In January 1980, Delegate Antonio Borja Won Pat of Guam, Chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Pacific Affairs, participated in a congressional delegation to Micronesia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The purpose of the trip was to investigate the management of Pacific territories by the United States. This letter from Won Pat to Congressman Morris Udall, Chairman of the full committee, briefly describes the trip and promises a full account in a forthcoming report.
Originally a colony of Spain, then Germany, and finally Japan, the Northern Mariana Islands became the responsibility of the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, authorized by the United Nations following World War II. In the mid-1970s, citizens of the Northern Marianas voted to establish commonwealth status with the United States, eventually drafting a constitution and electing a governor by the end of the decade. The United Nations trusteeship was dissolved in 1986 and in 2008 the Northern Mariana Islands elected its first Delegate to Congress.