March 22, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA REPRESENTS
UNITED STATES PRESIDENT AND SPEAKER
AT FUNERAL OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER
TOFILAU E. ALESANA
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he has been appointed the Presidential envoy to represent the President at the funeral services of the late Tofilau Eti Alesana, former Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa.
A formal letter of condolence from President Clinton will be read by Faleomavaega and presented to the family. In the letter, the President writes, "He was a preeminent force in Samoan politics for three decades, a respected voice in regional and world councils, and a good friend of the United States." He closes the letter saying, "Hillary and I express our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Alesana, the other members of his family and all the people of Samoa on their loss."
"I deeply appreciate the President's gesture to let me represent him and the first lady and the people of the United States at this solemn occasion," says Faleomavaega. "I also appreciate the efforts by Ambassador Josiah Beeman to join with me at this very important occasion."
Additionally, Congressman Faleomavaega was designated by the Honorable Dennis J. Hastert, Speaker, United States House of Representatives to personally represent the Speaker and all the members of the House of Representatives at the occasion. In a letter to His Excellency Tuilaepa S. Malielegaoi, Speaker Hastert acknowledges a time in history when many nations in the Pacific region began to doubt America's role at the height of the Cold War, and Prime Minister Tofilau publicly announced his full support of the United States and invited United States warships to Samoa. This courageous move and commitment by the former Prime Minister allowed the thousands of United States men and women in uniform to rest and find solace in the tranquil beauty of Samoa.
"It is understood that the Samoan people deeply appreciate the sacrifices our military personnel make on behalf of the American people for those who cherish freedom and democracy throughout the world," says Speaker Hastert. "We have a saying here in America, when the chips are down, you know who your real friends are. When America needed friends, in no uncertain way, Prime Minister Tofilau let the American people know that Samoa is America's friend," concluded Speaker Hastert.
"This is a very sad day for the country of Samoa, the Samoan community at large and throughout the Pacific region, " added Faleomavaega, who is a nephew of the former Prime Minister. "The whole Samoan community has lost one of its greatest leaders ever. He was a man of tremendous courage and resilience--a true warrior for human rights who served his country and his Lord well. His legacy as a leader not only among his people, but those throughout the Pacific region, will certainly be remembered in the years to come," concluded Faleomavaega.