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merged lands equal at least in value to those of all the other coastal States combined.
In addition, the resolution through its challenge to ownership by the States of their submerged lands under their adjoining ocean waters, clouds titles by which these States have conveyed such submerged lands for the erection of wharves, docks, warehouses, and other facilities of commerce.
Turning now to the special example of the State of Texas, let it be said that upon admission to the Union, Texas, together with such other coastal States as were not among the Original Colonies succeeded to the rights of the Original Thirteen Colonies in respect to its adjacent ocean waters and submerged lands thereunder. It also succeeded in this regard to all the rights which it already had possessed as a republic. These rights were further confirmed and safeguarded by the resolution of the Congress of the United States by which Texas was admitted into the Union. After winning its independence from Mexico, the Republic of Texas defined its sea boundary as "beginning at the mouth of the Sabine River and running west along the Gulf of Mexico three leagues (that is, 10.56 miles) from land to the mouth of the Rio Grade." (Gammel's Laws 1193, vol. 1; Sales' Early Laws of Texas, art. 257.)
During the existence of the Republic of Texas the United States and numerous other nations recognized the independence of Texas and its membership in the family of nations with its sea boundary as stated above.
The resolution by Congress admitting Texas to the Union provided among other things that Texasshall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its limits to be applied to the payments of the debts and liabilities of the said Republic, and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct.
Thus the State of Texas retained jurisdiction over the submerged lands lying under its sea or Gulf waters for a distance of about 10 miles from its eastern shore, together with all its other lands within its boundaries as defined by the Republic of Texas and as recognized by the United States, a jurisdiction which it still retains today. It seems especially preposterous that the Congress should consider with any degree of favor at this late day any proposal questioning the right of Texas to its submerged lands and the minerals inseparably a part thereof; and this is said without modifying in any way what has been said herein in defense of the rights of California and the other coastal States to their submerged lands and petroleum holdings thereunder.
Upon these considerations, we believe that the resolution should not be seriously entertained by the committee, and we respectfully ask that the committee render an adverse report thereon.
The Chairman. Senator Sheppard, may I make this inquiry of you, perhaps based on my own ignorance as I do not happen to be in a State affected by tidal waters: In the decisions which you read there was reference to tidal lands. Is there a distinction between tidal lands and lands beyond low-water mark?
Senator SHEPPARD. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Am I correct in assuming that what you speak of as 'tidal lands” are those which are bare at low tide?
Senator SHEPPARD. Yes.
Senator SHEPPARD. Tidal lands are lands periodically exposed by the tides. Submerged lands are lands which the territorial waters do not reveal because they lie between low-water mark of the tide and the outward extent of what is known as territorial waters tributary to a State.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand it Texas in her declaration asserted a 10-mile jurisdiction, roughly speaking.
Senator SHEPPARD. Yes; specifically defined it as 10 miles plus.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask right there: Could Texas just as well have asserted jurisdiction for a distance of 20 miles or 100 miles?
Senator SHEPPARD. Texas was a republic before entering the Union and her maritime jurisdiction may well have been that of the antecedent countries of Mexico and Spain.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any basis other than the assertion?
Senator SHEPPARD. Yes; to the extent I have indicated and probably in other respects as well.
The CHAIRMAN. For instance, we had a 3-mile limit, being the distance that an ordinary cannon could then shoot.
Senator SHEPPARD. Yes. Great Britain confirmed in 1878 by the statute I have referred to the maritime jurisdiction she claimed and to which we succeeded. The 10-mile jurisdiction claimed by Texas rested on another foundation--that is, the sea boundary claimed by Mexico and Spain.
The CHAIRMAN. Did not the United States make some claim beyond the 3-mile limit as to enforcement of prohibition?
Senator SHEPPARD. Yes. That was a matter of treaty between the United States and other countries, in connection with rum runners coming within, I believe, a 10-mile limit or a 12-mile limit. So far as they were concerned when they reached a 10-mile or a 12-mile distance from the shores of the United States they were in the territory of the United States, so far as enforcement of the national prohibition law was concerned.
