Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

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Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: September 15, 1980

Military Service for Citizens of the Northern Mariana Islands
Statement on Signing H.R. 4627 Into Law.
September 15, 1980

I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 4627, which will permit the people of the NorthernMariana Islands to enlist in our Armed Forces.

In approving the Covenant to establish their Commonwealth, the people of the Northern Mariana Islands freely and overwhelmingly chose to become Americans. They will become United States citizens when the Covenant takes effect upon termination of the Pacific Islands Trusteeship Agreement. Until that time, however, they are effectively blocked from military service.

The inability to serve their Nation during this period has been a source of severe disappointment to many young people in the Islands. This bill rectifies that situation by giving them the right to enlist during the remaining period of trusteeship.

I want to congratulate Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., and Delegate Antonio B. Won Pat for guiding H.R. 4627 through the Congress. This new law is a symbol of the permanent political union between the United States and the Northern Mariana Islands. That it was enacted at the request of the people of the Islands, through Governor Carlos S. Camacho and Representative Edward DLG. Pangelinan, is a testament to the loyalty of the newest members of the American political family.

NOTE: As enacted, H.R. 4627 is Public Law 96-351, approved September 15.

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