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given a number serially, of course, in the 84th Congress, and they remain alive until noon on January 3, 1957, when the 84th Congress officially expires and the 85th Congress is brought into being. Of course, as you people know, the bills die with the Congress, they must be reintroduced. They arec arried over from the 1st session of the 84th Congress to the 2d session of the 84th Congress but must be revived and reintroduced.

So with that background in mind, we would ask for comments on this proposed amendment.

Mr. O'BRIEN. I would like to make a small additional statement at that point. You may notice as we go through these proposed amendments that no action was taken on any of them, and the impression might prevail among some people in the Virgin Islands that our committee had so little interest in your welfare that we did nothing about any of your legislation.

The fact is—and it explains, I think, our presence in the islands now—that there was a major overriding question of whether we should undertake piecemeal or otherwise a rewriting of an organic act which had been alive only 2 years. That is the reason that all of these proposals—and some of them undoubtedly had merit-were put to one side until the committee could come down here and see for itself and hear for itself the arguments pro and con on the major question: Shall we attempt the rewriting of the 1954 organic act?

That was decided several months, I think, before Congress actually adjourned, and it was not in any way a disregard of or indifference to the proposals which were introduced affecting the welfare of the Virgin Islands.

I wanted to make that point clear, because none of these proposed amendments was acted upon by our committee or by Congress at the recent session.

I might add there was no final action. There were discussions, of course, in the committee.

Mr. ABBOTT. Do any of you have comments to make on the proposed amendment to section 3? Mr. Shaubah?

Mr. SHAUBAH. No, I do not have any comments to make on any of the sections. I have no comments until our brief is turned in, and what we will have are additions and not changes.

Mr. ABBOTT. Thank you for refreshing my memory.
Dr. Canegata?
Dr. CANEGATA. No, thank you.
Mr. ABBOTT. Senator Hodge ?

Mr. HODGE. No, Mr. Abbott. As I said in my opening remarks, I have a rather bold approach to it. I think the islands should have the right to write their own constitution and send it for approval of the Congress. As we go along, I might have a few comments I would like to make as a member of the Organic Act Commission, but I have no comments specifically on that point.

Mr. ABBOTT. Do any of you other gentlemen have any comments to make at that point ?

Senator Merwin.

Mr. MERWIN. I do not believe that such a change is necessary. I know what might motivate the desire of some people to see such a change in the bill of rights, but I personally feel that the bill of rights as it now appears in the act and as it appeared in the 1936

act is quite adequate to protect employees and persons holding office in the government.

Whether you have this section in the law or not, if you had bad faith in the executive branch of Government, you still would have no protection of the rights of employees. So it all turns upon the good faith of the top men in the executive branch, and it could not be either amended, corrected, or changed in any way by this language. I think it is entirely unnecessary.

Mr. ABBOTT. It is true, is it not, Senator, that elsewhere in the act there is a direct requirement as to the oath which will be given affirmatively both as to supporting the Constitution and a loyalty oath?

Mr. MERWIN. That is correct, sir.
Mr. ABBOTT. Mr. Young.

Mr. Young. I might comment that to my knowledge there is no political or religious requirement set up to hold office now, so there does not seem to be any necessity to legislate or change our organic act to stop anything that might be of a political or religious requirea ment.

Mr. ABBOTT. Mr. Rohlson?
Mr. Rohlson. No comment.
Mr. ABBOTT. Mr. Joseph ?
Mr. JOSEPH. No comment.


(Sec. 4 follows:)


SEC. 4. The franchise shall be vested in residents of the Virgin Islands who are citizens of the United States, twenty-one years of age or over. Additional qualifications may be prescribed by the legislature: Provided, however, That no property, language, or income qualification shall ever be imposed upon or required of any voter, nor shall any discrimination in qualification be made or based upon difference in race, color, sex, or religious belief.

Mr. ABBOTT. Section 4 of the organic act vests the franchise in resident United States citizens and, as did the 1936 act with one exception, establishes the qualifications which may be prescribed by the legislature for exercise of that franchise.

