Page images

However, the word "expeditious" is inadequate and open to subjective interpretation, as it has already been, by the Panamanian government. In August, Escobar Bethancourt said in a public broadcast to the people of Panama. "Expeditious passage does not mean privileged passage. As a matter of fact, the concept of privileged passage was rejected." Lopez Guevara reiterated those sentiments in the cable released recently saying expeditious passage does not mean the United States ships may "go to the head of the line." If this is in fact the case, we have been grossly misled by the Administration.

I have cosponsored a sixth amendment which would specifically stipulate that during a period of crisis, American war vessels and auxiliary vessels will be entitled to privileged passage through the canal. Without this amendment, the treaty is unacceptable.

In addition to these six amendments which I have cosponsored with Senator Dole which would improve upon the treaties considerably, I have cosponsored with him, two reservations to the resolutions of ratification.

The first reservation would require that Panama demonstrate, during the duration of the treaty, significant progress toward observing the internationally recognized human rights of its citizens.

The second reservation would reaffirm the Constitutional responsibility of the House of Representatives to participate in transfer of ownership of the Canal Zone territory. As I stated above, I am disappointed in the Attorney General's statement that House consideration of the treaties is not necessary, and I applaud the efforts of those Congressmen who filed suit recently in U.S. District Court seeking a reaffirmation of their Constitutional right.

In addition, I wholeheartedly support those Senators and State law officers who filed suit this week asking the United States Supreme Court to uphold the exclusive right of Congress to dispose of federal property under Article IV of the Constitution.

Mr. Chairman, I commend Senator Dole for having taken the initiative on these important issues, and I am pleased to be a cosponsor of these amendments. In my opinion, this entire matter of negotiating the treaties has been mishandled from the start. I would hope the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in its usual thoroughness and attention to detail, will refrain from reporting out these treaties before all the remaining questions are answered.


MR. CHAIRMAN: I wish to thank you and the distinguished members of this Committee for permitting me to submit this statement for the record. There is no question that these hearings will be extremely helpful to the Senate as it considers ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty. The issue of the Treaty is a very emotional one. Almost every sector of the country has become involved and has taken a position on the treaty issue. My constituents are among those expressing themselves very strongly about the Treaty. I share the views of my constituents who almost unanimously oppose its ratification and believe it is important that these views are reflected in your record.

I should also note that in addition to my expression of opposition to the Treaty, I have joined with over 10 of my colleagues in the House in sponsoring H. Con. Res. 238 which would give the House an opportunity to vote on the issue of the Canal. I have also joined in a law suit against the President with several members of the House who feel as I do about the current proceedings. I sincerely believe that in a transaction such as this Treaty proposes that the House should have a role in the proceedings and I share the hope of my colleagues with whom I have joined in the suit that the Courts will rule in our favor. Should that eventuate, the House will then be provided with the opportunity of voting on this very important issue. On the basis of all the information I have had an opportunity to review, I am convinced that this country's best interest could not and would not be served if this Treaty were ratified. Many people have many reasons for opposing the Treaty. Some note the ownership question, others the matter of our national defense, and many are concerned about future use of the Canal. I have reservations about all of these issues, as well as others. I don't believe these issues and the question surrounding them can be satisfactorily resolved to our national interest by the terms of this Treaty. I likewise share great concern over the economic implications

that a new Treaty will have on this nation. We have stated in the Treaty that we will initially pay Panama $10 million a year. We will increase that by another $10 million a year if revenue permits.

