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Mr. BURTON. The gentleman from California, Mr. Clausen.
Mr. CLAUSEN. I don't know that I have any questions, but I would join the chairman and the chairman of the full committee in expressing our appreciation for your having provided us with a chronological history that I think will serve the committee in its deliberations as a valuable document, and also the fact that you not only communicate with the people out there but you have expressed your views to me personally, and I think it has been very helpful.
Mrs. MINK. Thank you very much, Mr. Clausen.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions by any of the members of the committee?
If not, we thank you.
Mr. BURTON. Without objection we will have included in the record at this point the statement from the gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Matsunaga.
Hearing no objection, so ordered.
STATEMENT OF Hon. SPARK M. MATSUNAGA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF HAWAII
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate this opportunity to present my views in support of H.R. 12493, my bill to permit American Samoans to elect their own Governor and Lieutenant Governor. I am pleased to join the Chairman and other Subcommittee members who have sponsored a virtually identical bill, H.R. 11523.
As a Representative from Hawaii, I am particularly pleased to urge support of this legislation, for American Samoans are very much like the people of Hawaii, and they look to us members of Congress from Hawaii for help because they are a people with no official voice in the national government. Moreover, Hawaii's long years as a territory prior to statehood have made me particularly sensitive to the aspirations of the Samoan people to attain a degree of self-determination in their government. For scores of years before 1959, Washington sent men to Honolulu to govern the Hawaiian Islands, just as Washington now sends men to Pago Pago to govern American Samoa. Just as it was recognized eventually that Hawaiians were capable of selecting their own political leaders, I believe that the time has arrived for the Federal Government to recognize that American Samoa deserves to share in the American ideal of government of, for, and by the people.
America acquired American Samoa in 1899 as a result of a tripartite treaty between the United States, Germany, and Great Britain—without consulting the Samoan people. Since then American Samoa has been governed as an American ward : for the first half century, by the United States Navy; since then, by the Department of the Interior. In the absence all these years of an organic act, American Samoa remains an unincorporated territory. It is still, in effect, a Presidential fief, with ultimate authority delegated to the Secretary of the Interior.
One might well ask why I do not propose, in H.R. 12493, a truly organic act, embracing all branches of government, rather than confining reform to the designation of the territory's chief executives. The answer lies in consideration of the unique cultural and sociological facts of life in American Samoa. More than 96 percent of the land is owned in common. The still widely revered matai, or chief, system features a subsistence economy offering work, food, relative equality, and social security. Many Samoans fear that a full organic act, including the granting of American citizenship, would pose dire threats to their lands and their way of life. The majority of Samoans, on the other hand, want to share in the choice of their leaders, from village chief to Governor.
The Samoan people as a whole have demonstrated that they now are ready, and qualified, to participate in the selection of the islands' premier leaders.
Shortly after the acquisition of American Samoa, President McKinley penned his famous executive order of February 19, 1900, which directed that “The island of Tutuila of the Samoan Group and all other islands of the group east of longitude 1717 West of Greenwich, are hereby placed under the control of the Department of the Navy for a naval station. The Secretary of the Navy shall take such steps as may be necessary to establish the authority of the United States, and to give the islands the necessary protection.” For the next fifty years naval officers, appointed by the Secretary of the Navy, served as the governors of American Samoa. Unto himself the Governor combined, in the earlier periods, final executive judicial and legislative powers. Beginning in the 1930's, judicial powers were vested in a civilian Chief Justice appointed by the Secretary of the Navy.
From the beginning, the naval Governors permitted village, county, and district councils to meet as they had for ages to manage local affairs. Starting in 1905, an assembly, or fono, of chiefs from all over American Samoa was held every year. This convention, however, was presided over by the Governor himseif, and the members constituted, in effect, mere advisors on social customs and problems. It was by no means a legislative body.
In 1960, under American Samoa's first constitution, the legislature advanced considerably from its advisory role. The Governor's veto of bills and resolutions was no longer final. The revised Constitution, which went into effect on July 1, 1967, provided that repassage of a given measure would send it to the Department of the Interior for final decision.
