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On page 3 of the letter of the Assistant Attorney General, you compare this proposed legislation with the oil leasing act, and you say that the relief given by these two acts-you refer to sections 18 and 19.
Mr. Dyar. Eighteen and 18a, I think.
The CHAIRMAN. Eighteen and 18a. You say that the relief given by these two sections only extend to parties who initiated mineral oil claims upon lands withdrawn by those two orders prior to the withdrawal; that is to say, the parties to whom relief went, to whom relief extended, went upon lands undoubtedly open to mineral claims.
Now, I was wondering if that statement is correct, because as I remember the oil leasing act, we gave relief to men who went upon the land after the withrawal, and that section 18 so states. The withdrawal order was made September 27, 1909. We gave relief under section 18 to anyone who was upon the withdrawn lands prior to July 3, 1910.
Mr. DYAR. Exactly so, and that was
The CHAIRMAN. Now, anyone being upon the lands between the date of the Taft withdrawal, September 27, 1909, and July 3, 1910, got relief under section 18.
Mr. DYAR. Not necessarily.
The CHAIRMAN. And as I understand that, a number of parties who went upon the land after the Taft withdrawal received relief.
Mr. DYAR. Probably the construction implied otherwise,
The CHAIRMAN. And those parties going on there again had actual notice of the withdrawal.
Mr. DYAR. Exactly so.
The CHAIRMAN. That was upheld by the Supreme Court. And on July 3, 1910—that is the reason for the date July 3, 1910—the President on July 2, 1910, after the passage of the Pickett Act, made another withdrawal order, withdrawing the same land under the Pickett Act.
Mr. DYAR. Yes; under the Pickett Act.
Mr. DYAR. And it was the Pickett Act which expressly authorized the Presi: dent to make the withdrawal.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. DYAR. For the former withdrawal, is the original general power which more or less disposed
The CHAIRMAN. But what I am getting at is this, that under the leasing law, we gave relief to parties who went upon the land after the withdrawal, who went on in good faith.
Now, I call your-
The CHAIRMAN. The withdrawal order of July 2, 1910, was merely confirmatory of the first order of President Taft, and was based on the Pickett Act, which I think was passed or became a law June 25, 1910. (36 Stat., 847.)
Mr. VAILE. Relating to the particular land?
The CHAIRMAN. Now, according to his contention, if I understand it clcarly, these parties who went upon those withdrawn lands could not have been in good faith, because they had notice of the withdrawal order, and the adverse claims
of the Government, and notice of President Taft's order that it was not open for mineral entry, or exploration.
Now, in the same section 18, we have this provision in the oil leasing act:
* No claimant for a lease who has been guilty of any fraud or who had knowledge or reasonable grounds to know of any fraud, or who has not acted honestly and in good faith, shall be entitled to any of the benefits of this section.”
So in that very act we acknowledged the fact that parties who went upon that withdrawn land, after notice, might have acted in good faith, and I question this statement on page 3 of the Assistant Attorney General's letter, that the relief was only given to those who went upon the land before the withdrawal order.
Mr. DYAR. As to that, I am entirely clear, and I would like again to reread the provisions of the oil leasing act. I believe that the Secretary—I am so informed—I did not happen to be handling these cases while the withdrawn matters were up, but I believe that the Secretary did give relief to some parties who went on the lands after the first withdrawal and before the second, went on under advice of counsel that the withdrawal was invalid, but I doubt very much
Mr. RAKER. May I inquire, if on advice of counsel that the withdrawal order was void?
Mr. DYAR. Was void ; yes, sir; but I am not sure, in my own mind, that the intention of the act was to
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, I understand that in this Red River case the contention will be made that these parties were there honestly and in good faith, acting upon advice of counsel, upon this land in question, and that is the reason I am so anxious to have you give us a pretty full exposition of the department's idea of the phrase "good faith.”
Here is one thing that occurred to me. There may be some fallacy in it. Now, these placer oil people claim: They contend that Texas had no claim, they contended that Oklahoma had no claim, they contended that the riparian owners on the Oklahoma side had no claim, and they contended that the riparian owners on the Texas side had no claim south of the median lines.
