are legally entitled. For instance, commutation of quarters was paid to officers on duty at Fort Myer, Va., when public quarters at said station were occupied by other officers and other persons as follows:

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Another instance, the data concerning which are now before me, is that of Watertown Arsenal, Mass., where several officers were being

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