As members will recall, and individuals present here are aware, the 1954 act introduced a prohibition against the legislature attaching a language qualification to exercise of the franchise. The record reflected at the time the act was being considered that there was a concern in some quarters in the Virgin Islands that unless the required speaking of the English language were a part of the exercise of the franchise, that a non-English speaking people—and the concern was directed to the number of Puerto Ricans emigrating or removing to reside here in the islands—might take over or exclude the original inhabitants of the islands.

Do any of you have any comments to make on the operation of the section 4 franchise?

I note in Mr. Joseph's statement there were set out comments in that regard. Would you like to make an observation at this time, Mr. Joseph ?

Mr. JOSEPH. Section 4: Franchise. The present act provides a no language barrier. The word "language" should be deleted. While the United States Government maintains the right to decide the age

limit as being 21 when a person may express his opinion and further guide the government under which one lives, and of which one is a part, it further contends that a person upon reaching the age of 18 must assist, even with his life, in protecting the Government in which he has no say, for the right of guidance is only given that person at the age of 21. It may well be argued that to insist that a person dies for something of which he has no right to guide is not in the good essence of democracy, not to say tyrannical, for surely it would seem within good reason and sound judgment that a person shares faith with that of his own making. When one labors, one is compensated in whatever field. The United States Government fails to give consideration to that basic law by not compensating the 18-year-old conscript for his labor by extending to him the right of guidance. Also, and within reason, it may be argued that at that early age of 18 the possession of physical power to defend one's country is not presumptive evidence of sufficient mental power to guide the country. And, it might have been determined by authorities on the subject that, in the majority of cases, while men are constantly learning, that á person at the age of 18 is more in the process of learning rather than being in a position of determining, and that 3 years' difference for qualifying one's teachings may be considered sufficient time to elect a course. This is strong argument, and apparently agrees with the attitude of the United States in maintaining the voting age at 21, while conscripting at the age of 18.

Mr. ABBOTT. Before we proceed with that point. As lawyers are aware, under the Federal Constitution the powers not specifically drawn into the Central Government are reserved to the States. Among those powers is that of voting age, by silence.

You will recall for the first time, in 1956 I believe, 1 of our States permitted—2 of our States, I am advised by those members most familiar with who can vote-have set the voting age at 18. So I believe there is no prohibition in the Federal Constitution, but it is one of those powers reserved to the States and has indeed been exercised by two of them.

Mr. JOSEPH. I have something similar to that incorporated here. The people's benefit is more well served by the opinion and decision of the more matured mind of 21 rather than at 18. I

go 100 percent, with the United States holding on this side of the argument. However, the United States should not be conflicting in its own trend of thought. The United States should take this attitude also in regard to language. In like manner, and more so, shouldn't it be true that a person should not be given the right to guide the government if he does not understand it! It cannot be expected that a person who has no knowledge of the language of a government under which he lives could understand it. If a person is being taught a course other than language in a language entirely foreign to him, one might question the stability of his teacher. That person would first have to be taught the language, then any other course may be taught him, provided, of course, he learned the language even in its mere simple form. If a person is interested in his country, his government, he would be interested in its language. A person who has no pride to afford himself the opportunity or privilege to learn the language of his country so he could understand the affairs of his country for himself, that person would not be in position to dictate to

all the way,

the government and is no asset to his government, and, therefore, in like manner, should not be given the right to gụide it.

The official language of the Virgin Islands is English. The natural language of the Virgin Islands is English. Certainly a naturalized Chinese or Japanese who does not know the natural or official language of the United States Government would not be in a position to understand it. Any argument supporting the United States stand on the question of the age difference of conscription and voting would be strong support in favor of making language a qualification for voting. Further, Congress should continue to pursue the course in preserving State rights, and the States singularly should use these rights. Congress should not dictate principles or attitudes which when taken otherwise would not conflict with the Constitution of the United States. I agree that the Virgin Islands is not a State, it is an unincorporated territory, but I wonder how far Congress should go in proving that to us. While I would not approve that Congress insert in the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands that a person in order to vote must know the natural and/or official language of his government, I, also, would not approve Congress stipulating in the act that a person may vote whether or not he knows the natural and/or official language. That right of determination should be given the Virgin Islands

government. Therefore, it is my contention that the word "language” in section 4 under "Franchise" be deleted.

