ORGANIC ACT LAND TITLE PROVISIONS
The Organic Act of 1950 essentially created a form of "home rule." It empowered residents of the Territory of Guam to establish local legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government empowered to control most local issues. The United States Congress retained the right to disapprove any legislation enacted by the Guam legislature; however, the Organic Act was a substantial move toward autonomy from a legal and political condition closely akin to martial law that had existed on the island throughout most of the twentieth century. Although the Act obviously contained a number of very significant provisions, the provisions pertaining to land control is the language most important to the creation and management of WAPA. For that reason, that language is reproduced in its entirety below. Section 1421f of Title 48, United States Code (Section 28 of the Act of August 1, 1950, The Organic Act) states:
§1421f. Title to Property Transferred. (a) The title to all property, real and personal, owned by the United States and employed by the naval government of Guam in the administration of civil affairs of the inhabitants of Guam, including automotive and other equipment, tools and machinery, water and sewerage facilities, bus lines and other utilities, hospitals, schools, and other buildings, shall be transferred to the government of Guam within ninety days after the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) All other property, real and personal, owned by the United States in Guam, not reserved by the President of the United States within ninety days after the date of enactment of this Act, is hereby placed under the control of the government of Guam, to be administered for the benefit of the people of Guam, and the legislature shall have the authority, subject to such limitations as may be imposed upon its acts by this Act or subsequent acts of the Congress, to legislate with respect to such property, real and personal, in such manner as it may deem desirable.
(c) All other property owned by the United States in Guam, the title to which is not transferred to the government of Guam by subsection (a) hereof, or which is not placed under the control of the government of Guam by subsection (b) hereof, is transferred to the administrative supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, except as the President may from time to time otherwise prescribe: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior shall be authorized to lease or to sell, on such terms as he may deem in the public interest, any property, real and personal, of the United States under his administrative supervision in Guam not needed for public purposes.
Last Updated: 08-May-2005