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of the United States to entrust that only the Panamanian National Guard (which can barely tame a mob of rioting students) will have the sole defense responsibility. The crucial aspect of deterrence must be maintained, and that can only be accomplished by guaranteeing a continued U.S. military presence in the Canal Zone.
VIOLENCE AND LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS
Two of the central arguments that proponents of the treaties have given for their ratification are: (a) that if we don't give up the canal we will increase the prospects for violence and sabotage from the Panamanians, and, (b) that we will irreparably harm our relations with Latin America. Both are spurious arguments at best.
The United States has been able to adequately defend the canal against sabotage in the past and there is no reason we can't continue to do so in the future. But more importantly, it is the Panamanians who would want to prevent any sabotage since they benefit the most from the Canal. Approximately 13% of Panama's GNP, 20% of its jobs and 3% of its foreign exchange comes from the Canal Zone, none of which the Panamanians are going to want to lose. If there is to be any substantial amount of violence, however, this will largely be the result of the U.S. raising the expectations of the Panamanians to an unrealistic degree and by allowing ourselves to be blackmailed by the threats of violence from Panamanian officials. Frankly, it is quite intolerable that our U.S. negotiators continued bargaining with the Panamanians when these threats were made. No nation should negotiate with another under such circumstances. We should have instead cut off negotiations immediately when such threats were made and told the Panamanians that, until they acted more reasonably, we would never discuss a new treaty.
The real issue we are facing is a decision between the most acceptable and least acceptable risks. Certainly we do run the risk of some violence if we re ject these treaties, however, this risk is much less than taking the chance of one day finding ourselves having to send in Marines to protect the canal from external or internal threats. This risk of violence or sabotage is also far less of a risk than taking the chance of having Panama become a totally communist state or even a pro-communist state (which many argue it already is), firmly allied with Cuba and the U.S.S.R.
Israel's problem with regard to the West Bank serves as an excellent example of confronting a similar "risk” scenario. Many argue that Israel must give up the West Bank to the Palestinians or risk a new war with the Arab powers and continued guerrilla attacks by the PLO. However, Israel considers the prospect of a hostile Palestinian state next to its belly a far greater risk than holding on to the West Bank which is very strategic to Israel's defense. For Israel there are risks either way. Once again, it comes down to what is the most versus the least acceptable risk. When looking at the potential risk of violence from wildeyed Panamanian students, it is certainly far less than the enormous risks the U.S. will be taking in giving up the canal to a Marxist dictatorship while having no guarantees of our right to protect the canal in the future.
There is one final point that should be made regarding the violence argument. If there is any violence because these treaties are rejected by the Senate, the fault for this should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Executive branch. The White House and our negotiators allowed themselves to be blackmailed by the threats of violence and, now, they are using the same tactics to pressure the Senate into ratifying the treaties. Had our government not negotiated such a terribly vague and unreasonable agreement in the first place, the Senate would not have to face such a difficult decision. In essence, the White House has attempted to place the onus of any future violence on those who conscientiously refuse to support such an unacceptable agreement. The White House is simply trying to avoid any political fallout hy "passing the buck" to the Senate.
Perhaps one of the major reasons these treaties are basically unacceptable in the first place, comes as a result of the failrre of the Executive branch to consult and advise the Senate during the negotiations. By totally ignoring the Congress. these treaties were presented as a fait accompli. Obviously, much more acceptable treaties could have been negotiated had the Senate been consulted. The Senate should not allow itself to be used as a "rubber stamp" hp the White House hut, instead. properly exercise its authority by insisting on the best treaty, not a document of capitulation to a cabal of Marxist dictators.
LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS Perhaps the greatest myth promoted by supporters of the treaties is that the Senate's rejection of them will severely harm our relations with other Latin American countries. The support among Latin American nations for these treaties is not nearly as widespread as is believed. Privately, many of our Latin American allies will state that they are extremely worried over the prospect of a Marxist, pro-Cuban government having control of the Canal Zone. One has to remember that many of these nations have been threatened by communist subversion, from both Cuba and the Coviet Union, and they are not terribly excited over having Soviet influence increase, or appear to increase, so dramatically in the Western Hemisphere.
The lack of enthusiasm by our Latin American allies for the Panamanian position was clearly demonstrated by an almost totally unnoticed event that occurred only two months ago. Panama called a conference in Bogota, Columbia on August 5th and invited 25 Latin American nations to attend. This conference was to provide a demonstration of solidarity with Panama's position on the treaties. Only five nations, Columbia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and Venezuela bothered to attend.