An impressive testimonial to the work and capability of the Samoan legislature came from Governor John M. Haydon when he first took office in 1969. He immediately introduced a joint budget revie system, and asserted further that the “Legislature of American Samoa has shown itself to be dedicated to the principles of democracy and to be above personal gain in its search for what is better for all of American Samoa." Representative Julia B. Hansen, chairman of the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee, has spoken in like vein: "We think gorernment can be a showcase in Samoa because you have an exceptionally able and thoughtful legislature."
In addition to the legislature, American Samoans have begun to exercise their political judgment in other ways. In 1970, they elected their first Delegate-atLarge, High Chief A. U. Fuimaono, who now unofficially represents American Samoan interests in Washington.
Furthermore, political parties are taking on a viable character. Although I cannot speak for my friends and colleagues of the other party, I was privileged in 1968 to assist in the organization of the Democratic Party in American Samoa. The strength of the new-born party was demonstrated when it sent delegates to the 1965 Democratic National Convention to seek official recognition.
All of these developments, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, are evidence of the growing political sophistication of American Samoans, and of their ability to utilize rationally the machinery of the democratic process.
By providing for popular choice of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, H.R. 12193 would recognize and encourage those trends. I urge swift approval of this legislation.
Mr. Burton. We will next call Mr. Haydon and Mr. Loesch-Governor Haydon.
STATEMENT OF HON. HARRISON LOESCH, ASSISTANT SECRETARY
FOR PUBLIC LAND MANAGEMENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. JOHN M. HAYDON, GOVERNOR OF AMERICAN SAMOA
Mr. Loesch. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LoEsch. I am happy to be here this morning in connection with the hearing on H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I want to present the position of the Department on those two bills, this morning relating to the election of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa.
Specifically, they would amend the statute of February 20, 1929, which provides generally for the governance of the territory by the United States, so as to provide for a popular election for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa in 1972, with the provision that those persons selected by the voters shall thereafter be appointed by the President as Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively.
As you are aware, American Samoa is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, for which the Secretary of the Interior has administrative responsibility. He exercises this authority through the chief executive officer, the Governor of American Samoa, who is presently appointed by the Secretary. The Governor is therefore a Federal official at the present time, with the duty of carrying out a primarily federally funded program for the benefit of the people of the territory. Just this past Monday, for example, Governor Haydon who, of course, is with me this morning, appeared before the Interior Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to justify to its members a funding request for fiscal year 1973 of $15 million in direct appropriations and grant funds. This sum of $15 million constitutes over two-thirds of the proposed territorial budget for the fiscal year, the remainder being made up by local revenues collected in the territory, primarily by means of income tax.
The Department of the Interior fully supports and is working toward a continual increase in the shouldering of the responsibilities of self-government by the people of American Samoa. We consider the popular election of the territorial Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be a necessary and desirable step in this regard, just as it was in the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands. We sincerely believe, however, that prior to the election of the Governor of American Samoa, there must be careful and extensive preparation for the financial and organizational changes which should necessarily result from the election. Furthermore, we believe any such major step requires the full involvement and support of the American Samoan public through at least their normal constitutional processes.
Because the two bills before you, H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493, make provisions only for the immediate election of the Governor and Lientenant Governor without provision for these necessary first steps, we onpose their enactment.
It is worthwhile at this point to recount some aspects of recent political development in American Samoa, where democratic institutions modeled after the American system have been added to a traditional Samoan economy and policy based upon the extended family, or matai" system, and which has changed but little over the years.
The first Constitution of American Samoa was adopted in 1960, and provides for review and revision by a constitutional convention every 5 years, so that the next revision process is to begin in June of this year.
The Legislature of American Samoa, known as the Fono, only last year
became a full-time legislative body, and has staff support to assist it in its deliberations. It works closely with the Governor in preparation of the annual territorial budget. The Fono consists of the House
of Representatives, which is popularly elected by secret ballot, and the Senate, which at this time is appointed in accordance with Samoan tradition and consists of the heads of the extended families.
