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What is your judgment as to whether if there is going to be a free election that will be a true reflection of the people's feelings, and what intelligence do you have from Panama as to how the people of Panama feel about these two treaties?
Mr. LEVINSON. It would be presumptuous on my part, Senator, to tell you what the Panamanians thought.
I would feel that despite the statements that have been made by others, the vast majority of Panamanians would be in favor of these treaties. Whether or not there will be free elections, I am in no position to judge. I think despite the fact that there might not be, if that should be the case, I still think the vast majority of Panamanians would favor this treaty.
ALLUSIONS CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITIC ACTIVITIES IN PANAMA
Senator PERCY. Earlier this year General Torrijos paid a state visit to Libya at the invitation of President Qadhafi. After the visit, some press accounts alluded to anti-Semitic activities in Panama on the part of the Torrijos government.
Do you have any knowledge of such activities and, if there were a very serious problem in Panama, would you not be likely to have some direct knowledge of that?
Mr. LEVINSON. I have no direct knowledge. I was informed this morning that at one point there were some anti-Semitic leaflets being distributed in Panama. I know President Torrijos was recently in Israel. I do not know the outcome of those conferences but I sit here as an American and I would hope that in the long run what is best for America and Panama is the same thing and I will not want to confuse the issue with any question of anti-Semitism.
IS RATIFICATION SIGN OF WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH ?
Senator Percy. In your statement you say that "this country's response to the new treaty can also be a source of pride. It can demonstrate the United States generosity and self-confidence, and its flexibility in facing new realities."
President Carter put it another way but in the same vein. He said our entering into these treaties is really an indication of the strength of this country.
Early in these hearings I read a few letters from constituents I picked at random that were quite typical of comments I get. A very large number of them referred to the United States as a paper tiger. They said if we ratified these treaties it would show we could not stand up for our so-called rights.
Another witness described the whole pattern of American withdrawal from Vietnam, our nonparticipation in Angola, and now the turning over of control of the Panama Canal, as evidence of the lessening influence of the United States in the world today.
How would you respond to those who say that we are just a paper tiger if we pack up and leave the Panama Canal ?
Mr. LEVINSON. I would have said I thought that we had all of us agreed Vietnam was a mistake. I would have said we probably had no
right to be in Angola at any point. I would have said to admit a mistake and correct it in Panama is a sign of strength, not of weakness. It is the weak man who stays stubbornly blind and says “I will not change."
The strong man says "I am wrong, I am willing to change and go forward."
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PANAMA
Senator PERCY. Because you are an officer, vice president, of the Synagogue Council of America and chairman of its Committee on International Affairs, I wonder if you could give this committee your impression of the human rights situation in Panama. Have you received any reports of religious persecution in Panama or violations of religious freedoms in Panama
Mr. LEVINSON. No, we have not received any reports of religious violations of Jewish people. I have heard some testimony here. The whole area of human rights, whether it is Panama or anywhere else, raises a very difficult question. I think maybe we all applaud President Carter on his declaration on human rights.
Whether we thought it was capable of being enforced or whether we were willing to say it is a forward-looking statement and something we should work toward, I do not know. I don't honestly know what President Carter had in his mind. I think if we thought the world was going to turn around overnight because we had made a statement on human rights would have been just as naive an approach as I could think of. I think what we said was a desire, a goal and something we should work toward. We have to weigh the practical and Utopian in our foreign relations, and I think that in this particular case there is a possibility that the human rights situation would improve if we signed this treaty.
It could be that having more money and better economic development in Panama will aid them to demand better human rights. It might even make the government, if it is in violation of human rights, have a little more confidence in itself so they could give them. I do not know what the future will bring but I do not like to mix the two things together because to ask for perfection in human rights by the other parts of the world is a little more than we should expect. I don't really think the human rights issue should be involved in the question of treaty approval. It is really extraneous and maybe even irrelevant.
