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Of course, no one can say with certainty what the future will bring, but reasonable people would have to agree that Communism in Panama would be deprived of a root issue upon which to build if the treaties are ratified. Conversely, a turn down would give the Communists a ready made and controlling issue to run with-not only in Panama, but all over Latin America.
The Senate should never forget that the Communists oppose the treaty. It is their people who are agitating in the streets of Panama against the treaty. 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?
The most sensible course to set back the present Communism drive and to cut off the Communist future in Panama is to take away their main rallying cry by ratifying the treaties. In doing so, this country not only "sends a message” to Panama and to South America, it sends one to the Communists too.
NATIONALISM IN LATIN AMERICA
The single most powerful political sentiment in Latin America is not Communism, however, but the far more conservative passion of national pride ... oldfashioned nationalism, just as it is in the U.S.A. Virtually all Latin Americans, irrespective of their political coloration, view the canal issue primarily in terms of “Yankee” respect for a small Central American republic.
Every Senator hereand in the Senate-understands deeply the meaning of American patriotism. Why then not extend in generosity and magnitude that same understanding to one of the smallest and militarily weak countries in the worldPanama ?
Why not, in short, legitimize their own fierce devotion to country, to history, to culture and, finally, to belief in national pride?
BI-PARTISANSHIP 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. We are pleased too that such very conservative forces as those represented by the National Review and its editor, William Buckley have endorsed the treaties. Indeed, Mr. James Burnham writing in National Review has said:
"Judging by the probable consequences for our national security and interest, it is time for us to leave. In fact, the weakest feature of the new treaty is its failure to get us out soon enough.”
Burnham predicts that, if the treaty fails, “the aftermath would probably be bad, and might be very bad both for the country and for those responsible for the rejection.”
Garry Wills, the Journalist, has reminded us of the words of Samuel Johnson, a great conservative which are appropriated in considering the Canal issue today. Mr. Wills wrote:
"The pride of power has destroyed armies to gain or to keep unprofitable pos. sessions. Those are the words of Dr. Johnson in 1771. He was attacking the foolish zeal of Englishmen who wanted to wage war with Spain in order to assert not only the possession of the Falkland Islands but sovereignty as well.
“The case is uncannily similar to ur Panama Canal controversy. Johnson, the great conservative, was merciless against those who confused 'shame of deserting a project with real loss, and who would risk the lives of men on the terms of a legal phrase. The question was not one of pride and sovereignty, he argued, but of use and cooperative gain. He mocked the men who ‘profess to be disturbed by incredibilities.'
And Wills also says:
“Those who say we would be capitulating to blackmail by accepting the treaty are like men who say they will not be 'blackmailed' by rain clouds into carrying an umbrella. They are not brave; just dumb.”
THE ECONOMICS OF PANAMA
The United States is clearly on record against exploitation of small countries and in favor of the development and economic independence of the “have not" nations. How else do we square our foreign aid programs and our participation in multinational projects?
In the light of the above given, the new treaties become a national imperative not only for Panama, but also for the United States.
Perhaps it has been laid on the record before, in any event, I will do so now. Panama's major natural resources is the Canal, which, in the final analysis, is there because of Panama's geography. In 1970 118.9 millions of tons of cargo passed through the Canal. That year Canal profits were 175 million dollars, of which Panama received a pitiful one per cent-less than $2,000,000. In that same year the Empire State Building's net profits were more than $13 million. In 1976 the U.S. rented three military bases in Spain for $20 million a year. But how cheap is the rent on the Canal? Most of Panama's million and a half citizens live in abject poverty, while the world's richest and most powerful national controls her major resource. By ratifying the treaties, the Senate will enable this small nation to help itself rather than to raise the income of the world's richest nation.
So, we should ratify these treatiest not because of any abstract theory of morality but because in simple bread and butter decency terms. It is right, fair and long overdue.
CONCLUSION The Treaties are of course negotiable documents. In negotiation. 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.