Panama will receive 30 percent on every ton that passes through the Canalthat could be as much as $70 million a year. We also guarantee $50 million in military sales over the next 10 years (It could conceivably be more). And we also guarantee up to $200 million in Export-Import credits, up to $75 million in AID housing guarantees and $20 million in OPIC loan guarantees. That is well over $80 million. That is just assistance. According to the Treaty we still operate the Canal and take care of maintenance costs. Considering the fact that the Canal Company has operated in the red for several years, that figure could go considerably higher. It should be noted that the Canal Company has kept the rates unrealistically low. There is no guarantee that these rates will remain anywhere close to where they are today. Considering the fact that estimates predict that nearly 45 percent of the oil produced in Alaska, as well as other commodities, will continue to be shipped through the Canal, any increase in rates would have a marked effect on the American consumer and businessman. I have touched very briefly on some of the issues I feel show that we should reject the Treaty. I might add that none of these things really mean a thing if the Canal is not kept functional and open to unrestricted passage by the world's shipping industry. I see no evidence whatsoever that this is possible. I think we ought to look to history once again and heed the lessons of past experience. A case in point involves the Suez Canal. The similarities are overwhelming. A somewhat private company with British governmental participation operated under the sovereignity of another country. Egypt decided to expropriate and later close the Canal. The British thought they had retained rights to protect their property, and that the declaration of the Convention of Constantinople guaranteed right of passage to vessels of all nations. The present situation of the Suez Canal explains itself. The course being charted by the proponents of this Treaty is so hazardous that I think there can be only one result-disaster for all concerned if this treaty is ratified. Thank you for permitting me to submit this statement.


Mr. FLYNT. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to express my strong opposition to the Panama Canal Treaty which would divest the United States of America's interest in the ownership, operation and control of the Panama Canal and Canal Zone.

For the past twelve years I have been concerned about the proposed and ongoing negotiations designed to transfer the Panama Canal and the ten-mile wide Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama. I have always opposed these efforts, and whenever the opportunity has arisen, I have so voted to express this opposition. Over the last six years, I have supported appropriation bills denying funds for the negotiations which led to the final treaty. These limitations were imposed by the House of Representatives but were later deleted by the Senate and left entirely out in conference. Relinquishing the Canal and Canal Zone constitutes a weakening of our national security by severely limiting logistical support of a two ocean navy if the Canal should fall under Cuban or Soviet control and this is a real possibility as long as Omar Torrijos continues as dictator of Panama.

Let me add that I am even more opposed to the treaty in its final form than I was during the period when the contents of tentative drafts were being discussed. The proposed treaty abdicates United States' rights which were guaranteed by a solemn treaty agreement sealed with the lives of Americans who died during the construction of the Canal.

The United States' influence in Panama and the infusion of United States economic ties with the Republic of Panama have caused Panama in the past to have one of the strongest and most stable economies in all of Latin America. The Panama Canal, under American ownership and control, has been the dominant factor in the economic development of the Republic of Panama which has the highest per capita income in all Latin America. This could not have been achieved without the presence and influence of the United States.

The Panama Canal, under American ownership and operation, has been open to international commerce ever since it was completed in 1914 except for a very short period of time when the Canal was closed because of rocks and earth sliding into the Canal. This was promptly cleared up and operations resumed. The Canal itself, all locks, channels and entrances have a 100 percent maintenance record without any delay of a single ship's passage through the Canal because of faulty operation. Why change or jeopardize something that has worked so well for so long?

In conclusion, I would like to repeat a statement I made upon my return from a fact-finding mission to the Republic of Panama last February:

"I think it unwise to trade off something that has worked so well for something of an unknown quantity and with so many unknown factors. I am convinced that it would be a serious, perhaps tragic mistake for the United States to surrender the Canal Zone and/or the Panama Canal itself."


The herein statement by me is forwarded to you and I respectfully request that your Committee incorporate it into your hearings and proceedings now ongoing concerning the Panama Canal Treaties:

GENTLEMEN: Please consider the following in re the Panama Canal Treaties: 1. Surrender of the Canal as proposed is a surrender of human rights the world over, for operating the canal under a free world rather than a slave world superviser insures that all the people of the world will benefit, without being shaken down or threatened.

2. Castro and the Russians are behind the move; therefore, surrender gives Castro and the Russians control. It further gives them a foothold in the Americas, contrary to sane policies heretobefore declared.

3. Dictators do not appreciate weakness but rather capitalize on it. For us to bow to blackmail is an invitation for continued use of it as we have notified the communist and dictators that "we will bow to your threats of violence".

4. Surrender of the canal as proposed is unique. Heretobefore U.S. capital abroad has been expropriated only to feeble protest by our "government". In this case, we give the canal away and insist that we pay the dictator U.S. cash in the millions annually to take it from us.