Mr. ASPINAL. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Mr. Aspinall.

Mr. ASPINALL. I would like to ask Mr. Joseph: It is not your position, is it, Mr. Joseph, that the person's power to think is determined by his use of any particular language?

Mr. JOSEPH. That is quite so, but at the same time one thinks only upon

that what he knows. Mr. ASPINALL. But if a person should happen to be able to express himself in French or Spanish or in Ute Indian and not be able to express himself or even to read in the language which is usually used, should not he be allowed to exercise the franchise of his government

Mr. JOSEPH. That is quite so, providing he has knowledge of his government.

Mr. ASPINALL. But he does not have to learn about his government in the United States of America by reading it in English. There are plenty of publications on the government in many languages.

Mr. JOSEPH. That is quite so. But then, at the same time, if I do not take the side that he should know the English language, then permit me to take the side that Congress leaves that to the electorate of the Virgin Islands to decide.

Mr. ASPINALL. But that is not done in any other State. We do not have the bar in any of the States.

Mr. JOSEPH. It is most likely the electorate of the Virgin Islands might not bar it.

Mr. ASPINALL. I understand the reason for your thinking down here, because it prevailed for so long. But to me one of the necessary steps you must make down here is that you do not place a restriction upon minority groups. That is all I have to say.

Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Joseph said he represented the Civic Improvement League. I wonder if he has any members in that league who are in the over one-third of the population in St. Croix.

Mr. ASPINALL. I object to any members of the panel using the committee's prerogative of asking a question or insinuating to ask a question. Mr. O'BRIEN. Objection sustained.

Mr. Young. I would like to make, then, the comment that there are over one-third of the population in St. Croix Puerto Ricans. Of that one-third I do not know exactly the proportion who cannot speak or read English, but it is very substantial, and I feel anything to deprive them of their franchise and a vote is against the improvement of that portion, and it is a substantial portion of our population.

Mr. ÁBBOTT. If I may make an observation. Since the Original Thirteen Colonies assembled and drafted their own Constitution expressing a desire to form a United States, 35 other Territories or areas have come into the Union, making the total of 48 we have today. Interestingly enough, the last 2 States which came in, New Mexico and Arizona, were for a time faced with this very problem.

Enabling legislation or acts of admission, or treaties of annexation in 2 cases, for the 35 States were all required by Congress to first draft an act on a constitution "republican" as to form of government, “democratic” in principles recited. When the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Arizona sought statehood there were a great number of Spanish-American residents in those areas. They were, after all, Spanish-grant areas. They had a great number of Spanish ancestry citizens. A number of non-Spanish ancestry citizens in those two Territories felt that all of the people within the Territory or the new State should be required to speak English before they would exercise the franchise. I believe that as the constitution was drafted by the respective Territories that question was considered, and the conclusion reached that a constitution could not be democratic as to principles embodied and still provide a language prohibition. If my memory is faulty on that, it is because we have spent a great deal of time on numerous areas.

I hasten to add that the Territory of Hawaii and the Territory of Alaska--in the latter case, Aleuts, Eskimos, and some people, I believe, of Russian descent, and some people of Scandinavian descent, may not speak English. In the case of the Territory of Hawaii numerous persons of Filipino, Chinese, Japanese ancestry, even native Hawaiians. Congressman Aspinall mentioned the American Indians may not speak English. The constitutions adopted by those areas—Alaska within the past 5 months, Hawaii within the past 5 years-are democratic in that point, wherein they do prohibit in the constitution any language qualification for exercising the franchise.

Are there any other comments on section 4?

Mr. ROHLSON. As I recall, section 4 was probably one of the most controversial items taken up during the hearings concerning the act that was passed in 1954. When the act came out, many people were disappointed that there was no language barrier. However, we have seen this act in operation, and it has done more good than harm. No harm has befallen any United States citizen by having that included in the act.

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