Pacific Dependencies

September 9, 1949

Report Outline
Steps Toward Self-Rule in Dependencies
Colonial Empire of the United States
Obligations to Non-Self-Governing Peoples
Guam, Samoa, and the Pacific Trust Territory
Major Dependencies: Hawaii and Alaska
Special Focus

Steps Toward Self-Rule in Dependencies

First Steps toward the goal of self-rule for Guam, American Samoa, and those islands of the Pacific which became United States dependencies after World War II are now under way at Washington. A civilian governor for Guam was named by President Truman, Sept. 3; administration of the island will be transferred to a civilian agency (the Department of the Interior) on July 1, 1950, after more than half a century of Navy rule. Interior and the Navy have been directed by the President to prepare for similar transfers of administration in American Samoa and the Pacific islands under United States trusteeship “within two or three years.” The target date for civilian control in these islands is July 1, 1951.

“To develop self-government” is one of the obligations imposed by the United Nations Charter upon all powers administering non-self-governing territories. Other obligations are “to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples” of dependent areas, and “to assist them in progressive development of their free political institutions.” Administration bills to provide citizenship, bills of rights, and local self-government for the peoples of Guam and American Samoa are now pending in Congress. Similar legislation for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands will be sought by the administration in 1950. A subcommittee of the House Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments is now on a tour of the Pacific area, studying policy and administration in all American dependencies.

President Truman is pressing also for legislation to meet the political aspirations of the larger Pacific dependencies—Hawaii, which has sought statehood for almost 50 years, and Alaska, which has been seeking admission to the Union for more than a decade. The House of the Republican 80th Congress passed a Hawaii statehood bill in 1947. Bills to confer statehood on both Hawaii and Alaska have been favorably reported in the present Congress and are awaiting action by the House.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Policy in the Pacific
Apr. 20, 1990  Should the U.S. Reduce Its Pacific Forces?
Apr. 07, 1989  Pacific Rim Challenges
Apr. 25, 1986  The Strategic Pacific
Jul. 05, 1985  Dawn of the Pacific Era
Jun. 06, 1975  Changing Status of Micronesia
Aug. 17, 1966  Australia: Pacific Ally
Nov. 04, 1964  Indonesia vs. Malaysia
Jul. 24, 1963  Malaysian Federation: Union of Convenience
Jul. 05, 1962  West New Guinea: Pacific Trouble Spot
Jan. 28, 1953  Pacific Defense
Sep. 09, 1949  Pacific Dependencies
May 03, 1945  Trusteeship in the Pacific
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific