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The Smithsonian Institution: A Trust Establishment of the United States


Fundamental to the administration of Smithsonian operations is a clear understanding of the unique charter and functions of the Institution. The following “Outline of the Origin and Development of the Smithsonian Institution” is intended to explain the nature of the Institution, clarify the responsibilities of the Board of Regents and the Congress for its welfare, and detail the significance of both private and federal support in its achievements since its origin in 1836 with the acceptance of the private bequest from Mr. Smithson.

Fifty years ago Chief Justice Taft, speaking as Chancellor of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, observed that:

“. . . many people suppose this private research establishment to be a part of the Government . . . . I must make clear, gentlemen, that the Smithsonian Institution is not, and has never been considered a government bureau. It is a private institution under the guardian- ship of the Government.”

This characterization of the Smithsonian and its relationship to the Government refers to the legal foundations of the Institution in the will of James Smithson and the Act of July 1, 1836, which accepted the bequest. Smithson, in bequeathing the whole of his property “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men,” created a charitable trust under the terms of which the United States would serve as trustee for purposes not limited to the national interest but for the benefit of all mankind. By the Act of July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the Smithson trust on these terms, on behalf of the United States, and pledged the “faith of the United States” to carry out the purposes of the trust. Consonant with its commitment to the trust, Congress has, from the start, supplemented the trust resources with federal funds and property.

This unique combination of a privately-endowed institution, administered by the Board of Regents independent of the Government itself, and the continuing support of the United States, as trustee, in generous fulfillment of its pledge, has made possible the remarkable achievements of the Institution. It has engendered contributions from private donors which were inconceivable in 1836. The great national collections now consist largely of private gifts, and continuing private additions to the Smithsonian's independent trust funds have maintained the Institution I s central re source for initiative and integrity. The Congress, on its part, has responded with the very substantial federal support which has been essential to the growth of the Institution and to many of its far-reaching services to the public for over a hundred years.

Since 1846, the Institution has greatly benefitted from the unstinted efforts of the six Congressional members of its Board of Regents. In this regard, the following paragraph, from a Smithsonian publication in 1904, is still pertinent.

"It is probable that no class of the American people appreciate the work of the Institution more fully than the members of Congress. This has been clearly shown by the uniform liberality with which, throughout many successive terms, regardless of changes in the political complexion of the administration, they have supported its policy; by the discrimination with which they disseminate its reports; by the judgment with which they select their representatives upon its Board of Regents, and above all, by the scrupulous care with which they protect the Institution in its independence of political entanglements. That the Institution has accomplished so much in the past is largely due to the support which it has received from these practical men of business, and through them by the people of the United States. It is to such support that it will owe its efficiency in the future, and it seems right that every opportunity should be taken to explain its operations to the public. No intelligent American can fail to appreciate the benefits which the highest interests of the American people receive through the proper administration of the Smithsonian bequest.”

The unique nature of the Smithsonian has been a mystery to many, and doubting voices have occasionally been raised, but throughout its one hundred and forty years there has been a broad consensus in Congress which has respected both the letter and the spirit of the original bequest. Congress has consistently maintained the integrity of the Institution's trust purposes and its independence of the administration of civil government.

In 1923, President Harding suggested the inclusion of the Smithsonian in a new Department of Education and Welfare, but the Joint Committee on Reorganization concluded:

“The Smithsonian Institution is one of the chief educational establishments under the Government, and the suggestion that it should be incorporated in the department of education and relief seems, at first blush, to be entirely logical. But the institution is effectively a corporation established under the terms of a private bequest. It is only quasi-public in character. Its growth and its splendid success have been due not less to private benefactions than to public support; and there is every reason not to endanger its development by altering its relationship to the Government, or by superseding the arrangements under which it has so greatly prospered.”

