« AnteriorContinuar »
TABLE E.-Nationality and residence of Canal Zone felons serving sentence
PANAMANIAN ABILITY TO OPERATE CANAL BY YEAR 2000 Senator CLARK. Mrs. Kennedy and others, I want to ask you about the ability of the Panamanians to operate the canal by the year 2000. I am afraid I have several questions and only about 7 minutes before we are going to vote. I will ask you to answer as briefly as you can.
Mrs. KENNEDY. At the present time, it would be a complete impossibility. That has been brought out in the environmental impact statement. One of the biggest environmental impacts will be the loss of the U.S. employees, both through attrition—20 percent in 5 years—and maybe a much larger percentage if the treaty is ratified; they will simply leave.
Senator CLARK. What about the Panamanians' ability to take over the canal and operate it by the year 2000 ?
Mrs. Fulton. There are people who can handle administrative jobs. Panama has an educated class. These people are white-collar people, lawyers, doctors. They can be administrators. What is missing in the Panamanian population--and it is never brought out when you hear 70 percent of the work force is Panamanians—what is missing is skilled craftsmen. We have apprenticeship programs in the canal. We are not totally United States.
Senator Clark. Do those apprenticeship programs lead to the abil. ity of the Panamanians to take over the canal by the year 2000?
Mrs. Fulton. Theoretically, they should. In practice, I don't think SO.
Senator CLARK. Why not?
Mrs. Furtos. The Panamanian school system does not provide the adequate preparatory training for young men coming in. They can learn how to be electricians and welders. Some choose not to. There was a marine engineer who recently had to work with some civil engineering students from the university. He had to start with the ground rules in explaining tools to them because they didn't know. We have only two Panamanian pilots. In the 70 years operating the canal, where have they been in expressing a desire to get training?
Senator CLARK. Mrs. Kennedy, is it your yiew that the Panamanians are by nature inherently less capable or more ineffective or less potentially able to operate the canal than Americans?
Mrs. KENNEDY. No, I would not say that. They are very educable people. But there are some very brilliant ones, very well educated persons.
Senator CLARK. If they are not inherently, that is by nature, less able to learn the skills and all the other things that are necessary, why could Americans not teach them in 20 years to operate the canal!
Mrs. KEXXEDY. What Americans are going to stay and teach them? That is the big question.
Senator CLARK. I am presuming if some of the Zonians leave, other Americans with skills will go down there. That is speculation on both our parts.
Vírs. KENNEDY. For instance, a pilot who already has a ship's master license still requires an 18-month training period before he is a Panama Canal pilot. How many Panamanians have ships' master licenses? They have all that background to go through.
Senator CLARK. Assuming there are Americans to do the training, do you think Panamanians could learn to operate the canal by the year 2000?
Mrs. KENNEDY. They would have one thing, though, to overcome. It is not in their culture at all to do any preventive maintenance. Any piece of equipment, I don't care what it is, that you get, you use it until it breaks down and you abandon it.
They would have to change their whole attitude. They are notorious for that.
Mrs. FULTON. The Panamanian papers complain about their own government's upkeep of buses and so forth and other equipment.
POSSIBILITY OF RIGGED PLEBISCITE
Senator CLARK. Mrs. Fulton, am I to interpret from your answer to Senator Percy that it is your judgment that a plebiscite in Panama is bound to be rigged, that there is no way a plebiscite can be held in Panama now that will have any meaning of any kind ! ?
Mrs. FULTON. The answer to that rests in the mind of Omar Torrijos and his mind can change regularly. If he decided it was not in his interest to get a yes vote on the plebiscite then he can let it go free. If he wants a yes, he has the power and the personnel to count those votes. The people themselves, their perception is that this is going to be a phony, "set up" election. One of their strategies—they have been discussing what to do with this plebiscite—is don't go vote. When the newspaper reporters come and look, let them see empty voting areas. It has every possibility of being rigged.
Senator CLARK. If the plebiscite turns out to be favorable to the treaty you will assume it is rigged?
Mrs. Fulton. I will have strong suspicions it is rigged.
Senator CLARK. If it turns out to be negative, you will assume it is honest ?
Mrs. Fulton. Based on the expression of sentiment I have been hearing from Panamanians very loudly, yes.
Senator CLARK. There is not any way you are going to be convinced in either sense, is there! I guess with a negative vote, you would be convinced it was an honest vote.
Mrs. FULTON. From what I hear on television, what I read in the Spanish papers, I am basing it on what they say.
Senator CLARK. You mean the Spanish papers under Torrijos speak quite freely
Mrs. Fulton. For a short period. You will notice the Spanish papers to be a little—well, his newspaper writers are-protreaty. They may possibly attack some of his ministers but never Torrijos. Whatever he does is right. For a brief period Torrijos is allowing the students to insert some articles and to insert some advertising to give the appearance of freedom. But the people have the perception and they told me many times that when the plebiscite is over, that freedom is over.
MRS. FULTON'S CONTACT WITH PANAMANIANS Senator CLARK. How many people have you talked to about the treaty in Panama ? How many Panamanians have ever talked to you about the corruption of the treaty and danger of the treaty !
Mrs. Fulton. I am in daily contact with Panamanians. I would say probably-roughly five I am talking to daily who in turn, and I am channeling information, “what are your friends telling you?” plus I am watching it, myself, Spanish language television.
Senator CLARK. Presumably the media is controlled ?
Mrs. Fulton. There have been some debates recently. The government has permitted the independent lawyers to speak out against the treaty. This is all for a very brief period.
