COMPTROLLEWGENERWhOF THE LJNIYEDSTATES WASHIHGTON. D.C. 20948 Dear Senator Griffin: This is in response to your letter of March 22, 1971, enclosing a letter to you frown Mrs. Richard M. Upright dated March 10, 1.971, and requesting that we review and comment on the Federal Govemme&*s upu_ja."i -i, ,..._. involvement in the construction___.:of the Bqbe~~~-.~~~~dy~&n"~vesite. w---m --The.-~~~e'-Se,ta-'~obert Fe Kem&Jy ii*-ittprred in &liwton p ./qch National Cemetery on June 8, 1968, in a portion of the 3.2 acres which had been set aside in memory of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. No additional land has been allocated. In Public Law 91-144, dated December ll, l&y, Congress appropri- ated $15,125,000 for cemeterial expenses, According to the report of the House Committee on Appropriations, this mount included $181,0o0 $3~~ for the Fedeml portion of the cost of design and construction of a permanent resting place for the late Senator Robert Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery. The report also stated that this allow- ance restricted the Government's share of the cost solely to the visitor access approach walks, exit stairway, related l~~drscaping, relocations, and related design cost, and that cost of all work in the immediate are8 of the grave, estimated at $496,000, would be paid by the Kennedy family. Currently, the total esti ed cost is $7479000, of which, after allowing for the Government's share of $181.,000, the Kennedy family's portion is $566,000. A spokesman for the Department of the Amy, in requesting this appropriation in May lg9, advised the Public Works Subcommittee of the (YHouse Committee on Appropriations that over 5 million people had visited //y/o Arlington Rational Cemetery during a period of a year and that most of them had visited the Kennedy gravesites. Ne also stated that if a person visits the John F. Kennedy graves it is almost a folregone conclusion that he will also visit the Robert F. Kennedy grave, primarily due to the proximity of the two. A publication of the Office of the Chief of Support Services, Department of the Army, dated November 1970, regarding the Kennedy graves in Arlington National Cemetery, states in part: “In the years since the President ad Senator were interred, millions of persons from all over the world have visited the graves annually. Just as the Government decided to provide access facilities to accommodate those coming to honor the President, the Army determined that it would be appropriate to pay from public f'unds the expenses related to the flow of visitors to the Senator’s grave. The improvements sre essential if responsible officials are to control the crowds during peak-season attendance at Arlington and to insure that cemetery grounds ase not damaged.” "Plans for the poiert Kerrnew grave are that it will be marked by a simple white wooden cross and will be sur- rounded by a cluster of informally planted trees. A granite approach-walk till lead south from the President's grave to a semicircular platform and reflecting pool. A low granite wall inscribed with quotations from the Senator will be along the back of the pool. The grave will be landscaped as a natursl addition to the Cu.&is-Lee h5ll ad the President's site, There will be a dense planting of trees between the two graves, a grove in the &mediate mea, and a la;Pge American Beech adjacent to the paved area to provide shelter and shade." Army regulations state that persons who have been honorably dis- charged fior&‘%ailitary service and who have also held elective office in the United States Governmen-bor served in the Cabinet are among those eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Senator Kennedy was eligible for interment in Arlington National Cemetery under the above eligibility criteria by virtue of sertice in the United States Navy during World War II as well as in the United States Senate and in the Cabinet as Attorney General. We hope th,at this information will satisfy the purpose of your inquiry. Sincerely yours, AeeiPrterat Comptroller General - of the United States The Honorable Robert P. Griffin United States Senate -2-
GAO Review and Comment on the Federal Government's Involvement in the Construction of the Robert F. Kennedy Gravesite
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-04-15.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)