A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.

Barbara Tuchman, 1984

Barbara Tuchman’s point, made in her book The March of Folly, certainly applies to the United State’s decision to acquire only Guam out of the Marianas Archipelago as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Partitioning the Mariana Islands at the peace table in Versailles was undoubtedly one of America’s greatest foreign policy “Follies.” Despite the best advice from naval officers who had been in the region since Commodore Matthew C. Perry opened Japan in 1853, President William McKinley chose to give a portion of America’s spoils of war to a European nation that did not even participate in the war. The decision allowed Japan to capture the Northern Mariana Islands from Germany in 1914, and ultimately to choose war against the US in 1941. Today, the partition costs American taxpayers, in both the Marianas and the mainland, millions of dollars annually to maintain two separate territorial governments for essentially one people—not to mention the price of aggravations created over inter-island commerce and taxation. Significant efforts have been made to reunify the Marianas since that artificial line was drawn through the Rota Channel 115 years ago. Why have they failed? Is reunification still a viable political status option?

Guam’s colonial history under Spain

For 3,000 years before the European “Age of Exploration,” the indigenous Chamorro existed in the Mariana Archipelago as one people, with one language and one cultural heritage—the primary ingredients for nationhood. When Spanish explorer Miguel Legazpi visited Guam in 1565, he discovered no valuable exportable natural resources on Guam, but he did find a safe anchorage, food and water on the route to Cathay, China. Recognizing the strategic value of the Marianas, Legazpi claimed not only Guam, but the entire archipelago for Spain.

The Spanish-Catholic reducción of the Marianas led to a drastic reduction in the Chamorro population and the temporary abandonment of the islands north of Rota. As a result of the Mexican War of Independence (1810 – 1821) and the end of the Manila Galleon trade, various Marianas governors suggested that the colony be abandoned. However, the Spanish Court decided to maintain a colony, simply to ensure that no other country could take it.

With the rise of the whaling industry in the Pacific, both Guam and Saipan became ports of call for ships needing refitting and resupply. By the mid-1850s, international shipping companies established themselves in Hagåtña, providing regular and affordable transportation between Guam and the Northern Marianas. Guam Chamorros began moving to Saipan and Tinian. The governor of the Marianas and his administrators established representative government in Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. They enacted one set of regulations and fees for all the commercial ports in the Marianas, and one tax code for all. Businessmen on both sides of the channel enjoyed inexpensive access to all the natural resources of the Marianas. Business grew and the standard of living improved.

The partitioning of the Mariana Islands

In 1898, after declaring war on Spain to free Cuba from “barbaric rule,” the American Navy overwhelmed the Spanish Navy in the Caribbean and quickly defeated Spanish troops in Cuba and Puerto Rico in what Secretary of State John Hay called a “Splendid Little War.”

In the months that followed, the US Army captured Manila from Spanish forces. After the war, President McKinley and the Republican controlled Congress decided to acquire the Philippine Islands. Because ships of the day could not carry enough coal to steam from Hawaii to the Philippines, the Navy also captured—and Congress agreed to acquire—Guam with its natural deep water port of Apra Harbor as a coaling station.

Why only Guam? The US had just acquired all the Hawaiian Islands by joint resolution, and now they were proposing to take all the Philippine archipelago. According to the historical record, they took only Guam from among the Marianas because they did not want to appear greedy.

German representatives in Paris had made it clear to American representatives that if the US was not going to take the islands of Spanish Micronesia as a result of the war, then Germany would like to buy them from Spain. Spanish representatives told the American representatives that they were in fact negotiating a deal with the Spanish, depending on what the Americans demanded. When the Senate Foreign Relations committee met to hear the Treaty, Commander RB Bradford represented the US Navy. He recommended taking not only the Marianas, but all the Carolines as well. He used the annexation of Hawai`i as an example:

Suppose we had but one, and the others were possessed of excellent harbors…[S]uppose also the others were in the hands of a commercial rival, with a different form of government and now over [ly] friendly. Under these circumstances we should lose all the advantages of isolation.

In other words, it was in the best interest of America to have a unified Marianas.

Yet, knowing that Germany was interested in acquiring more tropical islands for their copra industry, and recognizing the German Kaiser’s need for prestige, McKinley and his senior advisors allowed Germany to complete its deal with Spain over the Caroline Islands. When Germany discovered the US was willing to give up the Northern Marianas as well, they paid Spain some US$4.2 million dollars for the lot.

On 6 February 1899, the Senate voted in favor of ratification of the Treaty of Peace. Spain subsequently ceded Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US. Germany proceeded with its acquisition of the Caroline and Mariana Islands.

What to do with the new American territory of Guam?

Up to this point in American history, all new territories added to the US had fallen under the principles established by the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which stated that “colonies were but the extensions of the nation, entitled, not as a privilege but by right, to equality.” However, adding a group of distant islands to the US that were inhabited by non-Caucasian, non-English speaking, Catholics was another story. In a series of court cases heard in the US Supreme Court between 1901 and 1904, dubbed the Insular Cases, the new territories acquired from the Spanish-American War were deemed “unincorporated territories” as opposed to “incorporated territories.” The Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution does not fully apply, and unincorporated territories were not destined for statehood. It also confirmed that the US Congress had plenipotentiary powers over these territories according to Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the US Constitution, commonly referred to as the Territorial Clause.

Without the opportunity for statehood, there was no guarantee of citizenship. The Treaty of Paris only provided that the “political and civil rights of the native inhabitants will be determined by Congress.” The people of these territories could be ruled as subjects of the US indefinitely, even by the US Navy.

The Mariana Islands and the Chamorro people were politically partitioned between the US Territory of Guam and the German Northern Mariana District. President McKinley designated a US naval officer to become Commander, Naval Station Guam, and Naval Governor of Guam. Captain Richard P. Leary arrived at Guam with two companies of US marines to establish and maintain order on Naval Station, Guam, which suddenly comprised not just a coaling station at Apra Harbor, but the entire island. Guam Chamorros began studying the English language and navy law, while the Northern Marianas Chamorros and Carolinians began studying the German language and German law.

