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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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SMG 2342.1





Transmittal Number 73-126 -- Date: 12/04/1973

[PDF Version]

 1. Purpose
 2. References
 3. Definition
 4. Foreign Travel
 5. Participation of FDA Personnel on Intergovernmental Bodies and at International Meetings
 6. Travel Plan
 7. Guidelines for the Preparation of Foreign Travel Plan
 8. Formulation of Foreign Travel Plan
 9. Deadline for Submission of Foreign Travel Plan

Attachment A - (PDF) International Meeting Travel
Attachment B - (PDF) International Organization Travel
Attachment C - (PDF) Bilateral Activity Travel
Attachment D - (PDF) Other Foreign Travel
Attachment E - (PDF) Proposed Foreign Travel Plan Summary


This Guide provides policy and procedures for those FDA offices preparing foreign travel plans.


DHEW Travel Manual, Chapters 8-00, 8-10, 8-30, 8-50, and 8-60.


A. The Department has defined foreign travel as:

B. Travel between the United States and any of its territories and possessions and a foreign country (Canada and Mexico are considered foreign countries).

C. Travel within foreign countries.

D. Travel between foreign countries.


Foreign travel, as defined in paragraph 3, is characterized as follows:

1. Travel that is necessary for participation in the activities of international organizations. This category of travel includes the following:

a. Participation in meetings which have for a primary purpose the conduct of the business of the organization. Examples are International Congress for Pharmaceutical Sciences, annual planning committees for International Association of Foot Processors, etc.

b. Participation in substantive activities of international organizations such as expert committees, study groups, seminars, or providing services as a consultant or temporary advisor. Examples of these are WHO, PAHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius, etc. that request participation or services.

2. Travel that is necessary for the performance of duties in connection with programs other than those related to international organizations (4.a. (1) and (2) above). This category of travel includes the following:

a. Overseas administration and supervision of DHEW programs, such as Special Foreign Currency Program travel for exploratory purposes.

b. Consultation with foreign officials, foreign professionals, and others. Examples would be discussions with foreign officials on mutual problems, discussions with foreign officials on registration of drugs, or evaluation of foreign drug inspection procedures.

3. Travel that is an integral part of certain operations, programs, and projects which involves travel to and from the United States. The approval of programs and projects automatically commits the foreign travel component. This category of travel includes:

a. Travel under certain grants by other than DHEW employees and/or any travel in connection with contracts or agreements. This would include foreign drug inspections which are financed by advance deposits under special and prearranged agreements.

b. Travel to perform regular duties or compliance activities along the Canadian and Mexican borders. This would include border inspections for drugs, consultation with Canadian and Mexican officials on specific matters of particular interest or concern to FDA, etc.

c. Travel by Foreign Consultants to the United States.

Foreign travel in paragraphs 4.a. and 4.b will be included in the ceilings established for foreign travel, in accordance with the DHEW Travel Manual. Foreign travel in paragraph 4.c. will not be included in the foreign travel ceiling, except that time (man-day or man-years) will be reported to the Department periodically by the International Affairs Staff (HFC-40).


The Department recognizes the value derived when its personnel are requested to serve as consultants, temporary advisors, experts, etc. on international organizations, and when its personnel attend international scientific meetings. It also recognizes that such participation and attendance may be mutually beneficial not only to the Department but to the individual as well. However, the primary purpose of a trip abroad should be carefully examined to ascertain its need. If the travel is maintained as essential, it should be determined whether it can be combined with another projected trip. The International Affairs Staff (HFC-40) can be of assistance toward this end, since it is in a position to coordinate all international travel.

The Department also advises that plans for attendance at international meetings be made annually rather than on an individual basis. This should present no problem in planning, since international meetings are planned for a year, and in some cases, two years in advance and, furthermore, the place and dates of such meetings will be known.


The travel plan for attendance at international meetings should reflect the following:

1. Attendance is for official purposes and is consistent with the policies and best interest of the Department.

2. Attendance stems from an authorized Department program or from an activity in which the Department (especially FDA) has a direct interest and it is advantageous to the Government to have one or more FDA representatives participating.

3. The FDA representative will be a professional employee who has competence and a direct interest in the subject matter.


The Department advises that foreign travel plans will be based on three considerations: Program, Manpower, and Fiscal.

1. Program Considerations.These are basic and most important criteria for the inclusion of any item in the foreign travel plan. Only that travel which furthers the achievement of DHEW, FDA, or appropriate overall U.S. Government goals and objectives should be included in the plan.

2. Manpower Availability. This is the next most important factor. The determination of the influence of this criterion on the travel plan is directly related to the program priorities of the office from which the traveler will be selected and the relationship of the travel to these priorities.

3. Availability of Funds. This is the third in importance. No item should be included in the plan simply because funds may be available from other sources. On the other hand, some item which satisfies the first two criteria may have to be removed from the travel plan because funds are not available.

Several sources of funding are involved. The travel and per diem may be paid directly by another source such as an international organization or the Department of State, or they may be paid by funds transferred from other Government agencies. If the travel and per diem are paid from funds appropriated to DHEW/FDA, they may be paid from excess foreign currencies or from dollars.


It is suggested that the foreign travel plan be formulated in three steps:

1. Each Associate and Assistant Commissioner, Bureau Director, EDRO, and Director, NCTR, should make a list of individual trips or groups of trips for particular purposes which meet the program requirements for inclusion. This list should be based on the experience of previous years, and on anticipated modifications (either up or down) from those years. This list should be separated into the following categories:

a. International Meeting Travel

b. International Organization Travel
Consultant Expert Services (Organizations pay travel and per diem costs)
Multilateral Working Groups (Expenses paid by DHEW).

c. Bilateral Activity Travel (as appropriate) for example:
U.S. East/West Exchange
U.S. - U.S.S.R.
U.S. - Japan
Special Foreign Currency Program

d. Other Foreign Travel (Unilateral):
Compliance Inspections
Service for Other Agencies
Consultations with Counterparts, etc.
Other (Miscellaneous)

2. The estimated man-days should be totaled for each category and for all four. The international man-day requirements, both total and by category sub-total, should be reviewed in relation to the staff man-days available in the office from which the travelers should be selected and with the time demands of the responsibilities of those staff members. To the extent that it is evident that the projected travel plans make demands upon individual staff members or upon staffs, which may be detrimental to higher priority responsibilities, the lower priority travel items should be deleted.

3. The remaining list should be reviewed for availability of funds.

a. In those cases in which the cost of travel and per diem are paid directly by another source, there is no problem (WHO, etc.).

b. Trips paid from transferred funds should be checked against the agreements providing the funds to verify that the estimated costs are covered. (Reinspection of foreign antibiotic plants.)

c. All travel other than in (1) and (2) must be paid from appropriated DHEW funds. Every effort should be made to arrange trips so that they can be paid from excess foreign currency (Special Foreign Currency Program Travel).

d. All travel not funded by (1), (2), or (3) must be limited to the dollars which are available for foreign travel.

When the travel plan has been formulated in accordance with the above three steps, it should be submitted on the appropriate forms in the format illustrated in Attachments A, B, C, D, and E of this Guide to the International Affairs Staff (HFC-40).

The Office of International Affairs (DHEW) will review the plan of each agency and discuss FDA's plan with the International Affairs Staff (HFC-40) before establishing ceilings.


The Department has advised that international travel plan for the next fiscal year should be received not later than June 15 of the preceding fiscal year. In order to fulfill this requirement, it is requested that the International Affairs Staff (HFC-40) receive this plan not later than April 1, each fiscal year.