B-13802, JANUARY 18, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 387

B-13802: Jan 18, 1941

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT EXISTING AS DEBTS AGAINST INDIVIDUALS INDIANS OR TRIBES OF INDIANS EXTENDS ONLY TO DEBTS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT HAS A BENEFICIAL INTEREST AND NOT TO REIMBURSABLE CHARGES ORIGINATING IN LOANS FROM TRIBAL FUNDS OF WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS MERELY GUARDIAN OR TRUSTEE. " AUTHORIZES CONVEYANCES FOR THE PURPOSES OF LIQUIDATING LOANS FROM TRIBAL FUNDS IF IT IS SHOWN THAT THE VALUE OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED AND THE AMOUNT OF THE INDEBTEDNESS TO BE SATISFIED. ARE SO EVENLY BALANCED AS TO RESULT IN BENEFIT TO THE DEBTOR WITHOUT DETRIMENT TO THE TRIBE. 1941: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3. REIMBURSABLE DEBTS OWNING THE UNITED STATES FREQUENTLY HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED OR ELIMINATED WHERE THE LOANS HAVE ORIGINATED FROM FEDERAL FUNDS.

B-13802, JANUARY 18, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 387

INDIAN AFFAIRS - FUNDS - TRIBAL - LOANS TO INDIVIDUALS - LIQUIDATION METHODS THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED UPON THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR BY THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT EXISTING AS DEBTS AGAINST INDIVIDUALS INDIANS OR TRIBES OF INDIANS EXTENDS ONLY TO DEBTS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT HAS A BENEFICIAL INTEREST AND NOT TO REIMBURSABLE CHARGES ORIGINATING IN LOANS FROM TRIBAL FUNDS OF WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS MERELY GUARDIAN OR TRUSTEE. THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1907, WHICH PERMITS THE CONVEYANCE OF LAND BY NONCOMPETENT INDIANS UNDER SPECIFIED CONDITIONS, INCLUDING THE REQUIREMENTS THAT THE PROCEEDS BE USED FOR THE "BENEFIT OF THE ALLOTTEE OF HEIR SO DISPOSING OF HIS LAND OR INTEREST," AUTHORIZES CONVEYANCES FOR THE PURPOSES OF LIQUIDATING LOANS FROM TRIBAL FUNDS IF IT IS SHOWN THAT THE VALUE OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED AND THE AMOUNT OF THE INDEBTEDNESS TO BE SATISFIED, NOT OTHERWISE SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION, ADJUSTMENT, OR POSTPONEMENT, ARE SO EVENLY BALANCED AS TO RESULT IN BENEFIT TO THE DEBTOR WITHOUT DETRIMENT TO THE TRIBE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JANUARY 18, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932 (47 STAT. 564), HAS AUTHORITY TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES EXISTING AS DEBTS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL INDIANS OR TRIBES OF INDIANS. SINCE PASSAGE OF THIS ACT, REIMBURSABLE DEBTS OWNING THE UNITED STATES FREQUENTLY HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED OR ELIMINATED WHERE THE LOANS HAVE ORIGINATED FROM FEDERAL FUNDS. IN ALL SUCH CASES, REPORTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO CONGRESS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT. SEE, E.G., H.R. DOC. 501, 72D CONG., 2D SESS.; H.R. DOC. 212, 73D CONG., 2D SESS.; SEN. DEC. 207, 74TH CONG., 2D SESS.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR UNDER THIS ACT TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE OBLIGATIONS ORIGINATING IN TRIBAL FUNDS HAS BEEN QUESTIONED, FOR REASONS SET FORTH IN A MEMORANDUM OF THE SOLICITOR OF THIS DEPARTMENT DATED MAY 29, 1940, COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED. A NUMBER OF JUSTIFIABLE CANCELLATIONS AND ADJUSTMENTS OF DEBTS ORIGINATING IN TRIBAL FUNDS ARE BEING HELD IN ABEYANCE, PENDING A DETERMINATION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE SECRETARY HAS AUTHORITY TO CANCEL OR ADJUST SUCH DEBTS.

TRIBAL FUNDS BELONGING TO 48 DIFFERENT TRIBES HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR LOANS TO MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE. THE LOANS FROM THESE FUNDS HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED UNDER THE SAME RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THOSE UNDER WHICH THE LOANS FROM FEDERAL FUNDS HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED. CONSEQUENTLY, MANY INDIANS HAVE CONTRACTED INDEBTEDNESS INVOLVING BOTH SOURCES OF FUNDS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEM OF EQUITABLY ADJUSTING REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT IS LIMITED MATERIALLY BY THE INFORMATION IN THE ENCLOSED MEMORANDUM OF THE SOLICITOR.

