This article was published in the Winter 1999-2000 issue of Formulations
by the Free Nation Foundation

– Report –

Another New-Country Project Emerges

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Letter from Ian Sawyer to Roderick Long
Letter from Richard Hammer to Ian Sawyer

In October and November of this year (1999), FNF has communicated with Ian Sawyer, a representative of a new, new-country project. Sawyer, along with some of his associates, has broken away from the New Utopia project following some disagreements with Lazarus Long, the leader of New Utopia. (Twice in the past we have reported here in Formulations upon the New Utopia Project, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, <>. These articles appeared in the Summer 1997 and Summer 1999 issues.)

Our first contact with the new project came on 6 October 1999, when FNF Founding Scholar Roderick Long received the following letter.

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Letter from Ian Sawyer to Roderick Long

Dear Mr. Long,

Please allow me to introduce myself; other than my business profession as an Offshore Consultant I am on the Board of a new US based project development organisation aiming at building a self-contained and self-governed commercial/tourist/residential community in the Caribbean—a mini Hong Kong if you like. This concept has stemmed from my involvement as a Board Member of the New Utopia project from which I recently resigned when it became obvious that personal differences with the Founder and his intransigence over seemingly insurmountable legal problems concerned with the proposed location of the city-state.

Very briefly at this stage my colleagues and I have put together basic proposals to build this commercial community and have already attracted the interest of developers, commercial concerns and investors to the tune of some $2 billion, although we are planning on a total investment of $10 billion over the 5 year project plan. The original New Utopia concept was for a constitutional monarchy in international waters; ultimately not practical nor feasible for several reasons, so following the in-depth investigations I and my colleagues had done for this, we have compromised and modified our ideas to seek a home within the jurisdiction of another country but under the terms of an agreement whereby we would be virtually autonomous; we have already received tentative invitations to open negotiations with a number of governments.

The purpose of this contact is therefore to establish whether you and perhaps the Free Nation Foundation would be interested in opening discussions with us with a view to sharing or pooling resources and knowledge/experiences as to the viability and likely difficulties in actually establishing our community on either a large private island or a combination of private island and an artificial structure extending it outwards into the sea. I have hopes that should we be successful here with the first community that we could seek locations in other parts of the world for similar projects.

If you do feel there is any commonality here I would be pleased to hear from you.

With regards,

Ian W. Sawyer

Roderick Long forwarded Sawyer’s letter to other Directors of FNF, whereupon FNF President Richard Hammer exchanged a few letters with Sawyer. Here is a letter that Richard Hammer wrote on November 10.

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Letter from Richard Hammer to Ian Sawyer

Dear Mr. Sawyer:

Here I will respond to a few things you said in your October 8, letter to me.

You said:

"From what I understand, your organisation has spent a considerable time investigating the theoretical and legal backgrounds to the problems involved with establishing a new sovereign nation either in 'international' waters or within the legal jurisdiction of a host country under the terms of a binding legal agreement." No, I would not say that the Free Nation Foundation has done this.

You went on to say:

"Current international and customary law makes it near-nigh impossible to legally build any structure in international waters without a defined agreement of the appropriate coastal state, particularly within 200 nautical miles of that coastal state where both EEZ and continental shelf considerations apply. Outside these distance constraints, available sites apart, there are matters such as the 'Common Heritage of Mankind' laws to consider...I presume you would consider all this a fair conclusion?" Yes, I expect that your conclusion is good. But my expectation is not based upon any study of international law. Rather, I have an idea of how law works, in a biophysical sense. Law is the way organizations, within a group of peers, try to agree how they will divide anything of value within their reach, so they do not get into self-injurious conflicts. So of course I would expect that states, as they create international law, would have claimed for themselves anything they thought worth claiming.

Later you asked:

"Whilst the theoretical and conceptual modeling of [free-nation enterprises] is vital, it's the practical application of those theories and their transfer to real, viable, commercial projects which is what will enable such Free Nations to become actual entities. Here we are convinced that we have a major lead.

With this in mind, are there any ways in which the Free Nation Foundation or its individual members would be able to assist us in both the best ways to make contact with the necessary senior government officials in the target countries and to assist us (along with our own lawyers) in the preparation of suitable contractual agreements for us to build our community either as (ideally) a separate sovereign state or as a semi-autonomous state still under the host country jurisdiction? There must be several well defined theoretical approaches to this, which if coupled with the economic benefits our project could bring to the host country (even if we were a sovereign state under a Hong Kong type lease), could give a very high probability of success."

Let me give two answers.

First: With regard to "the best ways to make contact with the necessary senior government officials in the target countries," I do not suppose that I can help now, because I know that I am in no position to start such negotiations in earnest. Neither have I seen evidence that your organization is in such a position.

I would say that the ability to enter any given negotiation comes naturally to one who can fulfill his half of the bargain, should a bargain be struck. So I suppose I could comfortably feel my way into negotiations for free-nation real estate if I knew I were representing an organization that could write the check when the time came. But lacking that, what you need is gall, or chutzpah. Chutzpah might be used to your advantage. But it is not my personal style.

Second: With regard to "the preparation of suitable contractual agreements for us to build our community either as (ideally) a separate sovereign state or as a semi-autonomous state still under the host country jurisdiction," some of us might be able to help you a bit. Certainly I have aspired to cover this subject in FNF. But, anyone who reads FNF’s work thus far, expecting to find help in this vein, will probably be disappointed. I have not succeeded in drawing out much good work in this subject.

Nonetheless, I think of three individual contributors who might offer ideas to you. These are: Roderick Long, Spencer MacCallum, and myself. Each of us seems to have well formed and definite opinions on particular subjects. Unfortunately, each of us seems to come from a place not understood by the other two, and FNF has never had enough coherent strength to fuse us in a dialog which produces anything approaching consensus.

As for my own preparation to give advice on contractual terms, I have opinions which I like to think are worth something. But these have never been codified into a systematic outline, ready to hand to someone such as you.

Good luck to you in your project.


Richard O. Hammer


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