Naval Governor Willis Bradley signs the Bill of Rights, 1933. Photo courtesy of the Department of Chamorro Affairs from the Nieves Flores Memorial Library.

Governor Willis Bradley Issues Proclamation

US Naval Governor Willis Bradley created a Bill of Rights for Guam on 4 December 1930 modeled after the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution. The bill also included the right of writ of habeas corpus and the privilege of voting in local elections regardless of race or sex. The writ of habeas corpus is an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action.

To celebrate, CHamorus created a parade that ended in a public demonstration in the Plaza de España in the capital of Hagåtña to thank Bradley. James Underwood, postmaster of Guam and the president of the Chamber of Commerce, led the speeches of appreciation.

This Bill of Rights never went into effect, however, because the Secretary of the Navy informed the governor it did not meet with the approval of the US Navy Department. But when the law codes were revised in 1933 many of the provisions of the Bill of Rights were incorporated into them. The codes, though, could be wiped out by whomever was governor of Guam at the time.

Bill of Rights


Know ye, that by virtue of the power and authority vested in me as Governor of Guam, and in recognition of the loyalty and unswerving allegiance of the people of Guam to the Government of the United States of America and to its ideals of freedom and democracy, I declare that the following articles shall have full force and effect of law in the Island of Guam, from and including the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-one, and that all laws or parts of laws now in effect and inconsistent with the provisions hereinafter set forth are revoked insofar as is necessary to make this proclamation effective.


The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is hereby established and it shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.


No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be placed in effect.


The Governor of Guam shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


No soldier shall, in times of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in times of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.


No person shall be subject for the same offense, to be twice put in jeopardy of his life or limb; nor shall he be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial; to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall not exist in Guam.


The right of citizens of Guam to vote in the elections of local officials or in the determinations of local affairs, whenever such elections or determinations are duly ordered, shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or sex.


Arrest or imprisonment for indebtedness is prohibited except by the due process of law and under the orders of a court having jurisdiction of the offense charged.


Arrest or imprisonment for civil indebtedness is forbidden under all circumstances.

In witness whereof, I have hereto set my hand and caused the seal of Guam to be affixed.

Done at Agana, Guam, this twenty-fourth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred thirty and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred fifty-fifth.


Those present at the ceremony of the signing of the proclamation:

The Governor of Guam, W.W. Bradley, Jr.

The Bishop of Guam, Reverend Joaquin de Olaiz

Judge Vicente P. Camacho

Judge Jose M. Camacho

Mr. P.R. Palting

Mr. Leon Flores

Mr. A.W. Jackson

Mr. T.A. Calvo

Mr. P. Martinez (Guam Chamber of Commerce)

Mr. W.W. Rowley (Masonic Lodge)

Mr. F. Taitano (Guam Congress)

Mr. C.G. Parker (Elks Lodge)

Guam Recorder, January 1931.