MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The United States, invoking our original jurisdiction under Art. III, § 2, of the Constitution, brought this suit against the States of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama,
The controversy is another phase of the more than 20 years' dispute between the coastal States and the Federal Government over their respective rights to exploit the oil and other natural resources of offshore submerged lands. In 1947 this Court held that, as against California, the United States possessed paramount rights in such lands underlying the Pacific Ocean seaward of the low-water mark on the coast of California and outside of inland waters. United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19, 804. And on June 5, 1950, the Court, following the principles announced in the California case, made like holdings with respect to submerged lands in the Gulf of Mexico similarly lying off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, and directed both States to account to the United States for all sums derived from natural resources in those areas after that date. United States v. Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699, 340 U.S. 899;
On May 22, 1953, Congress, following earlier repeated unsuccessful attempts at legislation dealing with state and federal rights in submerged lands,
To effectuate these purposes the Act, in pertinent part—
1. relinquishes to the States the entire interest of the United States in all lands beneath navigable waters within state boundaries (§ 3, 43 U. S. C. § 1311);
2. defines that area in terms of state boundaries "as they existed at the time [a] State became a member of the
3. confirms to each State a seaward boundary of three geographical miles, without "questioning or in any manner prejudicing the existence of any State's seaward boundary beyond three geographical miles if it was so provided by its constitution or laws prior to or at the time such State became a member of the Union, or if it has
4. for purposes of commerce, navigation, national defense, and international affairs, reserves to the United States all constitutional powers of regulation and control over the areas within which the proprietary interests of the States are recognized (§ 6 (a), 43 U. S. C. § 1314);
The Government starts with the premise that the Act grants submerged land rights to a distance of more than three miles only to the extent that a Gulf State can show, in accordance with § 2 (b) of the Act, either that it had a legally established seaward boundary in excess of three miles at the time of its admission to the Union, or that such a boundary was thereafter approved for it by Congress prior to the passage of the Submerged Lands Act. It is contended that the Act did not purport to determine, fix, or change the boundary of any State, but left it to the courts to ascertain whether a particular State had a seaward boundary meeting either of these requirements. The Government then urges, as to any State relying on its original seaward boundary, that the Act contemplates as the measure of the grant a boundary which existed subsequent to a State's admission to the
The States, on the other hand, make several alternative arguments. At one extreme, they contend that the Submerged Lands Act ipso facto makes a three-league grant to all the Gulf States, or at least that the Act by its terms establishes the seaward boundary of some States, notably Texas and Florida, at three leagues. Alternatively, they argue that if the extent of such state boundaries "at the time" of admission was left to judicial determination, then the controlling inquiry is what seaward boundary each State had just prior to admission. If, however, the Act contemplates a boundary as fixed by the event of admission, each State contends that Congress fixed for it a three-league Gulf boundary, and that whatever may have been the extent of the national maritime boundary at the time is an irrelevant factor. Florida further contends that when it was readmitted to the Union in 1868, Congress approved for it a three-league Gulf boundary. And finally the States argue that if the national boundary is in any way relevant, it has at all material times in fact been at three leagues in the Gulf of Mexico.
Both sides have presented in support of their respective positions a massive array of historical documents, of which
In this opinion we consider the issues arising in common between the Government and all the defendant States, and the particular claims of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, all of which depend upon their original admission boundaries. The particular claims of Florida, which involve primarily its readmission boundary, are considered in a separate opinion. Post, p. 121.
THE COMMON ISSUES.
A. The Statute On Its Face.
The States' contention that the Act ipso facto grants them submerged land rights of three leagues in the Gulf may be shortly answered. The terms of the statute require rejection of such a construction. Rather the measure of the grant in excess of three miles is made to depend entirely upon the location of a State's original or later Congressionally approved maritime boundary, subject only to the three-league limitation of the grant.
We turn next to the question whether, as the States contend, the first of the two alternative requirements of § 2—a boundary which "existed at the time such State became a member of the Union"—is satisfied merely by showing a preadmission boundary, or whether, as the Government claims, that requirement contemplates only a boundary that carries the legal consequences of the event of admission. While it is manifest that the second requirement of § 2—a boundary which was "heretofore approved by Congress"—must take into account the effect of Congressional action, it is not clear from the face of the statute that the same is true of the first requirement—a
The Government argues that in construing the first requirement of § 2 the effect of Congressional action cannot be ignored because to do so would be to measure the boundary prior to the time a State became a member of the Union, and "at the time" cannot mean "prior to the time." However, it might be contended with equal force that to take account of the effect of Congressional action would be to measure the boundary after the time the State became a member of the Union, and "at the time" cannot mean "after the time." Indeed, if "at the time" were to be taken in a perfectly literal sense, it could refer only to the timeless instant before which the consequences of not being a State would obtain, and after which the consequences of statehood would follow, leaving unanswered the question whether the effect of Congressional action was to be considered or not. In short, if the term is to be given content it must be read as referring either to some time before or after the instant of admission, or to both times.
As an aid to construction of "at the time" in § 2, the Government points to § 4, the last sentence of which states:
It is urged that the disjunctive use of the terms "prior to" and "at the time" shows that the latter must have been used to refer to the time after admission, since the phraseology would otherwise be redundant, and that such meaning should also be attributed to the same term in § 2,
Nor do the States' arguments upon the face of the statute illumine the meaning of "at the time" as used in § 2. They contend that the meaning of § 2 is explained or clarified by the last sentence of § 4. According to them, a boundary "existed at the time [a] State became a member of the Union" (§ 2) if "it was so provided by its constitution or laws prior to or at the time such State became a member of the Union . . . ." (§ 4.) Under this view, whatever the meaning of "at the time," the existence of a state constitutional or statutory three-league provision prior to admission would conclusively establish the boundary contemplated by the Act, irrespective of the character of Congressional action upon admission. However, this provision appears not in the definitional or granting sections of the statute (§§ 2 or 3), but in § 4, the purpose of which is to approve and confirm the boundaries of all States at three miles, and to negative any prejudice which might thereby result to claims in excess of three miles. It thus does not define the grant, but at most describes the claims protected from prejudice by § 4 in terms of their most likely nature. A fair reading of the section does not point to the conclusion that claims of this nature were deemed to be self-proving.
Finally, there is no indication on the face of the statute whether the Executive policy of the United States on the
Because the statute on its face is inconclusive as to these issues, we turn to the legislative history.
B. The Legislative History.
This Court early held that the 13 original States, by virtue of the sovereignty acquired through revolution against the Crown, owned the lands beneath navigable inland waters within their territorial boundaries, and that each subsequently admitted State acquired similar rights as an inseparable attribute of the equal sovereignty guaranteed to it upon admission. Pollard's Lessee v. Hagan, 3 How. 212.
Meanwhile an extended series of attempts was underway to secure Congressional legislation vesting in the States the ownership of those lands which would be theirs under an application of the Pollard rule to the marginal sea.
1. Confirmation of All Boundaries at Three Miles.
From the very outset, the sponsors of "quitclaim" legislation believed that all States were entitled to at least three miles of coastal submerged lands.
It is not entirely clear on what theory Congress thus concluded that each State owned the submerged lands within three miles of its coast, irrespective of the existence of an expressly defined seaward boundary to that distance. It was substantially agreed that the 13 original Colonies owned the lands within three miles of their coasts because of their sovereignty and the alleged international custom which permitted a nation to extend its territorial jurisdiction that far.
2. Boundaries Beyond Three Miles.
Whatever may have been the uncertainty attending the relevance of state boundaries with respect to rights in submerged lands within three miles of the coast, we find a clear understanding by Congress that the question of rights beyond three miles turned on the existence of an expressly defined state boundary beyond three miles. Congress was aware that several States claimed such a boundary. Texas throughout repeatedly asserted its claim that when an independent republic its statutes established a three-league maritime boundary, and that the United States ratified that boundary when Texas was admitted to the Union and permitted Texas to retain its own public lands.
It was recognized that if the legal existence of such boundaries could be established, they would clearly entitle the respective States to submerged land rights to that distance under an application of the Pollard rule to the marginal sea. Hence, while a three-mile boundary was expressly confirmed for all coastal States, the right of the Gulf States to prove boundaries in excess of three miles was preserved. This treatment of the matter was carried into all the numerous "quitclaim" bills by language similar to that found in § 4 of the present Act, confirming all coastal state boundaries at three miles and negating any prejudice to boundary claims in excess of that.
The earlier "quitclaim" bills defined the grant in terms of presently existing boundaries,
Somewhat later, the last sentence of the present Act's § 4 was added, for the specific purpose of assuring that the boundary claims of Texas and Florida would be preserved.
We conclude, therefore, that the States' contention that preadmission boundaries, standing alone, suffice to meet the requirements of the statute is not tenable.
3. The Question of Executive Policy Respecting the "Three-Mile Limit."
During consideration of the various "quitclaim" bills between 1945 and 1953, the suggestion that international questions might be raised by the bill constantly recurred. It was asserted that the United States might be embarrassed in its dealings with other nations, first, by permitting States to exercise rights in submerged lands beyond three miles,
The second objection, however—that to recognize by the Act the possible existence of some state maritime boundaries beyond three miles would embarrass this country in its dealings with other nations—was persistently pressed by the State Department and by opponents of the bill. The bill's supporters consistently took the position that under the Pollard rule as they understood it, the extent of a State's submerged land rights in excess of three miles depended entirely upon the location of its maritime boundary as fixed by historical events,
The State Department, confronted with this argument, tenaciously maintained that it had never recognized any boundaries in excess of three miles.
