Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release August 9, 1999
August 9, 1999
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Interagency Group on Insular Areas
Issues relating to American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands sometimes
vary from those relating to the States. Such issues frequently cut
across agency lines. Since the insular jurisdictions lack the
representation that a State has in the Federal process, the Federal
Government has a special responsibility to consider their issues.
Except for matters that are specifically within the responsibility of
another department or agency, generally, the Secretary of the Interior
has responsibility for the matters concerning these territorial
jurisdictions. With the continued development of the insular areas and
the extension of most Federal programs to them, the need to improve the
coordination of Federal programs and policies as they relate to these
jurisdictions has increased. I, therefore, direct as follows:
There shall be established the "Interagency Group on Insular Areas"
(IGIA) to give guidance on policy concerning these insular
jurisdictions. The IGIA membership shall consist of senior officials
selected by the heads of executive departments, agencies, and offices
that receive a request for representation from the Secretary of the
Interior (Secretary). The Secretary and the Director of the White House
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (Director) shall select the
Co-Chairs of the IGIA.
The IGIA shall work on a continuing basis with the Secretary to
identify issues concerning these insular jurisdictions and make
recommendations to the President or other officials as appropriate
concerning Federal Government policies and programs that raise those
The IGIA shall consult with the Governors, Delegates to the U.S.
House of Representatives, other elected representatives of the insular
areas, and other Members of Congress as appropriate, on issues of
concern. In this regard, the Co-Chairs shall schedule a meeting at
least annually in Washington, D.C., with insular officials and shall
schedule other meetings in response to requests of the officials.
Executive departments and agencies should coordinate significant
decisions or activities relating to the insular areas with the IGIA.
This shall not, however, limit the responsibility of departments and
agencies to directly fulfill their responsibilities in the insular
jurisdictions, including their responsibility to respond directly to the
insular jurisdictions and their representatives.
The Secretary shall periodically, but no less than annually, report
to the President through the Director on the progress made in addressing
insular area issues.
The Secretary shall provide administrative support for the IGIA.