Nhsc-v1-437

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nhsc-v1-437

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would quite likely be the final position of the executive branch. Faced with this prospect, Hawaii's Democratic congressional delegation pressed hard for some concessions, but was largely unsuccessful. Serious action by the United States Government was put off until the summer of 1964, when staff members from the Bureau of the Budget went to Honolulu to "negotiate" with Governor Burns regarding this land. The position of the government was uncomplicated. The bulk of the land, 87,236 acres, was definitely to be "set aside" while the remainder of the land was to be leased to the federal government for 65 years at the nominal charge of $1.00 for each lease. These leases were in fact offered as a kind of concession, for the alternative, as the federal negotiators made clear, would be the "setting aside" of this land as well. The State of Hawaii was clearly bargaining from a position of weakness, and was forced to agree to these terms. 12/

Some of Hawaii's political leaders objected to the five-year deadline set on the return of land that had been set aside for Federal Government use. 13/ They contended that Hawaii had a unique claim on these lands and property since they were originally given to the United States by the Republic and were held as a kind of "trust" for the people of Hawaii. As a result, on December 23, 1963, Congress passed Public Law 88-233, a reconveyancing act, effectively amending section 5(e) of the Admission Act. l4/ P.L. 88-233 abolished section 5(e)'s five-year deadline and extended, without limitation, the possibility of the Federal Government relinquishing title, without cost to the State, to section 5(c) and 5(d) ceded lands. However, all lands that had been set aside for national parks (approximately 227,972 acres) became the fee simple property of the Federal Government. Thus, under the provisions of P.L. 88-233 approximately 58,510 acres of land under the section 5(c) category and 87,236 acres under the section 5(d) category, totaling 145,746 acres, became eligible for return to the State of Hawaii at any time. Since 1964, however, less than 500 acres of land have been returned under the reconveyancing act's provisions. 15/

State Responsibilities in Relation to Ceded Lands

Section 5(f) of the Admission Act requires the State to hold the ceded lands, their proceeds, and income as a public trust for any one of five trust purposes:

(a) Support of public schools and other public educational institutions;
(b) Betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians, as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended;
(c) Development of farm and home ownership on as widespread a basis as possible;
(d) Making of public improvements; and
(e) Provision of lands for public use.

Section 5(f) also provides that the use of the ceded lands, their proceeds, and income for any purposes other than those enumerated "shall constitute a breach of trust for which suit may be brought by the United States." 16/

Since statehood, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has

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