Chamorros under German, Japanese and US rule

The lack-luster German administration of the Northern Marianas was cut short by World War I. When England declared war on Germany in 1914 and requested its ally Japan to use its navy against German shipping and military outposts in the Pacific, Japan saw an opportunity to vastly expand its Pacific empire at little cost. The Japanese Imperial Navy quickly captured not only the German naval base at Tsingtao, China (now Kiautschou Bay), but also the German Mariana and Caroline islands. All German citizens were gathered and deported to prisoner of war camps in Japan. The Northern Marianas Chamorros and Carolinians quickly found themselves studying the Japanese language and law.

Suddenly, just as Commander Bradford had feared in 1898, a commercial rival had gained control of Micronesia in 1914, surrounding Guam and crossing America’s line of communications to the Philippines territory. All was not necessarily lost, however. Japan announced that its intentions were perfectly honorable and in keeping with its alliance with Great Britain. Japanese Prime Minister Count Shigenobu Okuma addressed a telegram to The Independent stating, as premier, that Japan had “no desire to secure more territory, no thought of depriving China or any other peoples of anything which they now possess.”

In January 1918 the General Board of the US Navy recommended acquisitions in the Marshalls, Carolines, and Marianas:

The Marianas were of outstanding importance, because of their proximity to Japan and to the American island [Guam]. Their position in the immediate vicinity of Guam is capable of development into submarine bases within supporting distance of Japan, and, in the event of war, this would make their continued possession by that country a perpetual menace to Guam, and to any fleet operations undertaken for the relief of the Philippines.

At the end of the World War I, President Woodrow Wilson personally drafted the Versailles Peace Treaty, especially the section creating the League of Nations. However, because of partisan party politics, the Republican controlled US Senate, led by Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Henry Cabot Lodge, rejected the peace treaty. Therefore, the United States did not become a member of the League of Nations. When Great Britain, France, Russia, and Italy subsequently kept their secret pledges to Japan in February 1919, the League awarded a Class C Mandate over German Micronesia to Japan—over President Wilson’s objections. As non-members, America had no voice in the League of Nations.

The US Navy had been quite vociferous about the need to prevent Japan from taking the Marianas. But some important questions should be considered: Could the combined US Fleet have forced the issue? When the Senate failed to ratify the treaty, it had no obligation to the ill-fated organization. Could the same “gunboat diplomacy” wielded by Perry and Roosevelt have produced a split-mandate over Micronesia, with the US taking the Marianas and Japan the rest of German Micronesia? Did America’s failure to ratify the treaty and become a member of the League of Nations doom Japan and the US to a war for control of the Pacific? If the Marianas and Philippines had been fortified, might Japan have decided to choose war with Russia, their age-old enemy in Asia, rather than the US?

As Bradford had feared in 1898 and the General Board in 1918, Japan eventually became less friendly. Japan walked out of the League of Nations in 1933 after a censure vote for their invasion of the Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931, and allowed the last of its treaties with the US to expire in 1936. The Japanese Navy established a base in the natural harbor at Tanapag, Saipan, with supporting airbases on the natural limestone plateaus at As Lito, Saipan, and Hagoi, Tinian. Then, on 8 December 1941, Japanese aircraft from Saipan strafed and bombed Guam in preparation for a December 10 invasion. Thus, Japan reunified the Marianas by force of arms, and the Guam Chamorros soon found themselves studying Japanese language, law and customs.

Japanese naval planners anticipated the problems of establishing a government on Guam, including managing the island’s infrastructure—in particular the power plant, the water system and the communications system—and beginning the assimilation of the Guam Chamorros into the Japanese way of life, just as they had done with Northern Marianas Chamorros. Guam’s public works systems had been constructed by US Navy contractors and were being operated by US Navy military personnel and Chamorro civilian personnel. The obvious solution was to replace the US navy operators with Japanese operators and bring loyal Chamorro-Japanese from the NMI to translate for the Guam Chamorro civilians until they could learn Japanese.

The Chamorros on Saipan, Tinian and Rota who were chosen for these jobs had worked their way up the Japanese civil service ladder to become technicians and police officers since 1914. They had been born and raised during the Japanese administration and wore their uniforms proudly. Because of the lack of private economic development on Guam, many Guamanians had moved to the Northern Marianas after 1922 to take advantage of the bustling Japanese economy there. The Japanese tried to convince the Chamorros that they were better off with the Japanese and predicted that the Americans would never fight for Asia.

In 1936, the US Congress adopted the Philippine Independence Bill, granting independence to the Territory of the Philippines 10 years hence. Following this legislation, the US made little or no effort to develop Guam. Meanwhile the Chamorros in the north were enjoying a much higher standard of living than their counterparts on Guam. Japanese administrators in the Northern Marianas again tried to convince the Chamorros that the Americans would eventually abandon the Marianas. By all outward appearances, the Japanese could demonstrate that they had done a better job of managing the Northern Mariana Islands than the US Navy had done managing Guam. It is no wonder then that when the Chamorro Police from the NMI arrived on Guam, they encouraged their Guam counterparts that it was best to learn how to deal with the Japanese, rather than resist assimilation.

The vast majority of NMI Chamorros who were sent to Guam to work for the Japanese administration were not police officers. Chamorro police were, in fact, only a small handful of the total. The larger number were civil service employees or employees of the Nippon Kokan K. K. (NKK), the company contracted to manage public utilities and economic development. Many of these northern Marianas Chamorros had relatives on Guam. Many were very sympathetic with the Guam Chamorros, providing them with secret information and food.

Yet, it is true that some of the NMI translators, particularly zealous police officers, informed on loyal Chamorro-Americans who were hiding flags or radios. Some Guam Chamorros were executed. Many were beaten. Even at the time of the reunification plebiscite in 1969, twenty-four years after war’s end, many bitter feelings remained. It was undoubtedly a factor in the final vote. (On a similar note, today’s Northern Marianas Chamorro tell stories about how some Guam Chamorros betrayed their roots and “sold their souls” to the Spanish conquest for blood money and prestige, particularly during the last stand at Aguiguan in 1695.)

Operation Forager, the Campaign for the Mariana Islands in June and August 1944, equally destroyed Saipan, Tinian, Rota and Guam. Out of the ashes, the US Navy reestablished its naval base in Apra Harbor and established advance naval and air bases on Saipan and Tinian. Guam returned to its prewar status as a US Territory, and the Guam Chamorros began campaigning for self-government and US citizenship. The Chamorros on Saipan began learning the English language, the principles of American democracy, and the workings of modern self-government. The American military established a rudimentary local government in Saipan, via elections.

