Assigning credit where credit is due, I am obliged to give Mr. Conklin his due for the development of a story based on correspondences between the U.N., the Department of State and the U.S. Congress that I’ve been discussing regarding Hawaii’s plebiscite and its controversial removal from the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
In my earlier posting of the “Statehood Plebiscite,” I asserted that rather than the traditional story of how 94% of the voters voted for statehood, an alternative approach towards those numbers indicates that only 35% of eligible voters “actively sought statehood.”
In the outline, I suggested that the 1959 Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, and the Fourth Committee in charge of Non-Self-Governing Territories ignored Hawaii’s statistical data, submitted as a condition of being listed as a NSGT mandated by Chapter XI, Article 73e of the the U.N. Charter. Similar submitted data revealing demographic statistics was applied to the removal of South Africa and was rejected by the Fourth Committee and Trygvie Lie, the U.N. Secretary-General in 1949. Ten years later, in 1959, the U.N., neglecting Hawaii’s plebiscite data allowed for the removal of Hawaii from the list and suggests collaboration with the U.S. This neglect also disregards UNGAR 742, “Factors which should be taken into account in deciding whether a territory is or is not a territory whose people haven not yet attained a full measure of self government (1953).
Through key correspondence between the UN, the State Department and the Senate, specifically, between Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Francis O. Wilcox (International Organization), and Senator Knowland in 1954, but also through Arnold V. Kunst (Acting Director, Division of Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories, United Nations), Bolard More (Office of Dependent Area Affairs, Department of State, United States Mission to the United Nations, and others) another picture of Hawaii’s statehood process emerges.
What is revealed through State Department records and Congressional testimony is that during the meetings at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco, Hawaii and Alaska were placed on a list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. This was before the United Nations had been formalized and before the election of a U.N. Secretary-General. Instead, presiding over those meetings were U.S. Secretaries of State Cordell Hull and Edward Stettenius. What we are told by Sen. Vandenberg, one of the senators observing these international discussions, is that Hawaii and Alaska were listed as “incorporated” territories, rather than “unincorporated” territories, territories that were in process of becoming states and held in different status from Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and at the time, Panama Canal Zone. The reason Hawaii and Alaska were listed was as a sign of good faith, according to John Foster Dulles, and was to show the other member nations that the United States was serious to set the example for decolonization.
The problem as described in the previous article, is that the United Nations never recognized a difference between “incorporated” and “unincorporated” territories, hence the controversy that has arisen. Also of note, is that of the seven U.S. territories listed for decolonization, Puerto Rico was the only U.S. territory as having been properly removed from the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Also, out of the 72 countries listed total, more than 60 have attained independence through the United Nations decolonization process, a stark contradiction to the good example the United States had originally set out to demonstrate.
The plebiscite vote and the reading of the data simply shows two approaches toward the use of direct democracy: One being the value in which the state would ensure the greatest effect by calling for a 94% landslide victory; the other being the value in which the United Nations sought to ensure that the majority of an indigenous population participated and was properly represented.
Although there is no smoking gun proving direct collaboration between the U.S. and the U.N. in regard for its predetermined removal from the NSGT list, and no direct conversation between Henry Cabot Lodge, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and Dag Hammarskjold, there is at least enough correspondence to suggest that the process of Hawaii’s removal was predetermined as far back as 1944. This does not seek to offer a legal dismissal of Hawaii’s claims towards decolonization, only an attempted explanation as to why there had been no discussion by the United Nations over the misrepresenting data of Hawaii’s 1959 plebiscite.