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Senator ANDERSON. I think it is useful to have this in the record, Mr. Secretary, because you do come down to the question of whether or not the Bureau of the Budget, having spoken, Congress dares have a word to say and I am very happy that all of this here on this commit20 tee seem to recognize that Congress does have a right to say.
I tried to find out-what is it you lawyers say, quo warranto?-by what right did they say it was contrary to the views of the President. I think it is very important here and I am very happy that Interior and Agriculture are going to submit testimony indicating that they recognize that this is a very proper field for the Congress to lay down a policy.
Senator WATKINS. Mr. Chairman, I want to make a comment that I note the letter from the Bureau of the Budget does not take any position on the merits. It simply urges postponement.
I think that is probably out of deference to the views of the Department of Justice.
Senator ANDERSON. Constant postponement is just as effective as action against.
I am not going to read in these questions of constitutional law that have frequently been raised, but I can only say that once upon a time I discussed directly with the President of the United States a proposal which, as Secretary of Agricuture, I decided to have submitted to the Congress and put into a bill and the President of the United States approved it and said, "That is a fine proposal. I hope you get it going and I will give it such help as I can."
The bill was introduced, referred to the proper committees, and came back from those committees, the other committees that were dealing with it, with a letter saying, "The Bureau of the Budget finds that it is not in accord with the views of the President."
Senator WATKINS. I am not condoning, and I have already made it clear that this ought not to be postponed but I have pointed out that for the purpose of this record they have not made any comments on the merits of this thing.
Senator O'MAHONEY. But, Senator, in the last sentence of the second last paragraph of the letter, the Bureau of the Budget tells us explicitly:
Therefore, the executive agencies will work out solutions to specific situations in cooperation with the States, without prejudice to any broader policy ultimately developed.
That is to say, while we are waiting for a broader policy to be developed, the executive agencies are going to work out what the policy is to be in special leases with the States and skipping the Congress.
Senator WATKINS. It refers to specific situations and the very one the colonel mentioned, in connection with the Santa Margarita, may be one of the cases.
Senator ANDERSON. The Secretary has a tight schedule and I probably have transgressed as much as any, but can I call on the other Senators?
Senator ALLOTT. I would like to compliment him and say that it is a good thing to find that his views personally and officially are in accordance with those of us from the West who recognize the inherent
nature and necessities of water use, which it is very hard sometimes to explain to people who have not had to struggle and work and pray for the last drop of water they could get.
Senator ANDERSON. Senator Bible?
Senator BIBLE. Mr. Chairman, just this and I do appreciate hearing from the Secretary.
I thoroughly concur with the Senator from Wyoming in his views. I have just one comment along that line. I have only been in the Washington arena a short time, but I have never seen so much time taken in further studies in my life. If it takes the executive agencies as long to arrive at some type of acceptable water policy as it does to do so on some type of a long-range mineral policy, we would certainly all be dead and buried for many years.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator KUCHEL. Mr. Chairman, all I want to say now is that I congratulate the Secretary of the Interior on his statement. I think during the time that I have been a Member of the Senate and a member of this committee, it has been brought forcibly to my attention the exceedingly difficult problem in working out à fair solution to this question of water as between States on the one hand and the Federal Government on the other.
I am sure that all of us around this table want to approach the problem not alone as Senators from our respective States but also as United States Senators.
I came in a little late, Mr. Chairman. I was in attendance at a Fisheries subcommittee. 'The Senator from Utah has suggested part of the history of a bill in which you and I participated in writing.
I have been told, and I do not know whether it is the fact, that the record at this point, with reference to the Santa Margarita controversy, is one-sided. I want to be fully apprised as to what the testimony was with respect to that controversy as it may appear in the record this morning, because I want very vigorously to have spread upon this record both sides of this story in which the Senator from New Mexico and I participated.
We wrote a law that attempted to provide for the protection of the Federal Government which we had the duty to protect on one hand, and we also provided in that law, Mr. Chairman, that the laws of the State in which the Santa Margarita controversy originated would be upheld and preserved and enforced, exactly the way that the Senator from Wyoming, my friend, wants the laws of his State upheld with respect to controversies.
I do reserve the right, if you will give it to me, to make some comments on that just a little bit later when I am acquainted with what has gone on before.
Senator ANDERSON. I hope the Senator from California will read the record with respect to what occurred on this.
I am merely trying to make it possible for the Secretary to catch a noon plane that he is interested in catching. I would not want it to be regarded as an act of political sabotage.
Are there other questions?
Have you any additional comments, Mr. Secretary?
Senator ANDERSON. Thank you.
Secretary MCKAY. Thank you, gentlemen.
Senator ANDERSON. Now, we will return to the testimony that we were having from the Defense Department. So perhaps we should revert to the discussion we were having on the Santa Margarita case. Senator Kuchel, do you have any comment to make?
Senator KUCHEL. Yes; Mr. Chairman.
First of all, for the record, may I inquire whether————
Senator O'MAHONEY. Would the Senator yield to me for just a moment because I came in late this morning, and Senator Kuchel not having asked the question, I will ask it now.
What brought Colonel Robertson here today? Was he not called as a witness?
Senator ANDERSON. Yes, indeed; on this bill.
Senator O'MAHONEY. He did not come here voluntarily?
Senator ANDERSON. No, indeed.
Senator O'MAHONEY. He did not come here to reopen any controversy over the Santa Margarita?
Senator ANDERSON. Not at my suggestion. I thought we ought to have witnesses from the Department of Defense on this bill since the Department of Defense had reported adversely on it and, in the course of the discussion the other day I suggested that since one statement was made by one group, it might be well to have the Department of Defense and specifically certain allegations that were being made.
Senator WATKINS. I was presiding at the time and a question came up with respect to any instances where the Defense Department had been hampered by reason of State law and by reason of the carrying out of the policies of the State government.
