MEMO TO PRESIDENT MORI FROM JAMES STOVALL
Following is a memorandum to President Mori which I found on the Chuuk Reform website, www.chuukstate.org, from an attorney named in the memorandum as Jim Stovalli. I believe, but cannot confirm, that the writer is actually James Stovall III, who has represented the FSM in the US for many years. Clarification of the name of the author would be greatly appreciated. What follows is a direct copy of what appears on the Chuuk Reform Website:
[By Vid Raatior] Jim Stovalli, the legal counsel to the FSM
Government who is the foremost expert on the Compact of Free Association (COFA)
has issued the following memorandum to President Mori. In it he laid out eight
facts to help the average Chuukese voter understand the implications of Chuuk
State seceding from the federation with regards to the COFA.
SUBJECT: Compact Implications of Chuuk Secession
(Jim Stovalli, III)
DATE: January 27, 2015
In the upcoming March elections there will be a proposition on the ballot in
the State of Chuuk for voters to indicate yes or no on Chuuk’s secession from
the FSM. This Memorandum examines how provisions of the Compact impact this
A State-appointed Commission in Chuuk has worked on this for the last two
years. According to the plan, if the referendum proposition passes, the Chuuk
Legislature will pass a law forming a Constitutional Convention leading to
formal secession sometime in 2017. The Commission has issued a Final Report,
along with earlier information papers.
1. FACT: The Compact will terminate automatically for Chuuk
at the moment of secession from the FSM.
The Compact is a treaty between the Government of the US and the Government
of the FSM. Title Four, Article VI, Section 461, defines the term, “Government
of the Federated States of Micronesia” as “including all the political
subdivisions and entities comprising that Government.” Were Chuuk to secede
from the FSM, it would no longer be one of the entities “comprising that
Government,” and no longer a part of the Compact in any way. The Compact is not
a separate and divisible agreement with every State and local entity, it is a
treaty with the FSMG. Absent that, the new Government of the Republic of Chuuk
has no relationship whatever with the United States, subject to what it may
wish to, or be able to negotiate.
2. FACT: Compact Funding to former Chuuk State would not
Transfer to the Republic of Chuuk.
This would be an automatic consequence of the fact that the Republic of Chuuk
is not a party to the Compact. Any changes to the Compact funding structure or
amount would require US Congress legislation.
3. FACT: U.S. Federal Programs in Chuuk pursuant to the
Compact would be withdrawn.
This, also, is because Federal Programs must be specifically authorized by US
law, and these are either specifically provided by the Compact, or otherwise
specifically extended to FSM by law. Chuuk would not any longer be included
within the definition of “Federated States of Micronesia.” Therefore, all US
programs, including those in education (Pell Grant, among others) and health,
postal, weather, telecommunications, emergency and disaster assistance, FAA,
CAB, and FDIC would disappear.
4. FACT: Compact Immigration status of Chuuk citizens in
the U.S. would terminate automatically, upon secession.
The privileges referred to above, which include the right to work, study and
reside in the US, are provided by Title One, Article IV of the Compact. Since
the Compact would no longer apply to citizens of the new Republic of Chuuk,
they would all find themselves without status in the US and be forced to
depart. Former Chuukese holding US citizenship (FSM does not recognize dual
citizenship) would not be subject to deportation.