We agree that the Submerged Lands Act does not contain any formula to be followed in the judicial ascertainment of state boundaries, and that therefore, we must determine, as an independent matter, whether boundaries, for purposes of the Act, are to be taken as fixed by historical events such as those pointed to in the Congressional hearings and debates, or whether they must be regarded as limited by Executive policy on the extent of territorial waters, as contended by the Government. However, in light of the purely domestic purposes of the Act, we see no irreconcilable conflict between the Executive policy relied on by the Government and the historical events claimed to have fixed seaward boundaries for some States in excess of three miles. We think that the Government's contentions on this score rest on an oversimplification of the problem.
A land boundary between two States is an easily understood concept. It marks the place where the full sovereignty of one State ends and that of the other begins. The concept of a boundary in the sea, however, is a more elusive one. The high seas, as distinguished from inland waters, are generally conceded by modern nations to be
We conclude that, consonant with the purpose of Congress to grant to the States, subject to the three-league limitation, the lands they would have owned had the Pollard rule been held applicable to the marginal sea, a
THE PARTICULAR CLAIMS OF TEXAS.
Texas, the only one of the defendant States which had the status of an independent nation immediately prior to its admission, contends that it had a three-league maritime boundary which "existed at the time [it] became a member of the Union" in 1845. Whether that is so for the purposes of the Submerged Lands Act depends upon a proper construction of the Congressional action admitting the State to the Union.
Texas declared its independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, 1 Laws, Republic of Texas, 3-7, and on December 19, 1836, the Texan Congress passed an Act to define its boundaries, which were described in part as
Pursuant to this Resolution, the people of Texas adopted a constitution, which was submitted to Congress, and by Joint Resolution of December 29, 1845, Texas was admitted to the Union in accordance with the terms of the previous Joint Resolution.
The Government, while conceding that Texas continuously asserted by statute a three-league seaward boundary, contends that at no time before, during, or after admission did the United States or any other country recognize the validity of that boundary. It follows, therefore, the Government says, that since Texas upon entering the Union became subject to the foreign policy of the United States with respect to the "three-mile limit," the State's seaward boundary became immediately and automatically fixed at three miles. Texas, on the other hand, argues that it effectively established, and that the United States repeatedly recognized, the State's three-league boundary before, during, and after admission, and that therefore such a boundary existed "at the time" of its admission within the meaning of the Submerged Lands Act. For reasons already discussed, ante, pp. 24-36, we consider that the only relevant inquiry is what boundary was fixed for the State of Texas by virtue of the Congressional action admitting it to the Union in accordance with the terms of the Joint Resolution of March 1, 1845. This inquiry first takes us back to some earlier history.
By the Treaty of Paris, signed April 30, 1803,
Meanwhile, Mexico had revolted from Spain, had been recognized by this country in 1822, and had proclaimed a federal constitution in 1824. Texas was made part of the compound province of Coahuila-Texas, with the indication that it would eventually be given a separate constitution as a sovereign state. After a series of difficulties with the central government, however, Texas in
It was against this background that President Tyler negotiated and sent to the Senate the 1844 Treaty for the annexation of Texas. That document provided:
One of the objections made to the Treaty on the floor of the Senate was that it purported to cede to the United States all the territory claimed by Texas under her 1836 Boundary Act, to large parts of which Texas allegedly had no title, those parts assertedly having always been under the domination and control of Spain and Mexico.
The proponents pointed also to a letter of instructions written by Secretary of State Calhoun to the United States Charge d'Affairs in Mexico a week after the Treaty was signed, which enjoined the latter, in making the Treaty known to Mexico, "to assure the Mexican Government that it is his [the President's] desire to settle all questions between the two countries which may grow out of this treaty, or any other cause, on the most liberal and satisfactory terms, including that of boundary . . . . [The United States] has taken every precaution to make the terms of the treaty as little objectionable to Mexico as possible; and, among others, has left the boundary of Texas without specification, so that what the line of boundary should be might be an open question, to be fairly and fully discussed and settled according to the rights of each, and the mutual interest and security of the two countries."
Despite these controversial aspects of the Treaty, it is quite apparent that its supporters desired to press Texas' boundary claims to the utmost degree possible. President Tyler, in response to the Senate's request, transmitted to it a map showing the western and southwestern boundaries of Texas, and according generally with the Texas Boundary Act.
After the failure of the Treaty, which would have annexed Texas as a territory of the United States, several proposals were introduced in the next session of Congress for the annexation of Texas by a Joint Resolution admitting it immediately as a State.
The circumstances surrounding the Resolution's passage make it clear that this was the understanding of Congress. Congressional attention was focused primarily on the great political questions attending annexation— primarily the extent to which slavery would be permitted in the new territory and the possibility that annexation would embroil this country with Mexico—and the matter of boundary received little consideration except as it was related to the larger issues. Public agitation over annexation had become so great that some bills had proposed annexation virtually in the abstract, with all details to be worked out later.
While this conclusion appears unavoidable as regards Texas' land boundaries, a question does exist as to whether it applies also to the State's seaward boundary. For we are unable to find in the Congressional debates either on the 1844 Treaty or the 1845 Annexation Resolution a single instance of significant advertence to the problem of seaward boundaries. Furthermore, a series of other events manifests a total lack of concern with the problem. Prior to Texan independence, the United States had entered into successive treaties with Spain and Mexico,
Thereafter a minister was sent to the United States to seek recognition and broach the subject of annexation. With respect to the latter, he was instructed on November 18, 1836:
Yet a month later, on December 19, 1836, the Texan Congress passed the Boundary Act which inexplicably, so far as we can find, provided that the boundary should run along the Gulf of Mexico at three leagues from land.
Again, as previously mentioned (note 79, ante), during its consideration of the unratified Treaty of April 12, 1844, the Senate requested President Tyler to transmit any information he possessed concerning the southern, southwestern, and western boundaries of Texas. On April 26, 1844, he sent a map and a memoir by its compiler. The memoir flagrantly misquoted the 1836 Boundary Act by
The foregoing circumstances make it abundantly plain that at the time Texas was admitted to the Union, its seaward boundary, though expressly claimed at three leagues in the 1836 Texas Boundary Act, had not been the subject of any specific concern in the train of events leading to annexation.
Given this state of affairs, we must initially dispose of an argument made by Texas. The State urges, in effect, that whether or not its maritime boundary was actually considered by the Congress or the Executive during the course of the annexation proceedings, it was incumbent upon the United States to protest or reject in some manner Texas' claim in this regard, and that failure to do so constituted in law a validation or ratification of that boundary claim upon admission. Whatever the merit of this proposition may be in the abstract, the controlling factor for purposes of this case must be the terms of the Joint Resolution of Annexation. There is, indeed, a strong argument that the "properly," "rightfully," and "adjustment" clauses of that Resolution should be read as applying only to the land boundaries disputed with Mexico, which gave rise to those qualifications, and that the Resolution was meant to validate any boundary asserted by Texas without protest. However, in light of the fact that the language employed in the Resolution is of general applicability, we should hesitate to limit its effect by reading into it such an additional unexpressed test respecting the extent of Texas' boundaries. We think that its language must be taken as applying to Texas' maritime boundary as well as to its land boundary.
We are brought back, then, to a twofold inquiry: First, whether the three-league maritime boundary asserted by the Republic of Texas embraced an area which was "properly included within, and rightfully belonging to" the Republic. Second, whether such a boundary was ever fixed for the State of Texas pursuant to the power reserved by Congress to adjust "all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments." As we have observed, it is evident that the first clause, independently of the second, was not intended to operate as a self-executing standard for determining the disputed western and southwestern boundaries of Texas. To attempt to apply that clause as fixing the extent of Texas' maritime boundary, immediately upon admission to the Union, no less than in so fixing its land boundaries, would be illusory at best. The parties devote considerable
Congress' failure to carry into the Annexation Resolution the boundaries fixed by the 1836 Texas Boundary Act did not, of course, foreclose the possibility that the State's boundary might ultimately be fixed in accordance with that statute. It is significant in this regard to note the opinions ventured in Congress on the probable settlement of the boundary with Mexico which would occur subsequent to annexation. One group asserted that the Texan claims to the Rio Grande, particularly the portion which encompassed New Mexico, could not possibly be maintained.
