Page images

resolutions might be done by a treaty); and Jones v. Keehan involved rather the validity of a reservation to two Indian Chiefs out of a cession of Indian land to the United States, than a transfer or cession of original American territory.

More persuasive than these decisions, it seems to me, are the cessions of territory by treaty practice which are relied upon by Mr. Salans at pages 8 and 9 of his statement. To them, I think, might be added the recent case of Swan Island, off of Honduras.

I have not had an opportunity to review these; but I would observe that apparently they went unchallenged, and that a mumber of them would appear to be boundary adjustments, as to which Mr. Clay said:

"In all these cases, the treaty-making power Karely reduces
to certainty that which was before mascertained. It announces the
fact; it proclains in a tangible form the existence of the boundary;
it does not make a new boundary; it asserts only where the new
boundary was. But it camot under color of fixing a boundary
previously existing, though not in fact marked, undertake to cede
may, without the concurrence of Congress, whole provinces.”.

P. 228.

Quoted in Crandall, Treaties - Their Kaking and Enforcement (2nd Ed.)

It is worth noting also that the Treaty with Panama of 1955 in Article V thereof made the conveyance or cession to Panama of certain lands, both within and without the Canal Zone "subject to the enactment of legislation by the Congress.”

Mr. Chairman, if I were to present this matter to a court I would,

of course, wish to do a great deal more research on the subject than I have attempted at this point.

As tentative conclusions, however, I would suggest the following:

1. A treaty provisten calling for payment of monies to Panama out of the Treasury of the United States, definitely calls for and requires implementation by an Act of Congress.

2. By parity of reasoning the same would seem to be true as to the transfer of other personal property of the United States, and quite possibly also as to real property interests ecquired by the United States from private landholders.

3. The necessity of implementing legislation in regard to treaty provisions providing for the cession of national territory, or the release of treaty rights conferring substential national sovereignty over a Zone or tract of territory, is certainly nɔre debatable; I would, however, be willing to debate it, and I as clearly of the opinion that, in any event, any such treaty respecting the territory of the Canal Zone eught, in the national interest, to be so drawn as to require implementing legislation.

I thank this distinguished. Committee for extending to me the opportunity to appear before it, and I hope that I may have been able to

contribute something of some value to your consideration of this very important matter.

[blocks in formation]

I wish to commend you for holding hearings on the Constitu-
tional question involved in the proposed giveaway of the
United States territory known as the Canal Zone. The hear-
ings are of particular interest to me as one of the six Members
of Congress who are plaintiffs in Helms v. Vance which has aimed
to achieve judicial settlement of the question.

I am confident that your hearings will prove to be of great
value in the current debate over the canal issue. Since the
State Department in recent years, for unexplained reasons,
has claimed the Canal Zone is not U.S. territory, I would like
to submit a statement for the record which will document United
States sovereignty over, title to, and ownership and control
of the Canal Zone.

It seems to me that this fact, our absolute and total possession of the Canal Zone, must underlie any discussion as to who is empowered under the Constitution to dispose of that territory should such an eventuality come to pass.


Gene Snyder

Gene Snyde

Ranking Minority Member
Panama Canal Subcommittee








It is my understanding that the subject of this hearing is to resolve a constitutional contraversy between the President's right to negotiate treaties and the Congress' right, once a territory has been acquired, by treaty or otherwise, to administer and dictate the future disposition of that U.S. territory. It is my firm belief, not without substance, that the solution to this contraversy is to have the Executive Branch seek direction and approval from the Congress prior to embarking upon any new Canal treaty with the Republic of Panama.

The outcome of this contraversy will have a profound impact on the inhabitants of the Canal Zone as well as U.S. citizens within the States.

"Personal and Civil Rights" applicable within the Canal Zone originated by Executive Order on May 9, 1904, pursuant to the authority given by Act of Congress dated April 28, 1904. These rights were and are based on the "Bill of Rights" of the Constitution of the United States.

On June 19, 1934, also pursuant to an Act of Congress, the
Canal Zone Code, consisting of seven titles was established.

On October 18, 1962 the revised Canal Zone Code was enacted by

94-468 - 77-17

Congress through Public Law 87-845 Stat. 76A., effective January 2, 1963. This revised edition consisted of eight titles. Title 1, Chapter 3, section 31 is composed entirely of "Personal and Civil Rights" applicable to the Canal Zone. It has its base in the "Bill of Rights" of the United States. Title 4, Chapter 9, protects "owners of Property". Specifically, section 152 states: "Any person, whether citizen or alien, may take, hold, and dispose of property within the Canal Zone." (derived verbatim from Title 3, section 262, 1934 Canal Zone Code.)

At least since 1914 Canal Zone residents have owned, title and deed, leased and rented real property within the Canal Zone. Ownership of personal property, of course, is also of historic record. (The Cristobal Shrin club is one example)

As the above indicates, we have had the right to freedom of speech, assembly, petition, life and religion since the United States established itself as the sovereign within the Canal Zone. These rights cannot be taken without due process of law. As in the Bill of Rights, the Canal Zone Code dictates that laws abridging these rights are "void". I would also like to emphasize that it has been established by law, Husband v. U.S., 1971, that the "Canal Zone Bill of Rights" have the same force and effect as the original document from which it came.

Mr. Chairman, in my letter to you dated July 8, 1977, I have indicated that, with the possible exception of freedom of religion, all of the above rights have been negated or compromised by our Executive Branch in deference to the present treaty negotiations. In response to their actions, I have entered into a court suit, along with several of the members of this Congress.

The Courts have declared that my appeal based on the above rights are not yet "ripe" for adjudication. I can only deduce from this ruling that the court considers my claim to be abstract and that this present negotiation process has not yet subverted the rights of the Canal Zone inhabitant.

« PreviousContinue »