The Constitution of Federated States of Micronesia

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  • Country: Micronesia
  • Language: English
  • Document Type: Domestic Law or Regulation
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WE, THE PEOPLE OF MICRONESIA, exercising our inherent sovereignty,
do hereby establish this Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia.

With this Constitu tion, we affirm our common wish to live together in
peace and harmony, to preserve the heritage of the past, and to protect the
promise of the future.

To make one nation of many is lands, we respect the diversity of our
cultures. Our differences enrich us. The seas bring us together, they do not
separate us. Our islands sustain us, our island nation enlarges us and
makes us stronger.

Our ancestors, who made th eir homes on these islands, displaced no
other people. We, who remain, wish no other home than this. Having known
war, we hope for peace. Having been divided, we wish unity. Having been
ruled, we seek freedom.

Micronesia began in the days when man explored seas in rafts and
canoes. The Micronesian nation is bor n in an age when men voyage among
stars; our world itself is an island. We extend to all nations what we seek
from each: peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common
humanity. With this Constitution we , who have been the wards of other
nations, become the proud guardian of our own islands, now and forever.

Territory of Micronesia

Section 1 . The territory of the Federated States of Micronesia is comprised of
the Districts of the Micronesian archipelago t hat ratify this Constitution. Unless
limited by international tr eaty obligations assumed by the Federated States of
Micronesia, or by its own act, the wa ters connecting the islands of the
archipelago are internal waters regar dless of dimensions, and jurisdiction
extends to a marine space of 200 mile s measured outward from appropriate
baselines, the seabed, subsoil, water column, insular or continental shelves,
airspace over land and water, and any ot her territory or waters belonging to
Micronesia by historic righ t, custom, or legal title.

Section 2. Each state is comprised of the islands of each District as defined
by laws in effect immediately prior to the effective date of this Constitution. A
marine boundary between adjacent states is determined by law, applying the
principle of equidistance. State boundaries may be changed by Congress with
the consent of the state legislatures involved.

Section 3 . Territory may be added to the Federated States of Micronesia
upon approval of Congress, and by vote of th e inhabitants of the area, if any, and
by vote of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia . If the territory is to
become part of an existing st ate, approval of the state legislature is required.

Section 4 . New states may be formed and admitted by law, subject to the
same rights, duties, and obligations as provided for in this Constitution.


Section 1 . This Constitution is the expr ession of the sovereignty of the
people and is the supreme law of the Feder ated States of Micronesia. An act of
the Government in conflict with this Constitu tion is invalid to the extent of conflict.


Section 1 . A person who is a citizen of the Tr ust Territory immediately prior to
the effective date of this Constitution and a domiciliary of a District ratifying this
Constitution is a citizen and national of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Section 2 . A person born of parents one or both of whom are citizens of the
Federated States of Micrones ia is a citizen and national of the Federated States
by birth.

Section 3 . A citizen of the Fe derated States of Micrones ia who is recognized
as a citizen of another nation shall, within 3 years of his 18th birthday, or within 3
years of the effective date of this Consti tution, whichever is later, register his
intent to remain a citizen of the Feder ated States and renounce his citizenship of
another nation. If he fails to comply wit h this Section, he becomes a national of
the Federated States of Micronesia.

Section 4 . A citizen of the Trust Territo ry who becomes a national of the
United States of America under the terms of the Covenant to Establish a
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands may become a citizen and
national of the F ederated States of Micronesia by applying to a court of
competent jurisdiction in the Federated States withi n 6 months of the date he
became a United States national.

Section 5. A domiciliary of a Distr ict not ratifying this Constitution who was a
citizen of the Trust Territory immediatel y prior to the effective date of this
Constitution, may become a citizen and national of the Federated States of
Micronesia by applying to a court of co mpetent jurisdiction in the Federated
States within 6 months afte r the effective date of this Constitution or within 6
months after his 18th birthday, whichever is later.

Section 6 . This Article may be applied retroactively.

Declaration of Rights

Section 1 . No law may deny or impair freedom of expression, peaceable
assembly, association, or petition.

Section 2 . No law may be passed respecting an establishment of religion or
impairing the free exercise of religion, ex cept that assistance may be provided to
parochial schools for non-religious purposes.

