The article below was printed on page 14 of The Pacific Commercial Advertiser on July 31, 1901 in Honolulu. It is a window into a time of colliding legal systems and the Queen’s Hospital would soon become the first Hawaiian health institution to fall victim to the unlawful imposition of American laws. Queen’s Hospital was established as the national hospital for the Hawaiian Kingdom and that health care services for Hawaiian subjects of aboriginal blood was at no charge. The Hawaiian head of state would serve as the ex officio President of the Board together with twenty trustees, ten of whom were from the Hawaiian government.
Since the hospital’s establishment in 1859 the legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom subsidized the hospital along with monies from the Queen Emma Trust. With the unlawful imposition of the 1900 Organic Act that formed the Territory of Hawai‘i, American law did not allow public monies to be used for the benefit of a particular race. 1909 was the last year Queen’s Hospital received public funding and it was also the same year that the charter was unlawfully amended to replace the Hawaiian head of state with an elected president from the private sector and reduced the number of trustees from twenty to seven, which did not include government officers.
These changes to a Hawaiian quasi-public institution is a direct violation of the laws of occupation, whereby the United States was and continues to be obligated to administer the laws of the occupied State—the Hawaiian Kingdom. This requirement comes under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and Article 64 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV.
Article 55 of the Hague Convention provides, “The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the [occupied] State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.” The term “usufruct” is to administer the property or institution of another without impairing or damaging it.
Despite these unlawful changes, aboriginal Hawaiian subjects, whether pure or part, are to receive health care at Queen’s Hospital free of charge. This did not change, but through denationalization there was an attempt to erase. Aboriginal Hawaiian subjects are protected persons as defined under international law, and as such, the prevention of health care by Queen’s Hospital constitutes war crimes.
Queen’s Hospital Appropriation Peculiar.
PROVISION AS TO TREATMENT
Collision Between the Charter and the Bill Making the Grant for Period.
The Board of Health has a very delicate question to consider at its meeting this afternoon—one which places the Queen’s Hospital in a very queer situation.
The Legislature at its last session made an appropriation for the Queen’s Hospital of $40,000, to be used in the next biennial period. This was in line with the previous policy of the Government in making appropriation for the hospital, similar appropriations being made at the same time to other like institutions. There was, however, one very peculiar incident in connection with the appropriation made for the Queen’s Hospital. In the past the sum of $20,000 had always been given to the hospital for the biennial period, and Governor Dole recommended that the Legislature make the usual appropriation. Instead that body appropriated just double the amount asked, or $40,000.
Attached to the bill, however, was a rider providing that no distinction should be made as to race in the care of patients at the hospital. The appropriation was also placed in the hands of the Board of Health for proper payment and the Board now finds itself in a rather peculiar predicament.
The Queen’s Hospital was founded in 1859 by their Majesties Kamehameha IV and his consort Emma Kaleleonalani. The hospital is organized as a corporation and by the terms of its charter the board of trustees is composed ten members elected by the society and ten members nominated by the Government, of which the President of the Republic (now Governor of the Territory) shall be the presiding officer. The charter also provides for the “establishing and putting in operation a permanent hospital in Honolulu, with a dispensary and all necessary furniture and appurtenances for the reception, accommodation and treatment of indigent sick and disabled Hawaiians, as well as such foreigners and other who may choose to avail themselves of the same.”
Under this construction all native Hawaiians have been cared for without charge, while for others a charge has been made of from $1 to $3 per day. The bill making the appropriation for the hospital by the Government provides that no distinction shall be made as to race; and the Queen’s Hospital trustees are evidently up against a serious proposition.
Under the provisions of the Organic Act the Legislature has no power to give a subsidy to any institution and, under the construction likely to be placed by the Board of Health of the intentions of the Legislature, the Queen’s Hospital must be placed under the control of the Government before it may receive the appropriation of $40,000.
“I can see no way out of the difficulty at present,” said Secretary [George W.] Smith of the board of trustees for the Queen’s Hospital when his attention was called to the matter yesterday afternoon. “The hospital has been receiving regular stipulated amounts from the Government, generally $20,000 for each biennial period. This year when the Governor asked for a statement of the condition of the hospital’s finances it was handed to him, and he recommended that the Legislature make the usual allowance. I do not know they gave us $40,000 instead of the usual amount. There was a rider placed on the bill, however, to the effect that no distinction should be made as to race. The appropriation was also placed in the hands of the Board of Health. Formerly it was the custom for this money to be placed into the hands of the Minister of Finance and by him paid over quarterly directly to our treasurer. Why the change was made at this time I do not understand.”
“I do not see myself how the hospital could be placed in the hands of the Government, even if we wished to do so. The Government now has ten members upon the Board and also the presiding officer. Under our charter we are compelled to treat native Hawaiians free of charge, and I do not see how it can be changed. Then again we have in our hands $36,000 in trust funds which cannot very well be given over to the Government except in violation of the terms of the trust. Taken all around it is a very delicate question, and it is to be hoped that it may be settled without the loss of appropriation to the hospital. The hospital now treats free all soldiers and sailors and also the members of the police force.”
The matter will be discussed at this afternoon’s meeting of the Board of Health, though it is hardly likely that the matter can be definitely settled at this time. A joint meeting of the Board of Health and the trustees of the Queen’s Hospital will probably be held, at which the matter will be talked over before final action is taken.