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SEC. 2. All that part of the territory situated on the Virginia side of the Potomac River lying between the boundary line as described in section 1 and the mean high-water mark as it existed January 24, 1791, except the area described as the Washington National Airport, is hereby ceded to and declared to be henceforth within the territorial boundaries, jurisdiction, and sovereignty of the State of Virginia: Provided, however, That concurrent jurisdiction over the said area is hereby reserved to the United States. All that part of Washington National Airport heretofore included within the State of Virginia is hereby ceded to the United States and declared to be within the terri. torial boundaries, jurisdiction, and sovereignty of the District of Columbia.
SEC. 3. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as relinquishing any right, title, or interest of the United States to the lands lying between the mean high-water mark as it existed January 24, 1791, and the boundary line as described in section 1; or to limit the right of the United States to establish its title to any of said lands as provided by Act of Congress of April 27, 1912 (27 Stat. 93); or the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States for the District of Columbia to hear and determine suits to establish the title of the United States in all lands in the bed, marshes, and lowlands of the Potomac River, and other lands as described by said Act below the mean high-water mark of January 24, 1791 ; or to limit the authority to make equitable adjustments of conflicting claims as provided for in the Act, approved June 4, 1934 (48 Stat. 836).
SEC. 4. The "present" mean high-water mark shall be construed as the mean high-water mark existing on the effective date of this Act.
SEC. 5. The United States Coast and Geodetic Survey is hereby authorized, empowered, and instructed to survey and properly mark by suitable monuments the said boundary line as described in section 1, and from time to time to monument such sections of said boundary line as may be changed as provided for in section 1; and the necessary appropriations for this work are hereby authorized.
SEC. 6. The provisions of sections 272 to 289, inclusive, of the Criminal Code (U. S. C., title 18, secs. 451–468) shall be applicable to such portions of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and of the
as are situated within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Any United States Commissioner specially designated for that purpose by the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Virginia, shall have jurisdiction to try, and, if found guilty, to sentence persons charged with petty offenses against the laws of the United States committed on the above-described portions of the said parkway or airport. The probation laws shall be applicable to persons so tried. For the purposes of this section, the term “petty offense" shall be defined as in section 335 of the Criminal Code (U. S. C., title 18, sec. 541). If any person charged with any petty offense as aforesaid shall so elect, however, he shall be tried in the said district court.
SEC. 7. This Act shall not become effective unless and until the State of Virginia shall accept the provisions thereof.
Mr. HUNTER. Ladies and gentlemen, first I am going to ask Mr. Nichols, who was responsible for bringing the bill up yesterday in the committee meeting, to explain the proposed amendment that he has made to the bill in order that those present may be familiar with the purposes of the amendments.
Mr. NICHOLS. Mr. Chairman, the amendment is very simple. I do not think that it requires much explanation. The effect of the amendment is to simply provide that in fixing the boundary between the District of Columbia and the State of Virginia that the new National Capital Airport will be within the District of Columbia, and in doing that I took the description used in S. 3927 which describes by metes and bounds the airport.
Now, the Chairman has asked me where the amendment came from, which I think is the most peculiar request that I have ever had, and I do not think it is anybody's business, frankly. I drew the amendment. If there is any suggestion that there is a sinister purpose back of it
Mr. HUNTER (interposing). It was not my intention at all to indicate there was any sinister purpose, Mr. Nichols, but I thought that if there were any particular departments of the Government who were interested in the amendment you might want to indicate that.
Mr. NICHOLS. I will say, Mr. Chairman, that I think that at least one or two departments of the Government are interested but those departments will have to speak for themselves. I prepared the amendment myself. That is all I have to say.
Mr. HUNTER. We have with us this morning Mr. Settle of the National Park and Planning Commission who had planned to be in Cleveland, Ohio, today and stayed over for the purpose of presenting the view of the Commission with reference to the bill and the proposed amendment, and I will now ask Mr. Settle to give us his explanation.
STATEMENT OF T. S. SETTLE, SECRETARY, NATIONAL CAPITAL
PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION
Mr. SETTLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If I may I will make reference to these maps.
Mr. DIRKSEN. Before you start, Mr. Settle, may I ask you one or two questions?
Mr. SETTLE. Yes.
