Executive Orders

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Executive Orders


Presidential Executive Orders are generally defined as, "orders issued by United States Presidents and directed towards officers and agencies of the U.S. federal government. Executive orders have the full force of law, based on the authority derived from statute or the Constitution itself." (Wikipedia).

Palmyra has been the focus of several executive orders starting in the 1940's, and primarily concerned with its use as a Naval air station. This collection highlights and contains those orders, with brief explanations of their impetous and impact.

Collection Items

Presidential Executive Order 8616
Though much of the Pacific islands owned by the US had already been designated as military facilities, Palmyra remained exempt until 1939, when the government determined its current owners, the Fullard-Leo family, did not have legal claim to it, and…

Presidential Executive Order 8682
This order officially established the "Palmyra Island Naval Defensive Sea Area". Plans for the construction and use of Palmyra as a Naval station were finalized and put in place, as the atoll's underwent its most significant physical changes at the…

Executive Order 9881
After years of court appeals, the previous owners of Palmyra, the Fullard-Leo family, finally won their suit against the US Government and ownership of Palmyra was returned to them. While this didn't mean the immediate evacuation of personel from…

Executive Order 10388
This brief order rescinded President Roosevelt's original order, giving the Navy control of Palmyra. It was a final step in restoring ownership to the Fullard-Leo family, and helped solidify Palmyra's status as an unincorporated territory after the…

Executive Order 10967
This order officially placed responsibilities for managing Palmyra under the Department of the Interior, where it remains today. Since its removal from management by the Naval department, Palmyra had been somewhat is flux, but here Kennedy assured…

Memorandum for the President regarding Palmyra Island
We came across this document while looking through memos and letter related to the formation of Executive Order 8682, establishing Palmyra as a Naval base of operations during WW2.

This 1938 letter comes from then Secretary of the Interior Harold…

Documents of Executive Order 8616
This group of memos and letters trace the development of Executive Order 8616, which put Palmyra under the official management of the US Navy. Most date from 1939 offer a unique view into the process of how land was acquired by the military during…
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