President William McKinley

President William McKinley

BY KENNETH CONKLIN PHD – The State of Hawaii House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs has entertained many absurd bills and resolutions this year. Every one of them has passed, usually with zero votes in opposition.

Some items they passed are flagrantly racist — at least two bills to establish an entity with governmental powers whose main requirement for membership is Hawaiian native blood; and a resolution calling on the University of Hawaii to give free tuition to all students who have Hawaiian native blood (A few other students of other races might get free tuition because they are needy, but only after all ethnic Hawaiians get free tuition based solely on race).

Some items are blatant attempts to rewrite history, reminiscent of how the Soviet Union declared some important historical figures to be “non-persons” and removed all references to their names from books about history and culture.

The latest effort to twist history is House resolution HR258, and its companion House Concurrent Resolution HCR293. It calls for the removal of the words “Treaty of Annexation” from a document held in the right hand of President McKinley’s bronze statue that has been in front of McKinley High School for a century. The resolution says there never was a Treaty of Annexation, and “these inaccuracies, when incorporated into public displays such as statues, have been harmful to everyone including not only students at McKinley High School but all young people in the public school system because these public displays perpetuate and promote lies as truths, leaving Hawai‘i’s youth unprepared to engage in meaningful dialogue on Hawai‘i’s history.”

Text of HR258 is at

A file containing the testimony submitted on this resolution can be downloaded at

But of course there was a Treaty of Annexation.

The first attempt at a treaty was offered by the Provisional Government of Hawaii in January 1893 but later withdrawn from the U.S. Senate by President Grover Cleveland when Cleveland took office in March 1893.

A new treaty was offered by the Republic of Hawaii in 1897, when William McKinley was President. At first it was rejected by the U.S. Senate. But upon further consideration and in light of world events, it was then accepted by joint resolution of the entire Congress in 1898. The vote was 42-21 in the Senate (exactly 2/3) and by 209-91 in the House (more than 2/3).

Hawaiian sovereignty activists like to say there never was a Treaty of Annexation. That’s because they dislike the way the United States chose to exercise its sovereignty to accept the treaty. The extreme zealousness of the “No Treaty of Annexation” folks is described in a Star-Advertiser news report on September 6, 2010.
At various public events the activists now display about 1500 tiny lawn signs. Each says “No treaty of annexation” on one side, while the other side shows the name of one of the signers of the anti-annexation petition of 1897.

The activists claim that the U.S. can only ratify a treaty by a 2/3 vote of the Senate. But how any nation chooses to ratify a treaty is entirely up to that nation to decide for itself. The U.S. chose to ratify the treaty by means of a joint resolution, just as had been done 50 years previously in the annexation of Texas (which also was an independent nation at the time it was annexed). It is not a matter of international law, and certainly not a matter for the Hawaiian activists, to decide the method whereby the U.S. internally exercises its sovereignty to accept and ratify a treaty offered by another nation. Those members of the U.S. Senate who opposed the treaty could have filed a complaint with the U.S. Supreme Court, but chose not to do so and acquiesced in the use of the joint resolution. The Treaty of Annexation is now settled law; governed by the principles of “stare decisis” and “laches.”

But even the Hawaiian sovereignty activists must acknowledge that the Republic of Hawaii did indeed offer a Treaty of Annexation to President McKinley, and that he accepted it and submitted it first to the Senate and later to both the House and Senate. The McKinley statue is correct in showing President McKinley holding a document entitled “Treaty of Annexation.” Hawaii held out the Treaty of Annexation to President McKinley, who accepted it into his hand, just as the statue portrays.

See this webpage: “Treaty of Annexation between the Republic of Hawaii and the United States of America (1898). Full text of the treaty, and of the resolutions whereby the Republic of Hawaii legislature and the U.S. Congress ratified it. The politics surrounding the treaty, then and now.”

If there had not been a Treaty of Annexation then Hawaii would not have become a Territory or State. That’s the whole idea of this resolution — to put the legislature on record as saying Hawaii should not be part of the United States because an “illegal overthrow” was followed by an “illegal annexation” (not to mention an “illegal Statehood vote” in 1959).

That same idea was also the essence of another resolution HCR107 passed the previous week by the same committee, with no dissenting votes. That resolution calls for convening an investigative committee with powers of subpoena and contempt, to investigate an alleged “executive agreement” between (ex) Queen Liliuokalani and President Cleveland, to restore Liliuokalani to the throne. If there had actually been such an executive agreement, and if it continued in force and effectiveness today, that would mean the U.S. must disgorge Hawaii and restore the monarchial government. For detailed analysis of HCR107 see

The Committee on Hawaiian Affairs is not merely wasting time and taxpayer dollars. It is deliberately and eagerly stirring up feelings of victimhood, anti-Americanism, secession and treason. No good can come of it. The members of this committee should be held up to ridicule. Citizens should speak to these Representatives in angry denunciation. Make them social outcasts. Let them know we will never vote for them again. Their names are: Faye P. Hanohano, Chris Lee, Della Au Belatti, Jo Jordan, John M. Mizuno, Dee Morikawa, Jessica Wooley, Ryan I. Yamane, Kymberly Marcos Pine, Gene Ward.

However sweet and lovely they might be in private life, whatever good things they might accomplish on other committees, is overwhelmingly outweighed by their support for the dangerous legislation they vote for in the Hawaiian Affairs committee.

The resolution to remove “Treaty of Annexation” from President McKinley’s statue passed without amendment and with no dissent. Republican Representatives Pine and Ward voted “Yes with reservations.” Their votes still count as “Yes.” Their “reservations” are of no consequence except to try to make us think they have a conscience. They lack the guts to stand up for what’s right and deserve all the outrage directed to the other members. A killer who hesitates before plunging in the knife is nevertheless fully guilty of murder. In this case, what is contemplated is the murder of the State of Hawaii as part of the United States, and these politicians are accomplices.