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The main issue of this hearing, I believe, is for the members of the House Subcommittee on Territories to hear opposing views on the question of whether the people of American Samoa be granted the right and freedom to elect their own Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Prior to my conviction on the issue, let me discuss some prerequisites to being autonomous as a political unit and as a people. Politically autonomy requires three basic components-namely, territory or territories; resources natural, artificial, and human, and a system of laws.
REQUIREMENTS FOR AUTONOMY In regard to American Samoa and its position as an unincorporated territory of the United States, it has practically no territory (only 76 square miles, half of which is not suitable for profitable cultivation). Its code of law is not an organic body; actually the Samoan Code of Law is an extension of the Constitution of the United States. Without constitutional law, the American Samoans cannot operate as an independent political unit; their system of laws must be in full agreement with the Constitution of the United States. Finally, American Samoa has but one viable resource-people. Unfortunately this particular resource has not been utilized sufficiently enough to provide the necessary artificial resources for the survival of the Samoan society in the modern world. Without adequate resources, American Samoa cannot exist as an autonomous people (unless of course, some philanthropic sponsor can provide support of various kinds).
The people of American Samoa must remember that a codified system of laws which might be applicable for the progress of their society as a political entity may not be acceptable to the Congress of the United States. Any constitutional body which would secure and guarantee the protection of the Samoan ownership of land will also be in direct disaccordance with the Constitution of the United States. As examples: (1) the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of the individual to buy and sell property, especially land; on the other hand, the present situation in American Samoa does not allow any person to sell or buy land; (2) any constitution that can satisfy the requirements of the traditional Samoan hierarchy would also be in contradiction with the democratic process or the American way of life.
As an unincorporated territory, American-this is a definition from an encyclopedia-"is not being prepared for statehood and is considered to belong to the United States merely as a piece of property.” The people of American Samoa are guaranteed only the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and property under the Constitution of the United States. It means that the interpretations of “life, liberty, and property” for the citizens of American Samoa have had as many meanings as has been the number of naval and civilian administrators on the islands since they became a protectorate of the United States. Certainly this pattern will continue as long as the leading administrators are appointees of Washington, D.C., and whose first loyalty is to the Constitution of the United States.
LEADERSHIP Are the present leaders of American Samoa prepared to be responsible and responsive to the needs of American Samoa as a political unit and as a society of individuals, and to the needs of their sponsors in Washington, D.C.? Personally I believe that the Samoans can fill this need as well as any people. Indeed there will be difficult times when impractical and irresponsible decisions are made, and when opportunism and greed find their way to power. Yet the same conditions existed in the past and they still are right now. There had been times when wrong decisions were made by appointees who failed to respond or to be responsible to both the American Samoans and the sponsors. Unfortunately, most leaders concentrated on fulfilling the goals and purposes of the sponsors at the price of the interests of the people of American Samoa.
TRADITION VERSUS CONTEMPORARY
Can the people of American Samoa be prepared—with the help of expert advisers—to apply the principles of democracy, together with the traditional political methodology of Samoa, in choosing their leaders? Yes, the people of American Samoa can be adequately prepared to perform such a task. The Samoan tradition clearly revealed that political roles had been performed by individuals who were elected on the basis of merit and achievement rather than on the basis of inheritance. Therefore, with the help of expert advisers in various fields, the people of American Samoa can conceive of themselves as one political unit instead of a cluster of clans. Briefly, the American Samoans need to create a national image as a foundation for political activities.
SUMMARY OF PRESENT
Jares Ullman—a writer and graduate of Princeton Universitysummarized it very clearly for me.
In common with other mortals, the Samoans are contradictory. They want both progress and nonprogress, money and freedom from the need of money, fa'a Samoa and the way of the world. Out of one side of their mouths they swear true love for the United States; out of the other they damn it ... The one thing, interestingly, that they almost never do is talk of breaking away from us. They know that what is now American Samoa is too small, too short of resources, to exist independently. They know that to join up with the Western, now free, Samoa would mean domination by their more numerous, hence more powerful neighbors. They prefer Yankee control, with at least the hope and promise of the Yankee dollar. For the foreseeable future, at least, their islands will be Eden-or non-Eden, U.S.A. (James R. Ullman: Where the Bong Tree Grows).
MY SOLUTION In response to the bill H.R. 12493, my solution is that: it should be amended so that a timetable can be set by the Congress of the United States requiring the present leaders of American Samoa with the help of the Department of the Interior, to establish a constitution for American Samoa. Furthermore, they must begin to prepare the people of American Samoa to be able to elect their own Governor and Lieutenant Governor by the end of such time as specified in the said timetable. Thank you very much.
Mr. BURTON (now presiding). Thank you very much for your statement.
STATEMENT OF VAIINUPO J. ALA'ILIMA
Mr. BURTON. The statement of this witness, including two attachments, one, proposed amendment to the two pending bills, and second, a letter purporting to be from the Attorney General dated February 17, 1902, will be included in the record at this time, and it is so ordered.
