SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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HEARING ON H.R. 100, H.R. 2370, AND S. 210
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
GUAM COMMONWEALTH ACT, TO ESTABLISH THE COMMONWEALTH OF GUAM, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGUAM JUDICIAL EMPOWERMENT ACT OF 1997, TO AMEND THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM FOR THE PURPOSES OF CLARIFYING THE LOCAL JUDICIAL STRUCTURE AND THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL
TO AMEND THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM, THE REVISED ORGANIC ACT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND THE COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION ACT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
OCTOBER 29, 1997, WASHINGTON, DC.
Serial No. 10578
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
HEARING ON H.R. 100, H.R. 2370, AND S. 210
HEARING ON H.R. 100, H.R. 2370, AND S. 210
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
GUAM COMMONWEALTH ACT, TO ESTABLISH THE COMMONWEALTH OF GUAM, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
GUAM JUDICIAL EMPOWERMENT ACT OF 1997, TO AMEND THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM FOR THE PURPOSES OF CLARIFYING THE LOCAL JUDICIAL STRUCTURE AND THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL
TO AMEND THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM, THE REVISED ORGANIC ACT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND THE COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION ACT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
OCTOBER 29, 1997, WASHINGTON, DC.
Serial No. 10578
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
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COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
LINDA SMITH, Washington
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN SHADEGG, Arizona
JOHN E. ENSIGN, Nevada
ROBERT F. SMITH, Oregon
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCKEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
GEORGE MILLER, California
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-GREEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
T.E. MANASE MANSUR, Republican Professional Staff
MARIE J. HOWARD-FABRIZIO, Democratic Professional Staff
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held October 29, 1997
Statement of Members:
Abercrombie, Hon. Neil, a Representative in Congress from the State of Hawaii, prepared statement of
Akaka, Hon. Daniel K., a Senator in Congress from the State of Hawaii
Becerra, Hon. Xavier, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
Prepared statement of
Christian-Green, Hon. Donna M., a Representative in Congress from the State of Virgin Islands, prepared statement of
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFaleomavaega, Hon. Eni F.H., a Delegate in Congress from the Territory of American Samoa, prepared statement of
Hill, Hon. Rick, a Representative in Congress from the State of Montana, prepared statement of
Inouye, Hon. Daniel K., a Senator in Congress from the State of Hawaii, prepared statement of
Kennedy, Hon. Patrick J., a Representative in Congress from the State of Rhode Island, prepared statement of
Mink, Hon. Patsy T., a Representative in Congress from the State of Hawaii
Prepared statement of
Ortiz, Hon. Solomon P., a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, prepared statement of
Smith, Hon. Robert F. (Bob), a Representative in Congress from the State of Oregon, prepared statement of
Underwood, Robert A., a Representative in Congress from the Territory of Guam
Prepared statement of
Young, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Alaska, prepared statement of
Letter to President Clinton
President Clinton's answering letter
Statement of Witnesses:
Ada, Hon. Joseph F., former Governor of Guam
Prepared statement of
Ada, Thomas C., Senator, and Guerrero, Lou Leon, Senator, 24th Guam legislature, prepared statement of
Apuron, Anthony S., Archbishop, Archdiocese of Agana
Prepared statement of
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCArriola, Joaquin C. Jr., President, Guam Bar Association, prepared statement of
Barrett-Anderson, Hon. Elizabeth, a Senator from Guam, prepared statement of
Blaz, Hon. Anthony, Vice Speaker, Guam Legislature
Prepared statement of
Blaz, Hon. Ben, former Delegate, U.S. House of Representatives
Prepared statement of
Calvo, Hon. Paul M., former Governor of Guam
Prepared statement of
College of the Marshall Islands and Palau Community College, prepared statement of
Cristobal, Hope A., Organization of People for Indigenous Rights
Doss, Darrell O., prepared statement of
Draft Guam Commonwealth Act, Sections A through D
Filipino-American President's Club of Guam, prepared statement of
Forbes, Hon. Mark, Senate Majority Leader and Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Affairs, Guam Legislature
Prepared statement of
Garamendi, Hon. John R., Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
Prepared statement of
Guam Chamber of Commerce, prepared statement of
Guam Commission on Self-Determination, prepared statement of
Guerrero, Hon. Carlotta Leon, Senator, Guam Legislature, prepared statement of
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted for the record by
Guevara, Jose, Vice President, Filipino Community of Guam
Gutierrez, Hon. Carl T.C., Governor of Guam
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Additional material submitted for the record by
Howard, Chris Perez, Chairman, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights
Prepared statement of
Lamorena, Hon. Alberto C., III, Presiding Judge, Superior Court of Guam
Prepared statement of
Lujan, Pilar C., prepared statement of
McDonald, Hon. Paul M., Mayor, President, Mayor's Council of Guam, prepared statement of
Moses, Susan J., President, College of MicronesiaFSM, prepared statement of
Nicolas, Frank C. San, Tamuning, Guam, prepared statement of
Organization of People for Indigenous Rights, prepared statement of
Pangelinan, Hon. Ben, Senate Minority Leader, Guam Legislature
Prepared statement of
Quinata, Debtralynne K., Nasion Chamoru
Prepared statement of
Quinene, Frederick R., GMF, Guam, prepared statement of
Rivera, Ron, prepared statement of
Siguenza, Hon. Peter, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Guam
Prepared statement of
Additional material submitted for the record by
Staymen, Allen, Director, Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
Prepared statement of
Troutman, Charles H., Attorney General of Guam (Acting), prepared statement of
Tydingco-Gatewood, Hon. Frances M., Judge, Superior Court of Guam, prepared statement of
Additional material submitted for the record by
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCUnpingco, Hon. Antonio R., Speaker, Twenty-Fourth Guam Legislature, prepared statement of
Additional material submitted:
Title 48, United States Code Annotated
HEARING ON: H.R. 100, GUAM COMMONWEALTH ACT, TO ESTABLISH THE COMMONWEALTH OF GUAM, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
H.R. 2370, GUAM JUDICIAL EMPOWERMENT ACT OF 1997, TO AMEND THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM FOR THE PURPOSES OF CLARIFYING THE LOCAL JUDICIAL STRUCTURE AND THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL
S. 210, TO AMEND THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM, THE REVISED ORGANIC ACT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND THE COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION ACT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:04 a.m., in room 1324, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Rick Hill presiding.
Mr. HILL. [presiding] The Committee on Resources will come to order.
The Committee is meeting today to hear testimony on legislation affecting the insular areas, including measures providing for increased self-government for Guam. The pending legislation being considered today includes H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act, H.R. 2370, the Guam Judicial Empowerment Act, and S. 210, the Omnibus Territories Act.
Under Rule 4(g) of the Committee rules, any oral opening statements at hearings are limited to the Chairman and the Ranking Minority Member. This will allow us to hear from our witnesses sooner and help members keep to their schedules. Therefore, if other members have statements, they can be included in the hearing record under unanimous consent.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is a pleasure today to welcome the distinguished witnesses for today's hearings on certain measures affecting some of our United States territories and the separate, sovereign freely associated States. These issues affecting U.S. Nationals and citizens in the territories, as well as residents of the Pacific freely associated republics, are part of the unique and important jurisdiction of the Committee on Resources for the insular areas. That is why Chairman Young scheduled these hearings on matters which could provide for increased local self-governance for the people of the insular areas.
Let me thank the witnesses from the distant Pacific islands for agreeing to appear before the committee. You've traveled thousands of miles to testify, and your efforts are appreciated. You are providing a substantial set of information for the committee record. Your statements have been provided for review by all of the committee members and will be available for all of those in the Congress, as well, who are not members of the committee or are not here today.
One of the primary purposes of this hearing is to assist the insular areas, including Guam, in advancing toward greater local self-government. The statements by the witnesses today will help Congress in evaluating the merits of the proposals contained in S. 210, the omnibus territories act, H.R. 2370, the Guam Judicial Act, and H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act.
I will now recognize the ranking member for an opening statement.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE TERRITORY OF GUAM
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to welcome everyone to the committee, and I appreciate, certainly, the appearance of not only a very large delegation from Guam, but also three members of the body.
Mr. Chairman, today is a momentous day for the people of Guam after a long and sometimes erratic journey. The proposal of the people of Guam for a new Commonwealth agreement has come back to the committee where its disposition will ultimately be determined.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will leave it up to the many fine speakers today, most especially the elected leadership of Guam, to explain the details of the proposal and the trials and tribulations the proposal has endured since its ratification by the people of Guam in 1987.
The proposal in its current numbering in the 105th Congress is H.R. 100, in commemoration of the fact that next year marks the centennial of the raising of the American flag over Guam. When that flag was raised in 1898, it was raised over a few Spanish nationals and the indigenous people of Guam. Since that time, the people of Guam have endured U.S. military rule, a cruel Japanese occupation, the taking of large tracts of land, and the violation of many of the democratic principles we hold dear.
But the people of Guam have also prospered in spite of the obstacles, they have learned the lessons of American democracy even if they could not fully implement them, and have enjoyed much political progress. The people of Guam are ready to go to the next stage in their political development. There is no more appropriate place in Washington where these issues and those challenges should be fully explored than in this committee room. There is no other location in Washington which displays the flags of the insular areas as a critical part of the room.
The Resources Committee alone has the responsibility to deal with insular issues. The people of Guam come to this committee as partners in the democratic experiment we call America. They appeal to you as arbiters of their fate. The message will be that the people of Guam want Commonwealth, and that they are frustrated by the lack of clarity in the process. Some messages will be strong, some will be strident, and some won't even be in support of H.R. 100, but all messages are being delivered to the right locationthe Resources Committee of the House.
Many of us are familiar with various quotations which are on the walls and ceilings of the Capitol Building. My favorite is from William Henry Harrison, who said in his Presidential inaugural address on March 4, 1841 that, quote, ''The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.''unquote. We all know that this is not the case with the territories, and maybe President Harrison knew something of this experience. As the elected representative of the Northwest Territory, he was the first territorial delegate to be elected President. So it can happen for even territorial delegates, Mr. Chairman.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I commend you for your leadership in holding this hearing this morning, and I thank the members of the committee for their attention. And on behalf of the people of Guam, [speaking in Chamorro] ''Dangkolo na si Yu'os ma'ase.''
[The prepared statement of Mr. Underwood follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT UNDERWOOD, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM THE TERRITORY OF GUAM, ON H.R. 100
Mr. Chairman, today is a momentous day for the people of Guam. After a long and sometimes erratic journey, the proposal of the people of Guam for a new, Commonwealth agreement with the United States has come back to the Committee where its disposition will be ultimately determined.
I will leave it up to the many speakers today, most especially the elected leadership of Guam, to explain the details of this proposal and the trials and tribulations the proposal has endured since its ratification by the people of Guam in 1987.
The proposal in its current numbering in the 105th Congress is H.R. 100in commemoration of the fact that next year marks the Centennial of the raising of the American flag over Guam. When that flag was raised in 1898, it was raised over a few Spanish nationals and the indigenous people of Guam, the Chamorros.
Since that time, the people of Guam have endured U.S. military rule, a cruel Japanese occupation, the taking of large tracts of land under military courts and the violation of many of the democratic principles we hold dear. But the people of Guam have also prospered despite obstacles, learned the lessons of American democracy even as they could not fully implement them and enjoyed much political progress. In 1898, not too many could have imagined that the people of Guam would have the vibrant democracy in gubernatorial and legislative elections that are now a regular feature of life.
The people of Guam are ready to go to the next stage in their political development. Cognizant of the fact that the ultimate decision for full integration as a state or separate sovereignty may be a little distant, the people of Guam have crafted an innovative approach to the implementation of democracy in a small territory on the other side of the international dateline. The proposal admittedly raises many Constitutional issues and challenges us to think counter intuitively about the relationship between the territories and the Federal Government.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But there is no more appropriate place in Washington where these issues and these challenges should be fully explored than this Committee room. There is no other location on Capitol Hill which displays the flags of the insular areas as a central part of the room. The Resources Committee alone has a responsibility to deal with insular issues. The people of Guam come to this Committee as partners in the democratic experiment we call America. They appeal to you as the arbiters of their fate. The message will be that the people of Guam want Commonwealth, but that they are frustrated by the lack of clarity in the process. Some messages will be strong, some will be strident and some won't even be supportive of H.R. 100, but all messages are being delivered to the right locationthe Resources Committee of the House.
Many of us are familiar with various quotations which are on the walls and the ceilings of the Capitol Building. My favorite was from William Henry Harrison, who said in his Presidential inaugural address on March 4, 1841, that ''the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.'' We all know that this is not the case with the territories. Maybe President Harrison knew something of this experience. As the elected representative of the Northwest Territory, he was the first territorial delegate to be elected President.
Mr. Chairman, I commend you for your leadership in holding this hearing this morning. I thank the other members of the Committee for their attention and on behalf of the people of GuamDangkulo na si Yu'os ma'ase.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT UNDERWOOD, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM THE TERRITORY OF GUAM, ON H.R. 2370
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that H.R 2370 is being heard by the full Committee this morning. H.R 2370, the Guam Judicial Empowerment Act will do much to correct current defects in the Organic Act of Guam relative to the Judicial Branch of the Government of Guam. As you know, the Organic Act of Guam afforded Guam a certain degree of local self-government. Over the years, the Act was amended to provide the people of Guam with an elected Governor, has improved other systems of local self-government, and has made accommodations for an elected Board of Education.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My legislation is consistent with this development. It seeks to affirm that the Supreme Court of Guam is the head of a unified judiciary. It confirms that the Supreme Court has authority over the administration of the Court System, including the subordinate courts of Guam. But most of all, it ensures that the judiciary is separate and co-equal to the other branches of our government. It affords the Judiciary the same Organic Act status given the Legislative and executive branches. It is necessary to pass this bill, to remove the possibility of political influence over the judiciary. Currently, the local law which created the Supreme Court can be repealed by the local legislative process. It is unconscionable that there remains an opportunity to influence Court decisions and so it is imperative that we invest integrity in the Guam judiciary.
The legislation brings the Guam Courts to a level that is standard with the other states and territories. It establishes a framework that is consistent with the powers of the other branches of Guam's government and does much to empower our people.
There is wide public support for this legislation. The Guam Bar Association, which is a non-profit organization that represents all attorneys licensed in Guam, has endorsed this section and has submitted an official statement. The legislation is also endorsed by Charles Trouhnan, the Guam Compiler of Laws and the Acting Attorney General; the Honorable Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood of the Superior Court of Guam; and the Honorable Pilar C. Lujan, former Guam Senator and sponsor of the law that established the Supreme Court of Guam.
The second part of my bill seeks to empower the Guam Legislature to provide the people of Guam with an elected Attorney General. Mr. Chairman, several months ago, my office conducted a questionnaire on this issue. Although the questionnaire is only a measure of public opinion on this matter, my office received nearly four thousand responses. Of those responses, 32 percent were in favor of language that would mandate an Elected Attorney General, 37 percent were in favor of language that would authorize the Guam Legislature to create an Elected Attorney General, and 24 percent were in favor of continuing the current system, an appointed Attorney General.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I firmly believe that the decision to provide the island with an Elected Attorney General should be made in Agana rather than in Washington. I do not support mandating an Elected Attorney General and I believe that this language will directly empower the people of Guam.
I am pleased that the Administration is in support of this legislation. I hope that the Committee will take expedient action on this critical measure. I look forward to working with you to advance the legislation and I thank my dear colleagues, Congressmen George Miller and Neil Abercrombie for agreeing to be original co-sponsors of the legislation. I encourage my other colleagues to do the same.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT UNDERWOOD, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM THE TERRITORY OF GUAM, ON S. 210
Mr. Chairman, Section 4 of S. 210 addresses the issue of the return of excess lands to Guam. I introduced similar legislation in the 104th Congress and again in the current Congress. Senator Murkowski, the Chairman of the Senate oversight committee for the territories, also included a Guam land return provision in the Omnibus Territories legislation which nearly passed the Senate last year. Both my bill and Senator Murkowski's bill are significant in that, for the first time ever, Congress will extend authority to the Government of Guam to have the right of first refusal of any real property declared excess by the Federal Government.
The Guam land return provision of S. 210 is important also in that it establishes a reasonable process for dealing with excess lands now and in the future. The lands taken were used to promote national security interests during and after World War II. Now that the cold war is over and the military has been downsizing in the past several years, there has been an assumption in Guam that the lands declared excess to military needs would be returned to Guam.
The passage of this provision of S. 210 is necessary in order to change current law governing the disposal of excess lands. Current law allows other Federal agencies to take any available excess lands in the Federal Government's inventory. This is nothing more than a repeat of the post World War II takings engaged in by the U.S. military. S. 210 would avoid this continuing injustice by putting Guam ahead of any Federal agency for acquiring these excess lands.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In previous hearings on land issues and in numerous meetings which I have had with military officials in Guam and in Washington, the military clearly stated that they are not in the business of being landlords once they declare lands excess to their defense needs. Once the declaration of excess is made, the title should transfer directly to Guam not to a Federal agency.
Mr. Chairman, I want to emphasize two major concerns I have with the land provision in the Senate-passed version of S. 210.
Firstly, I strongly oppose the condition of transfer which requires that Guam pay fair market value for excess lands for other than public purposes. Neither my bill, nor the original version of S. 210, impose the payment of fair market value. Given the historical takings of land in Guam and the fact that real property is scarce in a small island such as ours, the people of Guam oppose the payment of fair market value. Requiring Guam to pay for the lands today ignores the historical land takings. At the time of the land takings, the island of Guam was under a military justice system. The civilian community was at a marked disadvantage and many of the land transactions were suspect. To continue to promote fair market value reflects a myopic view of the land takings on Guam and does not take into account the cultural values associated with the ownership of land.
When the Committee takes up this legislation, I will work to delete or amend the fair market provision. If this provision is not changed in committee or on the House floor, I will oppose the land return provisions of S. 210.
Secondly, I urge the Committee to clarify the definition of public benefit use. The legislative history for the return of excess lands to Guam should reflect that once title transfers to the Government of Guam, Guam makes the decision as to the appropriate public benefit use of the land. Such a decision may permit the consideration of local customs and local needs. Currently, S. 210 points to the statutory definition of public purpose found in Section 203 of the Federal Property Act and to other public benefit uses provided under the Guam Excess Lands Act (Public Law 103-339). What is not clear in the proposed legislation is what types of actions the Government of Guam can undertake to provide the resettlement of the local people who were displaced by the earlier Federal takings of land. We need to clarify whether the Chamorro Land Trust Commission can be the recipient of the returned excess lands and whether the commission can devise a resettlement program for original landowners which can adequately address the inequities of the original land takings.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The decision on what constitutes public benefit uses of the returned lands is properly the responsibility of the Government of Guam. Guam has local needs based upon local customs and values. This will provide Guam with the flexibility to devise a number of acceptable uses which will benefit the people of Guam. This also will put the original landowners' concerns among the mix of how Guam implements its land policies and its land use plan.
Mr. Chairman, the people of Guam must strongly object to the exemptions called for in Section 4, subsection (d)(l). This section deals with lands currently leased to the Coast Guard from the U.S. Navy, as well as lands they have identified for expansion. Over the past four years our people have endured the pain of a downsizing military complex. It never occurred to many in Guam that the military would ever reduce its presence in the area. However, the Base Alignment and Reuse Committee (BRAC) ruling required the Navy to re-align its activities to become more efficient. Try as we could to save the only U.S. Naval shipyard in the western Pacific, SRF Guam was slated for closure.
Today, the fruits of a cooperative effort between Guam's Local Reuse Authority (LRA) and the Navy has resulted in the shipyard's conversion to a privately run facility. Over the course of several months, LRA and Naval officials worked in close cooperation to develop a reuse plan which would meet the needs of both entities. Both parties were quite aware of the regulations governing each step in the process as outlined in BRAC law. BRAC law was created by the Congress as a means by which needs assessment reviews of existing military bases could be conducted without political influence. Both Navy and the LRA continue to work within this framework.
Part of the process in planning for the reuse of BRAC properties required the Navy to provide for Federal Screening which notifies other Federal entities of the Navy's intention to declare lands excess. This was in fact completed with no responses. It was not until well after the expiration of the screening process that the Coast Guard indicated its wish to acquire additional properties. With this knowledge, the LRA contacted the Coast Guard in writing with a proposal to enter into a long-term lease agreement at no cost for all the properties that the Coast Guard currently occupies as well as any additional properties they need, but apparently that has not satisfied them. Ownership of the property seems to be the only rationale for the Coast Guard's pursuit of a change in law calling for the exemption from the Federal screening process.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is our view that the provision be denied. The issue is not whether the Coast Guard is deserving of the property. The issue boils down to whether they should be exempted from the provisions of law with which every community facing a base closure must comply. From Guam's perspective, the Navy made great efforts to become more efficient. Victor Wharf was declared excess and Federal screening took place with no expression of interest from any quarter. The Coast Guard has decided, after the fact, to acquire land and they come before Congress now with special interest legislation. This isn't right. It also opens Congress' door to similar legislation by other Federal agencies who have also missed the boat. The Government of Guam fully intends to cooperate with the Coast Guard; there is written documentation that bears this out. But Mr. Chairman, the Government of Guam feels that the long term needs of the Coast Guard would be better served if Guam retains ownership of the properties in question and grants the Coast Guard a long-term, no-cost lease.
Mr. Chairman, on S. 210's provision regarding compact-impact reporting, there is general agreement that the current procedure governing the preparation and submission of the report of adverse impact as a result of the Compacts of Free Associations has been extremely problematic for all the insular territories. This amendment would now shift the responsibility for the preparation of the report of adverse impact, from the Administration to the Governor's of any Territory; Commonwealth and the State of Hawaii. The proposal identifies the Department of Interior as the agency responsible for filing the report with Congress to include comments from the administration. The Department of Interior would be responsible for funding, either directly or through their technical assistance mechanism, a census of Micronesians no greater than five (5) years from each decennial United States census or every fifteen (15) years, at a cost of not more than $300,000 in any year.
Mr. Chairman, the people register their objection to the proposal as currently written. Shifting the burden for the preparation of the report from the Department of Interior would be acceptable if it included the provision that would mandate that the report be filed with the appropriate authorizing and appropriating committee in Congress with a recommended level of funding. This amendment fails to identify a mechanism where impacted jurisdictions would petition for the financial reimbursement of any adverse impact. The mere filing of the report without identifying the appropriate committee in Congress to accept and dispose of the report findings leaves much to assumption. Furthermore, given the long interval between census taking (30 years); limiting funding for the census to no more than $300,000 may be too restrictive in that it is hard to project economic forces that may adversely affect the Department of Interior's ability to perform the census.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally Mr. Chairman, I would like to announce my intention to seek a transfer of title of property currently held jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the Guam Community College. I will pursue this in the form of an amendment to S. 210. The property in question was deemed excessed by the Department of Defense years ago. Title was granted to both the U.S. Department of Education and the Guam Community College for a new campus. Although Guam Community College continues to plan construction for this new campus, it currently does not have the financial resources to begin immediate construction. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education has given the Guam Community College several options. The U.S. Department of Education has suggested that Guam Community College give up joint title of the property or be assessed rental fees. It is important that the property is safeguarded for the future use of the Guam Community College and that may be accomplished by a clear transfer of title.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your consideration and your willingness to engage Guam in these matters. I appreciate your disposition concerning Federal lands and hope that the legislation will be properly amended.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman. I will now introduce our first panel of witnesses: Senator Daniel Akaka, Congresswoman Patsy Mink, former Delegate Ben Blaz, and when he arrives, Congressman Xavier Becerra.
I'd like to remind the witnesses that under our committee rules they must limit their oral statements to 5 minutes, but their entire statements will appear in the record. We'll also allow the entire panel to testify before questioning the witnesses.
The Chair will now recognize Senator Akaka to testify.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DANIEL K. AKAKA, A UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII
Senator AKAKA. Thank you very much, Chairman Hill, and I thank the members of the committee for holding this hearing. I am delighted to be here this morning to add my voice to this bill.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also want to welcome our friends from Guam, The Honorable Carl Gutierrez, Governor of Guam; also, The Honorable Joseph Ada, former Governor; The Honorable Paul Calvo, also a former Governor; The Honorableof course, good friend up thereRobert Underwood, the congressional delegate, and The Honorable Ben Blaz, the former congressional delegate, and many others from Guam, those for and those who are probably against this bill. It's great to have all the voices here this morning.
Mr. Chairman, I'm here to urge the members of this committee to support Guam's efforts to improve its political relationship with the Federal Government by seeking Commonwealth status. I come here as a fellow Pacific islander and someone who cares deeply about the political future of the island of Guam and the people of Guam.
Much has been said over the last decade about unresolved provisions in the Guam Commonwealth Act, yet, little has been said about the contributions and sacrifices that the people of Guam have made to this country and to the need for the Federal Government to be honest about Guam's political future. It is incumbent upon the Congress to deal frankly with the people of Guam and let them know where things stand and what can and cannot be done at this point in time.
The people of Guam should not be held hostage by changing U.S. negotiators under different administrations. While the Clinton administration has made progress on Guam Commonwealth negotiations, discussions on political status should be conducted in a more timely fashion. It is notable that Guam is represented today by several Republican and Democratic leaders, including present and past Governors and delegates. Such bipartisanship on an issue should be commended.
It should also send a signal to the Federal Government that the people of Guam are united, united in their quest for Commonwealth status. As this nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of the U.S. acquisition of Guam next year, it would be fitting if we provide the people of Guam with a better process to pursue Commonwealth negotiations. I look forward to working with you and other Members of Congress to move this process forward.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I would also like to add my support for provisions in S. 210, of which I am a co-sponsor, which provide for the transfer of Federal excess lands in Guam. Congressman Underwood and Governor Gutierrez have done a tremendous job advocating for the transfer of Federal excess lands to the people of Guam. With one-third of Guam controlled by the Defense Department, I think that its people have more than shouldered their burden as part of national security in the Asia-Pacific region.
But fair is fair. Guam is just a little over 200 square miles in size. It is 30 miles long and 9 miles wide. It is high time that the Federal Government provide the Government of Guam with the flexibility to utilize lands that are no longer needed for national security purposes. I have visited Guam numerous times since World War II. Most recently, I visited the island last year with Senator Murkowski. I'm impressed with the level of political and economic development which has allowed the local government to be less dependent on Federal assistance, while providing greater economic opportunities for its people. This is what our country is all about.
I encourage members of this committee to visit Guam and find out for yourselves how Federal policies affect this Pacific territory. You will find a proud and industrious people, and will come to better understand the frustration that they face with the Federal Government.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to provide support to Guam's pursuit of Commonwealth status and for the Federal excess land provisions in S. 210. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HILL. I thank you, Senator Akaka. The Chair now recognizes Congresswoman Mink.
STATEMENT OF HON. PATSY T. MINK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. MINK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee. I'm pleased to be here today to lend my support to the consideration of H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act, sponsored by my dear friend and colleague, Congressman Robert Underwood, who serves as Vice Chair of the Asian-Pacific Congressional Caucus.
The right of self-determination is among the most sacred rights in our country, itself founded upon the principles of freedom and liberty. The Guam Commonwealth Act seeks to implement a decision by the people of Guam to pursue a greater self-determination through a new Commonwealth status with the United States.
Over a decade ago, the people of Guam voted in a referendum to seek Commonwealth status, and since 1988 Guam's delegates to the U.S. Congress have introduced legislation to implement this decision. However, a final resolution to their request has not been accomplished. Many have worked on this effortMr. Underwood's predecessor, both the Bush and Clinton administrationsbut Guam's question of Commonwealth status remains unresolved.
I understand that this is not an easy task. The issues raised in this effort are not simple, and a final agreement between the United States and Guam will have lasting effects, not only for the people of Guam, but for the United States as a whole and the other territories and entities which continue to associate themselves with the United States.
This is precisely why this issue should be deliberated in the Congress. We have the responsibility to consider this proposal brought forth by the people of Guam, assess its impact, not only on Guam, but the entire United States, and, finally, come to a conclusion on Guam's pursuit for a Commonwealth status.
The final implementation document of Guam's Commonwealth status must reflect Guam's desire for greater self-determination and self-governance, balanced with their desire to remain a part of the United States, including all the rights and responsibilities that go along with this relationship.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, you have a challenging task ahead, and I urge you to move forward in this deliberation on H.R. 100 and work toward the implementation of the wishes of the people of Guam. Thank you very much.
I apologize, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, that I need to leave, as I am serving as a ranking member on another committee matter before Education and the Workforce, but thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Mink follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. PATSY T. MINK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII
Mr. Chair, and Members of the Subcommittee, I am here today to lend my support to the consideration of H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act, sponsored by my dear friend and colleague, Congressman Robert Underwood.
The right to self-determination is among the most sacred rights in our countryitself founded upon the principles of freedom and liberty. The Guam Commonwealth Act seeks to implement a decision by the people of Guam to pursue greater self-determination through a new Commonwealth status with the United States.
Over a decade ago the people of Guam voted in a referendum to seek Commonwealth Status and since 1988 Guam's Delegate to the U.S. Congress has introduced legislation to implement this decision. However, a final resolution to their request has not been accomplished. Many have worked on this effortMr. Underwood's predecessor, both the Bush and Clinton Administrationsbut Guam's question of Commonwealth status remains.
I understand this is not an easy task. The issues raised in this effort are not simple and a final agreement between the United States and Guam will have lasting effects not only for the people of Guam, but for the United States as a whole, and the other Territories and entities which continue to associate themselves with the United States.
This is precisely why this issue should be deliberated in the Congress. We have the responsibility to consider this proposal brought forth by the people of Guam, assess its impact not only on Guam but on the entire United States, and finally come to a conclusion on Guam's pursuit for Commonwealth status.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The final implementation document of Guam's Commonwealth Status must reflect Guam's desire for greater self-determination and self-governance, balanced with their desire to remain a part of the United States, including all of the rights and responsibilities that go along with this relationship.
Mr. Chair and Members of the Committee, you have a challenging task ahead. I urge you to move forward on your deliberations on H.R. 100 and work toward the implementation of Guam's Commonwealth Status. Thank you.
Mr. HILL. I thank you very much for that testimony, Congresswoman Mink. I now note that
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman. May I submit a statement for the record?
Mr. HILL. Without objection.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Abercrombie follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. NEIL ABERCROMBIE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to submit my views on Guam Commonwealth. Let me first commend you for holding a hearing on H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act. H.R. 100 is representative of the political aspirations of many people on Guam, my Pacific neighbors. It is my hope that the Committee will seriously engage the political leadership of Guam in considering the question of Commonwealth status.
It is my understanding that the Guam Commission on Self Determination has been involved in discussions with both the Bush and Clinton Administrations on Guam Commonwealth. I look forward to hearing the position of the Clinton Administration on Guam Commonwealth, but I am most interested in receiving testimony from Guam's people. It is my observation that the Guam Commonwealth question has always been a bipartisan issue. That aspect is important for us to reflect upon as we review the Commonwealth proposal today.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, the people of Guam have long expressed an unwavering commitment and loyalty to the United States. As we approach the centennial anniversary of the Spanish American War, we must also reflect on the long road that the people of Guam have tried to secure and advance self-government in their island home. No better example can be made of the need for self-government than the other pieces of legislation that the Committee will be hearing. Both the Guam Judicial Empowerment Act, which I have co-sponsored, and the Guam Land Return provision of S.210, deal with issues that are the consequence of Guam's current territorial status.
Those of us who have the Constitutional authority to establish policies over the territories must take our responsibilities seriously. We must engage the political leadership of Guam and pursue a positive resolution to the issues they have raised. We must review the current system in place and acknowledge the need for clarity and change in the Federal-territorial relationship. The aspirations of the people of Guam should establish a foundation for the Committee's consideration and I am pleased that we are here today to initiate that process.
