Sunday, June 17, 2012
Map Credit: U.S. State Department.
FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
During World War II, several thousand U.S. troops were in Tuvalu (then known as the Ellice Islands). Beginning in 1942, U.S. forces built airbases on the islands of Funafuti, Nanumea, and Nukufetau. Relations were friendly and cooperative between the local people and the troops, mainly U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy SeaBees. The airstrip in the capital of Funafuti, originally built by the U.S. during the war, is still in use, as is the "American Passage" that was blasted through Nanumea's reef by SeaBees assisted by local divers.
Tuvalu became fully independent from the United Kingdom in 1978, and in 1979 it signed a treaty of friendship with the United States, which recognized Tuvalu's possession of four islets formerly claimed by the United States. The two countries have worked as partners on regional and global issues promoting peace and strengthening democracy and security. The partnership looks to curb the effects of climate change, reinforce maritime security, and bolster the countries' economic development programs.
U.S. Assistance to Tuvalu
The United States provided assistance towards the purchase of a new desalination plant for Tuvalu following months of drought in 2011. The United States also signed a ship-rider agreement with Tuvalu in 2011 establishing a partnership to provide security and protect earnings from fishing licenses in Tuvalu’s EEZs.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States has no significant trade or investment with Tuvalu.
Tuvalu's Membership in International Organizations
Tuvalu maintains an independent but generally pro-Western foreign policy. Tuvalu and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank.