Three days to Statehood and it’s time for some self-promotion. Star-Bulletin article came out today, 5 Questions, 50 Answers,” in which Burl Burlingham sat me down on a virtual roundtable with some real luminaries like Gov. Ariyoshi, Federal Judge Sam King, DeSoto Brown, Victoria Kneubuhl, Rocky Jensen, Nanette Napoleon, Dan Boylan, Congresswoman Pat Saiki (no relation) and Rep. Ching. Really quite an honor to be listed among these people.

The other relevant news is that the film that opened the door for the Hawaii Statehood endeavor for me, the Academy for Creative Media’s “State of Aloha” is premiering on PBS on August 27th. I was hired on as the lead historical researcher in 2004, and coincidentally, Nanette Napoleon and Dan Boylan, who were also interviewed in the “5 Questions, 50 Answers,” are credited as “lead archival researcher”, and “writer,” respectively. It should be made clear that “State of Aloha” and this website have remained as independent of each other as possible, especially considering that my wife– Ruth Chon– is also the film editor, and as is true with most documentaries, has probably contributed more to the creation of the film than the three of us combined– but then again– that is my independent viewpoint.

Today’s posting is from Robert C. Hill. Asst. Secretary of State for Congressional Affairs to Claire Engle, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives. Once again, Senator Knowland, makes an appearance here, as he is one of the Senators who gives Hill warm praise in the above Congressional Record, three months after this correspondence was sent.

Again, as in previous posts, I am asserting here, that as much as the push for Statehood was the lobbying efforts of Burns and the Statehood Commission, the process, the real thrust, comes from the State Department, “believing that the granting of Statehood would be favorably regarded by most foreign powers.”

As we have seen in previous postings, Senator Knowland’s request for Hawaii and Alaska be removed from the list of non-self-governing territories was frustrated by the State Department. Because the United States had ratified the UN Charter, it was bound by international law to uphold Chapter XI, which states:

“Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end…”

In part, because of the “cold war” and “national security,” euphemisms for the Marshall Plan and it’s offshoots the ECA (the Economic Cooperation Administration), the fulfillment of Alaska’s and Hawaii’s statehood is paramount for the United States’ promotion of the ECA.

When you consider that the Marshall Plan or the ERP (European Recovery Program) was key to the U.S. dollar becoming the international currency reserve (before the IMF’s monetary reserve was implemented); and couple that with U.S. rebuilding and recovery exports, resulting in an unprecedentedly strong labor force and economic growth in the U.S.; and couple that with the post-colonial destabilization efforts of the new territories seeking independence, you end up with a linked chain, a tripartite agenda that Senator Vandenberg called, “the turning point in history for 100 years to come.”

It’s important to remember that the cold war and national security has much less to do with defense of our borders than with the assertion of our particular brand of capitalism, and as I have tried to show with these documents, Hawaii and Alaska, play a huge role for the United States in what was then, still evolving internationally.

It should also be noted that for Eisenhower, the budget was paramount and one of the reasons why Eisenhower was less supportive of Alaska statehood than Hawaii, was not because Alaska was democrat, as some have suggested, rather it was because he did not see Alaska as having the same economic viability as Hawaii. Hawaii was internationally recognized and had impact as we saw with Pearl Harbor and WWII. For the United States, the fulfillment of Chapter XI was an objective, and the Bureau of the Budget although concerned with avoiding inflation and a recession (due to the economic boom), understood that:

“Recovery was assured and our economy was on the threshold of new zones of growth and expansion. Abroad, the air had so cleared that, instead of looking inward for artificial methods to support declining markets, [sic] we’re able… to widen the convertibility of currencies, looking outward to conditions of increasing freedom for the expansion of world trade,” (1958FRB p.6).

Without the context of Marshall Plan/ERP, U.N. Chapter XI, and destabilization of territories, what does the above quote really mean?  Can Hawaii really play such a strong symbolic role in U.S. foreign relations?

go to original 

Dear Mr. Engle:

I refer to your letter of January 16, 1957, requesting this Department to furnish reports on the following bills, each of which deals with the question of Statehood for Alaska and Hawaii: H.R. 49 H.R. 50 H.R. 339 H.R. 340 H.R.628 H.R. 629 H.R. 848 H.R. 849 H.R.1242 H.R.1243 H.R.1246

The Department of State’s interest in this question is, of course, confined to the effect which the admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union might have on our foreign relations. In a general sense the department believes that the granting of Statehood to these two territories would be favorably regarded by most foreign powers.

As you know, Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter calls upon those members which administer non-self-governing territories to develop self-government in them and to take account of the political aspirations of their peoples. Statehood for Alaska and Hawaii, particularly in view of the concrete expressions of public opinion in its favor in these territories, would seem to constitute a clear example of the development of self-government referred to in the Charter, and as such, should be viewed in a favorable light by the great majority of U.N. members.

The Bureau of Budget, in informing the Department that it has no objection to the submission of this report, has requested that the President’s remarks on this subject in his budget message of January 16, 1957, be brought to your attention. In that message the president said:

“I also recommend the enactment of legislation admitting Hawaii into the Union as a State, and that, subject to area limitations and other safeguards for the conduct of defense activities so vitally necessary to our national security, statehood also be conferred upon Alaska.”

Sincerely Yours
Secretary of State Robert C. Hill
Assistant Secretary

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