After the battle ended, the people of the Northern Marianas were amazed at the massive military buildup on Tinian and Saipan. They thought the Japanese had been economically powerful, but the Seabee construction followed by the US Army-Air Force buildup was awe-inspiring. And, much to their relief, the Americans were not the animals portrayed by the Japanese, but some were rather hospitable and generous, especially after the Japanese defeat in September 1945.

Postwar years, political status and citizenship

No sooner was the war over than the debate began over what would happen to the island captured from Japan. The US military had no doubt about their position: “Those islands belonged to the Japanese before the war and as we captured them they belong to us.” However, the late president Franklin D. Roosevelt had made a pledge to decolonization and self-determination in the Atlantic Charter, which both he and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had signed in August 1941, before America even entered the war.

After Roosevelt died on 12 April 1945, President Harry Truman stood by the late president’s pledge and, despite the Department of Defense’s opposition, on 18 July 1947, he placed the former Japanese Mandated Islands (Micronesia) into the United Nations trusteeship system, to be administered by the US. In signing the trusteeship agreement, the US recognized that the people of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) had an inherent right to sovereignty, which could only be changed by the free choice of the people of the islands, not through unilateral action by an outside power. The people of Micronesia, including the people of the Northern Mariana Islands, were guaranteed the right to decide on their own what form of government they wanted. They would be able to decide if they wanted to be independent or if they wanted to be associated with another independent country, such as the United States.

At the time, Chamorros from Guam and the Northern Marianas had some liberty to move between the islands, to choose where they wanted to live. Many moved to Guam, Hawaii, Fiji or elsewhere for education or on-the-job training. They became fluent in English and liked the things Americans enjoyed. They learned about the American form of government and the economy it helped produce. They saw the opportunity to go to school, live, and work in the US. As a result, more people in the Northern Marianas began to think about the possibility of reunifying the Marianas.

They watched closely as the Guam Congress reopened and petitioned the US Congress for an Organic Act. This would give Guam Chamorros limited US citizenship and self-government. In 1949 the civil affairs administrator for Saipan took the members of the Saipan High Council to Guam to study the activities of the Guam Congress. Upon their return they established a new Saipan Congress, in which the old unicameral High Council became the upper house of a bicameral legislature. Herein, the people of the Northern Marianas began to discuss the political status developments on Guam. Their interest in US citizenship and self-government were heightened when, on 1 August 1950, President Truman signed the Organic Act of Guam into law.

By the Organic Act, all federal income taxes paid by residents of Guam were returned to the Government of Guam for operations. This, along with other federal programs, brought about significant progress in the economic and social development of Guam. Residents of Guam could move to the mainland US to seek education or employment. Most importantly, the Organic Act gave the people of Guam US citizenship and limited self-government. The new Guam Legislature, a unicameral body, replaced the old Guam Congress. The Guam Legislature made the laws for Guam, although the governor of Guam, who was appointed by the president of the United States, could veto laws. Despite the limitations, most residents of the Northern Marianas saw this as a great step forward for Guam.

Many people of the Northern Marianas, who had gone to live on Guam, also became US citizens at that time. However, because they were US citizens, they were not allowed to return to their families in the Northern Marianas, unless they renounced their US citizenship and became naturalized trust territory citizens. Those Guam Chamorros who had moved to the Northern Marianas also were not allowed to become US citizens when they tried to return to Guam. The only way to rectify the problem was to have the same political status as Guam—to become US citizens.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the first official statement on political status from the Northern Marianas was a 1950 joint petition from the Saipan House of Council and the House of Commissioners to the first United Nations Visiting Mission. It requested that the Northern Marianas be incorporated into the United States either as a possession or a territory, and that its people be given US citizenship. However, the members of the Visiting Mission advised the people of Saipan that they could not make a political status decision separately from the rest of the TTPI.

The TTPI had been created as one political unit by the US and the United Nations Trusteeship Council. Rules and regulations were organized to serve the same purposes in all Micronesian islands, regardless of population or location, language or culture. There was concern that if Micronesia fractured into a hundred little countries, each would want an equal vote in the United Nations. In light of these factors, no one outside of Micronesia paid much attention to the reunification effort in the Northern Marianas for another decade. Thus, the creation of the TTPI forced the Northern Mariana islanders to associate politically with the rest of the TTPI.

The people of the Northern Marianas were not asked if they wanted to be a part of the TTPI. They had never been asked to be part of Spanish Micronesia, German Micronesia or Japanese Micronesia. Nonetheless, the Northern Mariana Islands and the rest of Micronesia were lumped together as the TTPI, without the people of Micronesia having any say in the matter. The people of the Northern Marianas were politically isolated from the people of Guam by a foreign decision outside of their control.

The question of Marianas reunification

After 1950, the people of the US territory of Guam steadily advanced in their political and economic development. The people of the Northern Mariana Islands district of the TTPI, however, began to lag behind. The US Navy was building up Guam, while most US military personnel left Saipan and Tinian, other than the navy administrators. The Northern Marianas faced a depressed economy and a dim outlook for the future. When the second UN visiting mission arrived on Saipan on 11 March 1953, they received a petition requesting the physical restoration of war-damaged property, compensation for the occupation of private property from 10 July 1944 to 30 June 1949, and an organic act for the TTPI. However, the other districts of the TTPI were not ready to make a political status decision, and the visiting mission rejected the petition.

In the aftermath of the Popular Party victory in 1957 in both Guam and the Northern Marianas, an unofficial poll on reunification was conducted. The people of Saipan voted 63.8 percent in favor of reunification. The Guam Legislature then adopted Resolution No. 367 requesting the US Congress to incorporate the Northern Marianas within the governmental framework of the territory of Guam. It was adopted on 8 July 1958, and was transmitted to the Northern Marianas and to Washington, DC, on July 23. It read in part:

WHEREAS despite this unfortunate and perhaps accidental division of one race, the people of the Marianas have never lost hope that a day will come when all the Chamorros once again will be reunited within a homogenous political and economic union under one governmental administration.

