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The joint conference met in the room of the Senate Committee on Public Lands at 10 o'clock a. m., pursuant to adjournment, 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; Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Commander James C. Richardson, Bureau of Steam Engineering, representing the Navy Department; and S. W. Williams and Francis J. Kearful, representing the Department of Justice.
The conference resumed consideration of the bill (H. R. 406) "To authorize exploration for and disposition of coal, phosphate, oil, gas, potassium, or sodium."
The CHAIRMAN. I want to ask Mr. Williams, of the Department of the Interior, a few questions.
What would you place as approximately the center of the oil dome in Naval Reserve No. 1.
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. The center of No. 1 reserve would probably be pretty close to section 31, township 30 south, range 24 east [indicating on map].
Senator CLARK. Is that the geographical center or the center in relation to the best part of the oil deposit?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. The best part of the oil deposit.
The CHAIRMAN. Section 31, of course, is adjoining and directly east of section 36?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir; that is a Standard Oil holding. Senator CLARK. Your question is not accurate, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not in the same township, but it is here [indicating]. To be more correct, the section 31 which you referred to adjoins and is directly east of section 36 in township 30 south, range 23 east?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That section 36 is patented, is it?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. It is State land and it has been patented and is now owned by the Standard Oil Co.
The CHAIRMAN. It was originally what was known as a school section, was it not?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. It was a school section.
The CHAIRMAN. And granted to the State by the United States Government?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And was patented by the State to other parties?
The CHAIRMAN. And who is it owned by now?
The CHAIRMAN. I will ask Mr. Tallman, Commissioner of the Land Office, if there is any dispute over the title of that section 36— that is, upon the part of the Land Department of the Government.
Commissioner TALLMAN. Not so far as I am advised; I do not think there is.1
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask Mr. Williams, of the Department of Justice, whether or not the Department of Justice has instituted proceedings concerning any part of the land in that section 36?
Mr. S. W. WILLIAMS. So far as I know, Mr. Chairman, there has been no litigation involving that land on the question of title of the present claimants. Of course, school sections are not patented by the Federal Government. They pass to the States under the grant upon identification of the land by survey. If at that time the land is not known to be mineral, I assume it would pass to the State. I do not know when this section was surveyed.
The CHAIRMAN. The Department of Justice have under consideration the titles to that section?
Mr. S. W. WILLIAMS. Have we had under consideration the titles to that section?
The CHAIRMAN. Have you had it under consideration?
Mr. S. W. WILLIAMS. I presume that is unquestioned, as the commissioner says.
Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. Might I ask, in relation to that particular section 36, what the acreage value is?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. I should think that would be as good as any other.
Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. More valuable than any other? Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. It would probably be of equal value to the best of it.
Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. But not more valuable than some contiguous sections?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. I would not say so; no.
Senator CLARK. What is the top value placed on it?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. I placed a value of $1,500 an acre on it. The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Williams, referring to Naval Reserve No. 2, where, approximately, is the center of the geological dome in that reserve?
1 Subsequent examination of the records shows that proceedings have been directed against both sections 16 and 36 in township 30 south, range 23 east, on the ground that the land was known mineral land at date of survey.
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. There are two domes in reserve No. 2. The center of the east dome is probably pretty close to section 9, township 32 south, range 24 east.
The west dome is at the intersection of sections 21, 22, 28, and 27, township 31 south, range 23 east.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the condition with reference to the condition of the titles adjoining section 9, in the township 32 south, range 24 east?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. Section 10, to the east, is patented land; section 16, to the south, is patented; section 8, to the west, is Honolulu land, which has been clear listed; section 4, to the north, is Honolulu land, which has been clear listed.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by "clear listed"?
Mr. W. A. WILLIAMS. I think Mr. Tallman could explain that better than I.
The CHAIRMAN. Commissioner, break right in and tell us what you mean by "clear listed."
Commissioner TALLMAN. Clear list is a term common in the practice of the Land Office, which means that the matter of the application for patent to the land included therein has been investigated in the field, a report made to our office, and we have taken up that report or considered it, and on that report have decided that there is no sufficient ground or evidence for an attack on the application on the basis of matters outside the record. Our practice is, if an application for patent is insufficient on the record, to reject it on the record. But the investigations of the field ordinarily go to matters that are contrary to the record or not shown by the record. That means that we had in the case of the Honolulu an investigation made as to the question of whether or not the locations were bona fide and whether or not there was such diligence of operation and of work leading to discovery, after date of withdrawal and subsequent thereto, as to overcome the effect of the withdrawal; and that on the consideration of that report we decided that there was no justification in making an attack on the entries in question on those grounds.
I may say that, taking the Honolulu as an illustration, subsequently there has been an attack made on the application by other parties on record matters, which were just settled by the Secretary of the Interior two or three days ago.
Mr. FINNEY. Which protest is dismissed?
Commissioner TALLMAN. Which protest is dismissed.
Senator CLARK. Do you clear list land-I do not know whether you speak of it in that way-upon the record, where the application is insufficient in formal matters?
