U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
   BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS
   WASHINGTON, DC  20401

In the Matter of           )
                           )
the Appeal of              )
                           )
PRINTING UNLIMITED         )            Docket No. GPO BCA 21-90
Jacket No. 732-140         )
Purchase Order F-7206      )

   DECISION AND ORDER

   This appeal, timely filed by Printing Unlimited (hereinafter
   Appellant or Contractor), 24 North East 46th Street, Oklahoma
   City, Oklahoma 73105, is from the final decision of
   Contracting Officer John M. Edridge of the U.S. Government
   Printing Office's (hereinafter Respondent or GPO or
   Government) Atlanta Regional Printing Procurement Office,
   Suite 1800, 401 West Peachtree Street, NW., Atlanta, Georgia
   30365-3001 (ARPPO), dated March 8, 1990, terminating the
   Appellant's contract identified as Jacket No. 732-140,
   Purchase Order F-7206, for default for failing to meet the
   contract specifications; i.e., produce acceptable proofs (R4
   File, Tab G).1  For the reasons which follow, the decision of
   the Contracting Officer is hereby AFFIRMED.2

   SUMMARY FINDINGS OF FACT3

   1.    On December 20, 1989, the Respondent issued Purchase
   Order F-7206 to the Appellant to produce and deliver 581
   copies of a book to the U.S. Department of the Interior,
   Geological Survey (Geological Survey) for a contract price of
   $3,234.00 (R4 File, Tab A).4  Each copy of the book consisted
   of 146 pages and a cover.  The Government was required to
   furnish the Appellant with camera copy and negatives, from
   which the Contractor was to make 57 offset line film negatives
   in the 66-100 square inch group, and 16 such negatives of 187
   square inches each (Rule 4 File, Tabs A and N).  The contract
   also called for the Appellant to submit two (2) advance copies
   of the book by January 5, 1990, and to complete delivery by
   January 22, 1990 (R4 File, Tab A).

   2.   In accordance with the contract, on January 5, 1990, the
   Appellant sent advance copies of the book to the Geological
   Survey for approval.  The books were inspected by Geological
   Survey personnel and found to be defective (R4 File, Tab B).
   Specifically, the copies of the books showed an inconsistent
   quality of printing (primarily in the illustrations) and they
   were unacceptable to the customer-agency (R4 File, Tab C).

   3.   Carol Moss of the Geological Survey telephoned the ARPPO
   concerning the problems with the advance copies (R4 File, Tab
   B).  When he received the Geological Survey's report, the
   ARPPO's Gary Bush:  (a) asked the customer-agency to put its
   complaint in writing; and (b) telephoned the Contractor to
   inform it of the complaint (R4 File, Tab B).5  Bush also
   instructed the Appellant to stop production, but was told that
   the job had already been printed and collated, although it was
   not yet bound (R4 File, Tab B).

   4.   The Geological Survey submitted its written complaint to
   the ARPPO on January 19, 1990 (R4 File, Tabs B and C).  When
   the formal complaint was received, Bush immediately telephoned
   the Contractor and asked that it send an original copy and a
   second proof to the ARPPO for examination (R4 File, Tabs B and
   F).

   5.   The Appellant submitted the requested material on January
   22, 1990.  On inspection of the second proof, Bush found
   defects similar to the first one (R4 File, Tab B).
   Accordingly, on January 25, 1990, three days after the
   contract delivery date, he telephoned the Contractor and
   informed it that the second proof was also unacceptable (R4
   File, Tabs B and F).

   6.   On February 9, 1990, Bush called the Appellant to check
   on its progress in correcting the defects (R4 File, Tab B).
   In response, the Contractor informed him that a third proof
   was being forwarded to the ARPPO for review (R4 File, Tab F).

   7.   On February 28, 1990, the third set of proofs were
   received by the ARPPO (R4 File, Tabs B and D).  When these
   proofs were inspected, they were also rejected by the ARPPO,
   and the Contractor was immediately informed of that fact (R4
   File, Tabs B and D).

   8.   On March 5, 1990, Bush spoke to the Robert J. Stonesifer,
   who represented the Appellant, about this matter.  Bush was
   told that the Contractor ". . . had done all [it] could do to
   produce this order" (R4 File, Tab E).  In reply, Bush said
   that he would have ". . . to do something with this order,"
   since the job had been due on January 22, 1990 (R4 File, Tab
   E).  Bush then spoke to the Contracting Officer.  The
   Contracting Officer believed that the Appellant had been given
   enough time to print the job, and he decided to default the
   contract (R4 File, Tab E).

   9.   On March 7, 1990, the Contracting Officer wrote to GPO's
   CRB for concurrence in terminating the contract for default
   (R4 File, Tab F).  See, GPO Printing Procurement Regulation,
   GPO Publication 305.3 (revised September 1, 1988), Chap. I,
   Sect. 10,  4.b.(i).  The Contracting Officer's memorandum
   informed the CRB that despite three opportunities to do so,
   the Appellant had been unable to provide acceptable proofs of
   the books.  Specifically, the memorandum highlighted two
   problems: (a) the loss of information on all proofs; and (b)
   some areas were so blurred as to make them unreadable (R4
   File, Tab F).  The Contracting Officer also stated that the
   GFM was, in his opinion, of good quality (R4 File, Tab F).
   Since he believed that the contract specifications had not
   been satisfied, the Contracting Officer concluded that the
   Appellant was in default, and that the contract should be
   terminated (R4 File, Tab F).

