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The CHAIKMAN. Senator Biden, would you please yield to me for a minute?
Senator BIDEN. I surely will, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAX. We have several more witnesses to be heard today. I think that we should recess when we finish with these witnesses and come back at 2 o'clock.
There is going to be a vote on the floor of the Senate right at 2 o'clock. I hope we can all get there and vote at the beginning so that we can come right back.
I hope that will be agreeable.
If you will all excuse me, I will go to greet the Minister of a foreign government who is visiting with us.
Senator BIDEN (presiding]. I won't take very much longer, Your Eminence.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA By the way, I recently returned from a 17-day stay in Czechoslovakia and Hungary also—that was in August—and I concur in your assessment of the situation in Czechoslovakia. I would like to swap notes with you before I write my final report on the trip.
CHURCH'S POSITION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND TREATIES The question of human rights then, is, Is it fair to say that the church's position is that although there may be and there are violations of human rights in Panama, the Panamanian citizens as a whole will be better off and Torrijos' position would not be enhanced vis-avis repression by the passage of these two treaties?
Cardinal KROL. Our own view is that Torrijos, we know, has invited observers to the plebiscite. Now, there is at least some gesture of good will or honesty by this inviting of observers.
It has been reported in the press that he has also invited observers from the OAS on the matter of human rights.
Now, please understand that in no way can we ignore or overlook this. The position that we take is that this is a problem that must be faced, but the treaty is another problem and that must be faced, too. Binding the two and weighing the values of the two: the treaty can be signed without ignoring the human rights problems.
Senator Biden. I see that the orange light is on, but since I am not chairman of the committee, I will give myself an extra minute in light of the fact that the chairman interrupted for a minute.
MR. TORRIJOS' INVITATION TO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
I would like to enter into the record a statement by Mr. Torrijos. which concurs with what you have just stated, Your Eminence. He invites observers to Panama. He invites the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
Are either of you familiar with the credibility of the credentials of that Commission?
Father HEHIR. Yes, Senator. We have worked very closely with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. We submit testimony to them and cases to them on an ongoing basis; that is, individual cases.
Senator Biden. Do you believe them to be a competent organization?
Father HEHIR. Yes, Senator.
Senator BIDEN. Then without objection, that document will be entered into the record at this point.
[The information referred to follows:]
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION DIRECTOR ["Text" of cable to be sent by Panamanian Chief of Government Gen Omar *Torrijos to Andres Aguilar, director of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission-read by station director Danilo Caballero]
[Text] There have been a series of unfounded, unfair and irresponsible charges voiced against my government regarding violations of human rights. In Panama, we are not perfect but we do respect the human rights of all persons living in our country. The new canal treaties are a symbol for the world of our desire to eliminate discrimination and injustice.
We will receive with pleasure a report (as heard) and a visit by the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission so it can learn the truth of our political situation regarding human rights. We invite you to travel through any part of Panama, to talk to anyone and to inform the world. I will give you the keys to our prisons and if you find any political prisoner, you may release him.
I feel that the commission's role should not only be to investigate violations of human rights, but also to deny unfounded charges. Only in this way can this hemisphere be free from injustice. Here you will find neither oppressors nor oppressed.
[Signed] Gen Omar Torrijos Herrera, Panamanian chief of government
ECUMENICAL UNANIMITY ON TREATIES
Senator BIDEN. The church has a very extensive network throughout all of Latin America. I understand the hierarchy's position on these treaties as you have indicated it, Your Emincence. But I am wondering whether or not you have received or whether the appropriate body within the church hierarchy has received any "unsolicited” testimonials one way or another from the parishes, from the priests in the field, as to whether or not they feel that the treaty is viewed in the larger limits that you have expressed here, that is, that it is the whole impression in Latin America.
Cardinal KROL. Senator Biden, there have been few issues or questions on which there has been as much ecumenical unanimity as there is on this. I am happy to say that in the United States all groups, whether it is the Methodists, the Anglicans, the Brethren, the synagogues, the rabbis, have come out favorably on this.
I have here indicating) a book: "El Canal: Justicia Panameña o Internacional ?" This records official statements by the various groups. [The book referred to is in the committee files.] There is a beautiful statement from the rabbis. I should not be doing this for my friend who will testify next, but I appreciate this in particular. It says "Es nuestra ferviente esperanza”-it is our fervent hope—that this new treaty will serve as an example for the spirit and the justice "y de superacion internacional”—for the resolution of problems by other nations. They give this a kind of five-star commendation.
To answer further your question, Senator, we do have American missionaries in Panama, and throughout, all of the reports that we have are positive and favorable to the ratification of the treaty.
VIEWS OF MISSIONARIES THEMSELVES
Senator BIDEN. At the expense of sounding sacrilegious, I was looking for the "rank and file” view. rather than the view of the “management."
Cardinal Krol. Yes, this is the view of the missionaries themselves. What they point to has been expressed in our testimony in that this is almost a test case. That is why a part of my testimony was not only on the substantive, but on the symbolic, the far-reaching impact of this.
Senator BIDEN. Thank you very much, Your Eminence. My time
Senator CASE. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt to say I regret that I have to leave for the same reason the Chairman left earlier. I will be back for our afternoon session.
UP-TO-DATE STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS SUGGESTED
Before I do go, I wonder if we could have an agreement that what I discussed informally before might take place; namely, that the State Department be requested to provide us with an up-to-date version of the human rights report on Panama, and that that should include a comment upon the testimony given earlier this morning.
Senator BIDEN. I see no objection to that, Senator.
