Preserving the Compact of Free Association for Chuuk Against the Secessionists Movement

Emanuel “Manny” Mori“

Chuuk for Unity” Group

I present my warm greetings to the people of Chuuk, both at home and afar.  Chuuk is presently mooring at port bent on launching a voyage to secede from the Federated States of Micronesia. Without alternate Compact-like partnership and unique arrangement for comprehensive cooperation, this secession movement could sail us headlong into an ocean of great turbulence and enormous hardship, raising the credibility of the future government of Chuuk. 

I refer here to the idea of: (1) severing of our friendship and leaving the Federated States of Micronesia, and (2) destabilizing the harmony and partnership with the people of the United States of America.  After all, this is what, in my view, Secession boils down to – a voyage of self-destruction for ourselves, the people of Chuuk.  For years, I have labored intensely to avert this voyage of self-destruction.  Even after leaving office, the interests and welfare of the people of Chuuk – our children and the children of their children – continue to be uppermost on my mind and deep in my heart.  I must not give up on them.

I have said what I had to say about this menace in our midst called Secession.  It is not my intention to hurt the feelings of those holding views contrary to mine and like-minded Chuukese.  My ultimate obligation is our children – not to leave behind for them a world of misfortune.  It is definitely not a legacy that my family and I wish to leave behind.

The United States Government in the person of its resident Ambassador, Robert Riley, has just released a videoed statement.  The purpose of the Ambassador’s statement is to clarify the position of the US in regard to the Compact, and that is not to interfere in the internal political processes of Chuuk but to clarify US position in relation to the Compact of Free Association. Chuuk’s desire is to secede from the federation and to enter into a new Compact with the US.  The US does not wish to establish a different Compact with Chuuk.  The Compact is purposefully designed to maintain a special relationship between the US and the FSM and the US, inclusive of Chuuk. The FSM and the US do have comprehensive and unique relationship, as Ambassador Riley pointed out in his videoed statement, in his meetings with Chuuk Leaders and the general public.

The Ambassador’s videoed remarks, including his subsequent “town hall meeting comments at Chuuk High School on 18 July were not just chitchat, but based on US policy position. Most likely they are a concerted production involving the State Department, the Department of Interior, the Pentagon and the Pacific Command, among others. To me, whether one is in favor or is opposed to the Chuuk’s Secessionist Movement, we should await to cast our votes on the question in January, or March 2019 in accordance with set legal process.  The voters of Chuuk must make an informed choice and clarification must be made about the “permanency” of such choice. 

I  shall share with you, my fellow Chuukese, the important points reflecting Ambassador Riley’s statements in light of the Compact of Free Association as perceived by the US.   They are:

  • Under the immigration provisions of the Compact between the US and the FSM, the FSM citizens, including those from Chuuk, are free to reside, go to school, and work in the US. Once the desire to secede prevails at the polls, the validity of the FSM passports held by the Chuukese people ceases.   This means that the approximately 30,000  Chuukese in the US and in the American Armed Forces, will be deported from the US. What shall we do for our people left stranded in the US?
  • In light of the reiteration by the US Government, the Compact is between the US and the FSM, inclusive of all the four states. Chuuk’s withdrawal from the Cmpact is tantamount to forfeiting its eligibility for Compact sectoral grant assistance.  Does the Republic of Chuuk or any other country, other than the US, have the absorptive capacity to make up for the gigantic loss of assistance?  I have spoken long and hard about this plaque.  Getting out of the Compact and leaving the FSM are a suicidal act of juvenile impulsivity!
  • The US federal programs and technical assistance schemes extended to the FSM are an immense support to all, including Chuuk. Will the Chuuk Republic have the wherewithal to provide assistance to families in times of natural disaster, for instance?  Will Chuuk have the means to buy out the FSM Government from the College of Micronesia or the FSM Telecom? 
  • The FSM Compact Trust Fund was intended as a “safety net” once the well of annual grant assistance was dried up. By seceding, Chuuk has forfeited itself from this possible source of support.
  • While the center of emphasis and technologies of national defense and security may shift from time to time, the imperative simply does not disappear in the middle of a sound moon-lit night. At least some semblance of it must be preserved.  Will the Republic of Chuuk continue to remain under the American defense umbrella?  Inasmuch as we do not wish to ask, we must ask:  if it seems that its security is at stake, will the US simply stand up and leave?

I appeal to you again, my fellow Chuukese, to put aside your partisan politics and to put above everything else the welfare of our children and future generations. I also call upon the leaders of Chuuk to avert us from this voyage of self-destruction and steer us back to our Promised Land.