IRRESPECTIVE OF THE SOURCE OF THE MONEYS LOANED, THE CONSISTENT PRACTICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN TO CONSIDER THE UNITED STATES THE OBLIGEE OF REIMBURSABLE AGREEMENTS. THE CONTRACTS SIGNED BY INDIVIDUAL INDIANS ARE BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL "AND THE SUPERINTENDENT OR OTHER OFFICER IN CHARGE OF SAID INDIANS FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PARTY OF THE SECOND T.' THE BOND SECURING THE REIMBURSABLE AGREEMENT BINDS THE SURETIES "UNTO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA * * * TO BE PAID TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.' IN NEITHER INSTANCE IS THERE ANY REFERENCE TO A PAYMENT TO THE TRIBE BY REASON OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT THE MONEYS LOANED HAPPENED TO COME FROM FUNDS OF THE UNITED STATES APPROPRIATED FOR THE PURPOSES. COPIES OF THE AGREEMENT TO REIMBURSE, FORMS NO. 5-269 AND THE BOND, FORM 5 025 ARE ENCLOSED. THESE WERE IN EFFECT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CREDIT PROGRAM, MARCH 3, 1911, THROUGH AUGUST 22, 1938, WHEN NEW REGULATIONS WERE PROMULGATED BY THE SECRETARY. COPIES OF AGREEMENTS IN USE UNDER THE NEW REGULATIONS, FORMS 5-877 TO 5-880, INCLUSIVE, ARE ALSO ENCLOSED.

IT IS TRUE THAT AT THE HEARINGS PRECEDING THE ADOPTION OF THE BILL WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, CERTAIN EXPRESSIONS APPEAR WHICH MIGHT INDICATE THAT LOANS FROM TRIBAL FUNDS COULD NOT BE ADJUSTED OR ELIMINATED, BUT ONLY THOSE FROM FUNDS OF THE UNITED STATES. YOU HAVE HELD, HOWEVER, IN A NUMBER OF CASES THAT EXPENDITURES FROM TRIBAL FUNDS ARE SUBJECT TO THE SAME REQUIREMENTS OF LAW AS ARE TREASURY FUNDS. YOUR OPINION OF FEBRUARY 28, 1938, FILE A-91624, IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FROM THE OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS DATED JANUARY 4, 1938 IS REFERRED TO IN THIS CONNECTION.

IT MUST ALSO BE BORNE IN MIND, IN CONSIDERING THIS CASE, THAT THE UNITED STATES IS THE GUARDIAN OF THE INDIANS. THE TRIBES ARE UNABLE THEMSELVES TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN MONEYS, AND MAKE LOANS TO MEMBERS (EXCEPT AS PERMITTED TO CORPORATIONS ORGANIZED UNDER THE INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT. SEE ACT OF MAY 18, 1916, C. 125, SEC. 27, 39 STAT. 159, 25 U.S.C. SEC. 123 AND ACT OF JUNE 18, 1934, 48 STAT. 984, 25 U.S.C. 470). NEITHER COULD INDIAN TRIBES (EXCEPT CORPORATIONS ORGANIZED UNDER THE INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT) SUE TO COLLECT DEBTS ARISING OUT OF THE LENDING OF TRIBAL FUNDS. EVEN IF THE UNITED STATES WERE WITHOUT PECUNIARY INTEREST IN THE RESULT, IT HAS AUTHORITY TO SUE ON BEHALF OF THE INDIANS IN ITS OWN NAME. SEE LA MOTTE V. UNITED STATES, 254 U.S. 570, 575. THE CONGRESS APPROPRIATES THE MONEY WHICH IS LOANED, SECURED, AND COLLECTED BY THE UNITED STATES THROUGH ITS OWN OFFICERS AND WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE TRIBE.

WHERE AN INDIAN DEBTOR HAS DIED PRIOR TO PAYMENT OF A REIMBURSABLE AGREEMENT, HIS DEBT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ACCORDED PREFERENCE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF HIS ESTATE THROUGH THE OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND THIS DEPARTMENT, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE MONEYS FROM WHICH THE LOAN WAS MADE ORIGINATED IN TRIBAL OR GRATUITY FUNDS. ALL DEBTS HAVE BEEN TREATED AS DEBTS DUE THE UNITED STATES.

THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, AUTHORIZES THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CANCEL OR ADJUST DEBTS DUE THE UNITED STATES WHICH ORIGINATED IN TRIBAL MONEYS HAS ALSO ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH PLANS WHICH ARE BEING MADE TO HAVE DEBTORS CONVEY TITLE OF INDIVIDUALLY OWNED LAND TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN TRUST FOR THE TRIBE FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE SETTLEMENT OF THEIR INDEBTEDNESS. THE PRACTICE OF PERMITTING CONVEYANCE OF LANDS TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN TRUST FOR THE TRIBE IN CONSIDERATION OF GRANTS OF REHABILITATION FUNDS HAS BEEN DEFINITELY ESTABLISHED IN THIS DEPARTMENT. AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY FOR PERMITTING THE CONVEYANCE IS CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1907 (34 STAT. 1018, 25 U.S.C., SEC. 405).

THE QUESTIONS ARISING OUT OF THE ABOVE CONSIDERATIONS, THEREFORE, ON WHICH YOUR VIEWS ARE REQUESTED, FOLLOWS:

1. DOES THE AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE CHARGES DUE THE UNITED STATES APPLY TO DEBTS WHICH ORIGINATED IN TRIBAL MONEYS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING LOANS?

2. IRRESPECTIVE OF THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, WILL ADJUSTMENTS BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR OF DEBTS INVOLVING TRIBAL MONEYS BE RECOGNIZED BY YOUR OFFICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLOSING OUT THE CONTRACTS INVOLVED, WHEN SUCH ADJUSTMENTS ARE BASED UPON A SATISFACTION OF THE DEBT BY REASON OF THE INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR SURRENDERING TITLE TO LANDS OF SUFFICIENT VALUE TO COVER SAID INDEBTEDNESS, TO THE UNITED STATES IN TRUST FOR THE TRIBE, UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1907?

THE MEMORANDUM FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, IS AS FOLLOWS:

I AM RETURNING HEREWITH THE LETTER TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CONSOLIDATED UTE AGENCY CONCERNING THE PROPOSED REDUCTION OF THE REIMBURSABLE OBLIGATIONS OF CERTAIN INDIANS WHO SIGNED AGREEMENTS FOR THE PURCHASE OF SHEEP IN 1930 AT PRICES NOW CHARACTERIZED AS EXCESSIVE. THE PROPOSAL IS THAT THE OBLIGATIONS BE REDUCED BY APPROXIMATELY ONE-HALF THROUGH CANCELLATION OF THE EXCESS UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1932 (47 STAT. 564), WITH THE CONSENT OF THE TRIBAL COUNCILS OF THE SOUTHERN UTE TRIBE OF THE UTE MOUNTAIN TRIBE. THE CONSENT OF THESE TWO TRIBES IS PROVIDED FOR IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE FUNDS LOANED FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE SHEEP WERE THE TRIBAL FUNDS OF THESE TWO TRIBES.

THE PURCHASES OF SHEEP WERE APPARENTLY MADE PURSUANT TO THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929 (45 STAT. 1562, 1571), WHICH APPROPRIATED FUNDS FROM THE TRIBAL FUNDS OF THE UTE MOUNTAIN INDIANS, THE SOUTHERN UTE INDIANS AND OTHER TRIBES, TO BE REIMBURSABLE AND TO BE SPENT IN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE PURCHASE OF ANIMALS AND OTHER SUPPLIES. EXPENDITURES MADE UNDER SUCH AUTHORITY CANNOT BE CANCELED WITHOUT ACT OF CONGRESS, AND, SINCE THE TRIBES IN QUESTION ARE ORGANIZED UNDER THE INTERIOR REORGANIZATION ACT, THERE MUST ALSO BE TRIBAL CONSENT. WHILE IT APPEARS THAT THE TRIBES ARE WILLING TO AGREE TO SUCH CANCELLATION OF DEBTS OWING TO INDIAN TRIBES.

THE APPLICATION OF THIS ACT TO REIMBURSABLE OBLIGATIONS OWING TO THE TRIBES HAS NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY DECIDED IN THE DEPARTMENT. IT HAS MERELY BEEN REFERRED TO AS AN OPEN QUESTION IN PRECEDING MEMORANDA. THE DECISION MUST NOW BE MADE. THE LANGUAGE OF THE ACT IS CLEARLY LIMITED TO DEBTS OWING TO THE UNITED STATES. IT COVERS "REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES EXISTING AS DEBTS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL INDIANS OR TRIBES OF INDIANS.' THE ACT CONSIDERS INDIAN TRIBES ONLY IN THE ROLE OF DEBTORS AND NOT AS CREDITORS. IT WAS IN THIS WAY THAT THE ACT WAS CONSIDERED AND DEBATED ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS. THE SINGLE SUBJECT OF DISCUSSION WAS THE DEBTS OWING TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CONSIDERATION AND POLICIES WOULD HAVE BEEN BEFORE CONGRESS IF THE SUBJECT HAD BEEN THE CANCELLATION OF DEBTS OWING, NOT ONLY TO THE UNITED STATES, BUT TO ITS WARDS, THE INDIAN TRIBES.