STATEMENT ADOPTED AT MEETINGS OF BISHOPS
Your Eminence, first I want to thank you for a deeply thoughtful statement. I have one request, and that is that you refer in the statement to the statements adopted at the general meeting of the Bishops, first by the administrative board in February 1975, and then by the general meeting in November 1976. I think it would be helpful if you could submit those to the committee. We could include them in the record at this point as a supplement to your statement.
Would it be possible for you to give those to us?
As a matter of fact, let me add—and I take no credit for authorship here—that these statements have been widely reprinted in various other publications. We would be happy to submit them to you.
Senator SARBANES. Fine. We can include them in the record of this hearing.
Cardinal Krol. They are extremely brief statements, such as this [indicating].
[The information referred to follows:]
1. HUMAN RIGHTS IN PANAMA 1. USCC Policy: the principle of protecting human rights should be part of all U.S. policy; that holds for this case also.
2. There is evidence of HR violations in Panama; we acknowledge this, but also wish to make the point that the scale and kind of the violations, to our knowledge, is not on a par with other notable cases in Latin America or some other parts of the world today.
3. We do not find the existing HR situation sufficient evidence to stop progress toward a new treaty relationship; this is a judgment of moral calculusbalancing two goods (HR and a more just relationship with Panama). An analogous case would be to acknowledge and criticize the HR situation in USSR, yet also to support a SALT treaty which could curb the arms race.
II. INTERVENTION AND U.S. POLICY 1. The focus of USCC testimony has been normative; hence we begin on this issue by pointing that both existing international law and declared U.S. policy toward Latin America asserts nonintervention as a primary principle.
2. The Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality of the Canal has, in Article IV, provided a means of both upholding the nonintervention principle and also making it possible for the U.S. to assist the Republic of Panama to maintain the neutrality of the waterway. Both objectives can be attained with this phrasing.
3. In our judgment it would not be wise to tamper with the existing language of Article IV; one risks overturning the whole enterprise of the new treaty relationship by trying to specify something which defies further specification without a direct insult to Panamanian sovereignty.
III. ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS 1. The Canal will continue to have economic importance for the U.S., but it is a limited economic importance because:
Other means of transport are also available and efficient (air, rail, combination of air, sea and highway)
An increasing number of vessels cannot use the Canal (1850) cannot use it; another 2000 can use it only with less than a full load) 2. This recognition of the limited economic viability of the Canal is shared by Panama; this means that it is the Panamanian interest to keep tolls reasonable, even after the regulated toll schedule of Article XIII, para. 4 is terminated.
3. From both an economic and a strategic point of view, Panama has a greater interest in keeping the Canal open and efficiently operated at a viable market price for tolls than we have. E. G. The Canal today affects less than 1 percent of our GNP; on the other hand it presently accounts for 13 percent of Panamanian GNP and 30 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. PROTOCOL TO THE TREATY CONCERNING THE PERMANENT NEUTRALITY AND OPERATION
OF THE PANAMA CANAL Whereas the maintenance of the neutrality of the Panama Canal is important not only to the commerce and security of the United States of America and the Republic of Panama, but to the peace and security of the Western Hemisphere and to the interests of world commerce as well ;
Whereas the regime of neutrality which the United States of America and the Republic of Panama have agreed to maintain will ensure permanent access to the Canal by vessels of all nations on the basis of entire equality; and
Whereas the said regime of effective neutrality shall constitute the best protection for the Canal and shall ensure the absence of any hostile act against it;
The contracting parties to this protocol have agreed upon the following:
ARTICLE I The contracting parties hereby acknowledge the regime of permanent neutrality for the Canal established in the Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal and associate themselves with its objectives.
ARTICLE II The contracting parties agree to observe and respect the regime of permanent neutrality of the Canal in time of war as in time of peace, and to ensure that vessels of their registry strictly observe the applicable rules.
ARTICLE III This protocol shall be open to accession by all states of the world, and shall enter into force for each state at the time of deposit of its instrument of acces sion with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States.
Senator SARBANES. Thank you very much, your Eminence.
Senator Biden. Gentlemen, we thank you for your coming this morning.
This hearing is recessed until 2.
[Whereupon, at 12:12 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 2 p.m., the same day.]
Present: Senators Sparkman [chairman] presiding, Sarbanes, Griffin, and Percy.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the committee come to order, please.
I am sorry we are late getting started this afternoon, but as I stated before we left here, we were due to have a rollcall right at 2 o'clock. It did not come right at 2. In fact, I have just answered and gotten on over here.
I hope other members will be able to get here.
The next witness we will call is Mr. Morris Levinson, vice president of the Synagogue Council of America, New York.
Mr. Levinson, we are glad to have you. Do you have a prepared statement!
STATEMENT OF MORRIS LEVINSON, VICE PRESIDENT,
SYNAGOGUE COUNCIL OF AMERICA
Mr. LEVINSON. I have a prepared statement and I would like
The CHAIRMAX. I have it here and each member will have it and it will be printed in full in the record.
You proceed as you see fit.
In order to avoid any confusion, I am not a rabbi, despite the beard. I am a layperson. In fact, like one of the former witnesses, I am an exlawyer and now involved in business.
I am vice president of the Synagogue Council of America and chairman of its Committee on International Affairs.
The Synagogue Council is the national representative body of the three branches of American Judaism-Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform. Its constituent organizations, both rabbinical and congregational are: Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbinical Council of America, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and United Synagogue of America. These organizations represent more than four million American Jews.
OFFICIAL POLICY STATEMENT OF SYNAGOGUE COUNCIL I would like to begin my testimony by presenting the official policy statement of the Synagogue Council about the proposed treaty: