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'engage in the work of digging this canal.
first proposition is that the canal zone is no
part of the territory of the United States, and
that, therefore, the government is powerless to
do anything of the kind therein. Article 2 of
the treaty, heretofore referred to, 'grants o
the United States in perpetuity the use, occupa-
tion, and control of a zone of land and land under
water for the construction, maintenance, opera-
tion, sanitation, and protection of said canal.'
By article 3, Panama 'grants to the United States
all the rights, power, and authority within the
zone mentioned and described in article 2 of this
which the United States would
possess and exercise if it were the sovereign
of the territory within which said lands and
waters are located, to the entire exclusion
of the exercise by the Republic of Panama of any
such sovereign rights, power, or authority.'

"Other provisions of the treaty add to the
grants named in these two articles further
guaranties of exclusive rights of the United
States in the construction and maintenance of this
canal. It is hypercritical to contend that the
title of the United States is imperfect, and that
the territory described does not belong to this
nation, because of the omission of some of the
technical terms used in ordinary conveyances of
real estate.

"Further, it is said that the boundaries of
the zone are not described in the treaty; but the
description is sufficient for identification, and
it has been practically identified by the con-
current action of the two nations alone interested
in the matter. The fact that there may possibly be
in the future some dispute as to the exact boundary
on either side is immaterial. Such disputes not
infrequently attend conveyances of real estate or
cessions of territory. Alaska was ceded to us
forty years ago, but the boundary between it and
the English possessions east was not settled until
within the last two or three years. Yet no one
ever doubted the title of this Republic to Alaska.
27 Supreme Court at 235 (emphasis supplied).


Comment: Firstly, the Supreme Court quotes directly from the language of the treaty, which language indicates that the United States has absolute sovereign power over the canal zone and that United States sovereignty is "to the entire exclusion" of Panamanian sovereignty. Secondly, the Supreme Court holds that it is fallacious







to argue that there are imperfections in the title of the United
States to the canal zone. Lastly, it is extremely interesting to

note that the United States Supreme Court analogizes the United States'
rights to the Panama Canal Zone to the United States' rights over the
Territory of Alaska (which are, of course, undisputed).

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territory of the United States.

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A 1971 United States Court of Appeal decision, United States v.
Husband R. (Roach), 453 Fed.2d 1054 (8th Circuit 1971), has re-
affirmed the proposition that the Panama Canal Zone is United States

"The Canal Zone is an unincorporated

applicable in the Canal Zone are enacted by

453 Fed.2d at 1057 (emphasis supplied).

there is no local legislature."










Before Congress acts, Congress should understand that this
country has sovereign rights over the Panama Canal and the Panama
Canal Zone, that the Panama Canal Zone is actual territory of the
United States and belongs to the United States just as much as
Alaska belonged to the United States upon our purchase of that


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1/ The most recent reflection of public opinion concerning the
Panama Canal Zone occurred on June 18, 1976, when the House of
Representatives (concerning an amendment to HR 13179) voted 197-157
in favor of the proposition that any new Panama Canal treaty should
"perpetuate the sovereignty and control" of the United States over the
Canal Zone.

July 21, 1977

Hon. James B. Allen
United States Senate
Washington D.C. 20515

Dear Senator Allen:

In view of the planned hearings by your Subcommittee on Separation of Powers on the negotiations for a new Panama Canal Treaty, we of the Panama Audubon Society would like to bring to your attention the threat posed by such a treaty to the Canal Zone's valuable biological resources.

During the current talks between the United States and Panama, there has been no indication that the U.S. negotiators have considered the ecological impact on the Canal Zone of the proposed new treaty. This fact has caused great concern on the part of many persons here, as well as in the States, who realize that the forests of the Canal Zone harbor one of the world's richest treasures of tropical bird, animal and plant life. Robert S. Ridgely, ornithologist and author of A Guide to the Birds of Panama, describes the Canal Zone as "a naturalist's paradise........(with) probably the most extensive, readily accessible lowland forests in Middle America."


It is our understanding that under United States law the State Department should have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement prior to entering into negotiations with Panama to change the political status of the Canal Zone. to our knowledge, was not done. Considering Panama's almost total disregard of environmental conservation within the area of the Republic, there can be little doubt that Panamanian control of Canal Zone lands would pose a grave threat to the survival of the Zone's forests and their wildlife populations. Their destruction would be a great loss to mankind. Equally important, removal of the forests would have a disastrous effect upon the operation of the Canal itself, reducing the precipitation so vital to the Canal's water supply and promoting rapid erosion of the floodplain and silting of Canal channels.

We, therefore, urge you and your subcommittee to give serious consideration to the ecological implications of the proposed Canal Treaty. For whatever further information it may provide on the subject, I am enclosing a copy of the letter I sent to President Carter on June 21, 1977, plus a copy of the reply I received from Mr. Hodding Carter of the State Department.

We wish you and your fellow senators success in the task you are undertaking, and hope for your support in our efforts to preserve the Canal Zone's important environmental



Carolyn Lowe

Carolyn Lowe

Panama Audubon Society
(chapter of Florida
Audubon Society)
P.O. Box 2026

Balboa, Canal Zone

June 21, 1977

President Jimmy Cartar
The White House

Washington: B.C.


Dear President Carter:

I am writing to you because I know that you are deeply concerned about conservation and the preservation of our natural environment for future generations on this earth. Everything you have said and done in this area since taking office has been very encouraging, from your wise enérgy conservation policies and your efforts to reduce spending on wasteful water projects to your recent strong environment message supporting many important conservation goals.

For these reasons, I feel sure that you will be receptive to this urgent plea for your help in dealing with an inpending environmental disaster here in the Panama Canal Zone.


With the political tensions that have developed around the current treaty negotiations, it is difficult to talk about Canal Zone matters in anything but a political context. However, my concern is not with political questions but with the need to save for posterity one of the world's few remaining and relatively unspoiled tropical forest ecosystems. concern of many conservation-minded persons in the Canal Zone has grown steadily in recent months as the canal treaty talks have gained momentum for there has been no indication whatsoever that the negotiators, on either side, have considered environmental questions.

It is my understanding that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 would require the preparation of an environmental impact statement evaluating the probable effects upon the Canal Zone's environment of the proposed new treaty with Panama. Certainly such a statement should include a realistic assessment of the value and extent of tropical wildlife resources and how they will be affected by the treaty's provisions. Among the hundreds of bird and animal species found here are a number that are considered endangered species and should receive the same protection in the Canal Zone that is given endangered species, and their habitats, in the United States under the Endangered Species Act passed by Congress. in 1973.

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