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Veto of Bill Authorizing the Improvement of Certain Harbors

July 28, 1945

[Released July 31, 1945. Dated July 28, 1945]

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, H.R. 3477, a bill "Authorizing the improvement of certain harbors in the interest of commerce and navigation."

The bill authorizes the improvement, for navigation, of Savannah Harbor, Georgia, and Two Harbors, Minnesota, in accordance with the reports of the Chief of Engineers, House Document No. 227, Seventy-ninth Congress, and House Document No. 805, Seventy-eighth Congress, respectively. The estimated cost of the Savannah Harbor project is $2,738,000, and of the Two Harbors $1,876,000.

Since the entry of the United States into the present war, omnibus river and harbor and flood control acts have contained specific provisions restricting construction of the projects so authorized to the postwar period, unless required for the prosecution of the war. The most recent enactment (Public Law 14, approved March 2, 1945) adopted 291 river and harbor projects at an aggregate estimate of cost of $381,968,332, subject to the specific provision:

"That no project herein authorized shall be appropriated for or constructed until six months after the termination of the present wars in which the United States is engaged unless the construction of such project has been recommended by an authorized defense agency and approved by the President as being necessary or desirable in the interest of the national defense and security, and the President has notified the Congress to that effect."

The bill under consideration does not contain such a restrictive provision, and the Secretary of War, in submitting the reports of the Chief of Engineers on the above-mentioned projects, stated that:

"Inasmuch as the proposed work would involve the use of manpower, material and equipment and since the project is not essential to the war effort, the Department is of the opinion that, if the project is approved, work thereon should not be initiated until after the war."

Approval of the bill under consideration would permit, upon the availability of funds therefor, the immediate undertaking of these two projects and thus place them in a status preferential to the large number of projects that have been authorized by the Congress during the war period which are not essential to the prosecution of the war.

Moreover, it seems to me that piecemeal legislation of this nature is inappropriate since it does not take into account a well-considered and well-rounded plan for projects to be undertaken in a definite order of national preference and desirability.

I therefore find it necessary to withhold my approval of the bill.


[APP Note: In the Public Papers of the Presidents series, this document is dated July 31, 1945, the date it was released. The American Presidency Project dates this document as July 28, 1945, the date the bill was vetoed.]

Harry S Truman, Veto of Bill Authorizing the Improvement of Certain Harbors Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232230

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