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responsibility for the legal needs of their people. Similarly, the Government of American Samoa has had to recruit many stateside accountants in recent years, thus spotlighting a serious gap in the G.A.S. scholarship program.

In order to insure the success of self-government, there must be an intensive effort made to prepare Samoans for higher education, so that they may return from college equipped to cope with the problems of administering American Samoa. Similarly, there is a great need for trained clerical and secretarial help in American Samoa, and salvation can only come if the present school system is changed.

The Commission is aware of the fact that some years may pass before Samoans will be fully qualified to assume all of their own government's operations, but a start towards this goal must be made now by improving the educational system.

6. The Commission recommends that Congress be requested to grant the people of American Samoa the opportunity and right to be officially represented in Washington.

Next year, American Samoa will be sending its own representative to Washington. He will have no official status in Congress other than his role as an agent of his people, charged with the responsibility of making known their desires and interests. The Commission believes that granting this delegate official status will be a great help in making the problems of American Samoa known to Congress.

The Commission realizes that requesting an official delegate while wishing to remain an unincorporated territory is an unusual step, but it does not see any inherent inconsistency in these requests. American Samoa is unique among United States possessions in that it has retained its traditionai social structure after long years of American rule. Yet American Samoa is unqualifiedly "American". Thus, the Commission wishes to recommend not only that American Samoa retain its unincorporated status, to protect its traditional ways, but that it be allowed an official delegate in Congress, to present its modern needs.

American Samoa's expenditure of money and effort to send a non-official delegate to Washington illustrates the strong feeling in Samoa that such a representative is needed. Granting the delegate official status will both aid in his effectiveness and further cement the ties between the United States and its distant island possession.

7. The Commission recommends that a program be instituted to identify, survey and register ownership of all the land in American Samoa.

Preservation of Samoa's land tenure system figured importantly in the Commission's deliberations and decisions. Land is the scarcest and most valuable item in Samoa. There are only 76 square miles of land in all of American Samoa, and most of this is so mountainous that it is useless for agriculture or residence. Ninety-eight (98%) percent of the land in American Samoa is presently held by families as communal property under the trust and care of a family matai.

The Commission believes that protecting Samoan ownership of Samoan land is vital to the future political and economic well-being of American Samoa.

However, at present, land ownership in American Samoa is terribly confused. Families often find themselves in dispute over the boundary between communal lands, and different families have different methods of apportioning communal land among family members. The Commission recommends that a thorough survey be taken of all the land in Samoa, in order that boundaries may finally be firmly fixed, and land be registered in the name of the family which owns it. Such a survey will doubtlessly inflame a number of latent disputes, but the Commission feels that facing up to this problem now and solving it, will do much to insure that Samoans retain control of their land.

8. Finally, the Commission recommends that a joint committee be established to study further the potentialities of Commonwealth and Organic Act status. The committee should be composed of Representatives from both the U.S. Congress and the American Samoan Legislature. The costs of the committee should be shared equally by the U.S. Congress and the Samoan Legislature.

The Commission believes that intensive study needs to be made before the United States Congress and the people of American Samoa can finally accept or reject Commonwealth or Organic Act status for American Samoa. The Commission suggests that the Committee consider the following questions, among others, in its study.


A. Tariffs and Commercial Policy

1. Advantages and disadvantages of the status quo.

2. Effects of Commonwealth or Organic Act status upon tariffs and commercial policy.

3. Effect of American Samoa's political status upon its ability to participate in regional economic groupings, such as a South Pacific common

market. B. Transportation

1. Costs and benefits of present air and water links between American Samoa and the United States.

2. Effects upon American Samoa if the coastal shipping laws were eliminated or modified vis a vís American Samoa. C. Wage and Labor Standards,

1. Effects upon present wage and labor standards if Commonwealth or Organic Act status were adopted. D. Money and Credit

1. Effects of change of political status upon the use of money and credit policies to promote development of local capital.

