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Chase Smith of Maine, and others who represent a wide spectrum of U.S.political thought.
On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 as the best human rights rating, and 7 the lowest, Panama ranks 7 in political rights, 6 in civil rights, and Panama is rated as not a free state.
As I state, this is the rating by Freedom House.
GENERAL TORRIJOS ATTITUDE
Senator THURMOND. Mr. Chairman, the New York Times on September 27 carried an article by Alan Riding that I think contains an excerpt which might be of some interest to the committee. It says:
Torrijos warns against amendments. As Senate hearings on the new treaty opened, General Torrijos today sent home a message from Washington warning that he would not accept any amendments proposed by the Senate. "The negotiations are over," he said. "The treaties have been signed. I'm not interested in what is said. I repeat, as far as I'm concerned, that chapter is closed."
Mr. Chairman, I think that indicates the attitude of the head of the Panamanian Government. I will give that clipping to you for the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
[From the New York Times, Sept. 27, 1977]
TREATIES ARE ATTACKED IN PANAMA, BUT OFFICIALS PREDICT RATIFICATION
(By Alan Riding)
PANAMA, Sept. 26.-While opposition to the new Panama Canal treaties is intense in nationalist circles here, the military Government of Brig. Gen. Omar Torrijos Herrera is expressing confidence that the accord will be overwhelmingly ratified in the plebiscite next month.
Dissatisfaction here centers on Panama's acceptance of the United States' right to defend the canal after the new treaties expire at the end of 1999, but critics have also complained that ratification is being rushed through to forestall fuller debate on the agreement.
General Torrijos has rejected appeals to postpone the Oct. 23 plebiscite and has forecast privately that the new treaties will be approved by at least 90 percent of the country's 800,000 or so registered voters.
More concerned now about ratification problems in the United States Senate, the Panamanian leader left here Saturday for weekend talks in Washington and flew on today to Israel for a visit designed to influence American Jews in favor of the treaties. He then plans to seek the support of several European countries that are major users of the canal.
TORRIJOS WARNS AGAINST AMENDMENTS
As Senate hearings on the new treaty opened, General Torrijos today sent home a message from Washington warning that he would not accept any amendments proposed by the Senate.
"The negotiations are over," he said. "The treaties have been signed. I'm not interested in what is said. I repeat, as far as I'm concerned, that chapter is closed."
But ever since agreement was reached on treaties to replace the 1903 accord giving the United States control over the canal "in perpetuity," Panamanian officials have tempered their traditional nationalist rhetoric and, instead, have taken to praising the statesmanship of President Carter.
Even when pressed on the consequences should the United States Senate reject the treaties, General Torrijos has urged Panamanians not to resort to violence. "If it says no," he said of the Senate in his weekend message home, "one generation will have taught us that moral, dignified and just causes cannot be furthered. If it says yes, we will know that dignity and justice live in harmony in the American soul."
In the last month, Government attacks have been aimed exclusively at the small group of Panamanian nationalists, at home and in exile, who have spoken out against the treaties. They have been variously denounced as "traitors" and "bad Panamanians" and, even though many are strident leftists, have been linked in official propaganda to conservative opponents of the treaty in the United States.
"NEUTRALITY TREATY" MAIN TARGET
The strongest criticism has been for the so-called "neutrality treaty," which grants the United States residual defense rights after 2000 but which nationalists say is merely a disguised form of the "perpetual" American control enshrined in the 1903 treaty.
But five small militant leftist groups are also protesting the clause that permits United States troops to remain here until the year 2000.
While the nationalists protests may be influencing a small number of educated Panamanians, the majority of voters here are aware only of the economic and political benefits that the treaty will bring.
Almost daily, different organizations announce their support for the treaties and several political parties, officially outlawed since 1968, have been allowed to meet to consider them. The Panamanian Association of Business Executives was among the first to endorse the treaties, but they have also been approved by the Moscow-line Panamanian Communist party, known here as the People's Party.
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Senator THURMOND. I would ask unanimous consent, now, that a letter dated June 8, 1977, from Adms. George Anderson, Árleigh A. Burke, Robert B. Carney, and Thomas Moorer on the importance of the Panama Canal to the defense of the United States be submitted for the record.
I will also submit the Freedom House 1977 Comparative Survey of Freedom, which details Panama's rating on human rights.
Third, I would submit the Panamanian interpretation of treaty provisions in speeches before the Corregimiento Assembly as reported by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.
I would ask that these be printed in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be done. [The information referred to follows:]
ADDENDUM TO STATEMENT BY SENATOR STROM THURMOND
Mr. Chairman, in order to provide in detail some additional information to the committee, I am submitting the following documents and ask that they be made a part of the hearing record:
(1) Letter dated June 8, 1977, from Admirals George Anderson, Arleigh A. Burke, Robert B. Carney, and Thomas Moorer on the importance of the Panama Canal to the defense of the United States.
