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after the treaties go into effect you lose sovereignty; 21⁄2 years later you lose jurisdiction over the zone, the courts, police, and so forth; from then on there is a joint operation. If there is a disagreement in a joint operation, you can see the trouble that will arise.
So, it is just a question of time. If we are going to look to the future, if we are going to preserve this important waterway, which is one of the vital waterways of the world, it seems to me the only sensible thing to do is to maintain control of it.
Now, I don't object to helping Panama. I don't know whether you were in here when I said this, but I would favor turning over any surplus part of the zone that we do not need for the security of the canal. I would favor increasing the annuity to the Panamanians, but not to the extent of $70 million a year, which is ridiculous. To give them a $9 billion investment is, to me, something the American people will not stand for. But we could increase the annuity. Then I think we could bring about a modernization of the canal by enacting the Terminal Lake-Third Locks plan. We could spend $1.5 to $2.5 billion there. Think what a spurt in their economy that would be, to their schools, their health, to every facet of life in Panama. Think of the jobs that would be created down there. Think of the standard of living that would be increased.
We have not mistreated Panama. Panama wanted this canal. Panama was vying with Nicaragua to enter into this agreement with us. Panama has been treated right, and we want to continue to work with the Panamanian people and treat Panama right. I would favor taking such palliative steps as I mentioned in order to improve the situation. But, so far as giving up this canal under threats or blackmail, I will say no, a thousand times no.
DATE OF LETTER FROM FORMER CHIEFS OF STAFF
Senator JAVITS. Senator, what is the date of the letter of the four Chiefs of Staff?
Senator THURMOND. It is June 8, 1977. I believe Admiral Moorer just last week testified in the House also confirming his statement here and elaborating on the situation.
Senator JAVITS. But they wrote that letter before the terms of the treaty were known; isn't that true?
Senator THURMOND. Yes; and I believe that the President of the United States announced his approval before he had read it, too. [General laughter.]
Senator JAVITS. I would not say that about the President.
Senator THURMOND. I do believe that he admitted that.
Senator JAVITS. OK. Thank you, Senator, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Percy.
Senator PERCY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
AGREEMENT ON NECESSITY OF NEW ARRANGEMENTS
Senator Thurmond, I was interested in your statement which you caption "positive alternatives." You say, "I am not opposed to a new arrangement with Panama but strongly oppose this treaty."
Is it true that all proponents and opponents of this treaty at least agree on one thing, that we cannot just keep on going the way we have been with the 1903 treaty? For 13 years we have been negotiating under several administrations. So at least in principle are we agreed that we have to make some new arrangement? Aren't you simply saying that today you oppose the present treaties before us?
Senator THURMOND. Yes. I oppose the present treaties before us. I think we could enter into some arrangement along the lines I indicated. I feel certain that there is a part of the Canal Zone that could be turned back, the part that we do not need for security. I feel we could increase the annuity to Panama, but not to the extent that I mentioned of $70 million a year. To jump from $3.4 million to $70 million would be outrageous to me.
WHO CAN BEST PROTECT CANAL?
Then, who is going to protect this canal? The one central question which I would like the members of this committee to think about is, if this canal is going to be kept open and free to the ships of the world, who can best protect it: the United States or Panama?
Panama is a very weak and unstable country. It cannot protect the canal. Everyone knows that. So, when we turn it back to them, what is going to happen? Either they are going to have to call upon us to put in huge sums of money or they are going to have to call upon some other big power. Now what other big power could do it? I don't know of any other but the Soviet Union.
Senator PERCY. Senator Thurmond, my question is simply this: do we concur that some new arrangement is needed?
Senator THURMOND. I would favor some new arrangement.
RESULT OF STANDING BY 1903 TREATY
Senator PERCY. What if we just said, "We made a deal, and a deal is a deal. What if we did make it in 1903? What if it wasn't ratified by the Panamanians? We are going to stand by that deal." If we said this, what would be the result? What do you think the attitude of the countries of Latin America, of all countries, would be toward us if we rigidly stood firm and simply refused to renegotiate an agreement?
Senator THURMOND. Well, I am not too sure that all of Latin America wants this canal turned over to Panama in the first place. Two Senators who were down there last fall, I understood, were told in a number of countries which they visited that outwardly they were saying they favored it, but that privately there was some question.
Now, regardless of that, it is my judgment that we just cannot bow to blackmail. We just cannot, even if the other countries of Latin America did favor it, just go along with it.
NEED FOR NEW ARRANGEMENT
Senator PERCY. But we do agree that some new arrangement is needed, is that right?