The CHAIRMAN. But do I understand you to draw the distinction, that the United States would have control over navigable waters as a highway but not of lands underlying them?
Senator SHEPPARD. That is the point exactly. I thank you for this opportunity of appearing before you.
The CHAIRMAN. And we are glad to have had your statement. We will now hear Senator Connally.
STATEMENT OF HON. TOM CONNALLY, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Senator CONNALLY. I wish to express to the chairman my deep appreciation of the privilege of appearing before the committee this morning, and want to be as brief as possible.
In addition to Senator Sheppard there are present a number of representatives from Texas who will wish the privilege of representing that State. For instance, there are present the attorney general and assistant attorney general of Texas, and quite a number of others, who will present this matter adequately and I am sure in fine fashion.
In addition to what Senator Sheppard has said I only want to call the attention of the committee to certain aspects of the resolution now under consideration: It will be remembered that the original resolution contemplated the assertion of title to all submerged lands everywhere contiguous to States of the Union, with direction to the Attorney General to proceed by suit to possess and take over such submerged properties.
However, the present resolution is confined to the State of California; and yet in its assertions of policy and in its implications there is a breadth to the title to submerged lands and their deposits of every other coastal State in the Union. If it were confined to California, and even then we certainly would not favor the resolution, but we would feel their representatives are able to present their views in the matter; but for the reasons just stated I want to join them in challenging this new doctrine this resolution seeks to establish. After 150 years of existence of the Federal Government, here for the first time so far as I know it is sought by legislative declaration to assert that, under the claim of sovereignty, the United States has the right of title to the soil beyond low-water mark.
Now, in answer to the question propounded by the chairman to Senator Sheppard, I will say that this resolution seeks to establish a different doctrine as between strictly speaking tidal lands, which are lands within the boundaries of high- and low-water marks and lands beyond low-water mark.
This resolution seeks to lay down the doctrine that by law beyond low-water mark the Government of the United States is not alone sovereign as to rights of navigation and national defense, and ordinary governmental functions, but that it has a direct title to the lands and what lies underneath the lands.
We challenge that proposition. What are the rights of sovereignty with respect to navigation and national defense? Of course, as to those particular functions the United States is absolutely sovereign. The right of nobody else can stand in her way. For instance, if she wanted to deepen a channel in the interest of navigation, the owners of submerged lands would have to accommodate themselves to whatever the Government might do as incident to navigation. But that would not oust the title of the owners of the lands. They would still own the lands, with the necessary easement in the Government for the purpose of navigation. It is the same way with reference to fortifications along the coast. If it became necessary to take over properties the Government could do it, but under the Constitution it would have to make adequate, fair, and just compensation therefor.
Now, this particular Senate Joint Resolution 24-I believe, Senator Nye, that is your resolution? Senator NYE. Yes; that is the original resolution.
Senator CONNALLY. And Senate Joint Resolution 83 is the one we are now considering?
The CHAIRMAN. No; Senate Joint Resolution 92 is the present resolution offered by Senator Nye that the committee is considering.
Senator CONNALLY. As I understand it the so-called Hobbs resolution, before the House committee, and the Nye resolution before this committee, so far as the enacting sections are concerned are identical,
but they are not identical with respect to preamble or introductory sections, but what we desire to challenge is this: Is hereby declared
And that starts out with the declarationthat the conservation of petroleum deposits underlying submerged lands adjacent to and along the coast of the State of California, below low-water mark
That is where the announcement is made of this new doctrinebelow low-water mark and under the territorial waters of the United States of America.
What kind of waters? Territorial water. I am surprised that they do not assert ownership actually to the waters themselves. Then it goes on to say: Is hereby declared to be essential for national defense, maintenance of the Navy, and regulation and protection of interstate and foreign commerce, and that in the exercise of the paramount and exclusive powers of soverei ty of the United States for those purposes
Directed now to those purposesthere are hereby reserved and set aside as a naval petroleum reserve any and all such deposits, subject to the same control of hte Secretary of the Navy as is provided for other naval petroleum reserves; subject, also to any superior right. title, or interest of any person, partnership, association, corporation, or of the State of California, or any municipality, or local subdivision of that State which may have heretofore been granted by the United States of America, or which may have become otherwise validly and lawfully vested, or which may be recognized and established in the judicial proceedings hereinafter authorized.
