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States, aiming at ceding to Panama complete sovereignty over the Canal Zone and eventually, the ownership of the existing Canal and any future canal in the Zone or in Panama that might be built by the United States to replace it.
(14) In the 1st Session of the 93rd Congress identical bills were introduced in both House and Senate to provide for the major increase of capacity and operational improvement of the existing Panama Canal by modifying the authorized Third Locks Project to embody the principles of the previously mentioned Terminal Lake solution, which competent authorities consider would supply the best operational canal practicable of achievement, and at least cost without treaty involvement.
(15) Starting in January 1975 many Members of Congress sponsored resolutions expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should maintain and protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal enterprise, including the Canal Zone, and not surrender any of its powers to any other nation or to any international organization in derogation of present treaty provisions.
(16) The Panama Canal is a priceless asset of the United States, essential for interoceanic commerce and hemispheric security. The recent efforts to wrest its control from the United States trace back to the 1917 Communist Revolution and conform to long range Soviet policy of gaining domination over key water routes as in Cuba, which flanks the Atlantic approach to the Panama Canal, and as was accomplished in the case of the Suez Canal, which the Soviet Union now wishes opened in connection with its naval buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. Thus, the real issue at Panama, dramatized by the Communist take over of strategically located Cuba and Chile, is not United States control versus Panamian but continued United States sovereignty versus Soviet control. This is the issue that should be debated in Congress, especially in the Senate. Panama is a small, weak country occupying a strategic geographical position that is the objective of predatory power, requiring the presence of the United States on the Isthmus in the interest of hemispheric security and international order. (17) In view of all the foregoing, the undersigned urge prompt action as follows:
(1) Adoption by the House of Representatives of pending Canal Zone sovereignty resolutions and,
(2) Enactment by the Congress of pending measures for the major modernization of the existing Panama Canal.
To these ends, we respectfully urge that hearings be promptly held on the indicated measures and that congressional policy thereon be determined for early prosecution of the vital work of modernizing the Panama Canal, now approaching saturation of capacity.
Dr. Karl Brandt, Palo Alto, Calif.: Economist, Hoover Institute, Stanford, Former Chairman, President's Council of Economic Advisers.
Comdr. Homer Brett, Jr., Chevy Chase, Md.: Former Intelligence Officer, Caribbean area.
Hon. Ellis O. Briggs, Hanover, N.H.: U.S. Ambassador (retired) and Author. Dr. John C. Briggs, Tampa, Fla.: Professor of Biology, University of South Florida.
William B. Collier, Santa Barbara, Calif.: Business Executive with Engineering and Naval Experience.
Lt. Gen. Pedro A. del Valle, Annapolis, Md.: Intelligence Analyst, Former Commanding General, 1st Marine Division.
Herman H. Dinsmore, New York, N.Y.: Former Associate Foreign Editor, New York Times. Editorialist.
Dr. Lev E. Dobriansky, Alexandria, Va.: Professor of Economics, Georgetown University.
Dr. Donald Dozer, Santa Barbara, Calif.: Historian, University of California, Santa Barbara. Authority on Latin America.
Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, Washington, D.C.: Former Commander-in-Chief, Allied Air Forces, Mediterranean. Analyst and Commentator on National Security Questions.
K. P. Hoffman, Richmond, Va. : Editor and Author.
Dr. Walter D. Jacobs, College Park, Md.: Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland.
William R. Joyce, Jr., J.D., Washington, D.C.: Lawyer.
Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Lane, McLean, Va.: Engineer and Author.
Edwin J. B. Lewis, Washington, D.C.: Professor of Accounting, George Washington University. Past President, Panama Canal Society of Washington, D.C.
Dr. Leonard B. Loeb, Berkeley, Calif.: Professor of Physics (Emeritus), University of California.
William Loeb, Manchester, N.H.: Publisher and Author.
Lt. Col. Matthew P. McKeon, Springfield, Va. : Intelligence Analyst, Editor and Author.
Dr. Howard A. Meyerhoff, Tulsa, Okla.: Consulting Geologist. Formerly Head of Department of Geology, University of Pennsylvania.
