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ever measures necessary, including armed force, to insure the defense of the Canal Zone and the safety of its inhabitants.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we offer no alternatives to the current status of the United States on the Isthmus of Panama except in the area of more financial equity, and, indeed, recognize no need to enter into any further negotiations with the Republic of Panama which would attempt to eliminate or phase out U.S. control of the Canal Zone.
I might add here that I would have coined a few new phrases. AMVETS believes that this canal should be the American canal in Panama and we will refer to it by this name in the future.
Again, and finally, Mr. Chairman, we thank the committee for this opportunity to present our view, and will attempt to answer any questions the members may wish to ask at this time, or we will be happy to respond in writing, for the record.
Senator STONE (presiding). Thank you, Mr. Ruggiero.
Maj. Gen. Milnor Roberts, executive director of the Reserve Officers Association is recognized.
[General Roberts' biography follows:] BIOGRAPHY OF MAJOR GENERAL J. MILNOR ROBERTS, C.S. ARMY RESERVES Major General J. Milnor Roberts, TSAR, became Executive Director of the Reserve Officers Association 1 October 1975. He had served as Chief U.S. Army Reserve from 1 June 1971 until 2 June 1975, after nomination by the President and confirmation, on 5 April 1971, by the United States Senate. Previously he was Deputy Chief Army Reserve and was the first general officer to hold that post.
General Roberts was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Infantry, from ROTC at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., in May 1940. He entered on active duty in January 1942 and served as an instructor at the Ft. Benning Infantry School and at an Infantry Replacement Training Center. Following assignment as Commanding Officer, Company “E”, 88th Glider Infantry, he participated in the landing at Omaha Beach 6 June 1944 as Aide-de-Camp to LTG Leonard T. Gerow, CG, V Corps, Subsequently, he was Assistant Military Government Officer; Executive Officer, Military Government Section; and Assistant Intelligence Officer for V Corps.
After his release from active duty in December 1945, he served with the U.S. Army Reserve's 314th Infantry Regiment first as Intelligence Officer, then Operations Officer, Executive Officer, and Commanding Officer of the 1st Battle Group. He subsequently commanded the Combat Command Section, 79th Command Headquarters (Divisional) following which he was named Mobilization designee to the Office, Chief of Information, Department of the Army. In December 1967 he was appointed first commander of the 99th Army Reserve Command headquartered in Pittsburgh. He was promoted to Brigadier General in May 1968.
General Roberts has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star; the Czechoslovakian Military Cross of 1939; the Bronze Arrowhead for participation in the “D Day" Normandy Invasion; and other U.S. and foreign awards.
A member of ROA since 1946, he has served as an officer of his local chapter and on several national committees. He is Past Commander, Pittsburgh Chapter, Military Order of the World Wars; Past President, Fort Pitt Chapter, Association of the U.S. Army; Past President, Pittsburgh Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter; Past Director, National Advertising Agency Network, and is Vice-President-atlarge, Society of American Military Engineers.
General Roberts is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and a direct descendant of one of General George Washington's commanders at Valley Forge, Colonel Gibson, who lost his life later during the campaign for the Northwest Territories in 1791.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. J. MILNOR ROBERTS, U.S. ARMY RE
SERVE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESERVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Major General ROBERTS. I wish to thank you for the opportunity to testify before your committee in such distinguished company.
The Reserve Officers Association is a professional association of over 107,000 officers of all the armed services, regular and reserve, but primarily consisting of citizens who dedicate extra time and effort to the national defense over a full-time civilian career in your local communities.
RESERVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OPPOSITION Twice in the last 4 years, these reservists have expressed their opposition to any arrangement which would result in diluted control, operation, and defense of the Panama Canal and Canal Zone. We beliere that this particular treaty that is before you today is appeasement in phases which can only whet the appetites of those who would disrupt the peace and freedom of the nations of the Caribbean and Central and South America, as well as disrupt the defense of the United States.
We recognize that the Panamanians are less than happy with the 1903 treaty. It is not hard to see why. The Panama Canal cuts through their country like an interstate highway through your hometown. It is a highly visible barrier and while it is a major source of the Panamanian national income, it is not like Arabian oil or a Chinese port.