Section 3 . A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without
due process of law, or be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Section 4 . Equal protection of the laws may not be denied or impaired on
account of sex, race, ancestry, national origin, language, or social status.

Section 5 . The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and other possessions against unreas onable search, seizure, or invasion
of privacy may not be violated. A wa rrant may not issue except on probable
cause, supported by affidavit particularl y describing the place to be searched and
the persons or things to be seized.

Section 6 . The defendant in a criminal case has a right to a speedy public
trial, to be informed of t he nature of the accusation, to have counsel for his
defense, to be confronted with the wit nesses against him, and to compel
attendance of witnesses in his behalf.

Section 7 . A person may not be compelled to give evidence that may be
used against him in a criminal case, or be twice put in jeopardy for the same

Section 8 . Excessive bail may not be requir ed, excessive fines imposed, or
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. The writ of habeas corpus may not be
suspended unless required for public safety in cases of rebellion or invasion.

Section 9 . Capital punishment is prohibited.

Section 10. Slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited except to punish

Section 11 . A bill of attainder or ex post facto law may not be passed.

Section 12 . A citizen of the Federated Stat es of Micronesia may travel and
migrate within the Federated States.

Section 13 . Imprisonment for debt is prohibited.

Traditional Rights

Section 1 . Nothing in this Constitution ta kes away a role or function of a
traditional leader as recognized by custom and tradition, or prevents a traditional
leader from being recognized, honored, and given formal or functional roles at
any level of government as may be prescri bed by this Constitution or by statute.

Section 2 . The traditions of the people of the Federated States of Micronesia
may be protected by statute. If challenged as violative of Article IV
, protection of
Micronesian tradition shall be considered a compelling social purpose warranting
such governmental action.

Section 3 . The Congress may establish, when needed, a Chamber of Chiefs
consisting of traditional leaders from each state having such leaders, and of
elected representatives from states having no traditional leaders. The
constitution of a state having traditional leaders may provide for an active,
functional role for them.


Section 1 . A citizen 18 years of age may vo te in national elections. The
Congress shall prescribe a minimum per iod of local residence and provide for
voter registration, disqualification for c onviction of crime, and disqualification for
mental incompetence or ins anity. Voting shall be secret.

Levels of Government

Section 1 . The three levels of government in the Federated States of
Micronesia are national, stat e, and local. A state is not required to establish a
new local government where none exists on the effective date of this Constitution.

Section 2 . A state shall have a democratic constitution.

Powers of Government

Section 1 . A power expressly delegated to the national government, or a
power of such an indisputably national c haracter as to be beyond the power of a
state to control, is a national power.

Section 2 . A power not expressly delegat ed to the national government or
prohibited to the stat es is a state power.

Section 3 . State and local go vernments are prohibit ed from imposing taxes
which restrict interstate commerce.


Section 1 . The legislative power of the nat ional government is vested in the
Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Section 2 . The following powers are ex pressly delegated to Congress:

(a) to provi de for the national defense;

(b) to ratify treaties;

(c) to regul ate immigration, emigration, na turalization, and citizenship;

(d) to impose taxes, duties, and tariffs based on imports;

(e) to impose taxes on income;

(f) to issue and regulate currency;

(g) to regulate ban king, foreign and interstate commerce, insurance, the
issuance and use of commercial paper and securities, bankruptcy and inso
and patents and copyrights;

(h) to regulate navigation and sh ipping except within lagoons, lakes, and

(i) to establish usury limits on major loans;

(j) to provide for a national postal system;

(k) to acquire and govern new territory;

(l) to govern the area set aside as the national capital;

(m) to regulate th e ownership, exploration, and exploitation of natural
resources within the marine space of t he Federated States of Micronesia beyond
12 miles from island baselines;

(n) to establish and regulat e a national public service system;

(o) to impeach and remove the President, Vice-President, and justices of the
Supreme Court;

(p) to define national crimes and prescribe penalties, having due regard for
local custom and tradition;

(q) to override a Presidential veto by not less than a 3/4 vote of all the state
delegations, each delegation casting one vote; and

(r) to promote education and health by setting minimum standards,
coordinating state activities relating to foreign assistance, providing training and
assistance to the states and providing support for post-secondary educational
programs and projects.

Section 3 . The following powers may be exer cised concurrently by Congress
and the states:

(a) to a ppropriate public funds;

(b) to borrow money on the public credit; and

(c) to establish systems of social security and public welfare.

Section 4 . A treaty is ratified by vote of 2/3 of the members of Congress,
except that a treaty delegating major powers of government of the Federated
States of Micronesia to anot her government shall also require majority approval
by the legislatures of 2/3 of the states.

Section 5 . National taxes shall be imposed uniformly. Not less than 50% of
the revenues shall be paid into the treasury of the stat e where collected.

Section 6 . Net revenue derived from ocean fl oor mineral resources exploited
under Section 2(m) shall be divided equal ly between the national government
and the appropriate state government.

Section 7 . The President, Vice-President, or a justice of the Supreme Court
may be removed from office for treason, bribery, or conduct involving corruption
in office by a 2/3 vote of the members of Congress. When the President or Vice-

President is removed, the Supreme Court shall review the decision. When a
justice of the Supreme Court is removed, the decision shall be reviewed by a
special tribunal composed of one state co urt judge from each state appointed by
the state chief executive. The special tribunal shall meet at the call of the

Section 8 . The Congress consists of one mem ber elected at large from each
state on the basis of state equality, and additional members elected from
congressional districts in each stat e apportioned by population. Members
elected on the basis of state equality se rve for a 4-year term, and all other
members for 2 years. Each member has one vote, except on the final reading of
bills. Congressional elections are held biennially as provided by statute.

Section 9 . A person is ineligible to be a member of Congress unless he is at
least 30 years of age on the day of el ection and has been a citizen of the
Federated States of Mi cronesia for at least 15 years, and a resident of the state
from which he is elected for at least 5 year s. A person convicted of a felony by a
state or national government court is ineligible to be a member of Congress. The
Congress may modify this provision or prescribe additional qualifications;
knowledge of the English langu age may not be a qualification.

Section 10 . At least every 10 years Congress shall reapportion itself. A state
is entitled to at least one member of Congress on the basis of population in
addition to the member elected at large. A state shall apportion itself by law into
single member congressional di stricts. Each district shall be approximately equal
in population after giving due regard to language, cultural, and geograp

Section 11 . A state may provide that one of its seats is set aside for a
traditional leader who shall be chosen as pr ovided by statute for a two-year term,
in lieu of one representative elected on the basis of pop ulation. The number of
congressional districts shall be reduced and reapportioned accordingly.

Section 12 . A vacancy in Congress is filled for the unexpired term. In the
absence of provision by law, an unexpir ed term is filled by special election,
except that an unexpired term of less than one year is filled by appointment by
the state chief executive.

Section 13 . A member of Congress may not hold another public office or
employment. During the term for which he is elected and three years thereafter,
a member may not be elec ted or appointed to a public office or employment
created by national st atute during his term. A member may not engage in any
activity which conflicts with the proper discharge of his duties. The Congress
may prescribe further restrictions.

Section 14. The Congress may prescribe an annual salary and allowances
for members. An increase of salary may not apply to the Congress enacting it.

Section 15 . A member of Congress is priv ileged from arrest during his
attendance at Congress and while going to and from sessions, except for treason,
felony, or breach of the peace. A me mber answers only to Congress for his
statements in Congress.

Section 16 . The Congress shall meet in regular, public session as prescribed
by statute. A special session may be conv ened at the call of the President of the
Federated States of Micronesia, or by t he presiding officer on the written request
of 2/3 of the members.

Section 17 .
(a) The Congress shall be the sole judge of the elections and qualifications of
its members, may discipline a member, and, by 2/3 vote, may suspend or expel a

(b) The Congress may determine its own rules of procedure and choose a
presiding officer fr om among its members.

(c) The Congre ss may compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses
and the production of documents or other ma tters before Congress or any of its

Section 18 . A majority of the members is a quorum, but a smaller number
may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members.

Section 19 . The Congress shall keep and publ ish a journal of its proceedings.
A roll call vote entered on the journal shall be taken at the request of 1/5 of the
members present. Legislative proceedi ngs shall be conducted in the English
language. A member may use his own l anguage if not fluent in English, and
Congress shall provide translation.

Section 20 . To become law, a bill must pass 2 readings on separate
days. To pass first reading a 2/3 vote of all members is required. On final
reading each state delegation shall cast one vote and a 2/3 vote of all the
delegations is required. All vo tes shall be entered on the journal.

Section 21 .
(a) The Congress may make no law except by statute and may enact no
statute except by bill. The enacting clause of a bill is ” BE IT ENACTED BY THE
embrace but one subject expressed in its title. A provision outside the subject
expressed in the title is void.

(b) A law may not be amended or revised by refere nce to its title only. The
law as revised or section as amended shall be published and re-enacted at full

Section 22. A bill passed by Congress shall be presented to the President for
approval. If he disapproves of the bill, he shall return it with his objections to
Congress within 10 days. If Congress has 10 or less days remaining in i
session, or has adjourned, he shall return the bill within 30 days after
presentation. If the President does not return a bill within the appropriate period,
it becomes law as if approved.


Section 1 . The executive power of the national government is vested in the
President of the Federated Stat es of Micronesia. He is elected by Congress for a
term of four years by a majority vote of all the members. He may not serve for
more than 2 consecutive terms.

Section 2 . The following powers are expressly delegated to the President:

(a) to faithfully execute and implement the provis ions of this Constitution and
all national laws;

(b) to receive all ambassadors and to conduct fore ign affairs and the national
defense in accordanc e with national law;

(c) to grant pardons and reprieves, except that the chief executive of each
state shall have this power concurrently with respect to persons convicted under
state law; and

(d) with the advice and consent of Congress, to appoint ambassadors; all
judges of the Supreme Court and other courts prescribed by statute; the principal
officers of executive d epartments in the national government; and such other
officers as may be provided for by statute. Ambassadors and principal officers
serve at the pleasur e of the President.

Section 3 . The President:

(a) is head of state of the Federated States of Micronesia;

(b) may make recommendations to Congress, and shall make an annual
report to Congress on the state of the nation; and

(c) shall perform such dut ies as may be provided by statute.

Section 4. A person is ineligible to becom e President unless he is a member
of Congress for a 4-year term, a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia by
birth, and a resident of the Federated States of Micronesia for at least 15 years.

Section 5. After the election of the Presiden t, the Vice-President is elected in
the same manner as the Pr esident, has the same qualifications, and serves for
the same term of office. He may not be a resident of the same state. After the
election of the President and the Vice-Pre sident, vacancies in Congress shall be

Section 6 . If the office of the Pr esident is vacant, or the President is unable to
perform his duties, the Vice-President bec omes President. The Congress shall
provide by statute for the succession in the event both offices are vacant, or
either or both officers are unable to discharge their duties.

Section 7 . The compensation of the President or Vice-President may not be
increased or reduced during his term. They may hold no other office and may
receive no other compensation from the F ederated States of Micronesia or from
a state.

Section 8 . Executive departments shall be established by statute.

Section 9 .
(a) If required to preserve public peace, health , or safety, at a time of extreme
emergency caused by civil disturbance, natur al disaster, or immediate threat of
war, or insurrection, the President ma y declare a state of emergency and issue
appropriate decrees.

(b) A civil right may be impaired onl y to the extent actually required for the
preservation of peace, health, or safety . A declaration of emergency may not
impair the power of the judiciary except that the declaration shall be f
ree from
judicial interference for 30 da ys after it is first issued.

(c) Within 30 da ys after the declaration of em ergency, the Congress of the
Federated States of Micronesia shall convene at the call of its presiding officer or
the President to consider revocati on, amendment, or extension of the
declaration. Unless it expires by its ow n terms, is revoked, or extended, a
declaration of emergency is effective for 30 days.


Section 1 . The judicial power of the nat ional government is vested in a
Supreme Court and inferior cour ts established by statute.

Section 2. The Supreme Court is a court of record and the highest court in
the nation. It consists of the Chief Justice and not more than 5 associate
justices. Each justice is a member of both the trial division and the appellate
division, except that sessions of the tria l division may be held by one justice. No
justice may sit with the appellate division in a case heard by him in the trial
division. At least 3 justices shall hear and decide appeals. Decision is by a
majority of those sitting.

Section 3 . The Chief Justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court
are appointed by the President with the approval of 2/3 of Congress. Justices
serve during good behavior.

Section 4 . If the Chief Justice is unable to perform his duties he shall appoint
an associate justice to act in his stead. If the office is vacant, or the Chief Justice
fails to make the appointment, the President shall appoint an associate justice to
act as Chief Justice until the vacancy is filled or the Chief Justice resumes his

Section 5 . The qualifications and compensati on of justices and other judges
may be prescribed by statute. Compensat ion of judges may not be diminished
during their terms of office unless all sa laries prescribed by statute are reduced
by a uniform percentage.

Section 6 .
(a) The trial di vision of the Supreme Court has original and exclusive
jurisdiction in cases affecting officials of foreign governments, disputes between
states, admiralty or mari time cases, and in cases in which the national
government is a party ex cept where an interest in land is at issue.

(b) The national co urts, including the trial divisi on of the Supreme Court, have
concurrent original jurisdiction in case s arising under this Constitution; national
law or treaties; and in disputes between a state and a citizen of another state,
between citizens of different states, and bet ween a state or a citizen thereof, and
a foreign state, citizen, or subject.

(c) When jurisdic tion is concurrent, the proper court may be prescribed by

Section 7 . The appellate division of the Supreme Court may review cases
heard in the national courts, and cases heard in state or local courts if they
require interpretation of this Constitution, national law, or a treaty. If a state
constitution permits, the appellate divisi on of the Supreme Court may review
other cases on appeal from the highest state court in which a decision may be

Section 8. When a case in a state or loca l court involves a substantial
question requiring the interpretation of the C onstitution, national law, or a treaty,
on application of a party or on its own motion the court shall certify the question
to the appellate division of the Supreme Court. The appellate division of the
Supreme Court may decide the case or remand it for further proceedings.

Section 9 . The Chief Justice is the chief administrator of the national judicial
system and may appoint an administrative officer who is exempt from civil
service. The Chief Justice shall make and publish and may amend rules
governing national courts, and by rule may:

(a) divide the infe rior national courts and the trial division of the Supreme
Court into geographical or functional divisions;

(b) assign judges among the di visions of a court and give special
assignments to retired Supreme Court justices and judges of state and other

(c) establish ru les of procedure and evidence;

(d) govern the transfer of cases between state and national courts;

(e) govern the admission to pr actice and discipline of attorneys and the
retirement of judges; and

(f) otherwise provi de for the administration of t he national judiciary. Judicial
rules may be amended by statute.

Section 10 . The Congress shall contribute to the financial support of state
judicial systems and may provide other assistance.

Section 11 . Court decisions shall be cons istent with this Constitution,
Micronesian customs and traditions, and the social and geographical
configuration of Micronesia. In renderi ng a decision, a court shall consult and
apply sources of the Federated States of Micronesia.


Section 1 .
(a) Public money raised or re ceived by the national government shall be
deposited in a General Fund or special funds within the National Treasury.
Money may not be withdrawn fr om the General Fund or special funds except by

(b) Foreign financial assistance received by the national government shall be
deposited in a Foreign Assistance Fund. Except where a particular distribution is
required by the terms or special nature of the assistance, each state shall receive
a share equal to the share of the national gove rnment and to the share of every
other state.

Section 2 .
(a) The President shall subm it an annual budget to Congress at a time
prescribed by statute. The budget shall contain a complete plan of proposed
expenditures, anticipated revenues, and ot her money available to the national
government for the next fiscal year, together with additional information that
Congress may require. The Congress ma y alter the budget in any respect.

(b) No appropriati on bills, except those reco mmended by the President for
immediate passage, or to cover the oper ating expenses of Congress, may be
passed on final reading until the bill appr opriating money for the budget has been

(c) The President may item veto an appropriation in any bill passed by
Congress, and the procedure in such case shall be the same as for disapp
of an entire bill by the President.

Section 3 .
(a) The Public Auditor is appointed by the President with the advice and
consent of Congress. He serves for a term of 4 years and until a successor is

(b) The Public Auditor shall inspect and audit accounts in every branch,
department, agency or statutory authority of the national government and in other
public legal entities or nonpr ofit organizations receiving public funds from the
national government. Addi tional duties may be prescribed by statute.

(c) The Public Auditor shall be independent of administrative control except
that he shall report at least once a year to Congress. His salary may not be
reduced during his term of office.

(d) The Congress may remove the P ublic Auditor from office for cause by 2/3
vote. In that event the Chief Justice sha ll appoint an acting Public Auditor until a
successor is confirmed.

General Provisions

Section 1 . The national governm ent of the Federated St ates of Micronesia
recognizes the right of the people to educ ation, health care, and legal services
and shall take every step reasonable and ne cessary to provide these services.

Section 2. Radioactive, toxic chemical, or other harmful substances may not
be tested, stored, used, or disposed of within the jurisdiction of the Federated
States of Micronesia without the express approval of the national government of
the Federated States of Micronesia.

Section 3 . It is the solemn obligation of the national and state governments
to uphold the provisions of this Constitution and to advance the principles of unity
upon which this Constitution is founded.

Section 4 . A noncitizen, or a corporation not wholly owned by citizens, may
not acquire title to land or waters in Micronesia.

Section 5 . A lease agreement for the use of land for an indefinite term by a
noncitizen, a corporation not wholly ow ned by citizens, or any government is

Section 6 . The national governm ent of the Federated St ates of Micronesia
shall seek renegotiation of any agreement for the use of land to which the
Government of the United Stat es of America is a party.

Section 7 . On assuming office, all public officials shall take an oath to uphold,
promote, and support the la ws and the Constitution as prescribed by statute.


Section 1 . An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed by a
constitutional convention, popular initiative , or Congress in a manner provided by
law. A proposed amendment shall becom e a part of the Constitution when
approved by 3/4 of the votes cast on that amendment in each of 3/4 of the states.
If conflicting constitutional amendments submitted to the voters at the same
election are approved, the amendment receiving the highest number of
affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of such conflict.

Section 2 . At least every 10 years, Congre ss shall submit to the voters the
question: “Shall there be a convention to re vise or amend the Constitution?”. If a
majority of ballots cast upon the question is in the affirmative, delegates to the
convention shall be chosen no later t han the next regular election, unless
Congress provides for the selection of delegates earlier at a special election.


Section 1 . A statute of the Trust Territory c ontinues in effect except to the
extent it is inconsistent with this Cons titution, or is amended or repealed. A writ,

action, suit, proceeding, civil or criminal liability, prosecution, judgment, sentence,
order, decree, appeal, cause of action, defense, contract, claim, demand, title, or
right continues unaffected except as modi fied in accordance with the provisions
of this Constitution.

Section 2 . A right, obligation, li ability, or contract of the Government of the
Trust Territory is assumed by the Federat ed States of Micronesia except to the
extent it directly affects or benefits a gov ernment of a District not ratifying this

Section 3 . An interest in property held by the Government of the Trust
Territory is transferred to the Federated St ates of Micronesia for retention or
distribution in accordance with this Constitution.

Section 4 . A local government and its agencie s may continue to exist even
though its charter or powers are inconsistent with this Constitution. To promote
an orderly transition to the provisions of this Constitution, and until state
governments are establish ed, Congress shall provide for the resolution of
inconsistencies between local government charters and powers, and this
Constitution. This provision ceases to be effective 5 years after the effective date
of this Constitution.

Section 5 . The Congress may provide for a smooth and orderly transition to
government under this Constitution.

Section 6 . In the first congressional elec tion, congressional districts are
apportioned among the states as follows: Kusaie – 1; Marianas – 2; Marshalls – 4;
Palau – 2; Ponape – 3; Tr uk – 5; Yap – 1. If Kusaie is not a state at the time of the
first election, 4 members shall be elec ted on the basis of population in Ponape.

Effective Date

Section 1 . This Constitution takes effect 1 year after ratification unless the
Congress of Micronesia by joint resolution specifies an earlier date. If a provision
of this Constitution is held to be in fundamental conflict with the United Nations
Charter or the Trusteeship Agreement between the United States of America and
the United Nations, the provision does not become effective until the date of
termination of the Tr usteeship Agreement.