Richard B. O'Keeffe, Fairfax, Va.: Assistant Director of Library, George Mason University. Research Consultant on Panama Canal, The American Legion. Capt. C. H. Schildhauer, Owings Mills, Md.: Aviation Executive.
V. Adm. T. G. W. Settle, Washington, D.C.: Former Commander, Amphibious Forces, Pacific.
Jon P. Speller, New York, N.Y.: Author and Editor.
Harold Lord Varney, New York, N.Y.: President, Committee on Pan American Policy, New York. Authority on Latin American Policy Editor.
Capt. Franz O. Willenbucher, Bethesda, Md.: Lawyer and Executive.
Dr. Francis G. Wilson, Washington, D.C.: Professor of Political Science (Emeritus) University of Illinois. Author and Editor. Institutions are listed for identification purposes only.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH,
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 6, 1977.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS OPPOSE PANAMA SEA-LEVEL CANAL
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6.-Eleven national and international environmental organizations have urged President Carter to call a halt to the State Department's attempts to require a Report on the feasibility of building a new Sea-Level Panama Canal as part of the Panama Treaty negotiations. In a telegram to the President, the groups said, "The Sea-Level Canal represents not only an economic loss but a likely environmental disaster as well."
The environmental organizations criticized the State Department for injecting the Sea-Level Canal issue into the current treaty negotiations with Panama, which center on questions of sovereignty and administration of the present canal. They also criticized the State Department for issuing its Environmental Impact Statement on the treaty ten days before signing of the treaty. "Neither the Congress nor the several relevant agencies in the Executive Branch have approved a Sea-Level Canal or even seriously considered the matter. The State Department has never been authorized to negotiate for a treaty provision on the Sea-Level Canal," they told the President. "It would be premature and reckless to enter a new treaty with Panama that would authorize or permit construction of a Sea-Level Canal."
Environmentalists' concern is based on the findings of marine scientists. A prestigious National Academy of Sciences panel in 1970 cited "grave potential dangers" that could result from the project as a consequence of the intermixture of now-separate biological systems in the tropical Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. There is virtually no intermixing at present because marine organisms cannot survive in the existing lock-type Panama Canal, which contains only freshwater. The environmental groups warn that this freshwater barrier must be maintained and not compromised by pumping sea water into the current system, for example.
The National Academy of Sciences panel referred to the Sea-Level Canal as "A gigantic natural experiment. Its consequences are unforeseeable". The results of the National Academy's current attempt to quickly pull together all new information on the issue for President Carter, merely documents the fact that the biological studies recommended in 1970 have never been carried out.
SEPTEMBER 6, 1977.
MR. PRESIDENT: Recent reports on the State Department's ngotiations with Panama concerning the interoceanic canal indicate that a serious environmental issue is involved. The negotiators for the United States have included a provision in the Panama treaty that would grant the United States a long-term option to build a new inter-oceanic Sea-Level Canal and require a report be made on the feasibility of building such a canal.
Conservation and environmental organizations voiced their opposition to a Panama Sea-Level Canal to President Ford in 1975. We regard a treaty provision of this kind as prejudicial to the thorough, rational consideration of the issue. Neither the Congress nor the several relevant agencies in the Executive Branch have approved it or even seriously considered the matter. The State Department has never been authorized to negotiate for a treaty provision on the Sea-Level Canal. Their Environmental Impact Statement on the Treaty comes far too late for us to make any meaningful response before the Treaty signing ceremony tomorrow.
There are important reasons for our concern. Marine scientists have repeatedly warned against a Panama Sea-Level Canal (as well as salinization of the current canal system), on grounds that a canal of this design would eliminate the present freshwater barrier to intermixture of the two distinct ecosystems on either side of the Isthmus of Panama. Should this freshwater barrier be eliminated, by pumping sea water into the existing canal, for example, the result could be tremendous damage to the fish and other marine organisms of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with consequent impact on the large human populations that depend on the seas in this part of the world.