Mr. HILL. I now note that Congressman Becerra is here, and I will recognize Congressman Becerra.
STATEMENT OF HON. XAVIER BECERRA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. BECERRA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to all the members of the committee. Let me first state that I, too, am a supporter of H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act, and I want to thank the gentleman from Guam, Congressman Robert Underwood, for his diligent efforts on behalf of the people of Guam.
Mr. Chairman, it is my privilege to come before you and the full Committee on Resources to support Guam's quest for Commonwealth status. As you know, next year marks the centennial anniversary of Guam becoming an American territory, and it is a most appropriate opportunity for the Congress to consider legislation that seeks to improve the political relationship between the Federal Government and Guam.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It has been 15 years since the people of Guam set out on a course to obtain Commonwealth status, yet the people of Guam continue to be statutory U.S. citizens and cannot vote for the President of the United States. This situation certainly is unfair and unnecessaryand Congress must recognize the importance of this issueand I hope that the committee will work closely with the leadership of Guam to make Commonwealth for Guam a reality. Our Constitution charges Congress with matters relating to the territories, and I believe that it is our responsibility to consider the will of the people of Guam and work toward Guam Commonwealth status.
Since 1990, the leadership of Guam has been engaged in serious discussions with both the Bush and Clinton administrations regarding the island's political status movement. It is now time for Congress to obtain an appraisal of this work and to act accordingly. We have to remind ourselves that every significant change in Federal policy is rooted here in the House of the people. We must be engaged and willing to consider taking bold steps that are of mutual benefit to the United States and the people of Guam.
Having been colonized by Spain more than 200 years ago, it is clear that the Chamorro people share a close cultural affinity with many of the people of Americacitizens of Americawho are of Latino descent. It is for these reasons that I take particular interest in the issues affecting Guam. As a Member of Congress of Latino descent, I will watch this process closely and will be willing to work and participate meaningfully in the positive resolution for Guam's quest for Commonwealth status.
I look to the leadership of this committee, and Congressman Bob Underwood, to work on this issue, and I hope that a sincere effort will be made to accommodate Guam and its noble people.
Mr. Chairman, with that, I will submit my statement. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Becerra follows:]
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. XAVIER BECERRA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Chairman, it is my personal privilege to come before you and the full Committee on Resources to support Guam's quest for Commonwealth status. As you know, next year marks the centennial anniversary of Guam becoming an American territory and it is a most appropriate opportunity for the Congress to consider legislation that seeks to improve the political relationship between the Federal Government and Guam. It has been fifteen years since the people of Guam set on a course to obtain Commonwealth status. Yet, the people of Guam continue to be statutory U.S. Citizens and cannot vote for the President of the United States. This situation is unfair and unecessary. The Congress must recognize the importance of this issue, and I hope that the Committee will work closely with the leadership of Guam to make Commonwealth for Guam a reality.
Our Constitution charges Congress with matters relating to the territories and I believe that it is our responsibility to consider the will of the people of Guam and work toward Guam Commonwealth status. Since 1990, the leadership of Guam has been engaged in serious discussions with both the Bush and Clinton Administrations regarding the Island's political status movement. It is now time for Congress to get an appraisal of this work and to act accordingly. We have to remind ourselves that every significant change in Federal policy is rooted here in the House of the people. We must be engaged and willing to consider taking bold steps that are of mutual benefit to the United States and the people of Guam.
Having been colonized by Spain for more than two hundred years, the Chamorro people share a close cultural affinity with Latino people. It is for these reasons that I take particular interest in the issues affecting Guam. As a Latino member, I will watch this process closely and will be willing to participate meaningfully in the positive resolution of Guam's quest for Commonwealth Status. I look to the leadership of the Committee and Congressman Bob Underwood to work on this issue and I hope that a sincere effort will be be made to accommodate Guam.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HILL. I thank you, Congressman Becerra, and I would now like to recognize former Delegate Ben Blaz.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BEN BLAZ, FORMER DELEGATE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. BEN BLAZ. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Miller, and members of the committee. First let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify on behalf of H.R. 100.
I must say that the view from the beachhead down here is a bit different from the pompous head up there. The configuration here does look like part of a coliseum, and you wonder why the witnesses from time-to-time feel like gladiatorsthe Caesars sit up there. But there's something interesting about this particular setting. The banner behind you, Mr. Chairman, is star-spangled, and the supporting colors around it include my beloved Guam. We're in friendly territory, and I feel very comfortable, thank you.
A hundred years ago, when Henry Glass, Captain Henry Glass of the Navy, sailed into Guam, after a couple of days he probably sent this message: ''Guam captured. Spanish prisoners under control, but the natives keep asking me what their status is.'' It is likely that the response came back rather tersely and probably stated: ''Political status is not your domain. Proceed to Manila. Join Admiral Dewey.'' And you know the rest of the story.
But whether or not political status was the domain of the Navy for the ensuing 50 years, it dominated Guam. So much so, Mr. Chairman, that when I graduated from Notre Dame and was commissioned an officer and I wanted to go home and strut my uniform and medals before my village friends, I couldn't go because I did not have the proper security clearance. Following that, we were transferred to the Department of the Interior and there, often, we felt like wards, and often the administrators acted like wardens.
We're now 100 years into this situation. What I'd like to point out is that in areas where the people of Guam have control in what they do, they have done exceedingly well. When we speak about self-determination, we instantly associate political self-determination, but gone unnoticed, and to the credit of the people of Guam, they have done exceedingly well in trying to preserve their identity, their culture, and their language, and they have kept themselves from being a mere footnote in history. They have attained cultural self-determination.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And despite the plethora of regulations and instructions and laws that were written for other places at other times, they have managed to succeed and attain a very significant measure of economic self-determination, but the one thing that is needed to solidify the foundation is beyond the capability of the people of Guam themselves, and that is political self-determination.
I know we have limited time, and earlier today Congressman Underwood gave us the 2-minute warning without any timeouts. So it's kind of difficult, quite frankly, to cover 100 years in 100 seconds. So I'll take more than 100 seconds and say to you that in this body, which uses from time-to-time the logic, or de-logic, that this cannot be done, because it will set precedenceif you can't set precedence in the House of Representatives, there ain't no place on earth where you can set precedence. If you can takeI don't have any quotations from legislature to show the legislative intent as to why we're in this situation.
So let me just end my presentation by getting a quotation from a Founding Father, and here's the quotation: ''I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him as a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.''
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I just want to say that what Guam is asking, it has been asking not since 1987, but in every decade of this century. A hundred years is a long time to wait in line. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ben Blaz follows:]
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF BEN BLAZ, GUAM, FORMER DELEGATE FROM GUAM
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: I thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of H.R. 100, the Commonwealth Act for Guam.
I am Ben Blaz. I am a Chamorro, a native son of Guam. I am now retired from Public Service, having served 30 years in the Marine Corps and 8 years in the House of Representatives as the Delegate from Guam (1985-1993). I will be seventy years old in a few months, on the 100th anniversary of the incident that triggered the Spanish-American War in 1898. Although it lasted less than 4 months, its impact is felt to this day by both Spain and the United States and, most especially, by the entities that were ceded to the United States as prizes of the war.
It has been a while since I have been in this room. Were I to send a message back in the manner that I used to do in my days as a soldier of the sea, it would read something like this:
Landing successful. No hostile fire. Advise all units that there is wide open terrain in immediate front which is elevated at other end. Be further advised that the center pole flies the stars and stripes of our country surrounded by flags of supporting units including the flag of Guam. Friendly forces now in sight; link-up imminent. Advise all units to move smartly.
About a century ago, the U.S.S. Maine, anchored in Havana Harbor, was blown up under mysterious circumstances. The incident gave birth to the war cry, Remember the Maine, To Hell With Spain. About 4 months later, Captain Henry Glass, in command of the U.S.S. Charleston, received orders to sail to Guam, capture it, and report back when that has been accomplished.
On the morning of June 22, 1898, Captain Glass most likely sent a message along these lines: Mission accomplished. Guam captured; enemy soldiers under my control. What am I to do with the thousands of native Chamorros who are inquiring about their status? The response was probably: Civil Administration is not a matter of your concern. Proceed to Manila Bay. Report to Commodore George Dewey for duty in connection with the Philippines campaign.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the ensuing 50 years, Guam had a rocky relationship with U.S. military governance. In 1950, it was placed under the cognizance of the Secretary of Interior where it has remained for almost half a century. In those 100 years, Guam has indeed enjoyed the benevolence of the United States in terms of financial assistance. At the same time, however, the people of Guam have become increasingly frustrated by the benign neglect of its persistent quest for a well defined, participatory policy, with respect to its relationship with the Mother Country.
The bill before Congress today has been characterized as something relatively new but the history books reveal otherwise. They are replete with references of attempts by the local population in every decade of this century to improve our relationship with our country. I recall vividly a letter I received from my father while I was a student at Notre Dame in 1950. He was greatly troubled by the modified version of American citizenship that was envisioned in the Organic Act. He argued, and rather strongly, that the Organic Act for Guam, if enacted, would lock in law a status that he said would make us Associate Americans, or, as he stated it another way, Americans with an asterisk. He was adamant in his belief that he would rather not be a citizen at all than be a half hearted one. He feared that it would take another fifty years to change that status, if at all, once it is etched in the stone tabloids of Public Law. His stance on the issue did not endear him to his contemporaries who had campaigned so fervently for U.S. citizenship. He went to his grave with his sentiment unaltered. In time, his reservations proved eerily prophetic.
Significantly, the sitting Governor of Guam and the two former Governors who will testify today, are all grandchildren of men who were very active at the turn of the century in their efforts to rid Guam of the designation, possession, and all that the term implies, and bring about a closer relationship with America. While the designation was modified at mid-century to unincorporated territory, the meaning has remained unchanged: Guam is not an integral part of the United States.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This fact was made very clear to me during the 8 years I served in the House of Representatives. I was listed as a Member of Congress but I was not considered one of its Members. Although there was an attempt in recent years to elevate the status of the five Delegates to the Congress by giving them the right to cast a vote on the floor, that, too, had an asterisk with an exclamation point indicating that when their votes counted in the outcome, they are voided. In other words, when they counted, they didn't.
But we have been included repeatedly in the areas that really count. In the most dear, the most precious, and the most basic of all tests to one's loyalty to one's country, our people have been present and accounted for in every war in which our country has fought in this century. I have traced with my own fingers the seventy names on the Vietnam Wall of the Guamanians who were killed in action in that conflict, a number notable for its size with respect to the population from which they came. My father's generation was given to saying that we are equal in war, but not in peace. When viewed from the perspective of casualties in war on a per-capita basis, the proportion is not in our favor. We cannot even claim equality in war.
While the term Self-Determination has more or less been taken to mean political Self-Determination, there are two other areas in this category that have gone essentially unnoticed. The first of these has been the conscious effort of my people, the Chamorros of Guam, to preserve their language and their culture as a distinct people on the face of the good earth. This insures that we do not end up as a footnote in the history books as an extinct people. In this area we have succeeded in achieving Cultural Self-Determination.
Similarly, Guam has attained a significant measure of economic self sufficiency while gingerly picking its way through a plethora of inhibiting laws and regulations, many of which were written for other places at other times.
Nevertheless, Guam has managed to get closer and closer to achieving another milestoneEconomic Self-Determination.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The enduring quest for the part that would give us a solid foundation upon which to build as we prepare to enter the 21st century, is one that is beyond the capability of the people of Guam to accomplish by themselvesPolitical Self Determination. On the particulars of the bill before the Committee today, and, in deference to their respective offices, I yield to the leadershipour distinguished Governor, Carl Gutierrez, and my esteemed successor, Congressman Robert Underwood.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of escorting 50 veterans celebrating the 46th anniversary of our commissioning as Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. No one in the group had ever been to the House floor and few had ever visited the Capitol but all indicated a desire to do so and to say a prayer in silence in the House of the People. When we reached the floor, the group gave thanks for being spared our lives and expressed appreciation for the privilege of serving the United States in the field of battle. I stood in awe of my aging comrades whose sense of love and devotion to America was strengthened, not weakened, by the passing years.
It was a precious moment that tugged the heart and wet the eyes. As I watched these old warriors look about the House chamber with great pride and admiration, I lamented the fact that I could not share the moment with my former colleagues. It was a very inspiring and reassuring scene to witness on the House floor. We have often heard the question, how did we happen to have a wonderful country such as this? The answer is that we have great citizens such as these. And among them are the people of Guam.
Understandably, the U.S. Constitution was specifically designed to apply to the States of the Union. Provisions were made to insure uniform application of laws to all states and to territories that are embryonic states. Imbued with the notion of preserving the Union at all costs, there prevailed a kind of circle-the-wagons syndrome in the early days of the nation punctuated by pronouncements that the United States was not interested in aggrandizing itself with land acquisitions abroad. That feeling was not shared by many influential people who wanted to acquire strategically located islands in the Atlantic and the Pacific for use as forward bases to protect the homeland in North America. The Spanish-American War provided America the opportunity to make the acquisitions it needed and, as a consequence, acquired Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Atlantic and the Philippines and Guam in the Pacific.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Cuba and the Philippines left the family a long time ago. Significantly, the citizens of both places continue to comprise a very large proportion of the immigrants to the United States. Similarly, Puerto Ricans and Guamanians also migrate to the U.S. mainland but they arrive as American citizens, having acquired them through collective naturalization decades earlier. These resettlements from Guam and Puerto Rico come about primarily in pursuit of opportunities and services not available in their home islands. For the longest time, many people believe that many of the benefits that they do not receive in their island communities was due to prejudice against island people. This, of course, is not an accurate view. Were, say, Members of the Natural Resources Committee to establish residency on Guam, they, too, would no longer enjoy some of the rights and privileges that they received as residents of States of the Union.
The plenary powers of the Congress have been upheld over the years in the way that it ''administers'' the off-shore territories. Unfortunately, because the Uniformity Clause does not apply to the flag territories, it has resulted in an aggravating lack of uniformity in the application of U.S. laws and regulations that often defy reason and logic. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld Congressional actions in the past and can be expected to continue to do so in the future. A paraphrasing of a passage in the Bible aptly describes the existing condition: Congress giveth, Congress taketh away.
What Guam seeks is an arrangement whereby its relationship with the United States is based on a mutually agreed document that is fair to both entities and without prejudice to either. For those who feel that the status quo is sufficient and are riveted to making no changes, the words of one of the greatest of America's early leaders seem particularly appropo:
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The author of these words once prompted President Kennedy to tell a group of American Nobel Prize winners who were being honored at a White House dinner that there had not been such a collection of genius gathered under its roof since Thomas Jefferson dined there alone. We take great pains today to insure accuracy of entries in the record of colloquies and verbatim accounts of debates to establish clearly legislative intent behind various pieces of legislation.
(Not Available.) very accurate indications of their thoughts as they pondered nation-building. Even in the days of the American Revolution, Jefferson foresaw the need for changes in laws and institutions to go hand in hand with the human mind as new discoveries are made and we become more enlightened.
You are likely to hear today a cacophony of voices from the witnesses but I urge you not to misread their meaning. Multiple layers of disappointment, discouragement, and frustration have been building up for many years over the issue of Guam's relationship with America. What have been very difficult to fathom are the contradictions and disparities in the way we do things at the national level.
For a nation that has won the respect and envy of peoples everywhere for its willingness to commit its resources, human and material, to fight in foreign lands in the name of freedom and democracy on short notice, it reverts to glacial speed in its handling of affairs of its own citizens. For a nation that is widely acclaimed internationally for welcoming immigrants to its shores, it struggles trying to accommodate those under the American flag who live in the land of their own nativity: Indians, Eskimos, Hawaiians, Samoans, Chamorros. For a nation that reserves huge acreage of land on islands for the day when birds return, it does little to eliminate the snake that eats the eggs which come first. For a nation that devotes so much money and energy for the protection of fishes and birds, it has a bureau for the Indians and drawers for other Native Americans. It is against this background that one can begin to appreciate the tone and tenor in which the witnesses present their arguments in behalf of a different relationship with the United States.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Guam has both the fortune and misfortune of being located where it is13 degrees North, and 144 degrees East. Because of that happenstance, Ferdinand Magellan's ships with its emaciated and diseased crewmen had the good fortune of drifting into Guam on the waves of the Equatorial Current in 1521. Unfortunately, over the centuries since, Guam has found itself in harm's way as nations fight for possession of it because of its importance as an anchorage and refueling station for ships from elsewhere headed somewhere.
Mother Nature has not been very kind to Guam either. Located as it is in the typhoon belt, it receives more than its share of typhoons and, occasionally, earthquakes to rearrange a few buildings. Like the legendary Phoenix of Greek mythology, however, Guam rises from the ashes and starts all over again and it now appears we are on the good fortune cycle.
Guam's very location geographically, which has been its damnation in a manner of speaking, has become its blessing. As the whole world sharpens its focus on the Pacific and Asia as we enter the 21st Century, Guam finds itself no longer a doormat, but a turnstile, to the Asian mainland. The visit to America this week by President Jiang Zemin of China punctuates the enormous significance of a cooperative relationship between our nation and China. A prosperous and stable Guam under the U.S. flag would serve the best interests of the United States and the people of Guam.
Extending the symbolism of good fortune into the future, Guam is virtually perfectly located in the world to bring about a monumental reality. Its location along the equatorial line with a constant sea surface temperature of around 80 degrees in the proximity of the deepest deep in the world, makes it the ideal location to harness the sun's energy via the sea. With unlimited supply of sea water and tropical sun, and the technology to do this economically, an alternate source of energy which is environmentally pure is staring at us from Guam.
Guam has been referred to as a ward of the U.S. in years past. And those who have had jurisdiction over the island have acted as wardens. But that was yesterday. It is now tomorrow. And, as Mr. Jefferson so eloquently stated, ''as new discoveries are made, new truths are discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.''
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Over the years, we have heard a thousand nays. What Guam hopes to hear today are a few ayes. I urge you to find a way to say yes to Guam's plea for a closer relationship with the United States. That is what the people of Guam opted for in a plebescite a few years ago. If the Congress has the power to extend the provisions of the U.S. Constitution selectively to say no, the question then becomes, could the Congress use the same argument to say yes? I think it could.
It's time. A hundred years is a long wait in line.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman, and I thank the panel for their testimony, and I want to remind members that committee Rule 3(c) imposes a 5-minute limit on questions.
The Chair also wants to inform members that Deputy Secretary Garamendi has to leave shortly to catch an airplane, so let me first see if there are any questions on the majority side.
Mr. TAUZIN. Mr. Chairman, I'm Billy Tauzin from Louisiana. I have to chair a hearing in just a couple of minutes in another very important committee, the Commerce Committee, but I came specifically to let the people of Guam knowand particularly the three living Governors who are here who have traveled so far to be at this hearingof the fine work that Congressman Underwood is doing on behalf of the pursuit of Commonwealth status for the people of Guam.
You should know that he has not only helped convene this hearing and organize this very important learning experience for all of us in Congress, but he has personally visited with each one of us in our offices to educate us on the issues and to bring us into full appreciation of the wishes and aspirations of the people of Guam.
I want to commend our colleague Robert Underwood for the great work he is doing, and beg his indulgence to the fact that I must go chair another hearing, but that we will evaluate carefully, the written testimony that we have before us. And I want to thank him on behalf of our committee, and those of us who have to make important decisions like this, for his great efforts at educating us and preparing us for the decisions we make on the future status of Guam.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Robert, a job well done, and I commend you for this hearing, sir.
Mr. HILL. I thank you, and any questions from the majority?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to pay a special welcome to Ben Blaz. I just think it's terrific to see him again. His contributions here in the Congress over the years are well recognized by those of us who had the privilege of knowing him, serving with him, and learning from him. And I particularly appreciate both the content and the passion and the history behind his comments today.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman. Any other questions from the minority?
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, I, too, would like to say a few words, and especially to welcome our good friend, Congressman Becerra, for his presence, and also a very distinguished former colleague of this committee and a Member of this body, former Congressman Ben Blaz, as Neil had stated earlier, for his presence.
If there's anything that I would like to pay a special tribute to, to former Congressman Blaz, it is a statement that pretty well applies not only to the good citizens of Guam, but certainly to all our Pacific Islands community. And I've quoted this statement by Congressman Blaz because I think it's so apropos, even in our hearing today, and I would like to restate it again as a reminder to my colleagues in the committee.
And Congressman Blaz said, as far as Pacific Islanders are concerned and as something for members of this committee and Members of this body to consider seriously, he said, ''You know, it's a funny thing about Pacific Islanders, the fact that we're U.S. citizens, we owe allegiance to the United States. We are equal in war, but not in peace.''
And I think the consideration of H.R. 100 personifies exactly what Congressman Blaz has said over the years. And the fact that we fight and die in all wars in defense of this great Nation, yet we see some 175,000 U.S. citizens living in the territory of Guam being denied the very essence of what American democracy is all about.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now Mr. Chairman, I don't know if the members of our committee realize, this is since 1982 that the people of Guam voted by more than 75 percent in favor of a Commonwealth status relationship with the United States. And then, 15 years ago15 years agothis took place in that referendum. Eight years agoeight years agowe held a hearing on this very same issue.
And Mr. Chairman, I have your copy of some 100 pages that were written by former Secretary of the Interior, Mannie Lujan, a former Member of this Congress, dated August 1, 1989, containing the memorandum of the very essence of all of the provisions of the things we're discussing today. Eight years agoand now we're here today and we have not even moved an inch.
This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue, Mr. Chairman. This is not an issue between liberals and Democrats. This goes to the very heart and soul of what American democracy is all about, and I commend my good friend, the gentleman from Guam, for pursuing this, as much as for what Congressman Blaz had tried 8 years agothat we still have not paid attention. We just don't seem to get it.
And we're at the height of condemning and doing all that we cantalking about human rights violations and Jiang Zemin's current visit here in Washingtonand yet we're denying this very fundamental right to our own citizensto our own citizenswho don't vote for the President and who are willing to die and fight for the defense of our nation.
So those are just a couple of my observations at the hearing. And I'd like to say, Mr. Chairman, I'm very happy with the Republican majority. We're killing two birds with one stoneH.R. 100 and Senate bill 210and I think it's fantastic, and I commend the chairman of our committee, Mr. Young, for taking these two pieces of legislation both in hand and hope that we'll get it out of here. I sincerely hope that we'll even mark up these two pieces of legislation after the hearing, as has been the practice of our majority friends. I think this is the best way to do legislation.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. But I want to commend the chairman of the committee for bringing these two pieces of legislation that are not only important to our friends from Guam, but certainly important for the other insular areas. And I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and look forward to hearing from our members, both of those from the administration, and also the good people and the leaders of Guam. Thank you.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman. If there are no further questions, then I would like
Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to have
Mr. HILL. The gentleman is recognized. I would just remind the gentleman that the Deputy Secretary does have to leave here shortly for an airplane, if we want to hear his testimony.
Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. All right, I will be short, brief. I just wanted to greet our friends here and our colleague, Xavier Becerra, and former Member, Ben BlazI've never served with him, but I've heard very good things about himand thank you for being here with us today.
And as being from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, I understand all the frustrations that you have in Guam and that all the other territories have. We are still also striving for our right to vote, our right to representation, and I'm sure that our chairman, Mr. Young, also remembers the frustrations when Alaska was not a State, and so did our previous two persons who testified, Senator Akaka and Congresswoman Patsy Mink, who also remember when Hawaii was not a State, and there were territories.
And sometimes we're asked whether we are U.S. citizens. When I was a Governor of Puerto Rico, I remember I made a recommendation to the Agency for International Development for someone to be appointed who met all the requirements for the person that they were looking for for the position, and I got back a letter from the director of the Agency thanking me for my interest and saying that it was a very highly qualified person, and that he probably would have appointed him had it not been for the fact that he could only appoint U.S. citizens. So, this is from the head of an agency; this is a continuous frustration that we do have.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And right now, when Congress has approved health care insurance for all children of America, all the statements that were made during all the hearings and publicly by everyone involved with the bill that was passed on health care insurance for the children of Americait said for all the children of America. But in the final moments, when the bill was adopted, in the negotiations between the Congress and the President, it turned out that Puerto Rico and the territories were given a different treatment, and we were not given equal participation. So there's even discrimination against the children in something like health care. When some things like that happen, something has to be done.
So, this is why I'm very glad that we're here today, and I commend my colleague, Bob Underwood, for the job that he has done. There are so many issues that are similar to those of Puerto Rico. Some of the things I see that Guam wants, we're rejecting in Puerto Ricosome of us are, some are accepting it.
But it's a very, very intricate issue, and it's very complicated, but there is one overriding concern. And that is that, as U.S. citizens, in this day and age, our Nation and our President and our Congress cannot go about bragging about this example of democracy throughout the world because we are remiss. There are millions of citizens, including 3.8 million in Puerto Rico who are U.S. citizens, who are disenfranchised, and that has to be solved.
So, I think these hearings are very, very important, and I'm glad to be here and have the opportunity to be a member of this committee and participate in this hearing. Thank you very much for your presence here.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Mr. Chairman, could I justI would be very brief.
Chairman YOUNG. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman. I would like to recognize the Chairman of the committee.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ChairmanYOUNG. Mr. Chairman, I would encourage the people in the back of the room, if you would like to immediately come up here and fill these chairs up so the ones in the hall can come in. Let's do some movement here. I want those people in the hall up hereout by the door. Come on in; move it up. Fill these seats so that now those in the hall can come in. After all, as Mr. Farr says, they've been flying 18 hours. As long as you're not press, nowI'm not talking about press.
All right. You didn't fly 18 hoursno, she's from Guam. Now, those out in the hall, come on in, as many as you can.
Mr. HILL. I thank the chairman. If there are no further questions for this panel, I could excuse this panel, and we could ask Mr. Garamendi to move forward. And as soon as the room calms down, we can begin with his testimony.
Chairman YOUNG. There are still some seats up here, if there's anybody out in the hall. You can act like you're Congress people for a short period of time.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Can we mark this up and vote now, and include these people?
Mr. MILLER. I think he's got a majority here.
Chairman YOUNG. But we've got the gavel.
Mr. HILL. The Chair would remind members that Deputy Secretary Garamendi has to leave shortly, and so he's going to offer his testimony, and then Mr. Staymen will be staying on to answer questions.
Chairman YOUNG. I'd just like tobecause I have another Transportation Committee to go toI want to compliment Mr. Underwood and other members of the committee for their interest in this legislation. It is my hope that we will have a group in Guam in February, and hope that everybody recognizes we'll have a better understandingand also, hopefully, to American Samoa. And I want to congratulate all of you who came this far on this very historical and very important time of the hearing on Guam, and I do thank you. And for the record, I'd like to submit my written testimony.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Young follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALASKA
As Chairman of the Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives with jurisdiction over insular affairs affecting the U.S. territories and the freely associated states, I consider increasing self-governance in the insular areas to be one of the top priorities of the Committee on Resources. During this and the prior Congresses, the Committee has devoted considerable effort to advance self-government in the insular areas, and in particular, the most populous American territory in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico. The Committee has been formally petitioned in three successive Congresses by the Puerto Rico Legislature for action to establish in Federal law a process to resolve Puerto Rico's ultimate political status.
It is significant to note that the people of Puerto Rico have enjoyed local self-government under a constitution since initially authorized and then amended and approved by Congress in 1952. Puerto Rico has operated under its constitution, wherein they named their new government the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, for over 45 years without being required to ask Congress for approval to changes to its constitutional government. Now, this Committee recently approved legislation defining in Federal law a process to advance toward a final political status.
At the end of last year, I wrote to Present Clinton about certain areas of concern regarding Guam Commonwealth. In my letter of December 11, 1996, I explained that Guam already has the authority to enact a ''Commonwealth of Guam'' structure for local constitutional self government, which Congress authorized in 1976. As that communication is relevant to the legislation before the Committee, I am submitting a copy of the President's reply and my letter.
The Guam Legislature recently enacted an important resolution which is also related to the above communication and the current legislation before the Committee. Guam Legislature Resolution No. 85 enacted September 15, 1997, (copy included) requested that the 105th Congress modify existing Federal law ''To confirm that the adoption of a Constitution establishing local government shall not preclude or prejudice the further exercise in the future by the people of Guam of the right of self-determination regarding the ultimate political status of Guam.''
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is significant to point out that a number of provisions in legislation being considered today which require changes to the Organic Act of Guam, would not require action by Congress if Guam were to in fact enact a constitution as already authorized in Federal law. Congress' 1976 authorization for constitutional government for Guam and the United States Virgin Islands is codified in Title 48 of the United States Code Annotated, Chapter 12, Historical and Statutory Notes (see attached).
In response to Guam Resolution No. 85, Congress would amend the existing authorization for a Guam constitution to qualify in Federal law that the people of Guam would not prejudice or preclude their further right to self-determination. In addition, Congress could specifically state that Guam is authorized to develop a Commonwealth of Guam constitution for local self government. It appears that judicial decisions since enactment of the original authorization by Congress may now require a separate Federal law approving the draft constitution, rather than just a 60 day review period.
Increasing self-governance in the territories is a political evolutionary process that culminates when the area becomes fully self-governing, either as a separate sovereign outside of United States sovereignty with separate nationality and citizenship, or as an incorporated part of the United States. Over this century, for those territories or trust territories which haven't sought and attained separate sovereignty, this advancement in self-government has occurred to varying degrees in the territories to include some, and in the cases of the most politically developed, all of the following: extension of U.S. citizenship, application of the U.S. Constitution, inclusion in the U.S. customs territory and free trade agreements, establishment of a republican form of government with three functioning local branches of government, the authorization and establishment of local constitutional government, direct election of Governor, election of a representative in Congress, as well as the inclusion in U.S. defense, monetary, fiscal, postal, and telecommunication spheres. As each territory has its own set of economic, political, and social characteristics, it is up to each area to determine the pace and direction of its self-governance.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe this hearing has the potential to assist the insular areas, including Guam, in advancing toward greater local self-government. The statements by the witnesses today, including Senate and House colleagues, the Administration, and leaders from Guam and the freely associated states, will help Congress to objectively consider the diverse measures in the three bills before the Committee today, S. 210, the Omnibus Territories Act, H.R. 2370, the Guam Judicial Empowerment Act, and H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act.
LETTER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON BY HON. DON YOUNG
The Honorable WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON,
|Don Young, Committee on Resources,|
|December 11, 1996|
President of the United States,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I recently have seen press reports and reviewed public statements by local officials in the U.S. territory of Guam regarding current political status consultations between the Deputy Secretary of the Interior and representatives of the territorial government's ''Commission on Self Determination.'' I am quite familiar with the saga of Guam's quest for a new political status. and some real concerns arise from the information we are receiving.
For most of the last decade Congress and the executive branch have passed the buck back and-forth without responding to Guam's proposal for a ''Commonwealth of Guam'' in a manner that suggests a legally sound, politically feasible and intellectually honest alternative approach to achieving local self-government and defining options for resolving the status question. At this stage in the process, the only thing worse than further dithering would be to make commitments on behalf of the Federal Government that can't be kept.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I remain optimistic that the U.S. and Guam can define and jointly implement a process to establish constitutional self-government. In addition, if Congress, the Administration and the territorial government are serious about the decolonization of Guam as contemplated by Article 73 of the U.N. Charter, 1997 can be the year that we start down that path by defining a legitimate self-determination process based on legally valid options for ultimately ending unincorporated status in favor of full self-government.
Of course, under Public Law 94-584 Guam has had the ability since 1976 to establish a ''Commonwealth of Guam'' structure of local constitutional self-government to replace the present territorial administration under the 1950 Organic Act. I voted in favor of Public Law 94-584 with the expectation that the institution of local constitutional self-government would provide the mechanism to address and resolve issues that have arisen such as the rights of Guam's indigenous Chamorro people, return of excess military land, immigration policy, and, of course, Guam's ultimate political status.
