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Executive Order 10789--Authorizing agencies of the Government to exercise certain contracting authority in connection with national-defense functions and prescribing regulations governing the exercise of such authority

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 10789 of Nov. 14, 1958, appear at 23 FR 8897, 3 CFR, 1954-1958 Comp. p., 426, unless otherwise noted.

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the act of August 28, 1958, 72 Stat. 972, hereinafter called the act, and as President of the United States, and in view of the existing national emergency declared by Proclamation No. 2914 of December 16, 1950,1 and deeming that such action will facilitate the national defense, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Part I--Department of Defense

Under such regulations, which shall be uniform to the extent practicable, as may be prescribed or approved by the Secretary of Defense:

1. The Department of Defense is authorized, within the limits of the amounts appropriated and the contract authorization provided therefore, to enter into contracts and into amendments or modifications of contracts heretofore or hereafter made, and to make advance payments thereon, without regard to the provisions of law relating to the making, performance, amendment, or modification of contracts, whenever, in the judgment of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of the Air Force, or the duly authorized representative of any such Secretary, the national defense will be facilitated thereby.
1A. (a) The limitation in paragraph 1 to amounts appropriated and the contract authorization provided therefore shall not apply to contractual provisions which provide that the United States will hold harmless and indemnify the contractor against any of the claims or losses set forth in subparagraph (b), whether resulting from the negligence or wrongful act or omission of the contractor or otherwise (except as provided in subparagraph (b)(2)). This exception from the limitations of paragraph 1 shall apply only to claims or losses arising out of or resulting from risks that the contract defines as unusually hazardous or nuclear in nature. Such a contractual provision shall be approved in advance by an official at a level not below that of the Secretary of a military department and may require each contractor so indemnified to provide and maintain financial protection of such type and in such amounts as is determined by the approving official to be appropriate under the circumstances. In deciding whether to approve the use of an indemnification provision and in determining the amount of financial protection to be provided and maintained by the indemnified contractor, the appropriate official shall take into account such factors as the availability, cost and terms of private insurance, self-insurance, other proof of financial responsibility and workmen's compensation insurance. Such approval and determination, as required by the preceding two sentences, shall be final.
(b)(1) Subparagraph (a) shall apply to claims (including reasonable expenses of litigation and settlement) or losses, not compensated by insurance or otherwise, of the following types:
(A) Claims by third persons, including employees of the contractor, for death, personal injury, or loss of, damage to, or loss of use of property;
(B) Loss of, damage to, or loss of use of property of the contractor;
(C) Loss of, damage to, or loss of use of property of the Government;
(D) Claims arising (i) from indemnification agreements between the contractor and a subcontractor or subcontractors, or (ii) from such arrangements and further indemnification arrangements between subcontractors at any tier; provided that all such arrangements were entered into pursuant to regulations prescribed or approved by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force.
(2) Indemnification and hold harmless agreements entered into pursuant to this subsection, whether between the United States and a contractor, or between a contractor and a subcontractor, or between two subcontractors, shall not cover claims or losses caused by the willful misconduct or lack of good faith on the part of any of the contractor's or subcontractor's directors or officers or principal officials which are (i) claims by the United States (other than those arising through subrogation) against the contractor or subcontractor, or (ii) losses affecting the property of such contractor or subcontractor. Regulations to be prescribed or approved by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy or the Air Force shall define the scope of the term `principal officials'.
(3) The United States may discharge its obligation under a provision authorized by subparagraph (a) by making payments directly to subcontractors or to third persons to whom a contractor or subcontractor may be liable.
(c) A contractual provision made under subparagraph (a) that provides for indemnification must also provide for--
(1) notice to the United States of any claim or action against, or of any loss by, the contractor or subcontractor which is covered by such contractual provision; and
(2) control or assistance by the United States, at its election, in the settlement or defense of any such claim or action.