More recently, the Comptroller General, in a letter to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on September 1, 1961, stated:

“However, there is for consideration in this instance the unique nature of the Smithsonian Institution and of the property appropriated for its uses and purpose . . . . From time to time the functions of the Smithsonian have been increased by laws placing under its control additional establishments or authorizing it to extend its activities into additional fields, but its organization and powers with respect to the subject matter of its creation have remained substantially unchanged. (See 20 U.S.C. §§ 41-57). . . . By the act of June 28, 1955, 69 Stat. 189, the Congress authorized the construction of ‘a suitable building for a Museum of History and Technology. . . for the use of the Smithsonian Institution,’ at a cost not to exceed $36,000,000. While the cost of this building is covered entirely by appropriations from the general treasury, we find nothing in the act to indicate any intention that the building when complete shall not be as much the property of the Institution, and subject to its control to the same extent, as the buildings originally constructed from funds of the Smithson trust. In effect, the building is appropriated to the Institution and dedicated to the trust purposes, without qualification or restriction."

In the course of its development, which has paralleled the growth of the nation, the Institution has been faithful to its trust mandate and, at the same time, has achieved a great many of the specific objectives which its Congressional supporters since John Quincy Adams have envisioned. The achievements of the Smithsonian, nationally and internationally, are due in essential part to the energy and discretion with which successive Boards of Regents, Secretaries, and staff have used the independent trust resources to venture into new fields "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men" and to encourage the private gifts without which the national museums would scarcely exist. The judgment of Congress in assigning to the Board of Regents and Secretary the responsibility for selecting the most appropriate of the myriad opportunities offered to the Institution has repeatedly been vindicated and reaffirmed in the very substantial appropriations of federal resources to the Smithsonian.

Set forth in the following "Outline" is the basic history of the Smithsonian. All the major actions of the Congress with regard to the Institution from 1836 to 1883 are noted. During this period the principle of federal support for the independent trust establishment was recognized by the Congress, and the Institution's expansion to its present scope was begun.

Outline of the Origin and Development of the Smithsonian Institution

I. The Smithson bequest to the United States as trustee

In 1826, James Smithson, an English scholar and scientist of independent means, drew up his will and provided therein:

"In the case of the death of my said nephew without leaving a child . . . I then bequeath the whole of my property . . . to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”

Smithson died in 1829. His nephew died without issue in 1835. In December 1835, President Jackson transmitted to Congress a report on the bequest, stating:

“The Executive having no authority to take any steps for accepting the trust and obtaining the funds, the papers are communicated with a view to such measures as Congress may deem necessary.”

II. The Act of 1836, pledging the faith of the United States to the execution of the trust

John Quincy Adams, as chairman of the Select Committee appointed by the House to consider the bequest, prepared the bill which became the Act of July 1, 1836, and the unanimous committee report, which includes the following statements:

"To the acceptance of this bequest and to the assumption and fulfillment of the high and honorable duties involved in the performance of the trust committed with it, the Congress of the United States in their legislative capacity are alone competent..”

“Of all the foundations of establishments for pious or charitable uses, which ever signalized the spirit of the age, or the comprehensive beneficence of the founder, none can be named more deserving of the approbation of mankind than this.”

“ To furnish the means of acquiring knowledge is, therefore, the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind. It prolongs life itself, and enlarges the sphere of existence.”

"It is, then, a high and solemn trust which the testator has committed to the United States of America, and its execution devolves upon their Representatives in Congress duties of no ordinary importance.”
"In the commission of every trust, there is an implied tribute of the soul to the integrity and intelligence of the trustees; and there is also an implied call for the faithful exercise of those properties to the fulfillment of the purpose of the trust. "

"Your Committee are fully persuaded, therefore, that, with a grateful sense of the honor conferred by the testator upon the political institutions of this Union, the Congress of the United States, in accepting the bequest, will feel in all its power and plenitude the obligation of responding to the confidence reposed by him, with all the fidelity, disinterestedness and perseverance of exertion which may carry into effective execution the noble purpose of an endowment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."

The Senate report on this same bill states in part:

"The committee suppose it unquestionable that the executory bequest contained in Mr. Smithson's will, of his whole property to the United States, in the event that has occurred, for the purpose of founding at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men, is by the law of England a valid bequest; that the United States will be entertained in the court of chancery of England to assert their claim to the fund as trustees, for the purpose of founding the charitable institution at Washington to which it is destined by the donor, and that that court will decree that the fund shall be paid and transferred to the United States, or their lawfully authorized agent, leaving it to the United States to apply the property to the foundation of the intended charity at Washington and to provide for the due administration of the fund, so as to accomplish the purpose of the donor."