Senator THURMOND. I would have no objection to some new arrangement. The main thing I think we have to do is to maintain the control of that canal, and we have to be able to protect it.
EFFECT OF NOT MODERNIZING AGREEMENT ON MODERNIZING CANAL
Senator PERCY. If we did not make some new agreement, is it conceivable that we would be able to make major investments in the canal and modernize it, or even dig a sea-level canal sometime in that area, if we wanted to? What if we didn't modernize our agreement at the same time we wanted to modernize the canal?
Senator THURMOND. Well, of course, under the proposed treaties, the United States could not build a sea-level canal there without the permission of Panama. Naturally they would not agree because it would have a monopoly here. It would be after the year 2000 before that could even be considered, and then it would cost $5 billion.
I don't know that that is necessary.
Senator PERCY. But up until the year 2000, if Panama concurs with us, then we could go ahead in cooperation and partnership with Panama, couldn't we?
Senator THURMOND. But why would you need a sea-level canal so long as you had this canal?
Senator PERCY. Certainly to take our larger warships and our supertankers.
Senator THURMOND. Why, 98 percent of the naval ships can go through there now; 96 percent of the world's ships can go through. Only the largest carriers cannot go through, so far as our military ships are concerned.
Senator PERCY. Are you saying that in your judgment at no time in the foreseeable future would we ever need to modernize the canal and enlarge it?
Senator THURMOND. Oh, indeed, I think it ought to be modernized now. That is what I favor. I advocated modernizing it and putting in the third locks to make it big enough to take the biggest ships.
Senator PERCY. Say that we reject these treaties and refuse to negotiate further, do you think it would be even conceivable that we would be able to go ahead and make that major investment with safety and security?
Senator THURMOND. Not unless Panama would agree, acquiesce, and be pleased with it.
Senator PERCY. Yes. So, it does take agreement by the Panamanians. It is just a question of what they agree to and what we agree to. Senator THURMOND. I think that before we spend that much money there, there ought to be a definite agreement that they would cooperate and not raise further points about it.
WHO CAN BEST PROTECT CANAL?
Again, I will repeat: somebody has to protect this canal. Who can best do it-the United States or Panama?
Furthermore, Hanson Baldwin has written on this concerning our strategic position. Have you had occasion to read his statement on this?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes: we have.
Senator THURMOND. Mr. Chairman, if there is no objection, I would ask unanimous consent that the article by Hanson Baldwin be placed in the record, if it has not already been done.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be done.
[From the AEI Defense Review]
THE PANAMA CANAL: SOVEREIGNTY AND SECURITY
(By Hanson W. Baldwin)
The future security and well-being of the United States are threatened by the administration's proposed abandonment of sovereignty over the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone.
Any such action would have global consequences, nowhere more adverse than in the Caribbean Sea-Gulf of Mexico area. The vital interests of a nation can be defined in territorial and regional terms or as political, psychological, economic, or military interests. By any and all of these yardsticks, the security of the Caribbean, the ability of the United States to control the Caribbean in war and to be a dominant influence there in peace, is vital to our country.
THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE CANAL
These southern seas have been considered essential to U.S. security since the time of Thomas Jefferson and the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine. The great importance of the Caribbean has been restated in modern terms by Alfred Thayer Mahan and all succeeding generations of strategists. In fact, in a strategic sense the Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico area must be considered the mare nostrum of the United States. Unless we are capable of controlling it, we are, indeed, undone.
Yet that capability has already been gravely weakened; the turning point was the Communists' seizure of power in Cuba, the Caribbean's most important island, only ninety miles from our shores. Soviet Migs flying in Cuban skies, Soviet submarines calling at Cuban ports, and the hammer and sickle flaunting its red blazon of revolution across the area are both cause and symbol of the deterioration in the past fifteen years of U.S. security on our southern flank. Our own mistakes and weaknesses have cost us dearly; the infiltrators are within the outer walls, and what should be our island speckled ramparts are becoming today the soft underbelly of North America.
It is in this broad perspective-the future of the Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico area that any basic change in the status of the Panama Canal must be judged, for any such change will profoundly affect our interests in the area and hence, ultimately, our political, psychological, economic, and military security. And, in an even larger, global sense, any retreat or major concession in Panama in the face of the threats of General Omar Torrijos, the Panamanian dictator, can only be interpreted around the world as scuttle-and-run, further proof of the weakening of the will and resolution of the United States. Faith in promises made, belief in the power of a nation and its will to use it in defense of its own interests, is the coin of international respect; since Castro, Vietnam, Angola, the credibility of the United States has been severely impaired and our international solvency in doubt.
