Executive Order 1897

To Establish a Washington Office of The Panama Canal, to Provide Temporarily for the Organization, Officials and Employes thereof, and to Continue in Force for the Panama Canal. Rules, Regulations, and Executive Orders which may have been made for the Isthmian Canal Commission.


By virtue of the authority vested in me it is hereby ordered:


Section I. That an office of The Panama Canal is established in the City of Washington in the District of Columbia.


Section II. That the Washington Office of the Panama Canal shall be the office of general records in the United States, and shall succeed to the custody, care and preservation of all the records and files of the Isthmian Canal Commission, to be retained and preserved in the United States on and after April 1, 1914, and shall also succeed to and become chargeable with all property of every kind and character purchased for the Washington Office of the Isthmian Canal Commission, which is on hand April 1, 1914.


Section III. That the Washington Office of The Panama Canal shall be the headquarters and the principal office of the Purchasing Department of The Panama Canal. The head of the Purchasing Department of The Panama Canal, under the direction of the Governor, shall have administrative control of the Washington Office of The Panama Canal. He shall be subject to orders and supervision of the Chief of Engineers of the U. S. Army to such extent as may be directed by the Secretary of War. He shall be General Purchasing Officer for The Panama Canal, and shall also act as the Chief of the Washington Office of The Panama Canal.


Section IV. That until further ordered, the Washington Office of The Panama Canal shall have the same organization as to offices and departments (except the Office of the Assistant Examiner of Accounts and the Disbursing Office) as the Washington Office of the Isthmian Canal Commission shall have on March 31, 1914. The number, class and salaries of officials and employees in each of the offices and departments, except as hereinafter provided, shall be the same as those authorized for the Washington Office of the Isthmian Canal Commission on March 31, 1914, and any change in the salary of any position, or in the number of positions in any office or department, shall be made only as now provided by law. The officers and employees, except as hereinafter provided, shall perform the same class of duties that they may be assigned to on March 31, 1914.


Section V. That the Assistant Auditor provided for in Executive Order No. 1885, dated January 27, 1914, shall be appointed April 1, 1914. His salary shall be fixed by the Governor. He shall perform such duties of the Accounting Department to be performed in the United States, as may be assigned to him by the Auditor, and also such other duties of a general nature as may be assigned to him by the Chief of the Washington Office of The Panama Canal.

On and after April 1, 1914, there shall be transferred to the Assistant Auditor, and he shall be charged with the custody, care and preservation of, all records and property of the Disbursing Officer, and of the Assistant Examiner of Accounts of the Isthmian Canal Commission, with which those officers shall be charged on March 31, 1914.

The Chief of the Washington Office may, however, transfer to and place in the custody of the Disbursing Clerk, hereinafter provided for, such of the property and records above described, as he may deem to be essential to enable the Disbursing Clerk to properly perform his duties under this order, but the Disbursing Clerk shall not be permitted, without specific authority from the Chief of Office, to keep a separate set of records and files. He shall be required to rely upon, and consult when necessary, the records and files in the office of the Assistant Auditor, in verifying the legality of claims and accounts submitted to him for payment, or to verify the details of any collection for which he is required to account. Disbursements will be made by the Disbursing Clerk only after examination of the claim or account in the office of the Assistant Auditor.

Such of the officers and employes employed in the office of the Assistant Examiner of Accounts and the Disbursing Office of the Isthmian Canal Commission on March 31, 1914, as the Governor determines to retain, shall be transferred to and employed in the Accounting Department in the United States, and their salaries fixed at such amounts as the Governor deems just and reasonable.

There shall be a Disbursing Clerk for that part of the Accounting Department in the United States, who shall perform similar duties to those that are required to be performed by the Collector and Paymaster on the Isthmus, in so far as there are such duties to be performed in the United States, and shall be subject to the same supervision by the Assistant Auditor, as the Collector and Paymaster on the Isthmus are by the Auditor. He shall give bond in such amount as may be fixed by the Governor, or by his authority.

Such of the officers and employes as are transferred to and employed in the Accounting Department in the United States, shall be distributed between the office of the Assistant Auditor and that of the Disbursing Clerk, respectively, as the needs of the service require. They shall perform such duties as maybe assigned to them by proper authority. They shall be subject to similar financial responsibilities, and to the same general rules and regulations that have been prescribed for like officers and employes employed in the Accounting Department on the Isthmus.

It is the purpose of this order, and it shall be so construed, as to require the Assistant Auditor of The Panama Canal to examine all claims and accounts before their payment by the Disbursing Clerk; to carry on all general correspondence in relation to claims and accounts required to be conducted by the Accounting Department in the United States; to prepare all vouchers and certify to the validity of all claims and accounts before they are submitted to the Disbursing Clerk for payment; to furnish to the Disbursing Clerk all necessary data to enable that officer to make reply to any exceptions that may be taken to his account by the Auditor for the War Department; to keep all general records required to be kept in the Accounting Department in the United States; to make all reports as to statistical data required to be sent to the Auditor on the Isthmus; to give an administrative examination to all accounts of the Disbursing Clerk before they are transmitted to the Auditor; to make an administrative examination of all claims which are to be submitted to the Auditor for direct settlement; to keep a complete record of all collections to be made and all moneys received by the Disbursing Clerk; to certify to the correctness of the Disbursing Clerk's accounts for collections; to see that bills collectible are issued and collections made in all proper cases; to have charge of all general files which are required to be kept by the Accounting Department in the United States; and to perform such other duties as may be assigned to him by the Auditor, or the Chief of the Washington Office.


Section VI. That any person holding appointment or employment in or under Washington Office of the Isthmian Canal Commission on March 31, 1914, shall be eligible for appointment to, or employment in a like position in or under the Washington Office of The Panama Canal, created by this order, and all except those employed in the Accounting Department, will be considered to be transferred and appointed to such like position in or under the Washington Office of The Panama Canal, as of April 1, 1914, without further order or appointment. The oath of office shall be taken by all officials and employees of the Washington Office.


Section VII. This order shall remain in force as a provisional order only, for the establishment of the Washington Office of The Panama Canal, until an order for the permanent organization of such office shall have been made.


Section VIII. All rules, regulations and executive orders, not inconsistent with the provisions of this order and the Executive Orders of January 27, and February 2, 1914, heretofore made for the Isthmian Canal Commission, and applicable to conditions that will exist under these orders, shall be and are hereby continued in full force and effect, as rules, regulations, and executive orders for the government of officers and employes of The Panama Canal and the transaction of the business of The Panama Canal.

Signature of Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson.

The White House

2 March, 1914.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).