The Secretary of the Interior (Ickes) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Over two years ago, on June 5, 1943, in a letter to the President,57 I suggested that the Government consider asserting its jurisdiction and control over the resources of the continental shelf and to coastal fisheries under and in the high seas. Since then a great deal of time and effort have been spent by both our Departments in attempting to achieve that objective. You and I long ago agreed that Executive action should be taken to that end. We joined in a memorandum to President Roosevelt recommending such action, which he approved on March 31. Early in May, President Truman orally approved the policy and procedure set forth in that memorandum. The two months during which, according to the memorandum, your Department was to consult interested foreign governments and, upon the expiration of which, the necessary documents were to be submitted to the President, expired May 31.

On June 13, I signed a joint memorandum to the President58 prepared for the signatures of the Secretaries of State and Interior and approved proposed proclamations and Executive orders. These papers were delivered to Assistant Secretary Acheson that day. It was our understanding in this Department that the signing and approval of these documents by Acting Secretary Grew was at this point a formality which, along with the submission of the papers to the President for his signature, would be speedily accomplished.

Despite all this, the papers have not as yet been signed by Acting Secretary Grew or submitted to the President. I should have supposed that the time for obstruction was over when two Presidents, to say nothing of the Secretary of State, have made a decision. I am sure that you will not think it unreasonable of me to ask that the proposed proclamations and Executive orders be submitted to the President for signature as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

Harold L. Ickes
  1. Ante, p. 1481.
  2. Not printed; marginal notation on original, “Not sent”.