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Senator DOLE. Maybe the Yazoo City provision that was referred to, raised in a "Q" [question] and "A" [answer] there referred to a sealevel canal. But I don't know that for a fact.
PAYMENT PROVISION AMENDMENT OF SENATOR DOLE
My second amendment, without going into detail, would reduce the payment. The payment provision concerns many Americans. Again, this is a matter that is expressed in a lot of my mail. I know there are hundreds and hundreds of postcards floating around-mostly generated mail-but even before that there were literally hundreds of letters written by very thoughtful people who were opposed to the treaty, or who at least had some reservations and wanted to ask some questions. One thing they asked us about quite often was why are we paying all of the money. Maybe $2.3 million is not enough, but why go up to what has been estimated by the State Department as between $60 and $70 million a year, and the Panamanians place the estimate at $70 to $80 million a year?
In any case, it seems to be a windfall, particularly when we consider the value of the real estate and the equipment that we are going to give them in any event under the treaties' terms. So, what we would do is to cut the payment in half. That still may not be satisfactory to some. I think there is no question that there should be some negotiation, there should be some increase in payment. But rather than 30 cents per ton, it would seem to me that 15 cents per net ton for each vessel transiting the canal would be adequate. In addition, it would eliminate altogether the biennial adjustment of this rate according to changes in the U.S. wholesale price index, which I don't quite understand, but it is mandated in the treaty.
YEARLY PAYMENTS FROM REVENUES PROVISION AMENDMENT
Finally, we would strike that provision supplying Panama with "up to" $10 million per year depending upon revenues.
Even with this amendment, the Panamanians are still provided an annual annuity of $10 million, plus an equitable share of canal revenues, plus receipt of U.S. loans and zonal property. The property is estimated at $3 billion to $6 billion and the loans up to $375 million. I don't think we can suggest that we are not being generous.
USDA PAMPHLETS CONCERNING PRESERVATION OF AGRICULTURAL RIGHTS
I would point out that there have been some pamphlets distributed by the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] saying how vital this Canal is in the transportation of our agriculture commodities. I share that view. That is another reason why we are so concerned about what happens to the canal after the year 2000.
PAYMENT IN EVENT CANAL IS CLOSED
We also provide, of course, that if the canal is closed and we are denied access, that we should not have to make payments. There ought to be some reduction in payments if there is a breakdown, or terrorism,
or some other catastrophe, whether it be intentional sabotage or whatever.
ORDERLY TRANSITION OF JURISDICTION TO CANAL ZONE
We also extend the transition period consistent with the intent of article XI of the basic Panama Canal Treaty, to provide for an "orderly transition" of jurisdiction over the Canal Zone. I propose an amendment which would extend the period of transfer of jurisdictional arrangements. This treaty is being marketed by some as a "23-year" transition document. But a careful reading of the treaty provisions suggests that this is not a 23-year transition treaty-it is a 30-month transfer of title, and there is also a provision with reference to 6
Article XI returns full jurisdiction over the Canal Zone to Panama as soon as the treaty enters into force, and transfers all U.S. judicial, administrative, and regulatory authority to Panama within 30 months. After that, the American citizens will be subject to Panamanian law and subject to Panamanian civil and criminal justice as well.
This does not constitute in my view "orderly transition."
I don't know of many Americans who are willing to subject themselves to Panamanian justice and authority. I suggest that this might drive Americans out of Panama. I think there could be a mass exodus of U.S. engineers and others who are vital to the operation of the canal. It just seems to me that if we permit the Panama Canal Consultative Committee to study the issue after the treaty takes effect and, with the benefit of actual experience, make a recommendation as to when the period of transition should formally end, this would be most useful. However, in no case, under my amendment, would this be before January 1, 1990. This date coincides with the transfer of the administration of the Panama Canal Commission from U.S. to Panamanian leadership.
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS
I have, as other Senators also have, expressed concern about human rights. My amendment would protect the civil and political rights of those who live and work in the Canal Zone region. My reservation conditions treaty ratification on the understanding that the Panamanian Government will make "significant progress" toward observing the human rights of all its citizens during the basic treaty period. I would only suggest that that is consistent with President Carter's statement on human rights. I happen to share with Senator Case and Senator Stone the honor of being on the Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Belgrade Conference started yesterday, and one of the primary topics, of course, will be human rights. I don't see how we can be expected to go to Belgrade and address a problem if we do not address it in our own hemisphere.
