Changing Status of Micronesia

Archive Report

Issues Over Status of the Islands

Approaching Decisions on Ending U.S. Trusteeship

America may soon acquire its first new territory in half a century.1 On Feb. 15, representatives of the remote Mariana Islands signed a covenant with the United States setting down the terms by which they hope to become an American commonwealth. If approved by the islanders in a plebiscite on June 17, and subsequently by the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, the covenant will create a new group of American citizens. It will also create new long-term financial and military commitments for the United States in the Western Pacific.

The fate of these small islands—fewer than 15,000 inhabitants live on 183.5 square miles of land—promises to raise large issues. The agreement with the Marianas ...

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