Response to K.C. on fifdififdi

original Mr. Conklin, you write: “The U.N. then did in fact remove Hawaii (and also Alaska) from that list in December 1959. Burgess (Laenui) claims that this notification about statehood was a fraud, because the ballot for the statehood vote did not offer the option of independence. And somehow the real experts on international law at the U.N. (unlike amateur Burgess) got fooled by this fraud. And somehow they have remained fooled all these nearly fifty years since then, despite his repeatedly calling it to their attention” Poka Laenui is not necessarily wrong– nor would I call him an amateur– and much of the work that is being done regarding our understanding of Hawaii’s relationship with the U.N. is rooted in the documents he cites and discusses. Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations Secretary-General in 1959, received the statistical information of Hawaii’s population statistics submitted through the transmission of information as required by Article 73e of the U.N. Charter. Included in the first page of this document was the statistical information on Hawaii’s population and ethnic breakdown. Despite glaring problems with the numbers, the Sec.-Gen. accepted UNGAR 1469, the United State’s application for Hawaii’s cessation of the transmission of information under Article 73e of the Charter, which cites the data of the plebiscite vote. The first page of the United Nations Draft Report on Hawaii estimates that in 1959, 23% of the population was Caucasian. About 28% of the eligible people in Hawaii voted, and 26% voted “Yes” for statehood. Now don’t interpret these statistics as suggesting that only haoles voted for statehood. What I’m calling into question is the U.N. Sec.-Gen. not raising the red flag, and giving oversight to what should clearly have been a rejection of, or at least a discussion of Hawaii’s removal from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. How is it that the United Nations General Assembly argued for years over the question of Netherland’s removal of Surinam and Curacao from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, while Hawaii received no discussion. This blatant statistical discrepancy should have, at the very least, been discussed. The problem then is not only did the U.S. not comply with the 1953 UNGAR 742 by offering the proper options of self-governance to Hawaii’s population, but the Sec.-Gen. seemed to have acted in collusion with the United States by not enforcing the conditions defined by UNGAR 742, “Factors which should be taken into account in deciding whether a Territory is or is not a Territory whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.” Specifically these factors call for not only the “enactment of laws for the Territory by an indigenous body whether fully elected by free and democratic processes (sic) constituted in a manner receiving the free consent of the population, but also “effective participation of the population in the government”… “ethnic and cultural consideration”… “political advancement on the population sufficient to enable them to decide upon the future destiny on the Territory with due knowledge”… certainly a document also worth putting on your U.N. resolution reading list. By not calling attention to the plebiscite and the statistical information provided, the Sec.-Gen. assisted in creating an atmosphere by which “fraud” can be clearly attested. I do agree with you that the question should not be why did the U.S. defraud the U.N., because the U.S. stated the facts as presented– the question we need to ask is: why did the U.N. comply with the U.S. knowing that the information submitted was flawed? I will not pretend to know the answer, but I suspect one key that might unlock this question is contained in the Knowland files, rooted out of the Archives, where Secretary of State John Foster Dulles writes: “My staff has gone into the background of this question, and I would like to explain why the Government in 1946 thought it advisable to include Alaska and Hawaii among the territories to be reported on. The problem was given careful consideration at that time and it was only after consultations with certain members of the Congress, including Senators Vandenberg ad Connally, and with the Department of the Interior, and after obtaining an opinion on the legal status of the territories from the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, that this decision was taken. Article 73 of the Charter asks Members of the United Nation “which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government … to transmit … information of a technical nature relating to economic, social and educational conditions in the territories for which they are respectively responsible …”. While Alaska and Hawaii have undoubtedly attained a large measure of self-government, it is questionable whether they have attained the “full measure of self-government” referred to in the Charter. It was the opinion of the Department’s Legal Adviser at the time that Alaska and Hawaii should not be regarded as colonies or possessions in view of their status as incorporated territories, but that they nonetheless appeared to fall within the classification of “non-self-governing” political communities. As you are aware, the Governors of both territories are still appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate; the principal judicial officers of both territories are also appointed by the President; laws enacted by the Territorial Legislatures are subject to the Governor’s veto and may be overridden by the Congress of the United States; and while Delegates of Alaska and Hawaii may participate in Congressional debates, they do not have the right to vote. In addition to these legal considerations it was believed at the time that reporting by the United States on Alaska and Hawaii would enhance United States prestige and might set a precedent for other Members of the United nations to report on their territories, many of which were not so far advanced as Alaska and Hawaii. I should add that the decision was made in the absence of any agreed United Nations definition of the term “non-self-governing.” Whether a territory is “incorporated” of not does not make a difference in this argument– because the U.N. makes no distinction regarding “incorporated territories”– all this does is simply suggest an explanation as to why the U.N. Sec-Gen. and the General Assembly were complicit in passing UNGAR 1469. In the U.S. Congressional Record in 1944-5, Senator Vandenberg was one of the two Senators present during the Dumbarton Oaks proceedings. In his argument as to why Congress should ratify the Charter, he publicly stated that for National Security reasons, the success of the United Nations is the singularly most important responsibility for the United States as a means to broker for international peace. Elsewhere in the C.R., there is a comment he makes stating he is unable to publicly comment on some of the discussions at Dumbarton and that he would speak privately with Senators regarding them at another time. Unfortunately, we are not privy to those discussions, however, it is well within reason that an understanding had been reached between the Secretary of State and the other key members participating in those early U.N. discussions on Hawaii and Alaska. Regardless, there is enough snippets of information in the State Department records and the Congressional records where we can infer that Hawaii and Alaska were discussed and given special consideration by the U.N. However, the fact remains that the process by which Hawaii’s cessation of transformation as DEFINED in UNGAR 222 (III) “Cessation of the transmission of information under Article 73 e of the Charter” was dubious, to say the least. An example that was not dubious and should be looked at to help you understand how the process should have occurred, is Puerto Rico. In 1953, “out of a total of 873,085 eligible voters, 640,714 went to the polls and the votes were cast and split among commonwealth/statehood/independence. More that 3/4 of the eligible population voted which is in accordance with the Sacred Trust that was mandated with Chapter XI of the Charter, and Puerto Rico chose commonwealth. Again, Hawaii had only 1/4 of the eligible voting population registered to vote, and that is the basis of the contestation. Also your reading of UNGAR 1469 is not entirely accurate. UNGAR 1469 is simply the resolution passed that acknowledges that Hawaii will stop submitting information as called for in the 1947/48 UNGAR 222(III). Also your reading of UNGAR 1514 is misleading. 1514 does not ask the question as to whether a territory wants to become independent. 1514 is a “Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples,” and this was the document that within just a few years, gave most of the African and Asian countries its independence. 1541 is entitled “Principles which should guide members in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for under Article 73e of the Charter.” and refers to the obligation that the Administering Powers have in following through with the mandate set out in 1946 in promoting “self-governance.”]]>

