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.
  198. Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Approving the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico  
July 3, 1952

I HAVE today signed HJ. Res. 430, approving the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which was adopted by the people of Puerto Rico on March 3, 1952.

I welcome this early approval by the Congress of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which I recommended in a special message on April 22, 1952.

The adoption of this constitution was authorized by the act of July 3, 1950. It is gratifying to me to be able to sign the act approving the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 2 years to the day after I approved the enabling legislation.

The act of July 3, 1950, authorized the people of Puerto Rico to organize a republican form of government pursuant to a constitution of their own choosing. That act, adopted by the Congress in the nature of a compact, became effective only when accepted by the people of Puerto Rico in a referendum.

On June 4, 1951, the people of Puerto Rico voted by a large majority to accept the act of July 3, 1950, thereby reaffirming their union with the United States on the terms proposed by the Congress. Following the referendum, the voters of Puerto Rico elected delegates to a constitutional convention. The convention convened in San Juan on September 17, 1951, and concluded its deliberations on February 6, 1952.

The constitution approved by the constitutional convention was submitted to the people of Puerto Rico in a referendum on March 3, 1952, and was approved by an overwhelming majority. On April 22, 1952, I transmitted the constitution to the Congress for approval in accordance with the provisions of the act of July 3, 1950. The constitution will now become effective upon the acceptance by the constitutional convention of the conditions of approval and the issuance of a proclamation by the Governor of Puerto Rico.

H.J. Res. 430 is the culmination of a consistent policy of the United States to confer an ever-increasing measure of local self-government upon the people of Puerto Rico. It provides additional evidence of this Nation's adherence to the principle of self-determination and to the ideals of freedom and democracy.

We take special pride in the fact that this constitution is the product of the people of Puerto Rico. When the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is proclaimed by the Governor, Puerto Rico will have a government fashioned by the people of Puerto Rico to meet their own needs, requirements, and aspirations.

With the approval of H.J. Res. 430, the people of the United States and the people of Puerto Rico are about to enter into a relationship based on mutual consent and esteem. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the procedures by which it has come into being are matters of which every American can be justly proud. They are in accordance with principles we proclaim as the right of free peoples everywhere. July 3, 1952, should be a proud and happy day for all who have been associated in a great task.

NOTE: As enacted, H.J. Res. 430 is Public Law 447, 82d Congress (66 Stat. 327). The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is published in House Document 435 (82d Cong., 2d sess.).
See also Item 104.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.