WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA AND CHAIRMAN POMBO WORK TOGETHER TO PASS BRAVO RESOLUTION
Congressman Faleomavaega announced that on March 22, 2004 the House passed Concurrent Resolution 364 which recognizes more than 5 decades of strategic partnership between the United States and the people of the Marshall Islands in the pursuit of international peace and security.
“During World War II, the Marshall Islands were a strategic battleground.In 1944 and as a result of the heroic efforts of U.S. Armed Forces as well as the courageous assistance of the people of the Marshall Islands, the islands were successfully liberated from Japan’s oppressive regime and a new cooperative partnership between the U.S. and the Marshalls was forged.”
“By 1947, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) became one of six entities in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) established by the United Nations and administered by the United States.This alliance obligated the U.S. to foster the development of self-governance and promote economic, social, and educational advancement of the people of the RMI.”
“However, on March 1, 1954 at at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the United States detonated the Bravo shot, a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.Acknowledged as the greatest nuclear explosion ever detonated, the Bravo test vaporized 6 islands and created a mushroom cloud 25 miles in diameter.”
“While U.S. servicemen on Rongerik atoll were evacuated within hours of the blast, Marshallese residents of Utirik and Rongelap were left behind for at least a day, resulting in their exposure to significant radiation.At the time of their removal, the people of these atolls were already suffering burns and loss of hair.”
“Also returned prematurely to their atolls, the people of Rongelap and Utirik received additional exposure causing many to believe that they were used to study the effects of radiation on human beings.Recently declassified information contains strong indications that human experimentation using the people of the exposed atolls was indeed part of the nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands.”
“These tests exposed the people of the Marshalls to severe health problems and genetic anomalies for generations to come.Yet the United States has not made good on its promise to compensate citizens of the Marshall Islands for loss or damage to property and person resulting from the nuclear testing program which the Government of the United States conducted in the Marshall Islands between June 30, 1946 and August 18, 1958.”
“From 1946 to 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, representing nearly 80 percent of all atmospheric tests ever conducted by the United States.If one were to calculate the net yield of these tests, it would be equivalent to the detonation of 1.7 Hiroshima bombs every day for twelve years.”
“Conducted in peacetime, the effects of the U.S. nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands continues to be devastating and funds provided by the United States under the Compact of Free Association are grossly inadequate to provide for health care, environmental monitoring, personal injury claims, or land and property damage.I believe the survivors of U.S. atomic tests conducted in the Marshall Islands deserve just compensation and I am pleased that at a minimum H. Con. Res. 364 recognizes the historic contribution the people of the Marshalls have made in the Cold War struggle to preserve international peace and promote nuclear disarmament.”
“Today, the RMI provides use of its islands for the United States to develop a deployable missile defense system to reduce the risks of nuclear missile attacks and this is just another example of the RMI’s unmatched record of working in conjunction with the leadership of the United States in pursuit of international peace and security.I commend the people of the Marshalls for their commitment to the rights and well-being of the peoples of the world and I recognize with solemn regard the sacrifices they have made so that you and I and future generations may live in peace.”
“I also commend Chairman Richard Pombo of the House Resources Committee for introducing this legislation of which I am an original cosponsor.I thank my good friend for his leadership and for recently leading a Congressional Delegation to the PacificTerritories where we met with island leaders, including those from the Marshall Islands.Chairman Pombo invited Secretary Gale Norton to accompany us on this visit and I commend both the Secretary and the Chairman for traveling to the PacificTerritories to see firsthand the difficulties we are facing in the region.”
“As the Ranking Member of the House International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, I also want to thank Chairman Jim Leach of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific for sponsoring this legislation and for working with Chairman Pombo and me to move this legislation to the International Relations Committee for mark-up.I also thank Chairman Henry Hyde and Ranking Member Tom Lantos of the International Relations Committee for their support.”
“Finally, on behalf of the people of American Samoa, I again recognize with solemn regard the sacrifices our Pacific Island cousins have made in pursuit of international peace and I am hopeful that one day the United States Congress will declare March 1 as a national day of remembrance for the survivors of U.S. nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands,” the Congressman concluded.