Because United States defense and commercial interests are adequately protected and because it is in the enlightened self-interest of the United States and the people of the world, particularly those of Panama, we urge ratification of these treaties.
We see this a felicitious moment in history when moral values coincide with security interests. We must take full advantage of this opportunity.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Senator CASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Gerber
There are just a couple of things that have occurred to me. Your statements seem to make a great deal of sense, and I am not surprised at that at all.
QUOTE FROM GARRY WILLS COLUMN
The quote from Wills that you have in your statement is pretty good:
Those who say we would be capitulating to blackmail by accepting the treaty are like men who say they will not be "blackmailed" by rain clouds into carrying an umbrella. They are not brave; just dumb.
I think that sums up a great deal of the controversy in one short little sentence.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION, TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PANAMA
On a more substantive note, we have, especially since yesterday, gotten a good deal of testimony on the human rights situation in Panama. I wonder if you, with your personal record and your union's record on the matter, would comment on that. Please comment also
on how the treaties and the proposed arrangements under the treaties would affect trade union rights, as you see it, in Panama.
Mr. GERBER. First of all, Senator, we don't stipulate that Panama is the perfect democracy, as we know it. Unfortunately, there are too
few of those in this world. We have to deal with realities. The Panamomanian Government, I think, is fully represented by its present Presi
dent. There will be an election held in 2 years. The Panamanian people will vote on this treaty. There will be a plebiscite on the treaty, and that really is an expression of democracy.
They are free to demonstrate, as we know, by their protestations in the street. Viable political parties do operate in Panama.
I am not at all certain as to whether or not the extent of terrorism that is claimed to exist in fact does exist. I hope it doesn't. Even if it does, it should not deter us from dealing with the Panamanian Government. We deal with governments that we know impose terrorism and jail citizens for dissent. We are for human rights wherever they do not exist, but that should not deter us from reaching a settlement which serves our best national interest.
With respect to the situation concerning Panamanian labor, I must respectfully submit to you, my good friend and distinguished Senator, that there will be a panel of Panamanian labor leaders who will express their personal views on this matter before the day is over. From our information, however, the labor movement in Panama, and the AFL-CIO in particular, is in support of the treaties.
My good friend, Steve Schlossberg, has had personal contact with Panamanian labor leaders. He tells me and tells the committee that they are by and large in support of the treaties.
Senator Case. Then, overall, you would disagree with the main thrust of the argument that these treaties, like other beneficent relationships with the present government, strengthen the forces of terrorism and those opposed to civil and union rights.
Mr. GERBER. I might say, Senator, that I thing this will strengthen the hand of the United States. I think that a treaty which will remove the ugly specter of American colonialism and change the image of America in all of Latin America would considerably strengthen our influence in Latin America, and that needs to be strengthened. The American image has a long way to go to achieve what we think is the proper reflection in many parts of the world, particularly in Latin America. I think it is important from the standpoint of our prestige throughout the world, and particularly in Latin America, that we demonstrate our good faith and good will in our desire to end colonialism by entering into these treaties.
Senator Case. Thank you very much.
FLEXIBILITY OF TREATIES
Senator PEARSON. Mr. Gerber, you stated that you testify as a negotiator, and that is well for our record. But I recall that you indicated that in an agreement such as this, it is not necessary, nor indeed advisable, to dot every “I” and cross every “T”; that to leave vague that which we do not anticipate might be a very good thing and would give us some flexibility:
Did you state that as a general proposition, or are there some provisions within the treaty that you had in mind when you made that observation? If so, would you make specific reference to them?
Mr. GERBER. If I may, I would like to call upon Mr. Schlossberg.
