Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

It is the expressed intention of Congress in this act: a. The preference for native Samoans or persons of Samoan ancestry should not be limited to Governor and Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa but to every other position directly responsible or created for Samoan affairs in the Department of the Interior and related Agencies of the United States Government. b. Not withstanding existing laws of the United States Government, this Act will admit in the United States House of Representatives a Non-Voting Delegate from Eastern Samoa, called Delegate of Samoa"—who will enjoy every other right and privilege accorded to a United States Congressman, to serve not only as a representative of all Samoans in Congress but also a chief advocate of Samoan interest and affairs in Congress beginning in January 1973. Such Delegate should be elected biannually in the manner prescribed by the Legislature of American Samoa in harmony with this Act and not in conflict with the instrument of Session and the Samoan Customs and Culture. The Legislature shall also prescribe proper recall and special election procedure to meet emergency and special condition.

Finally, its time for Congress to bring Eastern Samoa to her proper place and to enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to her sister territories.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and forgive me if I had unknowingly transgress upon the ground of proper etiquette. May the wisdom of God be with you in your deliberation.

Soifua (Long Live) Aloah.
Mr. BURTON. Please proceed with your statement.

Mr. ALAILIMA. Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the subcommittee, thank you very much for the opportunity you are giving me to testify before you today. Before I address myself directly to H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493 allow me the privilege to establish the ground on which I am presenting my statement and views today.

Due to the absence of a formal reply from you, Mr. Chairman, to my letter of March 6, 1972, requesting an appearance—under the heading Prince Galumalemana Vaiinupo J. Alailima, my chief's title and rank; Special Representative of Samoan Villages of Tutuila, American Samoa and Savai'i, Western Samoa, my special title with respect to the Commission I presently hold—as a matter of record I submit that the proper courtesy and honor to the special representative of Samoan villages has not been shown and the views of the villages, chiefs and people I represent have been suppressed.

In my deep interest for a thorough discussion of the forementioned bills upon their merits and in the interest of harmonizing our democratic principles and process with proper courtesy and proper protocol in reference to my fellow-chiefs, who are members of the Legislature of American Samoa, who are also appearing today, I therefore request to record my appearance before this honorable subcommittee as an American citizen, native son of Samoa, who was among the first graduating class of the High School of American Samoa, brought by the U.S. Navy to the mainland to train for leadership in American Samoa, whenever the Interior Department took over, and who is now a civil engineer for Catania Engineering Co. in Chester, Pa., a Republican Committeeman in Philadelphia and presently a candidate for Republican Party State Committee, Pennsylvania Senatorial District No. 7. With your permission, Mr. Chairman and the subcommittee, may

I introduce into the record some of my mayoralty campaign materials to further enlighten the committee about my background, my outlook of life as well as my contributions to our democracy here in the States and in Samoa, which will have some bearing on my statement and position.

Mr. BURTON. Thank you very much.

[blocks in formation]

Mr. ALAILIMA. Excuse me. This is the thing that I refer to.
Mr. Burton. You are not going to
Mr. ALAILIMA. All right. This is why we withheld it.

With respect to H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493 I, as a native son of Samoa and a product of Samoan and American democracy, support the spirit of both bills wholeheartedly and I salute the Chairman and other members of the subcommitttee and Congressman Matsunaga for their effort in introducing such legislation.

However, as a political scientist and an experienced student of practical politics both in Samoa and in the States, I must take issue with respect to the mechanics and the timing through which the noble spirit of these two bills will be transformed into reality.

1. These bills are based upon the joint resolution of February 20, 1929 confirming a questionable instrument of cession of which the legality has not been tested. The authenticity of its existence, in my opinion, is doubtful. The following letter from the Attorney General of the United States to the Secretary of the Treasury in 1902 fails to mention this important instrument as a basis of its legal opinion with respect to the legal status of Tutuila and Manu'a. The letter reads as follows: "Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., February 17, 1902."

Mr. BURTON. Excuse me. We have that matter incorporated into the record, so you needn't read that. We are confronted with a problem in 12 minutes. The House is in session and the rollcall has started, so we have 12 minutes to complete the hearing. We have one more witness and then the questions.

Please proceed.

