About GPO   |   Newsroom/Media   |   Congressional Relations   |   Inspector General   |   Careers   |   Contact   |   askGPO   |   Help  
 
Home   |   Customers   |   Vendors   |   Libraries  

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a regularly updated, unofficial editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office.

Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules for the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States Code
Text | PDF

Find, review, and submit comments on Federal rules that are open for comment and published in the Federal Register using Regulations.gov.

Purchase individual CFR titles from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

Find issues of the CFR (including issues prior to 1996) at a local Federal depository library.

[1]
 
 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of December 17, 2014

Title 22Chapter ISubchapter A → Part 3


Title 22: Foreign Relations


PART 3—GIFTS AND DECORATIONS FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS


Contents
§3.1   Purpose.
§3.2   Authority.
§3.3   Definitions.
§3.4   Restriction on acceptance of gifts and decorations.
§3.5   Designation of officials and offices responsible for administration of foreign gifts and decorations.
§3.6   Procedure to be followed by employees in depositing gifts of more than minimal value and reporting acceptance of travel or travel expenses.
§3.7   Decorations.
§3.8   Approval of retention of gifts or decorations with employing agency for official use.
§3.9   Disposal of gifts and decorations which become the property of the United States.
§3.10   Enforcement.
§3.11   Responsibility of chief of mission to inform host government of restrictions on employees' receipt of gifts and decorations.
§3.12   Exemption of grants and other foreign government assistance in cultural exchange programs from coverage of foreign gifts and decorations legislation.

Authority: Sec. 515(a)(1), 91 Stat. 862, amending 5 U.S.C. 7342 (1976).

Source: 45 FR 80819, Dec. 8, 1980, unless otherwise noted.

§3.1   Purpose.

These regulations provide basic standards for employees of the Department of State, the United States International Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA), the Agency for International Development (AID), and the International Communication Agency (USICA), their spouses (unless separated) and their dependents to accept and retain gifts and decorations from foreign governments.

§3.2   Authority.

(a) Section 515(a)(1) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1978 (91 Stat. 862-866), approved August 17, 1977, (hereafter referred to as “the Act”) amended section 7342 of title 5, U.S. Code (1976), making substantial changes in the law relating to the acceptance and retention of gifts and decorations from foreign governments.

(b) 5 U.S.C. 7342(g) authorizes each employing agency to prescribe regulations as necessary to carry out the new law.

§3.3   Definitions.

When used in this part, the following terms have the meanings indicated:

(a) Employee means (1) an officer or employee of the Department, AID, IDCA, or USICA, including an expert or consultant, however appointed, and (2) a spouse (unless separated) or a dependent of such a person, as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 152).

(b) Foreign government means: (1) Any unit of foreign governmental authority, including any foreign national, State, local, or municipal government; (2) any international or multinational organization whose membership is composed of any unit of foreign government as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section; (3) any agent or representative of any such unit or organization, while acting as such;

(c) Gift means a tangible or intangible present (other than a decoration) tendered by, or received from, a foreign government;

(d) Decoration means an order, device, medal, badge, insignia, emblem or award tendered by, or received from, a foreign government;

(e) Minimal value means retail value in the United States at the time of acceptance of $100 or less, except that on January 1, 1981, and at 3-year intervals thereafter, “minimal value” is to be redefined in regulations prescribed by the Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to reflect changes in the consumer price index for the immediately preceding 3-year period.

§3.4   Restriction on acceptance of gifts and decorations.

(a) An employee is prohibited from requesting or otherwise encouraging the tender of a gift or decoration from a foreign government. An employee is also prohibited from accepting a gift or decoration from a foreign government, except in accordance with these regulations.

(b) An employee may accept and retain a gift of minimal value tendered and received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy, subject, however, to the following restrictions—

(1) Where more than one tangible item is included in a single presentation, the entire presentation shall be considered as one gift, and the aggregate value of all items taken together must not exceed “minimal value”.

(2) The donee is responsible for determining that a gift is of minimal value in the United States at the time of acceptance. However, should any dispute result from a difference of opinion concerning the value of a gift, the employing agency will secure the services of an outside appraiser to establish whether the gift is one of “minimal value”. If, after an appraisal has been made, it is established that the value of the gift in question is $200 or more at retail in the United States, the donee will bear the costs of the appraisal. If, however, the appraised value is established to be less than $200, the employing agency will bear the costs.

