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it is right and moral to say to that man, “You are forced to sell and dispose of some of your holdings, some of your competence, and rights, being the opportunity of making a living for yourself and your family so that another individual may purchase same, if you participate in the project that your neighbors want to build ?"
Father VIZZARD. Senator, I am very grateful that you put the question on a level of law where I do have some acquaintance, rather than one the basis of the positive civil law, in which I have no competence.
I have the greatest sympathy for the individual citizen whose personal and very valuable interests are damaged when there is a matter of common welfare involved. This comes up in any number of ways, as you know, whether it be in the building of a highway where it is necessary to destroy a farm in some cases, or break it up so it becomes an inoperable unit; the situation arises again when the Federal Government condemns property to put up a new Senate office building or something of that nature. I do have genuine sympathy for people who are hurt when these public actions are taken in the public welfare. I think every effort should be made to compensate them adequately, or more than adequately if necessary.
But on the basis of moral law and the basis of natural law, the rights of individuals in certain cases must be sacrificed to the rights of the society as a whole.
Senator BARRETT. The right to own property is inviolable in natural law as well as under the moral law, is it not?
Father VIZZARD. I cannot put it in such absolute terms as that, Senator. They are inviolable unless there be more urgent and fundamental rights involved.
Senator BARRETT. With that I can agree.
Is it not nearer to being equity and in observance of the tenets of the moral law for the Congress to say to that individual, you can hold and maintain certain acreage, 160 acres under this project, and receive all of the benefits that any other citizen can get, but as to that excess acreage, you will be obliged to repay the construction cost allocated to that excess acreage and pay the interest on the money so he gets no subsidy whatsoever!
After all is said and done, that is precisely what is being done in the Small Projects Act and what is sought to be done in this bill. Why is that not a better approach purely from the standpoint of the moral law than taking the property away from him and endangering his entire holdings in the operation?
Father VIZZARD. Perhaps, Senator, I can put my most basic concern on the table here. I hope, in giving expression to it, I give no offense to you or to anyone else here. I fear, and the Catholic Rural Life Conference fears, that the exigencies of particular persons or particular areas may be used as the wedge which ultimately will destroy a principle. We fear that exemptions in particular projects or such a law as you are proposing, namely, to allow the discretionary power to the Secretary of the Interior
Senator BARRETT. Within the framework of certain requirements. With that I have no strong feeling that we have to stay exactly within the provisions that I have written into this bill, but with some requirements, no doubt.
Father VIZZARD. This policy statement which I have just read on acreage limitation, though still current, was adopted by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference over 10 years ago, but as is evident, the statement is as timely today as it was then. I wonder if 10 years from now we will be up here again with the same basic battle on our hands. But we have much more recent statements on this matter.
On March 11, 1957, in the name of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, I submitted a written statement to Senator Anderson. That statement read, in part:
There is no matter of public policy which the NCRLC has supported more consistently or vigorously than the excess lands law. Obviously we do so not out of any possibility of personal gain. The same we fear cannot be said of those who plead for relaxation or repeal of this long-standing legislation.
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference has taken and held its stand on principle. We believe that public policy should favor the institution of ownership not as a privilege which a few may enjoy, but as an opportunity for all. We believe that the lesson of history and of the troubled world today is clear. It demonstrates that men who own their own property have a greater stake in fieedom and political responsibility than have the propertyless workers.
In time of crisis—and who can guarantee that this country is immune to crises-the owner of real property has something to fall back on, to fight for, to defend. If necessary, he can stand before his door with a shotgun in his hand. Just where would a General Motors or an A. T. & T. stockholder take his stand? Before a GM salesroom, or a telephone pole? Or what piece of his employer's property would the landless worker give his life or his vote to defend? Democracy requires that the citizen have a personal stake in the material resources as well as the political ideals of his country.
Opportunities for direct ownership of productive property are being sharply limited in this country. Increasingly our economy is being characterized and dominated by large scale industry and agriculture. There is serious reason to be concerned with the possibility that General Farms will join General Foods. General Electric, General Motors. The provision of the excess lands law is one of the few obvious opportunities to check, and even to some degree to roll back this trend.
The National Catholic Rural Life Conference also holds that public policy should favor the family farm. This unswerving policy is not based on any blind nostalgic belief or any act of unfounded faith. It is based rather on firm conclusions from facts, facts which prove to any objective student that whether the criterion of value be political, social, religious, or even economic, the family farm is to be preferred to any other form of agricultural land holding.
