Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Mr. ABBOTT. One other question. When the Congress reconvenes in January there will be before the subcommittee, which Mr. O'Brien heads, for at least 12 consecutive sessions of Congress, the last 6 Congresses, legislation proposing statehood for the Territory of Alaska, whether joint legislation for the Territory of Alaska and Hawaii or separate bills for one at a time. Åre ou in a position to state as the Alaska Command commanding general what the effect of statehood would be on the Territory of Alaska? Are you entitled to have a position on statehood for Alaska?

General ATKINSON. Well, I suppose I could have a personal position on it. I don't know that I am entitled to have any official position on it. As a matter of fact, I have purposely not formed any real opinion about the merits of statehood versus Territory for Alaska. As a military commander, I feel that the question is completely out of my field. Since it is a controversial one and I have to live here, I would like to stay out of it.

Mr. ABBOTT. One of your rather distinguished predecessors, General Twining, I believe, stated when asked the same question sometime back, that in his personal view-and I believe he made it clear it was a personal view-he could not believe that statehood would harm the military department in the Territory of Alaska but that, if statehood presumes greater stability in the area and perhaps a stabilizing of the economy, then surely that would complement the military situation.

(Discussion off the record.)

Mr. ABBOTT. I believe it is understood that sourdough or no, you would prefer not to state an opinion, even though it might be a personal opinion.

General ATKINSON. I would prefer not to.

Mr. O'BRIEN. Gentlemen, I think we all feel you have been very kind and patient and helped us a great deal in our inquiry up here. I personally have no further questions. You have answered a great many which were in my mind. But if any of the other members have any questions, they may proceed.

Mrs. PFOST. I have no questions.

Mr. UTT. I have no questions. I do want to say that Colonel Libby has been very solicitous of our welfare.

Mr. ABBOTT. I might say, General, I am sure the people at my level sincerely appreciate it, and perhaps we get a little better opportunity to observe some of your junior officers. You have a group of people who have markedly high morale, which must reflect on your commanding ability. While we usually in offshore areas are either at the mercy or are guests of some arm of the Defense Department, I think we have rarely had the assistance and cooperation we have had thus far on the trip, plus one takeoff excellently completed, which I am sure none of us will ever forget.

General ATKINSON. I certainly am glad you could come up with us. Mr. O'BRIEN. The meeting is adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 3:50 p. m., the subcommittee adjourned to reconvene at the call of the Chair.)

ALASKA, 1955

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1955

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRITORIAL AND INSULAR AFFAIRS
OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,

Anchorage, Alaska.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a. m., in the public library, Hon. Leo W. O'Brien (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. O'BRIEN. The hearing will come to order.

Is Mr. White here?

Mr. WHITE. Yes.

Mr. O'BRIEN. Mr. White, would you state your full name and organization for the official record?

STATEMENT OF BARRIE WHITE, PRESIDENT, OPERATION STATEHOOD, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

[ocr errors]

Mr. WHITE. My name is Barrie White. I was born in upstate New York and grew up around Boston, Mass.

Mr. O'BRIEN. What part of the State of New York?
Mr. WHITE. Little Falls.

Mr. O'BRIEN. My neighborhood.

Mr. WHITE. I am a graduate of Harvard University. My wife and I have lived in Anchorage, Alaska, for 8 years. We have two Alaskan-born children and have built our permanent home and intend to stay here. I am here to represent Operation Statehood, of which I am president. Operation Statehood was formed 2 years ago, immediately after the statehood hearings conducted here by the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Subcommittee under the chairmanship of Senator Butler. It began with half a dozen private citizens sitting around a living room in the evening, discussing their frustration at being able to do so little to obtain statehood, and has grown to provide an outlet and a forum for citizens in all walks of life. in their undaunted quest for statehood. We are still informal, nonpartisan; our funds are derived from nominal dues and small voluntary contributions. I suppose we must be classified as a pressure group, but it is the kind of pressure group I am proud to be a member of.

Very few of us are experts in government, in finance, in law, in resource development. We'll leave that testimony to others.

But here is what we do know:

We know that Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867, and that article III of the treaty of purchase said this:

The inhabitants of the ceded territory, according to their choice, reserving their natural allegiance, may return to Russia within 3 years; but if they should prefer to remain in the ceded territory they shall be admitted to the enjoyment of all

the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States, and shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion.

We know that very slowly and painstakingly progress was made, that late in the century Alaska got an organic act, that early in the 1900's a series of decisions by the Supreme Court culminated in a definition of Alaska's status as an incorporated Territory, that beginning in 1912 Alaska was allowed to elect a Delegate to Congress, and that in 1916 the first Alaska statehood bill was introduced.

We also know that none of these things, singly or collectively, have redeemed that pledge made in the treaty of purchase.

We know that no future other than statehood was ever intended for an incorporated territory, that the territorial form of government is at best temporary and inadequate, that all other territories save Hawaii have long since been admitted to statehood. We know that Alaska has fulfilled the requirements set forth in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 for the admittance of territories to statehood; that Alaska has greater resources and population than had most of the present States upon admission.

We know that Alaskans, upon whom the responsibility and financ-ing of statehood will fall, are eager and competent to assume that responsibility. We know that they testified 10 to 1 for statehood when the Senate committee was here in 1953. We know that one Territorial legislature after another has memorialized unanimously for statehood. These are the elected representatives of the people.

Every congressional committee that has ever reported on Alaska statehood has reported favorably. Both the Republican and Democratic Party platforms endorse statehood for Alaska. For years oneGallup poll after another has shown overwhelming public opinion favoring statehood for Alaska-the latest showed 82 percent of the American people in favor, with only 7 percent opposed. The national press is virtually unanimously favorable, joined with many national magazines such as Collier's and Fortune. Nearly every reputable national organization has again and again and again asked for Alaskan statehood. These include: The American Legion, the National Grange, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Professional Women's Clubs, the A. F. of L., the CIO, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, the General Conference of the Methodist Church, the Kiwanis Club, Attorneys General Association, Lions. International. The list is endless.