(c) An employee may accept a gift of more than minimal value when (1) such gift is in the nature of an educational scholarship or medical treatment, or (2) it appears that to refuse the gift would likely cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States, except that a tangible gift of more than minimal value is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States and, upon acceptance, shall become the property of the United States.

(d) An employee may accept gifts of travel or expenses for travel taking place entirely outside the United States (such as transportation, food, and lodging) of more than minimal value if such acceptance is appropriate, consistent with the interests of the United States, and permitted by the employing agency. Except where the employing agency has specific interests which may be favorably affected by employee travel wholly outside the United States, even though it would not normally authorize its employees to engage in such travel, the standards normally applied to determine when proposed travel will be in the best interests of the employing agency and of the United States Government shall be applied in approving acceptance of travel or travel expenses offered by a foreign government.

(1) There are two circumstances under which employees may accept gifts of travel or expenses:

(i) When the employee is issued official travel orders placing him or her in the position of accepting travel or travel expenses offered by a foreign government which are directly related to the authorized purpose of the travel; or

(ii) When the employee's travel orders specifically anticipate the acceptance of additional travel and travel expenses incident to the authorized travel.

(2) When an employee is traveling under circumstances described in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section, that is, without specific instructions authorizing acceptance of additional travel expenses from a foreign government, the employee must file a report with the employing angency under the procedures prescribed in §3.6.

(e) Since tangible gifts of more than minimal value may not lawfully become the personal property of the donee, all supervisory officials shall, in advising employees of their responsibilities under the regulations, impress upon them their obligation to decline acceptance of such gifts, whenever possible, at the time they are offered, or to return them if they have been sent or delivered without a prior offer. All practical measures, such as periodic briefings, shall be taken to minimize the number of gifts which employees must deposit and which thus become subject to disposal as provided by law and regulation. Employees should not accept gifts of more than minimal value on the assumption that refusal would be likely to “cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States”. In many instances it should be possible, by explanation of the prohibition against an employee's retention of such gifts, to avoid consequences of acceptance, including possible return of the gift to the donor. Refusal of the gift at the inception should typically be regarded as in the interest both of the foreign government donor and the U.S. Government.

§3.5   Designation of officials and offices responsible for administration of foreign gifts and decorations.

(a) The Act effects a significant degree of decentralization of administration relative to the disposal of foreign gifts and decorations which become U.S. Government property. Each agency is now responsible for receiving from its employees deposits of foreign gifts of more than minimal value, as well as of foreign decorations not meeting the statutory criteria for retention by the recipient. The agency is also responsible for disposing of this property by return to the donor, for retaining it in the agency if official use of it is approved, for reporting to the General Services Administration within 30 calendar days after deposit items neither disposed of nor retained, and for assuming custody, proper care and handling of such property pending removal from that custody pursuant to disposal arrangements by the General Services Administration. The Secretary of State, however, is made responsible for providing guidance to other executive agencies in the development of their own regulations to implement the Act, as well as for the annual publication of lists of all gifts of more than minimal value deposited by Federal employees during the preceding year. [See §3.5(c).] Authority for the discharge of the Secretary's responsibilities is delegated by these regulations to the Chief of Protocol.

(b) The Office of the Chief of Protocol retains primary responsibility for administration of the Act within the Department of State. That Office will, however, serve as the depository only for those foreign gifts and decorations which are turned in by State Department employees. The Director of Personnel Services of the USICA will have responsibility for administration of the Act within that agency and will serve as the depository of foreign gifts and decorations. Employees of the other foreign affairs agencies must deposit with their respective agencies any gifts or decorations deposit of which is required by law.

(c) Any questions concerning the implementation of these regulations or interpretation of the law should be directed to the following:

(1) For the Department of State, to the Office of Protocol or to the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Management, as appropriate;

(2) For IDCA, to the Office of the General Counsel;

(3) For AID, to the Assistant General Counsel for Employee and Public Affairs; and

(4) For USICA, to the General Counsel.

§3.6   Procedure to be followed by employees in depositing gifts of more than minimal value and reporting acceptance of travel or travel expenses.

(a) An employee who has accepted a tangible gift of more than minimal value shall, within 60 days after acceptance, relinquish it to the designated depository office for the employing agency for disposal or, with the approval of that office, deposit it for official use at a designated location in the employing agency or at a specified Foreign Service post. The designated depository offices are:

(1) For the Department of State, the Office of Protocol;

(2) For IDCA, the General Services Division of the Office of Management Planning in AID;

(3) For AID, the General Services Division of the Office of Management Planning; and

(4) For USICA, the Office of Personnel Services.