This prediction was borne out by subsequent events. After the Annexation Resolution had been passed and transmitted to Texas for its assent, the Mexican army threatened to cross the Rio Grande and invade Texas. On June 15, 1845, President Polk wrote an informal and confidential letter to the United States Charge d'Affaires in Texas which indicated that Polk intended to repel such an invasion and to maintain the Texan claim at least to the lower portion of the Rio Grande:
Nine days before, Polk had manifested a similar intention in a letter to Sam Houston, former President of the Republic of Texas and an influential spokesman for annexation:
The attitude of the Executive at this time toward the Texan boundary is made even more explicit by an account of an interview between the United States Charge d'Affaires in Texas and Sam Houston, written by the former to his superior, the Secretary of State:
After Texas consented to annexation and Congress had finally admitted her to statehood, the Mexican army crossed the Rio Grande and declared war upon the United States. On May 11, 1846, President Polk called on Congress to declare war against Mexico. He said in part:
However, there is absolutely nothing to indicate that the Executive, any more than the Congress, was interested in, or was at all aware of any problem presented by, the seaward boundary of Texas as claimed in its 1836 Boundary Act. The Government urges, by way of explanation, that the United States had, by this time, firmly established a policy of claiming no more than three miles of territorial waters. But the Executive's responsibility for fixing the Texan boundary derived from a delegation of Congressional power to admit new States, not from the Executive's own power to fix the extent of territorial waters. As we have already pointed out, the two powers can operate independently, and only the first is determinative in this case. To the extent it may be argued that the Executive would naturally take account of its own policy toward territorial waters in fixing the Congressionally mandated boundary, the data presented to us are utterly devoid of any suggestion that such was the case. On the contrary, it is evident that the overwhelming concern of the President and his subordinates was to maintain to the greatest extent possible the land boundaries claimed by Texas and disputed with Mexico,
On April 15, 1847, Nicholas P. Trist was appointed Commissioner to Mexico to negotiate a peace treaty. Among his instructions was a project of the proposed treaty, which provided:
This language was incorporated verbatim into Article V of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as finally signed on February 2, 1848, 9 Stat. 922, which fixed the boundary between the United States and Mexico from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific coast.
Trist stated in his notes that one object of instructions given to his predecessor, substantially identical in relevant part to those given him, was to get Mexico to agree to a boundary which
While this misquotation of the Texas Boundary Act again demonstrates total insensitivity to any problem of a seaward boundary, the passage does indicate that the United States was attempting to follow the Texan statute in negotiating the boundary.
The Treaty unquestionably established the Rio Grande from New Mexico to the Gulf as the land boundary not only of the United States but also of Texas, since the Executive, acting pursuant to the power given by Congress to "adjust" Texas' boundaries in dealings with other nations, pressed that boundary against Mexico on the theory that it embraced territory rightfully belonging to the State of Texas. There is nothing to indicate that the extension of that boundary three leagues into the Gulf, pursuant to the very same Boundary Act, was treated on any different basis. The portion of the boundary extending into the Gulf, like the rest of the line, was intended to separate the territory of the two countries, and to recognize that the maritime territory of Texas extended three leagues seaward.
Whether the Treaty be deemed to constitute an exercise of the power to adjust the boundaries left unsettled by the 1845 Joint Resolution of Annexation, or a post hoc recognition of a seaward boundary which was actually fixed for Texas upon its admission in 1845, or a fixation of boundaries which related back to the time of admission, is of no moment. Although the Submerged Lands Act requires that a State's boundary in excess of three miles must have existed "at the time" of its admission, that phrase was intended, in substance, to define a State's present boundaries by reference to the events surrounding its admission. As such, it clearly includes a boundary which was
The Government contends that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is of no significance in this case because the line drawn three leagues out to sea was not meant to separate territory of the two countries, but only to separate their rights to exercise certain types of "extraterritorial" jurisdiction with respect to customs and smuggling. We believe the conclusion is clear that what the line, denominated a "boundary" in the Treaty itself, separates is territory of the respective countries. No reference to "extraterritorial" jurisdiction is made in the Treaty, and no such concept can be gleaned from the context of the negotiations. Being based on the three-league provision of the 1836 Texas Boundary Act, which itself denotes a territorial boundary, the obvious and common-sense meaning of the analogous treaty provision is that it separates the maritime territory of the United States and Mexico.
The Government relies on certain diplomatic correspondence as evidencing a subsequent construction of the Treaty contrary to this conclusion. In 1848, when Great Britain protested the three-league provision of the Treaty, both the United States and Mexico replied that the Treaty defined rights only as between the two countries and was not intended to impair the rights of any other nation in the marginal sea.
We conclude, therefore, that pursuant to the Annexation Resolution of 1845, Texas' maritime boundary was established at three leagues from its coast for domestic purposes. Of course, we intimate no view on the effectiveness of this boundary as against other nations. Accordingly, Texas is entitled to a grant of three leagues from her coast under the Submerged Lands Act.
BOUNDARIES CLAIMED BY TEXAS. *
THE PARTICULAR CLAIMS OF LOUISIANA.
Louisiana's claims, like those of Texas, are based on the contention that it had a three-league maritime boundary which existed "at the time" it was admitted to the Union, and must be judged by the same standards. The Act of Congress admitting the State to the Union in 1812
Louisiana claims that the concluding clause "including all islands within three leagues of the coast" should be read to mean that Congress fixed as the State's seaward boundary a line three leagues from its coast, and that such a reading is supported both by the State's preadmission history and by subsequent events. The Government, on the other hand, insists that the phrase includes only the islands themselves lying within three leagues of the coast, and not all waters within that distance as well.
1. The Act of Admission on Its Face.
The language of the Act itself appears clearly to support the Government's position. The boundary line is drawn down the middle of the river Iberville "to the gulf of Mexico," not into it for any distance. The State is thence to be bounded "by the said gulf," not by a line located three leagues out in the Gulf, "to the place of beginning," which is described as "at the mouth of the river Sabine," not somewhere beyond the mouth in the Gulf. (Emphasis added.) And while "all islands" within
Similar language was employed in the Treaty of Paris of September 3, 1783, by which Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States.
Nothing in the case of Alaska Pacific Fisheries v. United States, 248 U.S. 78, tends toward a contrary construction. The Court there held that an Act of Congress designating as an Indian reservation "the body of lands known as Annette Islands" included the intervening and surrounding waters and submerged lands, which were inland waters admittedly under the control of the United States, whether actually part of the reservation or not. The Court, construing the statute in light of the Indians' historic use of these waters as fishing grounds, merely concluded that Congress intended to include in the area reserved the waters and water bed, as well as the islands, referring to both "as a single body of lands." Id., 89. The construction here contended for by Louisiana would,
Louisiana also contends, relying on United States v. Texas, 162 U.S. 1; Louisiana v. Mississippi, 202 U.S. 1, that this Court has already determined that its boundary includes three leagues of marginal sea. The Texas case, however, involved only the question whether Greer County, in the northwest part of the State, was properly a part of Texas. And even if that case had effectively established a three-league maritime boundary for Texas, which quite evidently it did not, that would not establish a similar boundary for Louisiana.
The Mississippi case involved only the issue of the boundary between Louisiana and Mississippi. Louisiana relies on the holding of the Court that because the eastern boundary of Louisiana was a water boundary along the middle of the river Iberville, extending to the Gulf, it went on to include a deep-water sailing channel in the Gulf adjacent to Mississippi. It also relies on a rough map included in the Court's opinion showing a line drawn all the way around the State's coast at some distance in the Gulf. There is, however, no indication whatever that the line so indicated bore any relation to the three-league provision in the Louisiana Act of Admission. Furthermore, if there could be any doubt that only the portion of the water boundary adjacent to Mississippi was considered by the Court, it is dispelled by the Court's statement that
See also United States v. California, supra, at 37.
2. Preadmission History.
Preliminarily, it should be observed that in light of what has already been said, pp. 24-30, ante, Louisiana's preadmission history is relevant in this case only to the extent that it aids in construing the Louisiana Act of Admission. The thrust of the State's argument on this score is that the boundaries fixed by the Act of Admission comprised the entire area acquired by the United States from France through the Louisiana Purchase, effected by the Treaty of Paris in 1803; that the extent of this area traces back, through cessions by France to Spain in 1762 and Spain to France in 1800, to what was first claimed by France in 1682; and that such area originally extended some 120 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, and in any case, by virtue of other events, at least three leagues into the Gulf.
For reasons now to be discussed we think that this historical thesis is not borne out by any of the documents or events on which Louisiana relies, but that to the contrary what has been shown us leads to the conclusion that Louisiana's preadmission territory, consistently with the Act of Admission, stopped at its coast and did not embrace any marginal sea.
1. The area which includes the present State of Louisiana was first claimed for France by La Salle in 1682, extending southward
It is apparent from the face of La Salle's proclamation that it was the mouth of the Mississippi which defined
2. By a secret Treaty executed at Fontainebleau on November 3, 1762, France ceded to Spain "all the country known under the name of Louisiana, as well as New Orleans and the island in which the place stands."
3. Louisiana argues, however, that certain treaties between France, Spain, and other nations evidence such an intent. Four of these treaties concern the right of the French to fish within certain distances of the coasts of the British possessions in North America, varying from three to 30 leagues. The relevant portions do not relate to French or Spanish territory at all.
4. By the Treaty of Paris, signed April 30, 1803, France ceded to the United States the Louisiana Territory with all its rights and appurtenances "as fully and in the same manner as they have been acquired by the French Republic, in virtue of the above-mentioned treaty [Treaty of San Ildefonso, Oct. 1, 1800], concluded with his Catholic Majesty," including "the adjacent islands belonging to Louisiana."
3. Postadmission Events.
To the extent that Louisiana's reliance on postadmission events is for the purpose of showing that the United States established a three-league "national boundary" in the Gulf, they cannot help her case, for reasons previously discussed. Ante, pp. 30-36. We need not decide whether the United States ever claimed three leagues of
1. We are urged to infer that since, as the Court today holds, three-league boundaries were fixed for Texas (ante, p. 64) and Florida (post, p. 121), and since, after Texas' admission, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo fixed the starting point of the boundary between the United States and Mexico at three leagues in the Gulf, Congress must have meant to treat Louisiana equally. The inference must be based primarily on the existence of the Texas and Florida boundaries, for the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo relates only to the boundary between Texas and Mexico, and tends to prove nothing more than the existence of a three-league boundary for Texas. In view of the fact that shortly after Louisiana's admission, Congress fixed maritime boundaries for Mississippi and Alabama which, even on Louisiana's construction, would be different than three leagues, we can discern no consistent Congressional policy toward the maritime boundaries of the Gulf States at the time of Louisiana's admission, even if the much later actions with respect to Texas and Florida could be thought to have established such a policy. Cf. Louisiana v. Mississippi, supra, at 41. It would require clear evidence that such a policy was operative at the time
2. Certain treaties successively entered into from 1819 to 1838 by the United States with Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas establishing the boundary between Texas and the United States are relied on as indicating that the State and Federal Governments thought that Congress had fixed a three-league maritime boundary for Louisiana.