2. Access to foreign capital as a function of American Samoa's political status. E. Federal Funding and Taxes

1. Examination of alternative methods of federal funding under the present political status.

2. Changes in the level of federal support of Organic Act or Commonwealth status were adopted.

3. Federal tax policy: (a) Effects of complete elimination of federal taxes in American Samoa; (6) Effects of full imposition of federal taxes in American Samoa; (c) Effects of American Samoa's assuming a responsibility to contribute a proportionate amount to the general expenses of the

U.S. government.
F. Resources of American Samoa-

1. A thorough analysis of the natural and human resources of American Samoa.

2. Projected economic growth rates under the status quo, Commonwealth and Organic Act status.


A. The present status of American Samoa

1. Extent to which the U.S. Constitution presently applies in American Samoa.

2. Demarcation of the power of the Secretary of the Interior to alter the present form of government. B. Future status of American Samoa

1. Action necessary to achieve Commonwealth or Organic Act status.

2. Effects of Comonwealth or Organic Act status upon the present judicial and legal structure of American Samoa.


A. A thorough study of the present culture and social structure of American Samoa.

B. The probable effects on culture and social structure if the status quo is retained.

C. The probable effects of Commonwealth or Organic Act status upon the culture and social structure.


The first American to land in Samoa was Lt. John Wilkes, who arrived in 1839. However, it was not until 1872 that the first agreement was reached between America and one of the High Chiefs of Samoa, and formal cession of the islands to America was not accomplished until 1904. Congress did not formally accept the Instruments of Cession until 1929.

At present, American Samoa is an unincorporated, insular possession of the United States, governed by an appointed Governor and an elected legislature, acting under authority granted them by the Secretary of the Interior, who in turn has been delegated his authority by the President, to whom Congress granted authority over Samoa in the Act of February 20, 1929.

The political history of Samoa under American rule is comparatively brief. For hundreds, if not thousands of years prior to American hegemony, Samoa's political history can be understood only in terms of the “matai” system.

Samoa has traditionally been ruled by "matais” or “chiefs". The basic political unit has always been the extended family, composed of related kin tracing their origins bilaterally back to mythological ancestors. Within the extended family, a collective family economy prevails. The matai is responsible for control of family lands and property and represents the family in political affairs.

Matais, including the most powerful ruling matais, are selected by democratic means. A matai, whether he is a "family' matai or a Paramount High Chief, is elected by those family or clan members over whom he exercises authority. When chiefs higher than “family' chiefs are chosen, the electors are themselves a select group, who have been selected by their families to cast their vote on behalf of the family. Thus, the election of a High Chief can be roughly analogized to the American Electoral College. The matai system, and the method of selecting matais, continue little-changed in present day Samoa.

Upon this basic social structure, has been built a framework of representative institutions, modeled after the American system. Even in the days of the Navy Administration, the Naval Governor would consult with the traditional leaders of Samoa before making a major decision.

However, the Samoan people became dissatisfied with their small voice in the government and in 1948 Congress approved the establishment of a bicameral legislature. At first the legislature's powers were severely limited, but after the Department of the Interior accepted responsibility for Samoa in 1951, it gradually was allowed to extend its authority.

In 1960, a major step towards self-government was taken when the first Samoan Constitution was approved. Today, the Revised Constitution of American Samoa provides for a popularly elected House of Representatives of 20 members and a Senate of 18 members, “chosen in accordance with Samoan Custom.” The Legislature has complete authority to enact laws of local application, which do not conflict with the Samoan Constitution or federal laws applicable in American Samoa.

[Senate Bill No. 59–Public Law 11-39]


(First Special Session-Begun and held at Fagatogo, Tutuila, American Samoa on Tuesday, the first day of July one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-nine)



Preamble: The Legislature finds that there is an emergency need to begin work on a future political status report for the next regular session of the Legislature.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of American Samoa that Title II of the Code of American Samoa is hereby amended by the addition of a new Chapter 2.12 to read as follows:

Chapter 2.12. Future Political Status Study Commission Sec. 2.1201. FUTURE POLITICAL STATUS STUDY COMMISSION: There is hereby established the Future Political Status Study Commission of American Samoa, referred to in this Chapter as "The Commission." The Commission shall consist of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, one Senator appointed by the President of the Senate, one Representative appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and three members of the community appointed by the Governor. The members of the Commission shall elect a Chairman by majority vote. The Commission shall, exist only until the adjournment of the Second Regular Session of the Eleventh Leg. islature.

