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Senator HOLLINGS. Very definitely.
Senator CHURCH. You have just come back from an extensive trip to Latin America. You referred to the various countries you visited. Do you have any doubt in your mind that these other countries also regard the present arrangement, the old zone, and the 1903 treaty as a vestige of colonialism?
Senator HOLLINGS. There is no question about it, Senator. You well know, as a member of this distinguished committee, that they are trying to do their best to do away with all vestiges. When we raised the point just recently down in Brazil. And in Colombia they don't receive any aid or anything else of that kind-they have their own nationalism, and this is what we try to foster. This is the American dream and this is the dream we have for all mankind. When it comes down to the countries there, they have some economics mixed into this dream. It is very, very important to Colombia and to Peru and to the other countries. They realize very definitely now that Panama is a fledgling nation of about 1.9 million people which could not totally defend itself. So, it has the best of both worlds. It has the principle established under the proposition of the integrity and the sovereignty of Panama being recognized in law and in treaty. And, they have the only nation in the Western Hemisphere that can really give its protection and guarantee after the year 2000 that neutrality and freedom of access. And this was agreed to.
It is a very workable situation and they are just enthused about it.
IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO TREATIES BY WESTERN HEMISPHERE
Senator CHURCH. When these many presidents from all over the hemisphere came to join in the signing of the treaty, based upon the impressions you gathered in your recent tour of Latin America, would you say that was simply an idle gesture, or would you say that that was kind of a symbol of the high importance attached to these treaties throughout the hemisphere?
Senator HOLLINGS. It was not an idle gesture, but something very real.
I asked in Colombia what would happen, and I was talking to the best security personnel in our military. They pointed out very quickly that they would go to the streets. He said that the embassy from where I was talking would be immediately under siege. I asked how long would that occur. The response was as long as the President would allow it, and under the circumstance he would have a very real reason to let it continue for quite some time.
This is a clear issue that all free peoples can see and understand. You just cannot own a 10-mile strip of another man's country. To say that we bought it, we built it and we will keep it, and everything else just won't do. You can't do it.
END OF COLONIALISM ERA
Senator CHURCH. Well, you know, we did understand that. You have spoken of our traditional belief in self-determination and the role of the Declaration of Independence, the political covenant that has
made this country something special, both to Americans and to lots of other people as well.
We knew that colonialism was coming to an end at the end of the Second World War. In fact, we were the first to take the initiative to give the Philippine Islands its independence. We have watched colonialism die and all of the empires shrivel away. The control that the British and the Dutch and the French once exercised over Africa and much of Asia is all gone. Those empires disappeared as quickly as icebergs melting in the spring.
It is all over. The era was gone. It was just another development in the dissolution of an empire.
We were telling them all along that it is a new age, a new era, and you cannot live in the past. The empires are gone and you must adjust to the realities of the present and of the future.
So, wouldn't you regard this new arrangement with Panama as simply a recognition that the United States, too, must comport with the new age in which we live, this new era?
Senator HOLLINGS. If we are going to have any credibility at all left, Senator, there is no question that these treaties are in the best interests of the United States and the free world.
QUESTION OF TREATIES' HEADING US IN RIGHT DIRECTION
Senator CHURCH. I liked what you said in your testimony when you said that the question is, do the treaties head us in the right direction. That really is the question. We know the direction in which the world is going. It is not reverting to the days of Teddy Roosevelt and the Great White Fleet, when six countries ran the world. Your rendition of that early history is very instructive.
But, what we did then was what big powers normally did in dealing with little powers. Now that day is gone. If we are going to exercise real influence in the world, it is going to be based upon our moral position.
Senator HOLLINGS. Exactly.
Senator CHURCH. It is going to be based upon moral power even more than upon our military power. It seems to me that it is very hard to try to perpetuate a vestige of colonialism in an age when the rest of the world has thrown it off and the empires have disappeared and new and independent countries have taken the place of that old colonial control.
I want to say just one other thing to you.
COMMITTEE TRIP TO PANAMA
I agree with you that the Foreign Relations Committee before it finally makes its recommendations to the Senate should go to Panama. I myself hope to go, and I would like to see many other members of the committee join in that trip. I think we should visit Colombia, Costa Rica, and other countries in the vicinity to get a first-hand view of how Latin America regards this treaty. I think we ought to do that before we come to any final judgment with respect to how we are going to act on the treaty itself, or with respect to any understandings or reservations that may be suggested.
You have come to us fresh from your own visit to Panama and to other Latin American countries. I think this committee should take a similar action before it comes to judgment.
Senator CASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
One of the great privileges of membership in this body to which we all have the honor of belonging is to watch one Senator stimulate another. The heights that are arrived at by that process are wonderful to behold and most rewarding to hear.
I mean that sincerely. It is also a lot of fun.
REASON FOR TREATIES
I would ask the Senator this. Is it necessary for all of us to put on sackcloths and cover our heads with ashes and to cry and moan, "mea culpa, mea culpa," about the activities in 1900, 1903, and so forth, as a justification for our taking the steps here that we will? Do we have to adopt Woodrow Wilson's condemnation of a Republican regime in order to feel that the right thing to do is to approve these treaties? Wilson was a great fellow. You know, he came from New Jersey when he became President, even though he had his roots in the South. But after he wrote those stirring words, he also, as President, sent Pershing into Mexico. You will recall that episode.
Senator HOLLINGS. Yes.
Senator CASE. So, my point is this. I don't want to rest the case for these treaties upon the kind of thing that some people thought had to be resorted to in order to get us out of the mess in Vietnam. We don't have to say that we were wrong in the beginning, that we were outrageous, that we were piratical, that we were overbearing or unfair or acting as bullies or anything like that when we set up this thing in order to persuade the American people to accept the desirability of these treaties now. Is that not correct?