[Para. 1A added by EO 11610 of July 22, 1971, 36 FR 13755, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp., p. 594]

2. The Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, respectively, may exercise the authority herein conferred and, in their discretion and by their direction, may delegate such authority to any other military or civilian officers or officials of their respective departments, and may confer upon any such military or civilian officers or officials the power to make further delegations of such authority within their respective commands or organizations: Provided, that the authority herein conferred shall not be utilized to obligate the United States in an amount in excess of $50,000 without approval by an official at or above the level of an Assistant Secretary or his Deputy, or by a departmental Contract Adjustment Board.

3. The contracts hereby authorized to be made shall include agreements of all kinds (whether in the form of letters of intent, purchase orders, or otherwise) for all types and kinds of property or services necessary, appropriate, or convenient for the national defense, or for the invention, development, or production of, or research concerning, any such property or services, including, but not limited to, aircraft, missiles, buildings, vessels, arms, armament, equipment or supplies of any kind, or any portion thereof, including plans, spare parts and equipment therefore, materials, supplies, facilities, utilities, machinery, machine tools, and any other equipment without any restriction of any kind as to type, character, location, or form.

4. The Department of Defense may by agreement modify or amend or settle claims under contracts heretofore or hereafter made, may make advance payments upon such contracts of any portion of the contract price, and may enter into agreements with contractors or obligors modifying or releasing accrued obligations of any sort, including accrued liquidated damages or liability under surety or other bonds. Amendments or modifications of contracts may be with or without consideration and may be utilized to accomplish the same things as any original contract could have accomplished hereunder, irrespective of the time or circumstances of the making, or the form, of the contract amended or modified, or of the amending or modifying contract, and irrespective of rights which may have accrued under the contract or the amendments or modifications thereof.

5. Proper records of all actions taken under the authority of the act shall be maintained within the Department of Defense. The Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force shall make such records available for public inspection except to the extent that they, or their duly authorized representatives, may respectively deem the disclosure of information therein to be detrimental to the national security.

6. The Department of Defense shall, by March 15 of each year, report to the Congress all actions taken within that department under the authority of the act during the preceding calendar year. With respect to actions which involve actual or potential cost to the United States in excess of $50,000, the report shall (except as the disclosure of such information may be deemed to be detrimental to the national security)--
(a) name the contractor;
(b) state the actual cost or estimated potential cost involved;
(c) describe the property or services involved; and
(d) state further the circumstances justifying the action taken.

7. There shall be no discrimination in any act performed hereunder against any person on the ground of race, religion, color, or national origin, and all contracts entered into, amended, or modified hereunder shall contain such nondiscrimination provision as otherwise may be required by statute or Executive order.

8. No claim against the United States arising under any purchase or contract made under the authority of the act and this order shall be assigned except in accordance with the Assignment of Claims Act of 1940 (54 Stat. 1029), as amended.

9. Advance payments shall be made hereunder only upon obtaining adequate security.

10. Every contract entered into, amended, or modified pursuant to this order shall contain a warranty by the contractor in substantially the following terms:
"The Contractor warrants that no person or selling agency has been employed or retained to solicit or secure this contract upon an agreement or understanding for a commission, percentage, brokerage, or contingent fee, except bona-fide employees or bona-fide established commercial or selling agencies maintained by the Contractor for the purpose of securing business. For breach or violation of this warranty the Government shall have the right to annul this contract without liability or, in its discretion, to deduct from the contract price or consideration, or otherwise recover, the full amount of such commission, percentage, brokerage, or contingent fee."

11. Except as provided in the Act of September 27, 1966, 80 Stat. 850, contracts entered into, amended, or modified pursuant to authority of this order shall include a clause to the effect that the Comptroller General of the United States or any of his duly authorized representatives shall, until the expiration of three years after final payment, have access to and the right to examine any directly pertinent books, documents, papers, and records of the contractor or any of his subcontractors engaged in the performance of, and involving transactions related to, such contracts or subcontracts. Before exercising the authority provided in the Act of September 27, 1966, 80 Stat. 850, the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force, or their designees, shall first determine that all reasonable efforts have been made to include the clause prescribed above and that alternate sources of supply are not reasonably available.