A report by the Saipan Committee on Reunification was published on 5 May 1959. A resolution was then passed by the Saipan Municipal Congress inviting the members of the Guam Legislature to Saipan for a meeting on reunification. From 11 to 14 September 1959, members of the Guam Legislature met with members of the Saipan Congress in Saipan’s Congressional Hall. Speaker Olympio T. Borja of the Saipan Congress and Senator James T. Sablan, chairman of the 5th Guam Legislature’s Select Committee on the Saipan Mission, conducted the meetings. Most of the members of the Saipan Congress were in favor of reunification. On 25 September 1959, the Saipan Congress forwarded Resolution No. 7, modeled after Guam’s Resolution 367, to the United Nations. The resolution requested incorporation of the Mariana Islands within the framework of the US territory of Guam.

Richard Barrett Lowe, the presidentially appointed governor of Guam at the time, wrote to Anthony T. Lausi, director of the Office of Territories, about the resolutions. Lowe advised Lausi that the Department of the Interior should take the position that it had no objection to discussions about an eventual reunification of the Marianas. It was Governor Lowe’s opinion that “if and when the Cold War ends, the ultimate reunification of these islands not only will be advisable, but probably inevitable.”

With a special UN visiting mission scheduled for 1961, an unofficial poll on political status was conducted on Saipan and Tinian on 5 February 1961. Of the 2,847 registered voters, 2,404 cast their ballots. Rota could not participate because at that time it was a separate district of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Registered voters could pick one of three different political status choices. The results of that poll were as follows:

  1. Do you desire to become US citizens within the political framework of the government of Guam? (Saipan 1,557 ; Tinian 85)
  2. Do you desire to become US citizens by becoming a separate territory of the United States? (Saipan 818; Tinian 57)
  3. Do you want to remain in the same status? (Saipan 21; Tinian 6)

The poll showed that the voters were overwhelmingly in favor of gaining US citizenship and some form of permanent affiliation with the US. A significant number wanted a status similar to but separate from Guam. These results were given to the 1961 visiting mission when it arrived. The Carolinian community, however, submitted a resolution in opposition to reunification. Neither position had any effect on the members of the UN mission when they arrived. The mission indicated that certain conditions would have to be met before the Marianas people could join the US: they would have to achieve a greater degree of self-government and economic self-sufficiency, and all the people of Micronesia would have to be ready to choose their political status.

The Trusteeship Agreement treats the Trust Territory as one single Territory and there is no likelihood of the United Nations considering at the present time any proposal which looks like a premature effort aimed at ‘cessation’ or ‘partition’.

In essence, they told the people of the Northern Marianas that they should begin working with the other Micronesians toward a joint resolution of political status issues.

Except for Rota, the islands of the Northern Marianas had been under US naval administration since 1953. They were transferred back to the Department of the Interior on 1 July 1962. The Charter of the Mariana Islands District Legislature was adopted on 21 December 1962. During the election for the new Marianas District Legislature, the Popular Party again made reintegration an issue, winning seven of the eleven seats available for Saipan. They proposed that the Northern Marianas be reunited with Guam.

On 30 July 1963, the Saipan Municipal Congress adopted a resolution supporting a previous resolution calling for the political reintegration of the Mariana Islands and Guam. In October 1963 another unofficial plebiscite was conducted, and again, the people voted for reunification. The results were presented to the 1964 UN visiting mission. Not unexpectedly, the mission’s report stated that secession, or separation, was not possible under the trusteeship agreement: “Both the Trusteeship Council and the Administering Authority have made this point clear to the people of Saipan and the question should be regarded as firmly settled,” the report said.

Members of the Guam Legislature visited with the Marianas District Legislature in February 1966 to once again discuss the possibility of reunification. Carlos P. Taitano, speaker of the 8th Guam Legislature, felt that it was important for Guam and the Northern Marianas to reassert their position in favor of reunification. He and other political leaders on Guam wanted the island to become a state of the United States. They felt their chances were better if they had a bigger population and a bigger land area. Reunifying the Marianas would help their cause. Subsequently, the Guam Legislature adopted Resolution No. 177, requesting that the president of the United States reintegrate the Mariana Islands. This resolution was taken to Washington, DC, where they were rejected by both State and Interior representatives.

The issue then was presented to the 1967 UN visiting mission, which concluded that any integration of the Northern Marianas with Guam “cannot be contemplated so long as Micronesia remains a trust Territory.”

On 19 January 1968, the Second Mariana Islands District Legislature adopted a resolution requesting that the US congressional visiting team urge US citizenship for the inhabitants of the Northern Mariana Islands and reunification of the Marianas. Economically and culturally, a reunified Northern Marianas and Guam would help improve the standards of living for the people of the Northern Mariana Islands.

In 1968 the Pacific Conference of Legislators was organized in favor of reintegration. Vicente Santos, president of the Marianas District Legislature, was also head of the Pacific Conference of Legislators. Membership in this conference was offered to members of all the legislative bodies in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The conference hoped to promote a dialogue in support of reintegration of Guam and the Northern Marianas, or Guam and the TTPI. It was an opportunity for leaders from the 10th Guam Legislature under Speaker Joaquin C. Arriola and the Northern Marianas District Legislature to get together and discuss a common political status goal. At the time, the Democrats (formerly the Popular Party) were in control of the 10th Guam Legislature as well as the Mariana Islands District Legislature. Most of these legislators felt that it was in the best interest of all the people to reintegrate the Marianas.

In August 1969, an organization called Leaders of Guam and Marianas Reintegration Conference was formed in Saipan. Guam Senator William D. L. Flores was named chairman of the special committee on reintegration. Other members of the committee included Senators George Bamba, James T. Sablan, Joaquin Perez, Florencio Ramirez, Leonardo Paulino, Richard F. Taitano, and Manuel Lujan. The committee was to study the question of reintegration, report their findings to the people of Guam, and conduct public hearings in all the villages of Guam.

Members of the Marianas Reunification Committee from the Northern Marianas worked with the Guam committee. Vicente Santos, Leon T. Camacho, Herman Q. Guerrero, Daniel T. Muna, Francisco M. Diaz, Antonio R. Camacho, Felipe Q. Atalig, and Bernard V. Hofschneider were among the Northern Marianas leaders.