We built it and we paid for it three times. We paid off the French Company, the Panamanians and the Colombians. It is ours in any real sense of the word, and the Panamanians have profited greatly from our management of the canal.
The question is therefore one of giving it up or sharing it. The proponents of the treaty ask, why keep the canal! And say that there is no good reason to keep it. We would rather ask, why should we give it up! And we say, there is no good reason to give it up.
EVIDENCE OF VITALITY OF CANAL
We have been told, in essence, that the canal is not vital to our economy or our national defense, and that we cannot defend the canal against a presumed Panamanian Viet Cong. The evidence used to substantiate these allegations is presented in a manner which classcally illustrates the old propaganda trick called "card stacking.”
Much of the evidence is misleading, flimsy, even irrelevant. For example, for what earthy reason would a submarine officer desire to submerge his submarine while in the canal! All warships are rulnerable while in the canal and always have been.
In a more serious vein, it is alleged that we have a two-ocean nary and therefore we do not need the canal. It is also pointed out that very few naval ships have used the canal in recent years and several ships such as the supercarriers and supertankers are too large to use the canal.
In response to this seductive but spurious argument, we point out that we have had a two-ocean navy since the canal was built, a navy which is dependent on the canal for wartime logistical support. Heavy bulk cargoes such as ammunition, fuel, food, and vehicles are used in prodigious amounts in a combat zone. Ninety-six percent of the tonnage that went to Vietnam went by ship, over 70 percent of which went through the Panama Canal. A peacetime force uses less than one-tenth of the wartime tonnage requirements, much of which is procured locally, hence the smaller number of ships.
We also point out that there have been serious discussions of making the Navy a one-ocean Navy because of the high cost of ships which also would be of smaller size.
RISKS AND COSTS OF SOUTH AMERICAN DETOUR
The risks and costs of a 6,000-mile detour around South America in the event of the denial of the canal to U.S. shipping would be devastating to overseas military combat operations, particularly in the Pacific.
First, the increase in mileage would cut the amount of tonnage received in a combat zone by half or require a doubling of the size of the cargo fleet.
Second, the detour itself would increase the vulnerability of the shipping lanes to submarines, commerce raiders, land-based aircraft, and missile-armed fast patrol boats. This, in turn, would require more naval assets to be spent on sea control missions in lieu of missions related to the strategic projection of national power.
The fact that many of the supertankers and supercarriers cannot use the canal is more a liability of the ship than of the canal. We would also point out that a supertanker of 100,000 tons is both a lucrative and vulnerable target for military action.
U.S. AIR BASES IN CANAL ZONE
In addition to the naval and shipping aspects of the Panama Canal, the Canal Zone also features the only U.S. airbases for ready access to Central and South America. These facilities are significant not only for the defense of the canal, but for the defense needs of the southern hemisphere. We may have need for the Panama Zone air facilities that are related to problems in areas outside Panama. At the same time, we may lose the fields themselves or have restrictions on their use resulting from renegotiations of our military presence in the former zone such as has happened in Italy, Libya, and Spain.
CANAL VITAL TO U.S. ECONOMY, NATIONAL DEFENSE On the economic side, we find it hard to believe that the canal is not vital to the national economy at the very time that Alaskan oil is being shipped to a fuel hungry Northeast. We should also note that as much as three-quarters of the shipping of some of the Central and South American nations goes through the canal.
We believe that there can be no doubt that the canal is vital to both our national economy and particularly our national defense. The ad
ministration has used the Joint Chiefs of Staff to present evidence of the .canal's nonessentiality and indefensibility. What you hear from the Joint Chiefs is what the administration wants you to hear and should be viewed as evidence of the discipline and obedience of the Joint Chiefs to their civilian bosses.
The Joint Chiefs tell us that it will take 100,000 U.S. troops, the equivalent of an Army Corps with supporting naval and air forces to defend the canal against a determined guerrilla threat. The annual operating costs of an Army combat division in a Vietnam style war is approximately $1 billion; therefore, the costs of defending the canal, according to the JCS estimate, is approximately $2 or $3 billion a year.
