Legislative Branch

Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 12 Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

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Chapter 12. Records of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and Predecessor Committees, 1816-1968

Records of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and Predecessor Committees, 1816-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Committee records discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico, 1899-1921

12.58 The Committee on Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico was established by Senate resolution on December 15, 1899, during a critical period in the expansion of American influence in the Pacific and Caribbean areas. The focus of the committee was almost exclusively on legal matters and economic development in the Hawaiian Islands and Puerto Rico. On February 5, 1920, the U.S. Virgin Islands were added to the jurisdiction and the committee was renamed the Committee on Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The committee was terminated April 18, 1921, by S. Res. 43, 67th Cong., and its jurisdiction transferred to the new Committee on Territories and Insular Possessions.

12.59 The records of the committee (4 ft.) include committee papers, 1900-20 (3 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of various bodies referred to the committee, 1899-1920 (1 ft.). Records relating to bills and resolutions referred to the committee, 1901-21, may be found in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions.

12.60 Among the committee papers, comprised of a mixture of loose papers and bound volumes, are correspondence of the chairman, Joseph Foraker of Ohio, 1905-12 (62A-F17, 9 in.); minutes, January-June 1900 and December 1909-February 1910 (1 vol. and loose papers, 3/4 in., 56A-F25, 61A-F20); executive docket, 1900-11 (1 vol., 1 in., 61A-F20); legislative docket, 1899-1911 (1 vol., 1 in., 61A-F20); a combined legislative and executive docket and minute book, 1913-20 (1 vol., 1 in., 66A-F15); miscellaneous subject files; and Presidential messages and executive communications, printed as House or Senate documents (most Congresses). Also included are printed or carbon copies of laws of Hawaii and Puerto Rico, a journal of Puerto Rico's Executive Council, and the journals of Puerto Rico's House of Delegates (numerous Congresses). Individual documents of interest are a letter from Susan B. Anthony to Senator Thomas C. Platt requesting omission of the word "male" from suffrage laws framed for new possessions (56A-F25), a report on the treatment of Puerto Ricans taken to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations (57A-F21), and papers relating to the 1902 election riots in Puerto Rico (57A-F21).

12.61 Petitions and memorials concern reforms and causes such as prohibition in Hawaii (56A-J27.1, 61A-J71, 64A-J61) and woman suffrage (56A-J27.2); citizenship for Puerto Ricans (58A-J55, 59A-J78, 60A-J97); Hawaiian statehood (66A-J46); and economic issues such as development of the islands and the protection of U.S. industries from island products and manufactures (numerous Congresses).

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42). By Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.