   10.      On March 8, 1990, the CRB gave its permission to
   terminate the contract (R4 File, Tab F).  Accordingly, that
   same day the Contracting Officer issued a "Notice of
   Termination-Complete" (Notice of Termination) to the
   Appellant, informing it that its contract had been terminated
   for default (R4 File, Tab G).6

   11.      On March 14, 1990, after he had received a copy of
   the Notice of Termination, Stonesifer wrote to the Contracting
   Officer to register the Appellant's protest of the termination
   action (R4 File, Tab Q).  In effect, the Appellant charged
   that the decision to terminate was wrong because the GFM was
   of such poor quality that it was practically impossible to
   produce acceptable proofs (R4 File, Tab Q).  In that regard,
   the Contractor stated, in pertinent part:

      1.   The camera copy was poorly prepared on the foldins and
      various other line illustration pages.  The lines outlining
      the coast and county lines are extremely fine and light
      while the pasted down press-on type, lines, bullets and
      numbers are several layers thick compounded by the fact
      that the emulsion is on the top of the clear material.  The
      numbers also look like they were done on a laser printer of
      a low DPI.  This causes extreme focus problems.  When we
      shot to hold the fine lines the paste-on characters would
      fill in.  When we shot to open the paste-on type we would
      lose the fine lines. . . .

      2.   Please note the 4 negatives of the foldins and the
      other negatives that were supplied to us.  They are poorly
      done eventhough [sic] the camera copy they were done from
      was apparently better than the camera copy supplied to us.
      The numbers were much larger and were backed with white so
      they would not interfere with the lines around them. . . .

In the Appellant's opinion, the camera copy it received was
"unusually [sic] difficult," and therefore, it asked that it be
granted the opportunity to complete the contract "as marked on
the advance copy," since ". . . we do not think that without
extraordinary methods it can be done any better under the
circumstances[.]" (R4 File, Tab Q).

   12.      By Notice of Appeal, dated June 7, 1990, the
   Contractor appealed the Contracting Officer's termination
   decision to the Board.  Board Rules, Rules 1(a) and 2.

   ISSUES PRESENTED

   As indicated during the prehearing telephone conference, this
   case presents two issues for the consideration of the Board:

      1.   Whether the Appellant, prior to performance, including
      production of the two advance copies of the book, notified
      the Contracting Officer of any problems or deficiencies
      with the Government-furnished material; and if so, did the
      Contracting Officer determine that the material conformed
      to the contract specifications? and

      2.   Did the Contracting Officer erroneously default the
      contract, thus converting the termination into one for the
      convenience of the Government, and entitling the Appellant
      to compensation for work performed, and if so, in what
      amount?

   POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

   No written brief was filed by the Appellant.  However, the
   record clearly shows that the Contractor's defense is
   predicated on its belief that the GFM-i.e., camera copy and
   negatives-was of such a poor quality that it was unable to
   produce better quality proofs in spite of its best efforts.
   PCR, pp. 3-4.  In that regard, the Appellant argues that
   instead of furnishing "camera copy and negatives," as required
   by the contract, the Government sent the Contractor "negatives
   and numerous mylar overlays, which, when placed on top of
   other copy, formed the image which was to be on any individual
   page."  See, Complaint,  2.  PCR, p. 4.  The Contractor also
   contends that the "mylar materials furnished by the Government
   were of extremely poor quality, were smeared with paste, tape
   and dirt, and contained, on different levels of mylar, or on
   the same sheet, varying densities of black images."  See,
   Complaint,  3.  PCR, p. 4.  See also, R4 File, Tab Q.
   Moreover, the Appellant says that it encountered problems
   creating good negatives due to the distortion which occurs
   when shooting through layers of mylar.7  See, Complaint,  4.
   PCR, pp. 4-5.  Therefore, the Appellant now believes that it
   is entitled to compensation in the amount of $2,246.00 for the
   work performed producing the proofs under the contract.  PCR,
   pp. 4, 5.

   The Respondent, on the other hand, believes that the GFM was
   of good quality, and capable of producing an acceptable
   product.  PCR, p. 4.  In that regard, GPO observes that the
   Geological Survey used the GFM to produce a proof on its in-
   house copy machine which was much sharper than the three
   proofs supplied by the Appellant.  PCR, p. 6.  Furthermore, in
   its written brief, the Respondent argues that the Appellant
   has not met its burden of proof of showing that the GFM was
   defective, since the only evidence offered by the Contractor
   is its self-serving and conclusory statements. See,
   Respondent's Brief, dated October 8, 1993, p. 3 (citing,
   Hudson Garment Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 4847, 60-2 BCA 
   2,827; Royal Electric, Inc., ASBCA No. 3340, 62 BCA  3,571)
   (R. Brf.).  In the Respondent's opinion, a mere "cursory
   examination of the original camera copy," is sufficient to
   show that the GFM was suitable.8  R. Brf., p. 3.  Indeed, the
   reprocurement contractor was able to use the same materials to
   produce a book which met the quality standards of the contract
   (R4 File, Tab M).  R. Brf., pp. 3-4.  The Respondent also
   contends that even if the GFM was defective, it is too late
   for the Appellant to raise that as an excuse now because it
   had an affirmative duty to notify the Government of that fact
   before performance on the contract began.  R. Brf., p. 4
   (citing, Custom Printing Company, GPO BCA 10-87 (May 10,
   1988); Southern Athletic Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 9258, 65-1
   BCA  4,649; Sidran Sportswear Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 9557,
   65-1 BCA  4,632; Kilgore, Inc., ASBCA No. 1387 (1953)).
   Finally, relying on the "black letter" principal of law which
   entitles the Government to strict compliance with its contract
   specifications, GPO believes that the contract was properly
   terminated in this case.9  R. Brf., p. 5 (citing, American
   Electric Contracting Corporation v. United States, 579 F.2d
   602, 608 (Ct.Cl. 1978); Red Circle Corporation v. United
   States, 185 Ct.Cl. 1, 8 (1968); Jefferson Construction Company
   v. United States, 151 Ct.Cl. 75 (1960); Fry Communications,
   Inc., GPO BCA 1-87 (June 1, 1989); Copigraph, Inc., GPO BCA
   20-86 (May 25, 1989); Vogard Printing, GPO BCA 7-84 (January
   7, 1986); Dependable Printing Company, Inc., GPO BCA 5-84
   (September 12, 1985)).  Accordingly, the Respondent urges the
   Board to affirm the Contracting Officer's default action and
   dismiss the appeal.  R,. Brf., p. 6.

   SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS10

      A.   The Appellant has failed to show that it notified the
      Contracting Officer, prior to performance, of any problems
      or deficiencies with the Government-furnished material.


   1.   The essence of the Appellant's attack on the default
   termination is that the Respondent breached its duty to supply
   GFM which was suitable for the use intended, namely, the
   preparation and production of quality proofs and books.  PCR,
   pp. 3-4.

   2.   The GPO contract clause pertaining to GFM which is
   relevant to this appeal, provides, in pertinent part:

      7.   Government Furnished Property (GFP)
      The contractor is required to examine the furnished
      property immediately upon receipt.  If at that time there
      is disagreement with the description or the requirements as
      presented in the specification (or print order/GPO Form
      2511), and prior to the performance of any work, the
      contractor shall contact the U.S. Government Printing
      Office, Central Office Printing Procurement Division,
      Washington, DC 20401, or the originating Regional Printing
      Procurement Office, and contest the description.  (Failure
      to examine the GFP/specification and bring any
      discrepancies to the attention of the Contracting Officer
      will not relieve the contractor of  responsibility to
      perform.)  The Contracting Officer will then investigate
      and make a determination which will be final.  If the
      decision is reached that the original description is
      proper, the contractor will be required to proceed with the
      work.  Failure to agree to the description shall be a
      dispute within the meaning of article 5 "Disputes." . . .

See, GPO Contract Terms, Solicitation Provisions, Supplemental
Specifications, and Contract Clauses, GPO Publication 310.2,
Effective December 1, 1987 (Rev. 9-88), Contract Clauses,  7
(GPO Contract Terms).

    3.   The Appellant alleges that when, as required by GPO
    Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,  7, it brought the poor
    quality of the GFM to the attention of the Contracting
    Officer, it was informed that they were originals which could
    not be replaced, and was advised to do the best it could with
    the GFM.  See, Complaint,  5; PCR, pp. 4-5.  The Respondent
    has denied this allegation.11  See, Answer,  5.
    Consequently, the Appellant had the burden of proving that it
    notified the Respondent of its problems with the GFM in
    accordance with GPO Contract Terms; i.e., "prior to the
    performance of any work."  Custom Printing Company, supra,
    Sl. op. 12.  Therefore, as previously noted, the Board asked
    the Appellant to submit evidence in support of its allegation
    that it had brought the deficiencies with the GFM to the
    attention of the Contracting Officer at the outset.  PCR, p.
    6.  See, notes 1 and 7 supra.

   4.   The only evidence provided by the Appellant in response
   to the Board's request is its letter of March 14, 1990,
   addressed to the Contracting Officer, which detailed the
   problems experienced by the Contractor with the GFM, and
   explained why it had difficulty producing acceptable proofs
   (R4 File, Tab Q).  However, this letter was clearly written
   and sent after the Appellant had received the Notice of
   Termination, and was in response to it (R4 File, Tabs G and
   Q).  Furthermore, the Appellant has not submitted any evidence
   which would controvert the Contracting Officer's statement at
   the prehearing telephone conference that he had no record of
   having received the letter.  PCR, p. 5.  Cf., B. P. Printing
   and Office Supplies, GPO BCA 14-91 (August 10, 1992), Sl. op.
   at 27-28 (where the Government claimed that certain supplies
   had not been delivered under the contract, the contractor was
   responsible for providing adequate proof of shipment).
   Moreover, the Board has carefully combed the record in this
   case and can find no evidence, either in Bush's telephone
   notes or in the other documents contained in the R4 File, that
   the Appellant, at any time prior to March 14, 1990, expressly
   told the Respondent about its problems with the GFM.

   5.   In short, there is not a scintilla of positive proof in
   this record to show that the Contractor met its
   responsibilities under GPO Contract Terms to notify the
   Respondent of the alleged defects with the GFM "prior to the
   performance of any work."  GPO Contract Terms, Contract
   Clauses,  7.  Except for the Appellant's unsupported self-
   serving allegations and statements that the notification
   requirements were indeed complied with, the evidentiary
   cupboard is bare.  Such unsubstantiated assertions standing
   alone do not constitute proof.  Cf., R.C. Swanson Printing and
   Typesetting Company, GPO BCA 31-90 (February 6, 1992), Sl. op.
   at 45-46; Fry Communications, Inc./InfoConversion Joint
   Venture, GPO BCA 9-85 (August 5, 1991), Decision on Remand,
   Sl. op. at 33, fn. 31, 40 (citing, Singleton Contracting
   Corporation, GSBCA No. 8548, 90-2 BCA  22,748; Tri-State
   Services of Texas, Inc., ASBCA No. 38010, 89-3 BCA  22,064;
   Gemini Services, Inc., ASBCA No. 30247, 86-1 BCA  18,736);
   Palmetto Enterprises, Inc., ASBCA No. 20421, 76-2 BCA 
   11,978; S & S Constructors, ASBCA No. 20590, 76-1 BCA 
   11,759; Air-A-Plane Corporation, ASBCA No. 3842, 60-1 BCA 
   2,547.  Accordingly, the Board must conclude that the
   Appellant has failed to sustain its burden on this issue.