AS THERE IS NO CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY FOR THE CANCELLATION OF REIMBURSABLE OBLIGATIONS OWING TO THE TRIBES, THE PROPOSAL MADE IN THE LETTER TO THE SUPERINTENDENT CANNOT BE CONSUMMATED WITHOUT NEW LEGISLATION.

THE SAID ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, 47 STAT. 564, PROVIDES:

THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES EXISTING AS DEBTS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL INDIANS OR TRIBES OF INDIANS IN SUCH A WAY AS SHALL BE EQUITABLE AND JUST IN CONSIDERATION OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH SUCH CHARGES WERE MADE: PROVIDED, THAT THE COLLECTION OF ALL CONSTRUCTION COSTS AGAINST ANY INDIAN-OWNED LANDS WITHIN ANY GOVERNMENT IRRIGATION PROJECT IS HEREBY DEFERRED, AND NO ASSESSMENTS SHALL BE MADE ON BEHALF OF SUCH CHARGES AGAINST SUCH LANDS UNTIL THE INDIAN TITLE THERETO SHALL HAVE BEEN EXTINGUISHED, AND ANY CONSTRUCTION ASSESSMENTS HERETOFORE LEVIED AGAINST SUCH LANDS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1920 (41 STAT. L. 409), AND UNCOLLECTED, ARE HEREBY CANCELED: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT A REPORT SHALL BE MADE TO CONGRESS ANNUALLY, ON THE FIRST MONDAY IN DECEMBER, SHOWING ADJUSTMENTS SO MADE DURING THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ANY PROCEEDINGS HEREUNDER SHALL NOT BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL APPROVED BY CONGRESS UNLESS CONGRESS SHALL HAVE FAILED TO ACT FAVORABLY OR UNFAVORABLY THEREON BY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION WITHIN SIXTY LEGISLATIVE DAYS AFTER THE FILING OF SAID REPORT, IN WHICH CASE THEY SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE AT THE TERMINATION OF THE SAID SIXTY LEGISLATIVE DAYS.

IF THE WORDS "REIMBURSABLE CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES EXISTING AS DEBTS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL INDIANS OR TRIBES OF INDIANS," AS USED IN THIS ACT, BE GIVEN THEIR ORDINARY AND USUALLY ACCEPTED MEANING THE CHARGES REFERRED TO MUST BE HELD TO EMBRACE ONLY DEBTS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT HAS A BENEFICIAL INTEREST AND NOT DEBTS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT'S ONLY INTEREST IS THAT OF GUARDIAN OR TRUSTEE FOR INDIAN TRIBES; AND IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT IT WAS THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS THAT ANY OTHER MEANING WAS CONTEMPLATED. IF, FOR THE REASONS STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, THERE SHOULD BE ANY DOUBT WHETHER THE PHRASE "CHARGES OF THE GOVERNMENT," AS USED IN THE QUOTED ACT, WAS INTENDED TO COVER DEBTS DUE INDIAN TRIBES AS WELL AS DEBTS DUE THE GOVERNMENT, THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE PROVISION WOULD SEEM TO REMOVE SUCH DOUBT. FOR INSTANCE, IN THE HEARINGS HELD BY THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS ON THE LEGISLATION ( HEARINGS ON H.R. 8898 AND H.R. 10884, 72D CONG.) AND THE PERTINENT DISCUSSION IN THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THERE APPEARS NO INDICATION THAT ANY MEMBER OF CONGRESS, REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, OR REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INDIANS INTENDED THAT THE LEGISLATION SHOULD BE APPLIED TO INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS. ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE ARE NUMEROUS INDICATIONS TO THE CONTRARY IN THE SAID HEARINGS AND DISCUSSIONS. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION PAGE 8144 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, 72D CONGRESS, IN WHICH APPEARS A STATEMENT ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE WHILE THE LEGISLATION WAS UNDER DISCUSSION BY HON. SCOTT LEAVITT, AUTHOR OF THE BILL, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A CASE WHERE LOANS HAVE BEEN MADE FROM TRIBAL FUNDS TO INDIVIDUAL INDIANS. THIS DOES NOT ALLOW THE CHARGING OFF AN ACCOUNT LIKE THAT. THIS BILL HAS TO DO ONLY WITH THE DEBTS CHARGED AGAINST THE INDIANS BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

