The Davis “Swap” and the Issues Involved

September 6, 1923
Entire Report
  1. An investigation of the forced resignation of Arthur Powell Davis as Director of the Reclamation Service, Department of the Interior, is being planned for the next session of Congress. Organizations backing the proposed inquiry are various engineering societies claiming a membership of 50,000 and the National Civil Service Reform League. While the investigation is not likely to result in the restoration of A.P. Davis in his former position, the facts brought out willhave great influence in determining the policies to be followed by Congress in the future in connection with the development of the “New West.”

  2. A. P. Davis had been in responsible positions in the Reclamation Service since its organization in 1902, and prior to that time was active and largely Instrumental in bringing about the passage of the Reclamation law and its approval by President Roosevelt. For the financing of reclamation projects Congress has provided a revolving fund, which may be used without interest, provided the principal is repaid by those benefited by the work. If repayments to the revolving fund should cease, for any reason, or if Eastern and Southern Congressmen should lose faith in the ability or the integrity of the Director of the Reclamation Service, its work would soon be brought to a halt.

  3. A. P. Davis entered the Government service as a topographer August 15, 1832, at a salary of $1,880. His position was classified under the Civil Service law in 1888. In 1895 he was appointed a hydrographer. In this position he made the hydrographic studies and measurements at Panama on the basis of which the Panama Canal was designed. When the Reclamation Service was organized in 1902 he was given the position of “principal engineer” at a salary of $3,500. In 1904, he was appointed Assistant Chief Engineer at a salary of $4,500; in 1907 Chief Engineer at $5,000, and in 1914. Director and Chief Engineer at $6,500. In 1917, the offices of Chief Engineer and Director were separated and Davis was given a salary of $7.500 as Director. He was serving at this salary at the time of his resignation.

  4. The Reclamation Service since its organization has completed over 100 irrigation and reclamation dams ranging in height from 2½ feet to 349 feet, and in cost from a few thousand to $6,000,000. Among the most important of these are the Arrowrock dam (Idaho), Shoshone, Wyoming; Elephant Butte, New Mexico; Roosevelt, Arizona and Pathfinder, Wyoming.

  5. Six dams are under construction: Tieton (Washington), McKay (Oregon), Black Canyon (Idaho), Hubbart (Montana), Willwood (Wyoming), Wind Riv

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