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Happy Independence Day, Federated States of Micronesia!

“On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I extend my warmest wishes to the people of the Federated States of Micronesia as you celebrate your 37th Independence Day on November 3.” This was the cheerful message sent by Antony Blinker of the State Department to the Federated States of Micronesia, an independent nation with a relationship of free association with the United States.

“Since establishing bilateral ties, the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States have enjoyed an enduring friendship and shared vision of a free, open, resilient, and prosperous Pacific Islands region,” the message continued. “Through our Compact of Free Association and the recently concluded Compact-related agreement renewals, we have reaffirmed our commitment to achieving a prosperous and secure future for the FSM and the region at large. As we look toward the future, the United States is committed to collaborating and supporting your leadership to safeguard the unique and threatened ecosystems of the Pacific Islands and Ocean.”

Th Compact of Free Association referenced here is a treaty between the FSM and the U.S. as sovereign nations, which details the relationship between the two. As in the other countries with FAS relationships with the U.S., the FSM receive some services from the federal government, and the U.S. exercises military authority over the FSM’s land, water and airspace.

Permanent Military Presence but only Temporary Economic Help under Free Association

The message ended with, “The United States looks forward to continuing its friendship with the Federated States of Micronesia and sends its congratulations as you celebrate this special day.”

Free association is a form of independence

As Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) clarified in a recent hearing, the freely associated states are independent nations. If the FSM’s free association with the United States come to an end, the nation will not revert to being trust territories under the administration of the United States again. The FSM will continue as an independent nation, just without a Compact of Free Association.

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