Commissioner TALLMAN. We do not use that term. The term "clear list" is simply a term that has been developed as a result of Land Office procedure, and it has no special legal significance otherwise, but we have an organization called the "Field Service," whose business it is to investigate the legality of land entries; and that is conducted by field men, special agents, and mineral and irrigation engineers. They make a report on all matters involved in land entries, particularly looking to questions of fraud. We try to keep separate entirely from our adjudicating division this whole matter of clear listing; secondly, we have a division in the Land Office known as the
Field Service Division. The reports of field agents go to that division, where they are considered; if it is concluded that there is sufficient ground in the evidence shown by the report to justify a direction of charges against an enrty, that course is pursued; that class of cases is handled through this division. If, on the other hand, on the basis of the reports no sufficient cause is found to warrant an attack on the entry on the ground of fraud or other irregularity or insufficiency, then a memorandum or statement or a review of the facts as shown by the report is prepared, giving the reasons why it is decided not to make an attack. We call that a clearlisting memorandum." This is attached to the record in each case. Then the record is shot along to the regular adjudicating division, who handle it on the record matters, which means that all matters in the field, looking to questions of fraud or irregularity not shown by the record, have been investigated by the field service and cleared up and disposed of and the case passed along to the adjudicating division. The "clear-listing memorandum" in connection with this Honolulu case is printed on page 191 of the printed record of the hearings on H. R. 406. It was simply one of those memorandums prepared by our field service, and, in this case, partly by myself, because it was an important case, showing that the fraud part and other matters dehors the record had been considered and disposed of as the result of the field investigation and passed along then to our regular adjudicating division, which took it up on the record to see if it was complete in all respects and to take action accordingly.
Senator CLARK. What I wanted to get clear in my mind and I beg pardon of the committee for getting a little education in land. matters here I had supposed that the use of the words "clear listed" rather implied that except for some extraordinary or unknown reason the clear listing inferred that a patent would be issued in due course of time without further proceeding.
Commissioner TALLMAN. It does not necessarily mean that, Senator, but does point very strongly in that direction, for the reason that if a man makes an application of any kind, and we find his application is fatally defective, not curable by supplementary proofs, we will reject it on the record and not go to the expense of any field investigation. So that it means ordinarily that the application would have been rejected in the regular order of procedure, before the Field Service ever took it up and investigated, if the application had been fatally defective. As a rule, unless some new protest comes in, when we have clear listed a case, it means that as a general proposition that there was not anything in the record, in the first place, but what could be cured by supplementary proof.
Senator CLARK. That is substantially my understanding of the term "clear listing."
Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. May I ask how many other cases, in connection with reserve No. 2, the Land Office is working on? Commissioner TALLMAN. I have a lot of data on that.
Assistant Secretary ROOSEVELT. Applications have been made for patent?
Commissioner TALLMAN. Yes. I will give it now.
The CHAIRMAN. I think it a good idea to get it in right in this connection if the conference thinks so.
Commissioner TALLMAN. Very well.
I have arranged this material in the order the conference has asked for it, if you want it all put in at this time, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I think it is a good idea to put it in right now. Commissioner TALLMAN. The first thing asked for was the placer law and subsequent legislation. I have grouped the sections here, and there is no use of reading that, but it may go into the record in that form for the printer.
(The data on the placer law and subsequent legislation referred to by Commissioner Tallman is here printed in full, as follows:)
SECTIONS OF THE REVISED STATUTES AND SUPPLEMENTARY LEGISLATION RELATING TO THE LOCATION AND ACQUISITION OF TITLE TO PLACER-MINING CLAIMS, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO OIL AND GAS LANDS.
SEC. 2329. Claims usually called "placers," including all forms of deposit, excepting veins of quartz, or other rock in place, shall be subject to entry and patent, under like circumstances and conditions, and upon similar proceedings, as are provided for vein or lode claims; but where the lands have been previously surveyed by the United States, the entry in its exterior limits shall conform to the legal subdivisions of the public lands.
SEC. 2330. Legal subdivisions of forty acres may be subdivided into ten-acre tracts; and two or more persons, or associations of persons, having contiguous claims of any size, although such claims may be less than ten acres each, may make joint entry thereof; but no location of a placer claim, made after the ninth day of July, eighteen hundred and seventy, shall exceed one hundred and sixty acres for any one person or association of persons, which location shall conform to the United States surveys; and nothing in this section contained shall defeat or impair any bona fide preemption or homestead claim upon agricultural lands, or authorize the sale of the improvements of any bona fide settler to any purchaser.
SEC. 2331. Where placer claims are upon surveyed lands, and conform to legal subdivisions, no further survey or plat shall be required, and all placer-mining claims located after the tenth day of May, eighteen hundred and seventy-two, shall conform as near as practicable with the United States system of publicland surveys, and the rectangular subdivisions of such surveys, and no such location shall include more than twenty acres for each individual claimant; but where placer claims can not be conformed to legal subdivisions, survey and plat shall be made as on unsurveyed lands; and where by the segregation of mineral lands in any legal subdivision a quantity of agricultural land less than forty acres remains, such fractional portion of agricultural land may be entered by any party qualified by law, for homestead or preemption purposes.
SEC. 2332. Where such person or association, they and their grantors, have held and worked their claims for a period equal to the time prescribed by the statute of limitations for mining claims of the State or Territory where the same may be situated, evidence of such possession and working of the claims for such period shall be sufficient to establish a right to a patent thereto under this chapter, in the absence of any adverse claim; but nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to impair any lien which may have attached in any way whatever to any mining claim or property thereto attached prior to the issuance of a patent.
SEC. 2333. Where the same person, association, or corporation is in possession of a placer claim, and also a vein or lode included within the boundaries thereof, application shall be made for a patent for the placer claim, with the statement that it includes such vein or lode, and in such case a patent shall issue for the placer claim, subject to the provisions of this chapter, including such vein or lode, upon the payment of five dollars per acre for such vein or lode claim and twenty-five feet of surface on each side thereof. The remainder of the placer claim or any placer claim not embracing any vein or lode claim shall be paid for at the rate of two dollars and fifty cents per acre, together with all costs of proceedings; and where a vein or lode, such as is described in section twenty-three hundred and twenty, is known to exist within the boundaries of a placer claim, an application for a patent for such placer claim which does not include an application for the vein or lode claim shall be construed as a