On March 31 of this year, I awoke to find A DXCC press release announcing the deletion of Midway and Kure Island from the DXCC List. I found this hard to believe, because Midway has been on the DXCC List, both in 1937 and in 1947, since the inception of the DXCC program.
The justification given in the press release was that President Obama expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument area on August 26, 2016. This he did. However, the area he expanded was water only. He simply expanded the water area out 50 miles, yet not one piece of land was included! Since DXCC allows only land-based contacts, this seems to suggest that there was no justification for deletion, especially a deletion based upon that particular date.
Perhaps DXCC became confused about their own rules. So I did a further, in depth review of the Midway situation. I had done this before, between 1996 and 1998, as part of the DXCC 2000 Committee, but thought I should do it again, since some things had changed. What I found convinces me that there should have been no deletion of Midway, thus no deletion of Kure.
One of the principles of the DXCC List criteria for additions and deletions has long been that if an entity is found to meet criteria to be placed on the list, it is not then removed if that criteria changes. I actually wrote this into the revised 1998 rules under DXCC List Criteria 3 e). Anything on the 1998 List cannot be deleted unless their status changes. Further, under Criteria, 5. Deletion Criteria, c) criteria changes will not be applied retroactively.
Then, I reviewed again why Midway Island was on the DXCC List, both in 1937 and 1947. The clues begin with a short study of the early history of the DXCC program, and the rationale behind the list of countries provided at the beginning.
The history of DXCC actually begins in 1935, with the publication of Clinton B Desoto’s landmark article in QST. (i)In this article, which was used as the basis for the creation of the first DXCC List, first mention is made of a “discrete geographical or political entity”. Later in that same article is a discussion of islands and island groups. Groups are “constituted by several islands commonly grouped under one name and under the same political control (italics mine.) The Hawaiian Islands are mentioned in this paragraph. If you check an atlas of the day, you would find the Hawaiian Islands listed under one name, and the Midway Islands listed separately. You would find this to be true in a current Rand McNally Atlas as well. The National Geographic Atlas of the World, 2015, shows the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument, created on June 15, 2006. It also shows Midway separately, administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. (ii)This shows that at the time of DXCC List creation, Hawaii and Midway were considered separate by mapmakers and by DXCC, both in 1937, 1947, and even today. In short, it was a discrete entity, listed by mapmakers as separate from Hawaii, which indeed it was politically.
To fully understand, it is best to look at the history of Midway and Kure.
A Captain Middlebrook originally claimed Midway for the U.S. on July 5, 1859. It was later formally claimed by the U.S. Navy (August 28, 1867). At that time Hawaii was an independent kingdom. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed Executive Order 199-A, placing Midway under jurisdiction and control of the U.S. Navy. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8682 creating several Naval Defense Zones. Midway was included in those areas. On April 22, 1988, Midway was designated a National Wildlife Area. On October 31, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13022 transferring Midway to the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to become the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. This order remains in force. Never in any of those orders was Midway made a part of the territory or state of Hawaii, which is what would need to happen to cause a deletion.
King Kalakaua Sent Colonel J. H. Boyd to Kure as a Special Commissioner, when on September 20, 1886, he took possession of the island for the government of Hawaii. Kure has always been part of Hawaii.
Knowing this history, and knowing what the early DXCC philosophy was when there was no actual, published criteria, it becomes easy to see that the early assemblers of the list saw that Midway was separate from the territory of Hawaii because Hawaii was self-governing and Midway was not. That condition continues to this day. Hawaii becoming a state without inclusion of Midway actually strengthens this separation, and it is this separation, and not a specific administration, upon which the inclusion of Midway to the original DXCC Lists was based. Therefore, the status of Midway has not changed from the time it first appeared on the DXCC List until today.
Further evidence is provided from the web pages of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument and the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument has as its co-trustees NOAA (seas within the monument) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Midway National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway Memorial), State of Hawaii (all of the Hawaiian Islands) and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (Native affairs within the monument). The trustees are supervisory, with management and administration by each agency of each part of the monument, as designated. Fish and Wildlife maintains a staff on Midway. The State of Hawaii maintains a small staff on Kure to look after the Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary. If you want to do anything in the waters of the monument, contact NOAA. Each individual agency or the State of Hawaii controls access to their area. None of these administrations appears to have given up administration of their respective areas within the monument.
So, the DXCC Deletion Criteria have not been met, certainly not by any action taken on August 26, 2016. Midway does meet the criteria under which it was added (separate from the Territory of Hawaii), and a change in the criteria shall not affect the status of any Entity on the list at the time of the change. Since no particular administration was named, but only that Midway was different from Hawaii at the time the list was created, then there was no reason for this deletion, and therefore, no reason for the deletion of Kure.
Here is a simple four question test that will show the error of this deletion:
1. Was Midway part of the Territory of Hawaii in 1937 or 1947? It was Not
2. Was Midway incorporated into the State of Hawaii upon statehood in 1959? No
3. Did Midway become a part of the State of Hawaii when the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument was created in 2006? It did not
4. Is Midway currently an unincorporated insular territory of the U.S. and not part of the State of Hawaii? It is currently listed as an unincorporated insular territory of the U.S. by the Department of the Interior, and as such is not part of the State of Hawaii.
Deleting an Entity and bringing it back to the DXCC List because a more stringent review showed the error is not new. It was done with the Cayman Islands deletion in 1960 (iii). So, Midway and Kure should be restored to the DXCC List.
(i) DeSoto, Clinton B.,”How to Count Countries Worked” QST, October, 1935, pp40-41,
(ii) National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition, 2015, “The State of Hawai’i includes all islands and reefs in the chain that extends from the island of Hawai’i to Kure, except Midway Islands, which are administered as a wildlife refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service”
(iii) QST, June 1958, page 97 and QST, September 1960, page 90.