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What was involved and determined in the former suit is to be tested by an examination of the record and proceedings therein, including the pleadings, the evidence submitted, the respective contentions of the parties, and the findings and opinion of the court; there being no suggestion that this is a proper case for resorting to extrinsic evidence, Russell v. Place, 94 U. S. 606, 608; Last Chance Mining Co. v. Tyler Mining Co., 157 U. S. 683, 688, et seq; Baker v. Cummings, 181 U. S. 117, 124-130; National Foundry, etc v. Oconto Water Supply Co., 183 U. S. 216, 234.
The act of May 2, 1890 (26 Stat. S1, 92), briefly recited the existence of a controversy between the United States and the State of Texas as to the ownership of the land known as Greer County, and directed the Attorney General to bring suit in this court in order that the rightful title to that land might be finally determined. Referring to this, and to the history and nature of the controversy, it is contended that the pleadings should be so construed as to confine the issue to the identification of one of the forks of the Red River with the Red River of the treaty. It is true that the principal matter in dispute Was the claim of the United States to ownership of the tract of land lying between the forks and bounded on the west by the 100th meridian. But the bill and the amended bill, after reciting article 3 of the treaty defining the boundary line between the United States and Spain, by which both parties to the cause were bound, and recounting the history of the controversy, concluded with a prayer that the bill might be filed und Texas made a defendant thereto, “to the end and for the purpose of determining and settling the true boundary line between the United States and the State of Texas, and to determine and put at rest questions which now exist as to whether the Prairie Dog Town Fork or the North Fork of Red River, as aforesaid, constitutes the true boundary l'ne of the treaty of 1819"; and that upon final hearing a decree might be entered establishing complainant's rights as set up in the bill; and there was a prayer for general relief. The contention now made is based upon an unduly narrow interpretation of the act and of the pleading. Granting that the substantial controversy related to the ownership of and jurisdiction over the tract lying between the forks, it was essential to a complete and precise disposition of that controversy that the court should define with certainty the bounds of the tract. If it were to be awarded to the State of Texas, an accurate definition of its northerly boundary was essential; if to the United States, like accuracy in defining its southerly boundary was called for; in either case, the line to be defined was “the true boundary line between the United States and the State of Texas.” Not the less, but rather the more, was precision required because the line followed a navigable river which separated national territory from that of a State. Since in such a case the line, in the absence of express provision to the contrary, would follow the middle of the main navigable channel (Iowa r. Illinois, 147 U. S. 1, 13; Arkansas v. Tennessee, 246 U. S. 158, 171), a definite statement was called for; if the line were described as following the river, with nothing more, the rule of construction would place it in the middle of the main channel ; if it was to follow one bank or the other, that needed
to be specified. If, at the termination of the suit. the line were left undefined, . a ground of further controversy would remain; and it is as foreign to correct
practice as to the principles of equity that a final decree should be pregnant with further litigation.
Even less substantial is the suggestion that the language of section 2.5 of the act of 1890 (26 Stat. 92) authorizing suit to determine the title to the tract “lving betweeu the North and South Forks of the Red River,” etc., and the use of that phrase in the amended bill, had the effect of excluding from the issue
land south of the middle of the south fork. Upon so narrow an interpretation,
The contention that the evidence and the arguments in the Greer County
Furthermore, in the principal brief for the State of Texas, reference was
Finally, the precise matter was discussed in the opinion of the court, and
said rivers to the sea shall be common to both people.'” Citing Annals of Congress, Appendix, 15th Cong., 2d Sess., 2120, 2021, 2123. The opinion then proceeded to set forth (pp. 27–29) the third and fourth articles of the treaty, in the former of which occurs the language that Mr. Adams had insisted upon as carrying out the purposes of the United States that “the property of the river should belong to them”; and at a later point the opinion declared (p. 37): “The two governments certainly intended that the line should be run from the Gulf along the western bank of the Sabine River, and after it reached Red River that it should follow the course of that river, leaving both rivers within the United States."
And, having decided the case in favor of the United States, the court, embodied in the final decree a description of the boundary line, in terms quoted above.
To sum it up, we find that the question of the true location of the boundary between the territory of the United States and Texas where it followed the Red River bordering upon Greer County, and the question whether the boundary followed the middle or the south bank of the river, were within the issues made by the pleadings, and so recognized by both parties, as well as by the court; that, by the concession of both, it was to be determined according to the true effect and meaning of the treaty of 1819; that in elucidation of the matter the treaty, and much historical evidence of the negotiations that led up to it, were introduced, discussed by counsel in argument, and referred to in the opinion of the court; and that the question was directly determined by the court and made a part of its final decree. By every test that properly can be applied, the matter is res judicata.
And, of course, it not only concludes the parties with respect to that part of the boundary. which borders upon what was called Greer County, but settles the construction of article 3 of the treaty of 1819 as to the entire course of the Red River where it marks the boundary between the territory then owned by the United States and that of the State of Texas.
Having reached this conclusion upon the first of the two questions proposed for decision, it is unneecssary to consider the second, which is whether the treaty, by proper construction, fixes the boundary along the midchannel or the south bank. The matter being res judicata, as the result of the decree in the former suit, it is of no consequence whether it was correctly decided or not. We say this without intending to intimate the least doubt about the propriety of that decision.
The parties may submit within thirty days a proper form of decree for carrying this decision into effect.
It is so ordered.
Supreme Court of the United States. No. 20, Original.—October Term, 1921.
The State of Oklahoma, complainant, 1. the State of Texas, defendant. United States, intervener,
[May 1, 1922.)
Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the court.
This suit in equity was brought in this court by the State of Oklahoma against the State of Texas to settle a controversy between them over their common boundary along the course of the Red River and over the title to the southerly half of the river bed. The State of Texas answered the bill and joined in the prayer that the controversy be decided. Shortly thereafter the United States, by the court's leave, intervened as a party in interest, and in its bill of intervention set up a claim to the river bed as against both States. Subsequent proceedings resulted in a decree recognizing and declaring that the true State boundary is along the south bank of the river, as claimed by Oklahoma and the United States, and not along the medial line of the stream, as claimed by Texas. 256 U. S. 70 and 608. The decree directed a further hearing to determine what constitutes the south bank, where along that bank the boundary is, and the proper mode of locating it on the ground. That hearing was had last week and disclosed that the parties differ widely as to what constitutes the south bank. A decision on the question will be given after it shall have been fully considered. The southerly cut-bank to which we shall refer presently may or may not be the bank along which the boundary extends. On this we intimate no opinion now.
Our present concern is with proprietary claims to the bed of the river and to the proceeds of oil and gas taken from 43 miles of the southerly half.
After we acquired jurisdiction of the suit it developed that the State of Oklahoma was claiming title to the entire river bed from one bank to the other; that the State of Texas was claiming title to the southerly half; that the United States was disputing the claims of both States and asserting full proprietorship of the southerly half and an interest (because of its relation to Indian allottees) in portions of the northerly half; that a part of the bed, particularly of the southerly half, had been but recently discovered to be underlaid with strata bearing oil and gas and to be of great value by reason thereof; that many persons were proceeding to drill for, extract and appropriate these minerals with uncertain regard for the dispute over the title and for the true ownership; that possession of parts of the bed was being taken and held by intimidation and force; that in suits for injunction the courts of both States were assuming jurisdiction over the same areas; that armed conflicts between rival aspirants for the oil and gas had been but narrowly averted and still were imminent; that the militia of Texas had been called to support the orders of its courts and an effort was being made to have the militia of Oklahoma called for a like purpose; that these conflicting assertions of jurisdiction and the measures taken to sustain them were detrimental to the public tranquility, were of general concern and were likely to result in great waste of the oil and gas and in their extraction and appropriation to the irreparable injury of the true owner of the area in dispute, and that unless these minerals were secured and conserved by means of wells drilled and operated in that area there was danger that they would be drawn oft through wells in adjacent territory pending the solution of the controversy over the state boundary and the title to the river bed.
