« PreviousContinue »
But I don't think that each person who speaks on it really carries the same weight. It is often said on this panel that the Panamanians say this and we say this. I don't think Mr. Guevara necessarily speaks for the Panamanians, at least any more than does the man who presumably is the ruler.
Senator DOLE. But is he repudiated by Torrijos? He hasn't been. Senator CLARK. I guess I am saying that they are not all of equal importance. If we are talking about an unrestricted dictator and the dictator interprets the treaty in one way, to me that would carry a somewhat greater weight than someone who works for that dictator.
The only other question that I wanted to raise isn't really a question. It is just a further edification of the speech from which Senator Stone quoted and which Senator Stone placed in the record, I think appropriately. It is by Mr. Guevara and is the televised speech mentioned in the telegram which you read.
There are a couple of points that I think cut the other way. They don't contradict the points that have been made, but I think the balance ought to be put in the record as well.
Here is what Mr. Guevara says in paragraph 2:
The Panama Canal is an international transit waterway. We cannot do as we please with the Canal. We have undertaken for the international community the grave responsibility of conserving this waterway, of maintaining it efficiently, of handling it with a sense of responsibility.
Then he goes on in the sixth paragraph to say:
The United States expects that not only Panama, but the entire world, will respect the right of its war and merchant ships always to be able to transit the Panama Canal. However, what would happen if the passage of a U.S. ship were blocked? Let us not think that Panama would do so, for two basic reasons. We do not have the strength to do so; second, it is our business that the Canal be used intensively by all countries of the world. It is our source of wealth too. So, let us not expect arbitrary or immature action by Panama. The hypothesis is valid only in the case of other countries. And if any country blocks passage of any United States ship, how would the United States react in face of the failure to recognize a right? It is only natural to expect that the United States will react violently against the country obstructing its right or that it will take reprisals which would be legal because a U.S. right would have been violated. Or it might take recourse to other mechanisms, the United Nations, or the International Court of Justice. These paths are open to the United States. But it is natural to recognize here that whoever denied this right of the United States to pass its ships would be inviting war or reprisal by the United States.
I see that my time is up.
Senator Glenn, you are next.
Senator GLENN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LIST OF DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS REQUEST
I think one thing we need very much here, obviously, is what we have requested from the State Department and that is a listing of the different interpretations being put on this treaty in Panama and in the United States. We can proceed with hearings on an interminable basis so long as we take every means of shooting down or of furthering our views, depending on what happens to be said on radio or TV or by various people in order to sway public opinion either here or in Panama. We can get everyone all excited about these things as each one of them comes out.
I am sure if we tried very hard perhaps we could get another leaked cable out of the State Department giving an opposite interpretation of some of these views as they are being put forth in Panama. Perhaps there were other members of the Embassy staff who were talking to different Panamanian officials with a different viewpoint? We could introduce those on the other side of this argument.
What I am saying, Mr. Chairman, and what I am saying to the Senator from Kansas, is I very much deplore this "campaign by leaks," of leaked cables from the State Department. Does Guevara speak on behalf of the Panamanian Government? No; I think the answer is he does not. We have asked for such a clarification. We have asked for an official interpretation of how the Government of Panama interprets these various points at issue. If we are to leak every cable out of the State Department that we can get our hands on and bring up every rumor and blow it up, these will be interminable hearings which will accomplish little or nothing. I just deplore this whole means of proceeding.
LEAKING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
Perhaps my background leads me to a more strict interpretation of some things here than most Members of the Senate. I spent some 23 years in the Marine Corps where a confidential cable was indeed a confidential cable. I realize that "Confidential" is not the highest classification in the world, but it was sent for a reason and it was given limited distribution for a reason. I would ask the Senator from Kansas if he made any effort to get this declassified before he released it. Senator DoLE. No.
Senator GLENN. Did the Senator from Kansas ask to come before the committee in executive session since he had a classified document? Senator DOLE. I didn't think it was necessary.
Senator GLENN. Does the Senator from Kansas then feel that he has the right to declassify information, even though it has not been declassified by the originator?
Senator DOLE. We checked the contents of the cable and checked to see whether it was authentic, and I don't think anybody who could read the cable, maybe except for the Senator from Ohio, would indicate that there is anything in the cable that in any way endangers our security or our national interest.
Senator GLENN. Senator Dole, I will repeat my question. Does the Senator from Kansas feel he can declassify material? Normally that is reserved for the originator of the message.
Senator DOLE. In this case; yes.
Senator GLENN. That is a new interpretation on classified material as far as I am concerned.
If the Senator from Kansas received "Secret" material or "Top Secret" material and it is his judgment that it is not classified, does he then feel that he can release that?
Senator DOLE. If what?
Senator GLENN. If you have "Top Secret" material or "Secret" material and it is in your best judgment that it is not secret, do you feel that you can release it?
Senator DOLE. No.
I would say to the Senator from Ohio before he gets on a pedestal that we have a right to explore some of the problems of the treaties. Senator GLENN. Certainly.
Senator DOLE. If you want us to take it and rubberstamp it, that is your concern, but I don't intend to do that.
Senator GLENN. The Senator from Kansas is misreading me. I'm not trying to rubberstamp anything. But I am saying that classified material is classified for a purpose. I don't agree with the business of determining on your own what you can release and not release. Senator DOLE. Well, just let me say that
Senator GLENN. Let me finish my statement, please.
Mr. Guevara is listed in the full cable, which was not quoted in your press release, and quoted in the full cable as indicating that he is put down as one who advocated this position of taking a hard line here. As he pointed out, he was at the head of those who did not accept the concept of priority passage for U.S. war vessels.
