Article 8: Property


Section 801.
All right, title and interest of the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in and to real property in the Northern Mariana Islands on the date of the signing of this Covenant or thereafter acquired in any manner whatsoever will, no later than upon the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement, be transferred to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands. All right, title and interest of the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in and to all personal property on the date of the signing of this Covenant or thereafter acquired in any manner whatsoever will, no later than upon the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement, be distributed equitably in a manner to be determined by the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in consultation with those concerned, including the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands.


Section 802.

(a) The following property will be made available to the Government of the United States by lease to enable it to carry out its defense responsibilities:


(1) on Tinian Island, approximately 17,799 acres (7,203 hectares) and the waters immediately adjacent thereto;


(2) on Saipan Island, approximately 177 acres (72 hectares) at Tanapag Harbor; and


(3) on Farallon de Medinilla Island, approximately 206 acres (83 hectares) encompassing the entire island, and the waters immediately adjacent thereto.


(b) The United States affirms that it has no present need for or present intention to acquire any greater interest in property listed above than that which is granted to it under Subsection 803(a), or to acquire any property in addition to that listed in Subsection (a), above, in order to carry out its defense responsibilities.


  • Case Annotations: 4 N.M.I. 208--211, 215.


Section 803.

(a) The Government of the Northern Mariana Islands will lease the property described in Subsection 802(a) to the Government of the United States for a term of fifty years, and the Government of the United States will have the option of renewing this lease for all or part of such property for an additional term of fifty years if it so desires at the end of the first term.


(b) The Government of the United States will pay to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands in full settlement of this lease, including the second fifty year term of the lease if extended under the renewal option, the total sum of $19,520,600, determined as follows:


  • (1) for that property on Tinian Island, $17.5 million;


  • (2) for that property at Tanapag Harbor on Saipan Island, $2 million; and


  • (3) for that property known as Farallon de Medinilla, $20,600. The sum stated in this Subsection will be adjusted by a percentage which will be the same as the percentage change in the United States Department of Commerce composite price index from the date of signing the Covenant.


(c) A separate Technical Agreement Regarding Use of Land To Be Leased by the United States in the Northern Mariana Islands will be executed simultaneously with this Covenant. The terms of the lease to the United States will be in accordance with this Section and with the terms of the Technical Agreement. The Technical Agreement will also contain terms relating to the leaseback of property, to the joint use arrangements for San Jose Harbor and West Field on Tinian Island, and to the principles which will govern the social structure relations between the United States military and the Northern Mariana Islands civil authorities.


(d) From the property to be leased to it in accordance with this Covenant the Government of the United States will lease back to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands, in accordance with the Technical Agreement, for the sum of one dollar per acre per year, approximately 6,458 acres (2,614 hectares) on Tinian Island and approximately 44 acres (18 hectares) at Tanapag Harbor on Saipan Island, which will be used for purposes compatible with their intended military use.


(e) From the property to be leased to it at Tanapag Harbor on Saipan Island the Government of the United States will make available to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands 133 acres (54 hectares) at no cost. This property will be set aside for public use as an American memorial park to honor the American and Marianas dead in the World War II Marianas Campaign. The $2 million received from the Government of the United States for the lease of this property will be placed into a trust fund, and used for the development and maintenance of the park in accordance with the Technical Agreement.


Section 804.

(a) The Government of the United States will cause all agreements between it and the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands which grant to the Government of the United States use or other rights in real property in the Northern Mariana Islands to be terminated upon or before the effective date of this Section. All right, title and interest of the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in and to any real property with respect to which the Government of the United States enjoys such use or other rights will be transferred to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands at the time of such termination. From the time such right, title and interest is so transferred the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands will assure the Government of the United States the continued use of the real property then actively used by the Government of the United States for civilian governmental purposes on terms comparable to those enjoyed by the Government of the United States under its arrangements with the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands on the date of the signature of this Covenant.


(b) All facilities at Isely Field developed with federal aid and all facilities at that field usable for the landing and take-off of aircraft will be available to the United States for use by military and naval aircraft, in common with other aircraft, at all times without charge, except, if the use by military and naval aircraft shall be substantial, a reasonable share, proportional to such use, of the cost of operating and maintaining the facilities so used may be charged at a rate established by agreement between the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Government of the United States.


Section 805.

Except as otherwise provided in this Article, and notwithstanding the other provisions of this Covenant, or those provisions of the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States applicable to the Northern Mariana Islands, the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands, in view of the importance of the ownership of land for the culture and traditions of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands, and in order to protect them against exploitation and to promote their economic advancement and self-sufficiency:


(a) will until twenty-five years after the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement, and may thereafter, regulate the alienation of permanent and long-term interests in real property so as to restrict the acquisition of such interests to persons of Northern Mariana Islands descent; and


(b) may regulate the extent to which a person may own or hold land which is now public land.


  • Case Annotations: Commonwealth v. Bordallo, 1 N.M.I. 208--219; Aldan-Pierce v. Mafnas, 2 N.M.I. 122--135, 136, 138, 144 (1991), rev'd, 31 F.3d 756 (9th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. ___, 115 S. Ct. 913, 130 L. Ed. 2d 794 (1995); Sablan v. Inos, 3 N.M.I. 418--432, 433; Diamond Hotel Co., Ltd. v. Matsunaga, 4 N.M.I. 213 (1995), aff'd, 99 F.3d 296 (9th Cir. 1996); Faisao, Estate of, v. Tenorio, 4 N.M.I. 260--266; Sablan v. Tenorio, 4 N.M.I. 351--361, 375.


Section 806.

(a) The United States will continue to recognize and respect the scarcity and special importance of land in the Northern Mariana Islands. If the United States must acquire any interest in real property not transferred to it under this Covenant, it will follow the policy of seeking to acquire only the minimum area necessary to accomplish the public purpose for which the real property is required, of seeking only the minimum interest in real property necessary to support such public purpose, acquiring title only if the public purpose cannot be accomplished if a lesser interest is obtained, and of seeking first to satisfy its requirement by acquiring an interest in public rather than private real property.


(b) The United States may, upon prior written notice to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands, acquire for public purposes in accordance with federal laws and procedures any interest in real property in the Northern Mariana Islands by purchase, lease, exchange, gift or otherwise under such terms and conditions as may be negotiated by the parties. The United States will in all cases attempt to acquire any interest in real property for public purposes by voluntary means under this Subsection before exercising the power of eminent domain. No interest in real property will be acquired unless duly authorized by the Congress of the United States and appropriations are available therefor.


(c) In the event it is not possible for the United States to obtain an interest in real property for public purposes by voluntary means, it may exercise within the Commonwealth the power of eminent domain to the same extent and in the same manner as it has and can exercise the power of eminent domain in a State of the Union. The power of eminent domain will be exercised within the Commonwealth only to the extent necessary and in compliance with applicable United States laws, and with full recognition of the due process required by the United States Constitution.