Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State

I think Harold Ickes has the right slant on this. For many years, I have felt that the old three-mile limit or twenty-mile limit should be superseded by a rule of common sense. For instance, the Gulf of Mexico is bounded on the south by Mexico and on the north by the United States. In parts of the Gulf, shallow water extends very many miles off shore. It seems to me that the Mexican Government should be entitled to drill for oil in the southern half of the Gulf and we in the northern half of the Gulf. That would be far more sensible than allowing some European nation, for example, to come in there and drill.

Another case which we have all talked about relates to the shelf in the bend of Alaska. Japanese fishing vessels netted habitually for salmon and crabs twenty-five, thirty or forty miles off shore, catching them on their way to the shores and rivers of Alaska for the purpose of spawning.

Would you agree to setting up a Board as he suggests, with representatives of the State Department, Interior Department, National Resources Planning Board, and the Department of Justice?

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]