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from the Middle East. Up until now we have been able to bring that oil around the Cape of Good Hope in the southern part of Africa and bring it right over to the refineries in this hemisphere.
The Senate has just repealed the Byrd amendment in Rhodesia. We are now telling our South African friends who have voted 100 percent in favor of the United States in the United Nations that they are going to have one-man-one-vote in contravention of their particular political structure.
It appears at least to me and to many others that instead of supporting the moderate blacks and whites in Africa to bring about peaceful solutions to the area's problems, we have sent representatives over there who seem to be supporting the radical elements. This will only serve to increase hatred and violence and undermine our Nation's security interests in Africa.
I have also been led to believe that the Russian Navy is greater than our Navy. Would you differ with that? At least they are starting to have a superiority advantage over our Navy, because of the lack of support that we have had here in this country for building and keeping strong our systems of defense.
Admiral MOORER. Yes, sir. I think there is a combination of things here. One is the trend with respect to the Soviet Navy buildup as opposed to the U.S. Navy decline. It is very disturbing.
Senator HATCH. It is disturbing.
SOVIETS GAINING ACCESS TO BASES
Admiral MOORER. Yes, sir.
The second thing is that the United States, in recent years, has lost heavily access to bases that were readily available just a few years ago. I mentioned those bases which are on the periphery of Africa. One can look at Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya, which was very important to the defense of the Mediterranean.
All around the world I think the Soviets are pressing ahead and pushing into these areas. I do not think the Soviets care anything about majority rule or human rights for that matter.
Senator HATCH. It is apparent that they do not.
Admiral MOORER. They want to get control, though, of the area in Africa in order to deny it to the Western World. I must say that I am very, very concerned about what is going on in Africa.
Senator HATCH. Well, a lot of Americans do not seem to understand that. Assuming that our Navy was equal to the Russians and that we could maintain order for the transshipment of oil and gas from the Middle East to America, which gradually we are becoming less and less capable of doing
Admiral MOORER. Right.
Senator HATCH. We still have to have support bases in order to fuel our own ships and to supply them and to maintain them and, of course, to be able to keep them in the important waters to protect those transportable supplies. Is that correct?
Admiral MOORER. Exactly. As the Soviets gain access to bases that at one time we had access to they can put up a formidable offense. Therefore, the problem is twofold.
Senator HATCH. The fact of the matter is that the Russians are slowly but systematically creating a military and economic system
in Africa because of our diplomatic foolishness. I think we are kicking our own former friends in the teeth to the point where we may lose the ability to bring oil from the Middle East around the Cape of Good Hope to our hemisphere.
Admiral MOORER. Not only that, Senator Hatch, but we will lose access of many of the very, very critical materials which are heavily concentrated in that part of the world.
Senator HATCH. Âll kinds of mineral supplies and other natural resources that we have just got to have.
Admiral MOORER. That is right. You are absolutely correct, sir.
Senator HATCH. With regard to the issue of human rights, I commend the President for his bold stroke of imaginative foreign policy. We have, on the other hand, been kicking our friends in the teeth all over the world to the point where we are endangering our ability to receive the much needed oil and gas supplies that we have got to have from the Middle East.
In the process we are turning over the seaways to the Russians. Is that not correct?
Admiral MOORER. That is correct. That is exactly what I think has taken place.
Senator HATCH. Well, you are one of the top experts in the world in this field. You were, until your retirement, our acknowledged top expert. I have to place some reliance in your assessment of the situation.
If we abandon Africa to Russia and then turn around and give up the Panama Canal to nonadverse interests, or at least to people who would be happy to sign a treaty to get control and then do what they want to do-we are going to doubly cripple our ability to get oil not only from the Middle East but from our own Western oilfields. Is that correct?
Admiral MOORER. That is correct, because then we would have the oceans of the world isolated.