In these circumstances, on the motion of the United States, fully supporteil by the State of Oklahoma and expressly approved by the State of Texas to the extent of its proprietary claim, we appointed a receiver to take possession of the part of the river bed between the medial line and a line on the south bank temporarily and provisionally designated, and within defined easterly and westerly limits, and to control or conduct all necessary oil and gas operations therein. As to that area there appeared to be urgent need for such action. The order provided in detail for ascertaining and holding the net proceeds of the oil and gas in such way that they could be awarded and paid! to whoever ultimately should be found to be the rightful claimants, and also provided for such interventions in the suit as would permit all possible claims to the property and proceeds in the receiver's possession to be freely and appropriately asserted. 252 U'. S. 372.
Numerous parties have since intervened for the purpose of asserting rights to particular tracts in the receiver's possession and are seeking to have the same and the net proceeds of the oil and gas taken therefrom surrendered to them. Many of these claims conflict one with another and all are in conflict with the claims of one or more of the three principal litigants.
Under the Constitution our original jurisdiction extends to suits by one State against another and to suits by the United States against a State. In its first stage this was a suit by one State against another. When the United States intervened it became also a suit by the United States against those States. In its enlarged phase it presents in appropriate form the conflicting claims of the two States and the United States to the river bed and calls for their adju(lication. The other claims, being for particular tracts and funds in the receiver's possession and exclusively under our control, are brought before us because no other court lawfully can interfere with or disturb that possession or control. It long has been settled that claims to property or funds of which a court has taken possession and control through a receiver or like officer may be dealt with as ancillary to the suit wherein the possession is taken and the control exercised—and this although independent suits to enforce the claims could not be entertained in that court.?
The decree recognizing and declaring that the boundary between the two States is along the south bank of the river, and not along its medial line, means that the entire river bed is within the State of Oklahoma and beyond the reach of the laws of the State of Texas, and therefore that the latter State and its grantees and licensees have no proprietary interest in the bed or in the proceeds of oil and gas taken therefrom. Of course, when the exact location of the boundary along the south bank is determined, it may develop that the receiver is holding some land on the southerly side of that line or proceeds arising there. from, and, if so, the State of Texas and its grantees and licensees will be free to claim the same.
The other claims are all such as may be examined without awaiting an exact location of the boundary. They may be grouped and designated as (a) those of the State of Oklahoma and its grantees and licensees, (b) that of the United States, (c) those of Indian allottees and others based on the ownership of riparian lands on the northerly side of the river, and (d) those based on placer mining locations made in the river bed. The evidence bearing on these claims was taken and reported under an order entered at the last term, 256 V. S. 605, and the pertinent questions of fact and law have been recently presented in both oral and printed arguments.
The Red River rises in the Panhandle of Texas, near the New Mexico boundary, and takes an easterly and southeasterly course to the Mississippi, of which it is a tributary. Its total length is about 1300 miles. The first 557 miles froin its mouth are in Louisiana and Arkansas, the next 539 miles are in Oklahoma along the southern boundary, and the remainder is in the Panhandle of Texas. The receivership area embraces 43 miles of the southerly half of the river beil
1 See l’nited States 1. Texas, 143 U. S. 621 ; Minnesota 1. Hitchcock, 185 l'. S. 373, 384-388 : United States 1. Michigan, 190 U. S. 379, 396 ; Kansas 1. United States, 204 U. S. 331, 342.
2 See Freeman *. Howe, 24 How. 450 ; Minnesota Co. v. St Paul ('o., 2 Wall. 609, 632; Stewart 1. Dunham, 115 U. S. 61, 64; Phelps v. Oaks, 117 U. S. 236 ; Morgan's Louisiana Co. ¥. Texas Central Ry, Co., 137 U. S. 171, 201 ; Compton r, Jesup, 68 Fed. 263; Blake 1. Pine Mountain Co., 76 Fed. 624 ; Central Trust Co. v. Carter, 78 Fed. 225, 233; Sioux City Terminal Co. v. Trust Co., 82 Fed. 124, 128 ; Daniels Ch. Pl. & Pr., 6 Am. ed., pp. *1743–1745 ; Street's Fed. Eq. Pr., secs. 1229, 124.5, 1246, 1364, et seg.