Instead, Guam elected to link commencement of local constitutional self-government over its internal affairs to a proposed comprehensive government-to-government political status pact which contained Federal law and territorial policy reforms that Congress may or may not ever approve. When presented with that expansive proposal the then majority in Congress told Guam's leaders to go work out the issues with the Executive. Predictably, the departments and agencies of the Federal Government grudgingly agreed to review what Guam was proposing, while correctly insisting all along that Congress would have to make the difficult policy and legal determinations.
The delays, frustration and difficulty that Guam has experienced in seeking a competently formulated and constructive response from the Federal Government is due in part to the fact that determination of the disposition of the unincorporated territories is an authority and responsibility expressly assigned in the first instance to Congress under the territorial clause of the Constitution (article IV, section 3, clause 2). Thus, history demonstrates that more than any other factor the degree of consultation and coordination between the executive branch and Congress on status measures within the scope of the territorial clause makes the difference between getting it done right, getting it done the hard way, or not getting it done at all.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, the last time a President of the United States transmitted to Congress a major new territorial status proposal it was the free association agreement for the Pacific islands trust territory in 1984. The primary criticism of the Reagan Administration by leaders in Congress at the timeincluding mewas inadequate consultation with Congress before commitments were made by executive branch negotiators on behalf of the Federal Government.
After more than twenty hearings before five committees in Congress and years of truly tortuous debate, the framework political status legislation for the Pacific trust territories was approved. More than thirty five pages of statutory amendments and reservations were added by Congress to the status agreements. The entire process was gratuitously destructive in many resects, due in part to provisions agreed to by the Federal negotiators without consulting Congress. The people of the islands and the Fedem1 government paid a high price for doing it the hard way, and it almost didn't get done at all.
On January 31, 1995in the first month of the 104th Congressthe Chairman of the Subcommittee on Native American and Insular Affairs, Mr. Gallegly, tried to send a clear signal regarding political status to the Administration, Guam, Puerto Rico, and all the unincorporated territories by candidly stating that ''. . . until a territory gains distinct sovereignty within or without the Constitution, the Congress cannot be bound by an unalterable bilateral pact of mutual consent.'' Yet, there reportedly is an agreement in the works under which the political, legal and economic relationship to be defined under the proposed ''Guam Commonwealth Act'' (GCA) could not be altered by a future Congress without the ''mutual consent'' of Guam.
Since the GCA would be a Federal statute, a future Congress can not be bound to a political status relationship with an unincorporated territory as contemplated by the GCA. The ''solution'' apparently arrived at in the Guam discussions is to create ambiguity about the nature of the mutual consent clause. Thus, instead of an enforceable right of consent, Guam reportedly is prepared to accept a provision which admits of unenforceability. This may have some symbolic political value, but in the end it only underscores the disenfranchisement and lack of equal participation or real consent in the Federal political process for U.S. citizens in an unincorporated territory such as Guam.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is time for both Federal and territorial officials to stop bashing ''the bureaucrats'' for the lack of a political status agreement with Guam. We should be glad there are executive branch civil servants who will not bow to political pressure and sign off on status proposals that do not withstand scrutiny. An agreement that will unravel as soon as the ink dries, or another proposal that simply gathers dust, has no real value for the U.S. or Guam. Those of us elected to get results for the people we serve need to take responsibility for doing more than ''coming to closure'' with Guam in form but not substance. If we believe we can pretend to have a real agreement and then walk away or wash our hands of it, we are really just setting up the people of Guam for another episode of disappointment.
We may have disagreement on some issues, but the Federal Government must never risk making a mockery of the decolonization process. We would do just that by attempting to make less-than-equal citizenship and permanent disenfranchisement seem more tolerable through the legal and political fiction of ''mutual consent.'' Also, I question whether the U.S. would be fulfilling its obligations to the Chamorro people by agreeing to a provision which seems to reduce the legacy of the native inhabitants of Guam to the possibility of their participation in what appears to amount to little more than a straw poll. The people of Guam deserve better, and we can do better.
Thus, I stand ready to work with your Administration to develop a strategy for success in this matter, rather than continuing tactics of grid-lock and blame-shifting we have seen in the past. This Committee and its staff would be pleased to work with those responsible for the Administration's status consultations with Guam to ensure that this time we get it done right.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCANSWER TO MR. YOUNG'S LETTER FROM PRESIDENT CLINTON
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I read your letter regarding Guam's commonwealth status with great interest, and I share many of the positions you expressed in your well-reasoned analysis.
Recentaly, I met with the Governor of Guam to discuss the pace and direction of the negotiations. We agreed on the need to move quickly to resolve several key questions involving the territory's political status. As you point out in your letter, the issues are complex and sensitive. I am aware of Guam's aspirations for self-government. At the same time, we must satisfy Federal concerns at the policy, legislative and constitutional levels.
I am prepared to provide sustained attention from the Executive Branch to these negotiations. A successful outcome requires coordination among many agencies and extensive consultations with Congress. I look toward to working with you and your colleagues in the coming months as we move the Guam issue toward a conclusion that will be satisfactory to all involved.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We now will hear from the administration, represented by the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, John Garamendi.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHN R. GARAMENDI, DEPUTY SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I commend you for holding today's hearing on the Guam Commonwealth. It's an historic and auspicious time to do it; 1997 marks the 10th anniversary of when the people of Guam voted to send the original Commonwealth Draft Act to Congress. Next year also marks the centennial of the Treaty of Paris, when the United States obtained Guam from Spain in 1898. The issue of Guam's political status represents an important piece of unfinished business that sorely needs resolution.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So where are we today after these many years? First, the process followed by the three special representatives, myself being the third, in this administration, attempted to be creative and flexible in the executive branch consideration of the fundamental Guam Commonwealth issues. I've tried different formulations and approaches to reach compromises that could be supported by Guam and proposed to the administration.
Final administration positions, however, are based on a consensus process among the different constituent interests that make up the Federal Government. They are also governed by constitutional, policy, and legislative constraints. While I may believe that my views are appropriate, and I suppose I may be the only one that has that view about their own ideas, even though I might believe they're appropriate, they do not necessarily constitute the administration's position unless the entire executive branch endorses them and those policies meet constitutional and other tests.
The second point: While there remain areas of disagreements, years of discussion between the administration and Guam have resulted in significant progress and numerous areas of Federal agreement and support. Although we are unable to support everything that Guam has originally proposed, there are a number of areas where we are supportive of the proposals that are responsive to the legitimate desires of the Guam people for greater self-government, for increased input into the Federal policymaking process, and for the application of Federal policies in a way that respect the uniqueness of Guam.
Now these areas include the following: support for a Federal policy commitment to not unilaterally change the fundamental relationships between Guam and the United States; supporting the creation of a commission with significant representation and input by Guam to review and provide recommendations on the appropriate application of Federal policies to the island. Third, supporting an invitation for the people of Guam to express their desire for Guam's ultimate political status, supporting the amendment of appropriate provisions of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act to accommodate Guam's desire to limit the rate of permanent immigration to the islands, and to provide additional flexibility to address Guam's permanent labor needs. And, finally, supporting within certain parameters the right of first refusal for Guam to obtain Federal excess lands on the island.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, it should be noted that the executive branch has grappled with the original Guam Commonwealth bill for the better part of a decade, through the change of several administrations, both in Guam and in Washington. The general positions resulting from Federal review of the original bill have remained relatively consistent. The Guam Commonwealth Draft Act, as originally approved by Guam in 1987, cannot be supported by the Federal Government.
Among the key concepts we cannot support are the following. First, legally binding the Congress or the executive branch to seek the consent of the Commonwealth Government before modifying the act creating the Commonwealth, or before applying any future Federal law, regulation, or policy to Guam. Second, providing for a legally binding Government-sponsored or endorsed vote on the ultimate political status of Guam in which only one group can participate to the exclusion of other U.S. citizen residents of Guam.
Thirdly, transferring the Federal control over the adoption and enforcement of immigration and labor policies to the Commonwealth Government of Guam, and, finally, creating a joint commission under Guam's control, which would have the authority to issue final determinations on the application of Federal policies to Guam and to determine military lands to be transferred to the Commonwealth Government.
In conclusion, we believe that much has come from the negotiations to date. These can be further refined and profitably achieved with continued and sustained effort and attentionnot just by Guam and the executive branch, but also by Congress.
Therefore, our first recommendation of options to pursue is to encourage Congress to join in the Guam status deliberations to help formulate a comprehensive Commonwealth legislation that is mutually agreeable to all parties. Participation by Congress, which is constitutionally vested with plenary powers over territorial matters, would add significant momentum in bringing this matter to a closure. On June 20, 1998, the centennial of the raising of the American flag on Guam occurs. This would be a good deadline to complete work on a substitute Guam Commonwealth bill.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A second alternative would be to pursue individual Federal policy changes that Guam has proposed, which are supportable by the administration, many of which are not inherent in the definition of the island's constitutional status. We could do this through discrete and separate legislation, perhaps having individual bills for each issue considered, such as the application of Federal immigration, labor, transportation, trade, and tax policies to the islands.
The administration is willing to pursue either of these alternatives. I thank you for the opportunity to testify, and I'll try to answer whatever questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Garamendi may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. HILL. I thank the witness for his testimony. The chairman will now recognize members for any questions they may wish to ask the witness. I will submit questions for the record, recognizing that you're on a tight schedule, and I will now recognize Mr. Miller.
Mr. MILLER. I would yield to Mr. Underwood. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your statement.
Mr. HILL. Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your statement, and I read it briefly this morning. And I want to say that at least we're at the point in which a clear decision is being reached as to how far the administration is going to go.
Obviously, I want you to know that I think that it is very clearly the sentiment of the people of Guam that without consideration of Chamorro self-determination, we will not ever have any kind of political status change which will be meaningful for Guam. I want to stress that this is a core principle of our commonwealth legislation and I've noticed that you've touched on that in an unsupportive way.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I just want to ask you, on one page of your testimony you lend a great deal of hope for further discussion, and I certainly appreciate that. However, on the second page you de-limit some of the proposals and the advances that you've indicated have existed. In terms of mutual consent, your statement says that you are willing to support a Federal policy commitment not to unilaterally change the fundamental relationship between Guam and the U.S., and in the second part you say that you are against legally binding the Congress or the executive branch to seek the consent of the Commonwealth Government before modifying the act creating Guam Commonwealth. It seems to me that you're willing to say that you are willing to make a promise, but just don't hold us to that promise. Is that a fair characterization of your position?
Mr. GARAMENDI. Let me put it in my words. There should be a policy, and this administration believes that a policy should be put in place that the Commonwealth Act should not be changed without mutual agreement. However, to place that into the law creates very serious constitutional and legal problems that the administration believes cannot be overcome. Therefore, as an example, since the original Organic Act for Guam, which I believe was in the 1950's, there has not been a change that has not been mutually acceptable. So, I would say the policy has been long-established, but the legal issue is quite clear from the point of view of the administration legal lawyers.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK. The second question I haveand I know you're running a tight schedule, Mr. Secretarypertains to the issue of the final political status, the self-determination issue. You indicate that the administration is willing to support an invitation for the Guamanian people to express their desire for Guam's ultimate political status, but that you reject the notion that there can be provided for a legally binding, Government-sponsored or endorsed vote on the ultimate political status of Guam.
The question I have is that underunless I'm not seeing something that you may wish to sayis that under either scenario, there is no legally binding, self-determination vote for Guam possible, because even in the more expansive statement in which you indicate that the administration is willing to support an invitation for the Guamanian people, you did not put that it would be legally binding, Government-sponsored, or endorsed; yet you're quite willing to limit those possibilities for the exercise of Chamorro self-determination, but you're not quite willing to expand and make a full commitment on the exercise of any future political status vote by all the people who are currently on Guam. And what that means is that, basically, it seems to me, is that it's a denial of the exercise of self-determination all the way around, either for the Chamorro or all people who are currently on Guam.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GARAMENDI. I don't believe that to be the case. If there is a Government-sponsored election that includes all of the legal residents who are eligible vote, then I believe that that would have great weight. Obviously, the ultimate disposition of the status of Guam resides in this buildingor in these buildings. It resides with Congress, as stated by the Constitution. And so that issue is, I think, very clear.
Equally clear are the concerns that the administration has about sponsoring a vote in which only a subgroup of people who are legal residents and eligible to vote, could vote. I would like to be certain that we provide you with written testimony, some of which is already in my statementof the long, written statementon this matter, and if further clarification is desired by the committee, we would be happy to respond in writing. I don't want to confuse the issue with a potential misstatement by myself.
Let me take advantage of what appears to be just a few more seconds to state one more thing that is very obvious to me, and that is the enormous energy, intellectual capacity, and determination that has been applied to the months of negotiations in which I have been engaged in and applied by yourself, Mr. Underwood, and by the Governor of Guam, Mr. Gutierrez. The two of you have been extraordinary, both in your determination to push this issue forward and in the intellectual depth to which you have taken this matter. You have taught me a great deal; I have learned a great deal, and I have great respect for both of you.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, I appreciate those very kind words, and I would be less than candid if I didn't say that the Federal bureaucracy matched this intellect and this energy going in the opposite direction, perhaps with greater successapparently.
Mr. GARAMENDI. I'll let you
Mr. UNDERWOOD. But I certainly have some questions for the record. I just want to reiterate again that the issue of Chamorro self-determination, the indigenous people of Guam who were the people that were colonized in the case of Guam, will never go away until it's fully resolved in one way or another. And one way or another, that exercise will occur.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have to reiterate my strong concern about the manner in which the administration has taken this position, but I will say that you have left the door open, and I'm happy that there is the door open now. You may just have to be careful that there are going to be hundreds of people running through that door.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Well
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman. I would remind members of the committee that Mr. Garamendi does have to leave for an airplane, and I would remind all members that they can submit questions for the record.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes, thank you very much. Mr. Garamendi, I appreciate that you're going to have to leave shortly, but I think there are some questions here with regard to Commonwealth that should be on the record now, and folks should hear it as quickly as possible.
There are parallels to the difficulties in Puerto Rico here. I'm glad this hearing is being held today because I think it points out how you cannot write a definition of Commonwealth to suit yourself, and I think this is one of the problems that is not fully understood in Puerto Rico. I agree with you, I believe, if I understand you correctly. Legally binding the Congress or the executive branch to seek the consent of the Commonwealth Governmentthat's one of the objections you have, right?
Mr. GARAMENDI. One of the serious problems we have is
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes. You cannotthe Congress is never going to acquiesce to allowing someone else to determine whether or not they want to acquiesce or concede to what the United States wants it to do if they, in fact, are citizens and going to have a relationship in a Commonwealth, right?
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GARAMENDI. That is a fundamental issue.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. It's not only an issue of policy, but it's probably one of constitutionality, is it not?
Mr. GARAMENDI. That is the assertion of this administration. It is a constitutional issue, and it's one that is very difficult to overcome.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So if 100, if H.R. 100 addressed that issue and eliminated that, that would eliminate one of the problems, right?
Mr. GARAMENDI. That is correct. If the
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. OK, thank you. You don't have to expand. You can expand later, but I realize you're short of time. But the short answer is that that is a stumbling block; if that's removed, then it makes the objections much less high in profile, right?
Mr. GARAMENDI. That is correct.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. OK, again; then the second thingon providing for the vote with the Chamorro people. Having come from a State and having served in a legislature which consciously put forward a constitutional amendment allowing Hawaiians to vote and excluding people who were not Hawaiians to vote, with everybody voting to do thatin other words, I was in a legislature that voted to do that. I consciously excluded myself from being able to vote for trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in recognition of the fact that the indigenous people of Hawaii deserved an opportunity to resolve all the issuessocial, cultural, economic, et cetera. And we are not only surviving, but I think this process is going to work through.
If we can construe in H.R. 100 something where that does take place, because my information is that virtually all of the people there before 1950 have some Chamorro origin. Now there might be some who don't. I don't know1,000 or 2,000, whatever it isthey'd be in the same category as I am. Maybe they're HaolesI don't knowwhich is a Hawaiian word forhas come to meanit usually meant strangers; it's now come to mean Caucasians, generally preceded by a couple of colorful Angle-Saxon adjectives[Laughter.] But there's no great harm done; we can work on it. If an acceptable formula could be worked out therebecause Mr. Underwood is quite correct; the issue has to be resolvedmight you find yourself more amenable on that issue?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GARAMENDI. We attempted to find a way of resolving this in a non-Governmental-sponsored vote, and that's what I had proposed.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, just for today's hearing, Mr. Garamendi, and for Mr. Chairman, I do recommend that we maybe take a look at the history of the establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in Hawaii as a possiblenot necessarily a model, but at least a method that was arrived at which apparently has been able to achieve constitutional authority; it hasn't been challenged. And maybe we could do some modification of that and find it applicable here.
Mr. GARAMENDI. One of the fundamental points in my testimony is that this administration believes it is wise and a fruitful policy to continue discussions with the people of Guam through their elected representatives and those who they choose to represent them in these matters. Certainly the issue you raised could be considered. There are very serious constitutional issues surrounding this particular issue, and we would be happy to share with the committee the views of the constitutional lawyers in the Department of Justice on these matters, including the issuethe proposal that you made.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you; I appreciate that. I'm just presenting for you, Mr. Chairman, that I don't think this is necessarily insurmountable if people of good faith and good will work at it.
Finally, Mr. Garamendi, I think I agree with the positions here about transferring control of the adoption and enforcement of immigration and labor policies and the application of Federal policies. If the Commonwealth takes place, my position would be, and I presume your position and I presume the constitutional position would beand I'm almost certain that the Congress would have thisif you're going to have Commonwealth status, then all Federal laws are going to be applicable. You're not going to pick and choose, especially where labor laws and the rest are at issue. That's what the Marianas are going to find out real quick, that you don't start claiming U.S. citizenship and then say, not necessarily for those we don't like or those we want to exploit.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GARAMENDI. The position that we have is that there are unique circumstances in Guam, as in States, and those circumstances may require or suggest that a law be modified to deal with the uniqueness of those circumstances. We think that's appropriate
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That's fine.
Mr. GARAMENDI. [continuing] and it's certainly up to Congress; you do it all the time.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Sure.
Mr. GARAMENDI. And that, we think, is an appropriate way to go. With regard to labor issues, there is an extensive discussion of this in my written testimony. If you have further questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes, I did read through that, and I appreciate that. But as a general rule, your position is is that Federal law is applicableperiod.
Mr. GARAMENDI. To the extent that Congress desires it to be, yes.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. OK; thank you very much. I might say then, in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, that I think it's laid out fairly clearly here as to what we have to do and where we have to go, and I would say, in the end, that it has to be very, very clear to the people of Guam, just as I think it is being made clear to the people of Puerto Rico, that Commonwealth does not mean you get to act like an independent nation when it suits you, and then claim all the full rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship when it suits you.
Mr. HILL. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman's time has expired. I would recognize Ms. Smith.
Mrs. LINDA SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Has this witness been sworn in? Have these witnesses been sworn in?
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. No, they have not.
Mrs. LINDA SMITH. Could you do that?
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chairman, I'm certainly happy to do that. I assume that every statement I make is taken to be accurate and truthful to the extent I know it, and subject to all the rules of this Congress whenever I speak here.
Mr. HILL. If the gentleladyMr. Garamendi does have to leave, and
Mrs. LINDA SMITH. OK. I think his statement, if that would be taken down for the record, would be fine.
I guess what I'm wanting to ask about is to the Secretarythe questions. I have been very disturbed at the Guam Governor's statement that money helped grease the skids for the change in policy with Guam. It is a problem that has troubled me, and often there was implication that money did pass for policy with Guam. So I would like to ask you just three questions, and just a yes or no is fine.
Were you at any time contacted by Don Fowler or anyone else at the Democrat National Committee on Guam Commonwealth issues, and if so, how and when?
Mr. GARAMENDI. Your question goes to the Guam Commonwealth issues and the specifics of the negotiations.
Mrs. LINDA SMITH. Yes. Were you contacted by Don Fowler from the Democrat National Committee on Guam Commonwealth issues?
Mr. GARAMENDI. I would prefer to give you a written reply to that question so as to be quite accurate. My process in this was over a 2-year period, and I want to be accurate in my statement so I will provide you with a written reply.
[The information referred to follows:]
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. LINDA SMITH. OK; then I will give you others. Did you at any time during your tenure as negotiator discuss with anyone or correspond with anyone about the impact of Guam Commonwealth decisions on the Presidential campaign?
Mr. GARAMENDI. No.
Mrs. LINDA SMITH. Did you at any time during your tenure as negotiator discuss or correspond about political contributions with anyone, including but not limited to the Governor of Guam, anyone from the Guam Commission on Self-Determination, or their lobbying firm, Brady or Berliner?
Mr. GARAMENDI. If your question goes to the issue of whether I was involved in any solicitation of contributions or had any role in any contributions that were made, the answer is no. If the question is broaderdid I ever talk to anybody about contributions?there were newspaper articles about that, and I certainly discussed those newspaper articles with my staff.
Mrs. LINDA SMITH. Would you put that in writing, also, and the connection to your position and how you separate your position from those particular discussions? There is a great amount of concern with this administration and the money flowing for foreign policy, and so I am concerned about this. And it makes it very difficult to look at any decision in light of this. Thank you.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. PETERSON. [presiding] Any other members wish to question? Mr. Kildee.
Mr. KILDEE. Just one question; I know you have to leave. Aside from the status of Guam as a whole, what is the administration's position on a special status for the Chamorro people, similar to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of federally recognized Indian tribes on the mainland?
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GARAMENDI. We have not explored that issue, and at this point there is no policy about that.
Mr. KILDEE. So you would have noyou're not on record of having any objection to, say, the Chamorro people having sovereignty similar to that of the 500
Mr. GARAMENDI. I do not want you to misconstrue my answer. My answer was, we have not considered that and we have no position.
Mr. KILDEE. But you have not rejected it, either.
Mr. GARAMENDI. We have no position either for or against it. We have not considered that issue.
Mr. KILDEE. Could you comment on that type of status, where the Chamorro people would have a sovereignty and a territorial integrity similar to the over 500 sovereign tribes on the mainland?
Mr. GARAMENDI. I would defer my comments and present them to you in writing. This is a complex issue on the mainland and certainly would be even more so in one of our territories, a Pacific Island territory.
Mr. KILDEE. It's not that complex.
Mr. GARAMENDI. It would deserve a written response and a thoughtful response, which I'm not prepared to give you today.
Mr. KILDEE. It's not really that complex on the mainland. It dates back to 1789 and our Constitution, and dates back to 1832 when Justice John Marshall said that the natives on the continent were sovereign nations. And so it's long in our history, and the Constitution itself recognizes three sovereignties. It talks about foreign nations, the States, and Indian tribes, and then John Marshall, in his famous 1832 decision, clearly outlined the real sovereignty of the Native American tribes in the mainland.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GARAMENDI. Your understanding of American history on this matter is obvious. This is a complex issue. Guam is considerably different in its history and in its acquisition than other parts of America, and certainly different and came substantially after Mr. Marshall's statement on these matters. As it applies, I am uncertain. It would be inappropriate for me to give you a response other than what I have said, which is it is complex; it deserves a full analysis, and I will present you with an analysis in writing from this administration.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. KILDEE. I really would suggest, in the meantime, before you prepare the answer, to read Worcester v. Georgia and John Marshall's decision because it has some very profound statements on sovereignty, and that was issued by John MarshallWorcester v. Georgiain August 1832.
Mr. GARAMENDI. I would happy to receive from you your thoughts, in writing or otherwise on this matter, and your obvious legal analysis which you have done.
Mr. KILDEE. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Thank you.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chairman, I really must leave.
Mr. PETERSON. [presiding] You must leaveOK; we'll excuse Mr. Garamendi.
Mr. GARAMENDI. I'm about to really mess up California water policy if I miss this airplane.
Mr. PETERSON. OK; please feel free to leave.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much, Mr. Garamendi, and I'm sorry that we've delayed you more, but I just wanted a rejoinder to the point made by Mr. Kildee. This doesn't involve you directly. The issue of
Mr. GARAMENDI. May I take leave?
Mr. PETERSON. Yes; go, go.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I think the issue of the Chamorros becoming a tribe in the sense that Native American tribes have sought tribal sovereignty is best resolved through the issue of Chamorro self-determination, and that's really an issue which is a core part of the draft Commonwealth Act. And I would certainly invite every person who is here representing Guam, all of them are Chamorros themselves except for maybe two or three, to put that question into their testimony, whether they really are seeking this status or not.
I must confess that this is a red herring issue. The issue of how the Chamorro people see themselves is rather clear. It is embodied in this Act. People want to get on with the exercise of Chamorro self-determination. I have never heard of any reputable person from Guam stand up and say that the Chamorro people are seeking tribal status and seeking any kind of reservation on the island of Guam. We see the exercise of Chamorro self-determination as indistinguishable between the Chamorro people and the island of Guam.
Mr. PETERSON. Thank you. At this time we will call upon Allen Staymen, Director, Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, to share with us his testimony.
STATEMENT OF ALLEN STAYMEN, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF INSULAR AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Mr. STAYMEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I ask that my statement on S. 210 and H.R. 2370, the other two bills on the agenda today, be made a part of the record, and I will quickly summarize.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Without objection.
Mr. STAYMEN. Except for sections 7 and 10, the administration supports enactment of S. 210. My written statement details several technical and clarifying amendments to the bill, and I would like to highlight those which are most significant.
On section 1, regarding food assistance to the communities affected by the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program in the Marshall Islands, we believe additional language is needed to deal with the procedural constraints of determining baseline population estimates for these communities and obtaining additional appropriations.
On section 4, regarding excess lands on Guam, the administration seeks modifications to resolve several concerns. First, changes to ensure that those Federal agencies that have been legitimately using DOD lands for the 2-year period prior to the time the land is declared excess will be able to continue those uses. Second, that the definition of refuge be clarified to read, quote, ''overlay component of the refuge'', close quote, because refuge lands, per se, are not subject to administrative transfer or the Federal Property Act.
Third, that the phrase at the end of subsection (c) that states, quote, ''to the extent that the Federal Government holds title to such lands'', close quote, be deleted. This phrase is misleading. Obviously, if the Federal Government does not own land, it cannot be accessed or subject to the provisions of this bill.
Fourth, the definition of public purpose needs to be clarified. It might be argued that by referencing the public benefit definition of the 1994 Guam Excess Lands Act, with its congressional review of a Guam lands use plan, there is a possibility that subsequent transfers of lands to private parties could be found to be within the definition of public purpose. We recommend that the definition of public benefit, incorporated by reference to the 1994 Act, include only those purposes specifically enumerated in that Act.
Fifth, we would like to clarify that any conservation protections on excess land would remain in effect pending congressional action pursuant to subparagraph (d)(3)(E). This is a concern, because the agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Defense automatically terminate upon transfer of the land to any other party. We do not believe it was the intent to have these conservation protections lapse as the result of the transitional transfer of lands to the GSA. This amendment is essential to maintain the status quo with respect to conservation protections until either the Government of Guam and the Fish and Wildlife Service have reached an agreement on its future disposition, or the Congress Acts.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The administration has no objection to H.R. 2370, but we do have clarifying amendments detailed in my written statement. I'm pleased to respond to any questions you have on these two bills.
Mr. PETERSON. Yes, Mr. Staymen. First, there are a number of provisions in S. 210 affecting the freely associated States, including the majors, to help those communities affected by U.S. nuclear testing. The U.S. established trust funds for their radiological clean-up of nuclear materials on affected islands, which involves the Department of the Interior. Since the people of these and affected islands must remove the nuclear contaminants in order to be able to safely resettle, where would you recommend the radioactive materials be stored?
Mr. STAYMEN. In fact, Mr. Chairman, most of the scientific research that has been done on the resettlement of those islands suggests that the material does not have to be removed. The problem is not so much direct exposure from people living on those islands; it's the dose which they would get from eating the food grown on that island. Research has shown that if the islands are treated with normal potassium fertilizer, that the plants will not absorb the radioactive elements in nearly the proportion that they would without such treatment, so that the dose which a person gets subsequent to a fertilizer application is on the order of one-tenth of what they would get before. In other words, there could be a 90 percent reduction in the effective dose to individuals without any removal of soil.
Nevertheless, some of the islands have prudently decided to do a limited scrape in those areas where housing would be built and children would be playing. And my understanding is, those soils are anticipated to be used in construction for things like bridges and breakwaters where they will essentially be out of the way from regular use.
But the levels of radioactive materials and the dose that currently exists on those islandsI think it's fair to say-it's right on the fence on whether or not it is a health concern or not. But it's prudent that they do the scrape, and it's prudent that they do the potassium treatment.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. Any other questions? Mr. Underwood. OhMr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Staymen, I assume you're going to be answering questions concerning Mr. Garamendi's earlier statements. Or are you just going to be responding to
Mr. STAYMEN. That's right; I'm just authorized on these two bills.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. All right. I do have a couple of questions on the earlier statements that Mr. Garamendi made concerning H.R. 100. He mentioned there were some constitutional problems affecting the relationship between Guam and the United States, and I wanted to ask youthis may be an exercise in futility, but I think there are some problems that I have with his statement about constitutional issues here.
As you know, under the United Nations there is a category called non-Self-Governing Territories, and you're also aware of the fact that Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa are listed under that classification as non-Self-Governing Territories. Now, on the other hand, the word ''territories'' under provisions of the Federal Constitution provides for the plenary authority that Congress has over territories. But there are several classifications of territories, and let me share with you a couple of them.
Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and American Samoa are all unincorporated territories. Now American Samoa is the only territory that is both unincorporated and unorganized. Now my understanding is that territories are such that not all the provisions of the Federal Constitution apply to these certain classifications given to territories. Now we all know that territories that have now become States were all incorporated territories, at least according to the insular cases the Supreme Court has held on that, that eventually they would become States. Well, none of these territories, I don't think, has any chancewith the exception of my friend from Puerto Ricoon the question of Statehood.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My question on the constitutional issues is that where does it say that there's a conflict in the Constitution, given the fact that Guam is under this classification as a non-Self-Governing Territory, where not all of the provisions of the Federal Constitution apply?
Mr. STAYMEN. I will have to take your question back for Mr. Garamendi to answer in writing, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Now, if I'm correct in listening to Mr. Garamendi's reasoning, it is that the territorial clause of the Federal Constitution applies absolutely to Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Am I correct in that?
Mr. STAYMEN. That's my understanding of the administration's position, yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK. And if this is so, then why are we listed under the United Nations classification as a non-Self-Governing Territory? Well, anyway I
Mr. STAYMEN. The actions of the United Nations don't necessarily have to be coordinated with the actions of the U.S. Federal Government. I think the dilemma is that all of us here and all of you there have to swear to uphold the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. The dilemma is that the right of self-determination is the issue that is still pending among these non-self-governing territories.
Mr. STAYMEN. Again, I'll have to take your questions back and have Mr. Garamendi in writing.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I would appreciate a clarification of that issue.
Mr. STAYMEN. Certainly.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. On your testimony on Senate bill 210, can you explain a little more about section 8 of the bill that provides the current responsibility of the President to report to Congress on the impact of the Compact of Free Association? Are we having any problems with the compact provisions? What is this for?
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMEN. The reason for this is that under the terms of the compact, the administration has to submit a report to Congress annually with respect to the impact which the compacts have had on the U.S. territories and on Hawaii. The procedure for developing and submitting those reports has been, I think it's fair to say, very contentious and difficult. The administration has to develop information about the impact of Micronesians in the islands, and necessarily must go into the islands and conduct censuses and develop data. It's been very difficult to obtain that data.
We generally believe that the islands themselves are in a much better position to evaluate and report on what the impact of Micronesians coming into the community is than is the Department of the Interior back here in Washington. Our hope is to work closely with them and continue to financially supportand if necessary with Federal technical assistancesupport them in developing that information, then we would pass that on to Congress.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And I don't want to put you in a situation where you have to say something on behalf of Mr. Garamendi, but I just wanted to know aboutwhere are we in our current negotiations with the Commission on Guam, as far as H.R. 100 is concerned? Are we about 10 percent into the process? I said earlier that we haven't even moved an inch, and correct me if I'm wrong in my humble opinion of where we are right now, but are we about 30 percent complete in our current negotiations with the leaders of Guam? Can you
Mr. STAYMEN. I'm sorry; again, I'm going to have to refer to him.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK.
Mr. STAYMEN. I'm not a part of that process.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. You mentioned there were two sections in Senate bill 210 that the administration does not support?
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMEN. Right; those are the two sections
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Which sections are those, again?
Mr. STAYMEN. I believe it's 7 and 10, which establish two Presidential commissions, one with respect to the Virgin Islands, one with respect to Samoa, to study their future economic development. The administration supports the notion that we should have studies and that both Samoa and the Virgin Islands are confronted with serious economic development challenges, but we think that can be done through existing authorizations, and the Presidential commission is not the appropriate institution.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I know we discussed the issue on this earlier, Mr. Staymen, saying that the administration does not like a proliferation of Presidential commissions, but it's OK to have a Presidential commission on the study of gaminggambling, but when it comes to territories, the administration does not feel that we should have the same status in looking into the serious, serious economic issues facing both the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
Mr. STAYMEN. That's correct.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I'd like to ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, for my statement to made part of the record.
Mr. PETERSON. Without objection.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Faleomavaega follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, A DELEGATE IN CONGRESS FROM THE TERRITORY OF AMERICAN SAMOA
Thank you for calling this hearing on three bills which will have a direct impact on our U.S. territories. Before I begin my testimony, I want to welcome our distinguished guests to the hearing room today. To Senator Akaka and my colleagues in the House, I say thank you for taking the time to testify this morning. To Deputy Secretary Garamendi, I understand that you have a plane to catch this morning, and I appreciate your willingness to appear before us today given the time constraints.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To those who have travelled for days to get here from Guam, I welcome you to Washington, DC. I know it is expensive to come here and I appreciate the commitment in time you have made to testify today. I wish we could provide more time for each of you to speak, but with 20 witnesses scheduled to testify this will be a lengthy hearing, and I trust you understand our reasons for limiting the time afforded each person to testify.
Mr. Chairman, I do not want to use a lot of our time with a statement this morning. We are considering three bills which together address many of the pending problems in our territories. Perhaps the most controversial of the legislation is H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act.
I commend my friends in Guam who have been working on their political self-development. Like the people of Puerto Rico, trying to define a new relationship with the United States is a difficult and time-consuming undertaking. In Puerto Rico, the key topic of discussion is which of three statuses to choose. Guam appears to be moving toward that discussion also, and while I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 100 and support many of its provisions, I also know there are many controversial provisions which will need to be addressed before this bill can move forward.
The Guam Judicial Empowerment Act, H.R. 2379 is almost a technical correction, and I hope we can incorporate that provision into legislation containing portions of S. 210 which fall within the Committee's jurisdiction, and move them all forward early next year.
S. 210 contains a provision to create a Presidential Commission to assist with the economic development of American Samoa. As I am sure Deputy Secretary Garamendi is aware, I have been exploring alternatives with officials of the Department of the Interior to move this project forward, and I hope the Department remains committed to providing this assistance.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to hearing the testimony this morning.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. PETERSON. Any further questions for Mr. Staymen? Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I know we discussed this earlier, Mr. Staymen. I have a number of questions that I'd like to ask for the record for S. 210, and I would like to ask you to stay, but I really want to get an opportunity for the three Governors to speak. Right now it's 2:20 in the morning on Guam, and the first panel from Guam are actually the people that certainly the committee is most interested, I think, in hearing, as well as the people back home. So, I would request that you stay and we could bring you back up and ask some questions.
Mr. STAYMEN. That's fine by me, Congressman.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.
Mr. PETERSON. We thank the gentleman. Any other further questions for Mr. Staymen?
Mr. ORTIZ. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. PETERSON. Yes.
Mr. ORTIZ. I would like to include my statement for the record with unanimous consent.
Mr. PETERSON. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ortiz follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
I want to thank Chairman Young and Ranking Member Miller for holding this hearing today on legislation to establish the Commonwealth of Guam.
This is a significant step in the process for Congressional review of Guam Commonwealth, and I want to commend my friend from Guam, Congressman Robert Underwood, for his work in bringing this legislation before us today.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is obvious that the people of Guam and their political leadership remain committed to pursuing Guam Commonwealth status.
After years of work, they endorsed Commonwealth in 1982, and the Draft Guam Commonwealth Act in 1987. Since then, they have been in negotiations with the United States to change their political status.
This is a step which will have an absolute impact on their relationship with the Federal Government. The people of Guam should be commended for their committment to what has been a long and demanding process.
I am looking forward to hearing the perspectives of our participants and their accounting of the progress toward Commonwealth.
It is important to assert Congressional oversight of this process and resolve the issue of Guam's history, as well as it's future.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?
Mr. PETERSON. Donna.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. I'd also ask that my statement be included for the record.
Mr. PETERSON. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Christian-Green follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DONNA M. CHRISTIAN-GREEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGIN ISLANDS
Thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to make these opening remarks.
Mr. Chairman and my colleagues, this is a day for all Americans to be proud. More than 10 years after overwhelmingly voting to become a U.S. Commonwealth, the people of Guam are finally getting a hearing on what blueprint they have chosen for their future relationship with the United States.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let us join then in celebration of this first step of self-determination and pledge to continue to support their efforts to see the completion of this process before the 100 anniversary of the Guam joining the American family.
I want to welcome my fellow islanders from Guam who, by your numbers and presence here today after traveling from so far away, demonstrates your strong support for your Guam Commonwealth Act.
I thank you for your commitment and say that I will do all I can, as a member of this Committee, to support you in getting the Guam Commonwealth Act enacted into law.
I am pleased to see that three of Guam's Governors have joined together in a bipartisan show of support for their island's future political status to be here today. Welcome Governors. We are pleased to have you with us today.
I am also very pleased to welcome my colleagues from the House and the Senate, along with the former Representative from Guam, a previous long time member of this Committee, the Honorable Ben Blaz.
Mr. Chairman, the people of Guam have been a territory of the United States since 1898. They have been seeking to become a U.S. Commonwealth for almost 10 years. In my view, this has been more than enough time for this body and the Administration to have come to some agreement in getting this process completed.
To my colleagues and the representatives from the Administration who may be concerned about our ability to grant Guam control over immigration, input into the application of Federal laws, or the authority to enter into international agreements, I say don't let your concerns prevent you from doing what is right. I believe we have a responsibility to do all that we can to provide Guam these articles of respectful political rights and full self government.
Nothing less than these rights should be afforded to Guam or any of the other insular areas should they choose to remain part of the U.S. familylike Guam haswithout the opportunity for statehood.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion Mr. Chairman, I want to say a few words about the third bill that is on the agenda of today's hearing, S. 210.
S. 210, as it came to the House from the Senate, contains four provisions pertaining to my district, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because of their urgency importance to the economy of the V.I., two of the provisions were added on to another bill which I hope will very shortly be signed into law by the President. The remaining two Virgin Islands provisions in the bill do not currently enjoy the level of support that makes their consideration in order at this time.
I want to once again thank Chairman Young and Ranking Member Miller for their assistance in moving the two economic provisions of S. 210 that are so very important to the Virgin Islands.
While S. 210 encompasses almost all of the U.S. Insular Areas, this hearing and this day belongs to the people of Guam and their quest for Commonwealth.
Mr. Chairman the Congress is empowered under the U.S. Constitution to make all decisions on the future political status of the U.S. territories. To this end, the people of Guam have made their choice. We should respect Guam's decision and exercise our constitutional authority to make their choice a reality as expeditiously as possible.
It is time that we act. The people of Guam deserve no less.
Mr. PETERSON. We thank you, and we'll call upon you a little later then.
Mr. STAYMEN. Thank you.
Mr. PETERSON. Before we bring the next panel up, I'd like to recognize former Delegate, Ron DeLugo, from the Virgin Islands. We welcome you here today. If you could stand so you could be recognized.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Applause.]
We are very thankful you could come, and we hear you were subcommittee chair prior and did a fine job.
At this time I will call upon Mr. Underwood, the Delegate from Guam, to introduce our next panel of very esteemed witnesses.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and before I do that I would certainly like to add my own words of welcome to Congressman DeLugo. For the time that he was here, he certainly helped me a lot in terms of understanding the operations of this committee, and has always been a long and steadfast friend of Guam. And we certainly appreciate his interest, his continuing interest, and continuing leadership on issues pertaining to the insular areas.
I also have and would like to add a statement from Senator Inouye and Representative Patrick Kennedy, and also Bob Smith. They've asked me if I could enter their statements into the record on behalf of this legislation.
Mr. PETERSON. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Senator Inouye follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DANIEL K. INOUYE, A SENATOR IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF HAWAII
I appreciate this opportunity to share my thoughts with you on H.R. 100 and the very important issue of Guam's interest in achieving commonwealth Status. The people of Guam have stated their desire and goal, and it is my hope that the Congress and the Executive branch can work with Guam's representatives to achieve that goal.
The relationship between Guam and the United States is one that stretches back nearly 100 years. During this period, we have witnessed two world wars and several regional conflicts. The United States as a whole and Guam in particular experienced tremendous losses during these periods. However, together, we have always been able to endure difficult times and overcome adversity. Through our shared experiences, Guam and the United States have forged an important relationship based on trust and mutual cooperation. Like any longstanding relationship, periodically changes must be made to ensure the health of both of both parties involved. It is the prospect of political change that brings us here today.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Naturally, the political status of one's homeland is an area of concern and importance. In 1987, after years of deliberation and public discussion, the people of Guam, in two separate plebiscites, voted in favor of making Guam a commonwealth of the United States. In February 1988, this document, the Guam Commonwealth Act, was submitted to Congress for consideration and has been introduced in four consecutive Congresses sincethe 100th through the 104th.
The 1987 plebiscites have made clear the preference of the Guamanian people that Guam become a commonwealth of the United States. However, the fact that here in the 105th Congress we are once again considering the political status of Guam illustrates the difficulty and complexity of the issues involved. While self-determination is the right of all people, greater union with the United States requires greater adherence to our Constitution. It is at this juncture that there have been disagreements between the Administration, both past and present, and the terms of commonwealth as stipulated by the Guam Commonwealth Act. While some of these issues are still unresolved, I am hopeful that continued discussion between the people of Guam and the U.S. Government will produce a mutually agreeable settlement.
The Guamanian people have overwhelmingly voted in favor of a greater union with the United States. It is a great compliment and honor to America that the people of Guam would desire their future to be inseparably tied to our own. I am confident that the Federal Government and the government of Guam will continue to move forward and resolve any differences that prevent Guam from becoming a commonwealth of the United States. Let us continue to build on the foundations of trust and cooperation that have already been established and move forward into the future.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kennedy follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. PATRICK J. KENNEDY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman,
I want to thank you for holding this important hearing to determine the political status of Guam.
I want to welcome Governor Gutierrez and all the witnesses from Guam who have travelled a long way to be here with us. To me your participation sent this government a signal that the people of Guam are serious about resolving their political status.
For 100 years the people of Guam have been a part of United States. Its citizens have shared in our times of national triumph and struggle.
During the World War II the people of Guam endured the atrocities of military occupation and many people still bear those scars today. Despite their pain, the people of Guam heroically assisted the Marines in retaking the Island and once again raising the flag of Democracy within its borders.
Today, Guam is asking to continue the process of determining its permanent political status. They have waited long enough and it is high time our government got down to the business of letting this process go forward.
To be sure, Guam's political status as an unincorporated territory is in Congressman Underwood's terms ''unsatisfactory.'' Clearly, the current situation leaves the Island's inhabitants disfranchised and in political limbo.
I recognize that there is a complicated history with regard to the Island's political status. I hope that some of the most common questions can be answered here. But let me say that I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of this Congress to act decisively on this issue.
We must help facilitate a process by which the people of Guam can exercise their right to self-determination. And in my opinion self-determination begins with the Islands historical inhabitants.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The future of the Chamorro people depends upon the United States to take a leadership role in solving the Island's political status. They have sacrificed much so that the United States may defend human rights abroad.
We should not forget that it was from Guam that B-52 strikes against Iraq were launched in 1996 and it was Guam that took in the Kurdish refugees of the Persian Gulf.
Let us act decisively and set about a process that is mutually beneficial to both the United States and Guam.
Let us commit ourselves to a process that ensures the freedom's of our nation, and also respects the proud history of the Island.
Thank you Mr. Chairman for your leadership and I am looking forward to working with you as we continue this critical process.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Bob Smith follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT F. (BOB) SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend the gentleman from Guam, Representative Underwood, for his excellent work on behalf of the people of Guam for bringing before this Committee H.R. 100, H.R. 2370, and S. 270.
I am aware that H.R. 100, the ''Guam Commonwealth Act,'' is particularly important to the people of Guam in order to resolve their political status. Guam has been working diligently for the past decade to negotiate first with the Bush Administration and most recently the Clinton Administration on an agreeable commonwealth status. To date, these efforts have not been fruitful. This hearing will serve the critical role of allowing all of the issues to be brought out in the open for members of the Committee to evaluate for themselves. This is all the more critical because it is ultimately this Committee's and Congress' responsibility, working with Guam's elected representatives, to decide Guam's future.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I thank you for holding this important hearing and I would again like to commend Representative Underwood for his work on behalf of the people of Guam.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. At this time it gives me very great pleasure to introduce the three Governors of Guam, the three living Governors of Guam. Guam has only had the opportunity to select their chief executive since 1970, and it's been pretty much an even split since that timeI think maybe three Republicans and two Democratsbut I'm very proud to see that both parties are represented here this morning.
We have with us former Governor Paul Calvo, who was chief executive for one term; former Governor Joseph Ada, who was chief executive for two consecutive terms, and we have the incumbent, The Honorable Carl T.C. Gutierrez. As it is pretty much common in Guam, I can say with some assurance that I'm related to two of these gentlemen, one very closely, actually, and the other on both my mother's and my father's side.
As to Governor Calvo, I don't know if we're related, but you're older than me, and you probably know that we are somewhere along the line. But certainly it is with great pleasure that I introduce these three gentlemendistinguished gentlemento the committee, and I'll leave it to you to call the first witness. Thank you.
Mr. PETERSON. I thank the gentleman from Guam. At this time, we'll call upon Governor Gutierrez for his statement.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CARL T.C. GUTIERREZ, GOVERNOR OF GUAM
Governor GUTIERREZ. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and Buenas dias to the members of this Committee on Resources.
Thank you for holding this hearing on H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act. I say on behalf of the people of Guam and as chairman of the Commission on Self-Determination, I am very honored to present testimony in support of democracy and defense of human dignity, and in defiance of the continued colonial status of Guam by the United States.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Guam Commonwealth Act embodies the political hopes and aspirations of the people of Guam. We are here to end the 19th century colonialism and to create a 21st century partnership between Guam and the United States of America. We wholeheartedly embrace the principles of democracy, upon which this great Nation was founded. They mirror Chamorro principles of family and community, which lie at the heart of our island way of life. Given the history of this Nation, I cannot imagine anyone, anyone in this room, defending colonialism. This great country, founded to end colonialism, can never justify the continued colonial rule of Guam.
As events around the world constantly remind us, Mr. Chairman, once a people have tasted freedom there is no turning back. For us it is not a question of whether colonialism will end; it is simply a matter of when and how it will come to an end. The people of Guam, by virtue of our relationship with the United States over the past 100 years, have been able to witness, but not experience, true democracy.
Democracy has been so close. It is taught, it is illustrated, and held up as the ideal. Yet, representative democracy does not exist in the Guam-United States relationship. We are frustrated, and we are losing patience. How much longer will we, American citizens, be denied our rights? As we approach a century under the American flag, we are asking, when will the colonized people of Guam be granted the right of self-determination? And the time to act is now, Mr. Chairman.
Today, we bring Commonwealth quest to you because Congress has the plenary power and responsibility under the Constitution to resolve this issue. We can work together now to forge a democratic partnership worthy of this great Nation, but if we delay, the spirit of cooperation may fade and a collaborative opportunity may be lost. The Commission on Self-Determination has submitted detailed analysis of the provisions of H.R. 100 and our assessment of the 8 years of frustrating discussions with the executive branch preceding this morning's hearing.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my brief before you today, I would like to focus on the core issues and the core principles on which we can build a mutually respectful partnership. And let me start, Mr. Chairman, with an issue that I know is of concern to you and most of the members of this panel, one where I hope we will be able to find common groundand I am speaking of mutual consent.
I am pleased that our panel this morning includes former Governor Ada, who was instrumental in negotiations on mutual consent with former Special Representative, Mr. Heyman. They concluded an agreement on new language which affirms that our future relationship cannot be altered without our mutual consent. It is essential that any Commonwealth Act adopted by Congress include a mutual consent provision.
A second core principle, undoubtedly the most misunderstood provision of the Draft Commonwealth Act, is Chamorro self-determination. It is the inalienable right of the indigenous people of Guam to a process of de-colonization in accordance with international standards, standards that the United States has agreed to. This is a right which all the voters of Guam, Chamorro and non-Chamorro alike, have endorsed through a plebiscite. It is a process which will be defined in the Guam constitution, which itself would be brought before all the people of Guam, and, subsequently, brought before this Congress.
Mr. Chairman, I am confident that under your leadership we can uphold the principles of self-determination.
The third principle, which gives the people of Guam meaningful participation in the Federal Governmenttoday our participation is non-existent and it is wrong. There is no way that Washington can understand the impact of laws and regulations on an island community 10,000 miles away, notwithstanding the heroic efforts of our Delegate Underwood. Short of giving us a vote in Congress, there simply must be a process to give us meaningful participation in which the way laws are written that govern the lives of the people of Guam, 10,000 miles away. And we have proposed a joint commission, and that has been detailed in my testimonies given earlier.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know, Mr. Chairman, Guam serves as a strategic military location. That's what it was founded for; that was what it was taken for. We need to be able to move away from that and focus our attention to Guam being the economic strategic location, being the natural economic bridge between Asia and the West. And I say to you that some of those laws that constrain our economydespite those constraintswe have built an economy, almost $3.5 billion of gross domestic product, bringing in 1.5 million tourists a year with only 150,000 people. And we did this with all the constraintsand I liken it to building an economy with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.
This Commonwealth Act will provide us the power tools to not only sustain and grow our economy, but could be a major contributor to the United States of America. And we ask you to consider that as we move forward, because we want to be that bridge. It's very important that we get brought in to the national economic strategy, not just for the military strategy and national security interests. We can be a participant, and I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that Guam desires to be a part of the United States. We loveand we are patriotic.
I know that time is very short. It took me 18 hours to get here and 5 minutes to say what I want to say, and it's running short. But I'll continue to turn the page, and I hope some of your questions will give me an opportunity to expand a little bit more on why we, as a people, need to have some meaningful participation. Because for 100 years we have been very patient, as the Chamorro way dictates, as our way of life dictates, but we cannot move on to the 21st century.
And if you want to consider and continue to defend colonialism, then the people of Guam will have to get back to the drawing board and reconsider whether we, in fact, are going to be continually held to a standard that someone else sets for us. We want to be part of the United States of America continually, but, please, include us in the representative democracy that you so espouse.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I just say that this morning our Archbishop celebrated mass, and he called on the Holy Spirit to come and descend upon this great Nation here in Washington, DC so that you could be enlightened to be able to do what was right for the people of Guam. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Governor Gutierrez may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the Governor of Guam for his fine comments and his impassioned testimony.
Now we will call upon the former Governor, Mr. Calvo.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PAUL M. CALVO, FORMER GOVERNOR OF GUAM
Governor CALVO. Mr. Chairman, I am here to testify in full support of the enactment of the U.S. Commonwealth status for Guam.
On February 13, 1917, Captain Roy Smith, the naval Governor of Guam, appointed 34 island leaders to an advisory council whose staff was to consider and recommend measures for the improvement of the island and the welfare of its inhabitants.
Mr. PETERSON. Could the gentleman speak a little more directly into the mike? Thank you very much, and I'm sorry for interrupting you.
Governor CALVO. Though its purpose was strictly to recommend to the Governor, it was given the title of the First Guam Congress. My grandfather, Tomas Anderson Calvo, was a member of that body. In his opening address, he enunciated the aspirations of the people of Guam. It has been 80 years since my grandfather asked if Guam would be accepted as a full-fledged member of the American family.
I come before you today respectful of the power which the Congress of the United States wields, and mindful of how you, the Membership of this esteemed body, are capable of answering a question that has lingered over three generations of my family history. Is America willing to accept Guam as an equal member of the American family? If the answer is yes, than I can predict a bright future for Guam and the Marianas, as well as for the strategic interests of the United States.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My prediction, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, is not some far-fetched pipe dream. The Asian Pacific countries are the largest trading partners of the United States. It is obvious that America's future lies to the west of San Francisco's Golden Gate. America's future lies even west of Pearl Harbor. An America that remains engaged in Asia and the western Pacific will be a strong and prosperous America, well into the 21st century.
One only has to look at the economic miracle that has taken place in Guam over the past 30 years to see the exciting possibilities of an American economic strategic interest. It was President John F. Kennedy who lifted Guam's close military security status in 1960. The gross island product at that time was $50 million. Guam's economy relied heavily on public sector employment and huge military spending and Federal subsidies.
That all changed once Guam was opened to the world. Investment from Asia, most particularly from Japan, flowed in. Guam's gross island product in 1996 was over $3 billion. The island prospered despite a 30 percent reduction of military forces in 1994. The island prospered despite hostile and unilateral Federal Government action, which led to the demise of Guam's watch and garment manufacturing industries of the 1980's. Our island has prospered despite recent devastating typhoons and earthquakes. Our island will continue to prosper because we are a part of America and we are a part of Asia, the two most dynamic regions of the world.
I dream of an America who will recognize and act upon the cries of its second-class citizens in the western Pacific. I dream of a day when those second-class citizens will finally be allowed to full incorporation into the American family. I dream of a day when Guam and the Marianas will be America's economic jewel in the Pacific and America's physical link to Asia.
As a former Governor, I have had the opportunity to read Haley Barbour's ''Agenda for America,'' which outlines the viewpoints on the future direction of the United States. The book envisions a more secure and strong America that bases itself on a strategy of peace through strength. It premises that American foreign policy would rest on three principles of peace through strength. First, its political leadership; second, economic strength, and, third, its military power. It is my firm belief that a fully incorporated Guam and Marianas would strengthen the foundation of these three principles of foreign policy.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will close by declaring my unwavering loyalty and allegiance to the United States, but I must, in all good conscience, respectfully caution this fine body that the patience and the good will that has been so clearly demonstrated by so many generations of our people is not infinite. There is indeed a frustration growing amongst our people. Positive steps need to be taken and, frankly, ladies and gentlemen, the time to take this important and needed step is now. You have the power to take those steps.
For generation after generation, proud Chamorros and all other American citizens of Guam have proudly sung the national anthem, recited and proudly believed in the Pledge of Allegiance, and in every war America has fought since the turn of the century bled and died for our Nation. We have demonstrated repeatedly that we love and will die for our country. We want, we need, and clearly by historical record, we have earned the right to be accepted in full by the United States of America.
I ask you ladies and gentlemen, once and for all, is America finally ready to accept us? Thank you, and [speaking in Chamorro] ''Si Yu'os ma'ase.''
[The prepared statement of Governor Calvo may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the former Governor Calvo for his fine comments, and now we'll call upon Governor Ada. And I would urge all the witnesses to speak closely to the mike; they're not real sensitive.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOSEPH F. ADA, FORMER GOVERNOR OF GUAM
Governor ADA. Mr. Chairman, and members of this august body, this document is the creation of our people in plebiscite. This document was approved by the majority of Guam voters, and especially by the Chamorros in Guam.
The document that is H.R. 100 is already an historic document, regardless of what happens to it, for the simple fact, Mr. Chairman, we have before us the only democratically expressed view on the political status of Guam that has ever existed in the 300 years that Guam and the Chamorro people have been administered by Governments other than ours. This document is the only expression of the democratic voice of our people that exists with respect to political status, the only one. For that reason alone, it must be treated with respect as you deliberate on the fate of that expression.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today you are hearing from GuamDemocrats and Republicans. All of us, whether Democrats or Republicans, as Governors and Guam legislature, have fought for self-determination for the Chamorro people and self-government for Guam, because in Guam there is no Republican position or Democrat position on Commonwealth, because on this issue we are united.
I spent 8 years fighting for this Act as Governor. We brought this Act to an earlier Congress, and they insisted that we first begin discussions with the executive branch. That we did. We spoke to the task forces in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. At first, these discussions with the administration were extremely difficult. In the beginning, the Bush task force tried to claim that we were already self-governing, even though every Federal court decisionmakes it clear we are not.
Just because we can elect a legislature and a Governor, as you know Guam only is permitted to do these things by delegation of Congress, Congressional authority in the Organic Act. This Congress has the authority, tomorrow, to throw our legislature out of office, nullify all local laws, to replace the Governor of Guam with the Commander of Naval Forces Marianas or Presidential appointees or naval officers, as indeed was done in the past.
As one Federal court put it, ''Guam has less self-government than Boulder, Colorado.'' It does not matter if Guam writes a constitution if that constitution is subject to congressional amendment or approval, or if that constitution does nothing to address the imbalance between Federal and local authorities.
What we seek in this Commonwealth is increased actual self-government for the people of Guam. We seek recognition of the fact that the Chamorro people have never been granted an exercise of their self-determination and recognition of their process to give the Chamorro people the opportunity to exercise that right.
Under Commonwealth, although Congress would retain very significant powers over Guam, very specific authorities would be vested in the Government of the Commonwealth. These powers would be permanently vested in the Commonwealth, not delegated and subject to revision. This is critical. That is why in the past I have referred to mutual consent as the heart of this act. Without mutual consent, this act just becomes another Organic Act.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When I left office, we were working closely with the Clinton administration, as we had with the Bush administration. Through their representative we signed agreements in which the administration agreed to mutual consent over the act. Unfortunately, in the Bush administration, signed agreements were reneged upon, and now it seems in this administration agreements reached with Mr. Heyman and his successor, Mr. Garamendi, are also being reneged upon. We have trusted in the administration, and Mr. Chairman, our trust has been betrayed.
Mr. Chairman, with all due respect for my language, Mr. Garamendi has just massacred the heart and soul of our people, their dreams and aspirations. He has been dishonest in his statement. Mr. Chairman, we shall continue to fight. I am sure that what I say todaythat the Federal immigration in Guam will refuse my entry into my homeland.
We look to this Congress to restore our faith in the process. Our experience is the strongest proof of why mutual consent is so necessary. After all, if executive branch representatives and task forces are constantly changing their minds and betraying agreements, how can we relay on somebody's simple word? We need certainty, and only mutual consent can provide that certainty.
Self-governmentgiven the limited self-government we seek at this timeis only possible if Congress partially disposes of its plenary powers under the Territorial Clause. In our view, there is no doubt Congress has the power to do this under the plenary powers granted by the Territorial Clause, and the people of Guam deserve to have this done.
There are many ways that Commonwealth benefits Guam, but perhaps the greatest benefit we receive is the least tangible justice. In peace and war, Chamorros have been loyal friends of America. We have been alongside you in many wars. We have supported you, given of our land, our blood, our lives, and nobody can deny that. If any people have earned the consideration of this Government, I can say without fear and contradiction, it is the Chamorro people. I hope the reward for loyalty is just respect. I hope that after 300 years you will do what the Spanish never did, and what so far this Federal Government has not done. We hope you will do what is right for the Chamorro people, for the people of Guam, for America.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And last, Mr. Chairman, I resent the fact that Mr. Garamendi does not believe in our people to exercise self-determination. It is an insult to say that our people cannot distinguish between right and wrong. We are people just like you. We are people like people in America and in every other country, and those people are fortunate to have self-determination. And we have been robbed of that self-determination for over 300 years, and we're still the victim of discrimination.
Mr. Chairman, I ask this august body to take a handle on this process because we cannot trust the administration anymore. For over 8 years they have said, ''Let's do this; trust usand trust us and trust us.'' And yet as we turn around, and at the end of every administration, they have reneged on all of the agreements that we have signed, too. That is not justice. I beg of this august body to take handle of this and achieve for the people of Guam the same dream that this American country is noted for in helping countries achieve their democratic process.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Governor Ada may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I'd like to thank Governor Ada for his fine, impassioned testimony, and the other two Governors for their testimony.
At this time, we will open it to questions. Does the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Duncan, have a question?
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, Mr. Chairman, no; I don't have any questions. I just would say I thank the witnesses for coming this great distance and taking such time to get here, and I certainly can understand why they would desire more self-government. I did read this description of the bill that says, ''U.S. income taxes will generally not apply to Guam, yet Guam will receive the full State level of Federal assistance and programs.'' And I wonder if there might be some way we could get that to apply to the citizens of Tennessee, also.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
But I am very favorable toward what they're requesting. That's all I would say at this time.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Farr, from California.
Mr. FARR. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome everyone to Washington, and to my Chamorro friends, Hafa Adai.
I want to tell this committee something. I served in the California State legislature, and in 1992 I had the opportunity to lead a group of State legislators from the Western United States to Guam for a legislative conference. That experience opened my eyes. It opened my eyes to the fact that so few people who live on the mainland even know where Guam is or how far away it is. In fact, you can't get there from here. You can't get from Washington to Guam. You can't get from the west coast to Guam without going through Hawaii or some other place offshore. It is so far away that most people on this side of the globe don't get there.
What I was struck by is what an incredible island it is, a beautiful place that obviously generates its income from tourism and the pride of the Chamorroan people. It's an incredibly rich culture, and it's a very diversified island. In fact, I would submit that that island is more diversified than any congressional district, and there are only 135,000 people on the island. The island's economy is in the region.
Everything done there, though, is dependent on Washington, DC. Why does Washington want to be so possessive, so paternal about a place that most of the bureaucrats have never even visited? And yet those bureaucrats are in control of the ambient air quality of Guam. People don't even know about prevailing winds; the wind blows all the time. Anything that goes up gets blown away, and yet you have bureaucrats out there checking the ambient air quality, trying to do things on wetlands in Guam. It's a small island, and yet we put all that bureaucratic legislation on top of them.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I mean, if you are in Guam and you sit there and try to understand why this country has been so possessive of an island, not allowing people to have self-determination, I think you begin to echo what the Chamorro people are saying, which is, ''Let my people go.'' Congress, let this bill go. Move it through Congress; put the pressure on the President to make sure that they deal with this island to give people some self-determination. That is the American way.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Cannon?
Mr. CANNON. Thank you, yes. I would like to ask one question just to give the panel an opportunity to dispute a little more on the issue.
First of all, I was thinking that maybe many of the States would like to join in Mr. Farr's sentiments and get rid of many of these federally imposed laws. In fact, you could come over on this side if you'd like, Mr. Farr. We'd love that.
Mr. FARR. Well, you have State's rights, and they don't have State's rights; that's what they're asking for.
Mr. CANNON. That's right. On the other hand, this august body is often difficult to work with, and then if we're not able to pass the Guam Commonwealth Act, what are the three of you thinking are the next steps for Guam? When I say ''not pass,'' I mean in this session or the next session. It may take us a while to move that forward. What do you think are the next steps for Guam?
