American Samoa ♦ Cook Islands ♦ Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ♦ Federated States of Micronesia ♦ Fiji ♦ Guam ♦ Kiribati ♦ Marshall Islands ♦ Nauru ♦ Niue ♦ New Caledonia ♦ Palau ♦ Papua New Guinea ♦ Pitcairn Island ♦ French Polynesia ♦ Samoa ♦ Solomon Islands ♦ Tokelau ♦ Tonga ♦ Tuvalu ♦ Vanuatu ♦ Wallis and Futuna
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America.
It was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy Department until 1951, at which time administration was transferred to the Department of the Interior.
The Cook Islands is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand.
The Cook Islands was formerly known as the Hervey Islands.
Formerly administered by New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Niue currently have the status of self-governing States in free association with New Zealand.
Cook Island, though self-governing, had entered into special relationships with New Zealand, which discharged the responsibilities for the external relations and defence of the Cook Islands at their request, it followed that the Cook Islands did not have their own treaty making capacity.
However in 1992, the Secretary General of theUnited Nations recognised the full treaty making capacity of the Cook Islands after several events whereby Cook Islands became a memebr of UN organisations. In 1984 it became a full memebr of the WHO, then in 1985 with FAO and then the UNESCO in 1985, and the ICAO in 1986. It became a full memebrs within any specifications or limitations. Cook Islands became a member of these organisations after depositing the instrument of acceptance with the Secretary General of the Uited Nations. After consideration of the question of Cook Islands status as a state had been decided positively in the World Health Assembly and fully represented in the Internaitonal Community, the Secretary General recognised the full treaty making capacity of the Cook Islands.
As a result of these developments, the Secretary-General, as depositary of multilateral treaties, recognized the full treaty-making capacity of the Cook Islands in 1992.
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
The Federated States of Micronesia, commonly known as 'FSM', was formerly part of the Caroline Islands until Independence in 1986.
The Federated States of Micronesia is a sovereign state in free association with the United States of America.
FSM Treaty Status Upon Independence
A letter of November 2, 1995, from the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia to the Secretary-General of the United Nations refers to a letter of May 22, 1992, ‘‘. . . containing a declaration setting out the position of the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) with regard to international agreements entered into by the United States of America and made applicable to the FSM pursuant to the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement for the former Japanese Mandated Islands.’’
Agreement for the implementation of the Compact of Free Association between the Government of the
United States and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (Title II, PL 99-239), with related
agreements. Signed at Washington October 24, 1986 ; entered into force October 24, 1986 ;
effective November 3, 1986.
The Republic of the Fiji Islands is commonly known as 'Fiji' or 'Viti' (local name for Fiji).
The island of Rotuma has the status of a dependency and has a degree of internal autonomy.
Fiji's Treaty Status Upon Independence
On October 10, 1970 Fiji became independent of Britain ’s colonial rule. The Prime Minister of Fiji made a statement to the Secretary General of the United Nations, regarding the status of treaties to which Fiji has entered into prior to independence. The note read as follows:
“[M]any treaty rights and obligations of the Government of the United Kingdom in respect to Fiji were succeeded to by Fiji upon independence by virtue of customary international law. . . . It is desired that it be presumed that each treaty has been legally succeeded to by Fiji and that action be based on this presumption until a decision is reached that it should be regarded as having lapsed. Should the Government of Fiji be of the opinion that it has legally succeeded to a treaty, and wishes to terminate the operation of the treaty, it will in due course give notice of termination in the terms thereof.’’
As such, all treaties that Fiji had become a party to during British rule continues to be in force until Fiji notifies the Secretary General that such a treaty has lapsed.
Note: To be absolutely certain about the status of any treaty in relation to Fiji , the Depositary for the treaty should be contacted for more detailed information regarding the status of the treaty.
French Polynesia (Polynésie Française) is an overseas territory of France consisting of several groups of islands in the South Pacific.
The territory comprises five main groups: the Marquesas Islands; Austral Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago, Gambier Islands and Society Islands. The capital is Papeete which is located in Tahiti.
The Territory of Guam, commonly known as 'Guam', is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America.
Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands.
The Republic of Kiribati, commonly known as 'Kiribati', was formerly known as the Gilbert Islands and
Kiribati Treaty Status Upon Independence
On July 12, 1979 , the Gilbert Islands became the independent state of Kiribati . Referring to the status of conventions, treaties and other international instruments applied to, or entered into on behalf of the Gilbert Islands by the United Kingdom prior to independence, the Beretitenti (President) of Kiribati, in a note dated September 11, 1979, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, made a statement reading in part as follows:
Kiribati comprises of 32 atolls and 1 island.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands, commonly known as 'Marshall Islands', was under US administration of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands until it gained Independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association.