"The fund given to the United States by Mr. Smithson's will is nowise and never can become part of their revenue. They cannot claim or take it for their own benefit. They can only take it as trustees, to apply to the charitable purpose for which it was intended by the donor.”

“Upon the whole, the committee are of opinion that it is within the competency of the Government of the United States, that it well comports with its dignity, that, indeed, it is its duty to assert in the courts of justice of England the claim of the United States to the legacy bequeathed to them by Mr. Smithson's will, for the purpose of founding at Washington, under the name of ‘The Smithsonian Institution,’ an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men, and that provision ought to be made by Congress to enable the Executive to assert and prosecute the claim with effect.”

The Act of July 1, 1836, 5 Stat. 64, pledged the faith of the United States that all the monies or other funds which might be received for, or on account of the legacy, should be applied, in such manner as Congress should direct, to the purpose of founding and endowing at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. The Act required the Treasurer of the United States to account separately from all other accounts of his office for all sums received by him in virtue of the bequest. And it made the first appropriation from federal funds for the benefit of the trust, in the amount of ten thousand dollars, to defray the expenses of prosecuting the claim and of obtaining possession of the funds.

With regard to the pledge of the faith of the United States, John Quincy Adams, in a lecture given in Boston in 1839, states:

“Having drawn with my own hand that Act, as it stands without the alteration of a word, upon the Statute book, it has given me heartfelt satisfaction that although there were members averse to the acceptance of the bequest, the Bill was unanimously reported by a Committee of nine members of the House of Representatives; that it was adopted, without a proposal of amendment or a word of opposition by both Houses of Congress, and approved by the then President of the United States. It has delighted me yet more to find that the full import of that pledge of faith has been understood and felt, by the Agent, commissioned for the recovery of the funds, and by the present President of the United States and the Heads of Departments. In my own judgment the mere naked acceptance of the bequest, would have imposed upon the United States the moral obligation of all that was promised in the pledge of faith; but to this moral obligation I was desirous of adding a sanction equivalent to an oath before God, and such I considered the pledge of faith in the Bill.”

III. The Investment of the trust funds in State stocks in 1838

On the basis of the Act of 1836, and Adams' report, the English Court of Chancery, in May 1838, adjudged the Smithson bequest to the United States. On July 7, 1838, the last day of the session, Congress attached a rider to the appropriations act for the Military Academy, directing the investment of the Smithson funds in stocks of States bearing not less than
five percent interest and the investment of accruing interest in like manner. Adams protested in vain. The funds, in excess of half a million dollars, arrived in the United States on September 1, 1838, and were so invested by the Secretary of the Treasury. During the next eight years many of these State stocks declined substantially in value.

IV. The payment of expenses from the trust funds in 1839

The Act of 1836 had appropriated ten thousand dollars of federal funds for the expenses of securing the bequest in London, and in 1837 an additional five thousand dollars was appropriated for this purpose. After receipt of the trust funds in September 1838, the Secretary of the Treasury requested the opinion of the Attorney General whether any of the expenses involved in bringing the bequest to the United States should be paid from the trust funds.

After stating the provisions of the Act of 1836, accepting the bequest and pledging the faith of the United States to apply the monies and other funds which might be received to carry into effect the provisions of the will, the Attorney General says:

"From these provisions it appears to me that Congress intended that there should be no diminution of the funds bequeathed for the purpose specified in said will, but that the whole, whatever they might amount to, should be applied to carry into effect the intention of the Testator; and when the object of the bequest is considered, it cannot be supposed that Congress would act in any other than a liberal spirit.”

“My opinion therefore is, that the amount of the whole money, and other funds received by the Agent of the United States under the Act of 1st July 1836 without reduction, constitute the Smithsonian fund, for the purposes specified in said Smithson's will; and that the whole expenses of prosecuting said claim, receiving and transporting the same to this country, including any additional expenses which may have been incurred here, ought to be defrayed out of the appropriation made by Congress."