We see no reason, therefore, why public moneys should be spent to subsidize the very antithesis of family farming.
Finally, at the explicit request yesterday of Archbishop Lucey of San Antonio and Archbishop Byrne of Santa Fe, I would like to read into the record the letters which they recently wrote to this committee:
APRIL 17, 1958. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : We have noted, and not without concern, that on April 30 hearings will be conducted on the 160-acre water limitation of the Reclamation Act.
May I once again reaffirm our position in relation to the act of 1902. We are convinced of its basic soundness as being to the advantage of the majority of American people, restricting as it does the monopolistic tendencies of privileged few. I feel certain that the value of the act has not been diminished by the fact that it dates from 1902 since it is still effectively serving its purpose.
Senator, no one knows better than yourself of the sad condition of many of our people in the western and southwestern parts of the United States. We
urge you, in the name of these people, to use your influence to safeguard the principles which underlie the Reclamation Act. Confident that you will use your good judgment in this matter, I remain Sincerely yours,
(Signed) EDWIN V. BYRNE, Most Reverend Edwin V. Byrne, Archbishop of Santa Fe.
APRIL 18, 1958. Hon. CLINTON P. ANDERSON, United States Senate, Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. MY DEAR SENATOR ANDERSON : Since you are familiar with the agricultural problems of our country, you will know how courageously the friends of the family-size farm have defended for a half a century the water limitation clauses of the Reclamation Act against the constant attacks of powerful individuals and corporations. The act has not come through unscathed. Too many exceptions have been made against the small farmer in favor of powerful interests whose greed seems to be insatiable.
We come now to a turning point in the history of American agriculture, and indeed in the history of our Nation. We are called upon to take a stand either for the small farmer or the big corporation; for the American way of life in this segment of agriculture or for a landed autocracy utterly foreign to the spirit of our democracy.
There is no reason in logic or economics for the repeal of the excess land provision of the Reclamation Act. Even now, the flight from the land is ominous. If the enemies of democracy in agriculture have their way, the situation will turn to tragedy.
Trusting that you will do all in your power to halt this attempted rape of the family farm, and with my personal best wishes t» you, I remain Cordially yours, (Signed) Most Reverend Robert E. LUCEY, STD,
Archbishop of San Antonio. Senator BARRETT. Mr. Chairman, let me make the observation that never before have I seen such an intemperate letter written by a high official of the Catholic Church. I think it is wholly unwarranted and unjustified, and his statement that the exemptions were made for the benefit of powerful individuals is not in accordance with the facts whatsoever. The provision made for the benefit of the poor, unfortunate, practically broke veterans that came out West for the purpose of settling on farms and who lost every nickel that they were able to borrow from their parents, and spent 4 to 5 years of their lives trying to build up a home, and the exceptions were made for their benefit and not for powerful corporations as he indicates in his letter.
Father VIZZARD. I am sure you understand I am not called upon, and I do not have the right or privilege, to attempt a defense of Archbishop Lucey or Archbishop Byrne; however, I am quite sure, if I can read their minds appropriately, that they are not referring specifically to the bill you have in mind.
Senator BARRETT. I'he only exceptions that have been made have been made for these veterans who settled on these projects since the end of World War II. He is referring to these exceptions and exemptions that have been made.
Senator ANDERSON. Father, may I just say that I do want to assure Senator Barrett that I am quite sure Archbishop Byrne's letter is not written with reference to his situation, but with reference to the situation in California and Texas.
I have had the privilege to discuss this matter with his Excellency the Archbishop of Santa Fe. I know what is in his mind. I have not talked to Archbishop Lucey about it, but I know he is concerned with the situation in Texas. I do hope I will have a chance to confirm from both Archbishop Lucey and Byrne that they are not referring to the situation of these veterans at Riverton, but are concerned with a wholly different situation. At least I know that to be true with reference to Archbishop Byrne, where he is concerned with the situation in California and vast areas in Texas.
Personally, I think Senator Barrett, when he has come before this committee, has been deeply concerned with individuals of modest circumstances, and every bit of the proposal he has made has not in any way related to powerful corporations or powerful individuals.
I am sure either archbishop would be quick to recognize that fact.
