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Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Italian Government Disowns Honolulu Consul Letter Recognizing Hawaiian Kingdom Government
By Andrew Walden @ 10:54 AM :: 13932 Views :: Akaka Bill, DHHL, Hawaii History, Law Enforcement, OHA

by Andrew Walden

The so-called “Hawai­ian King­dom Gov­ern­ment” made inter­na­tional head­lines last week with its takeover of Iolani Palace. But head­lines are not the only out­side sup­port the Hawai­ian King­dom Gov­ern­ment group is receiv­ing. In a Feb­ru­ary 28, 2008 let­ter, Hon­orary Vice-Consul of Italy in Hawaii, Car­men Di Amore-Siah, pur­ports to grant the Hawaii King­dom Gov­ern­ment group recog­ni­tion by the Gov­ern­ment of Italy.

In the let­ter addressed to Hawaii King­dom Gov­ern­ment and stamped “Ital­ian Con­sulate” Di Amore-Siah writes:

“This office on behalf of the Ital­ian Gov­ern­ment in Hawaii acknowl­edges that there was a prior treaty that was not between the United States nor the State of Hawaii but between the Hawai­ian King­dom and the Ital­ian government.

“We acknowl­edge and rec­og­nize that the Hawai­ian King­dom exists and is oper­at­ing at 210 Iolani Avenue in Hon­olulu, Hawaii 96783. We appre­ci­ate your vis­its to our office and appre­ci­ate the rela­tion­ship that Italy has with the Hawai­ian King­dom and its cur­rently oper­at­ing government.”

Speak­ing to Hawaii Free Press, Luca Fer­rari, Ital­ian Embassy spokesper­son explained:

“If this let­ter is authen­tic, she is not act­ing within the author­ity of her office. These are per­sonal opin­ions. To the extent that she is rep­re­sent­ing them as the opin­ion of the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment, that is cer­tainly the big prob­lem. To write it on offi­cial Ital­ian sta­tion­ary as rep­re­sent­ing the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment is unacceptable.”

Prior to its 1893 over­throw, the Hawai­ian King­dom had rela­tions with numer­ous for­eign coun­tries, includ­ing a July 22, 1863 treaty with Italy.

The Hawaii Repub­lic, which resulted from the over­throw of the monar­chy, was granted diplo­matic recog­ni­tion by Ital­ian King Umberto I, Sep­tem­ber 23, 1894.

As for the cur­rent pol­icy, Mr. Fer­rari explained: “The Ital­ian gov­ern­ment does not rec­og­nize any King­dom of Hawaii what so ever. We have no rela­tion­ship. Our rela­tion­ship is with the United States. As far as we are con­cerned, Hawaii is one of 50 states.”

Appar­ently the Di Amore-Siah let­ter was trig­gered by the Hawai­ian King­dom Gov­ern­ment group pre­tend­ing to ‘can­cel’ the 1863 treaty that the Hawai­ian King­dom had with the Repub­lic of Italy after the Hon­orary Con­sul failed to respond to an ear­lier Hawai­ian King­dom Gov­ern­ment let­ter. Di-Amore-Siah writes:

“I acknowl­edge that the for­mer Treaty between the Ital­ian Gov­ern­ment and the Hawai­ian King­dom was enacted and valid for over a cen­tury. I also under­stand that this treaty was can­celled in August of 2007, for the Ital­ian Government’s fail­ure to acknowl­edge your prior cor­re­spon­dence in an affir­ma­tive let­ter of acknowledgement.

“We are grate­ful that the Hawai­ian King­dom has recon­sid­ered the can­cel­la­tion of the treaty.”

Con­tacted by Hawaii Free Press, Di-Amore responded with a short writ­ten state­ment. In it she wrote:

“The Ital­ian Gov­ern­ment as well as I, believe that this is not a sim­ple mat­ter it is a ‘com­pli­cated mat­ter’ and many of the con­sulates will dis­agree on the ques­tion of the exis­tence of the Hawai­ian King­dom…. The United States has exer­cised sov­er­eignty over Hawaii since 1898, and the rest of the world (except, based upon my let­ter Italy) has accepted this both de facto and de jure. Some in our com­mu­nity do want inde­pen­dence and assert the con­tin­u­ing exis­tence of the King­dom. Ulti­mately it depends on what other coun­tries decide.”

Asked if she had been in touch with other offi­cials of the Gov­ern­ment of Italy regard­ing this let­ter, Di-Amore-Siah responded: “They have it. I gave it to them weeks ago.” The let­ter indi­cates that a copy was sent to the Ital­ian Consulate-General in San Fran­cisco. Speak­ing for the Embassy in Wash­ing­ton DC, Mr. Fer­rari says: “This is the first time we have seen this letter.”

Speak­ing to Hawaii Free Press off the record, a United States’ State Depart­ment offi­cial with involve­ment in Ital­ian affairs indi­cated he would take up the mat­ter with the Ital­ian ambas­sador. The offi­cial said: “I think they have some explain­ing to do there.”

Explain­ing her deci­sion, Di Amore-Siah wrote:

“Many advo­cates have worked to assist Hawai­ians in their efforts to recover land and resources, and most recently were suc­cess­ful in obtain­ing from the Hawaii Supreme Court a per­ma­nent injunc­tion pre­vent­ing the sale or trans­fer of any of the lands ceded to the United States by the State of Hawaii until the claims of the Native Hawai­ians are addressed and resolved, in the case of OHA v. HCDCH, decided Jan. 31, 2008. You might want to read that case, because it gives an excel­lent overview of this topic.

“They hope that the Akaka Bill can be passed, which would lead to nego­ti­a­tions for the return of land and resources to a reestab­lished Native Hawai­ian gov­ern­ing entity….”

“The basis for my opin­ion and the acknowl­edge­ment let­ter that I wrote is based upon my knowl­edge and an arti­cle that I assisted in writ­ing in law school and my under­stand­ing of inter­na­tional law. The arti­cle is authored by — Jon M. Van Dyke, Car­men Di Amore-Siah, and Ger­ald W. Berkley-Coats, Self-Determination for Nonself-governing Peo­ples and for Indige­nous Peo­ples: The Cases for Guam and Hawaii.”

Mr. Fer­rari has a dif­fer­ent under­stand­ing of inter­na­tional law. He says: “The hon­orary con­suls have very lim­ited pow­ers. They are never allowed to talk on behalf of the gov­ern­ment. We are imme­di­ately launch­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion. The Con­sul Gen­eral in San Fran­cisco will be in charge of the investigation.”


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