With another UN visiting mission expected to arrive in the TTPI in early 1970, the two organizations decided to conduct a joint referendum on reintegration in November, only two months away.

The committee, in its report to the people of Guam, said the principal motivations of the push for reintegration were political, economic, social, and cultural. The members wanted eventual statehood for Guam. If Guam was expanded to include the Marianas, even the rest of the trust territory, statehood could be achieved much more quickly. A reunified Marianas Islands would also provide greater opportunities for investment, particularly in the tourism industry. The standard of living would be improved. The cultural unity of the Chamorros would be reestablished.

Hurried public hearings were conducted in all the villages of Guam in October 1969. The members of the Guam Legislature’s select committee on reintegration tried to convince the public that reintegration was in Guam’s best interest. At most of these meetings the reaction from the public was favorable. Members of the committee were predicting that the people of Guam would vote in favor of reintegration. If both Guam and the Northern Marianas voted in favor of reintegration, as they expected, the island’s leaders would petition the UN and the US Congress for the separation of the Northern Marianas from the TTPI and reintegration with the US Territory of the Marianas.

The people of Guam voted in a special election conducted on 4 November 1969. The question put to the voters was: “Should all of the islands of the Marianas be politically reintegrated within the framework of the American Territory of Guam, such as a new territory to be known as the Territory of the Marianas?” Voters marked either “Yes” or “No.” The turnout for the election, however, was very low. Only 32 percent of the 20,000 registered voters actually cast ballots. There were 3,720 “No” votes and 2,688 “Yes” votes.

Reintegration rejected by Guam

Several theories were offered as to why the Guam voters rejected reintegration. One reason given for the poor turnout was that there were no candidates for election, and thus no aggressive drive to get out the vote. Another reason may have been the poor political education process that occurred on Guam. Public hearings were conducted for only one month. Had they begun earlier, more people may have felt more confident about going to the polls. Another reason was that many Guamanians had not forgotten the pro-Japanese actions of a few of the Northern Marianas Chamorro translators and police officers employed by the Japanese. Other Guamanians simply felt that Guam’s money would be diverted to the undeveloped Northern Marianas. Guam did not want to accept the burden of developing the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam at the time was having serious difficulties with its utilities and school system. Some Guamanians were also concerned with protecting their jobs. The wage scale in the Northern Marianas was much lower than that on Guam. The Guamanians feared that Northern Marianas residents might move to Guam to get better paying jobs.

Perhaps, however, the major factor influencing the outcome of the plebiscite was the upcoming 1970 election on Guam. This was to be the island’s first election for governor. The Popular Party, which had dominated politics on Guam since the Organic Act, split three ways. The frontrunner was Speaker of the 10th Guam Legislature Joaquin C. Arriola and running mate Vicente Bamba, a retired judge and popular former senator, who favored reunification. Another team was formed by Senator Ricardo J. Bordallo and Senator Richard F. Taitano, and another by former governor Manuel F. L. Guerrero and his running mate Dr. Antonio C. Yamashita. Although the Bordallo/Taitano team did not openly oppose reunification, a whisper campaign was launched that “a vote for reintegration was a vote for Arriola.” Their supporters were told that if they were really sure about reunification, just do not vote at all. That is why the turnout was so low.

Chamorros in the Northern Mariana Islands were very upset by “the Guam rejection.” They had read positive reports in the Guam Daily News about the possibility of a favorable vote. The low voter turnout and the rejection caused many to give up on reunification.

Despite Guam’s rejection, a majority of people in the Northern Marianas still wanted to support reunification at the polls. There were strong hopes among supporters that the Marianas might someday become a state, just like Hawai`i. They felt that reunification would result in a significant increase in economic development. On 9 November 1969, a week after the Guam rejection, the citizens of the Northern Marianas voted strongly in favor of integration. Of the 4,954 registered voters, 3,233 voted in the plebiscite, 65 percent, twice that on Guam. Reintegration received 1,942 votes; freely associated state 1,116; independence 19; unincorporated territory of US 107. There was 1 vote for integration with the US; 5 votes for remaining a trusteeship; 1 vote for unincorporated territory of Japan; 1 vote for integration with Japan; and 40 invalid votes. Ironically, a single write-in vote was cast for commonwealth status. The strong support for the freely associated state came from the Territorial Party, and particularly, from the Carolinian community. The Northern Marianas Carolinians wanted to strengthen their ties with the other Carolinians of Micronesia.

The results of the Guam vote dampened the efforts of the Popular Party to achieve reunification. But other developments had been taking place in the trust territory that would ultimately lead the Northern Mariana Islands down the path to commonwealth. In the final analysis, the Guam rejection turned out to be in the best interest of the Northern Mariana Islands. Because of that rejection, the leadership of the Northern Marianas fought on for their own unique political status that would include a close affiliation with the United States and US citizenship.

Northern Marianas quest for self-determination

The Congress of Micronesia (the bicameral legislative body for the TTPI) created a political status commission, responsible for studying the political status options available to the people of the TTPI and make recommendations. The Northern Marianas District was ably represented in both houses and on the political status commission. The joint commission recommended independence.  However, for the Northern Mariana Islands, independence was exactly the opposite of what they wanted. The great majority of Northern Marianas residents wanted a permanent alliance with the United States and US citizenship. Once again, the Mariana Islands District Legislature adopted a resolution, informing the Congress of Micronesia of its position in favor of integration with Guam.

Talk of independence among the majority of Trust Territory leaders sparked the US Joint Chiefs of Staff to advise the Secretary of Defense in October 1968 that the strategic value of the central Pacific Ocean had not changed, especially in light of the potential need to redeploy American forces to Guam or the TTPI because of the Vietnam War. The Congress of Micronesia Future Political Status Commission met again in July 1969 and “flatly rejected” unincorporated territorial status and adopted a position in favor of free association, which they officially submitted to the Congress of Micronesia. However, the Northern Marianas delegation was able to incorporate in the report that the Congress of Micronesia did not oppose separate negotiations between the US and the Northern Mariana Islands.