Mr. DIRKSEN. I would like to know first what is the occasion for changing the boundary line.
Mr. SETTLE. I will be glad to answer that, and if the members of the committee will give me about 10 minutes to make the explanation I think I can answer your question and perhaps a lot of others that otherwise might drag the hearing out, if you will give me about that much time.
I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, that the older members of the committee know that the boundary line dispute has been on ever since they have been members of the committee. Since I have been attorney for the National Park and Planning Commission, various bills were introduced and died in Congress, and finally in 1934 we got a bill through Congress, through help of interested parties, by which the Departments affected, the Department of the Interior, which has jurisdiction over the river, as far as the land area is concerned; not the river, but everything else, and these disputed areas on the river, under which they could settle the several claims with respect to the airport; the National Park and Planning Commission, and the Department of Justice.
And being the planning agency not only for Washington but its environs, and because of their inability to come within the broad field of other Government agencies, we have taken the lead from 1934 to date in adjusting not every claim, but most of them during this period.
Now, while we were in this period of adjustment the Attorney General wrote to Congressman Howard W. Smith and also to the attorney of Alexandria
County, concerning the situation arising from the uncertain boundary lines in reference to policing a number of crimes which had been committed, where in trying to try a man in
Virginia he would swear the crime had been committed in the District of Columbia, and when he was brought to the District of Columbia he would take the position it had been committed in Virginia. In one particular case I think it took about a year or more to settle the jurisdictional question.
Mr. DIRKSEN. Have there been many of those cases?
Mr. SETTLE. Several of them. And so we agreed and pretty well settled these popular claims, and we had a bill drafted from the Park and Planning Commission which met with the approval of all the other agencies, and that bill was introduced. And so all through this fall and winter the Commission has been working very seriously along that line. We thought we had a bill that met the approval of everybody and briefly I will just explain what the bill is.
Mr. DIRKSEN. Before you get into the explanation I want to ask you one or two questions.
Mr. SETTLE. Yes.
Mr. DIRKSEN. On this matter of crime, this committee recommended and I think secured the approval of a fresh pursuit bill.
Mr. SETTLE. Yes.
Mr. DIRKSEN. So that if a crime has been committed over in Arlington County and the person flees into the District of Columbia they can pursue him across the line.
Mr. SETTLE. The Supreme Court of the United States in three decisions, and I hope those decisions will be made a part of the record, has decided that the boundary line between Virginia and the District of Columbia is right along the high-water mark as it existed in 1791. Now, there are a great many people who are confused about that, because in many of the States the boundary line is set at low-water mark of the river. For instance in the case of Kentucky and Indiana and your own State of Ohio that is true. In settling the Northwest Territorial dispute the Federal Government fixed the boundary line at low-water mark. And the Supreme Court said that King Charles back in the old days when he set up Maryland and Virginia said that it would not be the middle of the river but the boundary line would be the far shore of the river, and the Supreme Court in the Smoot Sand & Gravel case decided that the high-water mark as it existed in 1791, as shown by the blue line on this map, would be the line.
Mr. DIRKSEN. That is not going to settle this criminal-jurisdiction question, when a question arises as to whether or not a crime was committed at one point or another.
Mr. SETTLE. Well, that would be simply a question of fact.
Mr. SETTLE. Yes. If you will just bear with me for a few moments, as I indicated a few moments ago, I think I will anticipate a lot of questions that are going to be asked.
Now, then, following this decision of the Supreme Court, and I do not want to get into the detailed controversial questions which this bill is trying to work out, because Judge Smith, eminent jurist that he is, may disagree at some points, but following the decision of the Supreme Court that we go back to 1791, down to date, this blue line was staked out to show the boundary line as near as could be arrived at in 1791.
In fact, we had another staked-out line going back to Civil War time, 1863, and this varies very little from what was the boundary line in 1863. And now this boundary line, as the National Park and Planning Commission and other agencies of the Government should agree, and if the Supreme Court and everyone should agree and determine tomorrow, that the blue line is the exact boundary line, if we took that as indicated right there, it would form a very unsatisfactory boundary line for policing jurisdiction and convenience.
So they all got together and mapped out a new boundary line of convenience, not exactly property rights but of convenience, showing this red line, and that is set forth in the description in this bill.