(The statement and documents referred to follow :)
STATEMENT OF VAIINUPO J. ALA'ILIMA
Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the Subcommittee of Interior and Insular Affairs, thank you for the opportunity allowing me to testify before you today. Before I address myself directly to H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493 allow me the privilege to establish the ground on which I am presenting my statement and views today.
Due to the absence of a formal reply from you, Mr. Chairman, to my letter of March 6. 1972 requesting an appearance—under the heading Prince Galumalemana Vaiinupe J. Alailima, my chief's title and rank; Special Representative of Samoan Villages of Tutuila, American Samoa and Savai'i, Western Samoa, my special title with respect to the Commission I presently hold-as a matter of record I submit that the proper courtesy and honor to the Special Representative of Smoan Villages has not been shown and the views of the villages, chiefs and people I represent have been suppressed.
In my deep interest for a thorough discussion of the forementioned bills upon their merits and in the interest of harmonizing our democratic principles and process with proper courtesy and proper protocol in reference to my fellowchiefs, who are members of the Legislature of American Samoa, who are also appearing today, I therefore request to record my appearance before this Honorable-Sub-Committee as an American Citizen, native son of Samoa, who was among the First Graduating Class of the High School of American Samoa, brought by the United States Navy to the Mainland to train for leadership in American Samoa, whenever the Interior Department took over, and who is now a Civil Engineer for Catania Engineering Co. in Chester, Pa. a Republican Committeeman in Phila. and presently a Candidate for Republican Party State Committee. Pennsylvania Senatorial District No. 7. With your permission. Mr. Chairman and the Sub-committee, may I introduce into the Record some of my Mayoraltv Campaign Materials to further enlighten the Committee about my background, my outlook of life as well as my contributions to our Democracy here in the States and in Samoa, which will have some bearing on my statement and position.
With respect to H.R. 11523 and II.R. 12493 I, as a native son of Samoa and a nrodnet of Samoan and American Democracy, support the Spirit of both bills wholeheartedly and I salute the Chairman and other members of this Sub-committee and Congressman Matsunaga for their effort in introducing such legislation.
However, as a political scientist and an experienced student of practical politics both in Samoa and in the States, I must take issue with respect to the mechanics and the timing through which the Noble Spirit of these two bills will be transformed into reality. 1. These bills are based upon the Joint Resolution of February 20, 1929 confirming a questionable Instrument of Cession of which the legality has not been tested. The authenticity of its existence, in my opinion, is doubtful. The following letter from the Attorney General of the United States to the Secretary of the Treasury in 1902 fails to mention this important instrument as a basis of its legal Opinion with respect to the legal status of Tutuila and Manu'a. The letter reads as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., February 17, 1902. THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY,
Sir: I have received your letter of the tenth instant, asking my opinion upon the question "whether merchandise shipped from Pago Pago Tutuila, is entitled to free entry in view of the Convention concluded by the United States, Great Britain and Germany, on December 2, 1899”.
If Pago Pago is not a foreign port, then, according to the recent decisions of the Supreme Court, the law imposing duties upon goods imported into the United States does not impose a duty upon goods brought from that place.
The privilege of establishing at the harbor of Pago Pago, a station for coal and other naval supplies for our naval and mercantile marine, was obtained by treaty of 1878 with Samoa and a deed made in pursuance thereof.
By recent events, including the making, and executing of a treaty between Great Britain, Germany and the United States, the Island of Tutuila, of which Pago Pago is a port, has come under the control and into the possession of the l'nited States. It is a small island with but three or four thousand inhabitants, has been separated politically from the remainder of the Samoan group, the authority of the King of Samoa over it is at an end, and it has no government but that of a na val officer appointed by the United States authority, except local town governments. By the treaty referred to, the exclusive sovereignty of the United States over it appears to be asserted by us and recognized by Great Britain and Germany, which nations formerly shared with us protectorate.
I find that on December 6, 1900, the Department of State, whose opinion is entitled to great weight in interpreting the effect of its own negotiations and proceedings in such a case, expressed the view, that Pago Pago is not a “foreign port or place" within the means of the law imposing a tonnage tax upon vessels. And on December 8, 1900, two days later, your own Department (Treasury Decision 22661) ruled that such a tax was not collectible upon a vessel from Pago Pago. Among the enclosures of your letter to me is one from the Secretary of State, advising you that “the islands of Tutuila and Manua, being in the exclusive possession and control of the United States, should be considered as domestic territory in the sense in which and to, the extent that Puerto Rica was so, immediately before the passage of the statute providing a government therefor."
In view of these things I am of the opinion that our tariff laws, imposing duties upon goods from “foreign countries,” are not applicable to goods arriving from Pago Pago.