In 1971, the Marianas Islands District Legislature and the Congress of Micronesia held simultaneous sessions on Saipan. On February 1, Vicente N. Santos, president of the Legislature, delivered a speech urging that Japanese investors be allowed to begin joint-venture projects in the Marianas. Francisco C. Ada, district administrator, reaffirmed that “a substantial majority of our people are in favor of a closer, permanent affiliation with the United States of America.” These speeches were timed to coincide with the opening session of the Congress of Micronesia on Saipan.

On March 13, Nixon formally appointed Ambassador Franklin Haydn Williams as his Personal Representative to the Micronesian political status negotiations. The meetings were held 4 to 12 October 1971 in Hana, Maui. During the Hana meetings, the Department of Defense (DoD) revealed its land requirements for Guam and the TTPI. Secretary Melvin Laird advised Williams that the strategic interests of the US were to implement “defense-in-depth” in the western Pacific; carry out treaty commitments; defend lines of communication through the central Pacific; and maintain “a credible nuclear and conventional deterrent to armed aggression” against the US, its allies, and countries considered vital to its security. This was based on political realities in the Trust Territory, the importance of land in the Micronesian culture, the possibility of joint-service basing in order to prevent duplications, and the relative economic value of the land to the Micronesians.

The DoD only needed land in the Marshalls, Palau and the Marianas. In the Marianas, DoD was interested in a multi-service base on Tinian. They wanted the whole island, but would settled for the northern part and joint-use of the harbor.

On 12 April 1972, Ambassador Williams formally announced,

that my Government is willing to respond affirmatively to the request that has been formally presented to us today to enter into separate negotiations with the representatives of the Marianas in order to satisfy a desire which the Joint Committee has already recognized.

The Marianas District Legislature created the Northern Marianas Political Status Commission in May 1972. The law authorized the Commission to negotiate with the US, perform public education, hire consultants, study alternative forms of democratic internal government, and make periodic reports. The Commission’s appointed members were authorized a total budget of only US$25,000, all from local taxes, to perform all these duties. The Commission held its first meeting on 7 September 1972. The first plenary session of the Marianas political status negotiations opened on 13 December 1972 in Saipan.

When the US-NMI joint communiqué was published, revealing the preliminary agreements with the Northern Marianas on the issues of mutual consent, a locally drafted constitution, and assurances about maximum local self-government, Guam Senator Paul M. Calvo expressed concern that Guam was not involved in the negotiations. He announced his intention to visit Washington, DC, to register his complaint. Joe Murphy, editor of the Pacific Daily News, wrote that the Northern Marianas was getting a far better deal than what Guam had. He also thought that many in the US Congress would object to establishing two separate governments in the small Mariana Islands.

In May 1973, the Guam Legislature created a nine-member Political Status Commission, which was approved by Governor Carlos G. Camacho. The six-member Democrat majority chose Senator Frank G. Lujan to chair the committee, which was obligated to study and make recommendations on Guam’s future political status. Governor Camacho created his own advisory task force.

To resolve the problem, Haydn Williams advised President Nixon that something had to be done to improve Guam’s political status. The Department of Defense agreed. The Joint Chiefs of Staff added their support on 20 July 1973. On September 12, the Under Secretaries Committee decided that “a study of US national objectives, policies, and programs in Guam be undertaken to identify a prospective course of action by which US interests may most effectively be fostered.” The “Guam study” was supposed to be completed by 17 December 1973.

Meanwhile, Guam Delegate Antonio B. Won Pat introduced a resolution into the US House of Representatives stating that Guam also had a right to choose its own political status, and requested President Nixon to create a special commission to work with the Guam Political Status Commission. According to Won Pat’s unofficial polling, 86.2 percent of the people interview believed in reunification. US Congressman Phil Burton reassured Won Pat that they would get to the Guam question as soon as the Northern Marianas issue was resolved. Burton met with the Guam Legislature, which now asked for assistance reunifying with the Northern Marianas. Burton told them it was up to them to take the initiative.

In October 1973, Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton asked Governor Camacho to send two or three representatives to Washington, DC, to discuss federal-territorial relations. Lt. Governor Kurt Moylan would lead the group to Washington to meet with Stanley Carpenter, chairman of the inter-agency working group preparing the Guam study on November 8. Moylan convinced Carpenter to bring a delegation from the Department of the Interior to Guam to meet with the governor, the Guam Legislature and the media.

As scheduled, the inter-agency group met on December 17 to consider Phase I of the Guam study. Then, on 31 January 1974, Won Pat complained to Congress that the NMI was getting a better political status than Guam. Northern Marianas lawyers in Washington subsequently met with Won Pat’s staff and assured them that whatever was being created for the NMI could surely apply to Guam. The Northern Marianas negotiators were concerned that if Guam made a loud enough complaint, some members of Congress might be convinced to insist that NMI’s political status should be put on hold until Guam’s political status was resolved.

Joe Murphy opined:

Many of us living on Guam view the proceedings with mixed emotions. We naturally welcome the addition of the Northern Marianas to the American community, and feel that we have, perhaps, contributed something to the desire of the islanders to become a permanent part of America. We have developed a small guilt complex, however, about the negotiations. We feel that somehow through the lack of leadership on Guam, that Guam has missed the boat. We feel that the Mariana Islands really should be re-integrated, politically, although self-governing. We certainly can’t blame the people of the Northern Marianas for that. They tried, and it was Guam that dropped the ball.

Burton was impressed with the progress that had been made during the third round of negotiations and began to take a more aggressive role. While on Guam in January 1974, before arriving on Saipan, Burton had made frequent references to the future reunification of Guam and the Northern Marianas. He wanted to reassure his friend Won Pat that Guam would eventually benefit from the successful completion of the Northern Marianas negotiations. Burton, though, was blunt on certain issues. He stated flatly that there was no possibility of achieving a non-voting delegation in Congress for the new commonwealth.

In August 1974, President Nixon resigned and was replaced by his vice-president, Gerald Ford. President Ford received the Guam study from the Under Secretaries Committee. They advised him that,

due to internal Guamanian political considerations, it was not possible at this time for the Governor [Camacho] to engage in talks related even tangentially to political status. This study has been conducted with limited consultation with the Guamanians, however. And further consultation is planned.

They also advised the new president that the US government,

in the near future is required to provide an improved political status for Guamanians and to address their economic and social aspirations—including further diversification of the economy.