3. In its answer to the original complaint, Louisiana alleged certain acts of sovereignty over the marginal sea and seabed and the acquiescence of the Federal Government therein.
4. Finally, Louisiana relies on a 1954 statute of its own establishing the State's boundary at three leagues seaward of the line between inland and open waters. Act 33 of 1954, La. Rev. Stat. 49:1. It is said that in so legislating Louisiana followed the coastline as defined in regulations promulgated by the Commandant of the Coast Guard, pursuant to the Federal Act of February 19, 1895, 28 Stat. 672, 33 U. S. C. § 151, and that because of this, and also on considerations of convenience and certainty, this state enactment should be accepted as establishing Louisiana's coast. We think the consideration of this contention should be postponed to a later stage of this case. We decide now only that Louisiana is entitled to submerged-land rights to a distance no greater than three geographical miles from its coastlines, wherever those lines may ultimately be shown to be.
THE PARTICULAR CLAIMS OF MISSISSIPPI.
Mississippi's claim to a three-league seaward boundary must fail largely for the same reasons that have led us to reject the similar claim of Louisiana.
On September 3, 1783, Great Britain and Spain signed a treaty by which Great Britain ceded this area to Spain as part of a cession embracing all of western and eastern Florida.
By the Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed October 1, 1800, Spain ceded to France "the colony and province of Louisiana." See p. 72, ante. In the Treaty of Paris of April 30, 1803, France ceded Louisiana to the United States to the same extent as France had acquired it by virtue of the Treaty of San Ildefonso. See p. 74, ante. A dispute arose between the United States and Spain as to whether, by the Treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain had conveyed to France any land east of the Mississippi River (including any part of West Florida), and therefore whether France could have subsequently passed that territory to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. On October 27, 1810, President Madison claimed the right to possession of the area,
The Mississippi Constitution, approved by the Act admitting the State to the Union on December 10, 1817,
We have already held with respect to Louisiana's claim to a three-league maritime boundary that an Act of Admission which refers to all islands within a certain distance of the shore does not appear on its face to mean to establish a boundary line that distance from the shore, including all waters and submerged lands as well as all islands. There is nothing in Mississippi's history, just as there is nothing in Louisiana's, to cause us to depart from that conclusion in this instance. Indeed, Mississippi relies almost entirely on the fact that the very language which defeats its contention was repeatedly used, in the 1763 Proclamation by King George III, in the Congressional Enabling Act, and in the State Constitution, and was implicitly incorporated in mesne conveyances.
We must hold that Mississippi is not entitled to rights in submerged lands lying beyond three geographical miles from its coast.
THE PARTICULAR CLAIMS OF ALABAMA.
The preadmission history of Alabama is essentially the same as that of Mississippi, the portion of the State lying south of the 31st parallel having passed by the same mesne conveyances from France to the United States. That portion was incorporated into the Mississippi Territory by the Act of May 14, 1812,
The same reasons applicable to the claims of Louisiana and Mississippi compel us to hold that Alabama is not entitled to rights in submerged lands lying beyond three geographical miles from its coast.
On the basis of what has been said in this opinion, we reach the following conclusions:
1. As to the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, a decree will be entered (1) declaring that the United States is entitled, as against these States, to all the lands, minerals, and other natural resources underlying the Gulf of Mexico more than three geographical miles from the coast of each such State, that is, from the line of ordinary low-water mark and outer limit of inland waters, and extending seaward to the edge of the Continental Shelf; (2) declaring that none of these States is entitled to any interest in such lands, minerals, and resources; (3) enjoining these States from interfering with the rights of the United States therein; (4) directing each such State appropriately to account to the United States for all sums of money derived therefrom subsequent to June 5, 1950;
3. Jurisdiction over this case will be retained for such further proceedings as may be necessary to effectuate the rights adjudicated herein.
4. The motions of Louisiana and Mississippi to take depositions and present evidence are denied, without prejudice to their renewal in such further proceedings as may be had in connection with matters left open by this opinion.
The parties may submit an appropriate form of decree giving effect to the conclusions reached in this opinion.
It is so ordered.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE and MR. JUSTICE CLARK took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases.
[For opinion of MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, joined by MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, MR. JUSTICE WHITTAKER and MR. JUSTICE STEWART, see post, p. 129.]
MR. JUSTICE BLACK, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
I concur in the Court's judgment that Texas owns the belt of submerged lands extending three marine leagues from that State's coastline into the Gulf of Mexico (including oil and other resources), but dissent from denial of like claims by Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The claims of all these States depend on our interpretation and application of the Submerged Lands Act
To accomplish this purpose the Act first provides for an outright grant to all the coastal States of a boundary three geographical miles from their coastlines.
The statute neither defines the kind of "boundary" which is to measure Congress' grants to these States, nor particularizes the criteria for deciding it. We may agree with the Government that the term "boundary" was used here in its usual sense to mean the limit of territory, which, in the case of a coastal boundary, would mean the outer limit of the territorial sea. But this does not get us very far in determining the location of these States' boundaries. For a number of reasons I cannot accept the Government's contention that each State must show a "legal" or "legally accepted" boundary as of the date it became a member of the Union. I cannot see how we can be expected retroactively to reconstruct a technically defined legal boundary, extending out into the lands under the Gulf, if the States never technically owned any of these lands. In United States v. California, 332 U.S. 19, and the cases which followed it, this Court held that the States of California, Texas and Louisiana did not own or have title to the offshore lands they claimed. If we were now to hold that these States must prove technical title as of the early 1800's in order to satisfy the Submerged Lands Act and that they have succeeded in doing so, we would in effect be overruling our prior cases, cases expressly accepted by Congress as declaring the law when the 1953 Act was passed. I cannot believe that Congress intended us to try to use again the same "legal" test of ownership
Moreover, the Submerged Lands Act prescribes no standards for determining a strictly "legal" boundary according to the conveyancer's art. There are, of course, no markers out in the Gulf of Mexico to show where the boundaries were when the States were admitted. Since some were admitted anywhere from 140 to 150 years ago there are no living witnesses to testify where their boundaries were at that time. But despite these difficulties, it is our duty to give effect to the congressional act as best we can. It is therefore my view that since we cannot look to legalistic tests of title, we must look to the claims, understandings, expectations and uses of the States throughout their history. This is because of the congressional expressions, stated time and time again that the Act's purpose was to restore to the States what Congress deemed to have been their historical rights and powers. Nor can I accept the Government's argument that these States' interests in the marginal seas must be determined in accord with the national policy of foreign relations. Everything in the very extended congressional hearings and reports refutes any such idea. Instead,
Senator Ellender of Louisiana invoked the equitable sense of Congress.
Congress has thus repeatedly emphasized its desire to have the States' rights in these submerged lands determined not under "technical rules" but, as the Senate Committee said, in accordance with "equitable principles and high standards" of justice.
The unfairness of the Court's result is particularly emphasized when we consider the plight in which it leaves Louisiana. One of the grounds that Congress assigned for its desire to restore these lands to the States was its strong belief that the States rather than the Federal Government should exploit their offshore oil. This desire rested on two conclusions: (1) that the States would do it better and more effectively for the interests of the public at large,
Nothing in the Act itself indicates that Texas was to be given any more consideration in this case than Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Had Congress wanted to give the land to Texas and refuse to give it to the other States it easily could have done so. In fact, this was specifically suggested to Congress by the Attorney General of the United States, and the Congress rejected it.
As Congress indicated, it is time that the problem be solved, the title be quieted and the controversy be stilled.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting in part.
Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845 (9 Stat. 108) pursuant to a prior Joint Resolution (5 Stat. 797) which reserved for adjustment by the United States "all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments." Texas as early as 1836 had claimed, as the opinion of the Court shows, a seaward boundary of "three leagues from land." Such a claim conflicted with our national policy in the Gulf, since the United States before then had in treaties with Spain (8 Stat. 252) and with Mexico (8 Stat. 372) described the boundaries between the two countries west of the Mississippi as commencing "on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea." Moreover the Convention of 1838 to establish the boundary between the United States and Texas (8 Stat. 511) agreed to the running and marking of "that portion of the said boundary which extends from
I agree with the Court that there was nothing done at or subsequent to that time to approve the Texas claim to three leagues from land unless it be the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed on February 2, 1848, 9 Stat. 922, by the United States and Mexico and which, inter alia, fixed the "boundary line between the two republics" in the Gulf of Mexico "three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande." Can we say that the United States sat at that conference table negotiating for Texas and her boundary claim? Was the seaward boundary once claimed by Texas now claimed by the United States in recognition that Texas owned it?
There is not a word in the history of the negotiations to indicate that the United States had moral or legal claim to the three-league belt because of the earlier claim of Texas. There is no suggestion that the United States claimed derivatively from the right of Texas and thus upheld the position of Texas, approving the claim made by Texas in 1836. There is not a word indicating that the Treaty of 1848 was in form or in essence an undertaking by Congress to fix the boundaries of Texas under the 1838 Convention.