Mr. VAILE. That would all be the same.
The CHAIRMAN. They claim that the land was public land. Now, they were right in every one of those claims. The thing that they were wrong about in the light of the recent decision of the Supreme Court was in their claim that these were public lands open to entry under the placer mining act. So, if you want to state it that way, they might be four-fifths right in their claim and onefifth wrong.
Mr. DYAR. If you start at the other end and take up the question, assuming that they are public lands, they are wrong altogether, taking that as the first question.
Mr. SUMMERS. Mr. Chairman, how long are we going to continue? It is after 12 now. There is an important bill on the floor.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the wish of the committee?
Mr. VAILE. Mr. Dyar, of course, will want to continue and will perhaps want to have a little time to think over the suggestions that the chairman has made, and I would be in favor, as one member of adjourning now, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DYAR. You do not need to do that on my account. I would not have time to go over the original case, and the only thing that I can give is what occurs to me now. I can go ahead if you wish. Just suit yourselves.
Mr. SUMMERS. How would it be to notify the parties interested that we are going on, going to continue the hearings from day to day?
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, we are going to continue until we get through.
Mr. LARSEN. That would contemplate a hearing to morrow. The House is not going to be in session to-morrow.
Mr. RAKER. The idea occurred to me that a good many members might want to go away to-morrow.
Mr. LARSEN. Speaking for myself, I have a previous engagement that will take me over into Maryland to-morrow, and some other parties have already arranged.
Mr. RAKER. That is the same with me. I did not suppose that we would want to hold a hearing on Saturday, as the House will be adjourned.
Mr. LARSEN. I would like to hear the witnesses testify in the case.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES D. CARTER, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.
Mr. CARTER. Mr. Chairman, might I have a word here? I do not want to interrupt your procedure, but may I ask a question?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. CARTER. I introduced a joint resolution touching on this proposition, No. 406, and it was introduced at the suggestion of the State Land Commission of Oklahoma. I am sure that they would be very much interested in this matter and want to be heard before any final action is taken in it by your committee; and I would like to know if the hearings would be continued long eough that they might be able to get here to be heard?
The CHAIRMAN. When can they get here?
Mr. CARTER. This is Friday. They would not be able to get here before Tuesday or Wednesday, probably.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we will be glad to hear them when they get here. The hearings will probably run on into next week.
Mr. CARTER. Well, I will notify them.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we just have two bills, the one introduced by Mr. Sanders and myself. The clerk will give you the bills.
Mr. CARTER. I have the Sanders bill. Thank you very much.
Mr. LARSEN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to suggest Monday. I would like to hear these witnesses, especially on this principle.
Mr. SUMMERS. I have wired one witness that might be here Monday.
Mr. VAILE. There are a lot of people coming here from a distance. It may be that they could not wait and would have to go away.
Mr. COLLINS. The hearings will be printed ?
Mr. RAKER. They will be printed, but they will be printed in a type that you can not read. That is a matter of fact.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any objection to Monday? Without objection, the committee will stand adjourned until Monday.
(Whereupon, at 12.20 o'clock, the committee adjourned until Monday, January 15, 1923.)
COMMITTEE ON THE PUBLIC LANDS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Monday, January 15, 1923. The committee this day met. Hon. Nicholas J. Sinnott (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Mr. Dyar, before you resume your statement, can you give is approximately the cost of this litigation to the Government?
Mr. DYAR. I can not do it to-day. but our accounting officers are now at work trying to get, as nearly as they can. the exact cost. I do not think we will be able to give it with absolute accuracy, but we will be able to give it approximately.
The CHAIRMAN. Could you give us what has been paid the receiver in salary?
Mr. DYAR. Yes; I think we can.
Mr. LARSEN. I suggest that it would be more proper, and make a better impression on the committee, if all of those expenses could be put together.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; you may put them together.
Mr. DYAR. I did not bring the paper with me this morning, but I contemplate putting them in together.