(2) Freedom House 1977 Comparative Survey of Freedom, which details Panama's rating on human rights.
(3) Panamanian interpretation of treaty provisions in speeches before the Corregimiento Assembly as reported by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.
[Addendum No. 1]
UNITED STATES SENATE, COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, Washington, D.C., June 15, 1977.
The White House,
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: We are enclosing a most important letter from four former Chiefs of Naval Operations who give their combined judgement on the strategic value of the Panama Canal to the United States.
We think you will agree that these four men are among the greatest living naval strategists today, both in terms of experience and judgement. Their letter concludes:
"It is our considered individual and combined judgement that you should instruct our negotiators to retain full sovereign control for the United States over both the Panama Canal and its protective frame, the U.S. Canal Zone as provided in the existing treaty."
We concur in their judgement and trust you will find such action wholly consistent with our national interest and will act accordingly,
STROM THURMOND USS.
JOHN L. MCCLELLAN USS.
JUNE 8, 1977.
The White House,
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: As former Chiefs of Naval Operations, fleet commanders and Naval Advisers to previous Presidents, we believe we have an obligation to you and the nation to offer our combined judgment on the strategic value of the Panama Canal to the United States.
Contrary to what we read about the declining strategic and economic value of the Canal, the truth is that this inter-oceanic waterway is as important, if not inore so, to the United States than ever. The Panama Canal enables the United States to transfer its naval forces and commercial units from ocean to ocean as the need arises. This capability is increasingly important now in view of the reduced size of the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific fleets.
We recognize that the Navy's largest aircraft carriers and some of the world's super-tankers are too wide to transit the Canal as it exists today. The supertankers represent but a small percentage of the world's commercial fleets. From a strategic viewpoint, the Navy's largest carriers can be wisely positioned as pressures and tensions build in any kind of a shortrange, limited situation. Meanwhile, the hundreds of combatants, from submarines to cruisers, can be funneled through the transit as can the vital fleet train needed to sustain the combatants. In the years ahead as carriers become smaller or as the Canal is modernized, this problem will no longer exist.
Our experience has been that as each crisis developed during our active service World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis-the value of the Canal was forcefully emphasized by emergency transits of our naval units and massive logistic support for the Armed Forces. The Canal provided operational flexibility and rapid mobility. In addition, there are the psychological advantages of this power potential. As Commander-in-Chief, you will find the ownership and sovereign control of the Canal indispensable during periods of tension and conflict.
As long as most of the world's combatant and commercial tonnage can transit through the Canal, it offers inestimable strategic advantages to the United States, giving us maximum strength at minimum cost. Moreover, sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Canal Zone and Canal offer the opportunity to use the waterway or to deny its use to others in wartime. This authority was especially helpful during World War II and also Vietnam. Under the control of a potential adversary, the Panama Canal would become an immediate crucial problem and prove a serious weakness in the over-all U.S. defense capability, with enormous potential consequences for evil.
Mr. President, you have become our leader at a time when the adequacy of our naval capabilities is being seriously challenged. The existing maritime threat to us is compounded by the possibility that the Canal under Panamanian sovereignty could be neutralized or lost, depending on that government's relationship with other nations. We note that the present Panamanian government has close ties with the present Cuban government which in turn is closely tied to the Soviet Union. Loss of the Panama Canal, which would be a serious set-back in war, would contribute to the encirclement of the U.S. by hostile naval forces, and threaten our ability to survive.
For meeting the current situation, you have the well-known precedent of former distinguished Secretary of State (later Chief Justice) Charles Evans Hughes,
who, when faced with a comparable situation in 1923, declared to the Panamanian government that it was an "absolute futility" for it "to expect an American administration, no matter what it was, any President or any Secretary of State, ever to surrender any part of (the) rights which the United States had acquired under the Treaty of 1903," (Ho. Doc. No. 474, 89th Congress, p. 154).
We recognize that a certain amount of social unrest is generated by the contrast in living standards between Zonians and Panamanians living nearby. Bilateral programs are recommended to upgrade Panamanian boundary areas. Canal modernization, once U.S. sovereignty is guaranteed, might benefit the entire Panamanian economy, and especially those areas near the U.S. Zone.
The Panama Canal represents a vital portion of our U.S. naval and maritime assets, all of which are absolutely essential for free world security. It is our considered individual and combined judgment that you should instruct our negotiators to retain full sovereign control for the United States over both the Panama Canal and its protective frame, the U.S. Canal Zone as provided in the existing treaty.