As Congressman Mink has stated the Future Political Status Study Commission of American Samoa submitted in February of 1970 its report to the legislature. This important study recommended first that American Samoa maintain its present political status as an unorganized territory, and then proceeded to endorse two major constitutional changes in the nature of the territorial government. With respect to the Fono, it recognized the need to popularly elect the Senate as well as the House of Representatives in order to prepare for greater selfgovernment, and also recommended that the legislature become a fulltime body. The Commission went on to recommend that the U.S. Congress grant official status to an American Samoan Delegate in Washington, a post which was established in 1971.
Next, the Commission recommended the popular election of the Governor of American Samoa, but made clear the need for strong public support for such an election, as well as the need for careful preparation for this important step. The 1970 Commission report stated :
The people of American Samoa must elect their own Governor. The question is not whether the people are "ready” to elect their own Governor, but whether they desire to elect their own Governor.
The report goes on: Even if the idea of an elected governor is accepted immediately, the earliest it can possibly be put into effort [sic] is 1974 or 1976. If the territory continues to change at the present rate, it will be a different place by then. Samoans will be increasingly well educated and politically sophisticated.
Although the Department has no firm timetable at present, the election of a Governor in 4 to 6 years appears realistic. The interim period would provide an opportunity for the people of American Samoa to organize and express their views on this matter, as well as for the study and implementation of the necessary political, organizational, and financial changes which should result from the election.
Certainly, the fact of an elected Governor would require clarification of the relationship between that official and the Federal Government. This is particularly so with respect to the Department of the Interior, which now has administrative responsibility, and the U.S. Congress, which presumably will be called upon then, as now, for funding and inclusion of the territory in Federal programs and legislation. Similarly, consideration would have to be given to relationships within the territorial government itself, where a number of oflicials are Federal employees, with responsibilities of their own to the Interior Department.
With respect to financial matters, we believe procedures should be established to insure local accountability for Federal funds under the proposed new structure. Specifically and looking at the Comptroller precedent in Guam and the Virgin Islands, consideration should be given to establishing a Federal office with financial management responsibilities in American Samoa to supplant the federally appointed Governor in this area. Refinement of accounting and oversight procedures can also help in this regard, but should logically be geared to the overall relationship which is developed locally and with the Federal Government.
Some clarification is also required, we believe, of the future financial relationship between American Samoa and the United States. While the present level of financial dependence upon U.S. funding in American Samoa is not inconsistent with the existing governmental structure, we believe there should be advance fiscal planning to decrease the dependence of American Samoa upon direct Federal funding.
As I am sure you are all aware, programs of the Government of American Samoa in the past few years have gone a long way toward developing necessary physical infrastructure, and we are continuing to direct our efforts toward provision of adequate water, sewer, power and transportation systems. And I may say the Appropriations Committee has been very responsive and sympathetic in this regard the last some years. Likewise, the present administration is working toward the development of a more skilled and capable working population, through improved education at all levels, including the establishment of a community college with emphasis on vocational training, which college is attended by over 1,000 students. We believe these are solid bases, indeed, for the increased self-sufficiency and selfgovernment of the people of American Samoa.
In summary, Mr. Chairman, we are working toward increased selfgovernment in American Samoa, which will include, consistent with the desires of the people of the territory, the election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor and other officials in both the executive and legislative branches. We are concerned, however, that the important steps in this process should be well planned. We believe that this is particularly true in the case of the election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, which will involve many changes in the territory's relationship with its own people and with the Federal Government. In the meantime, we shall continue to provide every assistance within our means to promote the process of political development and advancement toward self-government.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my formal statement.
Mr. BURTON. Gentlemen of the committee, with your forebearance, if we could first hear from Governor Haydon and then ask questions. Governor Haydon.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. HAYDON, GOVERNOR OF AMERICAN
Governor HAYDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Chairman Aspinall.
Representative Mink, I thank you for the history you presented and also the help you have given us. We have had no representation in Congress and we called on you and Senator Fong and Mr. Matsunaga to give us assistance.
My statement is very brief. I appreciate the opportunity to appear here on these proposals. Assistant Secretary Loesch has indicated the progressive steps which we have taken in the last several years to move American Samoa along the road to political self-determination. I fully support the position of the Department of the Interior as presented by Secretary Loesch and I firmly and positively believe that