The terms of the 1838 Convention do not support any such construction for, as I have said, that Convention fixed the boundary as extending "from the mouth of the Sabine, where that river enters the Gulph of Mexico," not "three leagues" seaward of that point. To conclude, therefore, that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was intended to fix the land and sea boundaries of Texas in accordance with the Texas Boundary Act of 1836 is to indulge in mental gymnastics beyond my capacities. The agreement by the United States to fix the boundaries
While the 1838 Convention failed to include any seaward territory, a Joint Commission appointed to make the survey pursuant to the 1838 Convention actually marked the boundary between the United States and the Republic of Texas at the mouth of the Sabine River—not three leagues into the Gulf of Mexico.
It is true that the Joint Resolution of 1845 (5 Stat. 797) called for the formation of Texas "subject to the adjustment by this government of all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments." But the situation envisaged by that clause soon changed. The Mexican war broke out in 1846; and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo finally brought it to a close. By the time the treaty negotiations started the United States was thinking in new dimensions. The problem was no longer finding and establishing what the Texas boundaries had been. We then put that question to one side. The instructions to
And when the Treaty had been ratified by both countries and President Polk reported to Congress, he did not speak of settlement of any boundaries of the former State
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has until now never been considered to have played any part in determining any Texan boundary question. As stated by the Court in United States v. Texas, 162 U.S. 1, the boundary question was resolved by the Act of September 9, 1850 (9 Stat. 446). After quoting the 1836 Act by which Texas claimed "three leagues from land" as her seaward border, the Court went on to say:
Drawing the line "to the Gulf of Mexico" is a far cry from drawing it to a point "three leagues" from the shore. What we do today is quite inconsistent with what a unanimous Court in United States v. Texas, supra, decided in 1896. What the Court said was not decided until 1850 we now say was decided earlier.
Though the United States and Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established land boundaries between the two countries, Congress never recognized that the Treaty established any boundaries of Texas. In her 1836 statute, Texas not only claimed the three-league belt in the Gulf of Mexico but also much of the territory lying west and north of her present boundaries, including eastern New Mexico which, like the three-league belt, was acquired under the Treaty by the United States. Congress in the 1850 compromise paid Texas $10,000,000 to relinquish its claim to this territory. Yet this payment was regarded by Congress not as purchase price but as settlement of a disputed claim.
The southwestern boundary of Texas was confirmed in the 1850 Compromise to lie along the Rio Grande "to the Gulf of Mexico." The 1838 Convention had fixed the eastern boundary at "the mouth of the Sabine." Thus, on the two occasions when the United States and Texas negotiated and agreed upon boundaries and when they would have been most likely to have settled the question, no extension of the Texas territory into the Gulf was recognized. The conclusion for me is irresistible that the seaward boundary, so far as Texas was concerned, was so inconsequential as to require or receive no settlement. I conclude that in terms of § 4 of the 1953 Act the boundary of Texas reserved for later adjudication when Texas was admitted to the Union was on its seaward side never approved by Congress to be three leagues from shore.
Why then the reference in the Treaty to the "Boundary line" between the United States and Mexico as "three leagues" from land in the Gulf of Mexico?
The Court says that the United States in negotiating the Treaty attempted to follow the 1836 Texas Act. The projet of the Treaty given to Trist did provide for a boundary line commencing "three leagues from the land opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande."
Much less speculative is the reason advanced in 1875 by Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State.
In 1874 Lord Derby had raised for Great Britain a question with regard to Spain's claim of jurisdiction of
The Act referred to was that of March 2, 1799 (1 Stat. 627), which provided in § 54 that it shall be lawful for our collectors, naval officers, inspectors, and officers of revenue cutters to board ships bound to the United States "within four leagues of the coast" for the purpose of controlling or preventing smuggling.
That this was the purpose gains collateral support from a series of treaties concluded by Mexico in the latter half
These treaties reflect what Hamilton Fish as Secretary of State said about the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and
That has consistently been our construction. I have already referred to what Secretary Fish said in 1875. When Mexico in 1935 undertook to extend the breadth of Mexican territorial waters from three to nine miles,
It seems apparent from this history that the United States in negotiating the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was far from determining that the metes and bounds of our property on the seaward side of the Gulf ran to three leagues. The three-league provision in purpose and presumed effect had quite a different aim. It had no aim to assert derivatively a title that Texas had claimed. Its aim was merely to mark a zone where, so far as the two contracting parties were concerned, our law enforcement agencies could maintain effective patrols. If this history shows nothing else, it shows that the United States had a national interest in having the three-league belt recognized
If we acted today with the precision and meticulous care which is demanded in title disputes, we could not, I think, say that the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo recognized or approved the Texas claim that the territory of Texas extended three leagues from shore.
Yet if we are to decide these cases by substandards (lessening the requirements of proof as we should do if Congress intended to grant whatever the parties fairly claimed), then I agree with MR. JUSTICE BLACK that the discrimination in favor of Texas and against Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi is quite unjustified.
If the southeast corner of Texas was three leagues offshore, it is difficult for me to see how the southwest corner of Louisiana was not at the same point. From the beginning the United States and Spain fixed their corner west of the Mississippi "on the Gulph of Mexico, at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea." 8 Stat. 254. If we move the Texas boundary out three leagues, it is hard to see why Louisiana's does not accompany it. It has long been recognized that a part of Louisiana's border is "a water boundary" that extends "to the open sea or Gulf of Mexico," Louisiana v. Mississippi, 202 U.S. 1, 43, and includes "the deep water sailing channel line as a boundary." Id., at 44.
The enabling Act authorizing the people of the Territory of Orleans to form Louisiana described the territory as running "to the gulf of Mexico; thence bounded by the said gulf . . . including all islands within three leagues of the coast." 2 Stat. 641. The boundaries described
As respects Mississippi, Congress in the Enabling Act (3 Stat. 348) provided that the territory included in the new State would run from a specified point on the Gulf of Mexico, "westwardly, including all the islands within six leagues of the shore." This was the boundary description used since George III of Great Britain described West Florida as "bounded to the southward by the Gulf of Mexico, including all islands within six leagues of the coast."
Alabama when a territory had two of its boundaries described as "thence due south to the Gulf of Mexico, thence eastwardly, including all the islands within six leagues of the shore, to the Perdido river." 3 Stat. 371. This language was repeated in the Enabling Act. 3 Stat. 489.
The United States concedes that, so far as Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are concerned, all the submerged lands between the mainland and the islands are sufficiently enclosed to constitute inland waters that passed to the State on its entry into the Union. Pollard v. Hagan, 3 How. 212. It further concedes that these States have rights to the submerged lands within three miles of the islands under the ordinary three-mile rule.
If we were to require the degree of proof of ownership which is ordinarily required in title disputes, I would agree that neither Louisiana, Alabama, nor Mississippi has met the burden of proof. But if standards and requirements
The heart of the Texan claim is that the United States and Mexico recognized that there was a three-league maritime belt which each would respect and that this was done in recognition of the validity of the claims contained in the 1836 statute of Texas. This belt was called a "boundary"; but, as I have tried to demonstrate, it was not a territorial claim but only a demarcation of zones where the parties' respective law enforcement activities would be recognized and approved. The Gulf presents peculiar problems due to its shallow coast. The shallowness of its waters is well documented and our Government was well aware of this condition in 1848.
If the policy of measuring the zone of the United States as "three leagues" into the Gulf off the shore of Texas is to give Texas property rights to the submerged lands in that zone, the beneficiaries of that concern should be all our Gulf States. At best the language used to describe the seaward territories of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi is ambiguous. The words "to the Gulf of Mexico. . . including all of the islands" within certain designated leagues of the shore can reasonably mean that the "boundary line" is marked by the islands. There is difficulty in that construction. Yet it is for me no more difficult than the method we use to give Texas a territorial claim in the same belt. All the States on the Gulf
The "continental shelf," in the geological sense, is the gently sloping plain which underlies the seas adjacent to most land masses, extending seaward from shore to the point at which there is a marked increase in the gradient of the decline and where the continental slope leading to the true ocean bottom begins. In the Gulf of Mexico, the edge of the Continental Shelf, as so defined, lies as much as 200 miles from shore in some places. Christopher, The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act: Key to a New Frontier, 6 Stan. L. Rev. 23, 24; H. R. Rep. No. 215, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 6
S. 2164, S. J. Res. 208. Both would have confirmed the rights in the Federal Government. S. J. Res. 208 was passed by the Senate but not by the House.
1939, 76th Congress, 1st Session:
H. J. Res. 176, H. J. Res. 181, S. J. Res. 24, S. J. Res. 83, S. J. Res. 92. All would have confirmed the rights in the Federal Government.
1945-1946, 79th Congress:
H. J. Res. 118 and 17 similar bills, H. J. Res. 225, S. J. Res. 48. All would have quitclaimed rights to the States within their boundaries. H. J. Res. 225 was passed by both Houses but vetoed by President Truman.
1948, 80th Congress, 2d Session:
H. R. 5992 and S. 1988 (quitclaim measures); S. 2222, H. R. 5890, and S. 2165 (to confirm States' rights in lands underlying inland waters and the Federal Government's rights in lands underlying the marginal sea). H. R. 5992 was passed by the House.