It has also been pointed out in other testimony that I have read that Panama's human rights record really is not too good. This can be seen in studies by "Freedom House" and other organizations that talk about Panama's human rights rating with those of other countries.
I am just saying that we have to be consistent. I know there may be some objection to that, but that is the way I see it.
HOUSE PARTICIPATION IN TRANSFER OF TERRITORY OWNERSHIP
Finally, my second reservation reaffirms the constitutional responsibility of the House of Representatives to participate in transfer of ownership of the Canal Zone territory. Without reviewing all of the historical precedents-and I know that there has been testimony to the contrary-certainly everyone is aware of the suit filed by 51 House Members--I will simply state that disposal of the Canal Zone "territory and property" in my view clearly falls within the realm of article IV, section 3, paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution. As such, not only two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, but a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, must approve the proposed treaties.
The reservation clearly states that, before the Canal Treaty enters into force the Congress must adopt appropriate legislation to transfer the Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama. This certainly would protect the rights and the responsibilities that many House Members feel they have to participate in these very significant decisions.
APOLOGY TO PANAMA FOR UNFAIR TREATMENT
I don't know of anybody who has apologized, though I guess there have been some statements that would indicate that we have not treated Panama fairly, and that may be the case in some instances, but I really don't know that we owe the people of Panama, or Mr. Torrijos, or anyone else any apology. It seems to me that over the years we have been fairly generous. We built the canal, operated the canal for 65 years. We have enhanced the standard of living of the Panamanian people. I don't think we should feel any sense of guilt. I think we have to proceed to analyze these treaties in a very objective and responsible manner.
TREATY OPPONENTS CHARACTERIZATION
There is another strategy that I think the administration should be aware of which many of us do not feel will work, and that is to indicate that anyone who opposes the treaty for any reason is off in right field somewhere in some extremist group. That is not the case.
I think there are many thoughtful Senators and many thoughtful Americans who are not classified in any way philosophically who have reservations about the treaties. Some are going to say, as the administration has said a couple of times, that if we don't rubberstamp the treaties in their present form, we are inviting bloodshed or conflict. I think that is exactly the wrong approach to take. I think everyone in the Senate is sophisticated and understands our responsibility. But I think they also know that we are not going to relinquish our presence in the canal or our control of the canal under some veiled threat or direct pressure.
We have a right and we will reserve all rights to intervene when the security of the canal is threatened. We do expect priority passage for
our ships during periods of crisis. I think, perhaps, that these are areas that we must make clear to the Panamanians.
I have just tried to outline reasons why I cannot support the treaties in their present form. I think that my suggestions have been reasonable for amending the treaties to protect what I consider to be vital national interests. I certainly know that the committee will make every effort to hear every proposal. Of course, the final responsibility for treaty recommendations is yours.
Mr. Chairman, thank you. I appreciate this opportunity very much. [Senator Dole's prepared statement follows:]
[News release from U.S. Senator Bob Dole]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR BOB DOLE BEFORE THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE, OCTOBER 5, 1977
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: I appreciate this opportunity to appear before the Committee today, to comment on the two Panama Canal Treaties now pending before the Senate.
You gentlemen have already had an opportunity to hear from a series of Administration witnesses on this important issue. As one who shares the responsibility of deciding whether or not these two Treaties should be ratified, I can appreciate your desire to gain as many perspectives on the issue as possible.
I, too, hope to learn a lot more about all that is involved here in the weeks ahead. But I cannot agree with many of the key assessments and conclusions about these Treaties which the Administration's spokesmen offered to you last week.
I cannot agree, for example, 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 United States Canal Zone territory should be turned over to Panama without the express consent of both Houses of Congress. I hope to offer some helpful perspectives at this time on how we should properly approach these Treaties in order to protect our vital interests.
On September 23, I became the first Member of the Senate to introduce amendments and reservations to the Panama Canal Treaties. I want to explain why I feel this is a responsible approach to this Treaty issue. In doing so, I will review the details of the Treaty modifications I have proposed, and explain why I disagree with the Administration's spokesmen on these critical points.
