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people want far-reaching amendments it probably would never be agreed to let them be put on; if they want to strike out the leasing clause and get it through the Senate, with the understanding that it will come up in conference, I think you can harmonize matters. Mr. Chairman, you can not put anything through except that which is satisfactory to the majority. The leasing bill has been whipped around, and they will not pass a title. This thing would be involved in a debate until somebody would move to take up something else. Unless this matter goes on the floor of the Senate, in my opinion, with some practical--not unanimous agreement but unless we can eliminate a lot of this fight we might just as well drop it. Let us see what your statement means, Senator Pittman. Does that imply that the three House conferees agree there must be nothing in the nature of the lease in this bill?

Senator CLARK. Oh, no. I am, in principle, totally opposed to the leasing proposition, and yet I see a condition confronting that western country where something has to be done or we will be tied up forever.

Representative FERRIS. That is exactly it.

Senator CLARK. Because we know very well that the other fellows will not let go, and I, for one, have come to that conclusion. So, I am perfectly willing to modify my views as to the leasing proposition, but I would not be willing to modify my views as to the leasing proposition if that was the only thing in this bill.

Representative FERRIS. Can not the Senate of the United States appoint three conferees who will be of known steadfastness and obdurate enough to hold us down, and hold the department down so that they can let you pass under that?

Senator CLARK. It is not the question of Senate conferees, but the question of getting the preliminary action in the Senate, before the conferees take any action. Do you not look at that that way, Senator Pittman?


Representative FERRIS. Could you not fix it exactly like the oil operators desire, who do not want any leasing?

Senator CLARK. You could not get it through the Senate. To be perfectly plain, it is absolutely impossible to get any bill through the Senate that does not meet the approval, in some way, of the departments. That is the plain, unadulterated condition, and that was the purpose the Senate committee had in mind.

The CHAIRMAN. We can agree with the Interior Department, I am satisfied.

Representative FERRIS. Let me follow Senator Clark's suggestion. We are getting somewhere. You say you could get it through the Senate if the departments would approve it?

Senator CLARK. I would hardly say that. I would say we could not pass anything through the Senate with the opposition of the departments.

Representative FERRIS. All right; put it in that way. Here are three departments of the same Government. Is it possible that those three departments of the same Government, all acting under one head, can not agree to let advancement be made so that agreement may be had in conference?

The CHAIRMAN. That is what we are asking.

Representative FERRIS. Is it possible the three departments can not agree to let a bill pass in whatsoever form it will, with the knowledge that they are going to be heard and that they are going to come before the conference and President?

Senator CLARK. You will have to direct your inquiry to the Department of Justice, the Interior Department, and the Navy Department.

Representative FERRIS. I do direct it to them. It is impossible for you three departments to agree on any policy?

Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. I doubt very much if Secretary Daniels would be willing to do that merely to expedite legislation, on the ground that there would be danger that something the Navy Department absolutely opposed went through the Senate that then in conference we might not have the same opportunity to prevent the passage that we would have before it went to the Senate.

Representative FERRIS. Of course, if the Navy Department resolved its attitude into one of obstruction, I think you ought to get the President to harmonize matters. It presents a very bad spectacle to have three departments backbiting.

Senator CLARK. Let me ask, to get right down to brass tacks, Suppose this committee should agree on certain amendments of the House bill and present them on the floor of the Senate with the idea of getting some sort of legislation, is it not true that the Navy Department, if that did not just suit them, would exercise the full extent of their power to prevent the passage through the Senate?

Representative FERRIS. The Navy Department and the Department of Justice ought to be harmonized. I have worked for this legislation six years. It has been put through the House and sent over here time and again. The House can not be asked every session to go through this long grind and pass this same thing and have it killed in the Senate.

Why can not the three departments have a conference and agree to let this bill pass the Senate in any sort of form it wants to get through, let it go to conference, and then, with the understanding that we will take the whole matter to the President, lock, stock, and barrel, and fight it out.

Senator CLARK. That is the very purpose of this conference in having these departments' representatives here.

Representative FERRIS. The conference is well adapted. If the Senate will let something go through, then six men can give the final word.

Senator CLARK. The Senate will let something go through if the departments will let something go through.

Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. I am sure I can speak for the three departments, that if there is definite assurance of the House and Senate committee that before the bill is agreed on in conference and presented to either body there shall be approval by the President of that bill, there is not any earthly reason why something should not go through.

Senator CLARK. That is allowing the veto power before you pass legislation. Everybody knows that if the bill is presented to the President and he says, "No; I am not satisfied," the conference report will never be adopted.

Mr. FINNEY. This controversy is all about the remedial bill as applicable to naval reserves. Are you interested in the remedial bill as it might operate outside naval reserves?

Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. Not a bit.

Mr. FINNEY. The so-called controversy relates to sections 9 and 10. Senator CLARK. If 9 and 10 were eliminated

Mr. KEARFUL. Then the departments would have nothing to say. Senator CLARK. If 9 and 10 were eliminated, certain gentlemen in the Senate would have something to say.

The CHAIRMAN. I will make a proposal right now:

That the provisions of the bill be modified, providing for a preferential lease, within and without the naval reserves, to claimants of mining claims who have initiated the right to such claim prior to September 27, 1909, either through themselves or their predecessors in interest, where there is no charge of fraud in the initiation or maintenance of such rights, through dummy entry or otherwise; provided that the Department of the Interior shall first find that the said claimants and their predecessors in interest have in good faith prosecuted the development of such claims since their initiation to discovery of oil.