COMMUNIST AND LEFTIST FEELINGS ABOUT TREATY
Senator CLARK. It has been said before the committee that the strongest opposition to the treaty comes from the Communist Party and the more leftist parties. Is that true or not?
Mrs. FULTON. No; the Communists in Panama are not all one big happy family. At the university there are Maoists, Trotskyites.
Senator CLARK. How do they feel?
Mrs. FULTON. The Maoists are against the treaty. They want the Americans out totally. They don't want one gringo remaining when the treaty goes in. They feel Torrijos sold them out. I have been told by Panamanians who are in the political atmosphere in Panama that the majority of Communist groups are with Torrijos. In fact they said they were advised this is one of the few times that the Communists have been with the Government. They usually oppose them.
Senator Clark. You say the Communist Party favors the treaty?
Mrs. FULTON. Yes; the largest group. But there are splinter groups of leftist persuasion.
IS TORRIJOS AN ABSOLUTE DICTATOR ?
Senator CLARK. Let me ask Mr. Green, you are the president of the Gamboa Civil Council. Is Torrijos an absolute dictator?
Mr. GREEN. That is a difficult question for me to answer. I am not that politically astute.
Senator CLARK. Let me ask any of the others. I know you are just giving opinions and judgments. Is Mr. Torrijos an absolute dictator?
Mr. FATTOROSI. I think he is not an absolute dictator. I think that he does take orders. I think there are other men in Panama who share control. He is the front man.
Senator CLARK. Who are they?
Senator CLARK. You think he is more powerful in Panama than General Torrijos?
Mrs. FULTON. He is in the background.
but in conjunction with others. Mrs. KENNEDY. He did take a group of students to Russia. He remained there a year.
Senator CLARK. I am afraid this committee has done that, taken groups of students.
Mrs. KENNEDY. Did you stay there a year?
Senator CLARK. I stayed there about 3 months. I hoped nobody would interpret that to mean anything too badly.
Mr. FATTOROSI. I think the Panamanians are, in my opinion, in favor of the treaty. I think that those Panamanians who are not in favor of the treaty are those Panamanians who are working in the Canal Zone, not all of them but many of them, who would tend to lose money working for Panama instead of the United States. I think that many Panamanian businessmen who profit by the American presence naturally would be against the new treaty and of course, as we already have said, those who are on the far left, the radical left, who believe that we haven't given them enough; they want more, and therefore they are against this treaty. These are groups that would oppose it for these reasons.
I think the majority of Panamanians want all that they can get. Of course they do. It is human nature. We understand that.
Senator CLARK. It is not possible then in your judgment to interpret whether Mr. Torrijos really speaks for the Government of Panama or not?
Mr. FATTOROSI. He is the Government of Panama, with support of Bethancourt and Herrerra.
Mrs. Fulton. There was some question that has come up in this committee about whether Bethancourt is contradicting what Torrijos said about intervention. I was sitting beside my radio, wishing I could explain. Escobar would not open his mouth and say something that Torrijos would not want him to say. Torrijos in making the statement that "we will be under the umbrella of the Pentagon" was making a rather woeful admission of a fact but Lopez Guevara came on, gave a speech-in fact Torrijos uses him to say what he wants to say-he said "that doesn't mean they are going to run this place, the umbrella is going to close."
Senator CLARK. You intend to give more credibility to Guevara's statement than Torrijos?
Mrs. FULTON. Torrijos is not a good public speaker. He comes out with some incredibly unbelievable statements. I believe Guevara is a much more articulate man. What he said would be in line with what is the established policy of Torrijos.
Senator CLARK. Supposing Torrijos were to make a public statement at some time which basically substantiated the State Department's interpretation of this treaty with regard to the two questions that have been at issue, the question of expeditious travel of ships and the question of the right to intervene. Would you feel that Mr. Torrijos did not speak for the Government?
Mrs. FULTON. If Mr. Torrijos made a statement like that, he is going to be in a tremendous amount of trouble.
Senator CLARK. That may be but that is not my question."
Senator CLARK. Would you believe he was speaking for the Gorern'ment of Panama ?
Mrs. Fulton. He can accomplish anything he wants to. He can change his mind on public policy in a second.
Senator CLARK. If this dictator speaks for the Government of Panama
Mrs. Fulrox. Yes. He is the Government of Panama.
Senator CLARK. If he makes a statement, a clarifying satatement, which in effect agrees with the American interpretation, you would believe that is the Panamanian position?
Mrs. FULTON. Right. You would find that Lopez Guevara would not after that make any statement which would disagree with what Torrijos said. Senator Clark. Thank you very much.
Senator Stone, I am going to have to go back on the floor. So you are in charge.
Senator STONE (presiding]. How can I be relied on to give myself a 10-minute limit?
Senator CLARK. I don't know. The chairman has asked that we recess until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.
REPUDIATION OF TREATY BY SUCCEEDING GOVERNMENT
Senator STONE. In your original statement you state that the political parties are unanimous in agreeing that whatever government succeeds Torrijos will repudiate the 1977 treaty if it is ratified and put into force. Which political parties do you refer to, and on what evidence did you conclude they all feel that way?
Mrs. Fulton. I am basing this on daily contact with a Panamanian friend who has been going to these political party meetings in Panama at some risk.
Senator STONE. Which parties?
Mrs. FULTON. The Christian Democrats, the liberals, a group known as Social Democrats, Panameñista. I am in daily contact with her as to what her views are. This was relaved to me. They may have varying opinions as to what the tactic is. They do not want Torrijos to continue in power. They believe whoever the next ruler is, he is going to ask for another treaty.