Since the prior appropriations were insufficient, the Secretary of the Treasury in December 1838 requested an additional ten thousand dollars to cover such expenses on the principles laid down by the Attorney General. However, in March 1839, Congress added the following sentence to the Civil and Diplomatic Act:

"For carrying into effect the acts relating to the Smithsonian legacy, $10,000, to be paid out of the fund arising from that legacy. "

Later in 1839, John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary:

"The private interests and sordid passions into which that fund has already fallen fill me with anxiety and apprehensions that it will be squandered upon cormorants or wasted in electioneering bribery . . . the investment of the whole fund, more than half a million of dollars, in Arkansas and Michigan State stocks; and the dirty trick of filching the ten thousand dollars from the fund last winter to pay for the charges of procuring it- -all are so utterly discouraging that I despair of effecting anything for the honor of the country, or even to accomplish the purpose of the bequest- -the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”

In March 1843, an additional amount of $3,815.73 was appropriated from federal funds to pay the remaining expenses of securing the trust.

V. The Act of 1846, establishing the Institution in perpetuity and restoring the trust funds

After eight years of debate, Congress, in the Act of August 10, 1846, 9 Stat. 102," for the faithful execution of said trust, according to the will of the liberal and enlightened donor," constituted the President, the Chief Justice, and other officials:

“an ‘establishment,’ by the name of the ‘Smithsonian Institution,’ for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men; and by that name shall be known and have perpetual succession, with the powers, limitations, and restrictions, hereinafter contained, and no other.”

Perhaps as a result of John Quincy Adams’ appeals to conscience, the Act declares that the entire amount of the bequest, without deduction for expenses, is on indefinite loan to the Treasury at six per cent interest from September 1, 1838. The amount of $242, 129, being the interest which would have been paid from September 1, 1838, to July 1, 1846, (uncompounded), is appropriated from federal funds for the erection of suitable buildings and other expenses of the Institution. A permanent appropriation of the interest accruing after July 1, 1846, is made "for the perpetual maintenance and support of the said institution.” A portion of the public grounds within the city of Washington, belonging to the United States, is appropriated to the Institution for a site for its building. And Section 5 of the Act reiterates that:

“. . . all moneys recovered by, or accruing to, the institution, shall be paid into the treasury of the United State s, to the credit of the Smithsonian bequest, and separately accounted for, as provided in the act approved July first, eighteen hundred and thirty-six, accepting said bequest.”

VI. The continuing responsibility of the Board of Regents and the Congress for the Smithson trust

By the Act of 1846, Congress established the Institution in its present form and provided for the administration of the trust, independent of the Government itself, by a Board of Regents and Secretary, to whom is assigned broad discretion to determine the most appropriate means of increasing and diffusing knowledge among men. The reasons for creating a board of distinguished individuals from the three branches of the Government and from the citizenry of the United States to carry out these unique trust responsibilities of the United States are set forth in the House debate preceding the passage of the Act in 1846:

“Very considerable latitude of control, as to the means to be used, is given to the board of managers, and the ends to be aimed at are described in comprehensive terms. But the most ample guarantee for the wise and faithful use of this discretionary power is obtained in the fact, that the board will consist of the Vice-President of the United States, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, three Senators, three members of the House, and six others to be chosen by joint resolution of the two Houses, who are required to submit to Congress annual reports of the operations, expenditures and condition of the institution. In addition to all this, there is reserved the power to alter and amend the charter, as the results of experience may render necessary or expedient. All these provisions seem to be wise, and make it almost impossible that any abuse or misapplication of the fund can ever take place.”

Implicit in these reporting and amending provisions of the Act of 1846 is the commitment of the Congress itself to assist and protect the progress of the Smithson trust and to maintain its independence from the three branches of the Government. The House report of March 3, 1855, on the Smithson fund, states in part:

“Regard for the memory of the dead who conferred upon our citizens the benefit of the fund, and upon our nation the honor of its administration, no less than a mere self-respect, will ever lead this nation, through its representatives, to guard with peculiar vigilance the sacred trust involved in the bequest of Mr. Smithson, and carefully and diligently to watch the progress of the Institution in the fulfillment of the noble wishes of the founder, and the just expectation of mankind in its regard.”

"The Government of the United States, in accepting the great trust conferred, pledged itself to carry out the objects of the founder, to administer the funds with a distinct reference to the requirements of the will, and to keep the institute, which bears the name of the founder, separate in all its relations from any and every other; to give it a distinct and substantive existence, and insure independence and efficiency to its operations.”

