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Recapitulation of fortification appropriation act for 1907, and amounts recommended for 1908Continued.

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CONGRESS

EXTENDING THE TIME FOR FINAL PROOF IN DESERT

LAND ENTRIES.

JANUARY 10, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Smith, of California, from the Committee on the Public Lands,

submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 21567.)

The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred H. R. 21567, having had the same under consideration, respectfully submit the following report and recommend the passage of the bill:

The land referred to is in San Diego County, Cal., and is under the system of irrigation from the Colorado River, which has been partially destroyed recently by the overflow of that stream. The canal supplying the lands described in the bill has been partially washed out, and it will be some months before it can be repaired.

The desert-land act requires final proof within four years from date of entry, and the claimants of the lands described will be called upon to make their final proofs during the coming spring and summer. As they must show at final proof that their land is then under irrigation, and as these settlers can not make that proof until the break in the canal is repaired, this bill is to extend the time for final proof for two years. The bill has the indorsement of the Department of the Interior, as appears by the following letters:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, January 4, 1907. SIR: In a letter of the 10th ultimo to the Department you inclosed a copy of H. R. 21567, entitled "A bill extending time for making final proof in desertland entries," and asked for any information and suggestions that I may offer to aid the committee in the further consideration of the measure.

Your letter was referred to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and on the 20th ultimo the Acting Commissioner submitted a report thereon, a copy of which I inclose for your full information,

It is stated in the report that while the object of the bill is not stated, the land described therein is in the Imperial Valley, California, and in the vicinity of the territory flooded by the overflow of the Colorado River, and that it is presumed that the object of the bill is to offer relief to desert-land entrymen affected by the flood.

It appears from the report that within the areas described in the bill there are 252 desert-land entries and 85 homestead entries, and the Acting Commissioner has expressed the opinion that the bill should be so framed as to extend the proposed relief to claimants who have made homestead entries, as well as to those who have made desert-land entries, and that as to the desert-land entries the time should be extended not only for making final proofs, but also for making proof of annual expenditures required by law.

I concur in the report of the Acting Commissioner, and have the honor to recommend that the bill be amended as therein suggested. Very respectfully,

E. A. HITCHCOCK, Secretary. CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON THE PUBLIC LANDS,

House of Representatives.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

GENERAL LAND OFFICE,

Washington, D. C., December 20, 1906. SIR: I am in receipt, by departmental reference of December 13, 1906, for a report in duplicate, with recommendation and return of papers, of a bill (H. R. No. 21567) entitled “A bill extending time for making final proof in desertland entries." The text of the bill is as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the time for making final proof and payment for all lands located under the desert-land laws of the United States in township thirteen south, ranges twelve and thirteen east; sections six, seven, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, of township thirteen south, range fourteen east; township fourteen south, ranges twelve and thirteen east; township fifteen south, range twelve east; sections five, six, and seven, township fifteen south, range thirteen east; township sixteen south, range twelve east; township seventeen south, ranges twelve and thirteen east; sections five, six, seven, eight, nine, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, and twenty-one of township seventeen south, range fourteen east, San Bernardino base and meridian, in the county of San Diego, California, proof and payment of which has not been made, be, and the same is hereby, extended for the period of two years from the time proof and payment would become due under existing law.”

With the exception of townships 17 south, ranges 12, 13, and 14 east, the townships described in the bill are among those to be resurveyed under the act of June 1, 1902 (32 Stat. L., 728), and as to these townships, the register and receiver of the Los Angeles, Cal., land office were directed by office letter G of June 14, 1906, to receive and suspend without further action all applications thereafter presented for entries in said townships; and to at once notify all persons then holding entries of any character within said townships, upon which final proof had not then been offered, that they would be expected to thereafter comply with the requirements of the law and make their proofs within the prescribed time. Said officers were also directed that when final proofs were offered under any of these entries they would receive same, and if thy found them otherwise correct would at once transmit them to this office, and payment thereunder would not be required until after the survey had been completed.

The object of this bill is not stated, but as the land described is in the Imperial Valley of California and in the vicinity of the territory flooded by the overflow of the Colorado River it is presumed that the object is to afford relief to desert-land entrymen affected by the flood.

From such information as is in the possession of this office it would appear that those who have made entries, either under the desert-land law or under the homestead law, within the district injuriously affected by the overflow are justly entitled to relief, but at present this office is without exact information as to the extent of the territory so affected and is unable to judge of the measure of relief that should be afforded. By letter of this office. P, of December 7, 1906, E. C. Ryan, chief of field division at Los Angeles, Cal., was directed to at once ascertain and report the extent of the territory actually inundated, and the extent of the injury to other lands by reason of

damage to canals and ditches, and the resulting failure of the water supply. It is, however, uncertain when such report can be received.

The records of this office show that there are within the territory described in this bill 252 desert-land entries and 85 homestead entries. It may be that the proponents of the measure are satisfied that the district so described includes all the land as to which the claimants are entitled to relief. If so, this office sees no objection to the limitation of the measure to the lands described in the Bill. It is, however, of opinion that the bill should be so framed as to extend the proposed relief to claimants who have made homestead entries as well as to those who have made desert-land entries, and that as to the latter class of entries the time should be extended not only for making final proofs, but also for making the proofs of annual expenditure required by law. The papers referred to are returned with this report in duplicate. Very respectfully,

G. F. POLLOCK,

Acting Commissioner. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

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