Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Letter to Senator Anderson Concerning the Submerged Lands Bill.

April 24, 1953

My dear Senator Anderson:

I have received the letter signed by yourself and other Senators relative to S.J. Res. 13.

The Republican Platform clearly stated, "We favor restoration to the States of their rights to all lands and resources beneath navigable inland and offshore waters within their historic boundaries."

During the past campaign on October 13th I made the following statement:

"So, let me be clear in my position on the tidelands and all submerged lands and resources beneath inland offshore waters which lie within historic state boundaries. As I have said, before, my views are in line with my party's platform. I favor the recognition of clear legal title to these lands in each of the forty-eight states.

"This has been my position since 1948, long before I was persuaded to go into politics....

"The Supreme Court has declared in very recent years that there are certain paramount Federal fights in these areas. But the court expressly recognized the right of Congress to deal with the matters of ownership and title.

"Twice by substantial majorities, both Houses of Congress have voted to recognize the traditional concept of state ownership of these submerged areas. Twice these Acts of Congress have been vetoed by the President.

"I would approve such Acts of Congress."

The next day, October 14th, I made specific reference to the State of Texas:

"Just a hundred and seven years ago, the United States Senate decided that the public lands of Texas were not worth ten million dollars .... So the United States said to Texas: 'Keep your debts--and keep your lands. We don't want either.' And so the State of Texas paid off the ten million dollar debt of the Republic. It kept its two hundred million acres of lands--including the submerged area extending three marine leagues seaward into the Gulf of Mexico."

My position is the same today. It was further amplified by the Administration representatives in the hearings before the Senate and your committees considering the legislation.

I favor the prompt passage by the Senate of S.J. Res. 13 with any amendments the Senate may approve, not inimical to the principles which I have expressed. It has never been my belief that the several states should have any title to lands beyond their historical boundaries on the continental shelf.

I hesitate to express an opinion on legislative procedure, but I am deeply concerned with the delay of the entire Administration program in the Senate of the United States.

However, let me make it clear that I am not criticizing the Senators who have views on this subject different from mine. I respect their sincerity and their right to vote as they think best.



Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Senator Anderson Concerning the Submerged Lands Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231680

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