Isaac V. Figir, F.S.M.'s Speaker, sends out a 25th Independence Message

taken from the FSM Congress Website

A message by

Speaker Isaac V. Figir

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

On behalf of the Seventeenth Congress, let me offer my best wishes to fellow citizens throughout the Federated States of Micronesia and outside of its borders on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the emergence of the FSM as a sovereign nation within the international community.

Twenty five years ago, on November 3, 1986 over two hundred years of domination by foreign powers and decades of United Nations Trusteeship came to an end in our islands. In its place a new nation emerged on the world stage, the independent and self-governing Federated States of Micronesia. No longer the ward of other nations, we as a people would decide on our destiny with the aim to build a new promised land. That promise was enshrined in our Constitution: 􏰀􏰁 we, who have been the wards of other nations, become the proud guardians of our own islands, now and forever.􏰂

􏰁 proud guardians of our own islands, now and forever.



Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Independence November 3, 2011

While twenty five years is but a short moment in world history, it is quite a long time for a human life. During that time span, one generation 􏰃 perhaps the greatest in our history -- has passed. That generation included people like Tosiwo Nakayama, John Mangefel, Andon Amaraich, Resio Moses, Hiroshi Ishmael and Petrus Tun. They, along with few survivors --- Leo Falcam and Bethwel Henry -- should never be forgotten. These great men deserve our eternal gratitude. In FSM, these are giants among men.

These giants envisioned and charted a future in which our people would be able to achieve self-governance. This achievement in our history was made twenty five years ago through a process that was both democratic and peaceful. That alone is an achievement of which we should always be proud, given the terrible struggle and violence many nations encountered as they transitioned forward toward self-governance.

Our Nation was conceived and created through the strong united will of our people and the knowledge of our inherent sovereignty. Our Nation􏰄s sovereign act of self-determination occurred in 1979 with the adoption of the FSM Constitution. The United States immediately began a program of transitioning out its administrative functions under the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement over the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands to the FSM􏰄s newly-constituted government.

Twenty-five years ago, in a historic exercise of our Government􏰄s Constitution authority, we entered into a unique partnership with United States of America expressed in the Compact of Free Association. This Compact, which took effect on November 3, 1986 after fourteen years of negotiations, was and remains today an international treaty between two sovereign nations. It effectively brought an end to the last remaining vestiges of the Trusteeship of the Pacific Islands and it is that sense that we have associated the term, 􏰀independence􏰂 with the event we celebrate here today.

The Compact is essentially a bargain, designed to advance and protect the national self-interest of each of the two parties, the FSM and USA. On its side of

the bargain, the FSM freely delegated to the US the FSM􏰄s governmental responsibility for defense and security, for an indefinite period.

For its part, in addition to protecting the security of the FSM􏰄s territory, the US agreed to support the economic growth and development of the FSM, also for an indefinite period. The US also agreed to provide sector grants, federal programs and other benefits, for twenty years. As you know, the initial grants package was replaced in 2003 by negotiated package of grants and benefits that is to continue until 2023, including a substantial Trust Fund.

As we celebrate the anniversary of our right to govern ourselves, let us also reflect on the tremendous responsibilities that accompany self-governance. We must each review our roles in our communities: as participants, as parents, as elders and as leaders. Let us ask ourselves, what we can do to better ourselves, our communities, our state, and our nation.

I must refer here to one of our most important benefits under the Compact. Twenty-five years ago, at the same time that we became an independent, sovereign nation, we entered into a special partnership with the United States of America through the Compact of Free Association. We entered into that agreement on our own free will. Our citizens received the privilege of residence in the US in order to learn, to be trained and to work. Many of our citizens are doing just that and are now contributing to the economy of our great partner, while acquiring skills and experiences that with be essential to the FSM as we go forward.

In furtherance of that special relationship, many citizens of our country have also put their lives on the line alongside U.S. citizens in a joint effort -- a supreme sacrifice to defend freedom, democracy and the U.S. against attacks, as happened after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Their sacrifice should not be forgotten.

We have done much and there is still much more that remains to be done. Just the same, our history of the 25 years of building democratic institutions and governance, and partnership with the nations of the world is something of which we should be proud. They are notable achievements, and should be the bedrock of our confidence as we face the new challenges of our times.

Thank you and may you enjoy a happy 25th Independence anniversary.