3 comments for “Response to K.C. on fifdififdi

  1. Jere Krischel
    May 25, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I ask a simple question -> if having universal suffrage enjoyed by all people 18 and over, and a government that is clearly representative of all the people of Hawaii, both in the executive, legislative and the judiciary, does not qualify as “self-governing,” what does?
    For Pete’s sake, we have a working government, by the people, for the people and of the people in Hawaii, plus 3 congresscritters and the President of the United States. How much more self-governed can you get?

  2. admin
    May 26, 2009 at 1:24 am

    A really good question, that deserves a reasonable answer! “Self-governance” is part-one of a several part mandate. Also the language and meaning of self-governance was changing, and by 1953 (if not earlier) the language became more determinate, hence,”self-determination.” This is a change that the U.S. also voted in favor of, even though there was debate within the State Department over whether or not the US should abstain.
    Other parts of the mandate included education of the process, oversight by the administering powers in accordance with U.N., and emphasis on indigenous peoples.

  3. Jere Krischel
    May 26, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Well, it seems that by any measure, the State of Hawaii has been both “self-governing” and “self-determined” since 1959. But the other parts of the “mandate” seem less like functional differences and more like bureaucracy focused on making sure that the people are voting without being manipulated. I think it can be clearly stated that the people of Hawaii are not under any sort of duress, nor undue influence by any outside actors for the past 50 years, so those minor issues seem quite moot.
    I am, however, disturbed that the entire phrasing of “indigenous peoples.” We are all indigenous to this earth, and everyone in Hawaii came from somewhere else. Determining someone as “indigenous” simply because of a single drop of blood (rather than language, culture, technology, lifestyle and isolation) is simply a proxy for nobility or one-drop rule racism. If we are willing to agree that anyone born in Hawaii is “indigenous” to the islands, perhaps we can get on the same page. However, taking kanaka who have lived in California for generations, and insisting that by simple fact of a fraction of their bloodline they have a greater claim to special privileges in the Hawaiian islands is dangerous and pernicious.
    It seems that we could have another Statehood vote today, and if people were fully educated regarding the tremendous negative consequences of independence from the United States, we’d probably get much more than the 94% vote in favor. Whether or not the U.N. should have jurisdiction over the millions of citizens of the State of Hawaii of course is another question entirely.

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