Governor GUTIERREZ. Well, I think the process at this particular time, as the door was opened by this administration, is to have a tri-partite negotiation process between the people of Guam, as mandated by H.R. 100, this administration, and this Congress, who has this plenary power to make that final decision. What we have been going through in an exercise of futility is the fact that we have to come back and negotiate with this Congress again. We have made a lot of progress.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the core principles as embodied in H.R. 100, as the people of Guam have voted on it, need to be brought to a closure. The opening of this administration to say that if we put this tri-partite negotiation together, that we should look at June 20, 1998 as the drop-off date that we should come to some kind of a resolution to this 100-year quest by the Chamorro people, it's only right, Congressman, that if all else fails with this Congress, the people of Guam then will decide that; and I would not want to second-guess what the people of Guam would do.
I am the chairman of the Commission on Self-Determination, present Governor, and I'm carrying the mandate of the people of Guam to this Commonwealth Act, and I can only speak to that at this particular time.
Mr. CANNON. Do the other members of the panel want to address that at all?
Governor CALVO. I am the oldest of the Governors here, so I have been removed from politics, but I can tell you that not only are our aspirations, Mr. Chairman, good for us, but I think it is a good investment, a very good investment for this Congress to consider giving us what we're asking. And the reason I say this is because we just had a situation where what happens in Hong Kong affected the whole Nation, the whole globe. And I think that you have an opportunity to have a presencenot just a colony, but a presenceU.S. soil.
And you know, I know that we have been coming to the Congress here, and we're saying, ''Hey, practice what you preach.'' You tell China what happened in Tiananmem Square was wrong. You know, you tell third-rate countries that, ''Hey, you should treat your citizensremember civil rights and civil liberties.'' That is nice, but I'm sure that everybody asks, ''What's in it for us?'' And I say you are against us because we are thousands of miles away, and although we are Americans by virtue of your act, you can take it away from us at any time.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But if you were tothe trading partners of the United States, which are Korea, Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Taiwan, they comprise about 46 percent of all the global production. And they say that in China, by the year 2010 or 2015, it is going to surpass the United States. I think that it's not just good for you to consider what's good for us, but it is good investment for the United States.
And even though I'm not involved in the process that Governor Gutierrez is involved in, being the chairman, I think that besides asking the question of what is good for us, the people of Guam, ask what's good for the United States. Because this is where the action isso pass it.
Governor ADA. Mr. Chairman? May I also respond?
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Ada wants to answer.
Governor ADA. Mr. Chairman, I've been in politics for 24 years, and I've often come to Congress to testify before the Ways and Means Committee. And I always remember Congressman Yates looking at me, testifying before him on budgetary matters, and he would always say to me, ''Mr. Speaker, why don't you go back home and develop your economic potential, and do something back home to generate revenues for your people?'' And I looked up to him, Mr. Chairman, and in my own mind I wanted to tell him, ''Mr. Chairman, you have tied our hands for so many years that we cannot move ahead economically.''
This is the reason why, Mr. Chairman, that we are embarking on this Commonwealth, because we want some economic liberty where we have very limited resources in Guam, and we cannot in any way move ahead and take advantage of the creativeness of our local people to go into ventures without having the Federal Government coming in and tying our hands.
The Governor here mentioned prosperous garment factories in the 1970's, prosperous watch factories in the 1970's; hundreds and hundreds of our local people were gainfully employed. But through the efforts of the people in the US, the garment industry people and the watch industry peoplethe lobbieswho had influenced the administration to kill the industry that we had in Guam that we had been exportingapproximately $100 million worth of garments and watches into the United Statesand at the same period of time other countries, like Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, have been exporting into the United States $6 billion worth of garments and watches, compared to the $100 million worth of garments and watches from Guam, and this as a result of the lobbies killing and robbing our people of their livelihood.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These are the kinds of things that we want to prevent in this Act, and this Act will help. If you look into this Act, Mr. Chairman, and members of this august body, you will find that it will mutually benefit all of us because it will give our people that opportunity to achieve their dreams and aspirations, to be innovative and creative, and at the same time be less reliant on the Federal Government coffer. And we have done that so far, even with the fact of the Federal constraints imposed upon us. We have accomplished what other people can't believe that we have so far, for many years.
But we are looking for the next generation. It is our duty and obligation to provide the economic environment for the next generation, because we just can't work for this generation. And that's what this Commonwealth is all about, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairmanwould the gentleman yield on that last answer?
Mr. CANNON. Yes.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I want to make absolutely sureGovernor Gutierrez has presented a much different approach, Mr. Ada. Are you telling me that this Commonwealth bill is an opportunity for you to have labor that will not meet standards, like minimum wage and health and environmental standards? And that you want to have Guam considered as if it was China and the rest, which I oppose?
Governor ADA. Mr. Congressman, I am glad you asked that question, and I challenge each member of this august body
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Just a moment, Mr. Adayou're not going to challenge me to anything. I can tell you that right now. You're not going to run for office on my time.
Governor ADA. I'm trying to respond to your question, Mr. Chairman.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I just want a simple answer. I do not read H.R. 100 in the manner in which you have just described it, and Governor Gutierrez's approach seems much more likely to succeed. Now if I understand you correctly, if I understand what you're stating here, you have a different interpretation of H.R. 100 than I do.
Governor ADA. No, sir. The reason why I said that I challenge each membernot to be disrespectful, Mr. Congressman. You have been misled by the administration in so many ways. In the end, it guarantees that Guam would not implement any law that is lesser of the U.S. labor law. We should not implement any law that would also be contrary to wages, and so forth. We will uphold the labor law, and the only thing that we can do is do even better than what is in the Federal labor law. So we do honor and respect the labor laws, as well as where wages are concerned, and it's for that reason, Mr. Congressman. I'm sorry if I tried to imply that you haven't read the act. I understand that that's another matter, but it's been so often misrepresented.
Mr. PETERSON. I feel called upon here to call a recess for 15 minutes where members will be free to go vote, and then we'll be right back. So this will give those of you sitting a chance to stand and stretch and take a breath of fresh air, and we'll be back shortly.
Mr. PETERSON. Ready to go back to work? If we can find our Governors, we'll proceed.
Governor GUTIERREZ. I'm here, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON. If everybody could take a seat, we'll get started. We have a lot of territory to cover yetthat slipped out.
Mr. PETERSON. We're going to get started now, if I could have your attention.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will call on the gentleman from American Samoa, Mr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That's all rightyou've just slaughtered my name, but I know you mean well.
Mr. Chairman, I would be remiss if I do not also offer my personal welcome to the three distinguished Governors whom I've had the privilege of knowing personally: Governor Gutierrez and Governor Calvo when I was formerly a staff member of this committeeages agoand my good friend, Governor Ada, for their presence. And I also welcome my good friend, Ron DeLugo, who is former chairman of the Subcommittee on Territories, who is here with us.
Mr. PETERSON. Would the gentleman yield? We need more quiet in the room. If you need conversations, I guess whisper or go outside. We really do need your attention.
The gentleman may proceed.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had hoped that my good friend from Hawaii, Congressman Abercrombie, would be here because there were some questions and issues that he raised that we wanted, not only for purposes of clarification, but as well as for his edification and understanding of the problems with the insular areas, separate and apart from the history of Hawaii when it became a territory, an incorporated territory, and then eventually became a State.
But I would like to thank the three Governors for their profound statements, and I just wish that more members of our committee would be here so they could receive a little sense of education about what happens out there and the problems that we're faced with when issues such as this come before the committee for consideration.
I would like to ask Governor Gutierrez, as chairman of Guam's Commission on Commonwealth, I made an earlier statement to Mr. Garamendi that, in my humble opinion, for the past 8 years we have not moved one inch since the proposed Commonwealth Act, and the fact that the people of Guam have voted, have given their consent, that this is what they want.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you think, Governor Gutierrez, that we have a problem here with the process? You know, we all know that it took over 10 years, I think, for the Federated States of Micronesia to negotiate their Compact of Free Association until finally it was approved by the Congress. I believe, also, that your cousins in the northern Mariana Islands also took several years before their covenant relationship with the Congress was also approved, so I'm having a little problem here with whether it is the process that is the problem, or is it because of the substance?
It was almost like the document has already been approved by the people and the voters of Guam, and it seems to me that this kind of locks in everybody. It's either a take-it-or-leave-it basis for the negotiators to go in there. Is there any sense of flexibility in the process, like the way the Compact of Free Association was negotiated? You know, it was a give-and-take; it took over 10 years to do this. Now, 15 years later, after the voters of Guam opted for Commonwealth, your own sense of definition of what Commonwealth isbecause it's not like Puerto Rico's Commonwealth; it's not like Pennsylvania's Commonwealth status. So I am in a quandary as to, is it the process that we're having a problem with?
My own sense, my feel right now of the situation, is that we have a document in place, the people of Guam voted on it. How will it be possible, then, for the members of the administration, or even the Congress, to have any sense of negotiation or flexibility if, in fact, the compact is already written in stone, so to speak, by the people of Guam? Do you see the problem I'm having?
Governor GUTIERREZ. OK.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And I would please welcome your suggestion.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Thank you very much, Congressman, and let me say that the problem is a little bit of both, I thinkthe substance and the process. And the fact that we're not blameless in this situation either; the people of Guam are not blameless in this. And, certainly, the Congress, when they sent us to the administration in 1989, it was a mistakewithout themselves weighing in.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The difference between the freely associated States and the CNMI, at the time that they had negotiators, you had Ambassadors doing it. They were not U.S. citizens. Now when you look at Guam, you've put us in this United States citizens mold, and, suddenly you tell us that ''You're a United States citizen. You have no right to negotiate with your own Government.'' And this is where the problem lies.
Now as we move forward, we have to take who's got the power and the authority to make things happen, and it's Congress. And if Congress does not weigh in at the outset, you're going to continually see this process dragged on for the next millennium. And so the suggestion as we spoke with this administrationand you heard it from Mr. Garamendi; it was not without my knowledgeis that we continue to open the door, but have a tri-partite negotiating theme and a deadline setand I suggested the date June 20, 1998, the 100th year of the raising of the U.S. flag over Guam.
If you put that in the process to move forward, then you would see the substance and the process actually work. It won't work now. But the testimonyI'm a forever optimist, Mr. Congressman, and people take potshots at Mr. Garamendi for his statements. I've been dealing with the gentleman for over almost 2 years. I know what he feels in his heart. I think his inner-being knows that he despises colonies. I know I spoke with President Clinton. His inner-being despises colonies.
It's trying to break through this mold and this box of constitutionality, which we ought not to be thinking in. We ought to step out of this box and start to realize that to be able to bring a people such as Guam, with a unique history, to move forward in a relationship that gives some dignity to the island and its people, you've got to step out of the box. And if you continually stay within these constitutional questions, we will never come to any resolution of the problem.
And we say to you, Congressman, that for 100 years you have inculcated in our minds, if not ingrained in our minds, true representative democracy and the system that makes this Nation great and that makes it work. And if you don't allow us to come forth and get a unique relationshipbecause you're telling us that Statehood is out of the question; you won't give us the two senators and a representative that can vote; so, therefore you have to give us some unique representation here. And the process as we have envisioned it with this administration is to put together a mechanism such as a Federal commission in which Guam has inputnot veto power, but input into the way the laws are made that govern our lives.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Farr has been out there, but I would say that 99 percent of the Congressmen and Senators have never been to Guam, but they continually make legislation that impacts my life adversely without their knowledge. And I don't think they like or have to do that if you had a commission come in to say, ''Wait a minute, Senators. If you allow this bill to pass, it might hurt Guam.'' Now if they don't want to take that advice, then Guam is going to be negatively impacted. But it requires that this commission have some high-level people in it, appointed by the President of the United States.
Now this is our representation in Congress, and it doesn't have a veto power, but it has some meaning. Because if you don't give us the Senators and the Congressmen, obviously, then, we have to devise a unique relationship, and that's all we're asking for. We want to be continually a part of the United States. It's part of me. My very first memorymy very first memory, walking out of that concentration camp at 3-years-old, was that G.I. walking me out and carrying methat smiling face. So you cannot take away from me that America is great. Anybody that says Americans are no good has a fight with me.
But I say, also, in the truest sense of democracy, that you have to do something with how this Government was founded in the first place and to embrace all that are US citizens. You can't leave us out there, out there 10,000 miles away to fend for ourselves, because we are America in Asia and you have to understand it from that perspective.
Our economy is Asian economy, and if you continue to have those Federal laws bind us from moving forward, growing our economy, then you will see that there's tension building, and then you will see that there's not going to be harmony with the relationship with the United States.
And the people that we face daily is the US military out there. We still want to be able to do that, but for God's sake, make sure that the people of Guam get more of their internal self-governance. That's all we ask.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Governor Gutierrez, within the matter of 7 or 8 months, you will have reached 100 years. Whether we're going to celebrate it, or whether we're going to do something else to commemorate the 100th year of the relationship existing between Guam and the United Statesand I want to ask for your best opinionwhat are we going to celebrate next year?
Governor GUTIERREZ. Well, if Congress says,''Yes; we'll go on the tri-partite negotiations,'' I think we would celebrate a renewed relationship that moves us into the 21st century, that the people of Guam would allow for bringing to a closure, as Congressman Underwood said, the right to self-determination of its people. And I say to you: Not to worry, Congressman. You have taught us well in American democracy, and I don't know why anyone would worry how the people of Guam would choose if you give them that opportunity.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I'm sorry, I didn't mean toGovernor Calvo, Governor Ada?
Governor CALVO. I was just going to say that Governor Gutierrez covered the subject very well, but I'd just like to put a more practical prospectus into the situation. We are American citizens, a possession of the United States, which is quite different than the northern Marianas and the rest of the islands. And in fact, during World War II, we were the only island that was with the allies. And so you have a situationand also, we're the island that has the military presence.
It reminds me of when I was young; you know, when you are courting your girlfriend, you are very nice and you promise her heaven on earth, but once you get married, some people look at their wives as their possession. And so in that way, I feel that Guam is a spouse of the United States. And they say, ''Hey, stay at home and do exactly what I say. Don't do what I preach out there, just do what I say.'' And I know it's kind of hilarious, Mr. Chairman, but that is the difference between Guam, the northern Marianas, and the rest of Micronesia. We are a possession. We are a colony.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, of course, somebody was mentioningthe gentleman, I think, from Connecticutthe Congressman from Connecticutthat why should you be so possessive when all we're asking is to be like you over here. Thank you.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Governor Ada.
Governor ADA. Thank you, Congressman. I just would like to ask this august body to issue a directive in some form to the administration to carry this process if this is your wish, or take handle of this process yourselves. I have experienced the frustration of having to sit across from the task force of the two previous administrations and have come to an agreement on major issues, such as consultation with the military on various matters, such as the immigration laws, such as the trade policies; and the most important part, the part that everybody has said is unconstitutional, is the mutual consent provision. We had come to an agreement.
Michael Heyman, a noted law professor, chancellor of Berkeley University, was the Clerk of the Supreme Court during the 1960'she had drafted the proposition and submitted it to the administration that mutual consent is do-able. We have worked on this issue for many years, and we have researched every constitutional issue with respect to mutual consent, and to this date, every time we have reached an agreement and at the end of every administration, the major concessions, the major agreements that we have signed were reneged. It happened again during the Clinton administration. I mean, there is absolutely no trust, and then they come before Congress and mislead the Members of Congress.
A question was asked here earlier about the fact that under the Commonwealth that we are proposing to have slave laborers if we do have a garment industry in Guam. That is not the case. Congress has been misled. We, in the Commonwealth, if you've read the Commonwealth, we protect the integrity, and rightfully so, of the laws passed by the United States with respect to labor and wages, and we will not do anything less than to uphold that law or to strengthen the law to protect laborers.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These are the types of things, Congressman, that bother me, and there must be some kind of direction that you receive the appropriate recommendation. If they do disagree, let it be so, and let Congress handle that matter themselves, but not to disagree under the guises that it is unconstitutional, because there is nothing unconstitutional in the section of the Commonwealth of Guam.
It has been researched very well, and to use that argument is to deceive not only the people of Guam. It would be an insult that we don't know what we're doing, but it would be more of an insult to Members of Congress to tell them this is the case where it is not the case, and this is all we're asking, Congressman.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Governor Ada. Mr. Chairman, my time is up, and for a matter of observation, I want to also mention to Governor Ada that California has higher labor standard laws than the Federal Government, and I think that's what you were trying to explain about the fact that Guam will enact or pass lawsif not the same standards as the Federal, or even better.
Governor ADA. That's right.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. So I appreciate your clarification on that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON. I recognize the gentleman from Guam, Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I sure appreciate the testimony of the three Governors, certainly the practical approach of Governor Gutierrez and the impassioned pleas of Governor Ada, and the fact that Governor Calvo has encapsulated that this agreement is not just good for Guam; it's good for the United States, are legitimate parts of the enterprise which comprise the Commonwealth Act. These three approaches are all very strongly felt, and these are all ways of viewing the proposal which will help us perhaps bridge the gap and move us in the direction of passage.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I noticed, Governor Calvo, that you mentioned that this is somewhat like after marriage and after you slip on the ring. Some people would not compare our relationship as one of marriage, but rather one of being a kept woman; more like, if I give you an apartment, would you just keep quiet? And that if we just give you so many Federal programs, would you just keep your issues about self-determination and increased autonomy and power to yourselves?
I also just wanted to touch briefly on the issue of the interchange between Mr. Abercrombie and Governor Ada, and I clarified with Mr. Abercrombie that Guam is not at all seeking the kind of things that he may think, that what we really had in that situation was that as an industry started to take off on Guam, lobbyists were able to switch the quotas on us and destroy the industry.
And it wasn't because we had standards that were less than those that existed in the 50 States; indeed, all the existing standards on Guam are comparable to the 50 States, and, indeed, we have the full application of minimum wage. In fact, at times, Guam's minimum wage has actually been ahead of the Federal minimum wage, so there's no issue about wages, and certainly there's none of the problems that are associated with labor standards.
There are two questions I would like to ask. Since all of you have been chief executives, and one the incumbent, and I know, Governor Calvo, you were the very first chairperson of the Commission on Self-Determination. The first question I'd like to ask is, is this business about being a tribe. Have any of you ever heard a reputable call or has anyone ever expressed to any of you any interest in the Chamorro people of Guam becoming a federally recognized tribe for purposes of exercising sovereignty?
Governor ADA. No.
Governor CALVO. No.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Governor Gutierrez?
Governor GUTIERREZ. I'm sorry; I wasn't paying attention.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Oh, you're filling out your tribal enrollment sheet, are you?
Governor GUTIERREZ. I'll see if I can pass some notes up to someone.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. The question is, In your capacity as chairman of the Commission on Self-Determination, have you ever heard a reputable call for the acquisition of tribal status for the Chamorro people in order to exercise sovereignty?
Governor GUTIERREZ. I've heard of it.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. But do you consider it a reputable proposal?
Governor GUTIERREZ. Not from the people of Guam, themselves, but a few corners.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Basically from people that aren't even from Guam.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Well, they're trying to get some people from Guam to see it their way, but the people of Guam and its leadership have generally not moved forward in that direction.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK, thank you; then the one remaining issue that I'd like to solicit your comments from: we've noticed that in the representation by Mr. Garamendi of the Clinton administration's position on this, full local control of immigration has been rejected as a cornerstone of the Clinton administration's position, but they did concede that there was some possibility for making some kind of Guam-specific immigration policy, either in terms of providing relief for temporary workers or, perhaps, for limiting the impact of permanent immigration. And I wanted just a brief statement from each one of you, whether you see some room for maneuvering in that statement, or is that, in the current parlance of the day, non-negotiable?
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Governor GUTIERREZ. Well, let me answer first. I see some room for bringing this thing to aas I envision the principle of immigration control as proposed in H.R. 100, that is to be able to limit the number of people on Guam, particularly because of the size of the island and, you know, the finite resources that we have to sustain a big population in Guam. And the fact that the United States, through this administration's willing to be able to try to uphold that principle, whether we control it or not, is at least a step forward in the way that the Congress in the past has continually made national immigration policies stick to Guam.
So, I think there's room for us to continue. As I said, Congressman, I may be an eternal optimist, but we've got to be able to look at the good things that this administration has just said here instead of jumping all over them and saying that they betrayed us. I'm not trying to take issue with Governor Ada, but I look at it on a different point, and I think it's a call for all three of us to get together. And I heard his pronouncements on the various principles that we are trying to get in H.R. 100, and I think we can get that. We're looking for the mechanism to make it happen, and we ought to continue to let that door open, and let's get moving on.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Governor Calvoon the immigration.
Governor CALVO. Yes; I think the fact that our island mass is so small and that we've already got 150,000 people there, that we should have control on immigration. And not so much to exploitand I think the implication was to bring in cheap laborbut we need control so that we will not be overpopulated.
And one of things that our Congressman is constantly working for is the question of compact impact. Here's a situation where we are spending more than you gentlemen are reimbursing us, and so it's these types of problems that need our inputin immigration, especially.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you. Governor Ada?
Governor ADA. I think it's a step in the right direction, and I just hope that he is pretty much honest about it.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK. Well, I appreciate those comments. There's always a tendency sometimes to characterize the H.R. 100which is being heard in its entirety as it was passed 10 years agoas something akin to Biblical revelation; this is not Biblical revelation. It is a piece of legislation, and it is a proposal, and there are some core principles in there that we will not shrink from, and I think those of us who have been involved in the process have identified those principles very clearly and forthrightly.
But, certainly, even in the discussion of immigration, there's obviously some room for discussing some alternative approach which takes into account the principles and the issues which we have identified, and at the same time avoids some of the problems, and, frankly, political considerations which are in the environment.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to submit a resolution and statement from the President of the Mayor's Council of Guam in support of the Commonwealth Act.
Mr. PETERSON. Without objection.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.
[The statement of the president of the Mayor's Council of Guam may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. Ms. Green.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know that my full statement has been entered for the record, but as a fellow American citizen from one of the territories and having a stake in seeing that the integrity of this process is maintained, that the people of Guam exercise their right to self-determination, I really must express my unqualified support for H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act, and my extreme pleasure that today, after 10 years, the people of Guam are finally getting this hearing on their choice of Commonwealth as their vehicle for self-determination.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I wanted to add my word of welcome to our colleagues who have testified and to the two former Governors, and Governor Gutierrez, and especially I wanted to add a word of welcome to the many Guamanians who have traveled that long distance to their Nation's capital to be here today to demonstrate their strong support for the Guam Commonwealth Act.
I want to also welcome my predecessor and friend, Ron DeLugo, if he's still here, and to join my other colleagues in commending Congressman Underwood for his determination, his faithfulness, and his hard work in bringing us to this day.
We, on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, we pledge our unwavering support in seeing this process through to a successful completion by the 100th anniversary of Guam's becoming part of the American family. This Congress has the power, and it has the authority to do so. And as Governor Gutierrez said, the time is now for us to act.
And many of my specific questions have been answered, but Governor Gutierrez, as you ended your opening statement you said that there might have been other things that you would like to elaborate on, and I'd like to just give you the opportunity to do that, if you wanted to, with the remainder of my time.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Thank you for that opening, Delegate from the Virgin Islands; Donna, thank you.
What I meant was thatyou know, the time that you sit up here, as little as it gets, sometimes does not give you the opportunity to say what you want, and what I meant was that I hope that during this period of questioning and answering that we might be able to elaborate more. I have done a lot of that in the very principles that we have envisioned in H.R. 100, and I would like just the opportunity to answer any questions. And thank you for that.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Thank you. I don't have any specific questions at this point.
Mr. PETERSON. OK; thank you. Would the three Governors answer the following questiontheir views on an elected attorney general. Do you want to start, Governor?
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Governor GUTIERREZ. Well, that's fine with me. The situation you've got to look at in Guamyou know there's a position in the Guam legislature now called the Surihanu. The Surihanu is an arm of the legislature to investigate, much as like you have with the GAO. Now they're trying to pass a bill that would make that an elective office within an elective office.
Guam is very small. You canand I'm sure the people of Guam will accept the election of an attorney general. The problem that we see in the future is that everything in Guam, eventually, would be so political that I just don't know whether it would work. But whatever the wishes are of the people of Guam, I would abide with. I think it might work. It's going to take time to transition.
I was hoping that it would be placed in a constitution for Guam, written after the Commonwealth Act, so that the people of Guam can really get a Government of its own, instead of this piecemeal legislation coming through the Congress of the United States.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Calvo?
Governor CALVO. I think the intent of having an elected attorney general, Mr. Chairman, is to remove it from the sphere of politics and trying, frankly speaking, to remove it out of the control of the Governor. I am not so sure, though, that the cure is better than the disease, because for somebody to be running for attorney general, he will be going out and soliciting votes. That probably will be a more direct political movement than to have been appointed by the administration and sanctioned by the legislature.
I think that I can't foresee how it would turn out, but, you know, the democratic process is election, so maybe trying it out would be the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, but that is my view, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Ada.
Governor ADA. Mr. Chairman, I feel that the attorney general, normally an advisor to the Governor on legalistic mattersI am not too strong insofar as having an elected attorney general. However, I am much stronger in supporting an elected prosecutor. I think that that would be a better remedy to separating the function of the attorney general as advisor to the Governor, and the prosecutor as prosecuting cases, so that there shouldn't be any semblance or perception of any political interference.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Would the chairman yield?
Mr. PETERSON. I'd like to just comment, and then I'll turn to Mr. Faleomavaega.
In Pennsylvania, when we switched from an appointed to an electedof course, the Governors appointed their chief counsel, but the role of approving contracts was done by the attorney general, who was elected, and in most cases they agreed with the Governor, but not always. There were times when there was disagreementit was a more independent personand he sort of becomes the chief legal officer of our State of Pennsylvania, or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. It's a matter of observation, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted to say that even at the Federal level we still can't decide whether we should elect the Attorney Generalor the problems that we're having right now, with all kinds of investigations going on, and to appoint an independent counselso whether it be at the State or Federal level, it cuts both ways. It's a matter of preference, I suppose. Some States elect their attorneys general and others don't; but it's an interesting question to the territories. It's a mixed bag; it can go either way.
But I wanted to ask a questionam I?
Mr. PETERSON. Sure; please proceed.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Two minutes. I'm still a little confused here. We've got the proposed Commonwealth Act. The administration is having some very serious problems with it, and I'm trying to find out what should the Congress then do if there's an impasse here? Obviously, they do have some very serious problems with the proposed provisions. Now the ideal situation would be that the administration signs off on it and says, ''We agree in principle that this is what we like with the compact.'' So then it comes to the Congress for approval or for whatever changes that need to be made.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you prefer the current process, Governor Gutierrezand all of the three, because all of you have served as chairmen of the Commission on Commonwealthor is there a better way of doing it? I'm still asking about the process. I don't think it's so much the substance that I'm concerned about.
I have a little positive reaction from Governor Gutierrez, because I get the impression that you think the current process is working, and please correct me if I'm wrong, because there seem to be some difference of opinions here. The current process is not working, and should we here in the committee, right now, have a solution for the problem to solve it, rather than continue on for another year, another 2 years, and then we have another hearing 8 years down the line and we still haven't moved an inch.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Well, the solution would be that just you and I negotiate and leave the administration out.
Governor GUTIERREZ.But if this Congress listens to the testimony of this administration, then obviously the best method would be for all three of us to get together. Now, mind you that I'm the chairman of this Commission, and I'm supposed to testify strictly on H.R. 100, but what I heard from this administration and a few of the members of this committee is that it ''ain't going to fly.'' I have to bring that back to the people of Guam and tell them that what they voted on ain't going to fly, and that we need to be able to, as you said, come down with some negotiating wiggle-room to make this thing work.
And I think that the people of Guam will decide in the next few months what they would like to do. If they're so adamant as to say it's all or nothing, then we don't see anything happening by June 20, 1998. I would hope that I can ask the people of Guam to say give us an opportunitythe Commission on Self-Determination, the leadership, our Congressmento work in a better method than we have over the last 8 years, and that's to negotiate with all threeI mean the Congress and this administration. And I think if we set a deadline for ourselves, we might be able to see some progress come to fruition.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Governor, 8 years ago we held a hearing, and my good friend Ben Blaz can attest to this, and chairman Ron DeLugo. We held the hearing in Hawaii, in fact. The first thing and the first impression that most members would havein the substance nowwe're talking substance of the bill.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Right.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. There would be what is known as a concurrent referral. When you talk about trade issues it goes to Ways and Means. When you talk about taxes, it goes to the Ways and Means Committee. When you talk about transportation, it goes to the Committee on Infrastructure. When you talk about resources, strictly on territorial issues, it's this committee.
The danger that I saw 8 years ago, in my humble opinion, was the fact that this bill was going to be referred to several committees because of jurisdictional problems, because of the issues that are involved. And when you talk about EEZ with foreign issues, foreign relations, it goes to the International Relations Committee. And when you have a bill that is going to be referred to six different committees, with six different substantive issues, it's almost to say that's the death knell of any proposed bill. And, I say this in all honesty and with a sincere desire, just as we tried when my good friend Ben Blaz, 8 years agohow can we get this thing moving in such a way that Congress and the respective committee system, in such a way, that they could be cooperative in working toward resolving the issues that the substantive part of the bill provides? That's the problem that I see and I've talked to some of our colleagues on the committee, and this is the bottom line. Governor, in all due respect, this is the problem that we face right now with the proposed legislation.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Right. I wish 8 years ago you would have told us no on all those provisions so that we would have done something different instead of telling us to go to the Administration and talk about it and that's what happened.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Governor ADA. Mr. Congressman, may I add to that question? As earlier I did mention that I hoped that this august body will issue some kind of mandate, and that, of course, would be up to you, to the Administration telling them and perhaps giving them a deadline that this act must be resolved one way or another in the Administration side. I just want to say that we have visited practically all of the section of the Commonwealth Act with the Administration. We have signed off to many of the sections and subsections and so forth. We have taken care of the most difficult of the Act; the mutual consent provision, immigration, trade and commerce, consultation on military matters. There are only a few that's leftover. The one issue that the Administration continued to say no is the Jones Act. That's the only one issue that they refuse to even listen or find a solution to the problem. If you have taken and asked of them, rather, to give you all those information and just to go through those things, you wouldn't know that there are solution to all of these issues and those solution are mutually beneficial to all of us, both America and Guam. The only problem that we're having here is that, at the end of every Administration, the entire thing would be reneged or parts of it would be reneged and then they come before Congress and would tell Congress otherwise. All I'm asking is that this Congress would just tell them to sit down, go through this thing, give us what you have at the end of this period, and you handleand you take it from there. And I do understand, Congressman, that it would take more than 1 year for this august body to entertain the Act because of the nature of this august body. It may take 1, 2 or 3 years. I think that that ought to be a consideration and that's all we're asking, Congressman.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Governor. I didn'tMr. Chairman, my time is up but I would like to say for the record that this is the first time that I have heard that you only have one remaining problem in the negotiations
Governor ADA. Not one remaining. The most important partthe most difficult partthere's other area that are not that difficult to overcome.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Well, it's my
Governor ADA. I think, in terms of
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I'm sorry, my time is up.
Governor ADA. I'm sorry.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. It was my sincere hope, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Garamendi will provide the committee with a status report on how the negotiations have been for the past 4 years. Al, can that be done, Mr. Staymen? Can we make this as a request, Mr. Chairman, that we get a status report from the Administration of the status of the negotiations with the Commission of the Commonwealth? Just to kind of give us and update where exactly we are? At least from what I hear from the Governors, it is ongoing, it is in progress and I'm very happy to hear this. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. PETERSON. I believe Mr. Staymen shook his head yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you. Thank you, Al.
Mr. PETERSON. One final question for this panel, Mr. Underwood.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the comments of my good friend from American Samoa. I must state for the record, however, that the problems with the document, and this is a complicated document of 12 articles and I think both Governor Gutierrez and Governor Ada, who have been more directly involved with the negotiations, have sustained the position that the critical arguments are not within the jurisdiction of other committees. They're within the jurisdiction of this committee and so that's really a call for whether this committee wants to take up the challenge of helping to broker this process or not. And I think that's the status of where we are at this time. I would reiterate my concern that I feel that, you know, to use a well-worn football analogy, it's fourth down and there's quite a number of yards to go. The Administration has apparently decided to punt, rather than throw the Hail Mary pass. Despite the fact that many of us went to Mass this morning to ask for spiritual guidance, the Administration decided to kick the ball.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I just want to make a final comment, Mr. Chairman, on the Attorney General's position. My legislation calls for the legislature, in conjunction with the Governor, to decide whether an elected Attorney General will be in Guam. It's always interesting to ask Governors what they think about an elected Attorney General and I did notice that, unless Governor Calvo is planning a miraculous comeback, he's the only Governor who's not likely to be Governor again and he's the one that's the most favorable to my legislation.
Governor CALVO. Thank you.
Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the panel. I would like to thank the members for their good questions. We will excuse the panel to
Governor GUTIERREZ. Mr. Chairman, just quickly
Mr. PETERSON. Sure.
Governor GUTIERREZ. I was not able to go through my whole testimony. Could I submit it for the record?
Mr. PETERSON. Absolutely. Without objection.
Governor GUTIERREZ. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETERSON. Any questions for the panel can be submitted to the record, too. We'll share them with you. We thank you very much.
The next panel will be the Honorable Anthony Blaz, Vice-Speaker, Guam Legislature; the Honorable Mark Forbes, Senate Majority Leader and Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Affairs, Guam Legislature; the Honorable Ben Pangelinan, Senate Minority Leader, Guam Legislature; the Honorable Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, Chairperson, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Guam Legislature; the Honorable Peter Siguenza, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Guam; the Honorable Alberto C. Lamorena, III, Presiding Judge, Superior Court of Guam.
I'm told that all panelists are here except the Honorable Ms. Barrett-Anderson, so we will then proceed and we will call upon the Honorable Anthony Blaz, Vice-Speaker of the Guam Legislature. Please be
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ANTHONY BLAZ, VICE SPEAKER, GUAM LEGISLATURE
Mr. BLAZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Honorable members of this committee, I am Anthony C. Blaz, Vice-Speaker of the 24th Guam Legislature and Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Taxation. I am also a member of the Commission on Self-Determination.
As our Governors past and present have indicated, Commonwealth is supported by both political parties in Guam. Republican Governor Calvo appointed the first Commission on Self-Determination. Democrat Governor Bordallo's Commission completed the first draft of this act. He was followed by Governor Ada, a Republican, who amended the act, conducted a plebi scite with the people of Guam on every provision of the act and, upon its passage, presented the act to my uncle, the former Guam Republican Congressman, Ben Blaz, who first introduced this act on the Hill. Governor Ada conducted discussions with the Bush Administration and the early years of the Clinton Administration. Today, Democrat Governor Gutierrez heads the Commission, fighting hard in continued discussions with the Clinton Administration and, along with our esteemed Democrat Congressman, Robert Underwood, has brought this act before Congress today.
Every Guam legislature in recent times, whether the majority has been Democrat, as it has in the past, or Republican, as it is today, has endorsed the provisions of this act. All of Guam's municipal mayors, whether Republican or Democrat, have endorsed this act. The reason why this act has near-universal bipartisan support from Guam's elected leaders, past and present, is simple; this act and only this act has been endorsed and ratified by the people of Guam in plebi scite. The voters of Guam have approved every provision of this act, provision by provision. No other act, no other status option has been approved by our people, even when they had the opportunity to do so. And, given the option of voting for independence, they rejected it. Given the option of voting for statehood, they rejected it. Given the opportunity to pass a constitution, our people overwhelmingly rejected it.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe that the vote of our people is sacred and, as an elected representatives of our people, we are morally bound to heed their call. This act is their call and that is a fact. When other options are discussed, they are merely opinions. Although this act is a bipartisan effort, as a life-long Republican, I feel I must give the Republican view of Commonwealth to clarify any misunderstanding.
The official view of the Republican Party of Guam is support for commonwealth status for Guam. It has been in our party platform. In fact, support of Commonwealth status for Guam has been part of the National Republican platform for at least the past two times and, in fairness to my Democratic friends, I must point out that support for Commonwealth is a feature of both the local and national Democratic Party platforms.
As a Republican, not just locally but nationally, I find it very easy to be enthusiastic about Commonwealth because it's good national, Republican legislation, too. The Republican Party believes in limiting the power of the Federal Government over people in general and local communities, in particular. That's what Commonwealth does. As Republicans, we believe in empowering local communities to solve their problems themselves and that's what Commonwealth status will do for Guam. As Republicans, we believe in promoting economic growth as a means of enriching the lives of people and reducing the burden of Federal taxation and spending and that's what Commonwealth does. In so many ways, Commonwealth for Guam ties directly into many primary Republican plans and we hope, in time, that our national Republican leaders will come to appreciate this and liberate the creative energies of our people by granting us self-government and the autonomy to do what we can do for ourselves. And don't get me wrong, this is good Democratic legislation, too, worthy of the same bipartisan support nationally that Commonwealth receives at home. It is unfortunate that, based on testimony we have heard today, the Clinton Administration is unwilling at this time to give the dreams and aspirations of our people the support they deserve. And, that's not entirely surprising. In the years that we've been discussing Commonwealth with the executive branch, we have been involved in endless discussions with low-level bureaucrats and cutoff from true policymakers. We expect bureaucracy to resist change. It always does. We expect bureaucracy to preserve the status quo and the prerogatives of big government. It always will. It is unfortunate that, at an executive level, Commonwealth remains largely hostage to this eternal bureaucracy.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But this Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, have successfully waged battle against running Federal bureaucracy in a host of areas. This Congress has successfully begun the reform of the bloated welfare bureaucracy. It has streamlined spending, and will deliver us, in short order, a balanced budget. It is tackling tax reform. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we humbly ask you to run interference for us with this bureaucracy that is frustrating us on this issue. We do not expect you to endorse this act as a result of this one hearing, of course not. This is the first time we have come before you in this manner. But we ask you to work with us and discuss the many provisions of this act in the months to come. We gave the Administration years and, surely, we can give you the benefit of reasonable time, as well. We ask that you withhold hasty judgment and engage in meaningful deliberations. If we deal on this issue in good faith, I am certain that both sides will be reasonable. Let us do the work that needs to be done but, unfortunately, the executive branch seems to be dropping the ball on. Surely the express will of our people deserves a fair and full hearing, discussion and deliberation at the very least. I am confident that this Congress will work with us and I look forward to the process as a Republican, as a Chamorro, as an American. Thank you and [speaking in Chamorro] ''si yu'os ma'ase,'' Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Blaz may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. Next, we'll call on the Honorable Mark Forbes, Senate Majority Leader.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MARK FORBES, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER AND CHAIRMAN, SENATE COMMITTEE ON FEDERAL AFFAIRS, GUAM LEGISLATURE
Mr. FORBES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. In the interest of keeping within the 5 minute deadline imposed and having taken a look at my written testimony, I'm going to extemporize and attempt to summarize it as best as I can. I also need to take the opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to respond partially to some of the testimony that was presented earlier.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I was disappointed in the National Administration's testimony, especially one particular portion of it. There was a statement that was made by the Administration representative that, if I understood it correctly, said that, although he might have certain feelings and opinions about Guam's Commonwealth Act in particular and our goals in general, that until, if I understood him correctly, virtually every single person in the executive branch signed off on this, this could not be executive branch policy. And I'm thoroughly confused because I had thought that the process that we were engaged in with the Administration was a process we were having these discussions with a designated negotiator, for lack of a better term, who had been entrusted with a certain degree of franchise. And, to have heard today that, basically, we have to go and convince every single entity in the executive branch on every provision in Commonwealth just presents an impossible task. And I'm glad that we're having this hearing because I think that, you know, although we are obviously going to continue to engage in reasonable discourse and discussion with whoever is interested in maintaining that degree of discussion, it's critical that we start dealing with this on a congressional level. It's important that we talk to folks who have some real policymaking authority here, who can actually do what needs to be done and I think that, at this juncture, it's critical that we understand why we have to come before Congress. Delegate Faleomavaega asked the question earlier. He made aand I apologize if I didn't hear you precisely, but I believe the question ran along the lines of, since we've already presented this in plebi scite to the people of Guam and since they have already approved in plebi scite every single provision, is there really any possibility of movement and discussion? What is there for the House to do? And, my response is that there's everything for the House to do. That's the whole reason why we're here. Guam can have innumerable votes, the people of Guam can vote time and time again, and, although it is very meaningful for those of us who represent the people of Guam, legally it's meaningless because we are a non-self-governing territory and our people do not have the personal sovereignty enjoyed by other Americans that gives meaning to their act of voting. The question what is there for Congress do to, is everything. That's what the plenary powers of Congress under the Territorial clause mean. Beyond that, Congress has, at least in our view, a clear obligation under the Treaty of Paris to deal specifically with the issue not only of the disposal and the disposition of the territory of Guam, but, as it is stated very clearly in the Treaty of Paris, determining the civil rights and the political status of the native inhabitants of those territories ceded by Spain. The Treaty is a treaty, entered into freely by the United States, ratified by the U.S. Senate and the specific delegation, in that Treaty, of a responsibility to Congress not only to dispose of the territory of Guam, as it would any territory under the Territorial clause, but to specifically determine the civil rights and the political status of the native inhabitants is a very weighty responsibility. And, in fact, there is no other body, no body that exists, in U.S. law that can deal with this issue other than Congress.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I feel that, having heard the Administration's testimony this morning, that they've kind of missed the boat. What we're looking for fundamentally here, and there is no time to go far beyond the fundamentals, is for the establishment of some degree of self-government for a non-self-governing people. How we see that as being possible is by a partial disposal of the plenary authority that Congress has over the people and the territory of Guam under the Territorial clause. We believe that this is doable. We believe it can be done. We believe that there is sufficient court precedent to speak to the powers that Congress has to do this and we believe there are many creative ways that this can be done which, hopefully, we will discuss in the months to come.
One final note. There have been some comments made by the Administration and by others that the other, very important goal in our quest here, acquiring a recognition of the right of self-determination for Chamorros, is in violation of equal protection clause of the Constitution. Rather than get into a broad discussion of that, I would just like to, again, remind the committee of what it says in the Treaty of Paris. Congress is to determine the civil rights and the political status of the native inhabitants of the territory ceded by Spain. I think that is something Congress can do, as well. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Honorable Mark Forbes may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. For the record, I'd like to share that the Chair will ask the Administration to share with the committee the process they used that didn't seem to please very many people, make very many friends, or make very much progress, we'll ask them to explain to us that process that was utilized.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you very much.
Mr. PETERSON. What their goals and hopes were. At this time, I will introduce the Honorable Ben Pangelinan, Senate Minority Leader.
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STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BEN PANGELINAN, SENATE MINORITY LEADER, GUAM LEGISLATURE
Mr. PANGELINAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, at the opening of the hearing, a question was asked, where are we at, at this process? Clearly, Mr. Chairman, we are not where we want to be, we are not where we should be, and we are not where we ought to be, and that is the purpose of our presence here this morning, to resolve this dilemma.
Honorable chairman and members of the committee, it is with the highest honor that I appear before you and my greatest privilege to do so, as an elected representative of the people of Guam. I am the Minority Leader of the 24th Guam legislature. To prepare for this hearing, I logged onto the committee homepage and immediately opened the ''Hot Issues before the Committee'' page, hoping that H.R. 100 would appear. It did not. Today, we appear before this honorable committee seeking to generate the heat requisite to place the Guam Commonwealth Act on the ''Hot Issues'' page of this committee and this Congress. Today, we fan the embers kept alive by our honorable Nation, which, for nearly a century, guarded the glowing cinders of democracy and liberty in Guam and ignited the fire of liberty in our people who aspire to be America's bastion of democracy in the Pacific. We bare our souls, hoping that you recognize the torch of liberty that is emblazoned in our hearts that we are now willing and able to become full partners as America's living paradigm of democracy and commitment to liberty and freedom for all her people.
Today, we seek to denude the arguments that cloak the hope and promise contained in H.R. 100 which sustained the Chamorro people for decades. Some of you may ask why and under what authority should Congress recognize the political rights, give life to a Commonwealth, and give birth to a new political entity within America, by and for the people of Guam. While some argue that what we seek is not within the framework of our constitution, we believe otherwise. Congress' authority over the disposition of the territory of Guam is irrefutable. Equally unimpeachable is its authority to do so within the broad framework of our petition, H.R. 100. Open the door, the right door, and we will walk through that door. Open the wrong door, and we will turn away.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We fully realize that, absent full integration into the union as a State, Guam will forever be limited to an unequal status within America. We must then apply the wordsthe words of the great Justice of the Supreme Court, Felix Frankfurter, ''there is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals.'' When Congress treats Guam equally to the States, it treats Guam unequally, for we are not equal with the States. Vested in Congress is the power and the authority to determine the political status of Guam, to grant political rights to the people of Guam, unequal from those granted to the residents of the States, and to establish the Commonwealth of Guam that is unequal from that of any State.
Mr. Chairman, at the April 1997 hearing on H.R. 856, the U.S.-Puerto Rico Status Act, Chairman Young expressed sadness upon learning of the loss of Donna Pilar Barbosa Rosario, the daughter of the official historian of Puerto Rico, who, in a personal note, wrote to the chairman the morning after the 1996 hearing on H.R. 856. She wrote, ''God help us that Pilar Barbosa could live more than 3 years to see what all this results in. So help me Godit's now or never.''
Today, I bear the same sadness for Guam who has lost someone of equal importance in our quest for Commonwealth, Tun Pedro Perez, a most respected leader, who at the 1989 Hawaii hearing on Guam's Commonwealth, urged Congress to act on this same Commonwealth. He cried out against the attitude of ''Manana, manana,'' our political relationship with America, come back ''manana.'' He pleaded, no more ''mananas,'' for this old man may not live to see another ''manana.'' Sadly, 3 years after the 1989 hearings, like Donna Pilar, Tun Petro saw his final ''manana'' before he could see what all of this results in for Guam.
Honorable chairman and distinguished committee members, nothing is more difficult than not being able to see ahead. For to live without being able to see ahead is to live without hope and a people without hope shall surely perish. Mr. Chairman, now is definitely the time to act to see what all this results in so we can see ahead, so we can restore hope. With a full realization that we will not finish in this Congress, let us act today for action on H.R. 100 gives the Chamorro people the ability to see ahead. It renews hope and promise for our people and, with hope and promise renewed, we know that we, the indigenous people of Guam will not perish. At the start of the Commonwealth, some debated whether we should dare embark on our quest, our journey of hope and promise. To all who dared to start this journey, Tun Pedro and those who are no longer with us on this earth, we vow that we shall not dare to stop the journey that you dared to start until we fulfill the hope and deliver the promise made to our people.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Also, Mr. Chairman, I would like at this time to declare my support for H.R. 2370 and also, Mr. Chairman, to raise the issue of an amendment to the Organic Act with reference to the quorum of the legislature in which local action has resulted in the need to amend the Organic Act to reflect that a quorum consists of a majority of its members and that no bill shall pass and become law unless it shall have been passed at a meeting in which a quorum is present and by the affirmative vote of a majority of its members. I'd like to also ask the Committee Chair to accept my written comments for the record. Thank you, [speaking in Chamorro] ''si yu'os ma'ase,'' Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pangelinan may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. [presiding] OK. All your statement will entered into the record. I now call upon the Honorable Peter C. Siguenza, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER SIGUENZA, CHIEF JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF GUAM
Justice SIGUENZA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Robert Underwood, and the other distinguished members of the House Committee on Resources. It's a pleasure to be here to speak. It is an honor, indeed. I'm here today as the Chief Justice of Guam. My rotating term expires in about a year and a half from now, at which time we Justices will elect a new Chief. And so, at my first, and hopefully final, appearance before you I want to stress the importance of the critical matter which is before us today.
In simple terms, House Resolution 2370 would place the judiciary of Guam on an equal footing with its two coordinate branches of government. As you will note, the inherent powers of both the Executive and legislative branches are clearly delineated within the Organic Act. Only the structure of the Judiciary lacks this kind of clarity. Ironically, the original local legislation which created the Supreme Court distinctly outlined the Court's authority, clearly placing administrative and appellate jurisdiction within the Court. In this sense, H.R. 2370 undeniably reflects the will of the people. Virtually every provision within the Judicial Empowerment Act before you today mirrors the 10-year drafting process with culminated in the passage of the bill in 1992. It is significant to point out that no effort was made to alter the bill for the next 3 years. The legislation sat intact and untouched for nearly 4 years, that is, up until the ceding of the Court in April 1996. At that time, on the eve of the confirmation hearings of the Justices, efforts were undertaken to alter the legislation and curtail the authority of the Court. In effect, what had taken a decade to build was summarily undone within 3 months. In fact, since the Court's inception, there have been no fewer than 4 legislative attempts to undermine the Court's administrative authority and, even as recently as last month, a successful legislative bid to limit this Court's legal jurisdiction.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me briefly share with you the chronology of this Court. In 1973, the Guam Public Law 1285 was enacted, envisioning a judiciary with a local supreme court at the helm. 1974, the first Supreme Court of Guam is established. 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Guam's Supreme Court. 1977, that same year, Guam convenes a constitutional convention. The foundation is laid to establish a supreme court as the judicial and administrative head of the Judiciary. This draft Constitution is submitted and approved by the U.S. Congress. 1984, the Omnibus Territories Act amende the Organic Act to allow for the creation of a supreme court. 1993, the Frank Lujan Memorial Court Reorganization Act is signed into law after its 1992 passage in the 21st legislature. The bill is patterned after the 1973 local legislation, the 1977 draft constitution, and provisions from various state constitutions. The legislation calls for a supreme court of Guam which ''will handle all those matters customarily handled by state supreme courts, such as court rules and court administration. Thus, administrative functions of the courts, formerly lying either with the Judicial Council or the District Court of Guam, are placed with the Supreme Court of Guam.''
Then, in 1995 in November, myself, Justice Janet T. Weeks and Justice Menessa G. Lujan are nominated to the Supreme Court. Also, in 1996 in March, hours after the Justices of the Supreme Court are confirmed the 23rd Guam legislature passes bill 404, which removes certain inherent powers from the Supreme Court. A second bill, bill 494, aims to strip the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over all lower courts. That bill is debated but tabled by the Legislative Committee on the Judiciary. Eight months later, in December on 1996, the legislature attaches the contents of the shelved bill 494 as a midnight rider to bill 776. The legislation passes and is vetoed by the Governor. An override attempt fails by only a slim margin. In short, this is the problem faced by the Supreme Court of Guam and why we seek to have this Court established within the Organic Act. Permit me the luxury of overstating the obvious when I say that a judiciary or any branch of government cannot function independently if another branch can modify or strip it of its powers at will.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The bill before this distinguished panel will ensure that, like the inherent power of the Executive and legislative branches, the corresponding authority of the third branch cannot be tampered with on whim. There are those who espouse the view that the Judicial Council of Guam is the policymaker for the Judiciary. Allow me now to let the record speak for this court when I say that in the 10 years it took lawmakers to craft and fine-tune the bill that created the Supreme Court of Guam, the notion of a judicial council as the administrative arm of the Judiciary was explored and subsequently rejected in that role. The Frank Lujan Memorial Court Reorganization Act, which created the Supreme Court, explicitly envisioned an advisory role for the Judicial Council. And, since that time, the will of the people is not changed. A recent survey conducted on Guam by your colleague and our delegate, Congressman Underwood, in addition to a poll conducted by the Guam Bar Association, along with numerous media editorials, have each independently and resoundingly confirmed the original legislative concept of the Supreme Court as the judiciary administrative helm. This isn't a structure without precedent. The Judicial Empowerment Act would not only restore the initial intent of local legislation, creating the Court, but would also confer upon it the same inherent authority exercised by judiciaries in the 50 States and other U.S. jurisdictions.
In closing, I leave you with the words of Alexander Hamilton, who noted over 200 years ago, ''the Judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power. All possible care is requisite to enable it to defend itself against their attacks.'' Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have brought with me copies of the judicial sections from the respective constitutions of every State and U.S. jurisdiction, should any of you wish to view them. It has been a pleasure and I thank you for your time and your attention.
[The prepared statement of Honorable Peter C. Siguenza may be found at end of hearing.]
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Justice Siguenza. Your entire statement will be read into the record. At this time, I'd also like to recognize the presence of Justice Janet Weeks from the Guam Supreme Court who is with us here. At this time, I'll call upon the Honorable Alberto C. Lamorena, III, Presiding Judge, Superior Court of Guam and former Guam Senator.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ALBERTO C. LAMORENA, III, PRESIDING JUDGE, SUPERIOR COURT OF GUAM
Judge LAMORENA. Good afternoon and [speaking in Chamorro] ''Hafa Adai.'' Thank you very much for the opportunity, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, to appear the committee on Resources. I have submitted my written testimony earlier and I would like to recognize the presence of Judge Manibusan, Joaquin Manibusan, Superior Court Judge, who is also submitted written testimony. I have incorporated his written testimony and mine in my oral testimony.
I come before you representing the Superior Court of Guam Judges who oppose H.R. 2370 and, individually, as a member of the Commission on Self-Determination, in support of H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act. We, as Superior Court Judges, oppose H.R. 2370 because H.R. 2370 is unprecedented in that Congress has always left the internal organizational structure of a court system to the individual states or territories, whether through local law or local constitution. H.R. 2370, if passed, would certainly run contrary to the goal of increased self-government for the states and territories as long as that goal is consistent with the United States's Constitution. In Calder v. Bull, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the power to establish the internal structure of a state's courts is at the very heart of a state's sovereign powers. The same principle should be applied in the case of the Judicial Branch of the Government of Guam. For Congress to dictate the internal structure of Guam's Judiciary denies the people of Guam the rights afforded other states and territories. Will Congress next dictate Guam's internal structure for our legislature and for our executive branch? This is a dangerous precedence and is definitely a step toward more Federal control and less self-government for our people of Guam. This is totally contrary to the principle of federalism abdicated by many Members of Congress.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Under the Organic Act of 1950, Guam has had limited self-government. Today, American citizens in Guam aspire to a greater degree of self-government. If Congress shares the goal of self-government for Guam, then Congress must reject H.R. 2370. If passed, H.R. 2370 would have repealed existing Guam law and micro-managed the affairs of the Judicial Branch of government. This means that whenever there is any change needed, we must return to Congress where Guam has no voting representatives to seek the desired change. The internal structure of the Judicial Branch is a local matter. When our Congressman, Antonia Won Pat and Congress passed the enabling legislation creating the Supreme Court of Guam, it left up to the Guam legislature to establish laws to set up the internal structure of the Judicial Branch. Our Guam legislature has already established the structure and the authority of the Judicial Branch. Does it not seem both logical and necessary that proposed changes to the structure of such a system should be determined by our local legislature elected by the people of Guam? As U.S. citizens on Guam, we simply are asking to control our local government. No Federal interest is at stake when self-government over Guam's internal affairs is exercised in matters not otherwise governed by the U.S. Constitution. I respectfully request that this honored committee table H.R. 2370 and, for the reasons cited, I hope it passes H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act.
The people of Guam have the inherent to set up our governmental internal organization. Guam's control over its own judiciary goes to the very soul of its quest for self-government. Guam wants a fundamental restructuring of its relationship with the United States, not merely a commonwealth title without commonwealth reality. We are seeking a change in Guam's political status whereby we have the right of self-government, all the branches of the government, including the courts. In conclusion, it will serve the national interests for Congress to acknowledge a sovereignty in matters relating to local issues. H.R. 2370 provides less, rather than more, self-government. As U.S. citizens, self-government for our people, by our people, and of our people must be our ultimate goal. In addition to my testimony, I incorporate the following testimony: the Honorable Joaquin Manibusan, Superior Court of Guam, Judge. Our testimonies have also been endorsed by Honorable Katherine Maramen and the Honorable Steven Unpinqco, colleague, Judges, of the Superior Court of Guam, who together comprise four of the five Superior Court Judges on the island. Thank you and [speaking in Chamorro] ''si yu'os ma'ase.''
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Judge Lamorena, III may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I thank you, Judge Lamorena, for your comments on my legislation.
Judge LAMORENA. On both legislations.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. On both of them. Thank you very much. I also would like, for the record, to enter statements by: former Senator Pilar Lujan, who was author of the Supreme Court of Guam legislation; the comments of Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood who supports the legislation as a Superior Court Judge; the statement by the Guam Bar Association, which is in support of the legislation; and Charles Troutman who is the compiler of laws and current Acting Attorney General who is also in support of H.R. 2370. All of those statements will be made part of the record.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Lujan may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Judge Tydingco-Gatewood may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of the Guam Bar Association may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Charles Troutman may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. If Mr. Staymen is here, at the conclusion of some questionsI would like to re-impanel you and ask you some questions relative to S. 210. I just wanted to remind you of my earlier request.
The statements relative to the issue of Commonwealth and H.R. 100, and I would like to ask the three Senators this question. It is the same question I asked of the Governors. Have any of you ever heard of theor formally support the idea, perhaps, of making the Chamorro people a tribe in the manner of which the Native Americans are recognized in order for the exercise of Chamorro sovereignty?
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BLAZ. Well, in Guam, we hear of many rumors, some very distasteful, some very good things. I don'tin talking about what has been the will of the people, as the Governors had alluded to earlier, there's been only one plebi scite even talking about the status that we seek, which is the Commonwealth status. As to the desire of the Chamorro people to become some tribe, Iwe don't support it and, if it's a rumor, I think we should just dismiss it as such.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Senator.
Mr. FORBES. It's fascinating. I had to fly 10,000 miles to hear that I wanted to be part of a tribe. To the best of my knowledge, there's absolutely no discussion within the 200 square miles of Guam that goes beyond two folks or three. It surely has not been in the mainstream media about the possibility of somehow having CongressI can't imagine how you would do it, to tell you the truth, but, through whatever mechanism, decide that a people that were acquired as the result of a treaty ending a war with Spain in 1898 suddenly become indigenous Native Americans, I don't understand how that could happen. But this is not a hot topic in Guam, I have to let you know.
And I do have to say one more thing, too, and I say this at some risk, because I understand there's significant money involved here. I amand again, this is all information that I received here. I understand that a tribe of California mission Indians is really
Mr. UNDERWOOD. It could be that they are missionary Indians.
Mr. FORBES. Whatever. Is really big behind this and we have had one experience with them. About 9 months ago, actually about a year ago now, during the course of our last election, we had several initiatives on the ballot. One initiative was an attempt to legalize casino gambling in the territory of Guam. This group, apparently, bankrolled the pro-casino gambling side to a significant degree, at least according to public reports, and took a very visible role in the public relations campaign promoting that. For your information, the people of Guam overwhelmingly and resoundingly, and I presume that includes the majority of Chamorros, rejected the legalization of casinos in the territory of Guam. It was a massacre and we thought that was the end of that. Suddenly, there's a suggestion that Guam become a tribe and I don't know, maybe it's just me. There's a part of me that's thinking, gee, what would happen if we really did create a Chamorro tribe? Does that mean we'd have to have a Chamorro tribal reservation? What would the reservation consist of? What would it be? 500 acres somewhere on the territory of Guam? If we did that, could you then build a casino on that property regardless of the expressed vote of the people of Guam to reject casino gambling? I don't know. I'm not saying that's behind it. I'm not saying that's the idea, but suddenly, it all kind of, you know, just came to me. I'm suffering from sleep deprivation, folks, I just got off a plane, so, maybe that's what's happening. But that is my reaction. But to the specific question, is this a topic of great debate in Guam, no.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, you're clairvoyant as well as a representative of the people.
Mr. PANGELINAN. Thank you
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Senator?
Mr. PANGELINAN. Thank you very much, Congressman, for the question. The only legitimate exercise for the expression of self-determination for the people of Guam have been through the plebi scite process and the only legitimate groups that have participated in the process continue to participate in the process and appear before you in this hall to express an opinion on the Commonwealth Act. Any other representations outside of this process, I believe, is not legitimate and should not merit the consideration of this committee absent a presentation to the people of Guam for whatever status they want to incur.
The missionary Indians visited my office with the local representative and, if the intent of the establishment of a Chamorro tribe is for the expressed authority to enter into a activity that the people of Guam have rejected, I believe the people of Guam deserve to know the truth behind these motivations and absent that, I just believe that it is not a legitimate representation of the desires of the people of Guam.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK. If I could also just followup with a brief question of the three Senators. We've discussed a couple of permutations on this issue of self-determination and the development of the Commonwealth process. Some have suggested that we go ahead and develop a constitution first and then we proceed to exercise the Commonwealth. So, I want to get your sentiments on that issue, and also the issue of whether Congress has a role in delegating its authority or disposing of its authority under the Territorial clause and perhaps you can answer that. Mr. Forbes, since you're Chairman of the Federal Territorial Relations, perhaps you can respond to this issue.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. My view and I suspect this is the view of most of us, to engage in a constitutional process prior to a status change is somewhat meaningless. Again, it all stems from the fact that we are a non-self-governing territory. We're non-self-governing. Under the current statutes that exist that authorize a local drafting of the constitution, the constitution would have to be drafted within some fairly narrow parameters, then it would be sent to Congress and Congress would have the ability to amend, to revise, ultimately, to approve. Unless there is, first, a status change, then a constitutional process in Guam simply reduces us to a drafting subcommittee for a piece of congressional legislation. And I'm not saying that facetiously. I believe Guam has to have a constitution at some point, don't get me wrong. The Commonwealth Act is very specific and it says that Guam will draft a constitution but it will draft a constitution subsequent to a change in political statute that empowers and authorizes the people of Guam to exercise, and I use this word carefully, some sovereignty in doing this. I don't mean sovereignty in the sense of an independent nation, I mean sovereignty in the sense that every other person in this room, with the exception of those of us who come from Guam, enjoys. We have no inherent under U.S. law right to exist. Our government has no inherent right to exist as the governments of most territories do not, and, until, to get to the delegation issue, until there is a disposal of some of the plenary authority that Congress holds and an investiture of some of that power in the people of Guam, anything we do is kind of spinning our wheels. We need to have that investiture and when that investiture and when the people of Guam are acting as sovereign citizens in the same manner that other Americans get to act as sovereign citizens in drafting their constitution, when the votes of the people of Guam are meaningful outside of the confines of our borders and have meaning that carries to Washington, D.C. and to the United States of America, then I am entirely in favor of a constitution. But, until then, I don't know that it would really serve a useful purpose other than to eat some time up.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The issue of delegation is a very important one. Congress already delegates authority to the government of Guam. The very existence of the government of Guam is a delegation of congressional authority. But, it is revokable. It is utterly and absolutely revokable. If Congress chose to, tomorrow, you know, God forbid and I'm certain this would not be the case, but if it chose to, tomorrow, notwithstanding the fact that Senator Pangelinan, myself and Vice-Speaker Blaz were elected by the people of Guam, we could be removed from office, the legislature could be abolished, the Governor could be replaced by the Commander Naval Forces Marianas who would rule by fiat and decree. Those powers exist in Congress. Congress can do that. So long as authority is simply delegated, that will always be the case. It is critical, it is absolutely critical, that the status change be coupled with a partial disposal of those authorities. We believe that it can be done. We believe that, under the Territorial clause, Congress disposes of property all the time. And we think that if there is a serious effort to take a look at this issue, on a broad basis, and not deal with it in such a cursory manner, as the executive branch apparently did, the executive branch who seems to think there are limits to congressional authority, that our view will be justified. And we believe that it is critical that we understand that, fundamentally, there is no purpose to talking about Commonwealth if it does not involve at least a partial disposal of the plenary powers of Congress to the people of Guam.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Senator. Senator Mr. Pangelinan? Or, excuse me. Senator Blaz?
