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When I talked to people outside the zone, both American and Panamanians, the answers I got were that the human rights question was not as serious as it sounded inside the zone and that the treaties should be supported.
Did I speak to your question ?
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN REPRESENTATIVES IN PANAMA
Senator SARBANES. I think you did. Are there Church of the Brethren representatives in Panama in any significant numbers?
Professor MILLER. No, our interest in Panama comes from the fact that we have spent many years, since 1941, working in Ecuador primarily, also in Puerto Rico, Haiti and some other places in Latin America. More and more we have raised the questions of justice in those countries. The church people have raised those questions and they have driven us toward understanding the Panama question as a crucial one. That is what has moved us in this concern. It is not that we have personnel directly in Panama.
CONGREGATIONS' FAMILIARITY WITH STUDY TOUR AND STATEMENT
Senator SARBANES. To what extent has the study work that you engaged in, I take it on this tour to Panama and to Ecuador, carried down to the congregations of the Church of the Brethren? In other words, how familiar are your members across the country, in the 1,000 congregations, with the work that was done by the study tour and with the statement that has been made.
Professor MILLER. Well, the congregations across the country will be familiar with the statement that was passed at our annual conference like they will with all conference decisions, because those are taken back, both by the representatives, to be discussed and also by mailings from the central office. Our Washington office has sent out several hundred study packets to interested churches upon their request.
The study tour was so recent, it was in August, that few would be familiar with it, except for knowing that such study was authorized by the annual conference.
But the point is that congregations are becoming aware, and are requesting more information. The conference decisions, the testimony here, and supporting documents are being generally circulated among the churches.
Senator SARBANES. Thank you again, sir. We appreciate your testimony.
Mr. Kenneth Boehm of the young American for Freedom, will you come forward. [Mr. Boehm's biography follows:]
BioGRAPHY OF KENNETH F. BOEHм. Ken Boehm, 28, has served as National Projects Director of Young Americans for Freedom since May, 1977. Since first joining Y.A.F. in 1969, he has served as chapter chairman, state chairman, and national director.
Also involved in partisan politics, Ken has been a chapter chairman in Teen Age Republicans and a member of the Pennsylvania Young Republicans Executive Committee. In 1976 he was the Pennsylvania Youth for Reagan Chairman, He ran for the position of Delegate to the Republican National Convention and, although running in the Ford campaign manager's home county and against the party-endorsed candidate, he won handily.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, Ken graduated from Penn State University with a B.A. in political science. While at Penn State, he took an active interest in both politics and chess. He won the Pa. Intercollegiate Chess Championship and represented his school in international chess tournaments.
Ken then worked his way through Delaware Law School while employed as a radio talk show host on a major Philadelphia station. After being admitted to the Pa. Bar in 1976, he served six months as an Assistant District Attorney.
Currently Ken, In addition to his Y.A.F. duties, has a weekend radio talk show in Philadelphia, and is on the Board of Directors of D.C. Law School.
Senator SARBANES. We have your statement and you can submit it for the record and abridge it or summarize it or proceed to present it in its entirety. The option is yours as to how to proceed. Please go ahead, sir.
STATEMENT OF KENNETH F. BOEHM, NATIONAL PROJECTS
DIRECTOR, YOUNG AMERICANS FOR FREEDOM
Mr. BOEHM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Members of the Committee on Foreign Relations, it is a distinct pleasure for me to appear before you today representing Young Americans for Freedom, the Nation's largest conservative youth group
For 2 months now our group has been actively involved in the public debate over the Panama Canal issue. It was at the National Convention of Young Americans for Freedom that Ronald Reagan formally announced his opposition to the two treaties. Since then many of our 55,000 members joined the effort by circulating petitions, distributing literature, and sponsoring debates.
My reason for appearing before you today is twofold: First, to represent the concerns of young people who may have to live with the results of the proposed treaties.
Second, I would like to give you the reasons why young people, liberal and conservative alike, are alienated by the Carter administration's campaign to give away the canal.
Young Americans have a lot to lose if the proposed treaties are ratified. Many of the worst features of the treaties will not become true problems until the turn of the century or until a war or national emergency.
Each generation has a duty to future generations. The generation of Americans who built the canal fulfilled their duty. They made Panama independent, built, the world's greatest canal, and conquered yellow fever, malaria, and other tropical diseases. A disease-ridden, swampy jungle was made into a livable place.
Succeeding generations of Americans ran the canal fairly and efficiently. In peace, it was open to ships of all nations. In war, it was closed to, and adequately defended from, enemy forces. Today that legacy continues. Panama has the highest per capita income in Central America, yellow fever is eradicated, and the canal remains vital to the economy and security of the United States.
WHAT FUTURE GENERATIONS GAIN OR LOSE FROM TREATIES What type of legacy will the two proposed treaties be? What do future generations of Americans have to lose or gain from them?
The position of Young Americans for Freedom is shared by most Americans: We lose a lot and gain nothing.
We lose a $7 billion investment, the Canal Zone with its military bases, railroads, highway system, drydocks, and the canal itself.
We lose approximately $350 million in economic and military aid.
We lose at least $50 million a year in payments to Panama, which is a 2,000-percent increase over the current payments.
We lose the right to build another canal without Panama's approval.
We lose the right to bar Soviet naval vessels from the canal in time of war or national emergency.
We, as consumers, lose untold millions through higher canal tolls.
What do we get in return? Proponents of the treaty have tried to sell the treaties to the American public by assurances that the treaties guaranteed U.S. intervention rights, preferential passage rights in time of war, exclusive U.S. rights to build any new canal, and guarantees that the canal would remain open.
The problem is that all four of these assurances have been contradicted by Panamanian Chief Negotiator Romulo Escobar Bethancourt.
Even assuming that the obvious problems with the treaties language are resolved, what are we really getting from the other side for our billion-dollar giveaway? We are getting nothing but promises. And the history of treaties which trade real estate for promises speaks for itself.
The assumption that General Torrijos will keep the few promises he does make is dubious at best. He has broken the current treaties 11 times in the last 2 years. Dictators who overthrow democratically elected governments and who sign joint communiques with terrorists such as Libya's Colonel Qadhafi, are not known for their integrity in keeping treaties.
Even if the Torrijos government were trustworthy, there is no assurance that the Government of Panama would live up to the commitments made by the current ruler. Because of Panama's history of political turmoil, the average President's tenure being just 2 years and 4 months, this is a very real risk. One of the best reasons of the United States owning the canal is to keep it safe from the snakepits of Central American politics.
REASON FOR ALIENATION CAUSED BY RATIFICATION CAMPAIGN
Now, I would like to give you the reasons why I feel that the average American young person, regardless of political philosophy, has been alienated by the campaign to ratify the treaties.
The first reason is the lack of credibility in the President's words and actions in regard to this issue. Candidate Carter assured the American public: "I would never give up complete or practical control to the Panama Canal Zone."
President Carter, in office less than a month, appoints a new Ambassador to the treaty talks. His assignment: To negotiate a treaty giving Panama complete and practical control over the Panama Canal Zone.
The second reason for the disenchantment is the “politics as usual" style of the effort to promote the treaties. This, too, became apparent from the very beginning when President Carter gave Ambassador Linowitz a special 6-month appointment as negotiator. He, thus, circumvented the normal Senate conformation proceedings. If these proceedings had been held, they could have probed such possible conflicts of interest as the fact that Mr. Linowitz sat on the board of directors of a major bank which had made large loans to the Panamanian Government.
The wiretapping incident and related allegations that the United States was blackmailed into treaty concessions only served to further discredit the resulting treaties.
A third reason why American young people, regardless of political philosophy, are turned off by the campaign to promote the treaties is the obvious hypocrisy over the issue of human rights.
President Carter, in theory, has made human rights the theme of his foreign policy. He has threatened to withhold aid from countries which violate human rights. His address to the U.N. last March left no doubt as to his opposition, in theory, to those nations suppressing human rights.
In practice, President Carter has rewarded the two worst violators of human rights in the western hemisphere, Cuba and Panama, with a bonanza of proposed concessions.
Freedom House, a national organization which conducts countryby-country comparative surveys of the status of freedom, places Panama on the same level as Cuba and the Soviet Union. No country in Latin America scored lower.
Part of these ratings includes the prospect for future improvement or downturns in human freedom, and in terms of the prospects they rate Panama as having little prospect for improvement in human rights.
Since coming to power 9 years ago by ousting the duly elected President of Panama, Torrijos has run a Marxist police state. There is no free press, no freedom of speech, no elections, and no right to habeas corpus. There are numerous documented cases of torture. The victims included Americans as well as Panamanians.
Finally, the Panama Canal talks offered a perfect opportunity for President Carter to turn his human rights rhetoric into positive action. Instead, he went out of his way to praise General Torrijos, calling him an "enlightened dictator” who had "concern" for his people. Such blatant hypocrisy is yet another reason why you will find few young people in favor of the treaties.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator GRIFFIN. No; I guess I have no questions. It is a very interesting statement and you make a lot of good points, many with which I agree. Thank you.
U.S. RIGHT TO BAR OTHER SHIPS FROM CANAL
Senator SARBANES. I was interested in where in the current treaty documents you find the U.S. right to bar other ships from the canal.
Mr. BOEHM. In the current treaty, you mean the Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty or the proposed treaty ?
Senator SARBANES. In the current one. Because you say, we lose a lot and gain nothing. Then one of the things you indicate we lose is the right to bar naval vessels from the canal in time of war and national emergency.
Mr. BOEHM. It is my understanding that under the neutrality treaty that it is completely neutral. Ships from any country in time of war or peace are allowed to use the canal.
If I am not mistaken, I believe that is article V.
I am saying we lose a lot. When I am saying we lose a lot, I am talking about the proposed treaties.
Senator SARBANES. I understand that. You say, "We lose the right to bar naval vessels from the canal in time of war and national emergency.”
Mr. BOEHM. Yes, sir.
Senator SARBANES. I wanted to know where in the current arrangement you found that right?
Mr. BOEHM. In the current arrangement we find the right. It has been our practice in time of war not to allow ships through. I do not know if that is currently embodied in a treaty, but I think it is common sense, it is good military practice.
During World War II we did not allow Nazi ships through the Panama Canal. I think that is part of the historical record.
Senator SARBANES. The word “right” is being used in terms of the practice
Mr. BOEHM. Yes.
Senator SARBANES. This point has been made and I am very interested if you feel that in the existing treaty arrangement there exists a legal right to do that since the point has been advanced before us that the existing treaty arrangement, the 1903 treaty with Panama, which references the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901, provides for equal passage at all times by all countries.
Mr. Boehm. Right.
Senator SARBANES. What I was trying to get at is whether you find in the existing arrangements somewhere a legal right to do this.
Mr. BOEHM. No; I believe it would be a de facto right rather than a right found in law.
SHOULD THERE BE NO NEW TREATY?
Senator SARBANES. Is it your view that there should be no new treaty with Panama, that we should adhere to the 1903 regime and hold to that?
Mr. BOEHM. Senator, I think that most of the members of our organization feel that there should be some adjustment in our relations