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Mr. WHITE. I am representing Operation Statehood, Mr. Chairman, and so far as Operation Statehood is concerned, we considered last spring the possibility of asking for either separate bills or an omnibus bill, and we decided that so far as Operation Statebood is concerned we should stay strictly away from it. We are out to promote statehood, and we feel any sideline issues would weaken our position.
For myself, I can only say that, as others have said, it is a very difficult question for Alaskans. As Mr. Atwood so aptly phrased it yesterday, we are in a position of trying to get a full course meal; and soup would be the omnibus bill, but it would not be quite the full meal.
The way you have put it this morning, I think I have changed my mind a little bit. I think it might have a good chance of passage. That makes it all the more difficult than ever. The main danger I see is it might give us a large measure of economic freedom, political freedom, and I am afraid the end result might be to make Alaska statehood more a political football than ever in Congress. Beyond that it is difficult to comment.
So far as trying separate bills is concerned, about the only advantage I can see -I think the same objection applies. About the only advantage I can see is that Congress might get so sick and tired of considering all the separate bills they would say, "Oh, what the heck. Let's give them statehood and get it over with.”
If separate ones are to be tried, I would like to see control of our fisheries used as a trial balloon.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I have one further question. Is it your considered judgment that Canada is doing much more economically and in every other way for its territory which corresponds with Alaska?
Mr. White. I can't qualify as an expert, but it is my observation the answer to that question would be "Yes.”
I had a friend come through here some years ago. He wanted to prospect for uranium, and he had the Canadian maps in his hand and Alaska maps in his band, and the Canadian maps were complete in every detail. The Alaska maps had a lot yet to be filled in from the development point of view.
The absence of the capital gains tax, the advantage of that is obvious.
In other respects, it has been my observation that Canada has been pretty forward in developing their western and northern area.
Mr. O'BRIEN. And do you feel you have just as great or greater potential resources in Alaska as they have in those areas?
Mr. WHITE. Greater.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Then the obvious conclusion is that Canada is on the ball in developing its resources and the United States is not?
Mr. WHITE. I would say “Yes." I am reluctant to continually throw the blame at Congress as I realize Congress is busy, has a lot of things to do. The only thing I would like to emphasize over and over again is that the people can do the job if they are given the tools.
Mr. ABBOTT. One other question. If it is asserted that admission of Hawaii and Alaska, being noncontiguous territories, would lead to other like areas of population seeking statehood, what would your response be to that?
Mr. WHITE. Well, there is nothing on earth that I know of to prevent any area in the world from applying for statehood. I under
stand Newfoundland has considered it. They underwent a change in their status recently.
The distinction I would make-Alaska and Hawaii are independent Territories. The attempt to make them a State is manifest in their procedure. I think each case should be decided on its merits.
Mr. O'BRIEN. In view of the length of time it has taken. Alaska to become a State, wouldn't you assume it would take at least 1,000 years for Congress to make Formosa a State?
Mr. White. That is a safe assumption.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I have one further thought. I don't know whether it is within your scope or not. But you are about to have a constitutional convention in Alaska. I think that is very important, because from time to time people in Washington who are grasping at straws in search of arguments against statehood say, "Well, you don't even have a constitution.” I am glad to see that you are going to
And again, dipping into my knowledge of what goes on in my own State, I pray very earnestly that when you draw that constitution you don't clutter it up with a lot of statutory matter as we have done in New York State. " I think you have a great opportunity at this convention, you have an opportunity to draw a proper constitution, an opportunity which my State and a great many others wish they could have again. So if I may suggest, simply as a layman, not as a lawyer, you keep that constitution simple. It is going to help you in Washington. Wouldn't you say so, Mr. Abbott?
Mr. ABBOTT. Yes. And I would add one other thing, Mr. Chairman: During the last days of hearings in our committee on H. R. 2535, 84th Congress, the point was made that we had not really considered line by line Hawaii's constitution, which was adopted some 214 years ago. It might be suggested that the moment Alaska's constitution is framed and adopted that it be formally transmitted to the President and to the Congress for reference to the committee which must consider it, with a request that it be considered. And bear in mind that both title I and title II of H. R. 2535 in many respects impose upon Hawaii and Alaska a requirement of a second look which was not imposed upon a vast majority of the 35 States which have come in since the Original 13 Colonies.
In fact, a memorandum developed when two of us went back and examined the enabling acts on the floor, each of the 35 States, was most revealing. I believe Vermont came in with a 50-word enabling act, imposing upon them only the burden of adopting a constitution republican in form, and upon transmission of that constitution to the President, without any further action, they would be declared to be admitted.
Ohio, of course, was declared to be admitted without that formality and, as you know, it was necessary—or believed to be necessary 151 years later to consider and report forth and for the Congress to approve Ohio statehood.
But bear in mind and please understand the significance of that approval of your constitution. It may well be viewed, unless an early look is had, as a second complete go-around on statehood by some Members of Congress.
Mr. O'BRIEN. That is an excellent statement. That is so true. There are people in Washington who will look critically at every
word in that constitution and use it as an excuse to redouble their opposition to statehood. And that is why I urge so strongly, even though it is none of my business, that you make it as simple as possible, because you remember the experience we had, I think, in Puerto Rico. There were some very fine pious expressions of hope in that constitution: The responsibility of Puerto Rico for the health and welfare of the children, and so forth, things that we would automatically insist we were for. But we had people who took out magnifying glasses down there and saw socialism and all the other businesses in that.
I might say that we are about to have a constitutional convention in New York State in 1958. We reexamine our constitutian periodically. To see what we have cluttered up our constitution with is just a little sickening, because every time a pressure group, as you mentioned, wants to make very sure what they want is in the law they want to freeze it into the constitution.
Mr. ABBOTT. Off the record. (Discussion off the record.)
Mr. O'BRIEN, I hope, Mr. White, you understand the length of this questioning and the course it has followed, because both Mr. Abbott and myself in these questions have raised some of the points we have heard raised in Washingtɔn, and your responses will be of value to those of us who favor statehood in answering the people who constitute that wall of opposition or indifference in Congress.
Mr. WHITE. I am very glad to have had the opportunity, Mr. Chairman, and I am sure that all Alaskans appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and talk with you and get their views on the record.
Again, if we can ever be of any help to you in the committee, I hope you will call on us.
Mr. O'BRIEN. You made a very fine statement, and when next I pass Little Falls I will bow deeply. (The resolution of Operation Statehood is as follows:)
Anchorage, Alaska, September 30, 1955. Hon. LEO W. O'BRIEN, House Office Bui dirg,
Waskirston, D. C. DEAR MR. O'BRIEN: I enclose a copy of a resolution passed by Operation Statehood right after your suggestion was made during the hearings here.
We ha' e little hope that anythirg will come of it, but we certainly agree with you as to its desirability and stand ready to cooperate at any time in any way possil le.
I do not exaggerate when I say that all the Alaskans I have talked with since your visit are unanimous in praising the thoroughness, fairness, and intelligence of the hearings conducted by you and your committee. I think one has to be a voteless Alaskan to appreciate how desperately we hope to make friends among visiting Congressmen and how intently we watch your reactions and listen to what you ha e to say.
If Operation Statehood can be of any assistance to you or your committee, I trust you will call upon us. It was a pleasure for us to meet you. Sincerely,
BARRIE M. WHITE, Jr.. President.
The directors of Operation Statehood, meeting in regular session in Anchorage, Alaska, on September 23, 1955, unanimously passed the following resolution:
Whereas, every congressional committee which has come to Alaska has returned to Washington overwhelmingly in favor of Statehood for Alaska, and
Whereas, congressional committees which have visited Alaska in the past have won the hearts and admiration of Alaskans by their diligence, understanding, and accomplishments, and
Whereas, the Honorable Leo W. O'Brien, chairman of the subcommittee of the House Interior and Insılar Affairs Committee, which has just held hearings in Alaska, has suggested the formation of a special committee, composed of the majority and minority leaders of both Houses of Congress and the chairman and ranking minority member of each standing committee of both Houses, for the purpose of visiting Alaska, expressing assurance that if such a committee were to see Alaska firsthand Statehood would soon follow; Now therefore, be it
Reso’ved, That Operation Statehood request Congress to form such a special committee; and be if further
Reso'ved, That Operation Statehood cordially invite said committee to come to Alaska during the first recess of the 2d session of the 84th Congress, and that copies of this resolution be forwarded to the Honorable Leo W. O'Brien for submission to the full House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, and to Senator James E. Murray, chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Mr. Payne.
STATEMENT OF ANCIL PAYNE, CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE FOR OPERATION STATEHOOD
Mr. PAYNE. My name is Ancil Payne. I run a trucking firm in and throughout the Territory of Alaska, and I am appearing as chairman of the national affairs committee for Operation Statehood.
May. I precede my statement by saying that I believe all of the people in Anchorage, and I assume in other parts of Alaska, are deeply impressed by the tremendous schedule you men are keeping. I believe that lots of people were under the impression that this perhaps was referred to as a junket, which I know strikes the chairman as a red flag.
It occurred to me in looking over your schedule, checking through the number of hours you are keeping, that if I, as the manager of the trucking firm, were paying you truckdrivers' wages you would be making $16,766.62, which is not bad, a year.
Mr. ABBOTT. Would you transmit that to the chairman of our committee, please?
Mr. PAYNE. That is just regular truckdrivers' wages, not warehousemen's wages.
I think that is about $6,000 more than you are making for the last pay raise.
We also wish to express our deep appreciation for the tremendous work you have done in the Alaska cause, and I think the chairman of your committee and your counsel deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for your appearance before the Rules Committee, which is real action under fire. We have always received responses to our letters and questions we have sent to you.
My statement is very short.
As you recognize and as we recognize, the feeling for statehood is intense in the Territory. I am convinced that your suggestion of 51 percent of the Members of the House being brought in this Terri
tory would change the complexion of the entire Congress. And I am extremely interested in your statement about bringing the chairman and the first ranking member of various committees in. As a matter of fact, I would extend myself for the community of Anchorage and suggest that we would meet half of the cost of doing so throughout the Territory if you could convince the Speaker and minority leader and the rest to come here.
What we need, Mr. Chairman, are missionaries. If we could just get across to the Members of the Congress that the fact that we live in a community that is not unlike many communities in upstate New York or Oregon or Idaho or in a dozen other States and that we have streets and drive cars and live in good homes and are intensely interested in a democratic form of government, and that we are reasonably mature people and want democracy here--if we could just get that across to the people in a new way, I am sure we would not have the large number of people existing in the last Congress as being in that gray area of neither convinced that statehood was a bad thing or worth while and, therefore, vacillating between the two opinions. If we could just get that across through your committee and the rest of the people who have been here, we would realize statehood, I am certain, and we ask your assistance in that objective.
The second thing I would like to say would be that, as the chairman of the national affairs committee, we have thought long and seriously about the problem of the joint bills and the handling of those bills in Congress. We cannot from this location exercise our prerogatives or our thoughts particularly in that regard. You are close and on the scene.
Your chairman, Clair Engle, whom I happen to know personally, is a magnificient person who understands what should be and should not be done. As policy, we are for statehood for Hawaii and Alaska, but as Operation Statehood we are for statehood for Alaska, and we take that particular position.
The alternative of omnibus bills in statehood cannot help but remind me when I was in charge of the mess during the last war on a Navy ship that I used to frequently ask various officers if they wanted fillet or tenderloin steak, and when they chose I told them we would have Spam again tonight because there were not really good alternatives.
With that I close my testimony, thanking you for coming here and being as diligent as you have been throughout this period. Mr. O'BRIEN. I want to thank
for your statement. I wonder if you would call your group. I understand they are going to speak briefly individually. Then what we might do when they have finished with that is just sort of toss whatever questions we have or spray them, and in answering them when that time arrives, if on each occasion the one who is answering would identify himself for the sake of the young lady taking the record.
Mr. PAYNE. I have finished. The next person appearing is Joe Hong, who is appearing on Operation Statehood, a member of the board of directors.