Mr. BLAZ. As to the constitutional question, it's the cart before the horse, Congressman, and I think that Senator Forbes said very eloquently put it. I think that we need to dispose of the situation regarding our political status. First, that question needs to be addressed and answered and resolved before we engage in the process of forming a constitution.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PANGELINAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, the attempt to place a constitution before the people of Guam prior to the resolution of the political status of the people of Guam is an attempt to move the train away from the platform without the Chamorro people on board. And it cannot happen, it shall not happen, and I will not let it happen.
Any kind of resolution with regards to internal self-government for the territory of Guam must first resolve the issue of Chamorro self-determination. It's as simple as that. It is what the people of Guam desire, it is what they voted for. It is concurred with by those people who have voted on the Commonwealth Act, and have said they will give up the right to vote on Chamorro self-determination. They have disenfranchised themselves in recognition of the inherent right of self-determination for the native inhabitants of Guam. We ask that the Congress recognize this, that the people out there have extended and expressed and exercised their constitutional right to a vote, and in the expression of that constitutional right they have chosen to recognize the inherent and inalienable right of self-determination for Chamorros only in resolving the political status of Guam. Thank you.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much and, before I yield to Mr. Faleomavaega, I'd just like to let the two gentleman from the third branch of government know that the primary intent of the legislation 2370 is simply to rectify what is an apparent imbalance in the way that the three branches of government are dealt with. Well, I never went to law school. I did go to some school and in those, I always heard that the three branches of government were supposed to remain separate and co-equal. Now, obviously, in the real world, that somehow gets muddled up and one of the ways that we resolve that is to make sure that the third branch of government takes on the characteristics of an original court of jurisdiction or an Organic Act court, in our case, or take on the trappings of a constitutional court. I recognize the amount of emotion that is involved in the survey which I conducted regarding the elected Attorney General and a couple of other matters before the people of Guam which were subject to Organic Act changes. This was the one that attracted the most attention and was the one that was closest in the outcome of my survey. I certainly don't mean to demean anyone inwho takes another position as my good friend, Judge Lamorena, and I mean that because we were classmates and good friends. I don't mean any disrespect to the Superior Court at all. And, with that, do you have any questions?
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to ask Senator Forbes and I appreciate your raising the issue of theconcerning the Treaty of Paris because this goes, again, to the very fundamental issue that I had tried earlier just to understand exactly, not only the current status of Guam as a territory, how this relates to provisions of the Federal Constitution, and what this means for the Commonwealth Act under H.R. 100. Before asking this question, I would like to note, for the record, I don't know whether it was by fate or by some circumstance but it was just yesterday, by express mail, I received a pamphlet that was sent to me by the Cabazon tribe from California. And I want to express my [speaking in Chamorro] ''si yu'os ma'ase'' to the good residents and the leaders of Guam for receiving the tribal leaders and the members of the Cabazon tribe when they visited Guam. I am just simply reiterating what I've read of this that was just received yesterday in my office and I kept querying why the gentleman from Guam keeps asking this question about being a tribe. You know, there are 12 tribes of Israel, so the book says and they were very blessed. But I just wanted to raise the question because it does tie into the whole question of treaty rights, sovereignty issues, the right of self-determination, and where does this put Guam in the middle of all these legal terms. The first thing I wanted to raise is that Guam was a byproduct of war and we all live and breathe as a matter of history. Guam was annexed by the United States and, under the provisions of the Treaty of Paris, Senator Forbes, and maybe you can enlighten the members of the committee and for the record, does this mean that the native inhabitants of Guam still had inherent rights of the characterization of being a sovereign people? Still, despite being under or annexed by the United States?
Mr. FORBES. In terms of the reading that I have done, with respect to the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Paris, incidentally, has been referenced in certain court decisions having to do with the establishment of the unincorporated territorial status, but the reading that I have done is that the Treaty of Paris basically, in addition to transferring physical possession and sovereignty over those territories that are ceded by Spain to the United States, specifically the Island of Guam, the Island of Puerto Rico, and all the islands that constitute the Philippine Islands at the time of the Treaty, it also transfersthe United States accepted certain responsibilities. Now, what those responsibilities are, although the Treaty is a treaty between Spain and the United States of America, they accept responsibilities for the inhabitants. In this Treaty, they say that they shall determine, and actually, it's much more specific than that, it says Congress shall determine what civil rights the natives, and this is an important point, the natives shall have and, you know, forgive us for freely translating native of Guam into Chamorro, since anybody who was here at the time the Treaty of Paris was concluded, anybody that was in Guam was Chamorro, so, I don't know who they could have been referring to, other than Chamorros, that the civil rights and the political status of the natives of the territory ceded, such as Guam, shall be determined by Congress. Now, to us, that seems a very significant point because under the broad Territorial clause powers that were in existence since the Constitution was established, Congress shall make all needful rules and regulations with respect to the disposal or administration of territories, but here in this Treaty, we have a very specific charge leveled upon Congress, that Congress actually took upon itself voluntarily, to assume responsibility for the people themselves.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Does the Treaty of Paris confer upon Chamorros and, in particular, a certain residual sovereignty? I don't know of that argument can be made. It's very clear to me that Spain is ceding to the United States territory that Spain feels it owns and is ceding to the United States the responsibility to care for Spanish subjects. But, does it definitely place a charge upon Congress to resolve these questions? I think it does. And even more important, I think it opens the door to a way to solve this apparent dilemma that people seem to feel about how can you have an exercise of self-determination just for Chamorros? Well, if Congress has accepted, in the Treaty of Paris, the charge that it will determine the civil rights of the native inhabitants, i.e. the Chamorros in Guam, that, to me, gives Congress very broad powers to determine what those rights are. And, in the past, that broad power has been used by previous Congresses to determine, well, how little rights can we give them, you know, what can we get away with in terms of denying certain rights? But, the word determine to me is not a minimalist term. It canit means you can give the Chamorro this many rights or that many rights or as many rights as you want, including the right to exercise self-determination. And, as far as the equal protection clause, we've already had court decisions in the CNMI that have upheld provisions in the constitution of the CNMI that restrict the ownership of property, specifically to Chamorros and Carolinians of CNMI descent and the courts determined there, very clearly, that, notwithstanding the equal rights provisions of the Constitution, that Congress, under the Territorial clause, could pass legislation and, through their endorsement of the CNMI constitution had passed legislation allowing for this apparently discriminatory, although we believe not discriminatory at all, practice to exist. So, we think the Treaty of Paris is a very powerful weapon for arming Congress with the power to resolve these issues favorably and we feel, again, not to pick on the Administration, that the Administration is less than creative in examining this and was quite audacious in attempting to say that you, the Congress, didn't have powers that so clearly you have. There is no limitation on what Congress can do when it comes to territories, and, in this case, what is can do when it comes to resolving the rights of natives in those territories.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I just wanted to make this observation, Senator Forbes, for the record that as you are probably well aware, that under the Federal Constitution there are two distinct groupings whereby the Congress has direct authority to deal with. Those are the Indian tribes and the Treaty rights pertaining to the Native American Indian tribes, and the territories. And you've just quoted, quite eloquently, that specific provision about the Territorial clause which groups all of us, the rest of us, where territoriesbut, as I've cited earlier to Mr. Staymen, the problem is that we are the only territories that are placed under this listing that the United Nations has. Indian tribes do not have that in the United Nations. We have it. The Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam has that specific listing. And because of our listing as a non-self-governing territory, it also means that not all the provisions of the Federal Constitution applies to the three territories, sowhich adds another problem. To say that we're all Americans but in substance, we do not have all the same rights and privileges as other Americans. So, I just want toand, by the way, historically, too, Congress has never been consistent in its dealings with the territories.
Mr. FORBES. That's clearly the case.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And I'm just adding more to the problem but I just wanted to share that with you and I sincerely hope that maybe the provisions of the Treaty of Paris will enlighten some of our friends downtown to see that there is a way to resolve this dilemma that we're all faced with constantly.
The counting process, as stated earlier by Mr. Garamendi, when this plebiscite took place in 1982, was it just a plebiscite among the Chamorros in their self-determination or did it include all the non-Chamorros as well?
Mr. FORBES. It was island-wide. All registered voters.
Mr. PANGELINAN. It was all registered voters of the territory.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Then, why is the Administration making such a big thing about non-Chamorros and Chamorros participating in the process?
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PANGELINAN. It seeks to disenfranchise Chamorros. Well, it enfranchises everybody else. And for me, that isyou cannot reconcile those two positions. The Administration is saying that we cannot, as a Federal policy, disenfranchise those people living on Guam because they happen not to be Chamorros, but we can disenfranchise Chamorros and it's an OK Federal policy. It's doublespeak and it just cannot carry, I think, not only in terms of the Constitution, but I think itmorally, they cannot carry forward that argument.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. And just for the sake of the record, I know my time's up, when the plebiscite took place in 1982, with the vote of 75 percent plus, this voting result included both Chamorros and non-Chamorros, am I correct?
Mr. FORBES. Yes, it did.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK.
Mr. PANGELINAN. And the non-Chamorros voted in that to include a recognition of a Chamorro-only vote on self-determination.
Mr. FORBES. Incidentally, not to consume time you don't have, Congressman, I think this committee should look very strongly at the implications of statements that were made by the State Department at the U.N. and apparently in the testimony today about how the Administration seems to suddenly believe that, yes, there is a right of self-determination but that everyone in Guam should vote on it. I thought the Civil War was fought on the basis of ensuring the nullification could not occur and that States could not secede. If someone can leave California, show up in Guam or American Samoa, register to vote in 24 hours, and suddenly acquire a right of self-determination that he or she did not have 24 hours before when they were in California, the implication to me is that this Administration has turned 100 years of history on its head and has suddenly decided that Californians have the right to secede from the United States of America. It makes no sense.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Senator Forbes, I know my time is up and I want to say that your observation, you hit it right on the head of the nail. The District of Columbia is a classic example of how Congress has exercised its absolute authority. There's supposed to be an elected mayor, there's supposed to be an elected city council. Now they have an appointed board of Governors controlling all the affairs of the District of Columbia whereby some 600,000 American citizens reside. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know my time is up.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you. Mr. Mansur, would you like to raise a point?
Mr. MANSUR. Yes, thank you, Mr. Underwood. Chairman Young has really been fully committed to working supporting self-determination and I think that's evidenced by a number of things that he's done, particularly the past years, all the effort he's been putting into resolving the Puerto Rico statue issue and it's interesting. The fundamental premise of the Puerto Rico Status bill, the United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, is based on mutual consent because you have three stages and you don't move ahead until you have approval by the people of Puerto Rico. At the same time, the chairman has made it very clear that he has a real concern for anybody who wants to try and assert that somehow Congress could be legally bound to mutual consent, as opposed to a policy or basically a framework.
The other thing that is really critical in this process which has been mentioned today and which I know the chairman also feels very strongly about are those who state that Congress' constitutional authority under the Territorial clause can be disposed of. In particular, I just wanted to point out with regards to Senator Forbes' statement and I have the fortunate opportunity to know the Senator for many, many years now. But you mentioned in your statement about an unnamed district court case establishing that Puerto Rico is outside of the Territorial clause. Now, that was a Puerto Rico district court decision which they were basing on some of the legislative history about a compact in Puerto Rico authorizing their local constitutional government. Subsequent to that, the Supreme Court did determine in Harris v. Rosario that Puerto Rico is, in fact, subject to the Territorial clause. Furthermore, you also cite correctly the Supreme Court case that says Puerto Rico, like a state, is an autonomous political entity sovereign over matters not ruled by the Constitution and that was PDP v. Rodriguez. However, in that case, the court was referring to the authority that Congress had provided to Puerto Rico for a local constitutional government. And so, it was in the framework of that internal self-government that they hadthey were characterized with those powers. Recently, a three-judge appellate court decision, in United States v. Sanchez, said in spite of Puerto Rico having this local constitutional government, and now for almost 45 years, in fact, it's now over 45 years, that Congress, if it so chose to, could, in fact, go in and completely reorganize the government and change it completely. Congress hasn't chose to do that. In fact, if you think about it, even though there is not a legally binding mutual consent, they basically have abided by that principle for 45 years, which is a pretty strong statement in itself. The problem, and the only reason I'm raising this at this time, Senator, is it seems when these kinds of statements are raised here in this kind of forum where we're trying to hammer out what is possible and what isn't, doesn't that bring about confusion in Guam about what is possible?
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FORBES. Actually, in my statement, Mr. Mansur, I said that the Puerto Rican situation was confusing. I said that you seemed to have courts doing maybe this way and then maybe that way on the Puerto Rican issue and, in the statement, Puerto Rico is not mentioned as an example of the ability of the Congress to dispose of property under the Territorial clause. Rather, it was thrown in there to say, you know, some courts are even thinking you might have done it in Puerto Rico. Personally, I believe Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory and I've said that anytime anybody's bothered to ask me. But, I'm saying that you have some degree of confusion that apparently arises, as best as I can tell, from the vague nature of the legislation in 1952 which seemed to establish a compact but then really didn't transfer any specific powers to Puerto Rico. So, you can have a court simultaneously saying, well, you're no longer really a territory but since Congress didn't give you any power, you still have to be treated like one. And, I think that one of the reasons why, in our draft legislation, we have attempted, and when I say our I mean Guam's, we have attempted to be more specific about what powers we would like to see disposed of is precisely to avoid ever being in a situation like Puerto Rico is where you might have some authorities who say you're non-territorial, you have other authorities who I personally agree with that say they are territorial and a lot of that confusion stems from vague language, like using the term commonwealth but not attaching anything specifically to it, using the term compact but not having any real terms attached to it. That's why those statements were raised.
We believe that the power that Congress has to partially dispose of doesn't stem from anything having to do with the situation with Puerto Rico. We believe, and again this is thinking outside the box, Congress disposes of territory all the time. Congress has been leasing property, partially, you know, leasing mineral rights but retaining title, and you may say that that's title. But where are the territorial clauses that make a distinction between governmental powers and title? It doesn't.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK. Thank you, Senator Forbes. I would offer the observation that I wish the committee had as much expertise on Guam as it apparently does on Puerto Rico.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. And that inevitably all these issues always resurface and I want to reiterate the point, I think, that has been made by the three Senators and particularly by the statements by Senator Forbes. One of the things that Guam has judiciously done in this instance is to carefully articulate in specific terms what it wants in order to avoid any of the lack of clarity which has led to interminable court cases in the case of Puerto Rico's own situation and that, in fact, such things as land alienation, there's a very specific authority which has been given in the case of the northern Marianas. And many of the items that we're asking for in this Commonwealth approach that kind of disposal of authority. So, it is possible. In some instances, it's a case of political will. In some instances, perhaps, it's the case of some of our larger insular areas affecting the business that is at hand. But, I'm certainly glad that there has been this extended discussion both from this panel as well as the first panel on the situation that is unique to Guam and the circumstances which are unique to Guam and the legal basis for many of the issues which we forwarded under the Commonwealth Act.
I thank the panel very much. I'd like to call Mr. Staymen just for some brief questions on S. 210, please. Mr. Staymen, on the bill S. 210 and this is for the record. On the bill S. 210, there's a provision in there which was inserted in the most recent version. It wasn't in the past 104th Congress version which we were trying to work at a late date. There's a provision in there on paying fair market value if the land goes to any private owner. I want it clearly established on the record that I am opposed to such a provision and will work hard to strike it if it ever happens. But I do want to ask four questions.
Basically, Mr. Staymen, on page 4 of your statement, you recommended that the refugethat the statementwe have a provision in there in S. 210 which says that if there's going to be any shift in the amount of acreage which the Fish and Wildlife currently has on Guam, that there is a mechanism established by which both Guam and the Fish and Wildlife Service engage in discussions and, failing any agreement, that the matter be disposed of in Congress. The headquarters property of the Fish and Wildlife Service numbers some 300-plus acres and we figure that this was a useful compromise since we may not ever reach any agreement. But in your testimony, you want to expand that to include the overlay component of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge. Wouldn't the effect of your amendment exempt the entire refuge overlay from the impact of Guam being first in line for land? And this would affect approximately 23,274 acres of land, lands which the DOD agencies hold onto. And you know, Guam is a very small place. Twenty-three thousand acres is a lot of land and it really takes the stuffings out of the whole notion of Guam being first in line.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMEN. That's not the intent. The intent was to try to clarify the definition which talks about refuge and the purpose of the bill is to transfer those refuge lands but refuge lands, per se, are not subject to transfer by administrative action. And we wanted to clarify that the lands addressed by this bill are the overlay lands. The intent is that they would be, the 23,000 acres you speak of, would be subject to transfer. So, I think we agree that the intent of the bill is to provide Guam with an opportunity to obtain ownership of those overlay lands. But by saying the word ''refuge,'' you are suggesting that the lands up at Ritidian Point, the 772 acres, could be transferred. They cannot except by act of Congress. They couldn't be affected by this administrative procedure.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, I'm not sure that I understand the intricacies of your answer. Are you saying that
Mr. STAYMEN. I'm not trying to evade this
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Are you saying that if your proposed amendment is accepted in the context of this legislation, that that land, this 23,000 acres in the wildlife refuge, would still be subject to the right of first refusal for the Government of Guam?
Mr. STAYMEN. It would be subject to the second track of our two-track proposal. The two tracks are land that's not a part of the overlay. Guam would have the right of first refusal and have 180 days to essentially exercise that right. The other land falls into the second track which is GovGuam, and Fish and Wildlife takes 180 days to attempt to reach an agreement on the conditions of transfer. And, if they do, that's done. If they don't, it kicks over to Congress.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK, I think I got that. On the other item, on page 4 of your written statement, you state that the administration wants to exempt those lands that are under lease by DOD to another Federal agency. S. 210 states that those lands which are leased prior to May 1 would be exempt from transfer but those properties leased after that date would be covered by the legislation. If you hadwouldn't your amendment encourage Federal agencies to enter into lease agreements so as to exempt those properties from being transferred to the Government of Guam?
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMEN. We don't believe so. We believe that having the 2-year window, in other words, they would have to be on an active lease, using the land for 2 years, is a reasonable test for whether that agency really needs the land. We don't want people rushing in and unfairly using this land if they don't really need to. What the current bill does is frees agencies. Essentially, if they haven't been using it before that date, they couldn't develop an interest. We have to remember that this
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I think that's the whole intent.
Mr. STAYMEN. Well, let me just finish to say that this whole bill is perspective. There is, at this time, no specific land excess. This provision may be around 10, 15, 20 years, you know, for a lot longer than that and it's we don't think reasonable to tell Federal agencies that 10 years from now, if they develop a legitimate interest in getting a permit from DOD to use land on Guam, that they should be precluded, then, from continuing that use should the land become excessed.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. On page 6 of your statement, you recommend that public purpose shall not include any transfers to private individuals. I want you to know that we've all gone over the story of the historical context of how lands were originally taken and I'm certainly interested in trying to find a way to resolve the situation regarding lands which includes the original landowners. I also, in your statement on submerged lands, you indicate in your statement that there has been no contention over the submerged lands. And I want to point out to you that I'm going to enter correspondence into the record from the Government of Guam which has indicated serious contention over submerged lands, going back 5 years.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Are you saying that you are not familiar with any contention over the ownership of submerged lands?
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STAYMEN. The scope of my statement was relatively limited regarding those excess lands adjacent to Ritidian. My understandingyes, there is contention about other submerged lands but, in the case of submerged lands which were made excess, that Guam, in fact, did not ask for those lands. They had the right under the current Federal Property Act to claim ownership of the submerged lands which were excessed. For one reason or another, they did not claim that. So, I was only referring to that relatively limited amount of submerged lands adjacent to Ritidian Point which were declared excess by GSA and has since reverted back to the Navy, but I might just add that if Guam is interested in them and asks the Navy, they may be willing to re-excess them.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, I would say for the record that that was done so quickly there wasn't enough time to indicate our contention on that.
Thank you. I just wanted an opportunity to clarify those points with you. Thank you, Mr. Staymen.
Mr. STAYMEN. Thank you very much.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK, I'd like to call up the final panel. Panel III: Susan Moses, president of the College of Micronesia; Chris Perez Howard, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights; Hope Cristobal, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights; The Most Reverend Anthony Apuron, archbishop of the archdiocese of Agana; Jose Guevara, vice president of the Filipino Community of Guam; and Debbie Quinata of Nasion Chamoru.
OK, before we begin, I'd like to enter a number of other statements into the record that have been given to me. Statements by: Senator Tom Ada, and Senator Lou Leon Guerrero of Guam; Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero of Guam; student Neil Weare of Oceanview High School; statement of the Guam Chamber of Commerce; and a statement by Frederick Quinene; statement byI wish they would sign it at the beginningstatement by several members of the Filipino President's Club of Guam; and that's it for now.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Ada may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Ms. Leon Guerrero, a Senator from Guam, may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Ms. Guerrero may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Weare may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of the Guam Chamber of Commerce may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Quinene may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of members of the Filipino President's Club may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. All right, we'll begin with Susan Moses. And, I know that it's very late in the day and we've been at this now for four-and-a-half hours, and, I know, Susan Moses, that you've been enthralled about the whole situation regarding Guam and probably learned more than you ever care to know. So, with that, the president of the Community College of Micronesia.
STATEMENT OF SUSAN J. MOSES, PRESIDENT, COLLEGE OF MICRONESIAFSM
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MOSES. Thank you very much. It has been an interesting day.
And, before beginning, I would like to state that the testimony that I am about to make is being made not only on behalf of the College of Micronesia-FSM, as it's president, but also on behalf of President Alfred Capelle of the College of the Marshall Islands, and interim President Mario Katosang, who is interim president of Palau Community College, who are with us in the gallery today.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, we wish to thank you for providing the opportunity for the presidents of Palau Community College, the College of the Marshall Islands, and the College of Micronesia-FSM to clarify our collective position regarding S. 210 relative to land grant status for our colleges. We will now summarize our written statement which has been submitted for the record.
Prior to 1993, Palau Community College, the College of the Marshall Islands, and the College of Micronesia-FSM, were all part of one system; that being the College of Micronesia. This system was governed by a board of regents through a treaty among the nations of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. In 1993, each of the three colleges of the COM system became autonomous institutions under separate governing boards in all areas except those related to administration of the land grant programs.
Because COM was designated by U.S. Congress in section 506(a) of the Education Amendments of 1972, as the land grant institution for the trust territory of the Pacific islands, a Congressional amendment is now required to allow each of the Micronesian colleges to administer the land grant programs. This legislative action would, in effect, eliminate one of the last vestiges of the trust territory administration.
Efforts have been undertaken since 1993, for each of the colleges in the COM system to be designated land grant colleges. The COM Board of Regents is fully supportive of these efforts.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are grateful for the support of Senators Murkowski and Akaka, and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for the inclusion of section 3, territorial land grant colleges, in S. 210.
The colleges were supportive of the measure in its original form. However, there is a provision in the final form that is of great concern to us. Section 3(c) of S. 210 stipulates that the current level of funding would remain the same and be divided among the three colleges. This provision would put each of our three colleges at a clear disadvantage compared to similar-sized land grant colleges in the regionsuch as Northern Marianas College and American Samoa Community Collegeas it would require the Micronesian colleges to provide full land grant services and programs with only one-third of the funding.
Each of the Micronesian colleges aspires to assume responsibility for all extension and research functions in the areas of agriculture, and mariculture for their respective governments. Full implementation of the land grant programs would build the capacity of each of the colleges to provide these services and thus contribute substantially to each nation's efforts to build the human resource capacity in support of the economic development efforts that the Compacts of Free Association aspire to.
Section 3 of S. 210, would severely limit the capability of our colleges to deliver land grant programs and services. We the presidents of the three Micronesian colleges hereby solicit your favorable consideration to amending S. 210 through the deletion of section 3(c). If such amendment is not deemed possible at this time, then we respectively request that section 3 be deleted from S. 210 in its entirety.
Mr. Chairman, once again we thank you and the committee members for taking time to consider our concerns. We sincerely appreciate the support that the U.S. Congress has provided our colleges over the years and we pledge to continue to implement programs supported by Congress with integrity and excellence.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Moses may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much, President Moses.
Former Senator Hope Cristobal?
STATEMENT OF HOPE A. CRISTOBAL, ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE FOR INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
Ms. CRISTOBAL. [speaking in Chamorro] ''Suzumaci. Buenas dias,'' Mr. Chairman, Congressman Robert Underwood, and members of the House Resources Committee.
[Speaking in Chamorro] ''Guahosi a'' Hope Critobal. I am the official representative of the Organization of People for Indigenous Rights. Mr. Chairman, I was here in 1985, some years ago with then Governor Radallio, on a similar hearing. And, I am here today, again, representing the Organization of People for Indigenous Rights with a statement on title I, section 102.
One of the primary purposes of the Organization is to protect and to promote the Chamorro people's inherent right of self-determination. We firmly believe that only the Chamorro people in Guam have the right to alter Guam's status from a non-self-governing territory, to one consider to be having a full measure of self-government. We recognize that a part of the discussion of H.R. 100 is a discussion about the right of a people to maximize their existence in their homeland. It's about the right of a people to determine their political destiny as a people, and it is about a rightour rightof self respect and dignity, as a people. And that people, Mr. Chairman, is the native people of Guamthe Chamorro people.
In our effortsin our organization's effortto ensure the recognition of our people's inherent and inalienable right, we participated in the commission on self determination meetings, and we are heartened by the inclusion of title I, section 102 in the act. And, we support, in principle, this provision of the act. It recognizes as a cardinal principle of self determination, that in the case of Guam, the pursuit of an ultimate political status is legitimately, morally, and legally, the sole quest of the Chamorro people. We do not, however, recognize H.R. 100 as a self determination or a decolonizing document. We consider it an interim Federal territorial relations document.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For over 100 years now, Mr. Chairman, our people have been frustrated, awaiting the political status process that would restore our dignity as a people to be self governing, and to exercise our right of self determination.
Our Chamorro people are frustrated because we live the negative effects of the unilateral immigration policies of the United States on our small Pacific island. This, and all these, effectively diminishes our social, economic, and political development.
We request that a timetable be set in H.R. 100 for the exercise of Chamorro self determination to coincide with the intent of the local public law 23147, and act to create the Commission on Decolonization for the implementation and the exercise of Chamorro self determination. Aside from this, our Organization fully supports all other Chamorro rights provisions in title I, as well as section 701, Guam Immigration Authority under title VII.
Next year marks 100 years of colonialism under the flag of the United States. The U.S. Congress in accepting its role in a decolonization process for the Chamorro people, must take seriously our people's quest to be fully self governing and to determine the ultimate political destiny of our homeland. It has a responsibility to assist the Chamorro people and must not continue to allow the courts to determine the kind of relationship that our people will have with the United States. Our people deserve more than just a mild sway of justice, Mr. Chairman.
We await the serious and open discussions and the decision by Congress of H.R. 100, but we must make it emphatically clear that as you look at title I section 102, that it is in keeping with the provisions of the United Nations charter article 73 that political status chains be specifically related to the people who are a historically and a non-self governing people. This cannot be interpreted in any reasonable fashion as meaning any other people than the Chamorros. It is time that the United States live up to the provision. The Chamorro people's inherent right of self determinationIt's time the United States live up to its responsibilities by recognizing legally, in a accordance with its own constitutional provisions, the Chamorran people's inherent right of self determination, and we ask that Congress approve title I section 102 as it stands.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, we believe that the essential meaning of the United States Constitution is to promote and protect and defend the dignity and the integrity of people.
There is a saying in Chamorro, Mr. Chairman, [speaking in Chamorro] ''I taotao ni'ha sedi na uma gacha', ha miresi na uma gacha'ya uma figes.'' Mr. Chairman, our people have been a strong and a spiritual people. We derive our spirit on Chamorro from God, our families, and the sustenance of our homeland. We will fight that our pride, our self respect, our dignity, will not be sacrificed with the removal of the Chamorro rights provisions in H.R. 100, lest we be crushed. Our people deserve nothing less. Long live the Chamorro people. [speaking in Chamorro] ''Biba Chamoru.''
''Si Yu'os ma'ase,'' Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Cristobal may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. [presiding] I'd like to thank the lady.
The next witness we will call will be Chris Howard.
STATEMENT OF CHRIS PEREZ HOWARD, CHAIRMAN, ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE FOR INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
Mr. HOWARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Chris Perez Howard, chairman of the Organization of People for Indigenous Rights. I sincerely thank you on behalf of our organization for the opportunity to present testimony on H.R. 100, a bill to establish the Commonwealth of Guam.
Before I begin, I would like to state for the record, that our organization is not here in support of the Commonwealth Act. We are here to support the rights and concerns of the indigenous people of Guamthe Chamorro people.
Mr. Chairman, the Chamorro people's relationship with the U.S. Congress goes back to the year 1898, when Spain ceded Guam to the United States and gave Congress the right to determine the civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants. Since then, Congress has held this right to make these decisions.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, we believe that this hearing is based upon the relationship that the U.S. Congress has had with the Chamorro people since 1898. Although they have, in various documents, been referred to by names such as native inhabitants, people of Guam, Chamorros, Guamanians, inhabitants of Guam, and nationals of the United States, they are the people whom you promised the right to self determination. They are the people for whom you wrote the Organic Act for Guam. And, they are the people whom you should be addressing.
From the beginning, OPIR has not supported the draft Commonwealth Act. We do not support it because commonwealth is not a status determined by the Chamorro people, nor is the draft act written and adopted by them. It is a U.S. citizen document. It infringes on the rights of the Chamorro people, especially in regards to others determining their inherent sovereignty.
In the past, however, OPIR has supported the provisions concerning Chamorro right to self determination and Guam's control of immigration. Now, we think it may be pointless to even discuss these issues in the Commonwealth Act before Congress. We feel this way because immigration controlled by Guam has been blasted in the media and in reports by U.S. Government agencies, and the frontal assault and behind-the-back attempts by the United States to deny the Chamorro people the right to self determination in the United Nations.
For your information, attached is a transcript of the U.S. statement before the U.S. Special Political and Decolonization Committee a few weeks ago. As an example of this kind of information given as factual by the United States, is this declaration: ''The United States is a Nation in which all persons are provided equal treatment under the law.'' This statement, Mr. Chairman, is a blatant attempt to influence the U.N. committee at the expense of the Chamorro people. Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware, we do not vote for the President of the United States. Not all of the U.S. Constitution applies to us. And we do not have a voting Member in Congress. Something smells at the United Nations and reflects badly on the moral character of America. With that U.S. statement at the United Nations, how can we now expect Congress to do what is right?
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, aside from the reason our organization gave for opposing the draft Commonwealth Act, we consider the status of commonwealth as another colonial status. If Congress truly wants to solve the political status problems of its territories, it should embrace decolonization and not just a political status change.
Thank you. [speaking in Chamorro] ''Si yu'os ma'ase,'' Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Howard may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I'd like to thank the gentleman.
And next, we'll call upon the Most Reverend Anthony S. Apuron, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Agana.
STATEMENT OF ANTHONY S. APURON, ARCHBISHOP, ARCHDIOCESE OF AGANA
Rev. APURON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of this committee.
I'm deeply honored by your gracious invitation to appear before this committee of the U.S. House of Representatives today. It is a rare privilege, indeed. I come as a spiritual leader of Guam to bear witness to the voices in the hearts of the Chamorro people crying out for justice and a resolution of our quest for political determination.
You, as a body, have the ultimate power and authority in the Nation to bring about the justice we seek. I urge you to act with a moral conscience. We the people of Guam deserve nothing less. As loyal and patriotic American citizens, we seek the American promise of justice for all.
