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We are being observed closely for signs of how we respond to these dynamics in a concrete case. There is a significant opportunity here for the United States and Panama to signal a new kind of relationship between large and small, industrialized and developing nations. Nothing would signify the meaning of this new relationship more vividly than the resolution of this emotionally laden problem by the stroke of the pen rather than strife between our nations.
The opportunity, however, is not confined to contributing to the international common good. It is our considered judgment, Mr. Chairman, that these treaties also achieve for the United States the basic national interest we have in a canal which is open and efficiently operated. Other witnesses will testify in detail about the political, strategic, and economic dimensions of the treaties. As bishops, we bring no special technical competence to these discussions, and therefore have not stressed technical issues in this testimony.
In preparing this statement, however, we have considered these elements, including the specific point we made in our 1976 statement, that the welfare of the people living and working in the Canal Zone be given just consideration.
We are of the opinion that this question and other legitimate national interests of the United States in a new treaty have been provided for in the texts now before this committee.
ARGUMENT THAT UNITED STATES WILL APPEAR WEAK
We are aware that some who oppose the ratification of the treaties use an argument that in accepting a new treaty relationship, the United States will appear to be weak or in retreat. This assertion deserves comment, because it touches directly on how we think of ourselves as a nation, on how we conceive the values which structure our identity, and on how we wish to project ourselves in the world community
It is our view, Mr. Chairman, that the treaties provide us with an opportunity to project an image of strength which derives from the strongest dimension of our national heritage, not our military might, but the values and principles which are the foundation of our identity as a people.
We are a nation born of the desire to be free from foreign domination; the concepts of liberty and self-determination are woven through the fabric of our history. It is these values which are synonymous with our political philosophy. When we affirm the values of liberty and selfdetermination for ourselves and for others, we speak from the most significant strain of our national heritage.
Our commitment to those values is perceived by others not only in terms of whether we are determined to preserve them for ourselves, but also whether we are willing to affirm them in our relations with other states, especially those smaller and less powerful than we are.
In the past we have been willing to take up arms in defense of liberty and self-determination; today, in this case of the Panama Canal Treaties, we can affirm the values by a peaceful act of national will in ratifying what our President has signed.
In the past we have stood for the principle of nonintervention by others in the Western Hemisphere. Today we are asked to manifest our commitment to the principle of nonintervention by an act of selfrestraint and forebearance included in these treaties.
It is of the essence of national strength to be confident about the values which are at the heart of a nation's life and to be guided by those values in moments of great importance. We have such a moment before us, and we can prove our strength by affirming for others what
, we most prize in our own national life.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, members of the committee.
The CHAIRMAX. Thank you very much.
HUMAN RIGHTS IN PANAMA
You heard the testimony this morning dwelling upon human rights in Panama. Do you find that a matter of great concern?
Cardinal KROL. It certainly is, Mr. Chairman. We denounce and we deplore the violation of human rights in any measure and any place.
At the same time, we do not find the reason why the violation of human rights should be an obstacle to the treaty any more than the violation of human rights in the Soviet Union should be an obstacle to the SALT discussions and treaties that we make.
This is an area of great concern to us. But actually we can take our cue from the people in Panama. The Catholic Conference of Bishops in Panama has problems with human rights. But, it has urgently recommended the ratification of the treaty.
The same kind of urging has come from the Anglican bishops, Methodist bishops, and from three rabbis on behalf of the Jewish community. These are people who are on the scene. They are aware of the human rights situation and are deeply concerned. But still they are urging the ratification of the treaty.
LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES' ATTITUDES TOWARD TREATIES The CHAIRMAX. You, of course, through your church organization have contact with the various Latin American countries?
Cardinal Krol. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. How would you assess their attitude toward these treaties?
Cardinal Krol. They look upon this as a test case. If I may, the world was shocked when, under the pretense of limited sovereignty. there was a brutal incursion or invasion into Hungary in 1956 and into Czechoslovakia in 1968. That concept of limited sovereignty is one which is repugnant. This is a kind of thought that permeates the people in Latin America: Will the United States, which denounced that kind of action, a power action, try to exercise that kind of power for the same reason, or excuse if you will, that it is a sphere of interest, that this is an area of interest for it.
Generally, this is, as I said, very symbolic, and it has a far-reaching impact in that sense. That is why I said both substantively and symbolically this issue is a very important one for the United States as well as for Panama.
MILITARY AND ECONOMIC AID
The CHAIRMAN. Am I right in assuming that you do not take a positive stand-or do you—with reference to the military part of the treaties? I would guess that you would strongly support the economic aid portion, however.
Cardinal Krol. May I comment on this, please? I am here in the name of the Bishops to strongly urge ratification of the treaty. The treaty does have provisions for both military and economic aid. Both of these aids, while these are overall promises of a number of dollars, must go through the annual process of congressional appropriations. The Congress has the right to evaluate every annual appropriation, according to a set of criteria. I would say that the criteria should include a human rights consideration, that is, on an annual basis. So, even if there is, say, a commitment such as this, it is not one which is made without the intervention and the control and the direction of the Congress.
Certainly, I don't want to see anybody starve or go hungry by denying economic aid. But—and I say this in the light of the testimony you received this morning—there are ways of drawing a careful bead on what you are trying to resolve. The treaty is not, and should not be used as a means of forcing political changes in there because then again the United States would be the heavy-handed manipulator of internal affairs.
The CHAIRMAN. We do have to keep in mind that Panama is an independent country.
Cardinal Krol. Exactly. Precisely.
