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SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' CIVIL RELIEF ACT

(Extract from) An act to extend protection to the civil rights of members of the Military

and Naval Éstablishments of the United States engaged in the present war. (Act March 8, 1918, 40 Stat. 440)

Sec. 501. [Interest in public lands of persons in military service—Rights protected—Benefits of other acts not affected—Previous rights of action not limited-Proofs before officer in command. ]-That no right to any public lands initiated or acquired prior to entering military service by any person under the homestead laws, the desert-land laws, the mining-land laws, or any other laws of the United States, shall be forfeited or prejudiced by reason of his absence from such land, or of his failure to perform any work or make any improvements thereon, or to do any other act reqạired by any such laws during the period of such service. Nothing in this section contained shall be construed to deprive a person in military service or his heirs or devisees of any benefits to which he or they may be entitled under the act entitled “An act for the relief of homestead entrymen or settlers who enter the military or naval service of the United States in time of war,” approved July twenty-eighth, nineteen hundred and seventeen; the act entitled "An act for the protection of desert-land entrymen who enter the military or naval service of the United States in time of war," approved August seventh, nineteen hundred and seventeen; the act entitled "An act to provide further for the national security and defense by stimulating agriculture and facilitating the distribution of agricultural products," approved August tenth, nineteen hundred and seventeen; the joint resolution "To relieve the owners of mining claims who have been mustered into the military or naval service of the United States as officers or enlisted men from performing assessment work during the term of such service," approved July seventeenth, nineteen hundred and seventeen; or any other act or resolution of Congress: Provided, That nothing in this section contained shall be construed to limit or affect the right of a person in the military service to take any action during his term of service that may be authorized by law, or the regulations of the Interior Department thereunder, for the perfection, defense, or further assertion of rights initiated prior to the date of entering military service, and it shall be lawful for any person while in military service to make any affidavit or submit any proof that may be required by law, or the practice of the General Land Office in connection with the entry, perfection, defense, or further assertion of any rights initiated prior to entering military service, before the officer in immediate command and holding a commission in the branch of the service in which the party is engaged, which affidavits

SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' CIVIL RELIEF ACT

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shall be as binding in law and with like penalties as if taken before the register of the United States Land Office. (40 Stat. 448.)

NOTES

Effect of act.-The effect of this act is to establish a moratorium for soldiers and sailors during the period of the war and it unquestionably suspends the payment of any installments that may become due from a soldier entryman of lands under a reclamation project, during the period of his service, provided the entry was initiated prior to entering the service, and relieves him from any liability on account of his failure by reason of his absence “to perform any work or make any improvements” on the land. (Departmental instructions, April 2, 1918, 46 L. D. 343.)

Payment of water charges by soldiers and sailors.--Under this section a homestead entryman's right is not to be "forfeited or prejudiced" by reason of his failure to do any act required by any law during the period of the military service. Under this provision he is excused from the payment of charges accruing during the period of such service if he so desires, his liability therefor being suspended in the meantime. Otherwise the water user after the completion of his military service would be confronted with not only the then current charges but also all charges accruing during his military service, placing a heavy immediate burden upon him which might greatly prejudice his ability to perfect his entry and water-right application. While the owners of private land covered by a water-right application are not expressly within said section 501, since the private lands are presumably irrigated as an incident to the irrigation and ensuing disposition of the public land, the same rule is applicable to them. Congress has not extended any relief to such water users as to defaults in the payment of construction and operation-and-maintenance charges together with the penalties imposed by sections 3 and 6 of the reclamation extension act of August 13, 1914 (38 Stat. 686), accruing prior to their induction into the military service. Such water-right applications are subject to forfeiture or cancellation if there is a default under the law at the beginning of the military service. The department however, will not exercise its power of forfeiture or cancellation during the military service and will defer action toward such forfeiture and cancellation or the institution of any suit for the recovery of the amounts in default and the penalties until the expiration of the military service. Under section 501, supra, the penalties arising under said sections 3 and 6 of the reclamation extension act upon such prior defaulted construction or operation-and-maintenance charges will not run during the period of the military service. The homestead entryman under the said section 501 is relieved from paying the construction charge accruing during the period of his military service, and this same rule applies in the case of an owner of private land. As to these the duration of the military service will be excluded from the period fixed for the annual payments of such charges in sections 1 and 2 of the reclamation extension act, as the case may be. The operation-andmaintenance charge is an annual charge for each year, and similarly may be paid by the water user after his discharge from the military service, the time for the payment thereof being hereby extended by a period equal to his military service. The usual bills should be sent under the provisions of the various public notices and regulations to all holders of project lands who have enlisted in the military service. These bills should be accompanied by a statement that the same are subject to the provisions of the act of March 8, 1918. If payment is made, no further action is necessary. If payment is not made, however, the project superintendent should write a special letter to each holder of project land in the military service advising him that: (a) The construction charges accruing during the period of his military service will be put over until the expiration of the 20-year period for making such payments, and (b) the time for payment of the operation-and-maintenance charges due at the time he entered the military service and also those charges which accrued during his military service will be extended from the date of his discharge for a period equal to his military service. (Departmental decision, May 16, 1919, 47 L. D. 167; C. L. No. 820, superseding C. L. 762.)

Under this section a soldier's assignee is entitled to the same privileges as a soldier in the payment of construction and operation and maintenance

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SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' CIVIL RELIEF ACT

charges. Where charges became due during the period of military service and were paid by the soldier, or a member of his family during the service of the soldier without knowledge of the concession given by the law, refund should be made if requested by the soldier. (Departmental decision, August 23, 1919, C. L. 849.)

Under this section, and regulations thereunder, where the expiration of a period equal to the time of military service falls on a date other than the 1st day of the month, operation and maintenance charges may be paid without penalty on or before the 1st day of the next succeeding month. (Reclamation decision, August 30, 1919, C. L. 849.)

Miscellaneous.-General Land Office Regulations, May 16, 1918, Circular No. 600 (46 L. D. 383).

Warehime v. Forsyth (46 L. D. 488), holding that this act affords no protection in cases where failure to comply with the law occurred prior to entry into military service.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS OF SUNDRY CIVIL APPROPRIATION ACT

FOR 1919

(Extracts from) An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the Govern

ment for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1919, and for other purposes. (Act July 1, 1918, ch. 113, 40 Stat. 634.)

[Official telephones in private houses.] —(Appropriation for.) Payment for official telephone service and rental in the field hereafter incurred in case of official telephones installed in private houses when authorized under regulations established by the Secretary of the Interior. (40 Stat. 673.)

NOTES

Cross reference.-Similar provision (except that the words "and rental" are omitted) is now carried in the regular annual Interior Department appropriation acts.

Regulations. Under this provision, whenever it is necessary in the opinion of the superintendent of a Federal irrigation project, for the efficient transaction of Government business in connection with the project to have a telephone installed in a private house, request for permission to do so should be made to the chief engineer, with a full statement of the reasons why such permission should be granted. The chief engineer after considering the request, may, in his discretion, grant authority for such installation. When transmitting for approval contracts covering such telephone service, the form letter of transmittal shall contain a reference to the authority so granted, and likewise a reference must be made to such authority on all vouchers in payment of such telephone service, in order that they may be settled without question by the Comptroller General. (Departmental decision, August 19, 1918.) The regulations apply to telephone service in Government-owned houses occupied by employees, as well as in private houses. (Manual, p. 121.)

[Moneys for extensions of Boise project limited to construction charges collected. ]-Provided, That no money shall be expended for extensions of the Boise project, except such amounts as may be collected from construction charges on that project under public notice. (40 Stat. 674.)

NOTE

Cross reference.-See similar provision in sundry civil appropriation act July 19, 1919 (41 Stat. 163).

[King Hill project lands.]—* * * King Hill project, Idaho: for continuing construction and incidental operations, $423,000: Provided, That said project shall be subject to the reclamation act of June seventeenth, nineteen hundred and two, and all acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto, so far as applicable and consistent with contract heretofore made between the United States and King Hill irrigation district: Provided further, That for the purposes of issuing patent to lands reclaimed, the reclamation effected by the operations of the United States Reclamation Service may be consid226 SPECIAL PROVISIONS OF SUNDRY CIVIL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1919

ered by the Secretary of the Interior as equivalent to reclamation effected by the State of Idaho, under the Carey Act of August eighteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four. (40 Stat. 674.)

Textual note.—The substance of the above provision, beginning with the first proviso, is codified as section 595, title 43, United States Code.

NOTES

*

*

* For

Cross reference. See act of June 12, 1917 (40 Stat. 148), relating to approval of King Hill project, and act of July 19, 1919 (41 Stat. 163, 202), regarding release of lands in King Hill irrigation district from district assessments.

*

* [Investigation of swamp and cut-over timber lands. ]— an investigation to be made by the Director of the Reclamation Service of the reclamation by drainage of lands outside existing reclamation projects and of the reclamation and preparation for cultivation of cut-over timber lands in any of the States of the United States, including personal services in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, purchase, maintenance, repair, hire, and operation of motor-propelled or horse-drawn passenger-carrying vehicles, and for all other expenses, there is appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $100,000. (40 Stat. 676.)

NOTES

For report of investigation made in pursuance of above provision see House Document No. 262, 66th Congress, 1st session, dated October 6, 1919.

Cross reference.-Subsection R, section 4, act of December 5, 1924 (43 Stat. 704).

Pursuant to this act three appropriations of $15,000 each were made by Congress. See list of appropriations following section 16, act of August 13, 1914.

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