NATURE OF INTERNAL THREAT TO CANAL
We must also examine the nature of the internal threat to the canal. By internal we mean from Panama by largely Panamanian forces. It must be conceded that many of the key ingredients of another Vietnam are there. The high school students form a vocal, articulate, and influential nucleus with widespread popular support. There are outside groups who would be more than happy to fund, train, and equip Panamanian guerrilla forces. There is visible symbol of what some consider colonialism," the canal itself.
One major ingredient is missing, however. It clearly is not in the Panamanian national interest to destroy the canal. Forty percent of the national income comes from the canal. Destruction of the canal would be an unparalleled disaster to the Panamanian economy outrivaling crop failure, drought, or a drop in the price of bananas.
A more likely threat to the canal by Panamanians is a threat of selective interdiction or blockade of American shipping by a threat to the ships in the canal. This threat can be accomplished by relatively conventional land-based forces using short-range combat weapons including tanks, antitank systems, light artillery, and small arms. The size and shape of the zone as a buffer around the canal prevents this type of action short of actual invasion of the zone itself.
Selective interdiction may also be accomplished by guerrilla forces equipped with antitank weapons and special demolitions. This military capability will exist regardless of who runs the canal and must be regarded as a constant threat to guard against. We must take into consideration the fact that, as long as Old Glory flies over the canal in any capacity, there will be those in and out of Panama who will desire to use the threat of closing the canal to achieve political leverage over the United States.
It is against this latter threat that the friendliness of Panama is extremely important. On the other hand, placing Panamanian military forces in close proximity to the canal as a matter of treaty increases the capability of canal interdiction by unfriendly Panamanian interest. World public opinion might cause us to hesitate to move against Panamanian troops blockading the canal if those troops were there by treaty right.
ZONE AS MILITARY BUFFER AREA The Canal Zone, as a military buffer area, is affected the most by the treaty. If the zone is abolished, most of the military installations and
canal facilities under the control of the United States or the U.S. Canal Corporation until the year 2000 will be left in an exposed position. We note that the Canal Zone is unique in the sense that not only is it U.S. territory, an agency of the U.S. Government holds the title to the land. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that no one may own his own home in the zone. All those who live in the zone live in Government-owned housing and are either Panama Canal Company employees or U.S. military personnel and their dependents.
AMERICANS LIVING IN ZONE
Much has been said about the Americans who live in the zone. Proponents of the treaty say that these citizens have caused considerable unrest by their so-called colonial privileges of low-cost stores, housing, et cetera. It is ironic to note that the status of those who live and work in the zone will not change substantially in this regard as they will be covered in a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) like American military and civilian government employees are in places all over the world.
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS OF TREATY We are also concerned over the financial arrangements of the treaty. We note that some $50 million to $70 million will be paid to Panama from the proceeds from the canal. This increase is allegedly to come from an increase in tolls of 30 cents a ton. With ships weighing many thousands of canal tons, the increase in tolls is expected to be substantial. An upper limit on canal tolls is placed in the fact that the tolls must be less than the cost of a trip around the Horn. Since the canal runs at a $7 million defieit, we ask whether the American taxpayer is going to pay directly into the coffers of the Panama Canal Commission that replaces the Panama Canal Company? If such is to be the case, we have a case of a direct payment to Panama using the treasury of the Panama Canal Commission as a laundry conduit.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF INCREASED CANAL TOLLS We should also examine the inflationary impact of increased canal tolls on our own economy, which needs no inflationary pressures, and those of our neighbors to the south who need inflation even less.
Absolute neutrality of the canal, as envisioned by the treaties, is not in the best interests of the United States nor of the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Economically the Panama Canal's customers are substantially different from those of the Suez Canal, being fewer and mostly Americans North and South. Three-quarters of the traffic in the canal is related to U.S. trade, representing 16.8 percent of U.S. waterborne commerce. While the tonnage may be less for Latin American trade, the percentages are higher; Panama Canal traffic as a percentage of the national waterborne commerce is 76.8 percent for Nicaragua, 41.3 percent for Peru, 34.3 percent for Chile, and 32.5 percent for Colombia. Clearly Western Hemisphere interests should dominate control of the canal.
Traditionally, the United States through the Monroe Doctrine has overwatched and protected the Western Hemisphere from outside