Northern Mariana Islands status referendum, 1961

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Seal of the Northern Mariana Islands (alternate).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Northern Mariana Islands

A referendum on the islands' status was held in the Northern Mariana Islands on 5 February 1961.[1] Although 64% of voters supported integration with Guam, the United States did not integrate the islands.[1]

Background[edit]

Saipan had been administratively separated from Guam since 1898, when the latter had come under American control.[1] Saipan also came under American control in 1947.[1] In 1957, the Popular Party had victories in Guam and Northern Marianas. In 1958, an unoffial poll in Saipan had been in favor of integration and the Guam Legislature had asked the US Congress to integrate the Northern Marianas's government into Guam's.[2]

The 1961 referendum was organised by the local Parliament, as members wished to integrate with Guam.[1] It was held prior to a March visit by a United Nations commission checking on the conditions of the UN trust territories.[1] Rota was in a different district at the time, and could not vote.[2]

Results[edit]

[A] Do you desire to become United States citizens within the political framework of Guam?
[B] Do you desire to become United States citizens by becoming a separate territory of the United States?
[C] Do you desire to remain in the same status?[1]

Choice Votes %
Integration with Guam 1,642 64.49
US territory 875 34.37
Status quo 27 1.06
None of the above 2 0.08
Invalid/blank votes 8
Total 2,554 100
Registered voters/turnout 2,900 88.07
Source: Direct Democracy

Aftermath[edit]

The Carolinian community held a poll opposed to integration. Both results were given to the UN mission upon its arrival, but neither affected the mission's stance that the area needed greater self-reliance.[2] Later referendums were held in 1963 and 1969.

References[edit]