1949-1950, 81st Congress:
1st Sess: H. R. 5991, H. R. 5992 ("compromise" bills); S. 155, S. 1545 (quitclaim measures); S. 923, S. 2153, H. R. 354 (to confirm States' rights in lands beneath inland waters and Federal Government's rights in lands beneath marginal seas); S. 1700 (to establish a federal reserve). 2d Sess: H. R. 8137 (quitclaim measure); S. J. Res. 195 (interim management bill).
1951-1952, 82d Congress:
S. J. Res. 20, H. J. Res. 131, H. J. Res. 274 (interim management bills); H. R. 4484, S. 940 (quitclaim measures). H. R. 4484 was passed by the House in the 1st Session; S. J. Res. 20 was passed by the Senate after amending it by substituting therefor S. 940, in the 2d Session. S. J. Res. 20 as amended prevailed in conference, but was vetoed by President Truman.
1953, 83d Congress, 1st Session:
H. R. 2948 and 40 other bills, resulting in drafting of H. R. 4198 by Committee, S. J. Res. 13 (quitclaim measures); H. R. 5134, S. 1901 (to provide for administration of submerged lands seaward of those granted to States and to the edge of Continental Shelf). S. J. Res. 13 became the Submerged Lands Act, and S. 1901 became the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
"(a) It is hereby determined and declared to be in the public interest that (1) title to and ownership of the lands beneath navigable waters within the boundaries of the respective States, and the natural resources within such lands and waters, and (2) the right and power to manage, administer, lease, develop, and use the said lands and natural resources all in accordance with applicable State law be, and they are hereby, subject to the provisions hereof, recognized, confirmed, established, and vested in and assigned to the respective States or the persons who were on June 5, 1950, entitled thereto under the law of the respective States in which the land is located, and the respective grantees, lessees, or successors in interest thereof;
"(b) (1) The United States hereby releases and relinquishes unto said States and persons aforesaid, except as otherwise reserved herein, all right, title, and interest of the United States, if any it has, in and to all said lands, improvements, and natural resources; (2) the United States hereby releases and relinquishes all claims of the United States, if any it has, for money or damages arising out of any operations of said States or persons pursuant to State authority upon or within said lands and navigable waters . . . ."
"(a) The term `lands beneath navigable waters' means—
"(2) all lands permanently or periodically covered by tidal waters up to but not above the line of mean high tide and seaward to a line three geographical miles distant from the coast line of each such State and to the boundary line of each such State where in any case such boundary as it existed at the time such State became a member of the Union, or as heretofore approved by Congress, extends seaward (or into the Gulf of Mexico) beyond three geographical miles . . .
"(b) The term `boundaries' includes the seaward boundaries of a State or its boundaries in the Gulf of Mexico or any of the Great Lakes as they existed at the time such State became a member of the Union, or as heretofore approved by the Congress, or as extended or confirmed pursuant to section 4 hereof but in no event shall the term `boundaries' or the term `lands beneath navigable waters' be interpreted as extending from the coast line more than three geographical miles into the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean, or more than three marine leagues into the Gulf of Mexico;
"(c) The term `coast line' means the line of ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters . . . ."
"The seaward boundary of each original coastal State is hereby approved and confirmed as a line three geographical miles distant from its coast line . . . . Any State admitted subsequent to the formation of the Union which has not already done so may extend its seaward boundaries to a line three geographical miles distant from its coast line . . . . Any claim heretofore or hereafter asserted either by constitutional provision, statute, or otherwise, indicating the intent of a State so to extend its boundaries is hereby approved and confirmed, without prejudice to its claim, if any it has, that its boundaries extend beyond that line. Nothing in this section is to be construed as questioning or in any manner prejudicing the existence of any State's seaward boundary beyond three geographical miles if it was so provided by its constitution or laws prior to or at the time such State became a member of the Union, or if it has been heretofore approved by Congress."
"The United States retains all its navigational servitude and rights in and powers of regulation and control of said lands and navigable waters for the constitutional purposes of commerce, navigation, national defense, and international affairs, all of which shall be paramount to, but shall not be deemed to include, proprietary rights of ownership, or the rights of management, administration, leasing, use, and development of the lands and natural resources which are specifically recognized, confirmed, established, and vested in and assigned to the respective States and others by section 3 of this Act."
"Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to affect in any wise the rights of the United States to the natural resources of that portion of the subsoil and seabed of the Continental Shelf lying seaward and outside of the area of lands beneath navigable waters, as defined in section 2 hereof, all of which natural resources appertain to the United States, and the jurisdiction and control of which by the United States is hereby confirmed."
Later in the same year, Congress passed the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 67 Stat. 462, 43 U. S. C. §§ 1331-1343, which provides in detail for federal exploitation of the submerged lands of the Continental Shelf beyond those granted to the States by the Submerged Lands Act.
S. Rep. No. 1592, 80th Cong., 2d Sess., to accompany S. 1988, at 17-18 (June 10, 1948), after noting that the legal profession had long believed that the States owned the lands under navigable waters within their territorial jurisdiction, went on to comment:
"The evidence is conclusive that not only did our most eminent jurists so believe the law to be, but such was the belief of lower Federal court jurists and State supreme court jurists as reflected by more than 200 opinions. The pronouncements were accepted as the settled law by lawyers and authors of leading legal treatises.
"The present Court in the California decision did not expressly overrule these prior Supreme Court opinions but, in effect, said that all the eminent authorities were in error in their belief.
"For the first time in history the Court drew a distinction between the legal principles applicable to bays, harbors, sounds, and other inland waters on the one hand, and to submerged lands lying seaward of the low-water mark on the other, although it appears the Court had ample opportunity to do so in many previous cases, but failed or refused to draw such distinction. In the California decision the Court refused to apply what it termed `the old inland water rule' to the submerged coastal lands; however, historically speaking, it seems clear that the rule of State ownership of inland waters is, in fact, an offshoot of the marginal sea rule established much earlier."
H. R. Rep. No. 695, 82d Cong., 1st Sess., to accompany H. R. 4484, at 5 (July 12, 1951):
"Title II merely fixes as the law of the land that which, throughout our history prior to the Supreme Court decision in the California case in 1947, was generally believed and accepted to be the law of the land; namely, that the respective States are the sovereign owners of the land beneath navigable waters within their boundaries and of the natural resources within such lands and waters. Therefore, title II recognizes, confirms, vests, and establishes in the States the title to the submerged lands, which they have long claimed, over which they have always exercised all the rights and attributes of ownership."
S. Rep. No. 133, 83d Cong., 1st Sess., to accompany S. J. Res. 13, at 7-8 (Mar. 27, 1953):
"All of these areas of submerged lands have been treated alike in this legislation because they have been possessed, used, and claimed by the States under the same rule of law, to wit: That the States own all lands beneath navigable waters within their respective boundaries. Prior to the California decision, no distinction had been made between lands beneath inland waters and lands beneath seaward waters so long as they were within State boundaries.
"The rule was stated by the Supreme Court in the early case of Pollard v. Hagan . . . .
"The purpose of this legislation is to write the law for the future as the Supreme Court believed it to be in the past—that the States shall own and have proprietary use of all lands under navigable waters within their territorial jurisdiction, whether inland or seaward, subject only to the governmental powers delegated to the United States by the Constitution."
"Resolved . . . That, in consideration of the premises, the United States of America hereby releases, remises, and quitclaims all right, title, interest, claim, or demand of the United States of America in and to all lands beneath tidewaters and all lands beneath navigable waters within the boundaries of each of the respective States . . . ."
"Whether their failure to be in that position is because of a title question or boundary question is immaterial to us. Our position is that they should be restored to where they thought they were." 1948 Joint Hearings 894. See also 92 Cong. Rec. 9515-9516 (remarks of Senator O'Mahoney); id., 9519 (remarks of Senator Overton); 99 Cong. Rec. 4095 (remarks of Senator Holland).
"Mr. WILLIS. Do you know of a better criteria than a historic approach?
"Secretary McKAY. No, sir.
"Mr. WILLIS. Let us apply that criteria to Texas, for instance, and I think you and I are in thorough agreement. Texas was a republic. The Republic of Texas took certain action. Then there was a treaty between the Republic of Texas and the United States preliminary to admission. There might have been maps exhibited or maps in existence at that time. Then Congress passed an act admitting Texas into the Union, and then Texas adopted a constitution delimiting its historic boundaries. Those are the historic documents that set forth Texas' title; is that correct?
"Secretary McKAY. That is right. If my memory is correct, the United States would not take the land. They gave it back to Texas.
"Mr. WILLIS. That is right. There is nothing unusual about that. Let me illustrate the point in this way. I know you are not a lawyer, but I think you can follow this. If a farmer should consult a lawyer to find out what the limits of his farm are, that lawyer would have to examine the papers. He would have to go first to the patent. He would have to consult all the deeds in the chain of title. There might be maps attached to those deeds which help to interpret them. After his study he would give an opinion on the limits, based upon the history of that title, and every link in the chain.
". . . There has been some talk here this morning about 3 miles. The principle, though, that I think you and I agree on is that we have to go to the documents to find out what our historic boundaries are?
"Secretary McKAY. Yes, sir." 1953 House Hearings 197-198.
And on the floor of the House, he explained "historic boundaries" as follows:
"You will hear a great deal during general debate today, first about the historic boundaries and second about the outer continental shelf of the States. Let me explain what these terms mean.