In addition, if threats of violence are deemed the best way to get concessions from the U.S., we should expect more unfriendly demonstrations from Latin American countries, rather than improved relations.
In conclusion, it must be understood, as the past has shown us, that Latin American respect for the U.S. goes up when we take a tough stance and goes down when we capitulate. The United States' stock in Latin America went up after the missile crisis of 1962 and the Dominican crisis of 1965, but we suffered a severe loss of prestige after the Bay of Pigs debacle. Ratification of these treaties will only signal to our Latin American allies that the U.S., once again, is capitulating to the Marxist advance in our hemisphere. Ratification will gain us few new friends but will only undermine even further the respect and credibility of the U.S. throughout Latin America.
In summary, these treaties pose graver risks than the United States and any of our Latin American allies acn afford. It is particularly dangerous that we should turn control of the canal over to an oppressive regime that is ideologically aligned with our chief adversaries. Concluding a vague and unreasonable agreement with an irresponsible government is nothing more than a blue-print for disaster. Perhaps the time has come for a new treaty, but not this agreement with this Panamanian government. The American Conservative Union urges the Senate to act accordingly and to vote against the ratification of these treaties.
The CHAIRMAN. I was going to ask some questions, but we are going to have to bring today's hearing to a close.
If I present these questions to you, Mr. Jarmin, would you be will. ing to answer them for the record ?
The CHAIRMAN We would appreciate your doing that, please.
THE AMERICAN CONSERVATION UNION,
Washington, D.C. November 16, 1977. Hon. John SPARKMAN, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. DEAR SENATOR SPARKMAN: Please find enclosed answers to your questions as regards my testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee on October 13th.
I hope you will find the answers to your questions satisfactory. If you would like any additional information, please don't hestiate to contact me. We stand ready to help whenever possible. Sincerely,
Legislative Director, Enclosure.
RESPONSES TO ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD Question 1. Do you oppose these particular Treaties because of the provisions you find objectionable or do you, in reality, oppose any treaty arrangement with Panama which would eventually place Panama in control of the Canal? What changes in the Neutrality Treaty would make the arrangements acceptable to you? Have you not opposed the negotiations themselves before you knew the provisions of the Treaties?
Answer. The American Conservative Union is opposed to any treaty arrangement that relinquishes U.S. operational control and defense of our Canal in Panama. This does not mean, however, that we are opposed any new treaty, one that would be extremely fair and equitable to both the U.S. and Panama. We believe that there are many things that can be or could have been negotiated except the fundamental principle of U.S. retention of operational control and defense of the Canal.
We believe these treaties are not salvageable and, therefore, no matter how many changes are made, the treaties would still remain unacceptable to the ACƯ. However, should the treaties be eventually ratified by the Senate (ACU will make every effort to the contrary) there are a number of absolutely essential changes that should be made in the Neutrality Treaty.
First, Articles I and II are a unilateral declaration of neutrality by Panama alone. This is crucial because it only allows Panama the right to declare what is neutrality and what it considers a violation of neutrality. Should the U.S. consider a certain action a violation of neutrality and want to intervene, we could not, as a legal principle, take such actions if Panama objected ; neutrality (in this treaty) is whatever Panama says it is. Therefore, Articles I and II should read, "The Republic of Panama and the United States of America declare ..."
Second, Article IV is made extremely vague by not containing explicit language guaranteeing the United States the right to intervene to defend the Canal. The Article should be amended accordingly, otherwise we risk the possibility of major conflicts over interpretation down the road conflicts that could well paralyze our (U.S.) ability to defend the Canal from external and internal threats. In addition, the so-called Carter-Torrijos "clarifying" statement of October 14th does not guarantee anything. Current and future Panamanian leaders could easily change their interpretations so long as Article IV remains in its present form. As Representative Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.), ACU Chairman, stated in the New York Times, "Until these oral palliatives are put in ink with signatures on the dotted line, substantial doubt remains and will continue to imperil treaty ratification."
Third, Article V is the most outrageous act of capitulation and should be eliminated. The United States, as I stated in my testimony, should insist on maintaining a military presence in the Canal Zone beyond the year 2000. The key to defense is deterrence. Once U.S. forces are withdrawn, the deterrent is removed and the Canal becomes more vulnerable. If Cuba can send 20,000 troops to invade Angolaa country which has no geo-political, military, or economic significance to Cubathen how much more probable is the prospect of Castro sending his mercenaries to Panama which, of course, is very important to Cuba in every sense. There is absolutely no possibility of the Panamanian National Guard being able to defend the Canal against such an attack.