Because the Northern Mariana status negotiations had already resulted in the promise of commonwealth for them, “the Guamanians are anxious about their own future,” and the committee stated that, “a decision on the status question is desirable in August.”

On 23 December 1974, the National Security Council sent their analysis of the Guam study to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger advised President Ford that,

our essential need in our political relationship with Guam are control over Guam’s defenses and foreign affairs and continued military basing rights. To achieve this, we need a political framework that will continue Guam’s close relationship with the Federal Government, but that will keep the island’s growing political demands within manageable bounds.

On 9 December 1974, the Marianas political status negotiators were dealt a severe blow. The Department of Defense announced it would not build a base on Tinian. The prima fascia for the NMI negotiations became moot. Nonetheless, Haydn Williams and the Political Status Commission moved forward with the Covenant.

On 1 February 1975, shortly before the last round of NMI negotiations, Kissinger directed the Under Secretaries Committee to:

seek agreement with Guamanian representatives on a commonwealth arrangement no less favorable than that which we are negotiating with the Northern Marianas. If, however, Guamanian representatives prefer a modified unincorporated Territorial status, we will be willing to accept such an arrangement.

In other words, the door for Guam to achieve its desired political status was opened. However, Kissinger decided that,

the Assistant Secretary of Interior for Program Developments and Budget should develop and implement a negotiating approach that will give effect to the above instructions, and should organize a US negotiating team that will include representation from the Departments of State and Defense as well as the Department of the Interior.

In a meeting with Williams on Guam in early February, before the last round of negotiations on Saipan, newly elected Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo told Williams that,

unification with Guam should have been the original goal of Marianas negotiations and that anything setting up a separate commonwealth in the Northern Marianas would make unification that much more difficult in his opinion.

The commonwealth covenant was signed by Haydn Williams for President Ford and by the NMI Political Status Commission for the people on 15 February 1975. It was unanimously approved by the Mariana Islands District Legislature five days later. Working with Ed Pangelinan and Pete A. Tenorio, the status commission conducted the popular plebiscite on 17 June 1975. Ninety-five percent of the registered voters cast ballots, and the covenant was approved by 78.8 percent of the people voting.

In June, following on the heels of the favorable vote on Commonwealth for the Northern Marianas, and with Phil Burton’s full support, Delegate Won Pat introduced a joint resolution into the US Congress, providing Guam with the opportunity to create a constitution that would “supersede such provisions of the Organic Act of Guam as may be inconsistent with such constitution,” once approved by the president.

Governor Bordallo, however, decided to follow up on the Guam study. He shelved the work done by Frank Lujan’s committee on political status and created his own Special Commission on the Political Status of Guam. Senator Frank F. Blas was chosen to chair the commission, which included former lieutenant governor Kurt Moylan, Vice-chairman Pedro Sanchez, and Senators Tommy Tanaka, Ed Duenas, Carl Gutierrez, Frank Santos, and Benigno Palomo. Bordallo then wrote to President Ford on 2 August 1975, urging the president to appoint a representative (as Nixon had done for the NMI) to begin dialogues with Guam. The letter, however, went unanswered for 13 months.

On 24 February 1976, the US Senate called for a floor vote on Joint Resolution 549, the proposed NMI Commonwealth Covenant. Passage of the Senate bill required only a simple majority. The final Senate vote on the covenant was 66 in favor and 23 opposed and 11 not voting, far beyond the 51 votes needed to approve the covenant.

On 24 March 1976, surrounded by covenant supporters from the Marianas and Washington, DC, President Ford signed Public Law 94-241: 90 Stat. 263, approving the covenant. The Northern Marianas had exercised its right to self-determination and defined an agreement with the United States that would give it the maximum degree of self-government. Most importantly, it contained a “Mutual Consent” clause that gave the people an assurance of fair treatment should there be a need for either side to change a fundamental part of the agreement at some time in the future.

Guam’s political status?

Dialogues in DC relative to Guam’s political status dragged until July 1977, the end of the Ford administration, and suggested that the issue “will be referred to those in the next Administration who will be responsible for overseeing the negotiations on the Guam-Federal relationship.” One can only speculate on what the current political status of the Marianas might be, had the Department of the Interior acted aggressively on President Ford’s Guam study. Although Guam did create a constitution during a constitutional convention under the leadership of Senator Carl Gutierrez, it failed to receive public approval because of outstanding issues that had not been resolved with the federal government.

In 1980, Bordallo created a Commission on Self-Determination (CSD), chaired by Professor Robert Rogers. According to Rogers, Bordallo’s goal was to establish a commonwealth status for Guam, similar to that achieved by the NMI, then attempt to merge the two commonwealths which might lead to statehood. Barely two years after its creation, the CSD organized a status referendum. On 12 January 1982, 49% of voters chose a closer relationship with the US via Commonwealth. Twenty-six percent voted Statehood, while 10 percent voted for the Status Quo (Unincorporated territory). A subsequent run-off referendum held between Commonwealth and Statehood saw 73% of Guam voters choosing Commonwealth over Statehood (27%).

However, the draft Commonwealth Act which had been drawn up by the CSD since 1986 languished in Congress over the next decade and was never approved. The 24th Guam Legislature established the “Commission on Decolonization” in 1996 to enhance the CSD’s ongoing studies of various political status options and public education campaigns.

Reunification considerations and the military buildup

Today, there are sufficient reasons for Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to consider joint dialogues. The Mariana Islands are the focus of President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to the Pacific.” What began with Nixon in 1969, and was continued by George W. Bush in 2006, is now in President Obama’s lap—base agreements in Okinawa.

There was no further talk of a military buildup in the Marianas until 23 January 2006, when President George W. Bush signed an amended Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security with Japan. On 25 April 2006, the US announced its intention to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the northern Okinawa city of Nago, and move 8,000 marines and their dependents to Guam. The new United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation was issued on May 1.

The Roadmap led to the creation of JGPO, the Joint Guam Program Office. The Navy set forth a plan that would meet the mandate of the new US-Japan security alliance, primarily the movement of marines to Guam with training facilities on Tinian. The Secretary of the Navy issued his Record of Decision on 20 September 2010. Subsequently, the Senate Armed Forces Committee visited Hawai`i, Okinawa and the Marianas and stopped funding for that plan, until a larger plan for the “Pivot to the Pacific” had been completed.