VII. The statutory plan for the Institution

During the long debate preceding the Act of 1846, various groups in Congress had proposed that the Smithsonian should be a national university, an agricultural school, a normal school, a school for the blind, a national library, a botanical garden, a national observatory, a chemical laboratory, a popular publishing house, a lecture lyceum, or a national museum of arts
and sciences. Some of the proponents focused on the “increase of knowledge,” some on its “diffusion,” while others emphasized that the trust was not intended to benefit the United States only, but the world at large. Although the university and school proposals were abandoned on the theory that education was a field reserved to the States by the Constitution, the Act of 1846 achieved passage by providing for most of the other proposals in the one Institution:

"Section 5 . . . . the board of regents . . . shall cause to be erected a suitable building, of plain and durable materials and structure, without unnecessary ornament, and of sufficient size, and with suitable rooms or halls for the reception and arrangement, upon a liberal scale, of objects of natural history, including a geological and mineralogical cabinet; also a chemical laboratory, a library, a gallery of art, and the necessary lecture rooms . . . .”

“Section 6 . . . . in proportion as suitable arrangements can be made for their reception, all objects of art and of foreign and curious research, and all objects of natural history, plants, and geological and mineralogical specimens, belonging, or hereafter to belong, to the United States, which may be in the city of Washington, in whosesoever custody the same may be, shall be delivered to such persons as may be authorized by the board of regents to receive them, and shall be arranged in such order, and so classed, as best to facilitate the examination and study of them . . . .”

“Section 8 . . . . And the said regents shall make, from the interest of said fund, an appropriation, not exceeding an average of twenty-five thousand dollars annually, for the gradual formation of a library composed of valuable works pertaining to all departments of human knowledge.”

“Section 9 . . . . of any other moneys which have accrued . . . the said managers are hereby authorized to make such disposal as they shall deem best suited for the promotion of the purpose of the testator . . . .”

“Section 10 . . . .the author or proprietor of any book, map, chart, musical composition, print, cut, or engraving, for which a copyright shall be secured . . . shall . . . deliver . . . one copy of the same to the librarian of the Smithsonian Institution . . . .”

It is evident that this broad range of functions could not be supported solely by the annual income of $30,000. The two most influential factions which had emerged during the long debate were the national library and national museum groups. They had joined forces to pass the Act of 1846, but each intended thereafter to capture the entire resources of the Institution.

VIII. The redefinition of the Institution's basic functions

The first Board of Regents was appointed shortly after the passage of the Act in August 1846, and by the turn of the year it had elected a distinguished scientist as Secretary, selected the site on the Mall, and authorized the construction of a very large “castle” estimated to cost about $250,000. The income problem was immediately apparent, and it was agreed that construction should be spread over a period of several years in order to accumulate interest for addition to the endowment. An uneasy compromise was worked out with the library and museum factions (both of which were represented on the Board of Regents) whereby one-half of the trust income would be spent on the library and museum functions and the other half on scientific research and publications.

A bitter and protracted struggle between the factions ensued, and in 1855, after investigations and reports by both Houses of Congress, the national library function was dropped. At the same time the building was nearing completion, at a cost of $325,000 (not including the federal appropriation of $7,000 in 1852 for planting and finishing the roads and walks around the building). It was necessary to decide whether the Institution could afford to accept the government collections, as provided in the Act of 1846, and whether the resulting museum would be appropriate to the basic purposes of the trust.

The House report of March 3, 1855, quoted above, includes comments on the museum concept in terms of the requirement of the trust that the Institution be not limited to local or national functions:

“We have, all around us, libraries and museums, by which what is known of literature and science may be diffused, so far as the influence of those libraries and museums extends; but it can not be denied that such an influence is necessarily quite limited.”

“A museum for the Smithsonian Institution should be of a kind to assist the student and the master in natural studies and enable them to pursue their inquiries to the full extent of attained results, that they may increase the amount of that kind of knowledge – may add to what is already known; and when they shall have completed that commission and their reports shall have satisfied the Institution that something is contributed to the previous amount of knowledge in their particular branches, then the Institution shall cause these contributions to be printed in an appropriate manner and copies to be distributed to the various libraries of the country and the scientific associations throughout the world, thus diffusing knowledge among men.”