The more realistic threat, however, is that of a gradual Cubanization of Panama; the Panamanian government is Marxist in character, some members of the Cabinet are outright Communists (Romulo Escobar Bethancourt among them), the G-2, Panama's intelligence-security branch, is copied after the Cubans G-2 security arm, Soviet influence is on the increase, Cuban "advisors" are sprinkled throughout the Panamanian government, etc. We could one day suddenly discover that Panama (already a pro-Marxist, pro-Cuban dictatorship) has gradually transformed itself into a Communist state, allied with the Soviets and Cubans against the United States. It would be absolute folly to withdraw our troops given the leftward drift of the Panamanian government. We have troops and military bases in dozens of countries throughout the world. Why shouldn't we have military forces in Panama ? Panamanian Marxists, of course, want our troops out for one simple reason: they want to continue their “socialist" revolution unhindered by the “menance” of a U.S. military presence. Maintaining a military role might help prevent a communized Panama, while signaling to the democratic, anti-communist opposition that the U.S. is not about to abandon them to such a prospect.
Article V should be scrapped and replaced with an amendment allowing a con. tinued U.S. military presence in Panama (a la Guantanamo) beyond the year 2000.
Fourth, Article VI should include a provision giving the U.S. warships preferential passage in times of war or other international crisis.
Question: Will U.S. warships have to pay tolls to transit the Canal? Apparently, Colombian and Costa Rican ships will not, but the U.S. warships will have to pay tolls. After our enormous investment in the Canal, it would seem only fair that U.S. warships should also be exempt.
Summary.—Perhaps the most subtle, yet most objectionable, aspect of this treaty is the concept of neutrality. Is neutrality a good thing? In times of peace, yes. During war, however, it is much to our disadvantage. Nothing more could guarantee the Panama Canal turning into a war zone than this concept. Without U.S. control, during a major conflict, hostile enemy ships and troops will, undoubtedly, attempt to traverse the Canal. Should the U.S. do nothing to stop these ships then it will be to our detriment. If we attack these ships, then we turn the Canal vicinity into a battle zone. By retaining defense control, i.e., a military presence, both of these scenarios would not likely occur. The principle of neutrality would likely encourage hostile powers to use the Canal during a crisis and, thus, precipitate a conflict which would end up contradicting its very purpose.
Question 2. No one in the military questions the importance of the Canal to our national defense, but the Department of Defense has said that use of the Canal is more important than ownership. Do you disagree with this assessment? Would you oppose any treaty which did not provide for continued U.S. operation of the Canal no matter what provision such a treaty made for the neutrality and defense of the Canal?
Answer. Guaranteed use of the Canal is predicated on control which, in turn, is best assured through ownership. Perhaps the key word is control. With the present treaties we are relinquishing the most important aspects of control : operational and defense.
Operational control is very important for two major reasons. First, we should retain, at the very least, a majority of Americans on the Panama Canal Commission in order that the Canal is operated efficiently and as fairly as in the past. Second, once the Panamanians have complete control of the Canal, we can expect that it will cease to be operated as an international public utility and treated, instead, as an economic resource. On several occasions, including Panama's Foreign Minister's remarks on August 19th, the Panamanians have referred to the Canal as their "economic” salvation. It is clear that the Panamanians see the Canal as their "oil well in the ground"-a means of raising money through, inevitably, increasing the tolls. With this treaty, the Canal will eventually cease to be run on a nonprofit basis. We can, instead, expect it will be used to finance Panama's inefficient and bankrupt socialist schemes which have already put the country in enormous debt to U.S. banks.
Retention of sovereignity provides the only assurance that we will be able to adequately defend the Canal. Even if the U.S. maintained a permanent military presence through lease arrangements (which this treaty does not provide), it would not guarantee that U.S. forces could not one day be kicked out. It happened to us in Turkey and Thailand and could, very easily, happen in Panama. By retaining sovereignty our military presence would always remain secure.
In conclusion, the ACU would oppose any treaty that relinquishes U.S. operational control regardless of whatever neutrality or defense arrangements were made.
