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adopted in their efforts to sell the document to the American people. Actually, intriguing is not a graphic enough description of the sales effort being promoted. Insulting, although harsh, is probably a much more accurate description of a campaign which is calculated to frighten people into accepting a bad agreement by attempting to persuade them that because the Canal is vulnerable to attack by elements within Panama, this facility can only be insulated from destruction through acceptance of the current treaty.
This argument is the most prominently mentioned of the reasons for relinquishing control of the waterway. According to this line of reasoning, since the Canal is susceptible to attack, and the Panamanian government has raised the specter of guerrilla warfare unless we deliver-either our country accepts the treaty negotiated and turns the Canal over or it will be put out of commission with everyone losing in the process. Upon largely this basis, the Canal treaty proponents are mounting what they refer to as an "educational" program to appraise Americans of the purported dangers.
Of all the approaches, those who favor ratification could have chosen to “educate" the people with, in my opinion, this is the least likely to succeed. It won't succeed because the American people will reject it. Treaty supporters have maneuvered themselves into the unenviable position of attempting to convince the American public that they should forego a valuable strategic asset because violent actions have been threatened if we don't knuckle under.
I personally do not believe that an educational program heavily resting on the foundation of the "violence argument" when there is ample evidence that the document itself is faulty, dangerous and inequitable will have any chance of success. Possibly this is the only really viable avenue of approach for treaty proponents because the treaty is so poor as to be indefensible on most other grounds.
Mr. Chairman, the whole concept of a propaganda campaign is disturbing in our American context. It is quite obvious that the Canal treaty is uniformly unpopular with the public. Polls show this to be the case as do recent political developments with the ratification vote being put off until sometime next year, maybe, when it is hoped more votes are found somewhere in the Senate.
Certainly, the administration has the right, indeed even the obligation, to take its case to the people. But, the vehemence of their propaganda effort must be a function of the recognition that they have an uphill battle since the Panama Canal agreement certainly will not sell itself. This approach will, without doubt, be found wanting by our people. But what concerns me is the arrogance of those who, again, underestimate the capacities of the people and assume the role of pedagogue. What we have is the same tried, old coalition of elitists in government, business, and labor purporting to prescribe to the masses for their own good while each is determined to "sell" the document for its own reasons.
There is almost a feeling of “dèja vu” today as, one after the other, familiar names and faces of those who ran our foreign policy in the 1960's reenter the scene to bless the Panama Canal treaty. I get the distinct impression they have once again found it comfortable returning to the arena where many programs they designed a decade ago are now being carried out. Yet, this is not particularly comforting since the era of "the best and the brightest" was not one renowned for its foreign policy successes.
It looks like Big Business is concerned enough about ensuring its investments in Panama to back the treaty. It is no secret that the Torrijos regime is teetering close to the edge of financial collapse. If the walls caved in on this government, American dollars heavily invested in the country would be lost. With this treaty and its extravagant pay-off plans, the Panamanian economy would be pumped up and many American businessmen saved from a financial drubbing. Additionally, I think the business community has bought the "violence argument" and is willing to have taxpayer dollars bail them out of imagined Latin difficulties.
The third leg of the establishment triad offering support for the Panama Canal treaty is Big Labor. There is so much politics tied in with their endorsement that I am not sure the merits of the treaty were a consideration. But then, I have never been close enough to labor circles to be party to their concerns. Suffice to say that George Meany has found ways to thank the Carter Administration for its support of the labor reform package.
So, what we have it seems to me is a classic case of estabilshment arrogance. The power blocs which deal in this town have decided to educate the masses on the necessity of ratifying the Panama Canal treaty. Such patronizing is insulating to the American people.
Mr. Chairman, I sincerely doubt that any propaganda campaign, no matter how skillfully handled, could "sell" this very dangerous and inequitable treaty to the American people. The fact that there is nothing really positive to commend it has led to a campaign based largely on simple scare tactics. Mr. Chairman, Americans will not buy it. We have responsibilities which must be met now and in the future and such responsibilities will not be dismissed by threats of blackmail which carries with them undesirable precedents. It will be impossible to educate our people to accept something that is wrong.
Senator CLARK. Will there be an opportunity to ask questions following the recess?
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly, when we come back.
This committee will stand in recess for a short time.
[A recess was taken.]
Senator CHURCH [presiding]. Our next witness, and judging from the clock possibly our last witness this morning, will be Senator Robert Dole of Kansas.
