Four of the six districts of Micronesia have voted in favor of a new constitution, enough to assure creation of a new federation of semi-independent states in the islands governed as a United States trust territory since 1947.
The other two districts rejected the constitution, but in one of them, Palau, a court test of the referendum alleging election fraud is likely, according to American sources.
A referendum on the constitution was held July 12 but the final results were not reported until yesterday. About two-thirds of the 43,208 Micronesians who voted favored the constitution.
As expected, the four central districts of the Caroline Islands - Yap, Truk, Ponape and Kosrae - voted for the new constitution.
Both Palau, in the eastern Carolines, and the Marshall Islands districts rejected it, expressing a willingness to seek separate status outside the federation.
U.S. sources in Saipan said the referendum results in Palau may be challenged in court by the pro-constitution forces, who allege fraud was committed by separatist forces.
One charge, the sources said, is likely to be that 750 ballots were missing at the final count. The latest results from Palay showed that the margin rejecting the constitution was about 600 votes.
Micronesia comprises the Carolines and Marshalls. Marianas have split off.
A United Nations mission that supervised the election has requested the trust territory's referendum board to look into the charges made in Palau.
The new constitution would guarantee the island nation's right to control its own internation affairs. The exact future status is to be negotiated later this year.
Under an agreement signed in Hilo, Hawaii, by the United States and representatives of the districts, Micronesia would cede authority in all security and defense matters to the United States for at least 15 years.
American economic aid, which already largely supports the islands, would continue unless the new political status, called "free association," is terminated by the Micronesians.
If Palay and the Marshalls separate from the rest of Micronesia, they are expected to negotiate separate agreements with the United States and would probably enter into commonwealth status or something similar to it. One part of Micronesia, the Marianas, already has split off and is moving toward commonwealth status.
The United States proposed in 1970 that all of Micronesia become permanently affiliated with the United States as a commonwealth, but that concept was rejected by the congress of Micronesia. In 1972, the United States gave up the idea of a unified Micronesia and negotiated separately with the Marianas.
The referendum came after centuries of rule by foreign powers. Controlled successively by Spain, Germany and Japan, they were handed over to the United States by the United Nations after World War II. ng anything."
"The blast left in the hole plutonium in which larger quantities than in Narda Devi. God knows what may happen and how much danger it poses," Desai said.
He referred to a nuclear-powered spy device that lies buried about 500 feetbelow the summit of 5,645-foot Mt. Nanda Devi, in the Himalayas.
The device was placed by a U.S.-Indian expedition in 1966 to detect Chinese nuclear facilities across the border in Tibet, but was lost later in an avalanche.