Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  166. Letter to Governor Pinero of Puerto Rico Upon Signing Bill Providing for an Elected Governor  
August 5, 1947

My dear Governor Pinero:

I have today signed the bill which will make the governorship of Puerto Rico an elected office, beginning in 1948. I consider it a great step toward complete self-government and I sincerely hope that the action of the Congress will meet with the approval of the people of Puerto Rico.

It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the Congress did not enact the House version of the bill, which would have permitted the Governor to appoint the members of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. However, when the bill passed the Senate, the time of adjournment was so near that there was no opportunity for a conference. If the Senate amendment had not been accepted by the House of Representatives, no Puerto Rican bill would have been enacted at this session.

I am sure the people of Puerto Rico will prefer the bill as enacted to no bill at all. The essence of the bill, the provision for an elected governor, has been retained. Now that this momentous step forward has been taken, I am confident that it will be possible to secure a further amendment to the Organic Act at an early date, to empower the Governor to appoint the members of the Supreme Court.

Puerto Rico will be the first of the territorial areas under the jurisdiction of the United States whose chief executive and whose legislature are responsible to the electorate. Many years ago the Congress gave the Legislature of Puerto Rico legislative powers virtually as broad as those of the States, extending to almost all subjects of local legislation. Now the people of Puerto Rico, like the people of the States, will have a voice in the selection, not only of the men who make their laws, but also of the men who administer them. They will, more than ever before in their history, be managing their own affairs.

I send to the people of Puerto Rico my good wishes as they advance further along the road to self-government. I am certain that they will prove themselves worthy of the trust the Congress has placed in them.
Very sincerely yours,
HARRY S. TRUMAN


[The Honorable Jesus T. Pinero, Governor of Puerto Rico]

NOTE: The act providing for the governorship of Puerto Rico by election is Public Law 382, 80th Congress (61 Stat. 770).
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.