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Guam lawyers to launch second edition 'The Secret Guam Study'

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The Guam Bar Association will launch the second edition of "The Secret Guam Study" by Howard P. Willens & Dirk Ballendorf later this month.

The book, first published in 2009, explores the origin and fate of a previously undisclosed study of Guam’s political status.

On Feb. 1, 1975, National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger informed the Departments of Defense, Interior and State that President Gerald R. Ford had decided that the United States “should seek agreement with Guamanian representatives on a commonwealth relationship no less favorable than that which we are negotiating with the Northern Marianas.”

This presidential decision was based on a year-long classified study by these agencies, which concluded that the national security and defense interests of the United States required that Guam’s legitimate complaints about its political status be promptly addressed.

Two years later, when President Ford left office in January 1977, this directive remained unimplemented and unknown to Guam’s elected officials.

The Guam Bar Association, in partnership with Heidi Ballendorf, Dr. Ballendorf's daughter, will mark the launch of the second edition with a two-part event on April 22 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event, which will be held at Capitol Kitchen, will start with a presentation on the Freedom of Information Act, also known as the “Guam Sunshine Reform Act,” where participants may learn how to obtain compliance in the disclosure of public documents, and what to do when the government does not respond. This will be followed by the book's official launch.

Howard P. Willens was a managing director of Wilsie Co., LLC. Willens practiced law in Washington D.C. in both the public and private sectors. He served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice, assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, and executive director of the President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia.

The late Dirk A. Ballendorf was a tenured professor of History and Micronesia Area Studies at the University of Guam. Ballendorf first came to Guam in 1961 on his way to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. He served as the director of the Peace Corps program in Palau and as president of the community college in Pohnpei (now the College of Micronesia). Ballendorf earned his doctoral degree at Harvard University.


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