January 11, 1919
Honorable T. W. Bickett,
My dear Governor Bickett:
Your letter of January 7th was received on my return to Wilmington, and I note the membership of the committee which you have appointed to represent North Carolina in conference with the Washington committee of the Reclamation Service. I am sure you have gotten a well-balanced committee and one that will take care of the interest of the State, and I congratulate you on the selection. It would seem particularly important that this committee should confer with Mr. J. A. Bonsteel of the Bureau of Soils as you have indicated.
Probably you have seen the new bill which the Reclamation Service is proposing to the State Legislatures. It seems to me to be much broader and better than the first one, being more flexible.
I have just returned from Washington where I had two very satisfactory conference with Secretary Lane.For the good of the Agricultural Colonies I hope he will not be appointed as Director General of the Railroads.
As I see this proposition it really appears as if the State could well afford to lend its credit for a period of forty years(for that is really what it amounts to) to almost any extent, in order to get the Government to expend ten times as large a sum for the wise development of the State’s agricultural resources. If the land should cost $20 per acre (and it probably will not cost exceeding $10), the Government would spend $200 per acre in improvements and community building in connection therewith. But this is only part of the story, because it would lift the entire agriculture of the State on to a higher plane and result in the investment in the State of many times this amount of money through other channels. So I feel that the proposition is a peculiarly sound one.
Very sincerely yours,