Mr. ALAILIMA. Notice there is no reference explicit or implicit of the existence of the instrument of cession of 1900 mentioned on the joint resolution of February 20, 1929 and these two bills. I hope the Chairman of this subcommittee will take upon himself the task of finding the original instrument of cession and preserving it with other treaties and legal documents of the U.S. Government with respect to Samoa. In my opinion, it is worth the dignity and the creditability of this subcommittee, the Department of the Interior and the Government of the United States and certainly to the interest and future of Samoa to dispel any doubt whether this instrument of cession is a hoax before any of these bills is passed.

2. On the other hand, under the assumption that such instrument is authentic and existed, then based upon the contents of such instrument, 6.). The Government of the United States of America shall respect and protect the individual rights of all people dwelling in Tutuila to their lands and other property in said district ...5. We, whose names are subscribed below, do hereby declare with truth for ourselves, our heirs and representatives, by Samoan custom, that we will obey and owe allegiance to the Government of the United States of America.”', the language and qualification of electors as expressed in these two bills violate not only the spirit, but the qualification and language of the instrument of cession as well as the joint resolution by depriving the rights of other inhabitants of eastern Samoa who are not qualified electors under the present Constitution of American Samoa to vote for

their own Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In other words, the principle of self-determination will not be enjoyed by a substantial number of people in eastern Samoa.

3. Limiting the nominating election to every 4 years conflicts with the power of the President to remove and fill vacancies at will.

4. The two bills lack brakes or safeguard of the people's welfare by failing to provide a sound removal and nominating procedure between the 4-year election period in case of misconduct or other unforseen reasons.

5. The time elements as prescribed in these bills hinders the spirit and the effectiveness not only of these two bills but also the instrument of cession which is the vital part of the joint resolution of February 20, 1929. In my opinion, if eastern Samoa is going to elect her Governor and Lieutenant Governor now while Congress is not yet ready to pass proper legislation for the government of eastern Samoa, the Department of the Interior has little else to do besides paying the bills. If such is the case, eastern Samoa might as well be granted independence. Yet the island economy is not strong enough to sustain her life, and village governments are not properly organized and updated to meet their responsibilities due to lack of financial support and proper guidance from both the Government of the United States and from the central government of American Samoa. Until these things have been accomplished, in my opinion, eastern Samoa is not ready to elect her own Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Mindful of the serious need and wisdom of utilizing well qualified Samoans not only as Governor and Lieutenant Governor but all other specific Samoan offices in Samoa and in the Department of the Interior and related agencies of our Government, at the same time adhering to the interest and spirit of not only the instrument of cession, the joint resolution and the responsibilities of Congress, the Department of the Interior and other related agencies, I therefore respectfully submit the following amendments amending the two bills to read.

Finally, it's time for Congress to bring eastern Samoa to her proper place and to enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to her sister territories.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and forgive me if I unknowingly transgress upon the ground of proper etiquette. May the wisdom of God be with you in your deliberation.

Soifua (long live) Aloha.

Mr. Burton. I want to thank you for taking the time and effort that is reflected in your presentation.

Our final witness will be Mr. William Wohlfeld, who formerly was assistant to Governor Haydon.

I would like to at this time without objection insert the statement of Mr. Wohlfeld in full in the record at this point, and it is so ordered.

I would like to further on behalf of the committee's interest, Mr. Wohlfeld, thank you for your patience. In the opinion of the Chair it was more important, if you will, to hear from those who traveled a considerable distance, and for that distance, and for that reason we have waited until this point on the agenda to hear from you.

1 See amendments on p. 44.

All the members of the subcommittee here present have read your statement and if there are any highlights you can give us, that would be most useful.

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM WOHLFELD Mr. WOHLFELD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to appear today and certainly I understand the reason for the order of the witnesses. I think the people of American Samoa ought to be congratulated and to be commended as you have done as a committee for coming all this distance to express their interest and concern in their affairs.

I am appearing here as a private individual, of course, and highly in favor, strongly in favor, of the proposed legislation. I will summarize

my

statement as you suggest. I would like to establish my credentials to appear as a witness.

I was special assistant to the incumbent Governor of American Samoa as well as an official in the Office of Territories in the Department of the Interior. In addition, while in American Samoa, was Acting Lieutenant Governor because that position was left vacant for some 9 months.

In addition I was Acting Director of the Department of Education for a short period of time.

The reason I mentioned these facts is that I do not pretend to speak as a Samoan. I am not a Samoan, never will nor never have been a Samoan. I think this is vital to consider in view of the pending legislation.

