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ride for the protection and efficiency of the canal. The protection and fficiency of the canal will directly depend upon whether or not the employees believe they are being treated reasonably and in good faith. They do not generally believe that they are.
That concludes the labor section of my testimony.
To my right is Mr. William Drummond, the legislative chairman of the council, who will be glad to answer any political questions that you may have. That would be part of our presentation.
Again, I thank you very much for the opportunity of addressing this committee.
[Mr. Graham's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ALFRED J. Graham, PRESIDENT OF THE CANAL ZONE CENTRAL LABOR UNION AND METAL TRADES COUNCIL, AFL-CIO
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Alfred J. Graham, President of the Canal Zone Central Labor Union and Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO. The CLU-MTC represents 14 local unions in the Canal Zone, affiliated with nine national AFL-CIO unions. We represent the largest organized group of U.S. citizen employees of the Panama Canal Co./Canal Zone Government. We also represent a significant number of non-U.S. citizen employees of the Company/Government.
Our presentation will be in two parts. The first part will cover Employee Privileges and Immunities along with labor provisions written into the Treaty. The first part has been submitted for the record. The second part will be an oral presentation to the Committee, on the Canal Zone, the Government employees working there, and the present and future interests of the United States in the Canal. We are U.S. Government Employee labor representatives. As such, our self-interests cannot overshadow the best interest of the United States in this matter. Our silence and acquiescence to the terms of this Treaty would surely put us in the position of parasites; "trading off" the best interests of the United States for "assurances" that our labor interests will be taken care of. The CLUMTC refuses to take that position. Although, individually, we may differ in our approach to the problems of this Treaty, no CLU-MTC representative has, or will "trade off" the best interests of the United States in this matter.
EMPLOYEE PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES
As written into the new Panama-U.S. Treaty, Employee Privileges and Immunities are for the most part satisfactory provided, of course, that one accepts in good faith these assurances of privileges and immunities given to us by our own government.
We are not satisfied with the lack of Treaty provisions that would solve the dual citizenship problem once and for all.
The Republic of Panama has a Citizenship Law that in our opinion was enacted for the sole purpose of harassing U.S. citizens born to American parents on the Isthmus of Panama. The law states that these Americans are Panamanian Citizens. The high officials of Panama have all indicated that these U.S. Employees will be treated as Panamanian Citizens. We requested that the Treaty stipulate that Panama will surrender all claim of Panamanian Citizenship, in the past and for the duration of the Treaty, on all U.S. Citizens born on the Isthmus of Panama, if the U.S. Citizen makes his or her intention known to the U.S. State Department. This request was denied. If Panama becomes sovereign over the Canal Zone these employees fear that they will be subject to further harassment from the Government of Panama. This apprehension is not without substance, citizens of Panama have no civil rights. At this time, with the Chairman's permission, I would like to present, for the record, the official position of our State Department in respect to these U.S. Citizens, dated March 4, 1975. Their position can be defined in one sentence extracted from this letter.
"Such persons continue to be Citizens of Panama although they may also be United States Citizens and are subject to the laws and regulations of that Country while residing there."
We are not satisfied with the lack of Treaty provisions that would provide for the transfer of employees who do not wish to live or work under the joint administration of the Panama Government. For U.S. Citizens, this benefit is at the option of the new agency, "The Canal Commission", which is composed of that Government. For non-U.S. Citizens this benefit is not provided for at all. Without these provisions, guaranteed before ratification, the Canal Zone will not be efficient, and it will not be secure.
LABOR PROVISIONS IN NEW PANAMA-U.S. TREATY
As a result of the July meeting of the AFL-CIO Panama Canal Committee, I was elected by the Committee and appointed by AFL-CIO President George Meany to be the AFL-CIO labor Advisor to the U.S. Treaty Negotiating Team. I worked with the U.S. Treaty Team on Treaty labor provisions until August 26, 1977. Most of the labor provisions we required are included in the new Treaty. One of the most important labor provisions, Optional Open-Ended Early Retirement, will require legislation. However, we are grateful for the attention President Carter and his staff gave this matter by stipulating that the U.S. Government would sponsor this legislation in the Treaty.
We face other labor problems with DOD. Canal Zone Government operations that will become DOD functions, if the Treaty is ratified, are in danger of losing the Washington, D.C. pay base and Canal Zone leave benefits. Canal Zone teachers, in particular, are left in limbo as to what their entire future employment status will be.
The loss of repatriation rights and leave benefits are other factors now under consideration by the present Company/Government, that may affect as much as 50 percent of the present U.S. work force, prior to the possible ratification of this Treaty. Were the worst of these proposals implemented at least half of the present U.S. work force would be economically forced to remain in the Canal awaiting possible transfer rights that will be administered at the option of the new Canal administrators, "The Canal Commission." The new Canal Treaty addresses itself to this problem. The Canal Zone Governor, the Department of the Army, the Department of State and other agencies affected by this Treaty, have all indicated, and have all gone on record in this hearing or others, that they are opposed to affording transfer of the present employees "at the option of these employees."
There is no mention in this Treaty as to whether or not, the employee who remains working in the Canal, will retain his present benefits cited above. The Treaty uses the phrase, “Conditions will be generally no less favorable.”
This leads the Canal employee to believe that he or she will lose something. The question of course is what. The Treaty makes absolutely no mention of protections for employees who, in good faith, trains someone to take his or her job and then is pressured out of the system by "The Commission" who no longer needs their presence. It makes no mention of protections for employees scattered throughout the work force who cannot or will not live and work under the conditions of this dictatorship.
An employee who is guaranteed an early retirement or job transfer, at his or her own option, throughout the duration of this Treaty, not just those displaced immediately, but all employees, would not be as apprehensive about staying.
Only through these guarantees will the new agency be able to maintain the necessary and willing personnel required to make this "transition" efficient and effective. By a simple Executive Order, these transfer guarantees, can be effected.
We will be seeking labor legislation for the following:
1. Optional open-ended early retirement (15 years, 50 percent, no loss of annuity). A benefit that would greatly support the new agency in the retention of qualified employees through the transition period.
2. Unemployment compensation for non-U.S. employees.
Although, it would appear, except for those important issues cited above. that the Treaty provides sufficient labor protections, we wish to go on record at this time opposing the new Panama-U.S. Treaty. President Meany does not
speak for the affiliated local unions of the CLU-MTC when he supports this treaty.
President Meany's office is not aware, as we are, that the present provisions of this Treaty, by excluding all of the above, will not provide for the protection and efficiency of the Caual. The protection and efficiency of the Canal will directly depend upon whether or not the employees believe that they are being treated reasonably, and in good faith. They do not, generally, believe that they
This concludes the labor section of our testimony.
STATEMENT OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CANAL ZONE CENTRAL LABOR UNION AND METAL TRADES COUNCIL
Contrary to the statements of our negotiators, and others, we believe it an accurate statement when we say that our Executive Branch has decided that it is in the best interest of this Nation to sacrifice the Canal in favor of the continued presence of the multi-billion dollar private foreign investment in Latin America. This action appears to be based on the theory that the turnover of the Canal will somehow appease and stabilize Panama and the rest of Latin America, that a new and more modern relationship will exist once this Treaty has been ratified.
In order to promote this action, it has been necessary for our Executive Branch to reinterpret history and the Constitution of the United States; economically, materially, and militarily support an oppressive, racist dictatorship in the subjugation of the Panamanian people; apart from the Canal assets, expend even further billions in tax funds, and sacrifice the economic base and political freedom of the very non-U.S. and U.S. employees who maintain this Canal. By so doing, this action will destroy the very efficiency and security that this Canal is dependent upon.
We finally believe that the reasons given, by our negotiators for ratifying this Treaty are neither valid nor sound.
PAST HISTORY OF CANAL
There has been much commentary made that the 1903 Treaty was made, not with a Panamanian, but with a Frenchman, Phillip Bunau-varilla, whose only interest was in recovering 40 million dollars promised to the Bankrupt French Canal Company.
Little is mentioned of the fact that prior to entering into this 1903 Treaty, known as the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, the United States had entered into negotiations, and in good faith on our part did ratify the Hay-Herran Treaty with the then dictatorship Government of Columbia. Herran, the dictator's agent, agreed to the terms of this Treaty. But, this dictator was not dealing in good faith with the United States. After his personal agent had made an agreement for 10 million dollars, he decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the Columbian Senate for the sole purpose of rejecting the Hay-Herran Treaty, January 23, 1903, and to set the stage for further monitary negotiations on the matter.
It is interesting to note that the dictatorship of Columbia, in its very deposing of the lawfully elected President of that Country, used this very action as the reason for disbanding the Columbian legislature and thereby establishing himself as the supreme ruler of Columbia. While this thinly masked shakedown was in progress, another of several previous Panamanian breakaway revolutions was set into play.
It was because of this Frenchman that the Panama Junta Government was able to secure 100,000 dollars to support and effect their revolution, and it was because of this help and this man's unique knowledge of the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States that he was appointed their Treaty negotiator. Without his help there could have been no revolution. By offering and effecting a new Treaty with the U.S., this Frenchman secured the independence of Panama. Contrary to statements otherwise on November 2, 1903 the U.S. Warship Nashville did not prevent Columbian troops from landing in Panama.
In fact, they disembarked in full view of this Warship in Colon, Panama. The commanders of these Columbian troops crossed the Isthmus by train, were bribed with 10,000 dollars by the Panama Junta Government, returned to Colon and departed with their troops.
There has been much said of the unfortunate 1964 Panama riots in which 21 Panamanians were killed. These riots are presented, by our own negotiators as an act of nationalism when in fact, for the majority of these rioters, it was a chance to loot, steal and destroy property. They became unmanageable because the Panama Government refused to allow the Panama Guardia National Police to enforce order in the streets of Panama. Little is said of the fact that the majority of the 21 Panamanians killed in these riots died of suffocation in a building in Panama that they themselves, or men like them, set on fire. They were found with their pockets stuffed with stolen monies.
It was not the Canal that was being threatened in 1964 and it is not the Canal that our negotiators are primarily trying to protect with this new Treaty today. It was, and is private foreign investment, and the expulsion of that investment in Panama and the rest of Latin America.
GOODWILL WITH THE PEOPLE OF LATIN AMERICA
Even apart from the allegation that there exists a Corps of Engineer Study, dated February, 1968 recommending that Panama should be ruled by a dictator, there is no doubt, at least in respect to Chili and Panama, that our Government relied upon and supported dictatorships in order to protect private foreign investment in these countries.
It is difficult not to notice that 90 percent of Latin America is composed of dictatorship governments. This Committee was given testimony that "Panama is not a full-blown democracy." It is, however, a full-blown racist dictatorship with a proven record of inefficiency and corruption.
It is the opinion of the CLU-MTC that President Carter's Treaty Signing Ceremony in Washington, D.C. sat democracy in Latin America back 100 years. It amazes us to witness a U.S. President, with a Human Rights Platform gather together the largest group of anti-human rights dictators in Central and South America and honor them by signing a Treaty with another dictator. These dictators do not represent the people of their country, they impose their will by force of arms supplied in many cases by our own Government.
To the people of these countries, the President of the United States is the Champion of human rights and yet, by this one single act, he has repudiated their right to gain back these human rights. In Panama, this Treaty represents the last hope of the people of Panama for a return to a Democratic system of Government. These people will not soon forget that it was the United States that perpetuated this dictatorship.
GOOD FAITH FROM THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Ambassador Bunker and Mr. Linowitz have testified over and over again that the Canal Zone will be turned over to the People of Panama. This is what they label as "Educating" the American voter.
You can be assured that, even apart from the assets of the Canal, multi-billions of U.S. tax monies will not be turned over to the Panamanian "People". As usual with military dictators, the "People" will benefit little or nothing from this Treaty.
The American People" will not benefit from this Treaty. Even the multinational and banking interests will not gain the protections that they are seeking by this Treaty.
The Canal employees are being used as pawns to this Treaty according to a report submitted to our State Department in 1976. Mr. Chairman, you haven't read this report. I would like to submit it into the record of these hearings at this time. The State Deparment denies that this document represents their position, but yet every recommendation made in this report has been implemented. The recommendations given, range from influencing Canal labor and civil groups, with or without their knowledge, reeducating these employees through "manipu lation" of the controlled news media, eliminating interference from the Canal Zone Company/Government, and the assistance of the Panama Government in all of the above. This report even has its own enemies list, of which of course I
am a member. The object of this report is to use Canal Labor and civil groups to help sell this Treaty or to, at least, neutralize these groups.
At this time, Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit into the record, a protest letter dated September 21, 1977, to Congressman Zablocki, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee in which I describe the actors, and actions taken by our own State Department in which to comply with these objectives. Ambassador Jordan, and Mr. Linowitz are knowing principles to these actions at least.
If you still are not convinced that our Executive Branch has misrepresented the true objectives and benefits accrued from this Treaty, let me present several more issues that cannot be disputed.
Our Executive Branch has strongly emphasized that without this Treaty with this particular dictatorship, there will be sabotage in the Canal. They have not told this Committee that it was the dictatorship Government that bombed Canal Zone cars and buildings and that in a written protest letter from our State Department, delivered by Ambassador Jordan, our Government had "positive proof" that Guardia National Officers participated in these bombings. This letter further specifically cautioned against the public disclosure of its contents.
They have not told this Committee that it was this dictatorship Government, substantiated by our own intelligence documentation, that have on a number of occasions planned and participated in riots against the Canal Zone and the U.S. Government.
They have not told this Committee that it is this dictatorship government, through its controlled mass news media, that is pouring out hate against the Canal and the U.S. Government.
They have not told this Committee these substantiated facts because they are engaged in a "seige attitude". They are protected by a presidency that is generally regarded as open and honest. They are not confronted with a hostile U.S. news media, and finally the full damage of their actions cannot be assessed until after this Treaty has been implemented.
In conclusion Mr. Chairman I wish to state as a labor representative that all I seek, if this Treaty is ratified, is that the Canal Employees retain his or her civil rights, as you and I know them, without being economically destroyed. If this position makes me dangerous to our State Department, and they have indicated that they consider me as such, then I strongly insist that there is something fatally wrong with our State Department's position in this matter. If they are allowed to continue in these repressive actions described above, then surely there must be a weakness in our system of Government. Civil Rights is not a conservative issue, nor is our rights in the Canal.
This issue is a non-partisan issue and should be labeled as such. I am dismayed that it is not.
I would be more than happy to answer any questions that this committee wishes to ask. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Graham.
Do the other witnesses have statements to present to the committee? Mr. GRAHAM. Yes, Mr. Chairman. The unions that are here with me are not affiliated with the council. Mr. Rene Lioeanjie is representing the National Maritime Union of America, and Capt. J. R. Williams is representing the Panama Canal Pilots Association.
The CHAIRMAN. I have a copy of the statement of Captain Williams. We have it, and it will be printed in the record.
Captain, do you wish to make a presentation at this time? Or, perhaps you would prefer to just answer our questions. Please take your preference.
Captain WILLIAMS I believe that my statement reads in just about 7 minutes, so I will, with the committee's permission, present it to you. The CHAIRMAN. Very well, please proceed.