POTENTIAL SERIOUS MISUNDERSTANDINGS
Senator Percy. You have taken a very strong position in supporting these treaties and you have said that they are in the national interest. I am certainly opposed to standing fast on the 1903 treaty. I think it would be disastrous for us just summarily to refuse to ratify these treaties. But I do feel, as a result of these hearings, there are certain potential serious misunderstandings that can be a source of future trouble if we do not clarify them.
I would in no way oppose our making certain clarifications or our taking certain reservations that may have to be sent back to Panama for clarification by them so that we are sure we are both talking about the same thing
Mr. LEVINSON. Without agreeing to what those changes might be, because I do not know what we are talking about, I certainly think that there is always room for further discussion between the countries and if they can agree that these things are worth clarifying and can be clarified, I do not see why we have to stand hard and fast. We should do it.
RESULT OF REJECTING TREATIES
Senator Percy. What would be your prediction if we rejected these treaties and refused to ratify them?
Would our national interest be strengthened or imperiled in our relationships with Latin America and other countries of the world if that happened?
Mr. LEVINSON. I think our image would suffer terribly. If ever we would be called a paper tiger maybe that is when we should be called a paper tiger.
I think we have to be very careful of our image throughout the world. We are the leader, and we have to show it to the world.
SYNAGOGUE COUNCIL'S INTENT CONCERNING PARTICIPATION IN TREATY
Senator PERCY. I would like to ask about the Synagogue Council because it has considerable influence and importance in this country. Does the Synagogue Council intend to participate actively in the treaty debate? Will there be an educational effort among its membership Are the members making their views known to their Senators and Representatives? We seem to hear only from the opponents.
My last mail count was about 7,000 letters against and about 223 in favor. I keep wondering where the supporters are. Don't they care!
Mr. LEVINSON. We have not made any decision that I know of that we were going to go out and make propaganda for this thing. We issued our statement, it will be sent to all our members, I do not think we are going to take it upon ourselves to urge our rabbis to get up in the pulpits. Our rabbis are quite independent as to what they want to say from the pulpit. They see an expression but we will not put a propaganda effort on them.
That is not the way we operate.
Senator PERCY. Well, I would certainly issue a call for one Senator who wants to know all sides of this issue and hear from people who have differing points of view. I think it is a matter of concern if only those who are opposed to ratification are heard from. We ought to hear from the others. They ought to recognize that silence is not assent in this case, silence means they do not care.
Mr. LEVINSON. It usually follows that the people against make all the noise and those in favor sit back. But in answer to your question, I think it is certainly perfectly all right for us to ask our constituents to write their Senators and Congressmen and express their position on it, whether it is in favor of what we as a group have said or the contrary. I would be delighted to do that.
Senator PERCY. It is not up to me to tell you what you should do with your membership, I am simply pointing out the fact that we are not hearing from the membership of organizations that are supporting the
treaties. We have had leaders come before us and state what their views are and we are very grateful for that. But I do feel that we ought to hear from all sides. If they have reservations, we want to hear about that. We are looking at this mail very carefully and studying it very carefully now.
This is one of the most crucial issues we face and I certainly commend you on your testimony and thank you for being here.
Mr. LEVINSON. Thank you very much.
RATIFICATION IS IN U.S. INTEREST
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you this. You believe that ratification of these treaties will be in the interest of the United States of America ?
Mr. LEVINSON. I certainly do.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION UNDER TORRIJOS REGIME
Mr. Levinson, you may have addressed this before I arrived, so I apologize. Did the council take up the human rights question that has been raised with respect to the behavior of the Torrijos regime ?
Mr. LEVINSON. We have.
Senator SARBANES. And what were your conclusions and observations?
Mr. LEVINSON. We were concerned with the entire issue of human rights. We are concerned with confusing it with something that maybe has to be done for other reasons. As I said a few minutes
I think our statement to the world on human rights was terrific and outstanding. If anyone expected if we pushed a button the world would change overnight, I think we were very foolish. I think it is a goal to look forward to. I think wherever we can, practically, we should try to get better cooperation in the enforcement of human rights. Whether this treaty will give Mr. Torrijos more courage to allow more human rights, if he is being condemned for lacking them, maybe it will work
There are those who say it will work to the contrary. But I think we should not confuse the two issues too far because we in foreign affairs have to look at the practical as well as the Utopia.
STATUS OF JEWISH COMMUNITY IN PANAMA
Senator SARBANES. Let me ask you this question. What is the status of the Jewish community in Panama with respect to the pressures it may be subjected to, if any, and how does that compare with the status of the Jewish community in other South American countries?
Mr. LEVINSON. We have heard no direct anti-Semitism. I was advised that there were some anti-Semitic pamphlets distributed last spring after Mr. Torrijos' visit to Libya. I haven't seen them.
The population there is very small, and in the position I see in the community we have never gotten a direct request for aid to combat antisemitism. We have had different, more serious problems in other
South American countries or South America which I do not want to mention at this point.
Senator SARBANES. You do not want to mention it
Senator SARBANES. I am aware of some of those problems. Is there a sharp difference between the situation in those countries and the situation in Panama as the Council perceives it?
Mr. LEVINSON. Yes.
Next is Prof. Donald E. Miller, Bethany Theological Seminary Church of the Brethren, Washington, D.C.
We are very glad to have you here, Professor Miller, and glad to hear from you. You have a prepared statement. We all have it, we have a copy of it, and it will be printed in the record.
[Mr. Miller's biography and prepared statement follow:]
BIOGRAPHY OF DONALD E. MILLER
Full name : Donald Eugene Miller, 18W 659 22nd Street, Lombard, Ill. 60148: Born: Dayton, Ohio, Dec. 2, 1929; church affiliation: member, Church of the Brethren ; U.S. Citizenship.
Residences: Trotwood (near Dayton), Ohio, 1929–1947; 54–56. North Manchester, Indiana, 1947–49. New Windsor, Maryland, 1952. Kassel, Germany, 1953. Linz, Austria, 1954. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1958-61. Chicago, Illinois, 1949 52; 56-58, 61-. New Haven, Connecticut, 1968–69. Cambridge, England, 1975–76.
Present Position: Professor of Christian Education and Ethics and Director of Graduate Studies, Bethany Theological Seminary since 1961.
Past Positions: Research Fellow in Sociology, U. of Chicago, 1951–52. Director of Material Aid Distribution, Brethren Service Commission, Linz, Austria, 195354. Consultant in Community Organization, Dayton, Ohio, 1956. Junior High Social Studies Teacher, Trotwood, Ohio, 1956, Chicago, Illinois, 1957–58, Teaching Fellow in Christian Ethics, Harvard U., 1960-61
Education: Manchester College, North Manchester, Ind., 1947-49; University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill., 1949-52, M.A. ; United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio, 1955–56 ; Bethany Theological Seminary, Oak Brook, Ill., 1956-58, M. Dir.: Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 1958–61, Ph.D.; Yale University, Ner Haven, Conn., 1968–69, Post Grad; Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, 1975–76, Post Grad.
Details of above. (Major subjects, special courses, academic interests, outstanding teachers, extracurricular activities, honors and achievements):
My course at the University of Chicago was under the Committee on Human Development. There I studied with such teachers as Robert Havighurst, Brano Bettleheim. Carl Rogers, Benjamin Blum. and W. Lloyd Warner. It was under their direction that I first became acquainted with the developmental point of view, and it was in those classes that I first read the writings of Freud, Erikson, and Piaget. I helped to do some of the statistical work in the study of character development that Peck and Havighurst were doing at the time. I also was a research assistant in the sociology department for a project on race relations.
At Harvard University I studied social ethics in the program on religion and society. Major professors were James Luther Adams, Paul Lehmann, Paul Tillich, Gordon Allpert, Talcott Parsons, Robert Bellah, and John Wild. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the topic Conscience and History, a comparative study of Sigmund Freud and Ernst Troeltsch. Paul Lehmann made use of