Senator Dole, we are pleased to welcome you to the committee this morning and we invite you to proceed with your testimony. STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT DOLE, U.S. SENATOR FROM KANSAS, ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT L. DOWNEN, LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT
Senator DOLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
I have a prepared statement which I will try to summarize because I know of the many demands upon the committee's time.
I will be discussing principally the cable that I came about and how it might affect what we do in the way of amendments and reservations.
I would ask unanimous consent that my entire statement and the complete text of the cable, along with some interpretive material insofar as the procedures on amendments and reservations are concerned, be included in the record.
Senator CHURCH. Yes; your full statment will be included in the record.
Senator DOLE. Plus the other material that I mentioned, please. Senator CHURCH. I'm sorry, Senator, but I didn't quite hear you. What other material was that?
Senator DOLE. I asked that the cable that I have with reference to the Panamanian interpretation of certain provisions be made a part of the record, as well as a letter from Robert B. Carney, who signed a letter, of which this committee is aware, expressing his objections to the Panama Canal Treaties. I think this might be of some interest to the committee because he indicates that this Senator is on the right track and that he might support the treaty with certain changes.
I ask that that be made a part of the record, as well as some information on how we handle the procedure if amendments are adopted, or if reservations are adopted.
Senator CHURCH. Without objection, those materials will be included in the record with your prepared statement.
Senator DOLE. Let me say first of all I am happy to be here to testify and to try to learn about the treaties.
We all share the responsibility as to whether or not the treaties should be ratified. I have not taken the hard rock position that under no condition would I vote for ratification. I want to make that clear at the outset.
I hope I have offered some constructive amendments and reservations. I am certain that there will be many others. Many will be discussed by Senators.
I was just handed a letter from the Department of State signed by Doug Bennet, the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, which would indicate, without even reading it, that none of my amendments are acceptable. But I don't square with that. I think we still have time to worry about that next year.
I think we have to learn a lot more about the canal. We have to learn about what our responsibilities are and how we should finally assess the treaties before we make any conclusions that we cannot retreat from, whether we are for or against the treaties.
Senator CHURCH. Senator Dole, please excuse the interruption.
I think that since you are making a number of proposals having to do with possible amendments to or reservations to the treaty, that the letter from Douglas Bennet, to which you referred, ought also be included in the record.
Without objection, that will be done.
[The information referred to follows:]
Hon. JOHN SPARKMAN,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, D.C., October 5, 1977.
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We are aware that Senator Dole has proposed a number of amendments and reservations to the Panama Canal treaties, which have been printed in the Congressional Record.
We thought it might be useful for your Committee to have the following brief observations to these proposed amendments and reservations:
Senator Dole's proposals
Amendment No. 1—Right of United States to Construct a Sea-Level Canal
In an exhaustive report, the Interoceanic Canal Study Commission under the chairmanship of former Secretary of Treasury Robert Anderson reported in 1970 that by far the most advantageous two routes for the construction of an interoceanic canal by conventional means (i.e., non-nuclear) were in Panama. Thus, by agreeing not to construct an interoceanic canal elsewhere, we were acting in accordance with the best technical information available. In exchange, we got treaty language which prohibits Panama from permitting a third country to construct a canal on Panamanian territory without U.S. consent. In short, we gave up very little and got a major concession in return.
Amendment No. 2-Reduce per Canal Ton Payment to 15¢ and Provide for
The 30 cent per Panama Canal ton payment was arrived at after careful study of what would be fair return to Panama for the dedication of land and water areas for the operation and defense of the Canal. It gives Panama an important stake ($40-50 million per year at present tonnage levels) in assuring that the Canal remains open. Our studies indicate that Canal revenues with some increase in tolls should support a payment of $.30 per Panama Canal ton, without significant traffic disclocations.
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The United States has the responsibility for making certain that the Canal remains open during the life of the Panama Canal Treaty. To reduce the annuity in the event that the Canal should be closed for whatever reason would suggest to the Panamanians that the U.S. might close the Canal for short periods of time. We have no intention of doing this, and would not want to raise the prospect of Panama doing so when it takes over the Canal.
Amendment No. 3-Would Retain U.S. Criminal Jurisdiction over U.S.
This proposal would, in effect, retain much of the present U.S. police and judicial authority for an extended period of time. It would not be negotiable with Panama and would not give us any rights which we need to operate the Canal successfully.