A National Academy of Sciences Panel on the Sea-Level Canal in 1970 warned of "grave potential dangers" that could result from such a project. The panel said:
Joining two oceans with a sea-level canal is a gigantic natural experiment. Its consequences are unforeseeable. To forego the relevant biological research prior to and during the construction of a new canal would be like preparing to put a man on the moon and neglecting to ask him to make scientific observations and collect samples. A new canal will affect the animal and plant life of the two oceans, but what these effects are cannot be determined unless the nature of the differences between the biota and ecosystems of the two oceans are first carefully established through years of intensive research.
The results of the National Academy of Sciences current attempt to quickly pull together all new information on the issues concerning a Sea-Level Canal merely document the fact that the biological studies recommended in 1970 have never been carried out.
Advocates of the Sea-Level Canal claim there is a technological solution to the problem of biological exchange, but no solution has yet been proposed in sufficient detail to allow evaluation of its effectiveness. All the proponents have to offer is vague promises.
The undersigned organizations believe the State Department should not inject the Sea-Level Canal issue into the current treaty negotiations with Panama, centering as they do on questions of sovreignty and administration of the present canal. A Sea-Level Canal provision in a treaty would not only prejudice later consideration of the merits of the project, but it would also lead Panama to expect the United States to build a new canal, even though no decision has yet been made on it by this country.
Dr. Stephen R. Gibbs, an economist for the University of Washington's Institute for Marine Studies, said in testimony before a House Panama Canal subcommittee that a new canal "would be a net economic loser for whoever undertook it." The Sea-Level Canal represents not only an economic loss but a likely environmental disaster as well. We strongly urge you to instruct the Secretary of State to cease negotiating for a Sea-Level Canal provision as part of any treaty with Panama.
Signed: John W. Grandy IV, Executive Vice President, Defenders of Wildlife; Peter Harnik, Coordinator, Environmental Action, Inc.; Brent Blackwelder, Washington Representative, Environmental Policy Center; Douglas W. Scott, Northwest Representative, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs; David R. Brower, President, Friends of the Earth; Lewis Regenstein, Executive Vice President. The Fund for Animals, Inc.; Sir John G. Ward, President, International Society for the Protection of Animals; Jack Lorenz, Ex. Director, Izaak Walton League of America; T. Destry Jarvis, Administrative Assistant, National Parks and Conservation Association; Godfrey A. Rockefeller, Ex. Director, World Wildlife Fund; Celia Hunter, Ex. Director, The Wilderness Society.
[From the Congressional Record, Washington, DC., Thursday, November 15, 1973] PANAMA CANAL PILOTS ASSOCIATION URGES MAJOR MODERNIZATION AS THE SOLUTION FOR THE CANAL PROBLEMS
The Speaker. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Flood) is recognized for 10 minutes.
Mr. Flood. Mr. Speaker, over a period of years, I have repeatedly endeavored in a series of addresses to this body to alert the Congress and the Nation at large to the major issues in the interoceanic canal problem. This effort has had two recent significant consequences.
The first was on July 19, 1973, when Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., of Virginia, led an illuminating colloquy in the U.S. Senate on "The Future of the Panama Canal." Other Members of that body participating in that colloquy were Senators Strom Thurmond, Ernest F. Hollings, James L. Buckley, Clifford P. Hansen, and Jesse A. Helms.
This was followed by a second colloquy on September 26, in the House of Representatives on the timely subject: "Overthrow of Chilean Marxist Regime Dramatizes Necessity for Firm Stand by United States Against Any Surrender at Panama," which was led by myself. Other Members who took part were Representatives John M. Murphy, M. G. Snyder, John M. Ashbrook, Philip M. Crane, and John R. Rarick.
The information developed in those colloquies emphasized two major points: First, the necessity for continued undiluted United States sovereign control over the Canal Zone and Panama Canal; and second, the urgency for action by the Congress on the long overdue major modernization of the existing Panama Canal, for which project legislation is now pending in both the Senate and House. This vital subject has been before the Congress since the authorization in 1939 of a Third Locks project. Because of more urgent war needs, the project was suspended in May 1942, affording an opportunity for its study in the light of war experience. Those studies resulted in the development in the Panama Canal organization of what is known as the Terminal Lake-Third Locks plan for the future canal, which has won strong support among canal users as well as by highly respected canal experts and important navigation interests.