And if you pass this bill ultimately, the red line right here [indicating on map], beginning right at the pierhead line in Alexandria, and from the pierhead down in this direction [indicating] would be the new boundary line. That is what section 1 of the bill provides.
Now, section 2 of the billMr. NICHOLS (interposing). What is this segment here? Mr. SETTLE. This is the new National Airport, the so-called Gravelly Point, and the blue line shows the present boundary line and the red line is out to where it has been filled, and the red line would show the new line.
Mr. NICHOLS. This shows the airport on the Virginia side?
Now, if this bill is not passed the airport people will simply have to stake over this blue line, and when any controversy arose on this side the people would have to go to Alexandria; and if on the other side they would be brought into the District of Columbia for trial.
Mr. SECCOMBE. Is that the site of the airport?
Mr. SETTLE. Yes; this is the airport here. This boundary line would be the red line and everything on this side, within the red line, would be thrown into Virginia.
Mr. DIRKSEN. That is what this bill provides?
Mr. SETTLE. That is this bill. Of course, if you want to leave two jurisdictions and not pass a bill
Mr. DIRKSEN (interposing). On this matter of criminal jurisdiction it occurs to me that is not an insurmountable obstacle. The judicial code could be amended to correct that in one clause.
Mr. SETTLE. That has been done; that has already been done, but it is a question of fact, and these people along these points, in this disputed area, when difficulties arise, swear that it occurs in the District of Columbia, and when they are brought into the District of Columbia they swear that the United States does not own this land and the crime did not take place on Federal land. Then when the man is taken back into Virginia he says the dispute arose on Federal land and the State court has no jurisdiction.
Mr. DIRKSEN. There should be no difficulty in working out that problem.
Mr. SETTLE. Here we tried to do everything we could to get a reasonable line where jurisdiction could be worked out, and since this very great enlargement resulting from the airport, more people will be crossing this line and naturally there will be some crimes occur where you have hundreds of people and it was thought advisable that we establish some reasonable boundary line.
I will say that as far as the boundary line is concerned, this has been endorsed by the county of Arlington, Va., the city of Alexandria, and, the State attorney has written indicating the endorsement of these two agencies.
There seems to have been complete agreement thus far.
Now, the next section cedes the area lying between the boundary line as described in section 1 and the mean high water mark as it existed in 1791, to the State of Virginia, to be within the territorial boundaries, jurisdiction and sovereignty of that State, reserving concurrent jurisdiction over the area to the United States.
And section 3 provides that all of this land between the United States owned or leased areas through here [indicating], and all right, title or interest of the government should be kept by it. And there are three laws by which the United States could settle its interest. We had the compromise in 1934, and failing in that, the act of 1912, by which the United States Government could bring suit in court to prove its claim.
And for fills and improvements which accrue to the benefit of the United States the United States has to pay the claimant for those improvements, and quite a number of suits have been settled. And of course you understand it would have been impossible to have gotten this bill through the various Government agencies without that section in it, and I believe to have gotten it through Congress without that section in it.
Now, section 5, answering the gentleman from Illinois question a little more fully, section 5 provides that the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey is to survey and properly mark by suitable monuments the boundary line as described in section 1, which would be along the red line; and below those 'stakes, on one side, persons would be brought into the District of Columbia for trial, and above them on the Arlington County side, they would go to Arlington County or to Alexandria to be tried.
There is a provision in section 6 providing that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia shall have jurisdiction to try persons charged with petty offenses against the laws of the United States committed on this property; and the judge of that district, by the way, was with the Department of Justice in the condemnation procedure of this land.
This bill, I will say, I believe is a compromise or agreement between a lot of different agencies. We have taken up the question with these different agencies to try to determine that we would not have these two-jurisdictional questions. Here is a letter that I wrote the Chairman of the National Park and Planning Commission and the Director of the National Park Service:
FEBRUARY 17, 1940.
Memorandum for Messrs. Delano and Cammerer:
TENTATIVE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA-VIRGINIA BOUNDARY LINE BILL
As per instructions of the Commission at its meeting on January 18, I drew up a tentative District of Columbia-Virginia boundary line bill.
Yesterday morning I called into conference:
Mr. E. A. Schmitt, associate district engineer, accompanied by Mr. P. C. Dorr, civil engineer.