SEC. 2.1202. FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION: The Commission shall study alternative forms of future political status open to American Samoa and shall assess the advantages and disadvantages of each. The Commission shall study and appraise the history, the development and the present status of political units comparable or relevant to Samoa, both within and outside the jurisdiction of the United States. The Commission shall present a complete report of its findings and recommendations to the Second Regular Session of the Eleventh Legislature.

SEC. 2.1203. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION : The Commission shall have power :

(a) To hold hearings, to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, to order the production of documents and other tangible evidence, to administer oaths, and to cite for contempt;

(b) To employ necessary staff, including consultants, and experts, to purchase necessary materials, to make necessary publications, and to engage in necessary travel within American Samoa and abroad, and to take other necessary action for the performance of the functions assigned in Sec. 2.1202 of this Chapter, and

Be it further enacted, That the sum of $20,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated from unappropriated local revenue for the operation of the Future Poʻritical Status Commission of American Samoa. The funds hereby appropriated shall be expended only on the authority of the Chairman of the Commission, and

Be it further enacted, That because of the emergency need to begin work on a future political status report for the next regular session of the Legislature, this Act shall take effect immediately upon being approved by the Governor.


President of the Senate.

FAINUULELEI S. UTU, Speaker, House of Representatives.


Governor of American Samoa. Approved : July 8, 1969.

The following material pertaining to fiscal affairs of American Samoa was supplied by Governor Haydon at the request of Congressman Don H. Clausen.

Government of American Samoa, tax revenues
Fiscal year 1971 :
Individual income tax..

$1, 264, 675 Corporate income tax.

1, 848, 352

3, 1113, 027

Fiscal year 1972:

Individual income tax.
Corporation income tax.

1, 565, 523 3, 343, 312


3, 113, 027 (Fiscal year 1972 through April only.)

The fiscal vear 1972 budget for American Samoa, and the proposed FY 1973 budget, are contained in the publication “Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1973—Part 4, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.: 1972."


Fiscal year




1962 supplement 1.
1966 supplement 2

$83, 867
110, 929
116, 000
114, 350
119, 426
121, 439
134, 775
140, 850
155, 325
158, 125

17, 325
236, 600
288, 189

$563, 207 1, 290,000 1, 434,000 1, 159,000 1, 169, 400 1, 169, 400 1, 169, 400 1, 169, 400 1, 708, 700 2, 486, 800 4, 947, 275 4, 482, 675 12, 807, 400 12, 002, 000 5, 248, 811 3, 795, 000 2,500,000 8,848, 000 6, 953, 262 6, 217, 100 6, 809, 245 7, 841, 697 11, 223, 240

$647, 074 1, 400, 929 1,550,000 1, 276, 000 1, 283, 750 1, 288, 826 1, 290, 839 1, 304, 175 1,849, 550 2,642, 125 5, 105, 400 4,500,000 13, 044, 000 12, 276, 000 5,537, 000 4,093, 000 2,500,000 9, 149, 000 7, 324, 791 6, 606, 000 7, 222,516 8, 242, 000 11, 693, 000

301, 000
371, 529
388, 900
413, 271
400, 303
469, 760

1 Public Law 87-332.
2 Public Law 89-426, grant for repair of hurricane damage, mainly housing construction.

Prior to the fiscal year 1971 the only grants-in-aid from other Federal agencies to the territory of American Samoa were approximately $85,000 from the Department of Agriculture and approximately $20,000 from the Geological Survey. These amounts for school lunches and fresh water surveys, respectively, were received annually, beginning about the fiscal year 1963.

For the fiscal year 1971, at which time the Congressional Subcommittees on Appropriations authorized the acceptance of grants-in-aid from other Federal agencies, the total amount of $1,070,600 was received by American Samoa. The grants comprising this amount were distributed as follows: Department of Education -

$458, 000 Department of Medical Services

340, 000 Department of Legal Affairs..

100, 000 Civil Defense--

8, 600 Department of Agriculture (school lunches)

91, 000 Economic Development and Planning-

53, 000 Construction (water survey)---

20,000 For the fiscal year 1972 the total amount of $2,061,400 represented grants-inaid from other Federal agencies. This amount was distributed as follows: Education

$1, 036, 500 Medical Services.

348, 100 Legal Services-

136, 300 Civil Defense -

10, 000 Office of Marine Resources.

104, 960 Office of Manpower Resources..

20, 000 Economic Development and Planning

147, 000 Construction

258, 540

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