[Para. 11 amended by EO 11610 of July 22, 1971, 36 FR 13755, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp., p. 594]

12. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to constitute authorization hereunder for--
(a) the use of the cost-plus-a-percentage-of-cost system of contracting;
(b) any contract in violation of existing law relating to limitation of profits or fees;
(c) the negotiation of purchases of or contracts for property or services required by law to be procured by formal advertising and competitive bidding;
(d) the waiver of any bid, payment, performance, or other bond required by law;
(e) the amendment of a contract negotiated under section 2304(a)(15) of title 10 of the United States Code to increase the contract price to an amount higher than the lowest rejected bid of any responsible bidder; or
(f) the formalization of an informal commitment, unless the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of the Air Force, or the duly authorized representative of any such Secretary, finds that at the time the commitment was made it was impracticable to use normal procurement procedures.

13. The provisions of the Walsh-Healey Act (49 Stat. 2036), as amended, the Davis-Bacon Act (49 Stat. 1011), as amended, the Copeland Act (48 Stat. 948), as amended, and the Eight Hour Law (37 Stat. 137), as amended, if otherwise applicable, shall apply to contracts made and performed under the authority of this order.

14. Nothing herein contained shall prejudice anything heretofore done under Executive Order No. 9001 of December 27, 1941, or Executive Order No. 10210 of February 2, 1951, or any amendments or extensions thereof, or the continuance in force of an action heretofore taken under those orders or any amendments or extensions thereof.

15. Nothing herein contained shall prejudice any other authority which the Department of Defense may have to enter into, amend, or modify contracts, and to make advance payments.

Part II--Extension of Provisions of Paragraphs 1-14

21. Subject to the limitations and regulations contained in paragraphs 1 to 14, inclusive, hereof, and under any regulations prescribed by him in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 22 hereof, the head of each of the following-named agencies is authorized to perform or exercise as to his agency, independently of any Secretary referred to in the said paragraphs 1 to 14, all the functions and authority vested by those paragraphs in the Secretaries mentioned therein:
Department of the Treasury
Department of the Interior
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Transportation
Atomic Energy Commission2
General Services Administration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Tennessee Valley Authority
Government Printing Office
The Federal Emergency Management Agency

[Para. 21 amended by EO 11051, of Sept. 27, 1962, 27 FR 9683, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 635; EO 11382 of Nov. 28, 1967, 32 FR 16247, 3 CFR, 1966-1970 Comp., p. 691; EO 12148 of July 20, 1979, 44 FR 43259, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp., p. 412]

22. The head of each agency named in paragraph 21 hereof is authorized to prescribe regulations governing the carrying out of the functions and authority vested with respect to his agency by the provisions of paragraph 21 hereof. Such regulations shall, to the extent practicable, be uniform with the regulations prescribed or approved by the Secretary of Defense under the provisions of Part I of this order.

23. Nothing contained herein shall prejudice any other authority which any agency named in paragraph 21 hereof may have to enter into, amend, or modify contracts and to make advance payments.

24. Nothing contained in this Part shall constitute authorization thereunder for the amendment of a contract negotiated under section 302(c)(14) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (63 Stat. 394), as amended by section 2(b) of the act of August 28, 1958, 72 Stat. 966, to increase the contract price to an amount higher than the lowest rejected bid of any responsible bidder.


1 Editorial note: Public Law 94-412 (90 Stat. 1255, 50 U.S.C. 1601) terminated, effective Sept. 14, 1978, all powers and authorities, except those expressly cited in the act, possessed by the President and/or other Federal officials as a result of any declaration of a national emergency in effect on Sept. 14, 1976.

2 Editorial note: The Atomic Energy Commission was abolished and its functions transferred to the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-438, 88 Stat. 1233). The functions of the Energy Research and Development Administration were transferred to the Department of Energy by the Department of Energy Organization Act (91 Stat. 565, 42 U.S.C. 7151), effective October 1, 1977.


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