UNCLASSIFIED (U)

3 FAH-1 H-3240

REPRESENTATION ALLOWANCES

(CT:POH-238;   08-12-2020)
(Office of Origin:  GTM/ER/WLD)

3 FAH-1 H-3241  Prohibitions

3 FAH-1 H-3241.1  Legal Prohibitions

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

The STR 330 of the Standardized Regulations contains a list of expenditures that are prohibited by law.  Authorizing officers must be familiar with that list, and will consult it before approving expenditures for representational purposes.  In cases of doubt, authorizing officers should contact CGFS and A/LM for further guidance.

3 FAH-1 H-3241.2  Guidelines

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. Expenditures for tangible gifts do not, normally, fulfill the single purpose of the representation allowance which is to enable the Department and the Foreign Service to pay for the proper representation of the United States and its interests to further U.S. interests abroad.

b. Expenditures for tickets or admission to unhosted events, normally are a poor use of representation funds, and while not prohibited, are considered allowable, only in those instances, where the highest levels of host country officials are present, and the attending employee has the necessity and opportunity to fulfill the purpose of the representation allowance.  For example, expenses for attending fund-raising dinners, concerts, balls, or other strictly social functions, normally, do not meet the criterion for the representation allowance and typically are prohibited.

3 FAH-1 H-3242  Responsibility

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

The mechanics of granting representation funds to officers and employees must necessarily be determined by each chief of mission to fit conditions peculiar to the post.  At small diplomatic missions, it may, indeed, be possible for the chief of mission to approve each contemplated expenditure.  At large posts, this may be impossible, and it may be necessary to delegate authority for preparing a representation program to a senior subordinate or a group of senior subordinates.  In any event, the Department assumes that any voucher properly certified at the post for payment of representation expenses has met the implicit, if not explicit, approval of the chief of mission.

3 FAH-1 H-3243  Philosophy

3 FAH-1 H-3243.1  Economy and Good Taste

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

A great deal of work which could be called “representation” involves little or no expenditure of money.  Further, lavish expenditures are questionable in most circumstances. The wealth of the United States as a nation should not be flaunted and requires a certain restraint, coupled with the standard of good taste, upon our official representation abroad.

3 FAH-1 H-3243.2  Informality

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

Many of the more formal or ceremonial aspects associated with the conduct of foreign relations can be simplified without surrendering those elements of tradition worth preserving.  Representatives of the United States should try to reduce any emphasis given to purely ceremonial or formal observances.

3 FAH-1 H-3244  Planning and Control

3 FAH-1 H-3244.1  Basic Guidelines

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

Effective use of representation funds entails:

(1)  A defined policy (i.e., a determination on the part of the chief of mission of the specific objectives to be pursued);

(2)  A planned program (i.e., the careful weighing of alternatives to arrive at a program best suited to accomplish the policy objectives as established in mission goals and work plans);

(3)  An allocation of funds (i.e., the assignment of responsibility for implementing the program to individual officers or employees); and

(4)  A continuing review of representation activities to ensure effective utilization of available funds.

3 FAH-1 H-3244.2  Guidance

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

The ability to make effective use of limited resources is an art that usually must be learned.  Thus, it is incumbent upon senior officers, including the chief of mission, to give guidance to those less experienced in the proper use of representation funds.  In general:

(1)  The U.S. presence, official and private, must be less than half the total guest list;

(2)  Smaller events are preferable to large ones;

(3)  New contacts should be developed, but funds may also be used to deepen existing ones for business purposes, not personal relationships;

(4)  Local custom should largely be respected in holding representation events in or out of the home; and

(5)  Representation funds may be used to pay for attendance at professional meetings, including associated meal costs, which are considered reasonable and customary expenses of such meetings, when a determination is made by the chief of mission or designated representative that an association or professional meeting be attended for representational purposes.  Funds may not be used to pay for meals at professional meetings (consular, commercial, or other associations) when the primary benefit is to the employee; nor may funds be used to pay membership fees or dues in any society, club, or association under any conditions.

3 FAH-1 H-3244.3  Prescribed Limits

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. In the interest of discouraging ostentation, the chief of mission should establish dollar limits for the various types of approved representation activities.

b. Since representation relationships are established and maintained primarily with host country officials and private citizens, guest lists for representation events should reflect minimum guest ratio guidelines set by the chief of mission for each type of representation function to ensure representative cross sections are invited. (Rarely, does this consist of more than fifty percent of the U.S. Government Executive Branch employees.)

c.  At the discretion of the chief of mission or his or her designee, purchases of representation supplies, in advance, of a function should be limited to the type and quantity necessary due to circumstances at post.  Each post should develop written guidelines to cover the specific situations where advance purchases are authorized.  For State, representation funds reimbursement or payment, except for invitation cards and U.S. wine, is permitted only event-by-event on the basis of the guest (recipient) lists.  Bulk purchases to cover several future representation events, even though practical and economical, except for invitation cards and U.S. wine, must be financed by the host or other officer and reimbursed only on an event-by-event basis.  However, if a preliminary guest list for a July 4th reception is ready, for example in April, the financial management officer may start making payments for supplies for that event in April to the extent there is a bona fide need for such early procurement and if the requirements for the event are reasonably specific and foreseeable.  If such supplies are not fully consumed because of reduced attendance or other circumstances, the post must maintain an accounting of excess supplies and document their use, usually for subsequent specific representation events.  Reasonable amounts of invitation cards and U.S. wine (not to exceed a year’s supply — prior year’s usage should be used as a benchmark) may be procured and paid for or reimbursed as a bulk purchase in lieu of buying new cards or U.S. wine for each event.

d. U.S. wine, if purchased in bulk from official funds, must be under inventory control of the accountable property officer, and must be accounted for (as a no-reimbursement item) on representation vouchers.  In no case, however, is the post authorized to use excess year-end funds to purchase wine, invitations, or other representation supplies and materials which are not a bona fide need of that fiscal year.  Employees assigned to post with a consumable allowance may use a part of their allowance for the personal purchase and shipment of U.S. wines, for both personal and representational use.

3 FAH-1 H-3245  Accounting for Expenditures

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. See 4 FAM 432 for instructions covering the vouchering, certifying, payment, and accounting for representation expenditures.

b. State’s representation appropriation requests are stated in terms of four basic purposes of expenditures as follows:

(1)  Promotion of U.S. national interests;

(2)  Protection of U.S. citizen’s interests;

(3)  Promotion of economic activities; and

(4)  Commemorative and ceremonial requirements.

c.  When approving representation activities, the chief of mission should indicate which of the above purposes most accurately describe the activity.  This purpose will be cited on the payment voucher.  (For USAID, see HB 19).

3 FAH-1 H-3246  Requests for Increases of Allotment

(CT:POH-218;   05-17-2019)
(Uniform State/USAID/USAGM/Commerce/Foreign Service Corp-USDA)
(Applies to Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

a. If, in the opinion of the chief of mission, the lack of additional funds would seriously hamper the effectiveness of the mission, a request for additional funds may be made by telegram.  The request should contain a
complete justification, including an indication of what effect the lack of such funds will have on the post’s substantive operations and should explain why the funds already allotted could not be reprogrammed to meet the exigency.

b. For USAID, post requests for additional funds are sent to the appropriate regional bureau in Washington, DC.

3 FAH-1 H-3247  through 3249 UNASSIGNED

UNCLASSIFIED (U)