Question 3. On page three of your prepared statement, you mention the possibility of a strike closing the Canal should the Treaties not be ratified. Since 74 percent of the workforce of the Canal is Panamanian, do not the Panamanians already have the capability to close the Canal by a strike or by preventing Panamanians from entering the Zone to go to work?
Answer. The Panamanian employees could go on strike, however, their ability to prevent U.S. warships from traversing the Canal in a time of crisis as a result of the strike is next to impossible. All of the key 567 security positions in the Canal are held by U.S. citizens. In addition, the most important jobs such as pilots. lock controllers, etc., are also held by Americans; these would be the key people responsible for moving ships through the Canal. Mr. Tom Constant of the Panama Canal Company informs me that a Panamanian strike today, while
creating significant problems, could not affect the movement of U.S. warships in an emergency.
In my testimony, I was referring to a strike by the Panamanians once they have control of the Canal and, specifically, to a pilot strike. Most of these pilots, plus the other key positions, will be held by Panamanians by the year 2000 and perhaps, even before that time. For international relations purposes, the Panamanian government could possibly condemn such a strike, while clandestinely being its instigator. Any future democratic, anti-communist regime in Panama (should we be so lucky) could find it impossible to prevent a strike by a communist controlled union of pilots. In fact, these unions could easily disrupt Panama's economy to topple a democratic, pro-West government by closing the Canal. This tactic has been used quite effectively in Italy. When the Christian Democrats have control of the city council and mayorship, strikes abound and the economy and government are thrown into disorder. However, when the Communists elect a mayor and dominate the city council, everything, amazingly, goes back to peace and order. No Panamanian leader could long survive, politically, this kind of pressure. In fact, a Panamanian leader, Omar Torrijos, for example, could be forced to move completely to the left and announce he is a Communist because of the enormous effect a Canal strike would have economically and politically. The Panama Canal could very easily end up being used as a political football to topple leaders who do not accommodate themselves to the wishes of communist-dominated unions. Romulo Escobar Bethancourt, Panama's Chief Negotiator, stated on August 19th that Panama could not agree to a provision in the treaties that would keep the Canal open if it was “not earn. ing revenue." One can only imagine what other “reasons” people like Bethancourt (himself a communist) can dream up for not keeping the Canal open.
Question 4. In the event of war, do you think the forces in the Canal Zone would be capable of defending the Canal, or would not the defense of the Canal rest on our ability to head off an attack before the bombers or ships of the enemy could reach the Canal?
Answer. The real question is “Would a hostile enemy dare attack the Canal if American troops were present in Panama ?". The key to defense is deterrence. Once we remove our troops we are inviting an attack on the Canal, plus making it more difficult for us to defend in the event of an invasion.
Ground forces present in Panama will be needed in any case since there is no guarantee that the U.S. could intercept all enemy ships and planes in an attempted invasion; this would be particularly problematic given the Soviets' overwhelming naval superiority vis-a-vis the U.S.
There is also a question as to whether or not the United States would have the will to thwart an invasion. In addition, it may be more likely that Cuban troops could be "invited" into Panama (Angola style) to help put down an uprising by "fascist” conspirators. At the request of the Panamanian government, Cuban troops could also be invited into Panama to help protect the Canal from "imperialist” aggressors whether they be real or imagined. It is not likely the U.S. could prevent such an occurance anymore than we could stop Cuban adventurism in Angola.
All of these scenarios aside, again, the key element in defense is to deter a potential aggressor. There are no substantive reasons why U.S. troops should be removed from Panama, yet there are many crucial reasons why they should remain. Removal of our troops from Panama was an entirely unwarranted act of capitulation by U.S. negotiators—an act that ACU hopes the Senate will have the good sense to correct.
Question 5. Do you find yourself in an unusual alliance since the major groups in Panama opposing the Treaties are the leftist and the communists? Would we not be risking greater influence for Havana and Moscow in Panama and Latin America if we did not ratify the Treaties? Do you think, as indicated by General Taylor and Admiral Zumwalt, that rejection of the Treaties would be reason for rejoicing in Havana and Moscow ?
Answer. There is no such thing as an "alliance" between the opposing forces to the treaties in the U.S. and Panama for a simple reason: the Communists in Panama want the U.S. out sooner than the year 2000, whereas we want the U.S. to stay. We both want a different treaty but we are, obviously, 180 degrees apart on what kind of treaty.
Havana and Moscow already have substantial influence in Panama and will probably have more once the treaties are ratified and the U.S. withdraws. The