Letter to the Governor of Alaska on the Completion of the Last Major Step in the Transition to Statehood.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the completion of the last major step in Alaska's unique program of transition from territorial status to statehood.
The Director of the Bureau of the Budget informs me that he has signed deeds conveying the airports at Nome, Northway, Umiat, Summit, Gulkana, Cold Bay, Bettles and Cordova to your State. That action completes the transfer to Alaskan ownership of twenty-one small airports previously owned by the United States and operated by the Federal Aviation Agency.
When Alaska became a State in 1958, the Federal Government was still performing there many of the functions normally carried out by State and local governments, such as construction and maintenance of roads, law enforcement, the administration of justice, fish and wildlife management, provision of certain recreation and health services and the operation of a number of small community airports.
You, the citizens of Alaska, and the Federal Government--all working together-began to take actions immediately to make Alaska a State in fact as well as in name.
A major step in reaching that goal was the Alaska Omnibus Act (P.L. 86-70) which, along with provisions designed to give Alaska equal treatment with the other States, authorized a unique five-year program of transitional grants totalling $28.5 million to help the State take over the functions still being performed by the Federal Government. The Act also authorized the transfer to Alaska of Federal property used in connection with functions assumed by the State.
The transition has now been completed. The transfer of the last group of airports is the final step.
I am gratified that the transition has gone so well. I commend the employees of your State and the Federal Government, particularly the Federal Aviation Agency, who worked so cooperatively during this period. And I congratulate you and all Alaskans on assuming your new responsibilities so successfully.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[Honorable William A. Egan, Governor of Alaska, Juneau, Alaska]
Note: This is the complete text of the letter, portions of which were read by Bill D. Moyers, Special Assistant to the President, at his news conference at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, May 27, 1966. It was not made public in the form of a White House press release.
The Alaska Omnibus Act (Public Law 86-70) is printed in the United States Statutes at Large (73 Stat. 141).
Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Governor of Alaska on the Completion of the Last Major Step in the Transition to Statehood. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238908