A SENATE RESPONSIBILITY
Article II of the United States Constitution gives the President the power to make treaties with other nations "by and with the advice and consent of the Senate." Our advisory role is clear. And our responsibility to scrutinize treaties before giving our consent is evident.
But, the Administration seems bent upon forcing the Panamo Canal Treaties through the Senate without modification. We are told that anything less than "unqualified" Senate approval will jeopardize the Treaties. General Torrijos takes the same narrow view. "The negotiations are over," he says. "The Treaties have been signed. I'm not interested in what is said."
The Treaties have been signed, but the debate has only started. Our Constitution guarantees that we, on behalf of the American people, will have the final say on Treaty proposals, and I don't think we should shirk our responsibility.
The State Department tells us that amendments or reservations to the Canal Treaties would be fatal. It is likely that legally binding modifications like these would require renegotiation, at least on those particular portions of the Treaties. 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, but to improve these documents which bear so heavily on our national interests. I studied both Canal Treaties in detail, and found them grossly unacceptable in certain areas. I have
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offered reasonable proposals to modify those portions, in line with our Constitutional responsibility.
The Panamanians have understood our ratification system all along. They were aware of the Senate's responsibilities of review, and its right to modify, if necessary.
I say that we should amend if necessary, and register reservations if necessary, and at that point the ball is in Panama's court. If they refuse to reconsider these points, then the blame is theirs, not ours. But I suspect that they will be ready to renegotiate rather than to lose these Treaties which give them so much.
BEGGING OUT WITH "UNDERSTANDINGS"
One thing should be made very clear: simple "understandings" by the Senate will have no legally binding effects on the Canal Treaties. Understandings merely constitute interpretations of this or that point in the Treaties, and do not necessitate renegotiation.
However, they are our interpretations, not Panama's. When an issue or dispute arises in years to come, we will point in vain to our "understandings." The Panamanians will say: "That may be the way your Senate interpreted it, but this is what the Treaty says, and we interpret that differently."
If we really feel strongly about weaknesses or ambiguities in these Treaties we should be bold enough to correct them in a straightforward and non-apologetic manner. If we must amend a Treaty provision to remove all doubt about its meaning, then so be it.
If we simply "buy time" now by deceiving ourselves with "understandings" that have no binding impact, the next generation may have to bear the consequences. It will, of course, be easy to soothe our conscience by attaching weak "interpretations" to the Canal Treaties. Politically, it may be a very easy thing
But I say this: If we end up next year ratifying these Treaties with nothing more than a bunch of meaningless, half-baked "understandings" attached, we will have failed our Constitutional duty to the national interest and the American people.
Mr. Chairman, I would ask the Committee's permission to insert, at the end of my prepared statement, excerpts from several authoritative sources comparing the effects of Treaty amendments, reservations, and understandings.
AMENDMENTS TO TREATY
Mr. Chairman, in accord with my feeling that the Senate has a responsibility to modify these Treaties where necessary, I have introduced a series of six amendments and two reservations. The amendments would directly modify, or add to the language of the Treaties, while the reservations express specific conditions under which our agreement to ratify would be made. All of these would, in my opinion, better protect the nation's vital interests and substantially improve upon both the basic Canal Treaty and the Treaty on permanent neutrality.
I will not spend a lot of time describing these proposals, since I believe you have all had an opportunity to review the statement I made on September 23, at the time of introduction. I do want to emphasize, however, that I feel very strongly about the Treaty defects which prompted each of these proposals. My amendments and reservations represent sincere and earnest efforts to correct these problems, in a manner that is legally binding. Without these corrections, I think both treaties jeopardize our interests and are therefore unacceptable.
MILITARY INTERVENTION AND PRIORITY PASSAGE
Mr. Chairman, I am positively convinced of the Canal's importance to the United States' defense interests. If there was ever any question in anyone's mind about this importance, I would think that the letter to President Carter last June, signed by four former Chiefs of Naval Operations, would remove that doubt. One of those officers, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, testified persuasively on this point before the House International Affairs Committee last week, and I would commend his testimony to the attention of this Committee.
Therefore, with respect to the Treaty on permanent neutrality. I propose to amend Article IV to specifically guarantee our authority to intervene militarily whenever we determine the Canal's neutrality to be threatened. In addition, I