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there are not many Communists in Panama. There are Communists who are there and elsewhere who oppose the treaties. It is their people who are agitating in the streets of Panama against the treaties.
Simply put, it is the Communists who are placing their bets on the emotionalism and the frenzy of the far right in this country.
Doesn't that tell us something?
LATIN AMERICAN NATIONALISM
The single most powerful political sentiment in Latin America is not communism, however, but the far more conservative passion of another national pride-old-fashioned nationalism, just as in the United States.
The UAW headquarters is in Michigan. That State is our heartland. For that reason, we take particular pride in the fact that the spirit of Senator Vandenberg lives on.
It is true that the Republican National Committee and some of its leaders have joined the chorus of emotionalism and voted to oppose the treaties. But the spirit of bipartisanship in crucial foreign affairs decisions by this country is alive and well.
Former President Ford and former Secretary of State Kissinger have shown the way to good sense bipartisanship in this delicate matter. They, along with other prominent Republicans, such as the junior Senator from California, have urged the ratification of these treaties.
TREATIES ARE COMPROMISES FOR BOTH SIDES In conclusion, I would like to say that the treaties are, of course, negotiable documents. In negotiations, neither party gets all that it asks for. General Torrijos has been quoted as saying that Panama did not get as much in the treaties as he expected. Treaty critics in both countries have concentrated their opposition on areas where compromises were required. But the measure of any agreement is whether it protects the vital interests of the parties. The answer in this instance is clearly yes as far as the United States is concerned.
We see this as a felicitious moment in history, when moral values coincide with security interests. We must take full advantage of this opportunity, and we respectfully request that the Senate give full support to these treaties. Thank you.
[Mr. Gerber's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MARTIN GERBER
INTRODUCTION My name is Martin Gerber. I am a Vice President of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) and I have an office at 8000 East Jefferson Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48214. I am accompanied by Stephen I. Schlossberg, UAW Director of Government and Public Affairs.
The UAW is the largest industrial union in the world. We represent approximately a million and a half workers and their families. Our members are concentrated mainly in the automobile, aerospace, and agricultural implement industries. Taken together with their wives and children, UAW represents more than 442 million persons throughout the United States and Canada. These workers are organized into some 1,400 Local, self-governing unions.
The UAW does much more than bargain for its members. It is active in world, national and civic affairs and citizenship and legislative activities, conducts schools and camps for active members, and drop-in centers for retired members. We are, by mandate of our constitution and tradition, deeply involved in the larger issues of the quality of life of war and peace and morality in foreign policy.
UAW'S PARTICULAR INTEREST IN THE CANAL ISSUE The UAW takes its position in favor of the Canal Treaties as a group of United States citizens interested in furthering and protecting United States interests in the Canal and in the Western Hemisphere. As you probably are aware, we do not have members of our union working on a regular basis in the Canal Zone. Therefore, we do not come to you as a special interest group. Rather, our concern is on a much larger scale. We are deeply concerned that the United States project an image abroad which truly reflects the nature of our country and the fundamental principles for which this nation has stood for the past two centuries. We are also concerned with maintaining efficient international transportation routes to speed international trade, and with our defense posture. Our examination indicates that the Treaties now before you protect our interests in all of these areas.
They represent a giant step forward in the relationships which the United States maintains not only with the Republic of Panama but with all of Latin American and indeed with the entire Third World. They show that the United States does not wish to deport itself as the world's larger nations did earlier in this century. Rather it is the intention of the United States to esablish relationships with other countries based on fairness and mutual respect. It is not our intention to force our views on other countries nor to make them supine before us. We seek equality and justice, not superiority in our relations with others. These Treaties show that we both believe in and practice the fundamental principles on which our country was founded and under which we have lived since our own revolution.
