Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
There are a lot of little islands in the South Pacific that, when combined, make up a lot of potential U.S. property.
And there are a lot of little squabbles within these islands that, combined, make up a lot of potential U.S. problems.
The islands: Micronesia. The problem: their status.
And Tuesday night, representatives from these islands threw a little party at the Cannon House Office Building to bring together some "stateside" people and some island people."
The occasion: the 12th anniversary of the Micronesian Congress.
The mood of the party was festive, with a huge spread of Polynesian food and American drink. But there was a serious undertone to the affair. There had to be because, well, frankly, the Micronesians are having a little difficulty being treated seriously.
Ever since World War II, this group of islands has been under an American trusteeship, its citizens being American citizens. The military basically ruled the islands, monopolizing the harbors and fertile land for its own use for "national security" reasons.
In 1947, the United Nations deemed the Micronesian islands, all 2,141 of them, part of a U.S. Trust Territory. Basically, the United States was allowed to have military bases on the islands it they provided some medical and educational benefits.
But now, Micornesia wants to formalize its relationship with the United States. And one of its first steps was the creation eight months ago of a Washington office and a Micronesian liaison.
"As a group, the Micronesian islands are in limbo." said liaison Leo Falcam. "The Mariana Islands have elected to become closer connected with American, the Palau Islands also are leaning that way, and the Marshall Islands are taking about complete independent from the United States and the rest of the islands!"
"Guam is in somewhat different situation be because we have always thought of the United States as a god father said Perez a nature of Guam. "But in the rest of Micronesia [TEXT ILLEGIBLE] go home!
"We like many things that are American, but we don't want the American culture crammed down our throats," Perez, a civilian employee for the Army here, said.
His wife, Maria, nodded agreement. "In many ways, it is a sin to push it on people, to clothe them in American styles," she said. "What do people on the islands care for that?"