5. Historians claim Panama was wrongfully taken from Colombia. That being the case, the Canal should be returned to Colombia, not to Torrijos, if it is to be returned to anyone.

6. Using the same rationale as those willing to surrender the canal, the U.S. could no longer justify its presence in Guantánamo, Cuba (and I think this is what Castro is leading up to).

7. Using the like rationale of proponents, on today's market, Russia could claim that Seward's purchase of Alaska was unfair and therefore the U.S. should surrender Alaska to Russia to atone for this unfair advantage taken of them?

8. From watching Mr. Ellsworth Bunker and Sol Linowitz on television commenting on the treaties, it is obvious the people of the United States have not been fairly represented. These two are "Alice-in-Wonderland"-like and are no match for worldwide, would-be dictators.

9. Proponents of the treaties are quoted as saying "violence will result" if the treaties are not approved. The likelihood that violence will take place is more assured if we surrender the canal than if we retain control of it and there is no assurance that violence will not take place in any event.

10. The canal can be made useless easily, with or without the proposed new treaties.

11. The benevolent government of the United States now runs the canal for the use of the whole world without designs to destroy the freedom of both peoples and the seas. The contrary is likely to happen if the U.S. surrenders the canal to people aligned with the world-wide communist movement.

12. Our government's past policies have been to destroy and do away with free world colonialism and have substituted for it slave world colonialism, to the detriment of the people who have come under the guns of the communist influence. 13. Surrender of the canal is another example of our government failing to exercise self-interest which we must do in order to survive. This failure of our

government to recognize that our own self-interest in the past has kept the world from being enslaved will eventually result in our own destruction.

14. We have given too much of ourselves in too many places to too many people who have not shared our ideal of liberty and justice for all.


WASHINGTON.-Public opinion polls showing support for a stronger U.S. defense program and opposition to giving up control of the Panama Canal are reported by the American Security Council.

The findings resulted from the council's own mail poll and a poll conducted by Decision Making Information of Santa Ana, Calif.

In the DMI survey, 79 percent of the 1,201 persons contacted said the United States should have greater military strength than that of the Soviet Union. The council's poll showed 92 per cent support.

On the Panama Canal issue, 75 per cent of the DMI participants favored continued U.S. control, while the figure was even higher, 96 per cent, in the council's mail survey.

The DMI poll indicated 72 per cent of the respondents do not trust the Soviets to keep their part of the agreements being worked out in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. The council's figure was 97 per cent.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to appear before this Committee and express my views on the proposed Panama Canal Treaties which the Senate is considering for ratification. I appreciate having this opportunity to express my feelings on this most important issue.

Before I get into a detailed explanation of my opposition to the proposed treaties, I feel it is important that this Committee understand my position on the issue of whether the House of Representatives and the Senate must pass legislation authorizing the transfer of U.S. property in the Canal Zone as called for by one of the treaties.

Research in the area of U.S. disposal of property makes it clear that Article IV, section 3, clause 2 of the Constitution mandates that only the Congress (that is the House and Senate) has the authority to dispose of U.S. property. Any treaty which professes to authorize this transfer without enacting legislation is clearly unconstitutional. It has been determined by the courts that no treaty may take away the powers of the Congress. The history of this issue is clear that no treaty can dispose of U.S. territory without legislation to authorize the transfer. Therefore, the issue involved with the proposed Panama Canal Treaties is whether the United States has sovereignty over the Canal and the Canal Zone.

While there appears to be some dispute over the U.S. sovereignty, I believe it is clear that the Canal and the Canal Zone are indeed U.S. property. In 1904 the United States purchased land from both the French Canal Company and the Panama Railroad Company. Later, more land was purchased from private landholders. Any complete study of the history of the Panama Canal reveals that the United States is in fact the owner of the Canal Zone. I would refer anyone who doubts this statement to the Spooner Act of 1902, which authorized the President of the United States to acquire perpetual control of land on which to build a canal. It should be noted that the Spooner Act was enacted before the Hay-BunauVarilla Treaty and in fact preceded the country of Panama. It was that Act of Congress which authorized the President to acquire land, and only through another Act of Congress can the United States dispose of the land.

