Why the US Ambassador to the FSM should not interfere in the Chuukese independence process:

By Sabino Asor

The Amended FSM-US Compact of Free Association is supposed to be built on mutual respect for the sovereignty of the compacting parties. The Amended Compact was signed on the ambassadorial level between the two nations. NOWHERE in the Compact does it allow the ambassador of either county to go into the other country to directly and personally participate in the local political process to influence the outcome of a local election or plebiscite.

The current US Ambassador to the FSM, HE Ambassador Riley, has recently distributed a video program in which he personally talks about the Chuuk Independence Movement, discouraging the Chuukese voters from supporting Chuuk's Independence Movement and stating that the United States may not be willing to enter into a separate Compact of Free Association with an Independent Chuuk Nation. Admittedly, a separate Compact with the US is one stated goal of the Chuuk Independence Movement, primarily to secure the privilege of the Chuukese/FSM citizens currently residing in the US jurisdictions by virtue of the existing Amended Compact. Ambassador Riley is now distributing his political video to the Chuukese internet audience and is scheduled to hold a meeting on July 18 at the Chuuk High School with interested Chuukese voters. Ambassador Riley claims his program is some sort of public service education program to share pertinent information with the Chuukese voters on their Independence Movement.

Apparently, the Ambassador believes the Chuuk State Government must have made an ill-informed decision in creating the Chuuk State Political Status Commission and its subsequent endorsement of the Commission's recommendation for Chuuk State to pursue political independence from the FSM consequent to the difficult experience within the FSM constitutional federation and to the scheduled termination of US Compact financial assistance in 2023. The Ambassador uses the threat of likely interruption of Compact assistance to the Chuukese people, including interruption or termination of the privilege for citizens to live and work in the US a reason for the Chuukese people not to support their state's official decision to pursue Independence from the FSM. OBVIOUSLY THE US AMBASSADOR'S ACTION IS CALCULATED OR INTENDED TO INFLUENCE THE CHUUKESE VOTERS' INCLINATIONS OR VIEWS BEFORE THE SCHEDULED PLEBISCITE IN MARCH, 2019.

The American Government, of which Ambassador Riley is the official personification in the FSM, calls the alleged Russian meddling in the recent US presidential election "a violation of American democratic sovereignty." They even hire a former FBI Director as special prosecutor and spend millions of dollars investigating the allegations. The entire world community agrees with the American indignant reaction. Even the Russians themselves deny the accusation, thereby admitting to the international norm against meddling in a sovereign nation's local political process.

What then, are we to make of the US Ambassador's action in conducting his own public campaign for the purpose of discouraging the Chuukese people from supporting their freely elected state government's official program to pursue separation from the FSM?? The Ambassador in his video remarks, does not even try to understand the underlying reasons for the Chuuk State Independence Movement. He simply claims that the current Compact arrangement between his country and the FSM or Micronesian entities is the best sort of arrangement there can ever be considering all the historical, social, economic and security circumstances surrounding the special relationship between the United States and the former Trust Territory or Micronesian islands.

It probably is not very nice to confront the US Ambassador with the many anomalies in the history of American colonialism in the Micronesian islands leading up to his lauded Compact relationship. But it is probably to his benefit to refresh his memory on why even some notable Americans like former US Ambassador to the UN, HE Donald McHenry, called the current Compact relationship "the culmination of A TRUST BETRAYED." It is in fact sad and insulting for Ambassador Reily or any other official American dealing with the Micronesian people to call the Compact relationships "the best there can ever be" considering the "Long and Winding Road" history of US colonialism in Micronesia and the current JEMCO micro-management of the current Amended Compact, all of which confirm such views like Ambassador McHenry or that of the former Press Officer to the Micronesian Compact Negotiation Committee, Paul Frederick Kluge, who, in his "The Edge of Paradise," considered the Compact Relationship "some kind of an indefinite postponement of the American obligation to develop the Micronesian islands to a real economic sustainable level."

Ambassador Reily does not really need to remind people that one of the foundations of the Compact Relationship is the American need to control the Micronesian Archipelago for military purposes. We understand that since the 1948 formative meetings of the United Nations in San Francisco, where US military strategists insisted that the Micronesian islands be labelled as a "strategic trust territory' to enable the Administering Americans utilize the islands for military uses, despite the fact that the US did not fight bloody wars in all of the Micronesian islands except for Peleliu, Kwajelein and Saipan and found Tinian an ideal bombers base from which to bomb Japanese cities. (In the case of Chuuk, according to the available history of Operation Hailstorm, the American fleet was simply hovering 100 miles outside the Chuuk Lagoon, between the Halls Islands and Nama island to receive much damage other than 36 planes shot down over the Lagoon to the Japanese 284 planes and 4o some ships destroyed).

If Ambassador Riley and anybody should really know, the Compact privilege to enter and live in the US is not really something to be proud of and used in a public campaign against the Chuuk Independence Movement because, for one thing, it is part of the failure of the Administering American Government's original obligations to develop the islands to a sustainable level as Mr Kluge and Ambassador McHenry observed. A more sinister reason is that the privilege is in fact the implementation of the controversial Americans' "Solomon Report" and "Nathan and Associates" reports of the 1960s, both of which reports recommended that "to achieve American strategic interests in Micronesia, the US would have to destroy Micronesian societies and cultures, move the islanders to the urban centers or to the US, to make them permanently dependent on American assistance, and secured permanent American strategic control over the region." Confirmation of the two reports' awful recommendation came during Compact negotiations were underway and some of the American negotiators were rather sympathetic to the Micronesians' unwillingness to agree to part from their islands to allow US military uses of the islands. That infuriated Ambassador Riley's former boss then at State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, (himself a descendant of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany), who reportedly exploded: "There are only 90,000 Micronesians out there, who gives a damn!"

We would like to believe that Ambassador Riley would give a little damn about the sovereignty of the islanders than his former State Department boss, We already gave Ambassador Riley's Deputy Chief of Mission and the Hawaii State senator, Mr Kalani English, who also interviewed members of the Chuuk Political Status Commission, assurances that the Chuuk Independence Movement is simply an attempted remedy for the inadequacies and inequities under the FSM constitutional federation and is equally based on Benjamin Franklyn's "self evident truths...one of which is that all people are ordained with certain inalienable rights...to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We definitely ask Ambassador Riley not to use the authority and prestige of his Government to undermine the Chuukese people's sovereign right to provide for their perpetual survival as a people.