The Republic of Nauru, commonly known as 'Nauru' is an Independent Republic. Nauru was formerly known as Pleasant Island.
Nauru was visited in 1798 by the British and annexed in 1888 by Germany. Australian forces occupied Nauru in World War I and in 1920 was placed under a League of Nations mandate to the United Kingdom, which it agreed to share with Australia and New Zealand in 1923. During World War II the island was occupied by the Japanese. In 1947, the UN approved a trusteeship and the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand again became trustees of Nauru. In 1968, Nauru gained independence and became one of the world's smallest independent states.
Nauru Treaty Status Upon Independence
On January 31, 1968 Nauru became an independent state. In a note dated May 28, 1968 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Chief Secretary made a statement reading in part as follows:
In subsequent notes to the Secretary-General of the United Nations this period of review has been extended indefinitely.
The Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies (Nouvelle Calédonie), commonly known as 'New Caledonia', is an overseas territory of France. It comprises the island of New Caledonia, the Isle of Pines, the Loyalty Islands, Walpole Island and the Huon, Chesterfield and Belep Groups.
Captain Cook named the main island in 1774; the French annexed it in 1853 and made it an overseas territory in 1946. In 1998, New Caledonians agreed to put off an independence referendum for 15-20 years.
Niue was sighted by Captain James Cook in 1774 but was refused landing by Niuean warriors. Cook departed, but charted Niue and named it Savage Island . Europeans then headed to Niue and in 1846 the island became a British Protectorate.
The island was formally annexed to New Zealand in 1901 as part of the Cook Islands. In October 1974, Niue was granted ‘self-government in free association with New Zealand ’.
Niue Treaty Making Status
After Niue attained self-governing status in free asociation wtih New Zealand, it entered into an agreement through self-governing that New Zealand would look afte the external relations and defence of Niue at Niue's request. Niue therefore did no have treaty makig capacity.
But like the Cook Islands, Niue became a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO in 1993 and of the World Health Organization in 1994. As a result of these developments, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as depositary of multilateral treaties, recognized the full treaty-making capacity of Niue in 1994.
COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was named Islas de los Ladrones (Islands of the Thieves) in 1521. Renamed the Marianas in 1668 the islands were nominally a possession of Spain until 1898 when then were sold to Germany in 1899, except for Guam which was ceded to the United States of America.
The islands belonging to Germany were seized by Japan in 1914 and were mandated to Japan by the League of Nations in 1920. US forces occupied the Marianas in World War 2. In 1947 the group (excluding Guam) was included in the US Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Separate status was approved for the islands as a commonwealth in political union with the U.S. in 1975. They became internally self-governing under U.S. military protection in 1978, and trust territory status officially ended in 1986.
The Republic of Palau is commonly known as 'Palau' or 'Belau' (native form of Palau).
Prior to Independence in 1994, Palau was formed part of the Caroline Islands and was administered by the United States as the last UN trust territory.
Palau Treaty Status Post Termination of the Trusteeship Agreement with the US
In a letter dated 10 November 1994, the President of the Republic of Palau stated, inter alia:
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea is commonly referred to as 'Papua New Guinea' or 'PNG'.
Papua, (the southern region of the country), was annexed by Queensland in 1883 and subsequently became a British protectorate called British New Guinea. In 1905 it was passed to Australia in 1905 as the Territory of Papua.
The northern section of the country formed part of German New Guinea from 1884 to 1914 and was called Kaiser-Wilhelmsland. After World War 1, it was mandated to Australia by the League of nations and became known as the Territory of New Guinea.
In 1949 the territories of Papua and New Guinea were merged administratively, but they remained constitutionally distinct. They were combined in 1973 as the self-governing country of Papua New Guinea. Full independence was gained in 1975.
PNG's Treaty Status Upon Independence
On September 16, 1975 Papua New Guinea became an independent state. In a note dated September 16, 1975 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Governor-General made a statement reading in part as follows:
The Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, commonly referred to as 'Pitcairn Island', are a group of 4 islands, of which only Pitcairn (the second largest) is inhabited.
Pitcairn Island is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and has only about 50 inhabitants.
The Independent State of Samoa is commonly known as 'Samoa'.
In 1914 New Zealand occupied the former German protectorate of Western Samoa. New Zealand continued toadminister the islands as a mandate and trust territory until 1962 when Western Samoa, as it was formerly called, reestablished its Independence. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.