      B.   The Contracting Officer's decision to terminate the
      contract for default was not erroneous because the
      Appellant has failed to prove that the GFM was unsuitable
      for the use intended.

   1.   The ultimate question which the Board must decide is
   whether or not the Contracting Officer erroneously terminated
   the Appellant's contract for default under the circumstances
   of this case?  In that regard, a default termination is a
   drastic action which may only be taken for good cause and on
   the basis of solid evidence.12  See, e.g., R.C. Swanson
   Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op. at 25;
   Stephenson, Inc., GPO BCA 02-88 (December 20, 1991), Sl. op.
   at 20 (citing, Mary Rogers Manley d/b/a Mary Rogers Real
   Estate, HUDBCA No. 76-27, 78-2 BCA  13,519; Decatur Realty
   Sales, HUDBCA No. 75-26, 77-2 BCA  12,567).

   2.   The burden of proving the basis for the default is on the
   Government.  Lisbon Contractors v. United States, 828 F.2d 759
   (Fed. Cir. 1987); Chavis and Chavis Printing, GPO BCA 20-90
   (February 6, 1991), Sl. op. at 11 (and cases cited therein);
   R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company, supra, Sl. op.
   at 28.  The contractor has the burden of proving excusability.
   Switlik Parachute Company v. United States, 216 Ct.Cl. 362
   (1978); Franklin E. Penny Co. v. United States, 207 Ct.Cl.
   842, 852 (1975); Davis v. United States, 180 Ct.Cl. 20 (1967);
   Reese Manufacturing, Inc., ASBCA No. 35144, 88-1 BCA  20,358;
   J.F. Whalen and Company, AGBCA Nos. 83-160-1, 83-281-1, 88-3
   BCA  21,066; B. M. Harrison Electrosonics, Inc., ASBCA No.
   7684, 1963 BCA  3,736; Hy-Cal Engineering Corporation, NASA
   BCA Nos. 871-18 and 772-7, 75-2 BCA  11,399; Chavis and
   Chavis Printing,  supra, Sl. op. at 11-12 (and cases cited
   therein).  In the latter regard, the standard "Default" clause
   identifies several grounds which have the effect of excusing
   defaulting conduct by Government contractors, including acts
   of the Government in either its sovereign or contractual
   capacity.13  See, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, 
   20(c).  Government acts which may extinguish a contractor's
   performance obligations include defective specifications,
   Robert E. Moore Construction, AGBCA No. 85-262-1, 90-2 BCA 
   22,803, and defective Government-furnished equipment.  Cf.,
   Tar Heel Canvas Products, Inc., ASBCA No. 30341, 88-1 BCA 
   20,347; Bogue Electric Manufacturing Company, ASBCA No. 25184,
   86-2 BCA  18,925; Bristol Electronics Corporation, ASBCA Nos.
   24792, 24929, 25135 through 25150, 84-3 BCA  17,543; King's
   Point Manufacturing Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 21279, 83-2 BCA 
   16,883.  However, the burden of proving Government defects
   falls on the contractor, who must also show that such defects
   were the cause of the problems in question.  Editors Press
   Incorporated, GPO BCA 03-90 (September 4, 1991) Sl. op. at
   12-13; Fry Communications, Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 5 (citing,
   Bailfield Industries, Division A-T-O, Inc., ASBCA No. 18057,
   77-1 BCA  12,348); Metal-Tech Incorporated, ASBCA No. 14828,
   72-2 BCA  9,545.

   3.   The gravamen of this appeal is the Appellant's contention
   that it was impossible to provide acceptable proofs because
   the GFM was inadequate for that purpose.  Specifically, the
   Contractor complains that the Government sent it poor quality
   mylar materials which were smeared with paste, tape and dirt,
   and which contained, on different levels of mylar, or on the
   same sheet, varying densities of black images.14  See,
   Complaint,  3.  PCR, p. 4.  See also, R4 File, Tab Q.
   Furthermore, the Appellant contends that good negatives were
   impossible to create because of the distortion which occurs
   when shooting through layers of mylar.  See, Complaint,  4.
   PCR, pp. 4-5.  In effect, these allegations amount to an
   accusation that the Respondent has breached its implied
   warranty that the GFM would be suitable for its intended use.

   4.   The Appellant had the burden of proving that the GFM was
   not suitable for its intended use.  Bogue Electric
   Manufacturing Company, supra, 86-2 BCA  18,925; Metal-Tech
   Incorporated, supra, 72-2 BCA  9,545 (citing, Lentino's
   Chauncey Clothing Company, Inc., ASBCA No. 8447, 65-1 BCA 
   4,646; Leader Manufacturing Company, ASBCA No. 3522, 58-2 BCA
    1,899).  In determining what "suitability" means, the Court
   of Claims has said:

      Therefore, it is our conclusion that suitability . . . has
      reference to the appropriateness of the Government-
      furnished property for use in the process of manufacturing
      the items contracted for. . . .


