The U.S. Navy seized Treasure Island from the City and County of San Francisco April 17, 1942, as negotiations continued over the governments use of the island.
The Navy formally served notice today that from now it is the owner of Treasure Island, where it has maintained a base under a lease from the city for more than a year.
The Navy offered the city $44,801 to pay for improvements made to the island. The city is expected to go to court and ask for a larger sum.
There will be no litigation, however, over possession of the island. The Navy spiked that possibility by filing a declaration of taking and deposit, instead of instituting condemnation proceedings. In other words, the Navy said: The island is ours, and thats final, instead of: Wed like to have Treasure Island.
Shortly after the declaration was filed, Federal Judge St. Sure signed it, giving the Navy title to the island.
Several city officials indicated they did not consider $44,801 sufficient compensation for improvements
Considerable dispute appeared likely over the complicated matter of the citys compensation. From the time it was dredged from the bottom of the Bay, for the Golden Gate International Exposition, until the Navy took over, the island cost $7,874,318.01, of which the city and county, largely though public subscription, invested $3,691,000 for permanent improvements. The city looked to the time when the island might be the site of a metropolitan airport.
Mr. Cahill and City Atty. OToole did not consider $44,801 enough
In filing the Navys declaration of taking, M. Mitchell Bourquin, special assistant attorney general, explained the Navy needs the 300-
Mr. Bourquin contended that the Bay area in which the island was constructed was navigable water long before California became a state and hence was primarily under Federal jurisdiction. He said purposes for which the city might want the island were secondary to the Navys needs.
It was emphasized by both Mr. Bourquin and city officials that the compensation offered by the Navy was merely for improvements to the island, and was far from representing the actual value of the island itself.
In a statement made public as the declaration was filed, Rear Adm. J. W. Greenslade, 12th Naval District commandant, declared Treasure Island has become a vital necessity in meeting the Navys requirements.
Admiral Greenslade said that from the viewpoint of peacetime developments it is believed permanent acquisition of Treasure Island for the use of the Navy will increase and promote the efficiency of the Navy and the prosperity of the commercial activities of the Bay Area.
The Navy Department is doing everything in its power to intensify its efforts to achieve ultimate total victory at the earliest possible date, said Admiral Greenslade. It is the Navys responsibility to maintain the fleet and military forces abroad as well as at home. With the progress of the war in the Pacific, San Francisco Bay has assumed an importance far greater than ever before as a naval operating base in the theater of military and naval operations. Treasure Island, located in the heart of the Bay, has become a vital necessity in meeting the Navys requirements.
The San Francisco News
April 17, 1942