Senator HOLLINGS. Are you asking about Vietnam?
Senator CASE. No. I am asking if there is no broader, no other base— I don't say "better" or "higher" or anything else-no other reason for these treaties than because we were evil when we built the canal and in the activities which surrounded our doing so?
Senator HOLLINGS. It is not a mea culpa in trying to find out. But when you hear the talk by witnesses who have appeared here, they disregard totally the history of this.
Senator CASE. No; I wouldn't do that at all. History is history, after all. We took America from the Indians, too. There comes a time when you stop going back, and there comes a time when you deal with present conditions, present people, and future generations, rather than the history, however interesting that is. That is what I am just trying to get us back to.
We have to persuade the American people, it seems to me, if we are going to accomplish the acceptance of these treaties by the Senate and supplementary legislation by the House that this is the right thing to do in the present circumstances and for the future.
Senator HOLLINGS. There is no question about that. I think when we look at it, we test that history as against the charge that is being made here with respect to our rights under it and our responsibilities later on,
the character of Torrijos himself in Panama, and all these things. I can only look at it in the broad sense and find out what is in the best interest of my country. The only way to measure that is not to disregard entirely what they have been trying to do. We have been teaching them self-determination for 70 years, and then when they act it, when they try to do it, we cannot say now that we want to disregard it.
No one in this day and age can own a 10-mile strip through the middle of another man's country. It is their economy, ports of entry, and everything else of that kind. We cannot just say that we bought it, we got it, we kept it, and we are going to keep it. We cannot say that that stance or posture is in anybody's best interest.
So, for 13 years and for four Presidents we have been negotiating. I think without hostilities, too, and remarkably so. There is a tremendous appreciation and respect for the United States of America. You know that the majority down there is pro-USA. There is no question about that.
But, it will not remain so if we just disregard exactly where our position is. If we work this out under the best of circumstances where we can maintain their integrity as a nation, we can maintain this important passageway in the future for all of the free world.
RELIANCE UPON SELF-DETERMINATION
Senator CASE. Thank you, Senator. I must say that I have come, though, to be a little skeptical about some of these phrases. You repeated that high note of "self-determination" you sounded before.
I am not sure that Woodrow Wilson in his handling of the negotiations subsequent to World War I and the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations did not do a mixed service to the world in his reliance upon such concepts as that. It is a little hard to know how far to go. I can understand a person from South Carolina feeling pretty tough about self-determination, just because it is in his bones. But there are others who think that more evil has been done in the name of self-determination than good.
That is why I am trying to lift this thing out of the range of "mea culpa," of beating ourselves over the head with shame for what has gone on behind us and look at it in the kind of way that I know you do.
Senator HOLLINGS. Right. I am proud of these treaties that we have worked out, I am not ashamed.
SENSIBLE STEP TO TAKE IN PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES
Senator CASE. This is the sensible step to take in the present circumstances, that is right.
Senator HOLLINGS. I think that we have had the best of negotiations. I was always hesitant, during my period of evolution over the past 10 years, when I was one of the first back then to say that we have it, we keep it, and the dickens with everyone else, to now say that we have the add-ons with respect to the permanent neutrality with the United States having the lead responsibility of maintaining that neutrality. I think that was a big step for me and for my constituency in South Carolina.
There is no doubt about it in my mind.
Senator CASE. They are going to have schizophrenia down there, aren't they?
Senator HOLLINGS. Well, I don't have any schizophrenia.
Senator CASE. I don't mean you. I mean your constituents.
Senator HOLLINGS. My constituents are beginning to come around. I will have to agree at this particular point that the wrong question is asked: "Do you want to give away the canal?" Unanimously, of course, nobody wants to "give away" the canal. But that is not the issue before us, as you well know.
Senator CASE. You have performed magnificently; thank you so very much.
Senator CHURCH. Senator Sarbanes.
Senator SARBANES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all I would like to thank Senator Hollings for an extremely thoughtful statement.
TREATIES AS BETTER MORAL AND LEGAL BASIS FOR USE OF MILITARY POWER
Senator, don't you think there is more likelihood that the United States will be prepared to use its military power to maintain a position if the people of this country generally and the people of other countries perceive that the use of that military power is valid in both moral and legal terms?
Senator HOLLINGS. Very definitely.
Senator SARBANES. Do you think an important consideration we ought to keep in mind as we consider these treaties is, whether they do provide a better moral and legal basis for the United States to use its military power should the situation arise in which it has to to protect important interests than the present arrangement?
Senator HOLLINGS. Very definitely. There is no question, Senator. When you fly over the canal and look at it, look at Gatun Lake and Dam, and you look at the number of troops, and you get the argument about how to defend it-obviously, you would not put a bunch of troops in the middle of the lake because they could not secure anything and they could not protect anything. But around those key points and everything else of that kind, you come up with at least 100,000 that would be needed. You see, you just cannot search every vessel. We have to be practical men in this day and age. The canal is something to be used. It cannot be used and still have total security.
So, they talk about 100,000 troops to prevent somebody from landing and everything else of that kind. Just on one of the vessels alonewhy they could blow it up in a lock and block it up, or blow the lock itself and it would be out of commission for 2 years. This is the nature of the physical terrain and this is the problem that confronts us. They have built up what we have tried to inculcate, and that is the American i dream of the individual's freedom. They believe in it and it is their country. I think we have worked it out extremely well.
Now the extremists on both sides are not going to be pleased. I don't think that Torrijos himself is going to have an easy time. He will get a majority vote. The Communists now oppose it. We saw the opposition when we were in Panama. We saw the scrawling on the walls.