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Treasure Island Accord

With agreement virtually assured on a long-term Navy lease of Treasure Island, city officials today rushed plans for completion of a contract.

Mayor Rossi revealed the arrangement following a telephonic conference with Admiral Ben C. Moreell, chief of the Navy Bureau of Docks and Yards, in Washington, and was attempting to have the plan ready for review today by Admiral John W. Greenslade, 12th Naval District Commandant.

Under the terms approved verbally, the mayor said, the Navy will take possession of Treasure Island “for the duration of the war and for five years thereafter,” and will make extensive improvements establishing the site as “the center of naval activities” on the Pacific Coast.

One question remained unsettled, however—whether the Navy would insist later on a permanent occupation.

“That hasn’t been decided,” Mayor Rossi commented. “I have the approval of Dwight L. Merriman, President of the Chamber of Commerce, and Lewis F. Byington, president of the Public Utilities Commission, to the present arrangement. The future will have to be discussed.”

Mr. Merriman has led opposition to the city permanently ceding the island, on the contention it should be used for a central air terminal and that public subscriptions were raised with this in view. The utilities commission, along with the Board of Supervisors, will have to sanction any arrangement proposed.

What developments the Navy has in mind will have to await the formal agreement of the Moreell-Rossi plan, but it was recalled today that, in earlier attempts to obtain permanent possession, the Navy said it planned a 12-million-dollar expenditure.

The Navy also, under the present five-year agreement by which it occupied Treasure Island for a reception center, agreed to spend upwards of one million dollars in developments which would have the eventual installation of an air terminal as their underlying motive. These will be carried through, Mayor Rossi said he was told by Admiral Moreell.

San Francisco News
March 19, 1942

See: "Navy Seizes Treasure Island."

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