We as a people have been blessed with many benefits stemming from our intimate relationship with the United States. In 1898, we have progressed tremendouslyor since 1898, we have progressed tremendously. We were freed from an occupying force during World War II. In the subsequent decades, our quality of life as an island community has substantially improved.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Concomitant with these benefits we have more than adequately contributed our share to the greatness of this Nation. Our people have always come forward fearlessly and generously, even shedding their very blood with great sacrifices to the family, in demonstrating their loyalty and patriotism in military service. Our sons and daughters have been among those who fought for World War II, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, and desert stormall conflicts not of our own choosing. In the quest for National security and world peace, our resources, especially our most precious and limited land and water resources, were exploited and continue to be deemed vital to American presence in the Pacific theater.
We have willingly paid the price exacted by the American promise of freedom and justice for its citizens. What we ask now, Mr. Chairman, is that for that promise to be delivered in its entirety and in all its glory, namely the granting of Guam's Commonwealth Act.
The Chamorro people of Guam have given 100 percent to this Nation. The lives lost in the various conflicts for peace are testimony enough to this fact. As we move toward the next millennium, I want to emphasize the unique opportunity this august body faces, and the power it ultimately holds, to redress the grievances and injustices we have suffered and continue to suffer as a colonized peoplean unincorporated jurisdiction, and an insular possession, or whatever the status of Guam may be calledall terms unacceptable, incongruit, and unconscionable with great promise of freedom, liberty, and justice for all which this great Nation, since its founding, has echoed and re-echoed throughout the world.
As this country has challenged other nations to uphold democratic principles on moral and human rights grounds, so we as a Chamorro people appeal to those very principles on moral and human rights grounds.
In sacred scripture the hypocrite was condemned by Jesus for professing one set of beliefs and acting otherwise. Could it not be considered hypocritical to exact the very blood and the lives of our people in service of this great Nation we call, quote ''America'' unquote, while at the same time perpetuating second-class citizenship through the colonial status we are currently subjected to? How much more, Mr. Chairman, must we give in order to receive what this great Nation promises? Is it just too much to ask that the reversal of this status begin with a congressional passage of the Guam Commonwealth Act which embodies the political process by which Chamorros will achieve self determination? The passage of the Guam Commonwealth Act would be a major step in the right direction. We believe that justice, freedom, truth, and liberty will all be enhanced by such action of yours. And will not America be the greater for that?
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I humbly pray then that this great Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, and under your leadership, Mr. Chairman, will be able to uphold these ideals with truth and wisdom and right judgment and as you vote on the Guam Commonwealth Act.
[Speaking in Chamorro] ''Dangkolo na si Yu'os ma'ase.'' Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Rev. Apuron may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I'd like to thank the reverend for his testimony.
Next we will introduce Jose Guevera, vice president of the Filipino Community of Guam.
STATEMENT OF JOSE GUEVARA, VICE PRESIDENT, FILIPINO COMMUNITY OF GUAM
Mr. GUEVARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, members of this committee, I am Jose Guevara, a resident of Guam and vice president of the Filipino Community of Guam. I am proud to say, Mr. Chairman, that about 30 percent of Guam's population today is of Filipino origin or decent and the Filipino community is an integral part of the wonderful island of Guam.
The Guam Commonwealth Act is a matter of considerable interest to the Filipino community of Guam. For those of us who have permanently made Guam our home, as opposed to those who eventually move to other parts of the United States, the issues raised in the Commonwealth Act cause us to come to terms with our history as Filipinos and our status as Americans.
Given the history of the political relations between our mother country, the Philippines, and our adopted home, the United States, Filipino-Americans understand the difficulties of colonial relationships. Our history as a Filipino also illustrates, like the American's experience itself, that colonialism is not a legitimate form of government.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is a natural affinity amongst Filipinos to appreciate and understand the Commonwealth Act's proposal to establish an autonomous and internally self-governing entity called the Commonwealth of Guam. For those of us who make Guam our home, self government for us has even more meaning. The various ways in which the Commonwealth Act provides for the devolution of powers from the Congress to the people of Guam, will have an inescapable impact to our economic potentialthe stable economic patterns, the enactment of laws that make sense for our Guam, and maximization of our economic role in the Asian-Pacific region. These things will be done with no threat to the U.S. military needs.
Commonwealth is clearly not independence, which our mother country fought for, negotiated, and achieved. Nor is commonwealth Statehood as is being pursued by Puerto Rico. For three entities taken by the U.S. during the Spanish-American war of 1898, the Philippines was encouraged to pursue independence. Puerto Rico is now being encouraged to pursue Statehood, and Guam is being offered neither.
Recognizing this, the people of Guam have sought a middle road of autonomous commonwealth status on the road of decolonization. Because of Guam's uniqueness, and because no one is suggesting Guam should be a State, we believe special dispensation is necessary.
That's all, Mr. Chairman. And, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be heard.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Guevara may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I'm pleased to thank the gentleman for his testimony.
At this time we'll call on Debby Quinata, Nation of Chamoru.
STATEMENT OF DEBTRALYNNE K. QUINATA, NASION CHAMORU
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. QUINATA. [Speaking in Chamorro] ''Hafa adai.'' Greetings, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of the Committee on Resources.
My name is Debtralynne Quinata. I am a citizen of Guam, and I am Chamorro. I am here today on behalf of the Nation to testify in opposition to the Guam Commonwealth Act.
First, we would like to state for the record that we construe House Resolution 100 not a true exercise of Chamorro self determination, but merely a petition by U.S. citizens residing on Guam in 1987 to amend the present Organic Act of Guam.
Secondly, we oppose H.R. 100 because short of a true exercise of Chamorro self determination, this bill, under article 1 section 101, proposes to surrender our sovereignty. Sovereignty to all free nations of the world, which includes our native brothers and sisters of the Americas, is an inherent and sacred right that they would do anything in their power to protect and defend.
If Congress intends to accept that the Federal Government should have total sovereignty over Chamorros, not withstanding recognized treaty obligations and U.N. mandate, than we fear that this may have devastating repercussions. This act may also set a precedent over treatment and consideration of treaties and policies signed between Native Americans and the Federal Government.
The Chamorro Nation, therefore, will not play a part in opening the door that may jeopardize or extinguish the sovereignty of our native brothers and sisters simply because the government of Guam, with the consent of the Federal Government, chooses to unilaterally compromise our sovereignty.
Thirdly, the Chamorro Nation opposes H.R. 100 for the mere reason that even non-Chamorros were permitted to vote in political status elections in which the commonwealth status was selected. This is a clear violation of the Treaty of Paris, article 73 of the U.N. charter, and U.N. resolution 1514 and 1541 pertaining to the process of decolonization of colonial countries wherein they recognize the inalienable rights of Chamorro's self determination. The fact Chamorros have not been given the opportunity to exercise their right to self determination does not justify the government of Guam, a Federal instrumentality, having non-Chamorros vote on any political, social, or economic issue directly affecting the native Chamorros. This, we believe, is a grave injustice. And, although Chamorros now represent a minority, it does not give any government the right to preempt our existence. The Chamorro Nation vows never to remain silent on this issue until true exercise of Chamorro self determination is realized. Nor will we ever accept the idea of giving non-natives the absolute power and right to seize and hold our sovereignty and at their whim dictate our lives as indigenous people.
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Self determination or decolonization is neither an individual or citizen right. It is the right of a distinct group of peoplethe Chamorroswhom have a historical relationship with the United States. Therefore, it would be totally absurd to have U.S. military personnel who are stationed on Guam, foreigners who have been naturalized, and U.S. citizens from the States, voting on any interim petition that would require a political status change. Even within the political framework of the United States, U.S. citizens residing adjacent to reservations do not have the right to vote and pass policies affecting Native Americans.
Lastly, we Chamorros for many years have been placed under the auspices of the Department of Interior. This is an agency that has jurisdiction over Federal properties and animals. Today, we would like to proclaim that Chamorros are neither property nor animal.
In recent years we have seen this agency, with the blessing of the Federal Government, advocate and pass more laws to protect endangered species and the environment than laws to protect the indigenous people of Guam. In fact, in the 99 years of U.S. rule, laws were instead imposed to undermine our existence as a people; such as executive orders which prohibited the speaking of our language, the outlawing of many of our traditions, and the taking of our lands. One can only conclude that these acts are nothing more than a systematic process of genocide. Excuse me.
Members of Congress, December 1998, will mark 100 years of U.S. rule, and the Chamorros have yet to exercise their right to self determination. Our people have lived in the Marianas for over 4,000 yearsa peace-loving people living in harmony with our neighbors and our surrounding environment. We Chamorros, like many other native peoples throughout the world, have committed no sin toward humanity. Our question, therefore, is pure: what in God's name have we done to deserve such mistreatment?
Rather than pursuing Commonwealth of Guam, we ask that you support Guam's public law 23130 which establishes the Chamorro registry, and public law 23147 establishing the Commission on Decolonization for the implementation and exercise of Chamorroan self determination.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For these reasons we rely on your knowledge, compassion, and wisdom to put an end to these injustices. To right the wrong, and to free a people. It is only fair, just, and the right thing to do.
[Speaking in Chamorro] ''Si Yu'os ma'ase.''
[The prepared statement of Ms. Quinata may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the lady and all the panel members.
Do we have any questions for the panel?
The gentleman from Samoa.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It's a lot better than Somalia, as I've been given that. Thank you, nevertheless.
I would like to certainly welcome Mrs. Moses before the committee. It has been my privilege over the years to know very well the Governor Resio MosesI think, now, Senator? Am I correct Mrs. Moses? Please do convey to him my personal regards and hope all is well in Palau.
Can I ask you Mrs. Moses, was there an original understanding between you and Senator Akaka and Murkowski about the wording about the language with reference to the three colleges of Micronesia? What was your understanding?
Ms. MOSES. Thank you very much.
Yes, we received copies of the original legislation that was first considered, and it did not contain section 3(c). Section 3(c) was added as a result of administration testimony to the measure.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK. Was the original language that the Senate had provided for the three separate entities, to function as three separate entities?
Page 156 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MOSES. The original language that the Senators drafted for this issue was acceptable to all three colleges. It had sectionsit only had two sections: sections (a) and (b).
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. As I recall, originally, when the College of Micronesia, when the endowment was set aside for the College of Micronesia, at that time there was only one College of Micronesia. Am I correct?
Ms. MOSES. That's correct.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And in the process now, you have Palau and the Marshalls also having a separate community college, is that it?
Ms. MOSES. That's right.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And how is it functioning right now with this endowment? Do all the proceeds go directly to the College of Micronesia?
Ms. MOSES. No, the endowment isThe College of Micronesia still exists only for land grant purposes. We named ourselves the College of Micronesia-FSMwe're the former Community College of Micronesia. So the endowment for the land grant has been separate all along, and the proceeds from the investment of the endowment go to support residential instructional programs at all three colleges as well as provide some matching funds for the land grant programs.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And in the process, as we were making amendments to the Federal statute, both colleges in Marshals and Palau, have they also gained land grant status?
Ms. MOSES. No. That's what we're seeking today.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. So, basically they don't have land grant status, but the College of Micronesia-FSM has land grant status?
Ms. MOSES. No, I'm sorry, that's incorrect. The College of Micronesia, which is a college that was comprised of Palau and the Community College of Micronesia in the FSM, and the Marshalls is the college that has land grant status in the statute. That college does notthat college has been disbanded, essentially, for everything except land grant programs. And the reason for that is that in the statute, the College of Micronesia is designated as the land grant college for the former trust territory of the Pacific islands.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I understand that. So, basically, the administration does not support the idea of giving land grant status to both the colleges of the Marshalls and Palau. This is basically the problem?
Ms. MOSES. And College of Micronesia-FSM, because we don't have land grant status either. The College of Micronesia does. They're not the same.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. No, I understand that. But, I'm just trying to get to the original purpose of the act which was to grant land grant status to the College of Micronesia, in its original form, with the $3 million endowment
Ms. MOSES. That's correct.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. [continuing] interest drawn from there for use as you suggested earlier. So, the current law, as it now states, you still have the College of Micronesia-FSM, but without the land grant status because of the change of the Government?
Ms. MOSES. That's correct.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Oh. OK. And so this is basically the problem that we're faced with.
Ms. MOSES. Yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. All right. Thank you, Mrs. Moses.
I was interested in the testimonies stated earlier by Mr. Howard and Ms. Quinata and your non-support of the proposed Commonwealth Act. You're taking this basically with the idea that as an indigenous people you don't want in any way to be associated with the United States? You want to be completely independent? Is that
Mr. HOWARD. No; it's that we're against the process as it now stands. We don't advocate any political status. It's the process.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK. All right.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. QUINATA. I'd like to alsojust for a little bit more clarification is that, again, we are not advocating any particular status, but I do not believe that the commonwealth status is not a status at all that is in the political framework other than an interim status. And that, above and beyond that, we have not donewe don't have a true vote. We don't have thewe have not protected the indigenous people of Guam. We've allowed everybody to become involved in that particular process.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. You did not support the process because non-Chamorros also participated in the process?
Ms. QUINATA. Yes, sir.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON. Any further questions for the panel?
Mr. Underwood? Or, Ms. Green? Mr. Underwood?
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much. And, President Moses, please also relay my greetings to Resio and I'd also like to recognize and welcome Alfred Cappelle, my colleague for a long timeand ''Yokwe yok''long time. In language issues out in Micronesia, and to Mario Katosang, ''ali'' to you and to all my friends in Palau.
I don't have any questions. I just want to make some observations and also note that we are now coming upon 6 o'clock in the morning tomorrow in Guam, and actually, even though this particular panel might have felt all along that they would have been slighted, they're probably more people listening to this panel than there were to the earlier panel, so maybe the timing of it is very good. Along with feeding the chickens, they were listening to this panel as people on Guam wake up.
The issues that are before us are long and complicated and weighty. And, I can't help but reflect upon the meaning of this exercise and the meaning of the people who have participated in this exercise, including Ron Rivera, and myself, and Hope Cristobal, and Chris Howard, and Debby Quinata, the Archbishop; all of us have been intertwined in our lives in very curious and interesting ways; former Congressman Ben Blaz, Governor Gutierrez. There is a lot of energy. And there is a lot of energy in the room. And, there's a lot of energy, it reflects accurately, I think, the energy of the people of Guam.
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I made a special effort, and I'm glad to acknowledge the agreement of the committee to make sure that the panel that is now before actually had a chance to speak. We wanted to make sure that people who may be opposed to H.R. 100, and there are some, be allowed the opportunity to state their concerns and state the origins of their concerns.
But, as we look upon this morning in Guam, and we've been at this hearing now for some 5 hours, I feel very strongly that it's been a very successful hearing, not because, necessarily, it moved the legislation inmy good friend from American Samoa'sterms, maybe 1 inch, but it certainly has increased our understanding, both, not only of the obstacles ahead of us, but certainly the understanding of the people of Guam, what they have before them, and what brought them to this point.
I asked the chairman if I could just say a few remarks in Chamorro, and I will:
[Speaks in Chamorro.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I want to express my gratitude to the formerly English-only Committee on Resources for this opportunity.
Mr. PETERSON. I thank the gentleman.
I would like to thank the witnesses for their valuable testimony and for the distance that you cameall of those that are here that have come from such a great distance.
For the Members: I have no doubt that the Members after today, will be far more knowledgeable on this issue and have a clearer understanding. The members of the committee may have some additional questions for the witnesses. We will ask you to respond in writing. The hearing record will be held open for these responses as well as any other statements by Members for 2 weeks.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, we have high hopes that the administration will be inspired by this hearing and will follow through in a timely manner on providing the committee with numerous updating of references or changes identified in their testimony for this proposal. And, hopefully, they will seriously engage in appropriate process to bring a conclusion to this issue that has been out there for a long time. We urge them to take it seriously and to work at it. We think they can bring it home if they choose to, and we would urge them to get busy and start the dialog and the exchange that is so vitally necessary.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. PETERSON. Yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I would be remiss if I did not also express my deepest appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, and the majority party for allowing this hearing to take place in the first place. And, I would also like to congratulate my good friend and colleague from Guam, Dr. UnderwoodCongressman Underwoodfor such an outstanding job that he has done in bringing out the issues affecting the good citizens and the people of Guam.
We go through this exercise, Mr. Chairman, over the years, and always trying to figure where thesometimes we're not even on the map, sometimes we're not even on the radar screen. It's always been one of my basic criticisms is that the territories never seem to get the proper attention that they should get from the Members as well as from this institution. But I think today's hearing bears quite well what we've accomplished, not only the legislation affecting the good people of Guam, but certainly the Senate Bill 210, that also has some things in it that affects other territories. And, I sincerely hope that with the proper amendments that I will be offering at the appropriate time we will resolve the concerns that Mrs. Moses had raised earlier, and that other provisions of Senate Bill 210 that will be helpful to the other insular areas.
And with that, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your patience, thank the good leaders of the people of Guam, and as they say in Samoa, ''In sus ma'ase.''
Page 161 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Laughter.]
Mr. UNDERWOOD. Yes, I would like to
Mr. PETERSON. I would yield to the gentleman from Guam.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your diligence in this effort as well as all the Members who did take some time to come before the committee.
I also want to enter into the record the statements of Frank San Nicholas, Ron Rivera, and Darrell Doss, who is standing here before us. And, I want to recognize that Mr. Doss, has a very special relationship to Guam, along with many other men of his age and participated in the liberation of Guam from the hands of the Japanese, and I wanted a chance to recognize Mr. Doss.
[The prepared statement of Mr. San Nicholas may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rivera may be found at end of hearing.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Doss may be found at end of hearing.]
Mr. PETERSON. The Chair thanks the gentleman.
Again, I would like to thank all of you for participating, for the fine job you did, and how well prepared you were.
Adios. There is no further business.
[Whereupon, at 3:12 p.m., the committee was adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
STATEMENT OF JOSE GUEVARA, VICE PRESIDENT, THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY OF GUAM
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman and Members of the Resources Committee,
I am Jose Guevara, Vice President of the Filipino Community of Guam, representing some 60 Filipino-American organizations. I am proud to say, Mr. Chairman, that about 30 percent of Guam's population today is of Filipino origin or descent and the Filipino community is an integral part of the wonderful island of Guam.
The Guam Commonwealth Act is a matter of considerable interest to the Filipino Community of Guam. For those of us who have permanently made Guam our homeas opposed to those who eventually move to other parts of the United Statesthe issues raised in the Commonwealth Act cause us to come to terms with our history as Filipinos and our status as Americans.
Given the history of the political relations between our mother country, the Philippines, and our adopted home, the United States, Filipino Americans understand the difficulties of colonial relationships. Our history as Filipinos also illustrates, like the American experience itself, that colonialism is not a legitimate form of government.
There is a natural affinity amongst Filipinos to appreciate and understand the Commonwealth Act's proposal to establish an autonomous and internally self-governing entity called the ''Commonwealth of Guam.'' For those of us who make Guam our home, self-government for us has even more meaning. The various ways in which the Commonwealth Act provides for the devolution of powers from the Congress to the people of Guam, will have an inescapable impact to our economic potential, stable economic patterns, the enactment of laws that make sense for Guam and the maximization of our economic role in the Asia-Pacific region. These things would be done with no threat to the U.S. military's needs.
Commonwealth is clearly not independence which our mother country fought for, negotiated and achieved. Nor is ''Commonwealth'' Statehood as is being pursued by Puerto Rico. One of the three (3) entities taken by the U.S. during the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Philippines was encouraged to pursue independence, Puerto Rico is now being encouraged to pursue Statehood, and Guam is being offered neither. Recognizing this, the people of Guam have sought a middle road off an autonomous Commonwealth status on the road to decolonization. Because of Guam's uniquenessand because no one is suggesting Guam should be a Statewe believe a special dispensation is necessary.
Page 163 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
STATEMENT OF RON RIVERA
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee on Resources:
I am honored to submit this statement in support of H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act as a Chamorro, as a concerned citizen . . . and a father who has great hopes for the future of his children and grandchildren, a future rooted in their homeland of Guam.
The draft Guam Commonwealth Act embodies a process for the decolonization of Guam. This is the heart of the Commonwealth Act, and it is what makes this Act both unique and acceptable to the Chamorro people. Decolonization is not something that can not be watered down or compromisedno matter what legislative language is finally agreed upon, the process of decolonization must be explicit and it must meet international standards.
We, the Chamorro people who have been colonized by military conquest, cannot risk our future self-determination in a bill that is equivocal on this point. We hope that Congress agrees with us on the absolute necessity to approach this issue with sensitivity and clarity. While there may be some new approaches to the legislative language, it must meet the basic criteria of the decolonization process that the United States has accepted in international definitions applied to other colonies.
There are fundamental principles that must be contained in an interim Commonwealth status in order for true decolonization to occur. First, a decolonization process must be initiated by a legitimate process of Chamorro self determination. Second, Guam must be granted control of immigration. Third, the Commonwealth Act must contain a mutual consent provision. These fundamental principles must be included in whatever Commonwealth Act Congress adopts.
The United States has a moral problem in justifying its continued colonial administration of Guam. The people of Guam have proposed, in the Guam Commonwealth Act, a political solution to this moral problem that meets their fundamental concerns and is consistent with international standards. The Guam proposal lays out quite clearly a solution that resolves Guam's colonial status. As a political solution, we are willing to engage the political processes of the U.S. govermnent, such as this Congress, but what we are not willing to do is allow these political processes to dictate solutions that are weighted only to Federal concerns.
Page 164 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Guam has been on its quest for Commonwealth for over 10 years. A political solution along the lines that we propose is within the realm of reality if only Congress and the President would exercise the will and courage to resolve Guam's status. This courage means an acceptance of the stark reality of Guam's present colonial status, and a determination to work with Guam on a solution. The people of Guam have shown our own political will in this process, and we have shown the courage to challenge the colonial status quo.
We seek the common ground with the U.S. on many contentious issues, and we seek a new relationship that is suited for our island. We have offered political solutions that are neither radical nor unrealistic. We seek to break down barriers that separate us from other Americans. If these barriers were physical, it may be easier to understand. If we had a Brandenburg gate, a Berlin Wall, or a Demilitarized zone, perhaps then we would be able to point to the barriers. Instead, we have Supreme Court opinions and Federal laws that create institutional barriers to freedom.
The U.S. Constitution, revered worldwide as a crucible of freedom and justice, is wielded against territories as a tool of repression. This is not how things ought to be. We are here to challenge old thinking, to change the colonial relationship, and to tear down the barriers to our freedom.
STATEMENT OF DARRELL O. DOSS
It is an honor to be here today to represent all the veterans who fought to free Guam from enemy occupation 53 years ago. The 7,000 marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Coast Guard who were killed or wounded in action during the battle that raged for three weeks in the summer of 1944 are joined today by the living World War II veterans in calling on Congress to grant a new status to Guam.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At the time of our battle in 1944, we were honored to be called ''the liberators'' by our fellow Americans, the Chamorros of Guam. But did we really liberate Guam? It is sad to say that we did not. To this day, our fellow Americans in the western Pacific are one of the last colonies in the world. However, you, as Members of Congress, have the power to accomplish today that which we were unable toto liberate Guam and grant the people of Guam the same freedom of self government as we have in our fifty states.
Guam has been a possession of the United States since 1898, with the exception of 31 months when they suffered under the cruel treatment of our then enemy. During that period, they were enslaved, tortured and executed. Of the 20,000 Guamanians at that time, over 1,500 died during the harsh occupation. Yet the people of Guam never lost faith with America. Even though it meant beatings, torture and even death for many of them, they never abandoned America. They helped feed, shelter, and hide George Tweed, the single surviving American sailor who hid out during the Japanese occupation. To them, this sailor was a symbol of the country they lovedAmerica.
Guam fist applied for American citizenship in 1902, but it wasn't granted until 48 years later in 1950. In 1936, B.J. Bordallo and Francisco Leon Guerrero came to our nation's capitol to again ask for citizenship. Mr. Leon Guerrero stated ''the people of Guam know but one 'ism' and that is Americanism.'' That statement is as true today as it was 61 years ago.
Because of Guam's loyalty to America, they have the highest per capita enlistments in our military services than any state in the Union. During the Vietnam War, (not a conflict), they had the highest per capita casualties than of any of our states.
I wish time would permit me to tell the story of a few of these brave people and what they endured because of their love for the United States, a love which I feel has not been returned in the policies of our government. I would tell you the stories of Beatrice Emsley, Antonio and Josefa Artero, Father Duenas (the martyred catholic priest, who was beheaded), B.J. Bordallo, the mother of Guam's current First Lady (Geri Gutierrez), Francisco Leon Guerrero, Mrs. Agueda Johnston, Joaquin Limtiaco and the eight Merizo co-liberators. I am sure that some of you would have tears in your eyes, just as we liberators had tears in our eyes when we liberated the concentration camps. These are the people I am asking you to support and allow them to have a closer and more democratic relationship with America. Is that too much to ask? For the people of Guam and we veterans of World War II, I hope you can find it in your heart to do what is right and give justice to our fellow Americans on Guam.
Page 166 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We call the United States the land of liberty with freedom and justice for all. It saddens me to know that this is not true because of the way we treat our fellow citizens on the island of Guam. There is no doubt that some of America's most loyal and patriotic citizens are from Guam. They have remained staunchly faithful to the United States, even though we treat them as less than our equals. It is time that justice be done.
At this time I ask you to please vote for true justice on this very important issue and let's make the United States truly the land of liberty with freedom and justice for all, including Guam.
As time marches on, we who fought to free Guam shall be gone from this earth. So on behalf of all the veterans of the Guam campaign, I plead with you to cast a ''yea'' vote, to grant these people their wish to become a commonwealth of the United States. In doing so, the members of this Congress shall share the honor we have as ''Liberators of Guam.'' Your vote can accomplish that which we, 75,000 strong, and backed with massive military arms, were apparently unable to do in 1944.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICK HILL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MONTANA
It is a real pleasure to welcome the distinguished witnesses for today's hearing on certain measures affecting some of our United States territories and the separate sovereign freely associated states.
These issues affecting U.S. nationals and citizens in the territories as well as residents of the Pacific freely associated republics are part of the unique and important jurisdiction of the Committee on Resources for the insular areas.
That is why Chairman Young scheduled this hearing on matters which could provide for increased local self governance for the people of the insular areas.
Page 167 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me thank the witnesses from the distant Pacific islands for aggreeing to appear before the Committee.
You have traveled thousands of miles to testify, and your efforts are appreciated.
You are providing a substantial set of information for the Committee record.
Your statements have been provided for review by all of the Committee Members and will be available for all those in the Congress as well who are not Members of the Committee or here today.
One of the primary purposes of this hearing is to assist the insular areas, including Guam, in advancing toward greater local self-government.
The statements by the witnesses today will help Congress in evaluating the merits of the proposals contained in S. 210, the Omnibus Territories Act, H.R. 2370, the Guam Judicial Empowerment Act, and H.R. 100, the Guam Commonwealth Act.
STATEMENT OF HON. PETER C. SIGUENZA, CHIEF JUSTICE OF GUAM
Good morning/afternoon Chairman Don Young, Congressman Robert Underwood and other distinguished members of the House Committee on Resources. Thank you for allowing me to have the opportunity to speak. It is indeed an honor.
I am here today as the Chief Justice of Guam. My rotating term expires in about a year and a half from nowat which time we justices will elect a new chief. And soin my first and final appearance before youI want to stress the importance of the critical matter which is before us today.
In simple terms, H.R. 2370 would place the Judiciary of Guam on an equal footing with its two coordinate branches of government. As you will note, the inherent powers of both the executive and legislative branches are clearly delineated within the Organic Act. Only the structure of the judiciary lacks this kind of clarity.
Page 168 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ironically, the original local legislation which created the Supreme Court distinctly outlined the Court's authorityclearly placing administrative and appellate jurisdiction with the Court.
In this sense, H.R. 2370 undeniably reflects the will of the people. Virtually every provision within the judicial Empowerment Act before you today mirrors the 10 year drafting process which culminated in the passage of the bill in 1992.
It is significant to point out that no effort was made to alter the bill for the next three years. The legislation sat intact and untouched for nearly four yearsthat is, up until the seating of the Court in April of 1996.
At that time, on the eve of the confirmation hearings of the justicesefforts were undertaken to alter the legislation and curtail the authority of the Court. In effect, what had taken a decade to build was summarily undone within three months.
In fact, since the Court's inceptionthere have been no fewer than four legislative attempts to undermine the Court's administrative authority andeven as recently as last montha successful legislative bid to limit this Court's legal jurisdiction.
Let me briefly share with you the chronology of this Court:
1973Guam Public Law 12-85 is enacted, envisioning a judiciary with a local supreme court at the helm.
1974The first Supreme Court of Guam is established.
1977The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Guam's Supreme Court.
1997That same year, Guam convenes a constitutional convention. The foundation is laid to establish a Supreme Court as the judicial and administrative head of the judiciary. This draft constitution is submitted and approved by the U.S. Congress.
1984The Omnibus Territories Act amends the Organic Act to allow for the creation of a Supreme Court.
Page 169 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 1993The Frank G. Lujan Memorial Court Reorganization Act is signed into law after its 1992 passage in the 21st legislature. The bill is patterned after the 1973 local legislation, 1977 draft constitution and provisions from various state constitutions.
The legislation calls for a Supreme Court of Guam which will ''handle all those matters customarily handled by state supreme courts . . . [handle] court rules and court administration. Thus, administrative functions of the courts, formerly lying either with the Judicial Council or the District Court of Guam, are placed with the Supreme Court of Guam.
1995In November, myself, Janet Healy Weeks and Monessa G. Lujan are nominated to the Supreme Court.
1996In March, hours after the justices of the Supreme Court are confirmed, the 23rd Guam legislature passes bill 404 which removes certain inherent powers from the Supreme Court. A second bill, bill 494, aims to strip the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over all lower courts. That bill is debated, but tabled by the legislative committee on the Judiciary.
1996Eight months later in December, the legislature attaches the contents the shelved bill 494 as a ''midnight'' rider to bill 776. The legislation passes and is vetoed by the Governor. An override attempt fails by only a slim margin.
In shortthis is the problem faced by the Supreme Court of Guam, and why we seek to have this court established within the Organic Act. Permit me the luxury of overstating the obvious when I say that a Judiciaryor any branch of governmentcannot function independently if another branch can modify or strip it of its powers at will. The bill before this distinguished panel will ensure that like the inherent power of the executive and legislative branchesthe corresponding authority of the third branch cannot be tampered with on whim.
There are those who espouse the view that the Judicial Council of Guam is the policymaker for the judiciary. Allow me to let the record speak for this court when I say that in the eight years it took lawmakers to craft and fine-tune the bill that created the Supreme Court of Guamthe notion of a judicial council as the administrative arm of the judiciary was explored and subsequently rejected in that role. The Frank G. Lujan Memorial Court Reorganization Act which created the court explicitly envisioned an advisory role for the council.
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And since that time, the will of the people has not changed. A recent survey conducted on Guam by your colleague and our delegate, Congressman Robert Underwoodin addition to a poll conducted by the Guam Bar Associationalong with numerous media editorialshave each independently and resoundingly confirmed the original legislative concept of the Supreme Court at the administrative helm of the judiciary.
This is not a structure without precedent. The Judicial Empowerment Act would not only restore the initial intent of local legislation creating the court, but would also confer upon it the same inherent authority exercised by judiciaries in the fifty states and other U.S. jurisdictions.
In closing, I leave you with the words of Alexander Hamilton who noted over 200 years ago''the judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of powerall possible care is requisite to enable it to defend itself against their attacks.''
Thank you Mr. Chairman, Congressman Underwood and other distinguished members of this panel for your time and attention.
(I have brought with me copies of the judicial sections from the respective constitutions of every state and U.S. jurisdiction should any of you wish to view them.)
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