Topkis Brothers Company v. United States, 155 Ct.Cl. 648, 658,
297 F.2d 536, 541 (1961).  [Original emphasis.]  See also,
Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, Inc. v. United States, 175 Ct.Cl. 527,
361 F.2d 222 (1966).15  In a subsequent decision, the Claims
Court expanded its definition of suitability as follows:

      [I]t is not always true that suitability means only that it
      is possible that the end product can be manufactured by
      using the government furnished property regardless of how
      tedious, inconvenient, or expensive the process may be.
      Suitability must be determined by reference to the
      requirements of the contract as a whole and measured by the
      over-all use that can be made of the property in
      manufacturing the end product.  [Citations omitted.]

M. Rudolph Preuss v. United States, 188 Ct.Cl. 469, 482 (1969).
See also, AAA Engineering and Drafting Company, Inc., ASBCA No.
21326, 77-1 BCA  12,454; Singer-General Precision, Inc., ASBCA
No. 15372, 72-2 BCA  9,640, at 45,015 (one measure suitability
is whether the use of the GFM enables the contractor to complete
performance without undue additional expense and delay); Keco
Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 11468, 66-2 BCA  5,899, at 27,365-66
("suitable for use" means a use which allows the contract to be
performed without "unnecessary roadblocks" to performance in the
form of extra work and cost).  However, the "suitable for use"
doctrine does not demand absolute 100% perfection in the GFM;
i.e., some reasonable amount of effort may be required of the
contractor in working with the GFM.  The Cage Company of Abilene,
Inc., ASBCA No. 23915, 82-1 BCA  15,776; AAA Engineering and
Drafting Company, Inc., supra, 77-1 BCA  12,454.  On the other
hand, a contractor is not expected to "go to extraordinary
lengths" to use the GFM, or to engage in efforts in trying to use
the material which are more tedious, inconvenient and costly than
should reasonably be anticipated.  M. Rudolph Preuss v. United
States, supra, 188 Ct.Cl. at 482; AAA Engineering and Drafting
Company, Inc., supra, 77-1 BCA  12,454, at 60, 354.

   5.   In this case, for the GFM to be suitable for its intended
   use, the mylar materials had to be clean and clear enough to
   produce legible proofs; i.e., readable proofs which contained
   all the information provided and which were not blurred.
   Unless the GFM was sufficiently free from dirt and other
   impurities, and contained defined and distinct black images,
   it was not suitable.  The GFM did not have to be "clear as a
   bell" or of such perfect quality that no effort would have to
   be expended by the Appellant to produce satisfactory proofs
   and books.  Cf., AAA Engineering and Drafting Company, Inc.,
   supra, 77-1 BCA  12,454, at 60,354.

   6.   The Respondent has furnished to the Board, at its
   request, originals of the GFM which were used for the
   Geological Survey book.  See, note 1 supra.  That material is
   now part of the record (R4 File, Tab N).  PCR, p. 7.  The
   Board has examined the GFM, and finds that the mylar materials
   which were sent to the Appellant were clean and clear enough
   to produce readable proofs with a reasonable amount of effort
   from the Contractor.16  Cf., AAA Engineering and Drafting
   Company, Inc., supra, 77-1 BCA  12,454, at 60,352.  Thus,
   even though there is some minor evidence of paste, tape and
   dirt on the mylar overlays, the Board finds that it is not in
   sufficient amounts to render resulting proofs illegible.
   Furthermore, the Board fails to see the sort of varying
   densities of black images  on the same sheet of mylar, or on
   different overlays, which would account for the loss of
   information and blurred areas found by the Contracting
   Officer.  In the final analysis, while the GFM might not be
   absolutely 100% perfect, the Board concludes that it still
   comes well within any reasonable interpretation of the
   "suitable for use" doctrine.  Cf., The Cage Company of
   Abilene, Inc., supra, 82-1 BCA  15,776, at 78,127; AAA
   Engineering and Drafting Company, Inc., supra, 77-1 BCA 
   12,454, at 60,352.  Accordingly, the Board also concludes that
   the preponderance of the evidence supports the Respondent's
   position that the GFM was suitable for its intended use; i.e.,
   was of an acceptable level of quality for the production of
   satisfactory proofs and books.17  Cf., Palmetto Enterprises,
   Inc., supra, 76-2 BCA  11,978, at 57,398; Metal-Tech
   Incorporated, supra, 72-2 BCA  9,545, at 44,460.