This concept of the research and publication functions of the museum was clearly within the basic purposes of the trust, but the additional role as curator of the national collections was also urged upon the Institution. Although much of the museum material which had been accumulating in Washington, at the Patent Office and elsewhere, was of importance to the scientific research of the Institution, much was of lesser interest, and there was a real danger that the expense of care and maintenance alone would exhaust the entire income of the trust. In 1858 the following agreement was implemented, as summarized in Secretary Henry's annual report to the Congress:

“It will be recollected that by the law of Congress incorporating this Institution ‘all objects of art and of foreign and curious research, and all objects of natural history, plants, and geological and mineralogical specimens belonging to or hereafter to belong to the United States which may be in the city of Washington, in whosesoever custody the same may be, shall be delivered to such persons as may be authorized by the Board of Regents to receive them.’

“The law thus giving to the Smithsonian Institution all specimens illustrative of nature and art to be found in the several offices and departments of government was not construed as rendering it obligatory of the Regents to accept these objects if they considered it inexpedient to do so. Inasmuch, then, as this collection was neither essential to the plan of organization nor directly subservient to the comprehensive purpose of the donor in regard to a world-wide benefit, it was the ultimate decision of a majority I of the Board that it ought not to be accepted and that no part of the donation ought to be expended in the care of property belonging to the government of the United States.”

"In the meantime a very large amount of specimens of natural history had accumulated at the Institution from numerous exploring parties sent out by the general government; and as these collections had been made under the direction of the Institution, and their preservation was of the highest importance to the natural history of the country, it was finally concluded that if Congress would make an appropriation for the transfer and new arrangement of the articles then in the Patent Office, and continue the annual appropriation previously made for their care and exhibition while in charge of the Commissioner of Patents, the Institution would, under these conditions, become the curator of the national collections. This proposition was agreed to by the government, and the contemplated transfer has accordingly been made.”

On the basis of this understanding, Congress in 1857 and 1858 appropriated a total of $18,000 for the expenses of moving and installing the government collections. At the same time, the annual appropriation ($4,000) for the care of the government collections, which had begun in the 1840' s, was transferred to the Institution.

IX. The growth of the Institution through federal appropriations and private gifts

The principle of annual appropriations support was thus established, but the amount remained more or less the same until after the Civil War. In 1869, Chancellor Chase and Representative (later President) Garfield pointed out to Congress that the annual cost to the Institution of the government collections had grown to over $10,000, and suggested that the Government should take them back if it was unwilling to pay the expense. In 1870, appropriations increased to $20,000; in 1873 to $30, 000. By 1877 the amounts appropriated for the benefit of the trust since its acceptance in 1836 totaled $346,000, not including the payments of interest on the trust endowment and the value of the federal property donated to the Institution.

In 1878, the annual appropriations for the first time equaled the expenditures from the Institution's trust funds. In 1879, $250,000 was appropriated for the construction of the new building for the National Museum, now known as the “Arts and Industries Building.” With the staffing and opening of the building in 1881 the annual appropriation more than doubled, and by 1883 appropriations were providing for more than eighty per cent of the Institution's annual expenses.

During the last hundred years of the Institution's growth, the federal appropriations have doubled and redoubled many times. At the same time, substantial private contributions to the trust funds, although largely for restricted purposes, have continued to provide an essential portion of the Institution's resources, varying from ten to thirty per cent annually, throughout this period. This financial support has been but a small fraction of the value of the additions to the collections from private sources.

Between 1836 and 1846, Congress could, perhaps, have setup the Smithsonian as a small, self-sufficient research organization completely divorced from national interests. However, the Congressional leaders of that day, and since, with the concurrence of the Board of Regents, determined that the Institution could also serve national interests within its trust mandate. In order to achieve these more limited objectives without violating the broad purposes of the Smithson trust to which Congress had pledged the faith of the United States, it was necessary from the start to supplement the original trust resources with federal funds and property. This continuing commitment of national support to an independent and disinterested trust organization has called forth very substantial additional contributions from private individuals and organizations. The result has been to give this trust created for the benefit of mankind a scope which the founder could not have foreseen and, at the same time, to “promote the general welfare” of the United States without compromising the moral and legal obligations which Congress accepted.