War reparations to Guam from the US? Why?

I was reading the following CNN article on the democratic caucuses in Guam and the article mentioned the following at the end (bolding mine):

Huh? Did I miss something? Did we do something bad to Guamanians? I thought we liberated them from the Japanese so if anything the Japanese should pay up (assuming they haven’t).

Maybe I missed something in my history classes. Anyone have a clue about this?

Probably a stupid question, but aren’t war reparations paid out when you lose a war?

From what little I’ve seen from Googling, this is based on the stalled “Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act,” paying Guam’s WW2 survivors/families for resisting the Japanese. Some sides characterize it as war reparations (criticizing this act for the reasons mentioned above, why should the US pay for what Japan did?), others characterize it as a memorial gift of thanks, and (presumably others) as a bribe for political gain.

Maybe Japanese reparations which were meant to compensate the damages on Guam were collected by the U.S. as the power taking care of Guam’s external affairs. An increasing degree of Guamanians would mean they’d be allowed to administer these funds themselves. That could explain why Guamanians might demand the U.S. to forward monies received from Japan to them.

This is, however, just a WAG.

No I don’t think that is it. re Article XIV. To net it out, the signers of the treaty agreed that Japan would turn over specified assets to the Allied Powers, and that all further claims against Japan would be waived. Anything Guam had coming from Japan it would have gotten by ~1950. So Guamians, who had been part of the U.S. since 1898 until they were invaded by Japan 12/08/41 cannot claim compensation for losses from Japan.

Why did we do that? Because the world learned from the the disaster of the Treaty of Versailles that massive war reparations tended to have unintended consequences.

Steny Hoyer of MD who introduced this Bill would tell you the US signed away Guam’s rights for compensation from the Japanese and should pay up. Republicans would tell you this bill (that does all the above in the OP besides the money) is a Democratic trick to cage a few more votes in Congress & for President from the Island (which actually is kind of a 50-50 Rep./Dem. split last election).

That’s not what Article XIV of the Treaty you link to says, at least in my interpretation of the text. Article XIV regulates the confiscation of Japanese assets to the Allied Powers and says, right at the end, that “the Allied Powers waive all reparations claims of the Allied Powers;” but this just applies “[e]xcept as otherwise provided in the present Treaty.” Paragraph 1 of Article XIV stipulates that Japan will enter into negotiations with Allied Powers to conclude special arrangements regulating the details of reparations, which, I think, can be taken as a clause providing otherwise. According to Wiki, Japan did conclude such particular treaties with newly independent countries which had been under Allied jurisdiction before the war (although, admittedly, there was apparently no such reparations agreement with the U.S.). The last payments under these treaties were made in the 1970s.

It’s a territory, though, so they don’t have a voting member of Congress and can’t vote for President.

And they don’t have a star on the flag, as far as I can tell. If Hawaii and Alaska can be states, why can’t Guam or Puerto Rico? Because it would mess up the flag.

AFAIK Puerto Rico would be admitted as a state if it chose so, but the population of the island declined this in several referenda, the last of which was held in 1998, allegedly because their current status as a territory (“commonwealth”) gives them tax advantages.

I’m sure they would find a way to accomodate additional stars on the flag if necessary.

My reading of the New Republic and other Right Wing folk is that there is a perceived Democratic (party) move afoot to change this for alot of territories. This Guam move by Democratic Majority Leader Hoyer is the latest battlefield that this playing out in. So I think saying:
Republicans would tell you this bill (that does all the above in the OP besides the money) is a Democratic trick to cage a few more votes in Congress & for President from the Island. Is GQ, but I should have expanded with all the above and noted that the GOP is afraid that is what is ultimately behind this … as the way I wrote that made it sound like that was a current ongoing concern like the votes from Rhode Island- that was wrong.
OK Schnitte to your second post. I think it still refutes the idea in your first post that the US has collected Japanese money meant for Guam and is somehow holding them & now in 2008 we are fighting over dishing them out - Yeah?

Sure, since the U.S. apparently never demanded reparations from Japan. I just wanted to set straight the generalization that after the war, all was settled with the confiscations.

I didn’t know about the tax advantage (though my uncle operates a paving business there), but I did know about the referendum. Still, if the population chose to be a state would the folks in Washington grant them that status automatically? I really wonder.