Father VIZZARD. If I may also add this final comment, it is my understanding—if I am wrong, I hope you will correct me—that this particular hearing was focused not only on three specific bills, but on à general consideration of the policy of the excess lands provision.
Senator BARRETT. I did not so understand it, but I was not advised that was the fact at all.
Father VIZZARD. Is that not in the announcement of the hearings, Senator Anderson?
Senator ANDERSON. Yes. A word was said that we were going to consider these specific bills before us and the general effect of the 160-acre limitation. I think that was in one of the announcements that was made.
What I was trying to say was that when Senator Douglas opposed the granting of an exemption on the Small Projects Act, he referred over and over again to the bill he had before this committee, and sort of felt that I was going to bury the bill and never have a hearing on it. I said then and I repeat now that I am glad to have a hearing on the bill and the general principle of 160-acre limitation. If I did not put that in the announcement, then I owe an apology to the Senator from Wyoming, but I believe something of that nature was said. I am glad to have testimony on it generally, I just do not want it to get mixed up with the application of Senator Barrett's own bill, which has not, as I have said, been designed to be of assistance to large landowners, but to take care of individuals who are in personal distress.
Senator BARRETT. Let the record show, Mr. Chairman, also, the last time we had a special bill before the Senate for the exemption of the 160-acre limitation, that Senator Douglas inserted the statement in the body of the record, following the passage of the bill, which by the way, referred to the Kendrick project in Wyoming, indicating that he was opposed to special bills for the exemption of the limitation act, and that he desired that general legislation be drafted and considered to provide for a new formula whereby these questions of enlarged acreage could be taken into consideration. That is the reason that I drafted this bill.
Professor Maass from Harvard University indicated that he would like to make some suggestion of a formula which could be used.
I have no particular pride in the provisions of my bill, but the whole bill is predicated on the proposition that we want to have a family-size farm available so that a man can earn a reasonable living for himself and his family. That certainly is in accord with the
thinking of most enlightened people in this country today. Whether it is 160 acres or 240 or 320, as you indicated earlier, is a matter to be decided.
He said yes, sir, that he would agree to some formula and put a top limit on it which I would have no objection to. Probably I would be more agreeable to a lower top limit than maybe you would be or he.
Senator ANDERSON. Thank you, Father, for your testimony. We appreciate your coming here this morning
Father VIZZARD. Thank you.
Senator ANDERSON. I do hope that the Bureau of Reclamation will bring us the opinion from the Department by which it was held that the 160-acre limitation could be broadened even in the noncommunityproperty States to 320 acres to cover the right of husband and wife, and then by an additional 60 acres for each minor child, so we may have that with us.
I make that request because, yesterday, one of the witnesses from California, Harry Horton, enunciated a doctrine that I had never heard before; namely, that, if you owned land in one reclamation area and in another and a third reclamation area, that the 3, added together, if they exceeded 160 acres, was a violation of law. He was not able to give us a citation. He said he had it in the office.
I am willing to accept his statement that he does have it in his office, and would be glad to see it. No one that I know of has ever heard of it before, and we would like to see that. It reminded me that, mainly, we would like to see the official ruling under whie! 320 acres can come in, because Father Vizzard referred to it.
For holding these things at a 160 acres; that is one thing. If it is wide open to go to 320 acres, then most of the points Senator Barrett had in mind are fully accomplished.
Senator BARRETT. No.
Senator ANDERSON. I know they are not. I do not mean it that way. If, generally, we are going to raise the limit to 320 acres by one device and not worry about the transfer of property, we are in a different category. I wish you would find exactly what it is.
Mr. DOMINY. Senator Anderson, in my testimony I expect to comment on Mr. Horton's particular statement, and I have also asked the Solicitor's Office to get the opinions which you have asked for.
Senator ANDERSON. Tell them to institute search and seizure, whatever they have to do, but I want to see it even in just the exact words.
Mr. Dominy. Very well, sir.
(Mr. Dominy's comments and the opinion mentioned appear in the record as appendix A, which begins on p. 211.)
Senator ANDERSON. Professor Taylor.
STATEMENT OF PAUL S. TAYLOR, BERKELEY, CALIF. Mír. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator ANDERSON. Does this presentation this morning follow pretty largely or cover the same ground as your very fine paper in the Yale Law Review of February 1955 on the excess-land law?
Mr. TAYLOR. No, sir; it does not. It is in harmony with it, and I touch on 1 or 2 of the points in that article.