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Robert G. Sutter Senior Specialist In International Politics Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division

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Publication Date: December 1997

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 97-1049

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)


The participants in a CRS Seminar on U.S. relations with Pacific Island states and territories came to consensus on several areas.

They are that the U.S. Government bears greatest responsibility for the three U.S. territories (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)), and for the three self-governing states in free association with the United States (the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau). Current issues center on Guam's seeking change in its political status, immigration flows affecting Guam and CNMI, and future funding for U.S. programs in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Seminar participants explained that congressional and other U.S. policymakers have deliberated over Guam's status and immigration issues, and will take up soon the future funding for RMI and FSM, but no final decisions appear imminent.

U.S. Government interest in other Pacific Island states and territories is not always matched by resources. Issues center on how best to channel limited U.S. Government resources to promote a positive U.S. image while supporting regional peace, development and political pluralism. Seminar participants highlighted the difficulties in achieving good results for U.S. policy in an atmosphere of constrained U.S. Government funding.