I realize that this Committee is not addressing the Constitutional question of the separation of powers with respect to the President's efforts to give Panama our property rights. However, I feel as a co-sponsor of a House Resolution on this matter, that it is important to provide the Members of this Committee my position.

I will now turn my attention to the issue which this Committee is indeed very interested. Certainly one of the most debated questions of this Congress will be whether the Senate should ratify the present proposed Panama Canal Treaties. As I mentioned earlier, I feel that the answer to this question is an absolute and resounding no.

Earlier this year, I had he opportunity to visit Panama. While there, I met with many American officials and Panamanians working on the Canal. I also had the opportunity to take a plane trip from Balboa to Cristóbal and get a first-hand look at the operation of the Canal. Based on information obtained from that trip, and a great deal of additional research, I have become convinced that it would not be in the best interest of the United States for the Senate to ratify either of the proposed Panama Canal Treaties.

It is indisputable that the Panama Canal is of vital importance to the United States, both from an economic and military point of view. By using the Panama Canal, American ships, and all shipping with American cargo aboard, save a 30-day trip around Cape Horn which is an 8,000 mile longer trip. It is estimated that it is 10 times more expensive to travel around Cape Horn than to use the Canal.

I am sure that by now everyone has heard the figure that 70 percent of all ships which pass through the Canal either originate from, or are bound for, the United States. The United States is the largest benefactor and beneficiary of the Canal. If the United States were to lose the use of the Canal, it would have a tremendous adverse impact on our recovery.

In the world trade market, the competition is extremely keen. If transportation costs are increased for the exportation of American goods, and for the importing of foodstuff and material, the United States would lose much of the competitiveness which is necessary if we are to avoid becoming strictly an import nation. Further, the cost of goods transported from the West to the East coast would increase without the use of the canal. Clearly from an economic point of view, the United States must retain full access to the Panama Canal.

From a military viewpoint, the Canal is no less important. The United States has come to rely on a relatively small Navy. It is the Panama Canal, as much as any other factor, which has allowed the United States this luxury. The Canal allows the U.S. Navy the capability to quickly transport forces from one ocean to the other in time of need. The military importance of the Canal was well defined by four former Chiefs of Naval Operations in a now public letter to the President. It is their individual and collective opinion that the Canal is vital if the United States is to continue to have an effective Navy.

While much argument has been made that the size of today's ships have diminished the military importance of the Canal, the fact is that only thirteen U.S. Naval ships are too large to use the Canal. Loss of the use of the Canal would, in effect, significantly reduce our Naval effectiveness. Due to this, denying the United States control of the Canal has become a major objective of the Soviet Union. One can only surmise the underlying motives of the Soviet Union in sending economists to Panama, in July of this year, in an attempt to purchase sugar during a period when there was an abundance of Soviet and world sugar. Although the Soviet Union does not have diplomatic relations with Panama, it is clear by their activities that they have every intention of increasing their influence in that country.

The debate over the proposed treaties is not centered around the importance of the Canal. It is obvious, even to proponents of the treaties, that the Canal is of vital importance to the United States. I believe there are really only two major issues surrounding the present controversy over the proposed ratification of these two treaties. The first critical issue to be addressed is whether the proposed treaties insure that the United States will continue to have full access to the Panama Canal.

After studying the proposed treaties signed by the President, I do not feel there are sufficient safeguards to protect the basic interest of the United States which I have just finished discussing. To begin with, the proposed treaties reduce, and reduce substantially, our ability to adequately defend the Canal. If the proposed treaties are ratified, the Canal Zone will no longer exist. It has been the Zone which has enabled the United States to defend the Canal against sabotage. If the Zone is no longer to exist, it will become easier for extremists to sabotage the Canal. We all know that one ship sunk in the right place would effectively close the entire Canal to all shipping for months. Clearly, the Zone is necessary if the United States, or any other government (including the Panamanian) is to continue to protect the Canal from attacks by guerrillas or dissidents.

Further, if the proposed treaties are ratified, there is absolutely no guarantee that the present government of Panama would not substantially increase the

« PreviousContinue »