4 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 520 (1935-1936)
Annotations of Opinions of the Attorney General of the United States

handle is hein.journals/gwlr4 and id is 532 raw text is: ANNOTATIONS OF OPINIONS OF THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS-INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES-EF-
FECT OF FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS-
DOCTRINE OF MUTUALITY-CONTRACTS VOIDABLE AT OPTION OF
GOVERNMENT.-On August 29, 1916, the U. S. S. Memphis, a cruiser
of 14,500 tons displacement, was cast upon the shores of Santo Do-
mingo by most extraordinary tidal forces, unaccompanied by any
wind whatsoever. Withers, The Wreck of the U. S. S. Memphis, 44
U. S. NAVAL INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS 1459 (1916). All efforts at
refloatation were futile, and after all material of value was removed
from the vessel she was stricken from the U. S. Navy Register in
accordance with the provisions of the Act of August 5, 1882, 22 STAT.
296, 34 U. S. C. § 491 (1934).
The Act of March 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 599, 34 U. S. C. § 492 (1934),
provides, among other things, that vessels stricken from the Navy
Register under the provisions of the Act of August 5, 1882, supra,
shall be sold to the person or corporation offering the highest price
therefor above the appraised value, and that no vessel shall be sold for
less than the appraised value unless the President shall otherwise
direct in writing. No appraisal was made of the Memphis for the
reason that she was a wreck and had no value except as scrap.
The Act of June 30, 1890, 26 STAT. 189, 193, 34 U. S. C. § 543
(1934), authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to sell, without ap-
praisement, after advertisement of sale, condemned naval supplies,
stores, and material.
The Navy Department, regarding the wreck not as a vessel
within the meaning of the Act of March 3, 1883, supra, but rather
as naval material within the purview of the Act of June 30, 1890,
supra, advertised it for sale under the authority contained in the
latter statute, and finally sold it in January, 1922, to the A. H. Radet-
sky Iron and Metal Company of Denver, Colorado, at its bid price
of $3,000 which was paid in full in due course. In March, 1922, the
company was given a bill of sale containing the following provision:
The A. H. Radetsky Iron and Metal Company, having be-
come the legal purchasers of the U. S. S. Memphis, . . . and
having paid the United States the sum of $3,000, the receipt of
which is acknowledged, said vessel is hereby delivered to and
declared to be the property of the A. H. Radetsky Iron and
Metal Company.

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