"Each State was admitted into the Union by an act of Congress, and each State adopted a constitution which was approved by the Congress. The act of Congress and the first Constitution defined the boundaries of each State in the first instance. In some cases treaties were involved. Thus the Louisiana Territory was retroceded or reconveyed by Spain to France in 1803, and then France, in turn, transferred the Louisiana Territory to the United States. Thereafter, Louisiana was admitted into the Union as a State under an act of Congress of 1812, and the first Constitution of Louisiana, of 1812, was approved by the Congress. Both Spain and France exerted influence over and claimed, owned, and controlled a marginal belt as part of the Louisiana Territory, as shown by maps then used and still in existence.
"Obviously, we must resort to all of such ancient documents in order to determine the true and actual historic boundaries of each State, and as a practical matter, that is exactly what this bill permits and accomplishes. I do not know of any better criteria for the establishment of the boundaries of the States than a historic approach." 99 Cong. Rec. 2504.
"That from and after the passage of this act, the civil and political jurisdiction of this republic be, and is hereby declared to extend to the following boundaries, to wit: beginning at the mouth of the Sabine river, and running west along the Gulf of Mexico three leagues from land, to the mouth of the Rio Grande, thence up the principal stream of said river to its source, thence due north to the forty-second degree of north latitude, thence along the boundary line as defined in the treaty between the United States and Spain, to the beginning: and that the president be, and is hereby authorized and required to open a negotiation with the government of the United States of America, so soon as in his opinion the public interest requires it, to ascertain and define the boundary line as agreed upon in said treaty."
"[T]he present boundaries of Texas I learn from Judge Ellis, the president of the convention that formed the constitution of Texas, and also a member of the first legislature under that constitution, were fixed as they now are, solely and professedly with a view of having a large margin in the negotiation with Mexico, and not with the expectation of retaining them as they now exist in their statute book." (Emphasis in original.)
See also speech of Representative Brinkerhoff of Ohio, Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d Sess. 346-347. Significantly, the House of Representatives on Jan. 16, 1845, passed a Resolution calling on the President to communicate any information he might possess on the territory within which the authority and jurisdiction of the Republic of Texas was recognized by its inhabitants. Id., at 147.
"That the republic of Texas . . . be received and admitted . . . . That the United States be authorized to adjust and settle all questions of boundary which may arise with other governments." (Offered by Senator Ashley of Arkansas, Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d Sess., App., at 287-288.)
"The republic of Texas . . . cedes to the United States all the territories of Texas . . . ." (Reported by Representative Ingersoll as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d Sess., at 191.)
"[T]he territory now known as the republic of Texas be, and the same is hereby, annexed to, and made a portion of, the territory of the United States. . . . That commissioners shall hereafter be appointed, who shall establish the boundaries . . . ." (Offered by Representative Weller of Ohio, id., at 192.)
"That the Congress doth consent that the territory rightfully included within the limits of Texas be erected into a new State . . . . That said State be formed subject to the adjustment, by the government of the United States, of all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments." (Offered by Representative Douglass of Illinois, id., at 192.)
"That the Congress doth consent that the territory known as the republic of Texas, and rightfully belonging to the same, may be erected into a new State . . . . That the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, is hereby authorized to adjust and settle all questions relating to the boundaries of said territory, which may arise with other governments." (Offered by Representative Burke of New Hampshire, ibid.)
There were also several proposals to carve a State out of only part of the Texan territory, with assigned territorial boundaries, and to admit the remainder as a territory subject to later adjustment of boundaries. Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d Sess. 76 (Representative Tibbatts of Kentucky); 107, 187, App. 304 (Representative Dromgoole of Virginia); 192 (Representative Robinson of New York); 359 (Senator Walker of Mississippi); 362 (Senator Miller of New Jersey).
"What is the Texas which we propose to take into our embrace? Not simply the old province of Texas—not the Texas which declared itself independent, and whose independence we and several other nations have recognised—not Texas proper, but a large amount of territory which is not included in Texas—territory over which Texas never extended her conquest or jurisdiction, and which is as much a part of Mexico as the city of Mexico itself." Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d Sess., App. 336.
See also remarks of Representative Rayner of North Carolina, id., 411-412, see note 98, infra; and of Representative Haralson of Georgia. Id., App. 195, see note 97, infra.
While this report was written before the Texas boundary statute was passed, it again illustrates the lack of concern over a seaward boundary.
"[W]e established the point of beginning of the boundary between the United States and the republic of Texas at a mound on the western bank of the junction of the river Sabine with the sea . . . ." S. Doc. No. 199, 27th Cong., 2d Sess. 59.
"If it should turn out that, by receiving the entire limits of Texas, as defined in her act, we acquired more territory than we could rightfully hold, having a just regard to the rights of other nations, all that is necessary to be done is to surrender the overplus. The Texian act of Congress, approved December 19, 1836, I have little doubt, defines correctly the boundary of that republic. If not, any imaginable difficulty may be adjusted if you adopt one of these resolutions, which provides for the consent of Texas to our settlement of the boundaries." Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 2d Sess., App. 193, 195.
"Texas claims the country on the east of the Del Norte, from its mouth to its source. She has laid down this as her boundary in her constitution. She is to transfer to this government, or retain to herself, all the unappropriated lands within the limits of her republic. She has defined these limits; and it is with Texas, claiming territory as extending to the Del Norte in its whole length, that you propose to make the contract. It may be said that this question of boundary must be left to future negotiation with Mexico. But will not this government, if Texas is now annexed, with her definition of boundary, be precluded from making any concessions to Mexico? Will not any compromise as to boundary be resisted by Texas as a breach of faith towards her? She might say that Texas had defined her own limits; that with Texas, as thus bounded, we had contracted for her admission into the Union; and that this government was bound by every consideration of faith and honor to see that Texas should not be again mutilated. . . .
"Whether this reasoning be founded in justice or not, there is some plausibility in it . . . ." Id., at 410, 411-412.
Similarly Senator Breese of Illinois, speaking to the 1844 Treaty, had said:
"The limits of Texas are to be adjusted hereafter. But we have acknowledged the limits as defined in the act of the Texian Congress of 1836, and as delineated on the map accompanying the documents, as extending to the Del Norte. And why do I say so? Because we did, in 1837, with a full knowledge of these declared boundaries, acknowledge the independence of Texas as a state, with that act of her Congress then, and as now, in full force; and which acknowledgment received the vote of the senator from Missouri. But this is a small matter, and can be readily adjusted with Mexico, should we encroach upon her rights. We get a title to all Texas, rightfully ours in virtue of her sovereignty. We ask no more—no less.
"The senator says that he is for the recovery of [t]he province of Texas—Spanish Texas—the Texas of La Salle. So am I, Mr. President; and for as much more as the `republic' of Texas can lawfully claim." Cong. Globe, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., App. 537, 540.
Senator Walker of Mississippi, commenting on the 1844 Treaty, had placed his approval of the Boundary Act on both grounds. Id., at 548-557.
"The boundary line between the two republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte, or opposite the mouth of its deepest branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly into the sea; from thence up the middle of that river, following the deepest channel, where it has more than one, to the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico; thence, westwardly, along the whole southern boundary of New Mexico (which runs north of the town called Paso) to its western termination; thence, northward, along the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of the river Gila; (or if it should not intersect any branch of that river, then to the point on the said line nearest to such branch, and thence in a direct line to the same;) thence down the middle of the said branch and of the said river, until it empties into the Rio Colorado; thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean."
By this treaty, the United States thus not only maintained the Texan claim to the territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande, but also acquired from Mexico the whole of New Mexico, part of which Texas had claimed by its boundary statute. To settle the conflict thus created between the United States and Texas to that portion of New Mexico, the United States in 1850 paid Texas $10,000,000 to relinquish its claim to the area, 9 Stat. 446, thereby consummating the final step in the establishment of Texas' disputed land boundaries. See diagram, p. 65, post.
The Act provided as follows:
"The State of Texas will agree that her boundary on the north shall commence at the point at which the meridian of one hundred degrees west from Greenwich is intersected by the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, and shall run from said point due west to the meridian of one hundred and three degrees west from Greenwich; thence her boundary shall run due south to the thirty-second degree of north latitude; thence on the said parallel of thirty-two degrees of north latitude to the Rio Bravo del Norte, and thence with the channel of said river to the Gulf of Mexico."
It is suggested that the seaward boundary of Texas was thereby fixed at the edge of the Gulf. But Texas' western boundary south of New Mexico had already been definitively fixed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Post, pp. 60-61. Since the treaty had fully supported Texas' claim to that area, there was nothing to compromise in 1850. By contrast, the portion of the 1848 boundary which encompassed not only eastern New Mexico, to which Texas had a very doubtful claim, but also western New Mexico and California, which it had never claimed, obviously was not pressed against Mexico on Texas' behalf and was not intended to validate its claim to eastern New Mexico. Thus the 1850 Compromise could be concerned only with the latter area. Nothing in United States v. Texas, 162 U.S. 1, militates to the contrary. The concluding phrase of the Act, describing the portion of Texas' boundary south of New Mexico was unnecessary to the purposes of the Act and could not, without Texas' consent, affect the seaward boundary previously fixed for it.