In other words, the resolution seeks to restrict the rights of whatever owners may be found to have rights granted by the Federal Government, so as to maintain the theory of ownership by the Federal Government of submerged lands.
We take the position that the passage of this resloution, although it may be confined in its direct effect to California, yet would indirectly affect or at least cast a cloud upon the title of submerged lands of every other State in the Union.
Senator JOHNSON. I should like to ask for my own information and for the record if you can tell me, Senator Connally, why the first resolutions related to all of the Coastal States and now they present a resolution applicable to California alone?
Senator CONNALLY. I will venture the statement that as a result of the hearings held last spring by the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, in which a showing was made in behalf of the State of Texas, and particularly the Thirteen Original States, that the proponents of the resolution felt they could not stand on that ground any longer, and that perhaps it deterred them from getting results even as to California. So they eliminated all States except California on the theory that if they tried it out on you and were successful, then they would come back and try it out on the rest of us a little later. I do not mean to make any comparison between California and any other victim, but you know the old saying about trying it out on a certain animal. Perhpas they did not fully realize they would have the talents and abilities of the senior Senator from California to meet.
Senator JOHNSON of California. And so well was the case of Texas and other Coastal States presented, that they admit now that they could not secure the adoption of a resolution attempting to bind them.
Senator CONNALLY. They do not admit it except under the stress of necessity. It was stated in the House hearings the other day by one of the proponents of the resolution that it was clear Texas had the strongest case of any of the States and that California had the weakest. California, according to their idea, having the weakest position may look like a good opportunity for doing something along this line.
Senator JOHNSON of California. Then through this committee they are trying to dig on one side of the continent where they think they might have a chance of success.
Senator ConnaLLY. According to their theory they assert this policy still in reference to any such lands in any State in the Union.
Senator HOLMAN. Will you pardon me for a question?
Senator HOLMAN. May I address the Chair? Not being an attorney or versed in the law I would like to ask
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). The Chair would like to remark that it is one of the curious things that all nonlawyer Senators preface their remarks with the statement that they are not attorneys.
Senator HOLMAN. Perhaps that may be so. But if it is in order I should like to get a distinction of definition between tidelands and lands below tidelands reaching onto the edge of the Continental Shelf. I do not know where it stops if it is not the Continental Shelf. It may be that an argument that would apply to tidelands would not apply to lands below tidelands on out to the edge of the Continental Shelf.
Senator CONNALLY. Does the chairman want to answer that question?
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will be very glad to have the Senator from Texas give his view of it.
Senator CONNALLY. I always defer to the chairman, but am willing to try to answer the question propounded by the Senator from Oregon.
The CHAIRMAN. I will say that the committee, as a committee, is not the proponent or the opponent of the legislation; that we are endeavoring to get information. That is the reason we want to hear these gentlemen. I am told by Senator Nye that there is present a representative of the Navy who will be glad to present his views as to that matter.
Senator HOLMAN. I just want to understand the argument, because in my own mind there is a difference between tidelands and lands below tidelands.
Senator CONNALLY. I will say to the Senator from Oregon that tidelands are that section on which the tides operate. Now, beyond that line and out into the sea it is my contention, and I think the contention of most others who are cooperating with us, that whatever tideland there is out there, if there is any tideland out there, it goes with the territory adjacent to it, belongs to the respective States. It was urged before the House committee the other day that lands beyond low-water mark, out in the ocean, do not belong to anybody; that they were a sort of inchoate pool of interest that belonged to all the nations of the earth; and that the first nation that went out and reduced them to possession would acquire title. I do not agree to that theory. My own theory is that if there is any tideland out there at all it belongs to the same territory that goes to low-water mark.