Democracy in the Islands: The Micronesian Plebiscites of 1983

Democracy in the Islands: The Micronesian Plebiscites of 1983

Democracy in the Islands: The Micronesian Plebiscites of 1983

Democracy in the Islands: The Micronesian Plebiscites of 1983

Excerpt

This book is a study of the plebiscites held in the Micronesian polities of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands in 1983 on the Compact of Free Association with the United States of America. The area called "Micronesia" includes a large number of small and thinly populated islands scattered across an area of the Central Pacific bounded by Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan, and New Guinea. Many of the islands were captured from Japan by the United States in World War II, and in 1947 the United Nations placed most of them in a UN "strategic trust territory" to be administered by the United States.

During the course of the U.S. trusteeship, four distinct Micronesian polities have emerged: the Northern Marianas, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. In 1976 the voters of the Northern Marianas voted to become a Commonwealth of the United States (a status similar though not identical to that of Puerto Rico). The other three polities negotiated with the United States a Compact of Free Association, according to which each Micronesian polity would gain control over its domestic and international affairs with the notable exception that the United States would retain control over the defense and international security of each polity and would provide substantial economic aid to each for at least fifteen years after the Compact went into effect.

In 1983, plebiscites were held in Palau (February), the Federated States of Micronesia (June), and the Marshall Islands (September) in which the voters registered their approval or disapproval of the Compact and also indicated their preferences for independence or some other future status if the Compact were disapproved.

These plebiscites are interesting for several reasons. They interest students of international law because they were a major step in establishing a new and unusual form of international status. They interest students of American strategic affairs because they were a necessary step in defining the American status in a part of the world that was the scene of major fighting in World War II and that remains . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.