The islands were also previously known as the Navigator's Islands.
Samoa's Treaty Status Upon Independence
On January 1, 1962 , Western Samoa became an independent state. In an exchange of letters dated November 30, 1962 between the Office of the High Commissioner for New Zealand and the Prime Minister of Western Samoa, the Government of Western Samoa agreed that:
Between 1886-1900 the North Solomon Islands was a protectorate of Germany. Initially the protectorate comprised of the Shortland Islands, Buka, Bougainville, Choisel and Santa Isabel.
In 1893 Great Britain declared the southern Solomon Islands [the islands of New Georgia, Guadalcanal, Florida, Malaita and San Cristobal] a British protectorate and in 1900 Buka and Bougainville were all that remained of the German colony.
Administration of the British protectorate was not established until 1896.
In 1914 Buka and Bougainville were seized from Germany and between 1920-1942 became part of the League of Nation's Mandated Territory of New Guinea administered by Australia. See Papua New Guinea.
In 1974, a new constitution was adopted establishing a parliamentary democracy and ministerial system of government. In mid-1975, the name Solomon Islands officially replaced that of British Solomon Islands Protectorate. On January 2, 1976, the Solomons became self-governing, and independence followed on July 7, 1978.
Solomon Islands Treaty Status Upon Independence
On July 7, 1978 , Solomon Islands became an independent state. In a note dated July 7, 1978 to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Prime Minister made a statement reading in part as follows:
Tokelau was formerly known as the Union Islands.
In 1925 Tokelau was mandated to New Zealand, and from 1926 to 1948 the islands were administered from Western Samoa. In 1948 New Zealand acquired formal sovereignty. In 1949 Tokelau officially became part of New Zealand. The future status of Tokelau, and its relationship with New Zealand, are still under negotiation.
In a referendum in 2006, the people of Tokelau narrowly voted to remain a dependent territory of New Zealand.
The Kingdom of Tonga is the only surviving Independent Kingdom of the South Pacific.
James Cook named the islands The Friendly Islands in between 1773 and 1776. Following civil war and the accession of King George Tupou I a constitution (1862), a legal code, and an administrative system was put in place. His successor, King George Tupou II (1893-1918) concluded a treaty making Tonga a British protectorate in 1900. Tonga remained self-governing, with the British responsible for foreign and defense affairs.
Tonga's Treaty Statement Upon Independence
On June 4, 1970 Tonga became an independent state. In a note dated June 18, 1970 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Prime Minister of Tonga stated that each treaty validly made on behalf of the Kingdom of Tonga by the Government of the United Kingdom pursuant to and within the powers of the United Kingdom derived from certain instruments entered into between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Tonga, continues to bind the latter until validly terminated, that it is desired that it be presumed that each treaty continues to create rights and obligations, and that action be based on this presumption until a decision is reached that the treaty should be regarded as not having been validly made for the Kingdom of Tonga or as having lapsed. Should the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga be of the opinion that it continues to be legally bound by the treaty, and wishes to terminate the operation of the treaty, it will in due course give notice of termination in the terms thereof. With respect to duly ratified treaties which were entered into by the Kingdom of Tonga before the United Kingdom undertook the responsibility for the foreign relations thereof, the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga acknowledges that they remain in force to the extent to which their provisions were unaffected in virtue of international law by certain instruments entered into between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Tonga or by other events.
The Tuvalu islands were administered by Britain as part of a protectorate from 1892 to 1916 and as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony from 1916-1974. In 1971 the colony became self-governing and in 1974 the Ellice Islanders voted for separate British dependency status as Tuvalu and became fully independent in 1978. In 1979 Tuvalu signed a Treaty of Friendship with the United States.
Tuvalu's Treaty Status Upon Independence
On October 1, 1978 , Tuvalu became an independent state. In a note dated December 19, 1978 , to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu made a statement reading in part as follows:
In 1774 Capt. James Cook made the detailed first exploration of the islands, which became known as the New Hebrides.
In 1887 the islands were placed under an British-French naval commission. The commission was replaced by a British-French condominium in 1906. Independence for Vanuatu was achieved in 1980.
Vanuatu's Treaty Status Upon Independence
NOTE: Treaties and other agreements previously applicable to the New Hebrides are under review.
WALLIS AND FUTUNA
Wallis et Futuna (Wallis and Futuna) is a French overseas territory comprising two small groups, the Wallis Islands and the Hoorn Islands. It is sometimes referred to as the Wallis Archipelago.
In 1842 the islands came under French control and became an overseas territory in 1961. They are governed by an administrator and a territorial assembly.