The Panama Canal is a vast industrial organization. The result of American genius in many fields, it has as its primary purpose the safe, convenient, and expeditious transit of vessels between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Maintained by engineers, it is operated by experienced navigators known as Panama Canal Pilots, who until October 1, 1973, had to be U.S. citizens with U.S. Coast Guard unlimited master's licenses. The members of this professional group, because of their vast command experience at sea and in charge of the navigation and movement of vessels in the canal, probably know more about its problems of marine operations than any other body in the world.
As shown by the sustained record of inaction on the part of the executive branch of our Government, important Panama Canal policy matters have been stalled for far too long through pusillanimous procrastination, unending negotiations on U.S. sovereignty over the Canal Zone that is not negotiable, and futile studies at large cost over the irrelevant and ancient idea of a canal of so-called sea level design. The time has clearly come for breaking the administrative inertia, as regards major canal policy.
A crisis as regards Panama Canal pilots, too involved for recital here, has at last forced higher authorities of our Government to look at the problems of the
Panama Canal and to stimulate pilots to express their views concerning the major modernization of our strategic tropical waterway.
At a well attended general meeting on October 15, 1973, of the Panama Canal Pilots Association that body adopted a notable resolution. It summarizes the present situation, criticizes projected improvements as "nonbasic in character," condemns the sea level scheme, and urges prompt enactment of pending legislation for the major modernization of the Canal under the Terminal Lake-Third Locks solution. This plan, by the way, can be accomplished with every assurance of success for it has been tested for more than half a century at Gatun and found eminently satisfactory. Moreover, it does not require a new treaty with Panama.
In this connection, I would emphasize that the average size of vessels transiting the canal increased 16.1 percent from fiscal year 1966 to 1972 and that this trend toward larger vessels can be expected to continue. The program contemplated in the pending legislation will meet canal needs for many years to come. Not only that, it will revitalize the isthmus and enormously aid the people of Panama, who will be one of the prime beneficiaries of the modernization program. Mr. Speaker, to make the indicated resolution of the Panama Canal Pilots Association available to the Congress, the executive agencies concerned, and the Nation at large, I quote it and the forwarding letter of Capt. Wilbur H. Vantine, president of the association, as parts of my remarks and commend them for careful reading:
PANAMA CANAL PILOTS ASSOCIATION,
Re Panama Canal-Third Locks-Terminal Lake Plan.
The original engineering and construction were magnificent. The engineers involved were very farseeing and the Canal has essentially met the needs of world shipping for over 60 years. However, time and progress are fast catching up with and will soon overwhelm the Panama Canal as now structured.
Attached hereto, is a copy of a Resolution which was passed unanimously at a very well attended General Meeting of our Association held on October 15, 1973. We hope that you will be able to support the Thurmond-Flood bills.
Capt. W. H. VANTINE,
PANAMA CANAL MAJOR MODERNIZATION-OCTOBER 15, 1973
Whereas, since 1914 the pilots of the Panama Canal have accumulated a vast knowledge concerning its marine operations through thousands of transits on all types of vessels; and
Whereas, during World War II extensive studies in the Canal organization of marine operations conclusively established the location of the bottleneck at Pedro Miguel Locks in the south end of Gaillard Cut as the fundamental operaitonal error in constructing the Canal; and
Whereas, as a result of those World War II studies, there was developed in the Canal organization and approved by a committee of our most distinguished senior pilots what is now known as the Terminal Lake-Third Locks Plan; and Whereas, this plan has been consistently recognized by various responsible independent navigation interests as providing the best operational canal practicable of achievement; and
Whereas, more than $171,000,000, has been expended toward the major modernization of the Canal, $76,357,405 on the suspended Third Locks Project and some $95,000,000 on the enlargement of Gaillard Cut; and
Whereas, the several items in the 1969 Improvement Program for the Panama Canal, though important, are non-basic in character and no solution for the Canal's major marine operational problems; and