Legislative Branch

Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 12 Territories 1921-1946

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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 Territories and Insular Possessions, 1921-29 and the Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs, 1929-46

12.64 The Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs was established on April 18, 1921, with the adoption of S. Res. 43, 67th Cong., which eliminated many standing and select committees, including the Committee on the Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, and the Committee on the Philippines. Legislative responsibility for these areas was transferred to the Committee on Territories, which was renamed the Committee on Territories and Insular Possessions. On June 17, 1929, the Senate approved S. Res. 55, 71st Cong., which changed the name to the Committee on Territories and Insular Affairs, but left the jurisdiction intact. As a result of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, the legislative responsibilities of the committee were assigned to an expanded Committee on Public Lands, which in 1947 became the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.

12.65 The records of the committee (18 ft.) consist of committee papers, 1923-46 (16 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of Government bodies, 1923-46 (2 ft.). Legislative case files are in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions. There are no records for the 67th Congress (1921-23).

12.66 The committee papers for the 68th-72d Congresses consist chiefly of Presidential messages and executive communications about the administration of governments in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, annual reports of the Governor of Puerto Rico, and copies of laws passed by the legislative bodies of both countries. Also included are papers submitted by the American Federation of Labor supporting the protests of workers in Puerto Rico against the alleged frauds and violence committed during the election in November, 1924 (68A-F20). Beginning with the 73d Congress (1933-34), the records for each Congress include correspondence of the committee chairman and clerk, which is arranged alphabetically by territory (Alaska, Hawaii, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and Virgin Islands). The quantity of correspondence varies from Congress to Congress, with the greatest amount existing for the 78th and 79th Congresses (78A-F29, 79A-F28). The emphasis of the correspondence for these two Congresses, 1943-46, is on the Philippines: The Japanese occupation, the government in exile, postwar reconstruction and rehabilitation, and claims that were championed by the committee chairman, Millard Tydings of Maryland. The committee papers also include printed material such as newspaper clippings, committee prints, legislative calendars, committee reports and documents, and bills. Also included is a small file on S. 1078, 80th Cong., a bill to provide a civil government for the island of Guam (79A-F28).

12.67 The petitions, memorials, and resolutions referred to the committee consist largely of resolutions and memorials of the legislative assemblies of various territories concerning political and economic relations with the United States. Examples include resolutions from several provincial and municipal governments in the Philippines favoring complete independence and withdrawal of U.S. troops, 1925-31 (69A-J38, 71A-J56). For most Congresses, 1931-46, the series is arranged by territory and thereunder chronologically.

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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.