In testifying before Congress on the Submerged Lands Act, representatives of the State Department reiterated these various grounds, 1953 Senate Hearings 1056-1057, 1077-1078. See also id., at 321-323, 670; 99 Cong. Rec. 2513-2514, 2569, 2893-2895, 3041-3042. Their concern was to avert a congressional determination that a three-league territorial boundary had been fixed for Texas which might be embarrassing to this country in its foreign relations. However, as we have pointed out, pp. 30-36, ante, there is no necessary conflict between the existence of a three-league territorial boundary for domestic purposes and the maintenance of the Executive's policy on the limit to which this country will assert rights in the marginal seas as against other nations. Despite the State Department's contentions with respect to the Treaty, Congress clearly left that question, like all other matters bearing on the determination of boundaries, an open question to be judicially resolved.
The Government concedes that all the islands which are within three leagues of Louisiana's shore and therefore belong to it under the terms of its Act of Admission, happen to be so situated that the waters between them and the mainland are sufficiently enclosed to constitute inland waters. Thus, Louisiana is entitled to the lands beneath those waters quite apart from the affirmative grant of the Submerged Lands Act, under the rule of Pollard's Lessee v. Hagan, 3 How. 212. Furthermore, since the islands enclose inland waters, a line drawn around those islands and the intervening waters would constitute the "coast" of Louisiana within the definition of the Submerged Lands Act. Since that Act confirms to all States rights in submerged lands three miles 'from their coasts, the Government concedes that Louisiana would be entitled not only to the inland waters enclosed by the islands, but to an additional three miles beyond those islands as well. We do not intend, however, in passing on these motions, to settle the location of the coastline of Louisiana or that of any other State.
Mississippi contends that it is not liable for an accounting, since it was never party to a suit decreeing the United States' rights in offshore lands. However, principles announced in the 1950 Louisiana and Texas cases are plainly applicable to all coastal States, and Mississippi was put on notice by the decrees in those cases. A fortiori, the similar contention of Louisiana, the defendant in the 1950 Louisiana case, must be overruled.
"Mr. DANIEL.. . . We can and do accept the decisions of the Court as the interpretation of the law as it exists today, but, by the same token, the Congress of the United States, in placing its interpretation on the Constitution and in deciding the equities can write the law for the future differently from that which the Court has found it to be at this time.
"That is what we propose in Senate Joint Resolution 13. We want Congress to write the law for the future exactly as it was understood and believed to be during the first 150 years of the existence of this Nation." 99 Cong. Rec. 4080-4081.
"Furthermore, the United States did not dispute the actions taken by the two States." H. R. Rep. No. 215, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 25-26. And see note 18, infra.
See, e. g., as to Louisiana, the statement of Miss Lucille May Grace, Register, State Land Office, State of Louisiana:
"[I]t strikes me as being highly incongruous that the Department of the Interior of the Federal Government, at this late date, should assert the slightest claim to such lands for it was in 1908 and again in 1915 that the General Land Office of the Department of the Interior wrote to the Federal land office of Louisiana, said records now being a part of the records of my office, explaining that certain lands beneath tidewaters belonged to Louisiana by her right of sovereignty, and that the State of Louisiana had made a mistake in applying `to select such lands under the Swamp Lands Act.'. . .
"Let me respectfully request and urge your favorable consideration of this resolution in order that my State and all States, as well as the business interests of our country, who have in the past spent such high sums of money and who plan to invest greater sums in the future in the oil and gas development of our natural resources, will feel assured that our claims to such areas are recognized by all persons— once and for all—claims that we have considered sacred and valid in my State since Louisiana was admitted to the Union in 1812." Joint Hearings before House Committee on Judiciary, Senate Special Judiciary Subcommittee on H. J. Res. 118, etc., 79th Cong., 1st Sess. 82-83.
"The repeated assertions by our highest Court for a period of more than a century of the doctrine of State ownership of all navigable waters, whether inland or not, and the universal belief that such was the settled law, have for all practical purposes established a principle which the committee believes should as a matter of policy be recognized and confirmed by Congress as a rule of property law.
"The evidence shows that the States have in good faith always treated these lands as their property in their sovereign capacities; that the States and their grantees have invested large sums of money in such lands; that the States have received, and anticipate receiving large income from the use thereof, and from taxes thereon; that the bonded indebtedness, school funds, and tax structures of several States are largely dependent upon State ownership of these lands; and that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Federal Government have always considered and acted upon the belief that these lands were the properties of the sovereign States.
"If these same facts were involved in a dispute between private individuals, an equitable title to the lands would result in favor of the person in possession. . . ." S. Rep. No. 133, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 67, reprinting S. Rep. No. 1592, 80th Cong., 2d Sess.
To the same effect is the conclusion of the 1953 Report: "By this joint resolution the Federal Government is itself doing the equity it expects of its citizens." Id., at 24.
From the beginning of the congressional hearings on the matter of the submerged lands, it has been clear to Congress that all the Gulf States' constitutional definitions of their boundaries have been a basis of their claims, without regard to the slight differences in language. These claims reappeared throughout the hearings. For illustration, an eight-page opinion of Dean Borchard of Yale appeared as "Appendix B" to S. Rep. No. 1260, 79th Cong., 2d Sess., as early as 1946. He stated: "Examining the conduct of the States we find a series of provisions in State constitutions and statutes in which several States, e. g., Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana, lay claim to a maritime boundary of 3 leagues, 6 leagues, or more." Id., at 16.
During the 1953 hearings Senator Long of Louisiana was concerned by statements made by Senator Holland of Florida, the author of the bill, to the effect that only Florida and Texas would be entitled to three leagues.
"Senator LONG. May I ask the Senator a question concerning my State? When Louisiana came into the Union, it is my recollection that the enabling act which was passed by Congress described the boundaries of Louisiana as including all islands within 3 leagues of the coast. . . ."
To this Senator Holland replied, "The Senator from Florida has read and studied to some extent the question which the Senator from Louisiana has mentioned. The Senator from Florida thinks that the coast of Louisiana is that rim of islands, but the court might not so find when it went before the court." Hearings before the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 48.
"For the fiscal year of 1944 my report shows that I have collected five and a half millions of dollars from this source. In fact the most productive area in the entire State is that in the maritime belt, or from lands beneath the tidewaters. . . .
"I would think that you gentlemen will readily understand what revenues of this size mean to the financial structure of Louisiana.. . . Terrebonne Parish, which is situated on the coast of Louisiana, received in 1944 $45,500 from the oil and gas production. Said funds are expended by the police jury for the benefit of the parish. It should certainly be obvious what this loss of revenue would mean to the taxpayers not only of this one parish but of the entire State." Joint Hearings before House Committee on Judiciary, Senate Special Judiciary Subcommittee on H. J. Res. 118, etc., 79th Cong., 1st Sess. 82.
See note 8, supra, for the listing by Congress of these factors as going to the equity of the States' ownership (e. g., "that the bonded indebtedness, school funds, and tax structures of several States are largely dependent upon State ownership of these lands . . . ." S. Rep. No. 133, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 67).
". . . we proceeded to the entrance of the Sabine river into the Gulf of Mexico, and then, in virtue of our respective powers, and in conformity to the provisions of the convention between the two countries concluded at Washington the 25th day of April, 1838, we established the point of beginning of the boundary between the United States and the republic of Texas at a mound on the western bank of the junction of the river Sabine with the sea. . . . The mound was made by throwing up earth in a circular form of fifty feet in diameter, and about seven feet high at its center. . . ." S. Doc. No. 199, 27th Cong., 2d Sess. 59.
"President's message referred to by the Mexican Commissioners as founding our claim for extension of territory on the ground of indemnity for the expenses of the war. The causes of the war, & the question of justice in respect thereto, viewed by Mexico in a totally different light from that in which they are presented in the message. They propose arbitration as the first mode of settling this question and of determining the measure of indemnity justly due to the U. States. . . ." Papers of Nicholas P. Trist (Library Cong. 1917), Vol. 27, fol. 61009.
"In different seas and on different coasts, a wider or more contracted range, in which to exercise the vigilance of the government, will be assented to. Thus in the channel, where a very great part of the commerce to and from all the north of Europe, passes through a very narrow sea, the seizure of vessels on suspicion of attempting an illicit trade, must necessarily be restricted to very narrow limits, but on the coast of South America, seldom frequented by vessels but for the purpose of illicit trade, the vigilance of the government may be extended somewhat further; and foreign nations submit to such regulations as are reasonable in themselves, and are really necessary to secure that monopoly of colonial commerce, which is claimed by all nations holding distant possessions."
"With respect to Mexican ports, under this title are comprehended the laws and ordinances promulgated, or that may be promulgated in the future, by the federal Government, as also the dispositions of the local authorities within the limits of the sanitary police.
"The contracting parties agree to consider as the limit of the territorial jurisdiction on their respective coasts the distance of twenty kilometers, counted from the line of lowest tide. Nevertheless, this rule shall only be applied for the carrying out of the custom-house inspection, the observance of the custom-house regulations, and the prevention of smuggling; but on no account shall it apply to the other questions of international maritime law.
"It is equally understood that each one of the contracting parties shall not apply the said extension of the limit of jurisdiction to the ships of the other contracting party, except when this contracting Power proceeds in the same manner with the ships of the other nations with which it has treaties of commerce and navigation." Id., at 153, 154.
"At all times this rule shall be applicable only for exercising customs control, for executing customs ordinances, and for the regulations against contraband, and shall never be applied, on the other hand, in all other questions of international maritime law. It is likewise understood that each of the contracting parties will apply said extent of the limit of sovereignty to the vessels of the other contracting party only provided that said contracting party acts likewise toward vessels of other nations with which it has made treaties of commerce and navigation." Id., at 169, 170.