POSTED: Friday, August 14, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 12—Congress ended decades of procrastination today and sent to the White House a bill to give Hawaii the statehood it has so long deserved.

The House overwhelmingly approved the bill this afternoon.

The vote was 323-89.

It was the same bill that passed the senate 76-15 last night.

The President's approval of the 50th State has been assured and under the bill's machinery Hawaii should join the Union late this year.


WASHINGTON, March 12 (AP)—House speaker Sam Rayburn, Democrat of Texas, today swung his powerful support to the Hawaii Statehood bill as the House neared a final vote, and almost certain passage.

He said the Territory deserves membership in the union.

“;My congratulations to Hawaii,”; Rayburn said in a statement.

“;I opposed this bill in the past when I felt Hawaii was not ready for Statehood. Now, however, the situation has changed and I welcome Statehood because the Territory deserves membership in the Union and will be an asset to the United States.”;

Representative Walter, Democrat of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee, told the House that alhough “;communist labor unions have a very strong hold on the economy of Hawaii,”; Statehood would give the Islands a chance to “;throw off the yoke of those who are so strong and so pwerful.”;

the House, speeding toward passage of the Statehood bill, had shelved its own bill earlier and taken up a Statehood measure passed 76-15 by the Senate last night.

The move made it possible for backers to fulfill their hopes of sending the bill to the White House before nightfall.

If the bill the House passed differed in any respect from the Senate's version, a conference committee appointed by the two chambers would be required to reconcile the varying forms of the bills and make them read exactly the same.

Then re-passage by both chambers of the finally unified form would have been required. This might have taken one day, or even several days more.

All this delay now apparently has been avoided.

The House vote placing the final stamp of approval on legislation turning the Pacific Territory into a 50th state is expected to come around 5:30 p.m. E.S.T. (12:30 p.m. H.S.T.).

Debate began at 11:07 a.m. E.S.T. (6:07 a.m H.S.T.) today.


Moving with surprising speed, the Senate yesterday approved Statehood on a 76-15 roll call vote, after only four and one-half hours of debate.

President Eisenhower's signature on the Statehood bill would pave the way for first state elections in time to seat two Hawaii senators and one representative in the House in this session of Congress.

Representative John R. Saylor, Republican of Pennsylvania, pressed for an amendment to give Hawaii two House members. He said Hawaii, with about 600,000 population, is entitled to two representatives under the apportionment formula adopted by Congress in 1941.

Governor Quinn, who appears destined to be the last presidentially appointed administrator of the Territory of Hawaii, arrived in Washington by air last night too late to witness the Senate vote.

At an impromptu celebration in the old Supreme Court chamber of the Capitol, Quinn thanked Senate leaders for their vote of confidence in Hawaii's people.

“;Hawaii,”; he said, “;has a destiny in the Pacific and a mission to accomplish. We are conscious of that mission and will do our utmost to carry it out.”;

In the Senate action, Southern Democrats accounted for 14 of the 15 dissenting votes. The one Republican opponent was Senator Butler of Maryland.


Voting for the measure were 46 Democrats and 30 Republicans. The seven absent Senators all were announced as in favor of the bill.

Chairman Jackson, Democrat of Washington, of the Senate Territories Subcommittee, Senate floor leader for the bill, said the Senate's action in approving the measure within two weeks after the completion of a committee hearing set a record for major legislation.

However, he said, no one could accuse the Congress of acting hastily because Hawaii Statehood bills have been before Congress for 40 years.

Hawaii, once an independent kingdom, was annexed to the United States voluntarily in 1898 and became an incorporated territory in 1900.

It is the only remaining organized territory since the admission of Alaska.


Senator Johnson of Texas, the Senate Democratic leader, praised Hawaii's non-voting Delegate Burns, for “;outstanding statesmanship”; leading to the overwhelming approval of Hawaii Statehood.

Burns participated in the strategy that led to the separate consideration of Alaska for Statehood last year, and avoided combining the two measures which therefore had doomed both.

Southern Senators, although they voted heavily against the bill, offered only passive resistance in debate.


Their speeches, for the most part short, renewed objections to admitting a state not contiguous to the North American continent, raised questions about the extent of communism in Hawaii and the power and influence of Harry Bridges's International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, and pointed to the predominance of Oriental and Polynesian strains in the population of the Islands.

Supporters said the Asiatic extraction of Hawaii's people would give the new state its greatest opportunity for service in the councils of the Feral Government and in demonstrating to the Orient that the United states practices what it preaches in advocating freedom and self-government for all peoples.

Senator Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, said he opposes admission of Hawaii to statehood until Communist leaders and influences there had been brought under control.


He quoted at length from Island news account of union and political activities in an effort to show that some island leaders had been linked to subversive groups.

Senator Ervin, Democrat of North Carolina, a Southerner urging passage of the bill, recounted the loyal service and death of many Hawaiians in two world wars.

He said the people of the islands had demonstrated their devotion to this country and its principles.

Senator Long, Democrat of Louisiana, also urged admission of Hawaii.

Senator Holland, Florida Democrat, said one important reason for the admission of Hawaii to the union was that it is “;our great strong bastion of defense in the Pacific, the center of our Army and Navy operations there.”;

Senator Goldwater, Republican of Arizona, also supporting the bill, called attention to the record of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a Hawaiian outfit which sustained the highest percentage of combat casualties of any American unit in World War II.

The two senators from the newest state, Ernest Gruening and E. L. Bartlett, Alaska Democrats, presided over the Senate during much of the Hawaii debate.


Gruening took the floor to extend “;a warm welcome to Hawaii.”;

“;Hawaii,”; he said, “;has a unique contribution to make to the nation in this time of trouble and crisis.”;

Senator Stennis, Democrat of Mississippi, expressed admiration for Hawaii's people, but said, “;I am opposed to the whole theory of annexation of far flung territories.”;

Another Southerner, Senator Robertson, Democrat of Virginia, told the Senate that the “;influence of communistically inclined labor leaders (in Hawaii), while it has been less evident in recent years, has not been eliminated.”;

“;But, above all,”; he added, “;there remains the objection of including within the United states a territory so remote and separated by such an expense of ocean over which we have no control.”;