A practical question arises from the provision of the tripartite treaty referred to, that "each of the three signatory powers should continue to enjoy, in respect of their commerce and commercial vessels, in all the islands of the Samoan group, privileges and conditions equal to those enjoyed by the sovereign power, in all ports which may be open to the commerce of either of them." That is to say it is possible that English and German merchants may attempt, under cover of this provision, to carry goods via Pago Pago into some of our other ports, since, according to the doctrine laid down in Dooley v. United States, 182 V'.S., and other cases, goods entering Pago Pago from the United States are not dutiable by executive authority, and so as to goods arriving from Pago Pago in the ports of the United States. But this cannot alter the status of the ports of Tutuila, nor does it present any difficulty which Congress and your Department cannot easily deal with. The treaty neither stipulates for free entry into Pago Pago nor is intended to provide a means for entry into other ports on the terms stipulated in the case of Pago Pago, but only that the same privileges we see fit to accord at Pago Pago to our own commerce and vessels shall be enjoyed by British and German goods and vessels arriving there, and that reciprocally, American merchants shall have the privileges in the ports of the British and German islands of the group accorded there to British and German commerce. Respectfully,
P. C. Knox, Attorney General.
Notice there is no reference explicit or implicit of the existence of the Instrument of Cession of 1900 mentioned the Joint Resolution of February 20, 1929 and these two bills. I hope the Chairman of this Subcommittee will take upon himself the task of finding the original Instrument of Cession and preserving it with
other treaties and legal documents of the United States Government with respect to Samoa.
1. In my opinion, it is worth the dignity and the creditability of this Sub-committee, the Department of the Interior and the Government of the United States and certainly to the interest and future of Samoa to dispel any doubt whether this Instrument of Cession is a Hoax before any of these bills is passed.
2. On the other hand, under the assumption that such Instrument is authentic and existed, then based upon the contents of such Instrument, “2. The Government of the United States of America shall respect and protect the individual rights of all people dwelling in Tutuila to their lands and other property in said District....5. We, whose names are subscribed below, do hereby declare with truth for ourselves, our heirs and representatives, by Samoan Custom, that we will obey aud owe allegiance to the Government of the United States of America.", the language and qualification of electors as expressed in these two bills violate not only the spirit, but the qualification and language of the Instrument of Cession as well as the Joint Resolution by depriving rights of other inhabitants of Eastern Samoa who are not qualified electors under the present Constitution of American Samoa to vote for their own Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In other words, the principle of Self-determination will not be enjoyed by a substantial number of people in Eastern Samoa.
3. Limiting the nominating election to every four years conflicts with the power of the President to remove and fill vacancies at will.
4. The two bills lack brakes or safeguard of the people's welfare by failing to provide a sound removal and nominating procedure between the four-year election period in case of misconduct or other unforseeable reasons.
5. The time elements as prescribed in these bills hinders the spirit and the effectiveness not only of these two bills but also the Instrument of Cession which is the vital part of the Joint Resolution of February 20, 1929. In my opinion, if Eastern Samoa is going to elect her Governor and Lieutenant Governor now while Congress is not yet ready to pass proper legislation for the Government of Eastern Samoa, the Department of the Interior has little else to do besides paying the bills. If such is the case, Eastern Samoa might as well be granted independence. Yet the island economy is not strong enough to sustain her life, and village governments are not properly organized and updated to meet their responsibilities due to lack of financial support and proper guidance from both the Government of the United States and from the Central Government of American Samoa. Until these things have been accomplisherl, in my opinion, Eastern Samoa is not ready to elect her own Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
Mindful of the serious neer and wisdom of utilizing well qualified Samoans not only as Governor and Lieutenant Governor but all other specific Samoan offices in Samoa and in the Department of the Interior and related agencies of our Government, at the same time adhering to the interest and spirit of not only the Instrument of Cession, the Joint Resolution and the Responsibilities of Congress, the Department of the Interior and other related agencies, I therefore respectfully submit the following amendments to the two bills. Proposed Amendments by Vaiinupo J. Alailima for H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12,493 : A BILL To Provide for the appointment of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of
Eastern Samoa, and for other purposes Bc it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That subsection (c) of the joint resolution entitled "Joint Resolution to provide for accepting. ratifying, and confirming the cessions of certain islands of the Samoan group to the United States, and for other purposes", approved February 20, 1929, as amended (45 Stat. 1253; 48 U.S.C. 1661), is amended to read as follows:
"(c) Until Congress shall provide for the government of such islands, all civil. judicial, and military powers shall be vested in such person or persons and shall be exercised in such manner as the President of the United States shall direct, and the President shall have the power to remove said officers and fill the vacancies so occasioned," except that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Eastern Samoa shall he chosen with the advice and consent of the United States Senate and with preference given to native Samoans or persons of Samoan ancestry who are Citizens of the United States or owe Allegiance to the United States of America.