Strategic Trust: The Making of A Nuclear Free Palau

Director: James Heddle
Screenwriters: James Heddle, Anthony Szulc

Institute History

  • 1985 Sundance Film Festival


This is the story of Palau, a tiny Micronesian republic, as it attempts to uphold history’s first nuclear free constitution despite economic and political opposition by the United States. As symbolic leader of the growing Nuclear Free Zone Movement, Palau presents the essential question raised by current events in Europe, namely, do local peoples have the right to decide if nuclear weapons will be deployed on their soil? What happens when the peoples of a small island in the Pacific collide with U.S. nuclear defense policies?

Between 1945 and 1958, sixty-six U. S. nuclear tests were conducted in the nearby Marshall Islands. These tests have left a legacy of incalculable genetic, environmental and social damage to the people of these peaceful islands. The 14,000 people of the islands have voted to constitutionally ban all nuclear testing, usage, storage and dumping unless 75% of the people approve a referendum to amend their constitution. The U.S. claims to support and encourage the democratic process in the free world. why then do we deny the rights of the citizens of Palau?

Preceded by The Real Thing (Peter Schnall, 1984, 40 min.), a strong and effective documentary on the struggles of Guatemalan workers to organize in a Coca-Cola bottling plant.

Screening Details


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