The Secretary asked the colonel to come up and explain one of these cases and the Santa Margarita case came up as an example. That is how it happens to be before us at the moment.
Senator ANDERSON. An illustration of why the Federal Government occasionally gets hampered.
Mr. RODERICK. We introduced this question of precaution only because of a few cases. Other than that, it is very similar.
Senator ANDERSON. Senator Kuchel, as I understood the discussion, the Defense Department was saying, "We bought a water right that was good if we planted alfalfa. Part way down there we decided we bought this for the purpose of putting up a military camp."
Now, communities, for instance the city of El Paso, is not using the water but is putting the water in the city system. The Marine Corps was doing the same thing. It bought a water right that could have been used properly for the cultivation of crops but, instead of that, they tried to put it into a camp and thereby ran afoul of the State law and then California changed its law and changed its constitution. That question then arose.
Senator KUCHEL. My only reason, Mr. Chairman, for asking these questions, and I appreciate your giving me this opportunity, is not to reopen the so-called Santa Margarita controversy but to inquire for this record of the Department of Defense what, if any, objections it has to the Barrett bill and to revert to the comments previously made by
the Defense Department representatives to see if I can help pinpoint their objection.
Now, let me ask for the record :
Does the Department of Defense, and I will address this to either of you gentlemen, does the Department of Defense believe that when it acquires water rights in any State the law of that State should govern those water rights?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes; we made such a statement, Senator Kuchel, that we believe in following the State's laws in those cases.
Senator KUCHEL. Colonel Robertson has suggested that there is a dispute or a disagreement between the Department of Defense and the State of California with respect to certain water rights in the Santa Margarita area. Let me ask if that dispute is in litigation ?
Colonel ROBERTSON. Yes, sir.
Senator KuchEL. Would it be the position of the Department of Defense that that controversy should proceed to a judicial determination and that thereafter the interpretation of State law, which has been judicially interpreted, should apply to the Department of Defense!
Mr. RODERICK. Senator Kuchel, I would prefer that neither Colonel Robertson nor I answer that because of the legal aspects of which we neither one are capable of answering.
Senator KUCHEL. You see, I want to be sure that if there is any objection by the Department of Defense to the theory of the Barrett bill that those objections be made specific.
It is not the desire of the junior Senator from California to participate in writing a bill that is going to hamstring any agency of our Federal Government. We have a responsibility to see that a defense installation any place in this country receive that which it ought to receive in the best interests of the people of the United States. Nobody quarrels with that.
Senator ANDERSON. Senator Kuchel, I made the very helpful and broadminded suggestion that in the future the military take their installations in to Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico and they will not have this problem. Somehow that did not get a unanimous approval.
Senator KUCHEL. Your attitude, my friend, may I say, is always broadminded.
When the Senator from New Mexico and I and some others had the responsibility of writing one bill, which, by the way, did not seek to pass judgment on water rights but sought to provide for the construction of a dam which would assist all human beings in the area to adequately supply water, we agree that State water law should prevail. We wrote it in the bill. But there was objection to that provision.
Now, the objection, I am sure, was reasonable. You will remember the controversy, Colonel ?
Colonel ROBERTSON. Yes, sir.
Senator KUCHEL. But I want to point out that we did not say, "The Government of the United States shall knuckle under to anybody," or vice versa. We simply said that the water laws of California shall apply and the Defense Department objected to it and I believe the Defense Department was wrong.
Senator BARRETT. Will the Senator yield ?
Senator BARRETT. Is that not precisely what we are saying in this bill today?
Senator KUCHEL. I hope so and I recognize that there are problems. I recognize that we do not want to sit here and wipe away the rights of the Federal Government with respect to water or anything else.
I recognize the legal and constitutional problems and so does my friend and we are agreed on that point.
Senator BARRETT. No question about that.
Senator KUCHIEL. But if the Defense Department is in the position to tell this committee that it believes that the laws regarding water of the several States should control any Federal installations, then I think it is good to have that statement spread on this record.
Senator BARRETT. I think that is precisely what you said here this morning; is that not right, Mr. Secretary?
Mr. RODERICK. I think that is what I said. I said the Department of Defense, in keeping with general policies concerning State requirements, considers that its water right should be exercised with due regard for State requirements. It accepts the principles which recognize water rights as property rights.
Senator KUCHEL. Is this in the statement?
Senator ANDERSON. But you do come down to a reservation in specific instances.
Mr. RODERICK. Only in those instances which Colonel Robertson mentions; put up the precaution sign so that a commander in the field can carry out his mission. That is all we are saying. It is similar to what Secretary McKay said that maybe an amendment might take care of it. It is that difference between what Secretary McKay said and what we said.
Senator ANDERSON. I am only interested in having a basis of agreement, if it is possible at all.
If the Department of Defense now stands with an adverse report to this bill, the Department of Justice has an adverse report to this bill. Those adverse reports have been sufficient to bring a report from the Bureau of the Budget which, while not technically adverse, is at least discouraging to the bill by saying, “Put it off.”
If it is possible to bring the Department of Defense to where it can support this legislation, then, of course, it would be very welcome to the author of the bill and those who are in favor of it.
Mr. RODERICK. Mr. Chairman, I am not sure but that some amendment which guarantee exactly what you gentlemen have said would be acceptable to Defense and that Defense would have no argument from there on out.
Senator ANDERSON. Could Defense, instead of leaving its adverse report to the bill, do as the Secretary of Interior has done? He has said, “I think there ought to be a few amendments.”
you come back and say, “This language will fix it up all right for us”?
Then we might not accept just that language; we may come back and say, "We would like to give you this language.” Mr. RODERICK. Mr. Chairman, we would like that opportunity.