We can experience in our own lives, observe with our own eyes what happens or doesn't happen-without statehood. It may sound trite and emotional to some people, but believe me, old phrases like taxation and conscription without representation have real everyday meaning for Alaskans. I can remember clearly the day during spring vacation when I was in high school and my daddy said to me, "It's time you learned something about your Government. We're going to Washington." So we went, and we met our Representative and our Senators. We sat in the galleries and listened to the debates. We went to the White House, the Library of Congress, to the Supreme Court, and I learned, and I began to get a sense of participation and a sense of history. Now I've got children of my own, and I'd like someone to tell me what I'm going to tell them as they grow up.

On the more practical side, we can see very well the impossible job our able Delegate has in Washington without full voting representation in both Houses of Congress. We can see the delay, waste, inefficiency and inaction resulting from a jungle of redtape and the distance between the governing agencies and the governed. We see Alaska left out of national programs in which it would automatically participate as a State. We see programs for development delayed or hamstrung. Many of us have entertained potential investors from the States in our homes who feel that only statehood can create the atmosphere and sense of permanence they need to make long-range plans.

We are sometimes told there are "problems" in connection with statehood. Well, we know this too, only up here we call them opportunities. The problems get worse, the opportunities go unrealized as a result of not having statehood. While we know that statehood is not a cure-all, we also know that only statehood will give us the tools we need to solve the "problems" or make the most of the opportunities.

The important point is that the solution of these problems, the realization of these opportunities, in other words, the development of Alaska through statehood is a must for the Nation.

No one gains by keeping a potentially rich and productive country in a deep freeze. The Nation's defense and its expanding economy require the full utilization of Alaska's resources of oil, minerals, the forests and the seas. Its rapidly expanding population will need new horizons.

Scandinavia and Finland, with similar latitude, climate and terrain, maintain a high standard of living for 13 million people in an area two-thirds the size of Alaska.

For many years military leaders both in Alaska and Washington bave been advocates of statehood. Why? Because they know the most easily defended country is a well-developed country, with local industry, a stable population, good communication and transportation facilities.

And self-government and development of Alaska through statehood would relieve Congress of many of its problems. There may be bureaucrats who want to preserve the status quo, but it is axiomatic that reduction of bureaucracy means a saving in time and money. It is axiomatic that development brings an increase in income taxes and other revenues and reduces the necessity of Federal assistance programs.

It is an intangible thing perhaps, but Alaska can also contribute much to the Nation's heritage. The American traditions and way of life can be dedicated anew throughout the vast expanses of Alaska. Alaskans in turn can bring to the Nation's council tables the vigor and vision of the frontier.

Finally, and perhaps most important, here for America is a golden opportunity to demonstrate to the world that it means what it says about the supreme rights of the individual; that any group of people deserves the privilege of governing itself to the fullest possible extent: That the democratic way of life is superior. The United States, as a signer of the United Nations Charter, has assumed the obligation "to develop self-government, to take due account of the aspirations of the people, and to assist them in the progressive development of

their political institutions." As someone so aptly phrased it, "It is late in the day to have any second-class citizens under the American flag."

One of the great problems in promoting Alaska in general and statehood in particular, has been the misconceptions that persist, the woeful lack of information about the Territory both in Washington and throughout the country.

You have taken the trouble to come see for yourselves, and for that we are grateful. We realize that our testimony falls upon friendly ears, but we hope that you will aid us in educating the people at home as to what Alaska is really like.

In turn we hope that if we may be of any assistance to you in your task you will call upon us.

We hope

It has been a pleasure for us to meet and talk with you. you will return soon, and stay longer.

Thank you.

Mr. O'BRIEN. Mr. White, you are making the principal statement for your group, as I understand?

Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir.

Mr. O'BRIEN. Then forgive me if I ask you a few of the questions which I have in mind.

I would like to ask you first how old you are.

Mr. WHITE. Thirty-two.

Mr. O'BRIEN. And, secondly, why did you decide to cast your lot with Alaska rather than Little Falls?

Mr. WHITE. Well, I must admit I moved from Little Falls when I was about 2 or 3 years old, not through any choice of my own.

Mr. O'BRIEN. But you had a choice about staying.

Mr. WHITE. But my wife and I came to Alaska, as so many others have, because we heard about it and read about it, and so we came to see for ourselves. We traveled around the Territory and picked a spot to settle in, and the longer we stayed here, the more we liked it. The reasons are many.

I think it is because there is so much to be done up here. It is a beautiful country, has a long way to go. The potentials are endless.

One other point I think is that nearly everyone in Alaska has come here by choice and remains by choice, and that makes for a very vibrant community life.

Mr. O'BRIEN. Now you came originally, even though you left at an early age, from New York State. One of the arguments that we hear in Congress against statehood, sometimes on the floor, sometimes in private discussion, is, "Well, it is going to cost a great deal of money."

My State, New York, pays about 15 percent of all appropriations by the Government in the form of taxes. That is due to the fact that we have so many people there and so much capital.

Now let us concede that anything it may cost to give Alaska statehood, New York State would pay 15 percent. What can I tell my colleagues from New York we would get in return for that 15 percent?

Mr. WHITE. I think that we are all agreed Alaska is a very potentially rich country. One survey after another will turn up nearly every known metal. There is ample evidence that we will some day make a good oil discovery. The products of our seas are nearly endless. You can see now the beginning of the development of our forests.

« AnteriorContinuar »