The UAW International Executive Board acted in 1975 on the issue on the Panama Canal, urging then that the United States control over the Canal be phased out over a period of years. A similar resolution was passed by our more than 3,000 delegates at the 25th Constitutional Convention in May of this year. These resolutions were not adopted in a vacuum. They were based on our considered judgment as to what was morally right and in the best interests of the United States and on our findings growing out of constant and ongoing relationships with free trade unionists in Latin America, many of whom have suffered persecution, and free trade unionists all over the world.
August 30th of this year, our International Executive Board unanimously passed the following resolution :
“After 13 difficult years of negotiation, the United States and Panama have reached agreement on a treaty that would, over an agreed upon phase-out period, cede to Panama, between now and the year 2000, full sovereignty over the Panama Canal.
“The UAW supports this long overdue diplomatic effort and finds it consistent with the position we adopted in September, 1975, that U.S. control over the Canal should be phased out over an appropriate period. We urge the Senate to ratify this treaty promptly.
"It is clear that the draft agreement provides fully for the defense and safety of the United States, as well as the Canal itself and for labor and commercial interests connected with the operation of the Canal.
"We are assured by no less an authority than the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the proposed treaty gives the United States the necessary rights and powers to defend the Canal, guarantees our complete access to it and preserves its vital neutrality. We have even been assured of a role in the building of any new sea level canals in Panama. United States Navy and supply ships will have priority, when necessary, in the use of the Canal. We will, under these understandings, maintain naval bases there until the year 2000 and, moreover, the power, after the year 2000 to protect the integrity of the Canal.
"It is appropriate that the United States, a nation which was founded in a revolt against colonialism, takes this cooperative initiative to end the Canal Zone's status as an American colony.
"The Isthmian Treaty of 1903, which created the colonial enclave known as the Canal Zone, was signed between the United States and a Frenchman, Phillippe Bunau-Varilla, without participation by Panama.
"The negotiations just completed should, when the treaty is ratified, not only improve relations with Panama significantly, but with Latin America generally. Many countries there have regarded the U.S. conduct in Panama as an obsolete relic of the past.
"This treaty could lead to a new era of cooperation and stability. It proves that United States initiatives in such vital areas of life as human rights are not mere rhetoric.
"The Panama Canal Company, under the treaty, will be operated by a board of directors consisting of five Americans and four Panamanians and administered by an American with a Panamanian deputy until 1990, when the positions would be reversed. Thus, for the immediate future and beyond, the American presence will be constructive and continuing.
"Those employed by the Panama Canal and/or the American government, both American and Panamanian, would continue to work in the Canal Zone and would have complete protection, including benefits tailored to the special circumstances presented by the treaty. They would have the same rights and privileges as U.S. government employees overseas, although three years from ratification they would be subject to some Panamanian laws.
“The U.S. Senate should reject the unfounded propoganda barrage from the far right and those who have been misinformed and misled by the reactionaries.
“The Senate should overwhelmingly approve the proposed treaty because it adequately provides for U.S. interests as well as those of Panama and the rest of the world".
We do not agree with those who say that ending what we see as a colonialism in Panama is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, we view the United States phasing out of control over the Canal Zone and the Canal-the tearing down of the fences and the ceding of full sovereignty over its land to a small nation—as a signal of strength, maturity, and enlightened self-interest. Only a major, secure power could make such a gesture. It is evidence of the internal and external national will to practice what we preach and to walk honorably in the world. It is those who are independently strong and powerful who can afford to do what is right. Doing what is right in the case happens also to be in our own self interest. If we are to continue to lead the free world, we must do so by commanding the respect and admiration of the world's nations and peoples-not by flaunting our size, wealth and power. International politics is not a game of virility and manhood testing. It is the pursuit of national self-interest, in the broadest sense, by means of reason and common sense.
A recent article in the UAW publication, Solidarity, contains two significant interviews with UAW members. The article reports :
"Manual Felix, 50, a member of Local 1183 in Newark, Del., recalled that 'the original treaty was signed by a government that only lasted two weeks. Most major governments of the world have given up direct colonialism, and we shouldn't hang on to it. The Panamanians must have the Canal to feel they are no longer a colony.
