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Between $5,000,000 and $10,000,000 in addition have been provided by local railroads, the States, and their political units. Credits have been arranged by the Farm Loan Board, and three emergency finance corporations with a total capital of $3,000,000 have insured additional resources to the extent of $12,000,000. Through these means the 700,000 people in the flooded areas have been adequately supported. Provision has been made to care for those in need until after the 1st of January
The Engineer Corps of the Army has contracted to close all breaks in the dike system before the next season of high water. A most thorough and elaborate survey of the whole situation has been made and embodied in a report with recommendations for future flood control, which will be presented to the Congress. The carrying out of their plans will necessarily extend over a series of years. They will call for a raising and strengthening of the dike system with provision for emergency spillways and improvements for the benefit of navigation.
Under the present law the land adjacent to the dikes has paid onethird of the cost of their construction. This has been a most extraordinary concession from the plan adopted in relation to irrigation, where the general rule has been that the land benefited should bear the entire expense. It is true, of course, that the troublesome waters do not originate on the land to be reclaimed, but it is also true that such waters have a right of way through that section of the country and the land there is charged with that easement. It is the land of this region that is to be benefited. To say that it is unable to bear any expense of reclamation is the same thing as saying that it is not worth reclaiming. Because of expenses incurred and charges already held against this land, it seems probable that some revision will have to be made concerning the proportion of cost which it should bear. But it is extremely important that it should pay enough so that those requesting improvements will be charged with some responsibility for their cost, and the neighborhood where works are constructed have a pecuniary interest in preventing waste and extravagance and securing a wise and economical expenditure of public funds.
It is necessary to look upon this emergency as a national disaster. It has been so treated from its inception. Our whole people have provided with great generosity for its relief. Most of the departments of the Federal Government have been engaged in the same effort. The governments of the afflicted areas, both State and municipal, can not be given too high praise for the courageous and helpful way in which they have come to the rescue of the people. If the sources directly chargeable can not meet the demand, the National Government should not fail to provide generous relief. This, however, does not mean restoration. The Government is not an insurer of its citizens against the hazard of the elements. We shall always have flood and drought, heat and cold, earthquake and wind, lightning and tidal wave, which are all too constant in their afflictions. The Government does not undertake to reimburse its citizens for loss and damage incurred under such circumstances. It is chargeable, however, with the rebuilding of public works and the humanitarian duty of relieving its citizens from distress.
The people in the flooded area and their representatives have approached this problem in the most generous and broad-minded way. They should be met with a like spirit on the part of the National Government. This is all one country. The public needs of each part must be provided for by the public at large. No required relief should be refused. An adequate plan should be adopted to prevent a recurrence of this disaster in order that the people may restore to productivity and comfort their fields and their towns.
Legislation by this Congress should be confined to our principal and most pressing problem, the lower Mississippi, considering tributaries only so far as they materially affect the main flood problem. A definite Federal program relating to our waterways was proposed when the last Congress authorized a comprehensive survey of all the important streams of the country in order to provide for their improvement, including flood control, navigation, power, and irrigation. Other legislation should wait pending a report on this survey. The recognized needs of the Mississippi should not be made a vehicle for carrying other projects. All proposals for development should stand on their own merits. Any other method would result in ill-advised conclusions, great waste of money, and instead of promoting would delay the orderly and certain utilization of our water resources.
Very recently several of the New England States have suffered somewhat similarly from heavy rainfall and high water. No reliable estimate of damage has yet been computed, but it is very large to private and public property. The Red Cross is generously undertaking what is needed for immediate relief, repair and reconstruction of houses, restocking of domestic animals, and food, clothing, and shelter. A considerable sum of money will be available through the regular channels in the Department of Agriculture for reconstruction of highways. It may be necessary to grant special aid for this purpose. Complete reports of what is required will undoubtedly be available early in the session.
The Congress in its last session authorized the general improvements necessary to provide the Mississippi waterway system with
better transportation. Stabilization of the levels of the Great Lakes and their opening to the sea by an effective shipway remain to be considered. Since the last session the Board of Engineers of the War Department has made a report on the proposal for a canal through the State of New York, and the Joint Board of Engineers, representing Canada and the United States, has finished a report on the St. Lawrence River. Both of these boards conclude that the St. Lawrence project is cheaper, affords a more expeditious method of placing western products in European markets, and will cost less to operate. The State Department has requested the Canadian Government to negotiate treaties necessary to provide for this improvement. It will also be necessary to secure an agreement with Canada to put in works necessary to prevent fluctuation in the levels of the Great Lakes.
Legislation is desirable for the construction of a dam at Boulder Canyon on the Colorado River, primarily as a method of flood control and irrigation. A secondary result would be a considerable power development and a source of domestic water supply for southern California. Flood control is clearly a national problem, and water supply is a Government problem, but every other possibility should be exhausted before the Federal Government becomes engaged in the power business. The States which are interested ought to reach mutual agreement. This project is in reality their work. If they wish the Federal Government to undertake it, they should not hesitate to make the necessary concessions to each other. This subject is fully discussed in the annual report of the Secretary of the Interior. The Columbia River Basin project is being studied and will be one to be considered at some future time.
The Inland Waterways Corporation is proving successful and especially beneficial to agriculture. A survey is being made to determine its future needs. It has never been contemplated that if inland rivers were opened to navigation it would then be necessary for the Federal Government to provide the navigation. Such a request is very nearly the equivalent of a declaration that their navigation is not profitable, that the commodities which they are to carry can be taken at a cheaper rate by some other method, in which case the hundreds of millions of dollars proposed to be expended for opening rivers to navigation would be not only wasted, but would entail further constant expenditures to carry the commodities of private persons for less than cost.
The policy is well established that the Government should open public highways on land and on water, but for use of the public in their private capacity. It has put on some demonstration barge lines, but always with the expectation that if they prove profitable they would pass into private hands and if they do not prove profitable they will be withdrawn. The problems of transportation over inland waterways should be taken up by private enterprise, so that the public will have the advantage of competition in service. It is expected that some of our lines can be sold, some more demonstration work done, and that with the completion of the Ohio project a policy of private operation can be fully developed.
After more than two generations of constant debate, our country adopted a system of national prohibition under all the solemnities involved in an amendment to the Federal Constitution. In obedience to this mandate the Congress and the States, with one or two notable exceptions, have passed required laws for its administration and enforcement. This imposes upon the citizenship of the country, and especially on all public officers, not only the duty to enforce, but the obligation to observe the sanctions of this constitutional provision and its resulting laws. If this condition could be secured, all question concerning prohibition would cease. The Federal Government is making every effort to accomplish these results through careful organization, large appropriations, and administrative effort. Smuggling has been greatly cut down, the larger sources of supply for illegal sale have been checked, and by means of injunction and criminal prosecution the process of enforcement is being applied. The same vigilance on the part of local governments would render these efforts much more successful. The Federal authorities propose to discharge their obligation for enforcement to the full extent of their ability.
History does not anywhere record so much progress made in the same length of time as that which has been accomplished by the Negro race in the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation. They have come up from slavery to be prominent in education, the professions, art, science, agriculture, banking, and commerce. It is estimated that 50,000 of them are on the Government pay rolls, drawing about $50,000,000 each year. They have been the recipients of presidential appointments and their professional ability has arisen to a sufficiently high plane so that they have been intrusted with the entire management and control of the great veterans' hospital at Tuskegee, where their conduct has taken high rank. They have shown that they have been worthy of all the encouragement which they have received. Nevertheless, they are too often subjected to thoughtless and inconsiderate treatment, unworthy alike of the white or colored races. They have especially been made the target of the foul crime of lynching. For several years these acts of unlawful violence had been diminishing. In the last year they have shown an increase. Every principle of order and law and liberty is opposed to this crime. The Congress should enact any legislation it can under the Constitution to provide for its elimination.
The condition of the American Indian has much improved in recent years. Full citizenship was bestowed upon them on June 2, 1924, and appropriations for their care and advancement have been increased. Still there remains much to be done.
Notable increases in appropriations for the several major functions performed by the Department of the Interior on behalf of the Indians have marked the last five years. In that time, successive annual increases in appropriations for their education total $1,804,325; for medical care, $578,000; and for industrial advancement, $205,000; or $2,582,325 more than would have been spent in the same period on the basis of appropriations for 1923 and the preceding years.
The needs along health, educational, industrial, and social lines, however, are great, and the Budget estimates for 1929 include still further increases for Indian administration.
To advance the time when the Indians may become self-sustaining, it is my belief that the Federal Government should continue to improve the facilities for their care, and as rapidly as possible turn its responsibility over to the States.
Legislation authorizing a system of fuel administration and the pointment by the President of a Board of Mediation and Conciliation in case of actual or threatened interruption of production is needed. The miners themselves are now seeking information and action from the Government, which could readily be secured through such a board. It is believed that a thorough investigation and reconsideration of this proposed policy by the Congress will demonstrate that this recommendation is sound and should be adopted.
The National Government is undertaking to join in the formation of a cooperative committee of lawyers, engineers, and public officers, to consider what legislation by the States or by the Congress can be adopted for the preservation and conservation of our supply of petroleum. This has come to be one of the main dependencies for transportation and power so necessary to our agricultural and industrial