Amendment No. 4-Human Rights-Would Commit the United States and
Under the Treaty, Panama will exercise jurisdiction over the present Canal Zone. No sovereign nation would willingly accept the direct exercise of a foreign state of the authority here contemplated. There are mechanisms under the American Convention on Human Rights and pertinent U.N. conventions which could be invoked in Panama as elsewhere in the event that a pattern of massive human rights violations should emerge.
Amendment No. 5-Would Provide for United Stated Military Action to
Article IV of the Neutrality Treaty specifically states that the United States and Panama agree to maintain the regime of neutrality. The Article does not specify the means by which either country will accomplish this. There is obviously a wide range of measures by which this might be done. Language such as that in the proposed amendment would not be negotiable with Panama.
Amendment No. 6-Would Add the Phrase “privileged passage" to Article
Panama's chief negotiator on August 24 stated that the term "expeditious" means "passage as quickly as possible". The proposed language would add nothing to this interpretation of the existing language. In addition, the proposed amendment would not be negotiable as Panama would consider such a provision to be contrary to the spirt of non-discrimination embodied in the Neutrality Treaty.
Reservation No. 1-Would Make the Treaty Subject to Significant Progress by Panama toward the Observance of Human Rights
This would be self-defeating. The treaty is in our interest because it fulfills our objective of keeping the Canal open at all times. In Panama as in other countries, the methods we use to advance human rights must be considered in the light of our general interests in the area concerned.
Reservation No. 2-Would Make the Treaty Ratification Contingent upon Passage by the Congress of Legislation Transferring Property to Panama As indicated in the attorney General's memorandum, the Executive Branch believes that U.S. territory can be transferred through the treaty power. We will be happy to discuss any of these proposals in greater detail with you and your Committee at any time.
DOUGLAS J. BENNET, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations.
Senator DOLE. I cannot agree, for example, Mr. Chairman, that our ability to continue to use the canal, and to defend the canal, is adequately guaranteed under the provisions of these treaties. I cannot agree that our Nation's economic interests are protected by granting exorbitant annuity payments to Panama, and by giving Panama a major chunk of toll revenues. I cannot agree that the U.S. Canal Zone
territory should be turned over to Panama without the express consent of both Houses of Congress, though I know there has been testimony to the contrary.
As I have indicated, I hope to offer some helpful perspectives at this time on how we might properly proceed to approach these treaties in order to protect our vital interests.
On September 23, I became the first Member of the Senate, though certainly not the last, to introduce amendments and reservations to the Panama Canal treaties.
I want to explain why I feel this is a responsible approach to the treaty issue. In doing so, I will review as quickly as I can the details of the treaty modifications I have proposed and explain why I disagree with the administration's spokesmen on these critical points.
RESPONSIBILITY OF SENATE
First of all, I think it is well understood by members of this committee that we do have a major Senate responsibility, notwithstanding statements from Mr. Torrijos or statements from the administration. I think Senator Allen pointed out yesterday, for example, that it was at one time "advise and consent"; now we don't really offer advice during treaty negotiations, but we still are asked for consent. I think that is a grave responsibility and obligation that we have.
I cannot tell you why there is so much interest in the treaties, but I can tell you, as Senator Laxalt has, that outside the Capitol there is a very vast feeling of opposition to the treaties in their present form. I am certain that this committee will want to pursue some of the objections being raised.
I know there is going to be an effort, just as there is always an effort probably in any administration to say that we have spent 13 years negotiating these treaties and they are in perfect form; they shouldn't be modified; or, if they are modified, it ought to be done through some type of understanding.
I contend this would be meaningless and would not have any impact. So, what we have now are two treaties that have been signed, but there has not been any debate. So we are now in the process of debate and are trying to express our views. I don't think we will shirk our responsibility. Certainly no member of this committee will.
I understand the chairman's position. He is still looking for facts. This Senator is, and I am certain that Senator Case and Senator Stone also.
FATALITY OF AMENDMENTS OR RESERVATIONS QUESTIONED
The State Department tells us that amendments or reservations would be fatal. I guess if you look back over the history of treaties, they have been fatal from time to time. It is likely that legally binding modifications like these would require renegotiation. I think that is right. That is why I think we should amend the text of the treaty, in some cases. We should have a renegotiation-at least on some of the portions that I consider to be important.
But I do not think that proposing amendments should be equated with efforts to kill the treaties. In fact, it is not an effort to destroy,