Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation To Approve the Compact of Free Association With the Marshall Islands and Micronesia

February 20, 1985

To the Congress of the United States:

There is attached a draft of a Joint Resolution to approve the ``Compact of Free Association,'' the negotiated instrument setting forth the future political relationship between the United States and two political jurisdictions of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

The Compact of Free Association is the result of more than fourteen years of continuous and comprehensive negotiations, spanning the administrations of four Presidents. The transmission of the proposed Joint Resolution today, and Congressional enactment of it, marks the last step in the Compact approval process.

The full text of the Compact is part of the draft Joint Resolution, which I request be introduced, referred to the appropriate committees, and enacted. I also request that the Congress note the agreements subsidiary to the Compact. Also attached is a section-by-section analysis to facilitate your consideration of the Compact.

I originally submitted this same draft Joint Resolution to the 98th Congress on March 30, 1984. Before their adjournment, both Houses held extensive hearings on the Joint Resolution. The Administration stands by the policies it outlined during these hearings and hopes that they will serve to expedite consideration and approval of the Compact in this new Congress.

The defense and land use provisions of the Compact extend indefinitely the right of the United States to foreclose access to the area to third countries for military purposes. These provisions are of great importance to our strategic position in the Pacific and enable us to continue preserving regional security and peace.

Since 1947, the islands of the Trust Territory have been administered by the United States under a Trusteeship Agreement with the United Nations Security Council. This Compact of Free Association with the governments of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia would fulfill our commitment under that Agreement to bring about self-government in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned. Upon termination of the Trusteeship Agreement, another political jurisdiction of the Trust Territory -- the Northern Mariana Islands -- will become a commonwealth of the United States.

The Compact was signed for the United States by Ambassador Fred M. Zeder, II, on October 1, 1982, with the Federated States of Micronesia, and on June 25, 1983, with the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It is the result of negotiations between the United States and broadly representative groups of delegates from the prospective freely associated states.

In 1983, United Nations-observed plebiscites produced high voter participation, and the Compact was approved by impressive majorities. In addition to approval in the plebiscites, the Compact has been approved by the governments of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia in accordance with their constitutional processes.

Enactment of the draft Joint Resolution approving the Compact of Free Association would be a major step leading to the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement with the United Nations Security Council, which the United States entered into by Joint Resolution on July 18, 1947. Therefore, I urge the Congress to approve the Compact of Free Association.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 20, 1985.