ALTHOUGH THE BILL AS THEN DISCUSSED WAS AMENDED SUBSEQUENTLY, THERE IS NO INDICATION OF ANY INTENTION TO CHANGE ITS MEANING IN THIS RESPECT, OR THAT IT WAS UNDERSTOOD BY THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHEN ENACTING THE LAW THAT IT WOULD HAVE ANY OTHER EFFECT THAN AS ABOVE EXPLAINED.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS AND REASONS ABOVE SET OUT, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE SAID ACT OF JULY 1, 1932, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ADJUST OR ELIMINATE REIMBURSABLE CHARGES ORIGINATING IN TRIBAL FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE CONGRESS FOR THE PURPOSES OF MAKING LOANS. THIS CONCLUSION IS STRENGTHENED BY THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS IN THE POSITION OF GUARDIAN OR TRUSTEE WITH RESPECT TO THE TRIBAL FUNDS OF THE INDIANS AND, THEREFORE, SHOULD NOT BE PRESUMED TO HAVE AUTHORITY TO RELINQUISH ITS RIGHT TO REQUIRE PAYMENT OF THE LOANS MADE FROM SUCH FUNDS, IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION, NOTWITHSTANDING THE INDIAN TRIBES MAY CONSENT TO THE EXERCISE OF SUCH RIGHT. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION, THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1907, 34 STAT. 1018, REFERRED TO THEREIN, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

THAT ANY NONCOMPETENT INDIAN TO WHOM A PATENT CONTAINING RESTRICTIONS AGAINST ALIENATION HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR AN ALLOTMENT OF LAND IN SEVERALTY, UNDER ANY LAW OR TREATY, OR WHO MAY HAVE A INTEREST IN ANY ALLOTMENT BY INHERITANCE, MAY SELL OR CONVEY ALL OR ANY PART OF SUCH ALLOTMENT OR SUCH INHERITED INTEREST ON SUCH TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY PRESCRIBE, AND THE PROCEEDS DERIVED THEREFROM SHALL BE USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ALLOTTEE OR HEIR SO DISPOSING OF HIS LAND OR INTEREST, UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS; AND ANY CONVEYANCE MADE HEREUNDER AND APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR SHALL CONVEY FULL TITLE TO THE LAND OR INTEREST SO SOLD, THE SAME AS IF FEE-SIMPLE PATENT HAD BEEN ISSUED TO THE ALLOTTEE.

IN CASES INVOLVING INDIVIDUAL INDIANS' DEBTS FOR THE ADJUSTMENT, ELIMINATION, OR POSTPONEMENT OF WHICH NO PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE, THE TERMS OF THE SAID STATUTE APPEAR BROAD ENOUGH TO PERMIT THE CONVEYANCE OF INDIVIDUALLY OWNED LAND BY AN INDIAN DEBTOR TO THE UNITED STATES IN TRUST FOR THE TRIBE FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE SATISFACTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL'S INDEBTEDNESS, AS PROPOSED, IF THE TRIBE CONSENTS THERETO. SUCH ACTION WOULD NOT RESULT IN ANY LOSS TO THE TRIBE, INASMUCH AS THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED, AS STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, IS TO BE "OF SUFFICIENT VALUE TO COVER SAID INDEBTEDNESS" IN EACH INSTANCE. HOWEVER, THE SAID ACT OF MARCH 1, 1907, WOULD NOT PERMIT SUCH CONVEYANCE OF LAND UNLESS "THE PROCEEDS DERIVED THEREFROM SHALL BE USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ALLOTTEE OR HEIR SO DISPOSING OF HIS LAND OR INTEREST * * *.' ACCORDINGLY, THE INTERESTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL INDIANS, AS WELL AS THOSE OF THE TRIBE, ARE FOR CONSIDERATION IN EACH INSTANCE. IF IT APPEARS THAT THE PROPOSED CONVEYANCE OF LAND AND SATISFACTION OF INDEBTEDNESS WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO THE INVOLVED DEBTOR AND NOT DETRIMENTAL TO THE TRIBE, THE CONVEYANCE WOULD APPEAR TO BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACT OF MARCH 1, 1907.

SPECIFICALLY, YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE; AND YOUR SECOND QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WITH RESPECT ONLY TO CASES AS TO WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT THE VALUE OF THE LAND TO BE CONVEYED AND THE AMOUNT OF THE INDEBTEDNESS TO BE SATISFIED, NOT OTHERWISE SUBJECT TO CANCELLATION, ADJUSTMENT, OR POSTPONEMENT, ARE SO EVENLY BALANCED AS TO RESULT IN BENEFIT TO THE DEBTOR WITHOUT DETRIMENT TO THE TRIBE.