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Title: Gov. Manuel F. L. Guerrero Papers, 1963-1969
Authors: L. Guerrero, Manuel F.
Keywords: Guam--Appointed Civilian Governors
Guam--Chamorro Governors
Supertyphoon-- Karen
Issue Date: 1963
Publisher: Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, Manuscripts Collection.
Citation: [item identification], [collection title], [collection number], The Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam. Mangilao, Guam.
Series/Report no.: MSS 2480;
Abstract: Gov. Manuel Flores Leon Guerrero was the second Chamorro Governor and the sixth civilian appointed governor. He was chair of the rules committee in the First Guam Legislature in 1951-1952, serving in several executive branch positions before serving as secretary of Guam under Governor Bill Daniel. Governor Guerrero’s experience and patience was needed as Supertyphoon Karen smashed into the island on November 11 and 12, 1962. At its peak Supertyphoon Karen’s sustained winds rose to an estimated 173 miles per hour punctuated by wind gusts up to 207 miles per hour. The atmospheric pressure fell so fast that doors, windows and entire buildings exploded outward. Only nine people were killed thanks to early warnings from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Typhoon Olive struck on April 29th 1963, hampering relieve efforts but out of the destruction of these two storms, a decade of massive capital improvements were financed. Buildings made from steel reinforced concrete replaced tin and wood, demand for workers rose to the point where Filipinos and Micronesians were brought in under contract, some of whom were founding members of the island’s first labor union. In 1963, Governor Guerrero formed a tourist commission and began an effort to attract visitors to Guam. It was also during Guerrero’s administration that the Guam International Air Terminal was dedicated and built to accommodate the arrival of tourists from Japan and the United States (Rogers, 1995, pp. 237-238). Born to Jose L.G. Leon Guerrero and Maria Lujan Flores of Hagåtña on 25 October 1914, Manuel was the oldest of three children. His father, who passed away in 1926, was in the Navy and a musician in the Navy band. As a youth, Guerrero was a good student; he thrived on studying and was a voracious reader. He was only 17 in 1931 when he became a messenger for the Naval Government, delivering power bills and tax notices. He graduated from high school in 1934, ranking in the upper 20 percent of his class. That year he also married Delfina Tuncap of Hagåtña. Guerrero became interested in learning accounting and so he took a La Salle Extension correspondence course. He became a bookkeeper for the government, earning $93 a month making up lists of vital statistics and as a collector of customs duties. He remained with the Department of Records and Accounts until December 1941, when World War II began. After the Liberation of Guam in July 1944, the re-established US military government was looking for experienced administrators to go back into government service. Guerrero was employed as a clerk in the G-4 section (supply and evacuation) for the military government. With his security clearance, Guerrero was able to handle military pouches, classified materials and other top-secret documents. He was re-employed at Records and Accounts in 1945, and then transferred to the Supply and Finance Division where he was the head administrative assistant until 1948. He resigned from the government and began working in the private sector, even becoming elected as vice-president of the newly formed Guam Chamber of Commerce. In 1948, he left for San Francisco, California, to work as a purchasing agent for the Guam Commercial Corporation, a wholesale/retail department store. While there, he took evening classes in accounting, management and the humanities, as well as Navy courses in logistics, writing, composition and law. Guerrero returned to government service in 1949 as an administrative “trouble shooter,” and held various positions with the Commercial Port, the Department of Agriculture, and even served as executive administrator at the Guam Memorial Hospital, and as a base development and military liaison on property condemnation. In addition to his dealings in the private sector, from 1948 to 1950, Guerrero served as a member of the Guam Congress as Chairman of the Finance Committee. In 1950 after the Organic Act was passed, he was elected to the First Guam Legislature, where he became Chairman of the Rules Committee. He was a member of the Popular Party, which later became the Democratic Party of Guam. On 5 May 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Guerrero as Secretary of Guam for a four-year term, succeeding A.M. “Moku” Edwards, an Eisenhower appointee from the previous year. Guerrero, who was 47 at the time, was the staff director for the Guam Legislature. The salary for secretary was about $13,000 and was the first Chamorro to serve in the position. Guerrero was the Governor of Guam from 1 March 1963 to July 1969. He had been already serving as Acting Governor when Governor Daniel resigned in September 1962. Daniel’s resignation, however, did not go into effect until January 1963. The official reason for Daniel’s resignation was to make way for a Chamorro to replace him, and to further legislation that eventually would provide for an elected governor for the island (Bennett & Tolentino, 2014). Bibliography Bennett, J. L., & Tolentino, D. (2014, July 6). Guampedia-Governor Manuel F.L. Guerrero. Retrieved from Guampedia: Rogers, R. F. (1995). Destiny's Landfall. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.]
Description: The Collection measures 16 Linear Feet and is arranged by subject, date, box number and folder number.
Appears in Collections:The Manuscripts Collection (MSS)

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