Mr. RAKER. I have looked over these various decisions, and particularly this last one, of May 1, 1922,. and I am wondering whether the Attorney General's office, and also the other gentlemen, have come to a conclusion as to whether or not the committee has any jurisdiction in this matter until the Supreme Court finally determines where the right line is. I just put that out as a sort of feeler.
Mr. LARSEN. Mr. Dyar, I asked you a question the other day, but we adjourned before it was answered. It was with reference to the channel of this river, and in connection with your statement regarding the decision of the Supreme Court of Texas in 1880, in which decision it was decided that the channel, as it now stands, was the dividing line between Oklahoma and Texas.
Mr. DYAR. I will bear that in mind. Now, Mr. Raker, your question was
Mr. RAKER (interposing). Whether or not, pending this litigation, we have any jurisdiction?
Mr. DYAR. We thought that the bills prepared by the secretary and submitted both to the Senate Committee and to this committee-although we do not know to a certainty that they will-might interfere with the jurisdiction of the court to go on and decide all of the questions on the record before it. I understand that the Watson bill and the Sanders bill have both been modified and reintroduced, and that they now have a special provision, proper and' necessary, I think, that nothing in either bill shall interfere with the pending litigation or take effect until the court has decided all questions and is ready to release the land.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that on the theory that the Supreme Court has original Jurisdiction over the controversy?
Mr. DYAR. Yes. It is an original suit and everythi was taken before the Supreme Court; there was no proceeding below at all; it was all in the Supreme Court.
Mr. RAKER. The court goes further and says it is a suit between States. which gives them jurisdiction; that it is a suit by the United States against both States, which gives them jurisdiction, and that incidentally they have jursdiction over the disposition of the proceeds of the litigation and exclusive control over the same.
Mr. DYAR. Yes.
Mr. RAKER. That being the case how can the committee intelligently determine as to the equities until the Supreme Court has finally, by its decision, determined where this south boundary line is upon the ground?
Mr. DYAR. Well, I think it might determine the equities without knowing exactly the lands involved. We do not know this exact northern boundary or this exact southern boundary, but we know there is a strip of land belonging to the United States not subject to placer mining location.
Mr. RAKER. But what I am asking is this: Would not the final determination as to where the boundary is affcet the equities of the parties who are claiming this land and the proceeds of the land?
Mr. DYAR. I do not see that it would so far as what we call the river bed proper is concerned. I have already told you that the court has treated this land [indicating on map the flood plain area] on a totally different basis, and it did so upon the suggestion of the United States.
Mr. VAILE. You are referring to the overflowed plain on the south side?
Mr. DYAR. Yes; that overflows at a time of extreme high water. We conceded—and did so at the danger of injuring our own case, but we thought it was right—that the peope who had held that land under patents from Texas, long before this controversy arose, had a color of title and that we ought not to exact from them-if we won-any more than the royalty, and that is what the court did.
Mr. BURTNESS. You could not have very well argued otherwise with reference to those claimants.
Mr. DYAR. The fact of it was this : The receiver was appointed and he was instructed to take charge of all these lands clear down to the bluffs [indicating), and he did so. He was instructed to report within 30 days a plan for handling the property. Before that time expired he actually took charge of all the wells and took them over into his own control. Instead of leaving them with the operators, on the idea of taking a royalty proportion from them, he actually proceeded to impound all the production.
Mr. RAKER. You have not presented to the Supreme Court any question with reference to the equity in the other strip of land between the water and the south boundary? That question has never been presented to the court and the question as to where the equity lies in that land is not before the court. The only question is the strict, legal title; is not that true?
Mr. DYAR. No; you are mistaken. We presented that question. We thought they had an equity, by reason of their color of title, to thirteensixteenths of the oil that came out of there.
Mr. DRIVER. It is no concession of title; it is only a concession of the rights of the parties so far as the operation of the property is concerned ?
Mr. DYAR. That is all.
Mr. DYAR. That is all. We simply suggested to the court that inasmuch as there would be expenses of the receivership that he collect one-eighth, that being the usual royalty, and one-sixteenth in addition, with the idea that that would meet the expenses, but, of course, not authorizing the receiver to spend all of the one-sixteenth.