Mr. SCHLOSSBERG. I think Mr. Gerber made that as a general observation, but I think he had particular reference to the provisions of the treaty with respect to the maintenance of neutrality in the canal in the period after the year 2000. It is no secret that there has been quite a bit in the press about different conclusions. The point he was trying to make, I believe, is that as a labor negotiator, it often happens that when a contract-similar in this case to a treaty-is made between parties, a negotiator on either side will try to spread a cloud of dissent. on occasion, or of distrust or of confusion about a particular provision, and also each side tries to sell an agreement to its own constituency on a basis that appeals more to them.
In our experience as negotiators, we have found that it is impossible to note every detail in a treaty and to get every piece of language which will please both sides. We have to understand that there are constituencies on both sides which have to be pleased.
He takes the statement that General Torrijos has made that this treaty will be protected by the "umbrella of the Pentagon” permanently to mean that this is not a real question of confusion, but one which is perhaps being blown out of proportion due to the cable from a man who was in some way connected with the negotiations on the side of the Panamanians.
Senator Pearson. I thank you very much, gentlemen.
UAW MEMBERSHIP REPRESENTED BY PELL
Senator Percy. Mr. Gerber, we do appreciate the appearance of you and Mr. Schlossberg this morning.
You indicated that the position which you have presented was adopt, ed by the leadership, and also that you submitted it to a convention of 3,000 members.
Your total membership is, say, a family of 4.5 million. Do you have any idea at all whether this position represents a large majority of that membership, a narrow majority, or whether it represents a majority at all of that membership?
Mr. GERBER. Senator Percy, I believe when the smoke clears and the facts are laid before our entire membership, away from the emotionalism and false waving of the flag of patriotism, that the membership will have enough faith in its leadership to understand that when the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense, and we hope also the Senate, ratify a treaty, it is in the national interest to support such a treaty.
Our people are not students of international affairs nor are they es. perts in this field. They must rely upon what others tell them. Now ! who are they going to listen to in this situation—to people to whom
they would normally listen and follow when their interests are at stake or to people who have consistently opposed their interests?
I respectfully submit that the most outspoken critics of the Panama Canal treaties have been consistently lined up against the interests of labor from time immemorial. It is just coincidental, perhaps, but I think that generally speaking, those who take an enlightened view of the world also take an enlightened view of this country and would support those things which are in our best interests.
I am confident that our membership, when called upon to respond, will do so.
LABOR LAW REFORM
I might respectfully submit also that within the past few months we have been engaged in other problems which we are trying to overcome. One, of course, was the labor law reform battle, where we were able to get our full membership support in behalf of the position that was finally adopted in the House and which we hope will be adopted in the Senate.
I think, if necessary, that we should rally our members to support those Senators who support the Panama Canal treaties.
UAW MAIL CONCERNING TREATY
Senator PERCY. May I ask how your mail is running? You took action at the international executive board level in 1975 and passed a resolution in your 25th constitutional convention in May 1977.
Following those actions, did you have any significant amount of mail one way or the other on this?
Mr. GERBER. As a matter of fact, we did have some statements from some of our members supporting the Panama Canal treaties, which were published in the last edition of our newspaper. Some of our members who were aware of this did write to us to support the treaties.
We intend to do a much broader job of persuading our members that the support of these treaties is essential to the well-being of this country. We do hope, as a result of our public relations campaign and educational campaign, to rally greater support.
THE WORD "INTERVENER” IS INFLAMMATORY
Senator PERCY. I would like to ask, as Senator Pearson did, a question of you on negotiation.
You have great skill as a negotiator. Indeed, your whole business is negotiation, reconciling differences of opinion and coming up with a conclusion. We have had considerable evidence that differences in interpretation can result from the ambiguous language of the neutrality treaty. We want to be assured of our right to protect the canal, but I agree that the word "intervene" is inflammatory. In a conversation with Ambassador Bunker last night, he pointed out how inflammatory that word is in any country. The implication is for intervention in internal affairs, and we never meant that. No one ever negotiating this treaty ever meant that. But we do want to assure our right to protect the neutrality of the canal, a right wihch has been reaffirmed within recent days by Panama and reasserted by our own executive branch.