   7.   Because the Appellant has failed to demonstrate that its
   inability to furnish acceptable proofs was due to the fact
   that the GFM was defective and unsuitable for its intended
   use, it has not sustained its burden of proof in this case.
   Cf., Tar Heel Canvas Products, Inc., supra, 88-1 BCA  20,347;
   Bogue Electric Manufacturing Company, supra, 86-2 BCA 
   18,925; Bristol Electronics Corporation, supra, 84-3 BCA 
   17,543. Metal-Tech Incorporated, supra, 72-2 BCA  9,545.  On
   this record, the Appellant's case is essentially a collection
   of unverified assertions focused largely upon its claimed
   inability to make satisfactory proofs from the GFM supplied by
   the Government.  Thus, the Contractor has not provided any
   affidavits or other statements made under oath regarding the
   quality of the GFM at the time it was received, and the Board
   cannot accept argumentation alone as a substitute.18  Cf.,
   Reese Manufacturing, Inc., ASBCA No. 35144, 88-1 BCA  20,358.
   Unsubstantiated assertions are not sufficient proof to permit
   recovery.  Cf., R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting Company,
   supra, Sl. op. at 45-46; Fry Communications,
   Inc./InfoConversion Joint Venture, supra, Decision on Remand,
   Sl. op. at 33, fn. 31, 40; Palmetto Enterprises, Inc., supra,
   76-2 BCA  11,978; S & S Constructors, supra, 76-1 BCA 
   11,759; Air-A-Plane Corporation, supra, 60-1 BCA  2,547.
   Therefore, the Board is unable to say that the Contracting
   Officer's decision to terminate the Appellant's contract under
   the circumstances described herein is clearly erroneous.  Cf.,
   B. P. Printing and Office Supplies, supra, Sl. op. at 28
   (citing, Chavis and Chavis Printing, supra, Sl. op. at 18).
   Accordingly, the Board affirms the Contracting Officer's
   decision to default the contract because of the Contractor's
   failure to perform under the contract specifications, namely,
   to provide acceptable proofs.

      ORDER

     The Board finds and concludes that the Appellant has not
     proved that: (1) it notified the Contracting Officer, prior
     to performance, of any problems or deficiencies with the
     GFM; or (2) the GFM was unsuitable for its intended use.
     THEREFORE, the decision of the Contracting officer is
     AFFIRMED, and the appeal is DENIED.

It is so Ordered.

November 30, 1993                  STUART M. FOSS
                                 Administrative Judge
_______________

    1 The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant
    to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was
    delivered to the Board on July 5, 1990.  GPO Instruction
    110.12, Subject: Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice
    and Procedure, dated September 17, 1984 (Board Rules), Rule
    4.  It will be referred to hereafter as the R4 File, with an
    appropriate Tab letter also indicated.  As originally
    submitted, the R4 File consisted of ten (10) documents
    identified as Tab A through Tab J.  However, at the
    prehearing telephone conference held on August 20, 1993, the
    Board directed the parties to supplement the record with
    certain additional documentary evidence.  See, Report of
    Prehearing Telephone Conference, dated September 8, 1993, pp.
    6-7 (PCR).  Specifically, the Board asked the Appellant to
    submit evidence in support of its allegation that it had
    brought the deficiencies with the Government-furnished
    material (GFM) to the attention of the Contracting Officer at
    the outset, and began performance only after the Contracting
    Officer determined that no discrepancies existed.  Id.  The
    Appellant was also told to furnish evidence in support of its
    claim for compensation of $2,246.00.  PCR, p. 7.  The
    Respondent, on the other hand, was instructed to send to the
    Board:  (a) a copy of the book covered by the contract; (b)
    the originals of the camera copy, film negatives, and any
    other materials; (c) originals of the three proofs submitted
    by the Appellant and found unacceptable; (d) the applicable
    contract specifications in both the contract in dispute and
    the reprocurement contract; and (e) the proof furnished by
    the reprocurement contractor which was found to be
    acceptable.  Id.  By facsimile transmission on August 20,
    1993, Counsel for the Appellant sent the Board a copy of a
    letter dated March 14, 1990 (the date on the letter is March
    14, 1980, but this is an obvious typographical error) from
    the Contractor to the Contracting Officer, explaining the
    problems found by the Contractor with the GFM, and stating
    its willingness to produce the books at the same (lower)
    level of quality as the proofs which resulted from those
    materials.  See, Letter from Robert J. Stonesifer, Printing
    Unlimited to John Edridge, Government Printing Office, dated
    March 14, 1990.  This letter has been made part of the R4
    File and labeled Tab Q.  On October 8, 1993, the Board
    received five documents from the  Counsel for GPO-a copy of
    the reprocurement contract, the reprocurement contractor's
    proofs, a copy of the reprocured product, camera copy and
    negatives, and an evaluation of the reprocurement proofs.
    These documents have been made part of the R4 File and
    labeled Tabs K, L, M, N, and P.  When Counsel for GPO
    submitted these documents he noted that the Contractor's
    proofs were "not presently available", but were expected by
    October 13, 1993, and he reserved Tab O of the R4 File for
    that purpose.  On October 13, 1993, Counsel for GPO furnished
    the Board with the proofs submitted by the Appellant.  The
    Board settled the record on October 8, 1993.  PCR, p. 8.
    Board Rules, Rule 13.  As of that date, the Appellant had not
    supplied the Board with any evidence in support of its claim
    for recovery of $2,246.00.
    2 Shortly after the Contractor had noted an appeal in this
    case, it informed the Board that it wished to proceed under
    the optional Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure.  Board
    Rules, Rules 12.1(a), (c) and 12.2.  See, Appellant's
    Election to Proceed Under Small Claims Procedure, dated June
    12, 1990.  Since its claim-$2,246.00-does not exceed the
    $10,000.00 limit prescribed under the Small Claims
    (Expedited) Procedure in Board Rules 12.1(a), the matter is
    appropriate for resolution under that procedure.  Board
    Rules, Rule 12.1(d).  It should be noted that when the appeal
    was filed the Board was in transition, and for some reason
    not apparent in the record, the case was not processed for
    more than two years.  Furthermore, during that time neither
    party made inquiries about the status of the appeal or
    otherwise showed an interest in pursuing the matter.
    Consequently, when the Board discovered this appeal among its
    overage cases, it contacted Counsel for the Appellant and was
    informed that the Contractor still wished to proceed under
    the Small Claims (Expedited) Procedure.  See, Letter from
    Frederic G. Antoun, Jr. to Ved P. Gulati, GPO Board of
    Contract Appeals, dated December 1, 1992.  Accordingly, the
    Board asked for and received pleadings from both parties.
    Board Rules, Rules 6(a) and 6(b).  The Appellant also asked
    for a hearing on its appeal.  Board Rules, Rules 8 and 17
    through 25.  However, at the prehearing telephone conference
    on August 20, 1993, the parties agreed that a hearing was
    unnecessary and that the issues could be resolved on the
    basis of the appeal record without a hearing.  Board Rules,
    Rule 11.  PCR, p. 7.
    3 In accordance with the Board rules concerning the Small
    Claims (Expedited) Procedure, the Board's decision contains
    only summary findings of fact and conclusions.  Board Rules,
    Rule 12.2(c).  Furthermore, the decision in this case shall
    have no value as precedent in future appeals considered by
    the Board.  Board Rules, Rule 12.2(d).  See, Graphics Image,
    Inc., GPO BCA 13-92 (August 31, 1992), Sl. op. at 2, fn. 3.
    4 The book in question was actually a report entitled
    "Geohydrology and Simulated Effects of Withdrawals on the
    Miocene Aquifer System in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Area"
    (R4 File, Tab C).
    5 The Respondent's telephone memoranda in the file are signed
    with the initial "B" (R4 File, Tabs B and E).  From the
    Contracting Officer's memorandum to GPO's Contract Review
    Board (CRB), dated March 7, 1990, the Board assumes that "B"
    is Gary Bush, who was the Contract Compliance Officer on this
    contract (R4 File, Tab F).
    6 The default notice also told the Appellant it could be
    liable for any excess reprocurement costs on the items
    terminated (R4 File, Tab G).  On March 26, 1990, the contract
    was reprocured from Litho Press (R4 File, Tab K).  However,
    since the books were reprocured at a lower cost than the
    original contract price, the Appellant was advised that it
    was not liable for any excess reprocurement costs (R4 File,
    Tab H).

    7 The Appellant alleges that when it discovered that it could
    not produce a negative which it felt was acceptable, and was
    concerned that the books produced from the GFM would not meet
    the Quality Level III standards required for the job, it
    brought the matter to the attention of the Contracting
    Officer.  See, Complaint,  5.  PCR, p 5.  According to the
    Appellant, the Contracting Officer advised that the GFM were
    originals which could not be replaced, and he told the
    Contractor to do the best it could with the materials
    provided by the Government.  Id.  Consequently, before
    adjourning the conference, the Board asked the Appellant to
    submit evidence in support of its allegation that it had
    brought the deficiencies with the GFM to the attention of the
    Contracting Officer at the outset.  PCR, p. 6.  See, note 1
    supra.

    8 Thus the Respondent states that if the Appellant's advance
    copies of the book and its two later proofs are compared with
    the camera copy it received, the degradation in image quality
    from the GFM will be obvious.  R. Brf., p. 3.
    9 As indicated by the Respondent, one purpose of this rule is
    to protect the integrity of the bidding system and ensure
    that it is not compromised.  R. Brf., p. 5 (citing, Ideal
    Restaurant Supply Company, VACAB No. 570, 67-1 BCA  6,237).
    10 The record on which the Board's decision is based consists
    of: (1) the Notice of Appeal, dated June 7, 1990; (2) the R4
    File (Tabs A-Q); (3) the Appellant's Complaint, dated
    December 1, 1992; (4) the Respondent's Answer, dated January
    4, 1993; (5) the Report of Prehearing Telephone Conference,
    dated September 8, 1993; and (6) the Respondent's Brief,
    dated October 8, 1993.
    11 Indeed, but for the fact that the Appellant itself
    introduced the GFM "notification" issue into this appeal, the
    Board would not have entertained the Respondent's contention
    that the claim should be dismissed because the Contractor
    failed to meet its responsibilities under GPO Contract Terms,
    Contract Clauses,  7.  R. Brf., pp. 4-5.  In that regard,
    the Board Rules require that an Answer, inter alia, must ". .
    . set forth any affirmative defenses . . . ".  Board Rules,
    Rule 6(b).  The Appellant's lack of compliance with the
    notice requirements of the GFM clause as a ground for denying
    its claim, is such an affirmative defense.  Thus, the
    Respondent's failure to raise the notice defense in its
    pleading would normally constitute a waiver of that defense.
    Cf., Michael, Inc., ASBCA No. 35653, 92-1 BCA  24,412, at
    121,862-63 (the board rejected the Government's argument,
    made for the first time in its posthearing brief, that the
    contractor's failure to comply with the notice requirements
    of the GFM clause precluded an equitable adjustment for
    defective GFM).  Also cf., General Exhibits, Inc., AGBCA No.
    81-260-1, 84-1 BCA  17,071 at 85,019; Apparel Corporation of
    America, ASBCA No. 16064, 73-2 BCA  10,276.
    12 Default terminations-as a species of forfeiture-are
    strictly construed.  See, D. Joseph DeVito v. United States,
    188 Ct.Cl. 979, 413 F.2d 1147, 1153 (1969).  See also,
    Murphy, et al. v. United States, 164 Ct.Cl. 332 (1964); J. D.
    Hedin Construction Co. v. United States, 187 Ct.Cl. 45, 408
    F.2d 424 (1969).
    13 While the excusable events listed in the "Default" clause,
    all of which must be beyond the control and without the fault
    or negligence of the contractor, are set forth in the context
    of relieving the contractor from responsibility for excess
    reprocurement costs, it is well-settled that the same
    occurrences operate to extend the time available for
    performance and makes termination prior to that time
    improper.  See, e.g., FKC Engineering Company, ASBCA No.
    14856, 70-1 BCA  8,312.
    14 The Appellant also complains that by furnishing "negatives
    and numerous mylar overlays, which, when pieced on top of
    other copy, formed the image which was to be on any
    individual page," the Government, in effect, breached its
    duty to provide "camera copy and negatives," as required by
    the contract (R4 File, Tab A)..  See, Complaint,  2.  PCR,
    p. 4.  However, like the other complaints the Contractor
    expresses regarding the GFM, this matter was never raised
    with the Contracting Officer until March 14, 1990 (R4 File,
    Tab Q,  4).  This allegation concerns the format of the GFM
    itself, a matter so patent that the deviation from the
    contract would be obvious the moment the Contractor received
    the materials.  Cf., R.C. Swanson Printing and Typesetting
    Company, supra, Sl. op. at 41, fn. 22.  Also cf., See Kings
    Electronics Company, Inc. v. United States, 169 Ct.Cl. 433,
    438-39, 341 F.2d 632, 636 (1965). Reese Manufacturing, Inc.,
    supra, 88-1 BCA  20,358, at 102,947. 3. ILC Steinthal, Inc.,
    ASBCA No. 19857, 77-2 BCA  12,736, at 61,906.  Therefore, if
    the Appellant was truly concerned about the fact that the
    Government provided mylar overlays instead of camera copy,
    knowing that it only had one month to complete the contract
    (from December 20, 1989 to January 22, 1990), the Board would
    reasonably have expected the Contractor to raise the matter
    immediately with the Contracting Officer as a "disagreement
    with the description or the requirements as presented in the
    specification . . .".  GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses,
     7.  Cf., Kings Electronics Company, Inc. v. United States,
    supra, 169 Ct.Cl. at 438-39, 341 F.2d at 636.  Its failure to
    do so at that time waives such an objection to the format of
    the GFM.


    15 Whether or not the GFM is actually "suitable for use," as
    defined by the Claims Court, is a question of fact to be
    determined on the basis of the unique circumstances of each
    case.  Topkis Brothers Company v. United States, supra, 155
    Ct.Cl. at 658, 297 F.2d at 541.

    16 In making this finding, the Board rejects the Respondent's
    argument that: "[t]he reprocurement contractor used the same
    GFM Appellant found defective and produced a product which
    met the applicable Quality Level."  R. Brf., pp. 3-4.  See,
    R4 File, Tab M.  In the Board's view, the fact that the GFM
    was successfully used to complete the contract by someone
    else is irrelevant to the issue of its suitability insofar
    the Appellant is concerned.  Cf., Singer-General Precision,
    Inc., supra, 72-2 BCA  9,640, at 45,015.
    17 The Board observes that the third (and last) proof
    submitted by the Respondent was received by the Government on
    February 28, 1990, more than a month after the delivery date
    established by the contract for the finished product (January
    22, 1990).  Although the Board has not been asked to decide
    the question, it notes for the record its belief that there
    was more than a reasonable period of forbearance, under the
    circumstances, to allow the Contractor an opportunity to
    produce acceptable proofs in this case.  Cf.,  Stephenson,
    Inc., supra, Sl. op. at 22-23.  It is well-settled that the
    Government does not waive its right to terminate a defaulted
    contract because it fails to do so immediately when the right
    to terminate accrues.  Cf., Stephenson, Inc., supra, Sl. op.
    at 22 (citing, Frank A. Pelliccia v. United States, 208 Ct.
    Cl. 278, 525 F.2d 1035 (Ct. Cl. 1975)).  Instead, a
    contracting officer has a reasonable period of time to
    investigate the facts and to determine what course of action
    would be in the best interest of the Government as the non-
    defaulting party.  During this forbearance period the
    Government may terminate the contract at any time, without
    prior notice.  See, Raytheon Service Co., ASBCA No. 14,746,
    70-2 BCA  8,390; Lapp Insulator Co., ASBCA No. 13,303, 70-1
    BCA  8,219, mot. for reconsid. denied 70-2 BCA  8,471.
    Under the law, the extent of a reasonable forbearance period
    depends on the facts and circumstances of each individual
    case.  See, e.g., H. N. Bailey & Associates v. United States,
    196 Ct. Cl. 156, 449 F.2d 387 (1971); Methonics, Incorporated
    v. United States, 210 Ct. Cl. 685 (1976).  In the Board's
    judgment, the extra time given by the Respondent after
    January 22, 1990, when the Appellant was in actual default,
    until March 8, 1990, when the contract was terminated, was a
    period of reasonable forbearance and did not constitute a
    waiver of the Government's right to default the contract.
    Cf., King's Point Manufacturing Company, Inc., supra, 83-2
    BCA  16,883.
    18 As previously indicated, the Appellant was unable to
    satisfy the Board's request that it provide evidence to show
    that it had brought the deficiencies with the GFM to the
    attention of the Contracting Officer at the outset.  Instead,
    the only evidence provided by the Contractor with such
    details was its letter of March 14, 1990, which was written
    after the contract was terminated (R4 File, Tab Q).  There is
    no other evidence in the record to show that the Appellant
    communicated with the Contracting Officer, either orally or
    in writing, about its problems with the GFM before then.