I’m not so sure. Where exactly would you put the extra star?

Puerto Ricans do not pay federal income tax (cite), but there is a territorial income tax in Puerto Rico, comparable to state income taxes on the continental U.S.

With regards to the flag, Flags of the World features two different designs for 51-star banners. I don’t know about the official status of these designs (edit: Wiki says the top one on the FOTW page I linked to is the proposal of the Army’s Institute of Heraldry), but the top one on the page looks cute.

My (former) brother-in-law is Puerto Rican and he told me Puerto Rico is divided into thirds on this subject. Roughly 1/3 wants statehood, 1/3 wants to keep things as they are now and 1/3 wants independence.

What the US government would do I am not sure but from talking to my in-law it sounded like Congress would start working towards whatever the Puerto Ricans chose if they themselves can ever sort it out.

Not automatically – it takes an act of Congress to do so, but the general feeling seems to be in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico, especially as the main statehood party (The New Progressive Party, which controls both houses of the Puerto Rican legislature) is viewed favorably by many Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

The US Army Institute of Heraldry is on the case.

Statehood for Guam? (Any form of voting representation in Congress would be de facto statehood, so let’s not get caught up in semantic bickering.)

To the prospect of statehood for Guam, I say: Dream on. Let’s put this in perspective. According to Wikipedia, Guam has a population of about 173,000 people, and an area of 209 mi[sup]2[/sup]. For comparison, Wyoming has a current estimated population of about 509,000, while Rhode Island measures in at 1545 mi[sup]2[/sup].

So, they’re proposing representation for a territory with 1/3 the population of our least-populous state, and 1/7 the size of our smallest state :dubious:

I say it’s just a cheap ploy to gain another delegate or two in the Democratic primary, and once the primaries are over they’ll forget that Guam even exists.

Okay, but while we’re bickering semantically, why should Hawaii be a state and not Guam? Why not the Marshall Islands? For that matter, why doesn’t the U.S. just sell Alaska on ebay? (It could probably fetch a good price–Oh, sorry, I forgot about the oil and timber. And the cruise ships.)

Actually, we could sell Rhode Island to the Canadians (nothing ever happens in Rhode Island) and make Puerto Rico a State. Puerto Rico has good music.

Just to continue this idea (although I got that you intended it as a joke): Isn’t there a clause in the U.S. Constitution providing that no state may be deprived of equal representation in the Senate without its consent? If yes, then I’d say that selling a state to a foreign power would not be possible without that state’s consent, since the state would lose its Senators when it ceases to be a state. So, selling a state is clearly more difficult than selling a territory.

Besides, there are things going on in Rhode Island. I took an Amtrak train from Boston to New York once, and it passed through Providence.

For those who think that Guam is too small to become a state: What about merging Guam with other Pacific territories? American Samoa, the Marianas and the rather recently independent Marshall and Solomon Islands come to mind. Combined, they might be big enough to deserve statehood, although admittedly tegh new state’s territory would be rather widespread.

[nitpick]It’s because by the time of the San Francisco Peace Conference the Cold War had started and we wanted a strong Japan to serve as our ally in the Pacific. Before the fall of China to the Communists we were quite harsh in our attitude towards the Japanese re: reparations.[/nitpick]


Your BIL must excuse me, but that tends to not be reflected whan it’s counted – polls, elections and referenda show us split >45% statehood, >45% commonwealth, <10% independence. Now, sure, there is a highly plausible theory that there is a huge “stealth” independence movement arrived at by adding people who don’t vote or answer polls (which requires assuming they are many and overwhelmingly proindep) plus a large part of the pro-commonwealth party’s voters who’d be assumed to be “really independence sympathizers, but not ready for it just yet, so they vote this way to be anti-statehood”, but I am :dubious: if that would cause a 33/33/33 split.

But yes, the usual answer from Congress is “first you guys get your act together, then we sit down to negotiate”. Which is quite reasonable. Go tell that to out local politicos…

BTW, all three votes “on statehood” in PR (1967, 1993, 1998) have been 3-or-more-way choices (not up-n-down) under local initiatives advanced by the incumbent administrations to whip up support. The last one in '98 was even actually won by “none of the above”!