Senator DOLE. That is in the cable.
Senator GLENN. That is in the cable. That is correct.
Senator DOLE. I quoted that.
Senator GLENN. Is that in your statement?
Senator DOLE. Yes.
Senator GLENN. OK, fine.
So, he was an advocate for that position. Now he does not purport that he speaks officially for the Panamanian Government.
I have sent cables back from overseas. I have sent them to the State Department giving my very personal impressions of foreign leaders that I have met. They have been welcomed. I would not have wanted those released because I would want those compared to the impressions given by other people who also contacted those same officials.
But I can tell you one thing. After this, I certainly am not going to send any more cables like that. I will wait until I come home and give those impressions personally. Then if anybody bounces me on it, I will deny it.
We could have probably another half dozen different cables giving different viewpoints here. We are swaying American public opinion on this treaty on the basis of one unofficial cable. Another thing-the Embassy man who contacted his Panamanian counterpart for this information, you can bet that that contact from now on will be nonexistent, as far as they are concerned in Panama.
I don't know what damage may have been done. As I said, this is a "Confidential" cable. That is not the highest classification. I am not trying to make this into another Ellsberg case or anything like that. But I have been very sensitive to the fact that we treat classified material around here very, very lightly, even on this committee. I have brought this up to the committee before. I certainly wish that the Senator had tried to get this declassified or had brought it before us in executive session rather than making a press headline out of it. I will say that very bluntly.
Senator DOLE. I will say, then, if we are entitled to respond to the Senator from Ohio-I certainly have that right
Senator GLENN. Certainly.
Senator DOLE [continuing]. That I hope, and I think that Senator Baker has made this request before, that at least members of this committee and others who wish to have access to cable traffic will have that opportunity. If it shoots down the State Department's position, that is one thing. I understand that they don't like it when someone indicates disagreement with what they have told us we should accept. As far as the Senator from Kansas is concerned, I think my judgment is essentially good and I will not compromise any interest of this country. That is one reason the cable was released-because I don't want to compromise the interests of this country. I am not going to be a blind Senator, voting on something just because someone suggested we ought to vote on it without changes.
If it takes this to alert the American people and to alert this committee, that is fine.
I will take the consequences.
Senator GLENN. I am advised that one of the concerns of the State Department is the fact that some of the cryptographic numbers at the top of this document are of such nature that they should not be released. Is the Senator from Kansas aware of that?
Senator DOLE. No; I don't have the State Department contacts that you have, obviously.
Senator GLENN. Yes; you do. You obviously do. I certainly don't have any leaked cables out of this. You are the one releasing cables,
Senator DOLE. It was not handed to me by anybody in the State Department. I will say that.
Senator GLENN. Mr. Chairman, I just deplore this campaign by released documents. We all know what to do with Washington material as far as classified documents go for press purposes or committee members' purposes or anyone else's. We have our contacts and we can get information released. I think we really have to tighten up on our security. I wish this had not occurred. I wish the Senator from Kansas had come before us in executive session or had asked the State Department for declassification so it could have been handled in the proper
I do not feel that I have the right to take it upon myself to determine what is confidential and what is not when the originator gave his personal remarks through the State Department for their benefit, remarks given in all confidence that it would be kept confidential. Now it is on the front pages of the U.S. paper.
Senator DOLE. But that is not the case. He made a speech the same night, a public speech on television.
Senator GLENN. I am talking about the American representative who contacted Mr. Guevara.
I am sure he will think twice now before he gives any personal comments to the State Department. I say to the State Department representatives who are here that I hope every effort is being made to ferret out where this leak occurred and to take appropriate action to see that whoever did it gets fired.
STATE DEPARTMENT COOPERATION IN SUBMITTING FACTS
Senator DOLE. I hope also that every effort is made by the State Department to give us the facts.
Are you opposed to that?
Senator GLENN. We have already requested those, Senator Dole. We have requested that a complete listing be run down.
Senator DOLE. Do you have them?
Senator GLENN. We have not received them yet.
Senator STONE. Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN [presiding]. Senator Stone.
Senator STONE. I would like only one moment of time.
I think we have begun to get some of the facts and cable traffic from the State Department because the wire that I read from was provided me by committee staff, who obtained it from the State Department. It is unclassified. It is stamped "Unclassified.” It is the speech made by Guevara that same night.
We are beginning to get that cooperation, and finding out what the Panamanian position is is just as much in the American national interest as it is in the Panamanian national interest.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the rest of my time.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Clark, have you anything further?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Dole, have you any further words for us?
CONCERNS ON RECORD
Senator DOLE. Mr. Chairman, I am finished except to say that what we have attempted to do is to offer some constructive amendments and reservations to the treaties themselves. I hope that we have been able to provide a record that would indicate that there are some of us who have concerns about certain provisions of the treaties. I think that has been made very clear this morning. This concern regards how they are interpreted by the Panamanians and how they are interpreted by those who have appeared before this committee to testify, such as the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.
It would seem to me that it is in our interest to find out just what the facts are and how they could be interpreted.
This Senator, for one, wants to be constructive. I hope that as the record is made we will finally find out the full picture. I hope the State Department will be forthcoming with information. I know a request has been made by the chairman for all of the cable traffic and all of the other negotiating material that we can have to find out the facts. I don't believe many Senators are going to be willing to vote on a matter of this magnitude without being fully informed.
Thank you. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I certainly agree with the statement vou made. That is the reason we are having these protracted hearings. The committee will do its very best to inquire into everything pertinent to the consideration of these treaties.
As I have stated before. I have no idea as to the position of any Senator on this committee, if he has taken a position. Personally, I have said that I feel a certain responsibility as the presiding officer to preside