Senator HATCH. Also, you brought up very cogently in your statement that the loss of the canal might add billions and billions of extra dollars to our defense expenditures. That is not counting the absolute billions of dollars in loss of oil and gas, which are much needed supplies. And, it is going to cost us billions and billions of dollars to maintain a two-ocean fleet.
Admiral MOORER. That is correct, yes, sir.
NATIONALIZATION OF CANAL
Senator HATCH. And to maintain all the bases that are there. That is assuming that we have tariffs so high, or we have adverse interests in the canal. Is there anything to stop Torrijos and the people with whom he is associated from shutting down the canal after they get a treaty?
Admiral MOORER. I think the first thing Torrijos would do is nationalize the canal. Then-we have already had some such experience in Libya, for instance, with American property. Castro has seized sugar refineries. This has taken place
Senator HATCH. What about Chile?
Admiral MoORER. Yes, sir.
Senator HATCH. Some of our best copper reserves have been seized.
Admiral MOORER. I think that you would see a rapid buildup of problems of all kinds to the point where the use of the canal would be interrupted.
Senator HATCH. It seems to me that if we give up the canal now because of what Mr. Linowitz has said we may encounter conflict with our Latin American neighbors anyway. The possibility is stronger that we may face the unhappy prospect of armed conflict if we give it up and have to try and assert our rights at a later time than if we stuck to our guns and simply said, "No, we own the canal."
We are interested in being fair to Panama. Our Nation is a nation of fairness. Diplomatically, we take beatings all the time because of our high ethics, but we would rather face the problem now than to face it later.
Isn't that basically your position?
Admiral MOORER. Yes, sir. I do not think that we would face a war in Central America. If that is what he said, I do not agree with that. I think you might get some efforts at sabotage, but you could get that either way.
The big difference, as I see it, in this overall problem of nation relationships is that so long as the United States maintains its current position with respect to the canal—that is, power and control as if it had sovereignty, I think the treaty says the Russians will know that any meddling they do in the canal will generate a confrontation between the United States and Russia.
If it is totally under the control of Panama they can brush that off and through Cuba generate difficulties. Then you have a confrontation between the United States and Panama.
Senator HATCH. With Cuban support.
Admiral MOORER. With Cuban support.
Senator HATCH. We would look like the aggressors and the bad guys, even though we may be trying to enforce our rights pursuant to some treaty.
Admiral MOORER. Exactly. That is the point.
Senator HATCH. There is another point here that I would just comment on, and that is that it seems to me that the reason the administration and State Department are going ahead with the treaty is because they realize that the treaty of 1974 is causing a lot of trouble. The agreement by Secretary Kissinger has created a great hope in the minds of many Panamanians who have made this a national issue to the extent that we now feel that we have got to come through with a treaty.
If they come through with a treaty we had one very competent witness testify today that you would have Panamanian troops in the streets of Panama whether the Senate ratifies it or not. The only thing that would protect our rights down there is to put our own troops down there, which would make a very bad diplomatic situation for us. Would you disagree with that?
Admiral MOORER. Well, I just think that if we are going to back off every time someone imagines a problem is coming up, then we are going to sooner or later wind up nothing more than a totally isolated nation.
Sure, there may be trouble. After all, though, we bought it and paid for it. We run it and we ought to protect it.
Senator HATCH. It has benefited the Panamanians immensely for many years.
Admiral MOORER. As a matter of fact, I think their income is double what is received by any of the other adjacent nations, although their productivity is certainly not equal to some of the others. Their income is high, and the income stems directly from the presence of the United States and the operation of the canal.
If the canal was stopped they would be destitute.
Senator HATCH. You have expressed some concern here that this administrative action for a new treaty lies in contravention of the direct provisions of the Constitution regarding Congresses right to approve any divestiture of American land or American territories.
I guess that you would agree with me that this sets a very dangerous precedent. It looks as though it would set a precedent of a power grab on the part of the administration in contravention of the Constitution. Admiral MOORER. Well, I think in addition to that the Congress— we have a big nation, Senator Hatch. The Congress represents all the people. I think the composite opinion and desires of the public at large should be injected into any kind of decision like that. You can only do that through the Congress.