“ 'Being from Mexico, I realize how they feel. From what I've read, our rights are fully protected by the treaty. If we don't ratify the treaty, world opinion will severely castigate us as a colonial power ... and if you light a fuse, you get an explosion.'”
"His views were echoed by Dave Nicholson, 26, a committee man for UAW Local 1975, Ypsilanti, Mich. "That land belonged to the people of what is now Panama before we took it, and it must be returned. The Panamians have got the short end of the stick. Strategically, the canal is almost indefensible. Eco nomically, it's rapidly being outmoded. The big new supertankers just can't get through it. Older shipping can continue to use the canal under the terms of the treaty. Our rights would be the same as any country's. That's fine.
"A good friend of mine was raised in the Canal Zone. He says most Panamanians look at our presence there as U.S. manipulation of their political system.'"
NATIONAL DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES As an organization, we are concerned with the defense of our country. We be lieve that the United States must be militarily strong if it is to maintain a
credible profile abroad. The treaties fully protect the United States defense interests in the Panama Canal. Our naval vessels will continue to be able to transit the Canal both during the time that we are responsible for its operation and the period thereafter.
This interest is, we believe better protected by the United States making certain changes with respect to the Canal's administration to take into account Panama's increasing aspirations. Indeed, we believe that failure to do this will present a threat to our defense posture. Increasing hostility to our operation of the Canal will make our job more difficult and could, if that hostility should rise to greater levels, pose a threat to the efficient functioning of the Canal.
There is no doubt that it is easier to protect the Canal against with a friendly population than one in which a hostile people views our presence as an intrusion.
THE PERMANENT PROTECTION OF THE CANAL'S NEUTRALITY We have heard much in the recent press of secret cables and of dispute as to the right of the United States, in perpetuity, to protect the neutrality of the Canal. I want to present the UAW's view on that issue.
First of all, we respect and believe the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and the word of our military chiefs. We also believe the words of our trusted negotiators. Second, we believe in the inherent power of the United States, and the public statements our leaders have made absolutely commit us and, indeed, empower us to guarantee, permanently, that neutrality. Third, General Torrijos' own words lay this contention to rest. He has said that the Canal will be permanently "under the protective umbrella of the Pentagon." But we cannot expect too much of the other side. They have their treaty haters and difficult constituencies with which to deal. They have face-saving needs which a mature political democracy should be able to understand.
Fourth, defending the Canal against international attack is a defense task neither the Panama nor U.S. forces specifically stationed in Panama could by themselves undertake successfully. In World War II we were prepared to defend the Canal in areas far removed from the Zone itself, keeping enemy craft away from its approaches. In the nuclear age, we must depend even more on our overall hemispheric and global military posture to deter a specific strategic attack.
Fifth, in terms of U.S. defense interests, perhaps the most important aspect of these treaties is what they don't do they do not limit in any way our ability to draw upon our whole range of military options to act in defense of the canal in any way we find necessary, not only during the duration of the Panama Canal Treaty, but thereafter into the 21st century. As a practical matter, we can, will and must defend the neutrality of the Canal.
Finally, I am a negotiator and know something about negotiation. In the final analysis, the real agreement rests on the strength and integrity of the parties and on what is promised and not promised—not on the unilateral claim or disclaim of one person on the negotiating team of one side. No one familiar with labor negotiations takes seriously an effort by a member of a management or union team to undermine public opinion by trying to draw doubts around a sphere of understandings. Sometimes it is in the best interests of both parties and the common good not to dot every “1” and cross every “t.” Some things depend on reality and the facts of life.
While I am not an international lawyer, I am a negotiator. My reading of the public discussion of the Neutrality Treaty fails to show that substantial differences exist. The Panamanians, we must understand, have a political problem with anything which smacks of the right of the United States to take any action within their territory after the expiration of the Panama Canal Treaty. The Neutrality Treaty I would point out does not speak of intervention. It speaks only of maintaining the regime of neutrality. Comments by the Panamanian negotiators which have been published in the press indicate that Panama understands that the United States intends to assure the continued neutrality of the Canal after the year 2000. Panama's only reservation concerns the possibility of United States intervention in Panamanian internal affairs. Given the history of our relations with Panama and with Latin America, that concern is understandable. Moreover, as a trade unionist, I know that in many Latin American countries the word "intervention" has a sinister meaning. When a totalitarian government intervenes in the unions, it takes them over.
We should not be alarmed by statements from the Panamanian side on this subject. Indeed the absence of comments would be remarkable. We can have no right to intervene in any country. That is clear from both the UN Charter and from the OAS Charter. But under the Neutrality Treaty we do have the right to maintain the regime of neutrality of the Panama Canal. Our commercial and defense interest in the Canal is protected by this provision. Panama does not dispute our right to maintain the regime of neutrality. Therefore, the controversy is much ado about nothing.
Similarly there has been much discussion about the concept of expeditious passage contained in Article 6 of the Neutrality Treaty. Panama's negotiators have made clear that this means the speediest possible transit. I submit that a more rapid trip through the Canal than that would be difficult to arrange. I will leave it to the lawyers to debate these questions on a more sophisticated level. I merely wish to point out that in practical terms the Neutrality Treaty meets the test of being both sufficiently broad to cover various possible situations while at the same time being sufficiently precise so as to leave no doubts about the intention of the drafters.
PROTECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT AND PANAMA CANAL COMPANY EMPLOYEES
We are assured that the treaties adequately protect the economic security of those who are United States Citizens and Panamanians who have given long years of service to our Government and the Corporation. Our conclusions on this score do not rely entirely on government assurance but on conversations of UAW officials with Zone union officials.
The treaty provides job security for employees whose jobs are transferred to Panama. The same terms and conditions of employment will apply, and special provisions have been made concerning health and retirement benefits.
Of course, employees who are displaced are also of great importance. They should not be victimized by treaty provisions. For these employees and the numbers should be relatively small-various options are provided : placement in other U.S. Government jobs, assistance in finding private sector positions, relocation allowances. Also, in view of the unique circumstances, the U.S. wll provide a special optional early retirement program to all employees of the Panama Canal Company and Canal Zone Government with liberalized entitlement and annuity provisions. This language is imprecise but I would hope that the implementing legislation will provide for retirement after 20 years of service with no reduction in annuity. I believe this is fair treatment to these employees who have worked hard to keep the Canal running efficiently and safely over the years. So from a labor point of view, we find the Treaty provides well for current employees who will remain with the Canal enterprise and who will be displaced.
COMMUNISM IN PANAMA There has been much scare talk of the potential danger of Communist takeover of the Canal once the treaty is ratified. I am constrained to comment on that talk. I note, at the outset, that my information is that there are not many Communists in Panama.
I recently returned from Canada where I met and talked with one of the Separatist leaders in Quebec. Many dispassionate observors feel that the secces sion of the Province of Quebec would be tragic for Canada and also for Quebec itself. There is, however, some disagreement on the issue. But there is little disagreement that the treatment of the French speaking majority by the English speaking minority over the years bred this kind of response. There is similar breeding ground for dissension and internecine struggle in the history of Northern Ireland.
It has been said that those who don't learn by history are doomed to repeat it. If we remain as a foreign and chronic irritant, in short as a colonial, imperial power on the soil of Panama, continuing to fence off the country from the enclave denying national dignity to the country, treating the Canal not as a resource we operate by treaty but as a personal possession, do we not by these attitudes and actions create a breeding ground for Communist and other totalitarian move ments in Panama ? We in the UAW have struggled with Communists over the years. We know that they generally oppose genuine reforms because the worse conditions are, the better their chances to grow and prosper.