(b) At the time that an employee deposits gifts of more than minimal value for disposal or for official use pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or within 30 days after accepting a gift of travel or travel expenses as provided in §3.4(d) (unless the gift of such travel or travel expenses has been accepted in accordance with specific instructions from the Department or agency), the employee shall file a statement with the designated depository office with the following information:

(1) For each tangible gift reported:

(i) The name and position of the employee;

(ii) A brief description of the gift and the circumstances justifying acceptance;

(iii) The identity of the foreign government and the name and position of the individual who presented the gift;

(iv) The date of acceptance of the gift;

(v) The donee's best estimate in specific dollar terms of the value of the gift in the United States at the time of acceptance; and

(vi) Disposition or current location of the gift. (For State Department employees, forms for this purpose are available in the Office of Protocol.)

(2) For each gift of travel or travel expenses:

(i) The name and position of the employee;

(ii) A brief description of the gift and the circumstances justifying acceptance; and

(iii) The identity of the foregign government and the name and position of the individual who presented the gift.

(c) The information contained in the statements called for in paragraph (b) of this section is needed to comply with the statutory requirement that, not later than Janaury 31 of each year, the Secretary of State publish in the Federal Register a comprehensive listing of all such statements filed by Federal employees concerning gifts of more than minimal value received by them during the preceding year.

§3.7   Decorations.

(a) Decorations tendered in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or awarded for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance may be accepted, retained, and worn by an employee, subject to the approval of the employing agency. Without such approval, the decoration is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States and, like tangible gifts of more than minimal value, must be deposited by the employee with the designated depository office for the employing agency within sixty days after acceptance, for retention for official use or for disposal in accordance with §3.9.

(b) The decision as to whether a decoration has been awarded for outstanding or unusually meritorious performance will be made:

(1) For the Department of State, by the supervising Assistant Secretary of State or comparable official, except that, in the case of a decoration awarded to an Assistant Secretary or other officer of comparable or higher rank, the decision shall be made by the Office of Protocol;

(2) For IDCA, by the Assistant Director for Administration;

(3) For AID, by the Director of Personnel Management; and

(4) For USICA, by the Supervising Associate Director, the General Counsel, or the Director of the Office of Congressional and Public Liaison (for domestic employees), and by the Director of Area Offices (for overseas employees).

(c) To justify an affirmative decision, a statement from the foreign government, preferably in the form of a citation which shows the specific basis for the tender of the award, should be supplied. An employee who has received or been tendered a decoration should forward to the designated depository office of the employing agency a request for review of the case. This request should contain a statement of circumstances of the award and such documentation from the foreign government as has accompanied it. The depository office will obtain the decision of the cognizant office as to whether the award meets the statutory criteria and thus whether the decoration may be retained and worn. Pending receipt of that decision, the decoration should remain in the custody of the recipient.

§3.8   Approval of retention of gifts or decorations with employing agency for official use.

(a) At the request of an overseas post or an office within the employing agency, a gift or decoration deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States may be retained for official use. Such retention should be approved:

(1) For the Department of State, by the Chief of Protocol;

(2) For IDCA, by AID's Director of Management Operations;

(3) For AID, by the Director of Management Operations; and

(4) For USICA, by the Associate Director for Management.

However, to qualify for such approval, the gift or decoration should be an item which can be used in the normal conduct of agency business, such as a rug or a tea service, or an art object meriting display, such as a painting or sculpture. Personal gift items, such as wristwatches, jewelry, or wearing apparel, should not be regarded as suitable for “official use”. Only under unusual circumstances will retention of a decoration for official use be authorized. Every effort should be made to place each “official use” item in a location that will afford the largest number of employees, and, if feasible, members of the public, the maximum opportunity to receive the benefit of its display, provided the security of the location is adequate.

(b) Items approved for official use must be accounted for and safeguarded as Federal property at all times under standard Federal property management procedures. Within 30 days after the official use of a gift has been terminated, the gift or decoration shall be deposited with the designated depository office of the employing agency to be held pending completion of disposal arrangements by the General Services Administration.

§3.9   Disposal of gifts and decorations which become the property of the United States.

(a) Gifts and decorations which have been reported to an employing agency shall either be returned to the donor or kept in safe storage pending receipt of instructions from the General Services Administration for transfer, donation or other disposal under the provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, 63 Stat. 377, as amended, and the Federal Property Management Regulations (41 CFR part 101-49). The employing agency shall examine each gift or decoration and the circumstances surrounding its donation and assess whether any adverse effect upon the foreign relations of the United States might result from a return of the gift (or decoration) to the donor, which shall be the preferred means of disposal. If this is not deemed feasible, the employing agency is required by GSA regulations to report deposit of the gift or decoration within 30 calendar days, using Standard Form 120, Report of Excess Personal Property and, as necessary, Standard Form 120A, Continuation Sheet, and citing section 7342 of title 5, U.S. Code (1976), on the reporting document. Such reports shall be submitted to the General Services Administration, Washington National Capital Region (WDPO), Attention: Federal Property Resources Service, Seventh and D Streets, SW., Washington, DC 20407.

(b) No gift or decoration deposited with the General Services Administration for disposal may be sold without the approval of the Secretary of State, upon a determination that the sale will not adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States. When depositing gifts or decorations with the designated depository office of their employing agency, employees may indicate their interest in participating in any subsequent sale of the items by the Government. Before gifts and decorations may be considered for sale by the General Services Administration, however, they must first have been offered for transfer to Federal agencies and for donation to the States. Consequently, employees should understand that there is no assurance that an item will be offered for sale, or, if so offered, that it will be feasible for an employee to participate in the sale. Employees are reminded in this connection that the primary aim of the Act is to discourage employees' acceptance of gifts of more than minimal value.

§3.10   Enforcement.

(a) Each employing agency is responsible under the Act for reporting to the Attorney General cases in which there is reason to believe that one of its employees has violated the Act. The Attorney General in turn may file a civil action in any United States District Court against any Federal employee who has knowingly solicited or accepted a gift from a foreign government in violation of the Act, or who has failed to deposit or report such gift, as an Act required by the Act. In such case, the court may assess a maximum penality of the retail value of a gift improperly solicited or received, plus $5,000.

(b) Supervisory officials at all levels within employing agencies shall be responsible for providing periodic reorientation of all employees under their supervision on the basic features of the Act and these regulations, and for ensuring that those employees observe the requirements for timely reporting and deposit of any gifts of more than minimal value they may have accepted.

(c) Employees are advised of the following actions which may result from failure to comply with the requirements of the Act and these regulations:

(1) Any supervisor who has substantial reason to believe that an employee under his or her supervision has violated the reporting or other compliance provisions of the Act shall report the facts and circumstances in writing to the senior official in charge of administration within the cognizant bureau or office or at the post abroad. If that official upon investigation decides that an employee who is the donee of a gift or is the recipient of travel or travel expenses has, through actions within the employee's control, failed to comply with the procedures established by the Act and these regulations, the case shall be referred to the Attorney General for appropriate action.

(2) In cases of confirmed evidence of a violation, whether or not such violation results in the taking of action by the Attorney General, the senior administrative official referred to in paragraph (c)(1) of this section as responsible for forwarding a violation report to the Attorney General shall institute appropriate disciplinary action against an employee who has failed to (i) Deposit tangible gifts within 60 days after acceptance, (ii) account properly for the acceptance of travel expenses or (iii) comply with the Act's requirements respecting disposal of gifts and decorations retained for official use.

(3) In cases where there is confirmed evidence of a violation, but no evidence that the violation was willful on the part of the employee, the senior administrative official referred to in paragraph (c)(1) of this section shall institute appropriate disciplinary action of a lesser degree than that called for in paragraph (c)(2) of this section in order to deter future violations by the same or another employee.

§3.11   Responsibility of chief of mission to inform host government of restrictions on employees' receipt of gifts and decorations.

A special provision of the Act requires the President to direct every chief of a United States diplomatic mission to inform the host government that it is a general policy of the United States Government to prohibit its employees from receiving gifts of more than minimal value or decorations that have not been tendered “in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or awarded for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance.” Accordingly, all Chiefs of Mission shall in January of each year conduct a thorough and explicit program of orientation aimed at appropriate officials of the host government concerning the operation of the Act.

§3.12   Exemption of grants and other foreign government assistance in cultural exchange programs from coverage of foreign gifts and decorations legislation.

The Act specifically excludes from its application grants and other forms of assistance “to which section 108A of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 applies”. See 22 U.S.C. 2558 (a) and (b) for the terms and conditions under which Congress consents to the acceptance by a Federal employee of grants and other forms of assistance provided by a foreign government to facilitate the participation of such employee in a cultural exchange.



For questions or comments regarding e-CFR editorial content, features, or design, email ecfr@nara.gov.
For questions concerning e-CFR programming and delivery issues, email webteam@gpo.gov.