Senator HATCH. In other words, if we leave it to a number of State Department bureaucrats we could be in trouble all over the world.
Admiral MOORER. Of course.
Senator HATCH. The fact of the matter is that we are,
Admiral MOORER. I think we are.
Senator HATCH. Thank you. I appreciate your testimony and I appreciate your taking the time to come in here. I think these hearings are crucial. I think the American people do not understand all of the important issues here because they have not been told the truth. I think most of them do not want to give up the Panama Canal, and they certainly do not want to pay reparations when we have paid, actually, billions of dollars through the years. We do not want to be blackmailed.
The fact of the matter is that they do not really understand the constitutional implications. I would submit that most of the people in Congress do not understand them either. I submit that if it was voted on in the Congress right now the administration would not win if a treaty was submitted."
Admiral MOORER. Senator Hatch, I think that somehow there has grown up in the country recently a feeling. It stems from those who are more highly educated than I. If we take a strong position and defend the United States in our interest, then we are going to generate a confrontation, and therefore let us not do anything so that we will not have a problem. That is the way these people feel. I call these people the "handwringers." There are plenty of them. I watched them all through the Vietnam War. They were always wringing their hands over what the Russians were going to do and what the Chinese were going to do. We never would step forward and take a strong position, because they were scared of what the other people were going to do.
A country like the United States, with our democracy and with our freedom and, I think, with our generosity, ought to stand up and tell it like it is. We have got what it takes to make it stick.
Senator HATCH. If we do not do it, in the process we are going to
Admiral MOORER. That is right.
Senator HATCH. In the process we may lose some of the freedoms that we so naturally cherish. This is not just a matter of being kind to our neighbors. It is not just a matter of maintaining good relations with Latin America. It is not just a matter of making reparations for things that were wrong. We certainly have done that through the years. It is a matter of tremendous economic cost for the nation that is already spending itself into bankruptcy. Why should we add to that burden because some Latin American dictator wants this?
Admiral MOORER. I think the problem is that there are so many now that come to Washington that are not willing to live in the world the way it is. They are trying to live in the world the way they would like for it to be. They do not recognize that the international political power game is hard and tough. It takes a lot of determination and a lot of strength and a lot of willpower. You have got to let the world at large know where you stand.
As I said, I have been extremely distressed since the Vietnam War over the impact of that performance on the world at large, followed rapidly by what went on in Africa. I think the same impact will obtain in South America if we dispose of the Panama Canal.
Senator HATCH. I have one last question. Isn't it also true that if we transfer the balance of power to the Russians because of any reason, whether it be the inability to keep up, the inability to maintain a strong triad system of defense, or many other reasons, that the balance of economic power will also shift and this country will lose power all over this world? The canal presently benefits this country economically, strategically, in raw materials, and in many other ways.
WORLD OF SHORTAGES
Admiral MOORER. Absolutely, Senator Hatch. We are shifting from a world of surplus to a world of shortage. In my opinion, the confrontations in the future are not going to involve major nuclear weapon exchanges or massive attacks by the Soviets rushing into Western Europe, but rather confrontations over the access to raw materials and the means of distributing food in light of the great explosion of the population. We are going into an entirely different world.
I think that we have to take a strong position on these issues so that the world at large knows what the United States will do when something happens in the future.
Senator HATCH. If the world achieves a perception that the United States is weaker than Russia we are going to lose this economic battle all over the world, aren't we?
Admiral MOORER. Sure. There will not be two cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot if that happens.
Senator HATCH. I think you are right.
I appreciate your taking the time to come and tell us that. Senator SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, I could not help a thought running through my mind when we were talking about South Africa a few minutes ago. I have no brief for the apartheid position at all in South Africa, but I understand that it has one of the finest naval bases in the world at Simonstown. We do not utilize that base because of the apartheid position of South Africa.