A new EIS was developed, this time by the US Marine Corps. Following Section 106 of the National Environmental Protection Act, Draft Environmental Impact Statements were issued for proposed actions within the territory of Guam, and another for the CNMI at Tinian and Pagan. Separate Memorandums of Understanding will be signed relative to the impact on historic sites in each territory. Separate Records of Decision also will have to be issued.

Both plans must be approved by Congress, at least for funding. Because of the Covenant, the land acquisition in the NMI must be approved by Congress before funding for the plan can be entertained. The Marianas plan is set on a three legged table, with one leg on Guam and two in the NMI. Guam cannot provide the constant training that Marines must undergo to remain in a high state of readiness, should an unfriendly situation develop somewhere in our region. That training must take place in the NMI.

Tinian acknowledges the legitimacy of the DoD lease on two-thirds of Tinian. Tinian, however, is not sufficient to meet all the Navy/USMC training requirements for amphibious assault operations. Pagan is the necessary third leg. The military buildup in the Marianas is not a Guam affair, therefore, any more than it is a Tinian or Pagan affair. It is a Marianas issue that must address the concerns of all stakeholders.

Today, both Guam and the Commonwealth remain unincorporated territories. Although the NMI did exercise its right to self-determination, the mandate to establish a permanent political status for Guam still exists. The Guam study, or at least the principles it embodied, are still viable. It is certainly worth a professional study to create a joint Guam-NMI Commission to analyze the pros and cons of one Commonwealth and report their findings to the Guam and CNMI legislatures.

Shall the Marianas ever be reunited?

Some suggest that the time for reunification has passed. Some say the separate governments for Guam and the Northern Marianas have become institutionalized—that the political leaders on Guam and the NMI do not have it within them to make the sacrifices that would be required to create an elected government for all Mariana residents.

However, many Guamanians point to the CNMI Covenant, with the protections provided to the people through its embedded concept of Mutual Consent as a significantly better political status than Guam’s unilateral Organic Act. Others suggest that the problems of having two separate governments within the Marianas is a foolish waste of money and aggravation. And many point to the military buildup in the Marianas as a reunifying factor. They say that having one bargaining group will get a better deal out of the Department of Defense than two different groups negotiating separately.

One point is clear: after the war, the people of Guam fought for US citizenship and self-government with a unified passion. The people of the Northern Marianas fought for the same principles with the same passion. Times have changed. Both gained US citizenship and self-government, although the Northern Marianas acquired slightly more self-government than Guam. Both Guam and the CNMI have greatly improved their standards of living. Many, particularly the business community, seem satisfied with the status quo. They are indifferent to the indignity of “unincorporated” status, and that the Marianas are not on the road to the ultimate political status within the American system, which, in this writer’s opinion, is an incorporated Commonwealth of the Marianas, leaving the door open to Statehood.

Regardless of emotional arguments for or against reunification, it seems the time for a comprehensive, scientific study of the economic and legal pros and cons of reunification is long overdue. What are the differences and similarities between the laws of Guam and the Northern Marianas and the economic impacts of both on our people? Should our two legislatures battle over competitive tax rates for investors? Should our two port authorities be charging each other for landing fees and counter space for the same airlines, and increasing the cost of inter-island transportation? Should there be separate border control stations, two separate US District Courts, two separate offices for all federal agencies in our two territories?

It is time to create a joint commission on political status to study the financial and legal impacts of having two different governments for the same people, having more in common within their historical heritage than is different. Then, with some solid numbers in hand, perhaps it would be time to once again address the question: Shall the Mariana Islands be reunified?

By Don Farrell

For further reading

Cabranes, José A. Citizenship and the American Empire: Notes on the Legislative History of the United States Citizenship of Puerto Ricans. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.

Cogan, Doloris Coulter. We Fought the Navy and Won: Guam’s Quest for Democracy. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2008.

Dudden, Arthur Power. The American Pacific: From the Old China Trade to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Farrell, Don A. The Pictorial History of Guam: The Americanization 1898-1918. 2nd ed. Tamuning: Micronesian Productions, 1986.

–––. “The Partition of the Marianas: A Diplomatic History, 1898-1919.” ISLA: A Journal of Micronesian Studies 2, no. 2 (1994): 273-301.

Freidel, Frank. The Splendid Little War. New York: Little Brown & Company, 1958.

Gale, Roger W. The Americanization of Micronesia: A Study of the Consolidation of US Rule in the Pacific. Washington: University Press of America, 1979.

Garraty, John A. Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953.

Heine, Carl. Micronesia at the Crossroads: A Reappraisal of the Micronesian Political Dilemma. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1974.

Kissinger, Henry. On China. London: Penguin Press, 2011.

Leibowitz, Arnold H. Defining Status: A Comprehensive Analysis of United States Territorial Relation. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 1989.

Hofschneider, Penelope Bordallo. A Campaign for Political Rights on the Island of Guam, 1899-1950. Saipan: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Historic Preservation, 2001.

Meller, Norman. Constitutionalism in Micronesia. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1985.

–––. The Congress of Micronesia: Development of the Legislative Process in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1969.

Pomeroy, Earl S. Pacific Outpost: American Strategy in Guam and Micronesia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1951.

Rogers, Robert. Destiny’s Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1995.

Tuchman, Barbara W. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

US Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. A Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain: Message from the President of the United States Transmitting a Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain, Signed at the City of Paris on December 10, 1898. 55th Congress, 3rd session, Senate Document no. 62. Washington, DC: GPO, 1899.

Webb, James H., Jr. Micronesia and U.S. Pacific Strategy: A Blueprint for the 1980s. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974.

Willens, Howard P., and Deanne C. Siemer. National Security and Self-Determination: United States Policy in Micronesia, 1961-1972. Westport: Preager, 2000.

–––. An Honorable Accord: The Covenant Between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2001.

Willens, Howard P., and Dirk A. Ballendorf. The Secret Guam Study: How President Ford’s 1975 Approval of Commonwealth Was Blocked by Federal Officials. Mangilao and Saipan: Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Historic Preservation, 2004.

Wyttenbach, Richard H. “Micronesia and Strategic Trusteeship: A Case Study in American Politico-Military Relations.” PhD thesis, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1971.