That is the only proposition I desire to make.

Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. I think I may say right off that the Navy Department will approve if you insert the word "diligently" before the word "prosecuted."

The CHAIRMAN. I want to leave that question of good faith to the Department of the Interior. Somebody has got to determine the question; otherwise we will be right back in the courts with a hundred different kinds of suits and never get anywhere.

Commissioner TALLMAN. That just applies to naval reserves.

The CHAIRMAN. I am dealing with the naval reserves. The Navy does not care how we pass this bill outside of that.

Commissioner TALLMAN. The naval reserves, Mr. Chairman, are a very small part of the whole proposition, and they are probably more people looking for relief outside of naval reserves than there are in them. So far as the claimants are concerned, I am strongly impressed with the belief that they should all be treated alike.

The CHAIRMAN. Then put in within or "without naval reserves." Commissioner TALLMAN. This thing has been hanging fire a long time. There are a great many cases. If we can not find a method of adjustment it means a long period of litigation, loss, and expense to both the Government and the applicants and claimants of these lands. It seems to me that the time has not arrived yet for this committee to give up in despair of reaching some common ground. There has not yet been put before this conference any concrete proposition to agree to or disagree to. I can not say right now that I disagree with anything that Secretary Roosevelt has said or contended for, because it has not been sufficiently definite or concrete to say whether I did agree, or whether our department agrees or disagrees. It seems to me these preliminary discussions are necessary as a basis of taking up a definite proposition. When Senator Smith sent the notice to the Department of the Interior it included two propositions to form a basis of relief. And that is what the Navy Department is chiefly interested in. We are interestd neot alone from the standpoint of the Naval Reserve but a great deal more outside of it, a very

important field in Wyoming and other places. Now, ought not we to stay with this matter a little longer? We have been with it two or three years, and it seems to me we would be justified if we spent a few days longer, perhaps, trying to reach a common ground here, or at least in subjecting to a pretty thorough scrutiny these various propositions presented for relief. We have not taken up one yet as a basis of discussion or expression of opinion, and ought not we to do that first? Ought not we to take up these propositions as Senator Smith submitted and to see what is in them?

Senator CLARK. You say Senator Smith?

Commissioner TALLMAN. Senator Marcus Smith, of the Senate committee, who first took this thing up.

Mr. FINNEY. Has not Senator Pittman reduced the matter to a concrete basis?

The CHAIRMAN. I have made the most liberal proposition that could be made. I have eliminated the fraud class.

Representative FERRIS. Mr. Chairman, let me submit something. I suggest, and move if necessary, that the view of the conference be that the three departments consider the advisability and acceptability of the chairman's proposal; and if they do not agree with it that they come back with a counter proposal, so that we can agree to have something on which to pass. If they accept your proposal the conference will have made progress; if they will not accept your proposal, let us have their counter proposal.

The CHAIRMAN. The conference will now stand adjourned until Friday, at 10 o'clock, and the departments will then endeavor to have a concrete proposition for acceptance.

(Thereupon, at 1.40 o'clock p. m., the conference stood adjourned to meet to-morrow, Friday, December 22, 1916, at 10 o'clock a. m.)



Washington, D. C.

The conference met at 10 o'clock a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in the Senate Public Lands Committee room, Senator Key Pittman presiding.

Present: Senators Pittman (chairman), Phelan, and Clark, representing the Committee on Public Lands, United States Senate; Representatives Ferris, Taylor, and Lenroot, representing the Committee on Public Lands, House of Representatives; Messrs. Clay Tallman, Commissioner United States Land Office; Edward C. Finney, counsel for the Department of the Interior; and W. A. Williams, of the Bureau of Mines, representing the Department of the Interior; Commander James O. Richardson, Bureau of Steam Engineering, representing the Navy Department; and S. W. Williams, representing the Department of Justice.

The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, I have a letter here from the Secretary of the Navy in response to our proposal, and I will read it [reading]:

NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 23, 1916.

MY DEAR SENATOR: Representatives of the Navy Department in conjunction with those of the Interior Department and the Department of Justice, after conference among themselves, have presented to me a proposed amendment to the bill known as H. R. 406, which was presented to them by your committee with the request that it be agreed to, and if not, that a counter proposal be subinitted. Your proposal reads as follows:

"That the provisions of the bill be modified, providing for a preferential lease within and without the naval reserves, to claimants of mining claims who had initiated their right to such claims prior to September 27, 1909, either through themselves or their predecessors in interest, where there is no charge of fraud in the initiation or maintenance of such rights through dummy entry or otherwise; provided that the Department of the Interior shall first find that the said claimants and their predecessors in interest have in good faith prosecuted the development of such claims since their initiation to discovery of oil." The word "initiated" in the proposed amendment is understood to mean something less than claims initiated by work leading to discovery, and the phrase "in good faith prosecuted the development of such claims since their initiation" is understood to mean something less than the diligent prosecution of work leading to discovery, as the law requires. Otherwise the proposal would be to give only preferential leases to those who are now entitled to patents. The proposed amendment is understood as intended to give preferential leases on any part of the area withdrawn by the Executive order of September 27, 1909 (including naval petroleum reserves numbered 1, 2, and 3), to claimants not chargeable with fraud but who, under existing law, can not sustain their claims.


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