01 June 2015

American Samoa Governor: "Current political status... is neither sustainable nor economically secure" and "lacks... self-governance"

Statement of The Honorable Lolo Matalasi Moliga 
Governor of American Samoa 
delivered by
Talauega Eleasalo Ale 
Attorney General 

United Nations Caribbean Regional Seminar 
on Implementation of the Third International Decade 
for the Eradication of Colonialism 
Managua, Nicaragua
May 19 to 21, 2015 

Mr. Chairman, 
Members of the Committee, 
Ladies and Gentlemen: 
Talofa Lava. 

Thank you for the opportunity to offer this statement on behalf of our Governor, the Honorable Lolo Matalasi Moliga, regarding American Samoa’s experience as a Territory of the United States of America. Overview: 

Under Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter, the administering nations have accepted as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, the well-being of the inhabitants of non-self-governing territories, and to this end, to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses.

And further, under Chapter XI, the administering nations have committed to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of development. 

In my view, much of what Chapter XI encourages has already occurred with respect to American Samoa’s relationship with the United States of America. Indeed, by any measure, our union with the United States has resulted in substantial benefits to the people and government of American Samoa. 

But despite the many benefits of our relationship, it is my firm belief that American Samoa’s current political status as an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States is neither sustainable nor economically secure. Moreover, it lacks appropriate vestiges of self-governance as required by the UN Charter.