Panama and the canal are therefore both cause and symbol; the canal is highly important in its own right, but far more so as a symbol of U.S. resolution and as one of the vital links in our vital interests in the Caribbean. Looked at in this light, the canal itself, contrary to the claims of its detractors, is in no way obsolete.
It is ironic, indeed, that in an era when the United States Navy needs the canal to a greater degree than at any time since the end of World War II, Washington is considering its abandonment. The navy today is in the same strategic bind it was in prior to World War II: it is a one-ocean navy (in size and power) with two-ocean responsibilities. We are outnumbered in submarines and surface ships by the Soviet Union, and, more than at any period since
1945, the navy must have a quick transfer capability between Atlantic and Pacific in order to meet sudden crises. To send the fleet or individual ships around the Horn, as in the days of Fighting Bob Evans and Teddy Roosevelt, might be, in the modern age of speed, to lose a war.
General V. H. Krulak, United States Marine Corps (ret.), writing in the summer 1975 issue of Strategic Review, summarized the canal's naval importance: "In truth the Panama Canal is an essential link between the naval forces of the United States deployed in the Atlantic and in the Pacific. It is only because of the waterway that we are able to risk having what amounts to a barebones, one-ocean Navy."
It is ironic, too, that a major change in naval ship size, construction, and design is starting just at the time when proponents of a transfer of canal sovereignty justify their position by arguing that the locks cannot accommodate the navy's largest ships. The argument-true, though only for the momentis irrevelant. Only the thirteen giant aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy have too large a beam to pass through the 110-foot width of the present locks. Yet the days of these behemoths of the seas are numbered: well before 2000 (one of the dates proposed for the transfer of sovereignty over the canal to Panama) a new generation of ships will begin to replace them-smaller, but more effective, with VSTOL aircraft, drones, missiles, or other new state-of-the-art developments like hovercraft and hydrofoils.
Even more important is the fact that every other ship in the U.S. Navy (except the thirteen carriers) can transit the canal, a fact of major importance in limited war, the type of crisis we are most likely to face. Our missile-firing and attack submarines (now deservedly called capital ships of the navy), all our antisubmarine and escort forces, our amphibious vessels, and our support and sup ply craft can transit the canal—a fact which has already proved of major importance in two recent instances.
During the Cuban missile crisis marines and supplies from the West Coast were ferried through the canal to the Caribbean. If they had had to pass around Cape Horn, they would never have arrived in time in influence the outcome. As it was, the threat of invasion helped materially to force Khruschev to change his mind. During the Vietnam War about 98 percent of all supplies for our forces were shipped by sea; of this total, approximately 33 percent were loaded in East and Gulf Coast ports and transited the canal. The volume of military-sponsored cargo in the four years from 1964 to 1968 increased, for dry cargo, by some 640 percent and for petroleum products by about 430 percent. And the number of U.S. government vessels (chiefly naval) transiting the canal increased from 284 in 1965 to more than 1,500 in 1968.
The limitations of the current locks (though, indeed, the canal can handle much more traffic than the 12,000 to 14,000 vessels a year that now use it) have, in any case, little relevance. A third set of locks, larger than the existing ones was suspended because of World War II; the excavations (within the present ten-mile-wide Canal Zone) still exist, and whenever the need is demonstrated the new locks could be completed.
There is another military factor which bears on the present and future utility of the canal and deserves mention in passing. Nuclear weapons, it is said, have made the canal indefensible and vulnerable to sudden destruction. Actually other means of blocking or closing the canal existed long before the development of nuclear weapons. The point is, however, that this change is completely irrelevant. No sane enemy would waste a nuclear warhead on the Panama Canal with such decisive targets naked to his missiles as New York City and Washington, the industrial complexes of Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the huge urban, industrial, and naval-port complexes of Norfolk and San Diego. In a nuclear war, the Panama Canal would simply play no role whatsoever, either as target or as launching pad. Finally, the U.S. Panama Canal Zone offers facilities unavailable elsewhere under the U.S. flag for training troops in jungle warfare. More important, the zone is oriented towards the problems of Central and South America and the zone's army schools and training facilities have fostered and helped to develop a close and productive military liaison between the armed forces of many nations in the Southern Hemisphere and the United States. Most important, the zone is the southern and western anchor of our entire position in the Caribbean. Together with the southern Florida-Florida Keys area, Guantánamo Bay, which dominates the Windward Passage (one of the of the principal passages into the Caribbean from the Atlantic) and the Roosevelt Roads base in Puerto Rico (supplemented by Virgin Island ports), it offers naval, air, and land facilities which can strengthen the security of our southern flank. (Incidentally, it also has importance to the strategy of the Central Pacific, outward to the Galapagos.)