COMMENDATION OF CARDINAL KROL'S TESTIMONY
Senator CASE. Mr. Chairman, the archbishop is pretty smart. He is really right up to date on the latest nuances of the relations between the Executive and the Congress. Among other things, I am sure that he gets very good advice from the gentleman on his right. It is a real question, currently still agitated, as to whether or not Congress has the right in each annual appropriation to consider the thing almost de novo. The modern theory is exactly as the archbishop has stated it, that it is to be done annually and each one must stand on its own basis.
I am delighted at this evidence of what I never doubted, that you are “au courant” of the things that are going on here.
Cardinal Krol. Thank you, Senator.
I am especially happy about your testimony on this human rights matter, coming as it does after the harrowing statements that were presented to us early this morning, and very touching ones, too. The history of the church's activities in these matters in Latin America, along with those of other denominations, has been, I think, one of the high points of religious experience and testimony and witness. I am most grateful to you for bringing us your thoughts on the matter, especially for that reason.
what in jest.
Thank you, Cardinal.
Your Excellency, the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Chestnut Hill would be very proud of me today. I will get a chance to cross examine the archbishop.
Cardinal KROL. Be my guest.
IS CATHOLIC CHURCH IN PANAMA INTIMIDATED AND CONTROLLED?
On a very serious note, Your Excellency, I would like to pursue the human rights question.
You have made it clear—and I think your analogy is a good onethat our view of human rights violations by the Soviets does not stand in our way of working toward a higher goal, or as equally high a goal, for humanity, that is a SALT agreement to prevent nuclear holocaust, and that analogy is probably appropriate.
I would like to question you on the human rights issue. I think it would be appropriate for you to at any time defer to your colleague, if you would so wish.
I would like to pursue the church's understanding of the present situation in Panama regardless of how it relates to the treaty. For example, in the statement delivered this morning-which I unfortunately missed because I took the Metroliner down this morning. I hope you didn't come by Metroliner. Obviously you did not because you are here.
Cardinal KROL. The commuter special.
Senator Biden. In Mr. Eisenmann's statement this morning, he says, and I quote:
Today Panamanians live in constant fear. Telephones are tapped, mail intercepted, houses searched in the dark of night, people arbitrarily arrested, and the population intimidated by an organization of paid informers.
Arrests are made on the grounds of "insults to the General" or "disrespect of the authorities” because of private conversations in which there was criticism of the Government or its officers.
Skipping a paragraph, he goes on: The Government, using every imaginable resource-intimidation, blackmail. bribery, to name a few-maintains strict control over labor unions, professional associations, farmers' organizations, and other organized groups.
One of the most organized groups in Panama, indeed in all of Latin America, is the Roman Catholic Church. Is there intimidation and control over the Catholic Church in Panama ?
Cardinal Krol. Senator Biden, I would like to preface an answer to a very valid question, which you have just posed, if you will indulge me.
The matter of human rights is actually something very profound. very deep, and of great concern to me. Actually Father Hehir and I at the 1974 Synod of Bishops were instrumental in preparing a statement, a brief statement, on human rights which was adopted by the Synod unanimously. This was a very carefully, but very concisely worded statement.
I have just finished a 9-day tour of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I have been broadcasting over the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe to countries behind the Iron Curtain in their own languages for close to 25 years. This is a matter of grave and serious concern to me.
If you ask whether I am aware of the day-to-day happenings and the particular abuses, I am not. I do know from the general reports that the church gets that there is at times, not to the same degree as you would have in Czechoslovakia, for example, which is today proposed as the horror case of repression of the church, that there are some problems in the human rights area. But, to our general knowledge, the church is free—and I am talking just from the statements that have been emanating, and I have also served on committees with Archbishop McGrath—and they do have, as far as we know, a reasonable amount of freedom within Panama.
We know that throughout Latin America the situation is never identical, and there are variations of one type or another. But to the best of my knowledge, the answer to your question—and I will defer to Father Hehir-is that I am not aware of any heavyhanded repression or limitation of the freedom of religion, the freedom of worship, and the freedom to teach the Catholic faith.
Father, do you have anything to add ?
Archbishop McGrath, the archbishop of Panama City, will be submitting testimony to the House Committee on International Relations. While I do not know the details of that testimony, I know for certain that he speaks in support of ratification of the treaties.
Archbishop McGrath, himself, has been a spokesman on questions of human rights within Panama. One of the most celebrated cases that I am sure will come before you, still unresolved, really, is the Gallego case. This is the case of a priest who disappeared, is dead, and the cause of his death was never, to my knowledge, clearly adjudicated. There was grave suspicion of foul play-of governmental foul play.
Archbishop McGrath was the archbishop of Father Gallego. That case brought him into conflict with the Panamanian Government.
Vore recently, the church in Panama, and Archbishop McGrath specifically, have spoken out on two different occasions on human rights questions. One was the expulsion of businessmen that was referred to in the testimony this morning. The second was when a journal was closed down, a journal of opinion.
The Gallego case was several years ago. That should be indicated. I think it is interesting that the more recent statements have been on these two cases. While the bishops chose to speak, they did not speak about the whole list of things that you mentioned. So, I don't claim to adjudicate whether those are all accurate in detail. I do know of the two times the bishops have spoken, as I have said.
My final point is to say that the church in Panama is involved in the human rights question. I would second the cardinal's view from my own personal experience there that it functions freely. There have been conflicts, thirdly, with the Government. But in the end, I think the decisive fact is that the church has decisively, continuously for the last 2 years, supported ratification of the treaty.