What I am offering, though, is some experience covering over 25 vears in the Federal Government, State government, and various other localities, including onsite, living and working with Samoans. It is from this perspective, then, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, that I am offering my testimony today.

My position on the proposed legislation is based on the belief that a basic tenet of our democratic form of government is self-determination. That is, the people should elect, and thereby hold accountable, their Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Yet, despite the obviousness of this conclusion, which you have heard today from many, many Samoan people, why is it that after 72 years of American stewardship in American Samoa we still hear that the proposed bills are premature, that the American Samoans are not ready yet.

I submit there are many excusses, some of which you have heard today, and some of which are offered by people motivated hy selfinterest, of course, incumbents of positions who have a self-interest in continuing those positions. But sweeping that aside, let's look at the statement that the Samoans are not yet ready for self-determination, because implicit in this statement is the assumption that somehow a Governor or Lieutenant Governor or any other official is better for governing American Samoa than a Samoan would be.

I think this is the crucial issue today.

Mr. BURTON. May I say this, Mr. Wohlfeld, vou have been placed in a most difficult position, one now rivaled by the uncomfortable one we find ourselves in. I personally am most impressed and would adopt as my own basic view the essential thrust of your statement.

Your addition to these proceedings has been most helpful and we are all the more grateful because you have been limited in your opportunity to orally present that which you obviously spent a good deal of time preparing by way of your testimony.

I am confronted by the fact that we have now had the second bells ringing and we only have very little time to get to the floor and there are a few procedural matters I must deal with before we conclude the hearing.

(The statement follows:)

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM WOHLFELD I am here today to speak in favor of H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493 which would provide for an elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor in American Samoa.

Although my testimony is given as a private individual, my statement is based on firsthand knowledge of American Samoa and the U.S. territories gained as a former official in the Office of Territories in the Department of the Interior and as the Special Assistant to the incumbent Governor of American Samoa. While in the latter post, I also served for extensive periods of time as Acting Governor and Lieutenant Governor since this position was left unfilled for some nine months. In addition, I had direct operating responsibility as Acting Director of the Department of Education.

Through active involvement in territorial policy formulation and implementation in Washington and American Samoa, I was able to observe key decisionmakers and their actions that would ultimately affect the lives and well being of some 30.000 Americans, the people of American Samoa. It is from this perspective, enriched through wide-ranging experience in the Executive Office of the President and other federal and state agencies, that I urge favorable consideration of H.R. 11523 and H.R. 12493.

My position on the proposed legislation is based on the belief that a basic tenet of our democratic form of government is self-determination. That is, the people should select, and thereby hold accountable, their Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Yet, despite the obviousness of this conclusion, why is it that after 72 years of United States stewardship American Samoans have not yet gained this fundamental American right? There are many excuses by opponents who may be motivated through self-interest in retaining the status quo, but perhaps the most specious is the claim that the Samoans are not ready for this responsibility. Implicit in this, of course, is that a political appointee from Washington is somehow better qualified to govern in Samoa than a Samoan would be.

It is unfortunate that this committee could not visit Samoa as planned because its members would have been able to assess the problem firsthand and determine whether there is, indeed, any substance to the charge that a “palagi" appointee (whose major qualification is that he possess the proper political affiliation) is better able than a Samoan to administer these islands. Nevertheless, it is illuminating to examine the facts.

Review of the record shows that, contrary to their claims and promises, “palagi" appointees have not performed very well. I will cite just a few specifics, but the record speaks for itself: despite an average rainfall of over 200 inches a year, there is still water rationing and when there is water much of it is unsafe or unpotable; more than 60 percent of the people are still without adequate sewage disposal : Samoan children are still lacking a quality education; and Samoans still face economic discrimination from their government.

In looking at the record, one has only to refer to newspapers in the Samoas, Hawaii, and as distant as New York and Washington, D.C. to be reminded of the notoriety, repressiveness and ineffectiveness of the present administration. Still further evidence of this is to be found in the unprecedented public reprimand given the incumbent Governor by the Assistant Secretary for Public Land Management.

In assessing the opposition to an elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor we must not lose sight of the fact that the central objectives of the United States in American Samoa (as given in the latest Annual Report of the Governor) are threefold :

(a) To provide for the orderly and progressive advancement of American Samoa toward self government;

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »