Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh, as quoted by Pedro Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico, Testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 6, 1999. [F]ormer United States Attorney General Dick Thornburgh has carefully scrutinized the results of our 1998 plebiscite, and the following sentences are excerpted from essays that Mr. Thornburgh has written on the topic.
“Only Congress can define terms for statehood, separate nationhood or continuation of the current status so that informed self – determination is possible.”
“Territorial history demonstrates that the recent vote in Puerto Rico was but one step in a larger self – determination process for which Congress is ultimately responsible. For example, in the territory of Wisconsin the vote for statehood was 25% in 1842, 30% in 1843, and 22% in 1844. After each of those setbacks, pro-statehood leaders petitioned Congress to set the terms for admission so a more informed vote could occur oust as Puerto Rico’s elected leaders are doing. Once Congress responded by defining the terms for admission, the pro-statehood vote in Wisconsin soared to 83%, resulting in admission.”
In conclusion, there is one more paragraph by Mr. Thornburgh that should be quoted in its entirety.
“So instead of being puzzled because elected statehood leaders in Puerto Rico are asking Congress to act on the basis of the recent plebiscite, let’s remember that America became the greatest nation in the history of the world by empowering people with the tools for informed self – determination. Sooner or later Congress will have to do the same for Puerto Rico, and the sooner the better for Puerto Rico and the nation as a whole.”