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Veto of Bill for the Relief of the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

September 27, 1945

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, H.R. 1634, 79th Congress, 1st Session, a bill for the relief of the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The purpose of the measure is to authorize and direct payment of the sum of $8,750.13 to the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa, in full settlement of all claims against the United States for 50,144 sacks purchased by the city which were used together with other sacks furnished by the Engineer Corps, United States Army, to strengthen embankments along the Missouri River in order to avert the flood which threatened the city in the spring of 1943. The sacks for which payment is sought were purchased directly by the City of Council Bluffs from a private concern in advance of the threatened high waters.

It appears that during the high water conditions encountered, the U.S. District Engineer at Omaha, Nebraska, rendered all possible assistance to local interests in the protection of private and public property at Council Bluffs and in strengthening all flood protection systems. This assistance also included rescue work.

As indicated in the report on the measure, it has been the policy of the Engineer Department over a period of years to furnish Government property such as boats, barges and other equipment to stricken communities for emergency use in protection of life and property when no suitable private equipment was on hand. The cost of this assistance has been borne by the War Department. It has never been the practice of the Engineer Department to make monetary restitution for efforts or materials expended by local authorities in flood fighting. The emergency flood protection measures taken by the City of Council Bluffs do not appear to differ from those taken by other cities and municipalities similarly affected by flood conditions.

Because the enactment of the bill would have the effect of establishing a precedent for the payment of similar expenditures made by local interests during the 1943 flood emergency, as well as other emergencies which might arise on all navigable waters and their tributaries which have been improved in the aid of navigation, and for flood control purposes, I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the legislation.


Harry S Truman, Veto of Bill for the Relief of the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231211

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