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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.

Mr. Chairman?

Chairman YOUNG. I'd just like to—because I have another Transportation Committee to go to I 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 understanding—and 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.


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. 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.

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.



December 11, 1996 The Honorable WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, 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.

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 incorpora 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.

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 time-including me-was 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 Fedeml government paid a high price for doing it the hard way, and it almost didn't get done at all.

On January 31, 1995—in the first month of the 104th Congress—the 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.

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. Sincerely yours,




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. Sincerely,


President 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.

Mr. Garamendi.


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.

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 adminis

tration'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.

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 attention—not 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

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