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Canal. Secondly, the multibillion dollar investment in the canal and supporting facilities, coupled with the annual annuities and gratuities, plus the additional millions of dollars in the sale of goods and services to the Canal Zone, have enabled the Panamanians to enjoy a standard of living well above that of other Central American nations. To say the least, control of the canal such as the Panamanians envision could, and probably would, result in the extraction of additional wealth from all the nations utilizing the canal. This is no doubt the heart of the objective behind the jurisdictional facade. Thirdly, it has been well stated that while the canal is Panama's greatest national asset, it is also its greatest weakness, being strategically vulnerable and requiring dependence upon U.S. defenses. Economically in peace and strategically in time of war, the Panama Canal is much too important to the security and well-being of this Nation to be frittered away on the uncertainties such as the unpredictable political climate in Panama breeds.
The issue of a new sea-level canal has been brought up in connection with discussions for negotiation of a new treaty respecting the jurisdiction of the present canal. To some, the position of making the abrogation of the 1903 treaty contingent upon the construction and operation of a new sea-level canal might seem appealing and, indeed, quite reasonable. However, this position does not seem to be an alternative nor has the matter ever been that simple. To begin with, jurisdiction over the present canal is the primary objective of Panamanian negotiators even though willingness has been expressed to evaluate other issues if raised by the United States. If jurisdiction, therefore, is the crux of the cause of conflict between the United States and Panama-and it is said to be then there is little cause for elation as to the potential status of the United States in relation to the jurisdictional questions that would certainly arise over any new canal. Any trade off would certainly have to be adverse to the interests of the United States if the present position of the Panamanian negotiators is to be given any credibility whatsoever.
In conclusion, it will undoubtedly be observed that this committee and the House of Representatives have no responsibility relative to treaties and the process of ratification. Technically, that is true. Nonetheless, certain issues of international importance raise such public concern that an expression of the sense of the House of Representatives can be an influential expression of the will of the American people in guiding the other body in its deliberations when a treaty is presented for ratification. More importantly at this time, however, is the fact that such an expression of concern can truly affect the direction that the present negotiations take. In my estimation, the lesson of the Suez Canal alone should be sufficient to subdue any serious notion of giving up U.S. sovereign control over the Canal Zone to a government whose stability is dependent upon only the personal power and prestige of the military dictator. As for the violence that has erupted in Panama from time to time over the jurisdictional issue, it should strengthen our conviction that U.S. control is imperative rather than from the basis of negotiations whose success will only be measured in terms of U.S. concessions.
Mr. Chairman, I urge the subcommittee's favorable disposition of the resolutions now before it.
STATEMENT OF Hon. John Y, McCOLLISTER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee, in the past month I have received numerous letters from not just those in my district—the Second District of Nebraska—but also many from citizens across the country urging me to support legislation which maintains U.S. sovereignty over the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Zone. This is my purpose today.
It is my firm belief that if the United States is to have the right to continue her use of this canal, which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, we must maintain our sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal Zone and the canal itself, for I fear an eventual takeover by those who would like to see our interoceanic commerce halted in the event that we relinquish our present sovereignty and jurisdiction.
This strategic waterway is our link between the two oceans. If we did not have this passageway, our ships—be they merchant, defense or passenger ships, would have to circumnavigate Cape Horn. This trip, depending on the size and speed of the ship, would add an additional 2 to 3 weeks to the ship's journey; whereas, going through the canal takes approximately 7 hours. Consequently, the Panama Canal is vital to our interoceanic commerce.
In Central America, the Panama Canal Zone, which has 56,000 inhabitants who are predominantly American, is completely dependent upon the operation of the canal. Most food and all other material are imported.
There are two operating agencies involved in the zone; the Canal Zone government, which is responsible for police and fire protection, education, social services, and the like, while the Panama Canal Company operates the canal. The zone governor is usually a U.S. Army officer, who is also president of the U.S. Government-owned company,
The 1903 treaty between the United States and the Republic of Panama made it possible for the United States to build and operate the canal. It gave us full sovereign rights to the zone in exchange for $10 million, an annuity of $250,000, and the U.S. guarantee of Panamanian independence.
We have increased this annuity since then. In 1936 the treaty increased the annuity to $430,000, and we withdrew the guarantee of independence at Panama's request. In 1955 we again increased the annuity, this time to $1.93 million.
Aside from these annuities, the canal receives millions of dollars each year from cargo tonnage and tolls. In 1968 tolls amounted to $93.2 million, and in 1969 that figure rose to $96 million. Cargo tonnage rose from 105 million tons to 108 million tons in these years.
The fact that it is the United States who has been directly responsible for 50 percent of the trade going through the canal reinforces my belief that we must maintain the lease and rights to this vital canal.
On July 14, 1971, I cosponsored a resolution that provides for the United States maintaining its indispensabe sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Canal Zone and the Panama Canal. Today I reiterate this desire.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES R. MANN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I appear this morning as a sponsor of House Resolution 563 to urge this committee to report legislation which would maintain sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone.
On December 1, 1970, the Interoceanic Canal Study Commission under Public Law 88–609 submitted to the President a report recommending the construction in Panamanian territory about 10 miles west of the present canal of a new sea-level canal at a cost of $2,880 million exclusive of the cost of the right of way and an inevitable indemnity to Panama. The announced prime purpose of the sea level proposal is to obtain better treaty relationships with Panama and this is in spite of the admitted weakness of the economic justification for such a project. New treaties to authorize such construction, however, hinge upon the surrender by the United States of its sovereign rights, power and authority over the U.S.-owned Canal Zone. The conditions under which a new canal of so-called sea-level design is to be constructed causes me to have serious reservations over the feasibility of such a project. Consequently, on July 27, I introduced legislation which provides that it be the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of the United States should maintain and protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Canal Zone and the Panama Canal and that the U.S. Government should in no way forfeit, cede, negotiate, or transfer any of these sovereign rights, jurisdiction, territory, or property to any other sovereign nation or to any international organization, which rights, sovereignty, and jurisdiction are indispensably necessary for the protection and security of the entire Western Hemisphere including the canal and Panama. This legislation is extremely timely since Panamanian and United States negotiators are trying to arrive at a new set of treaties that, among other benefits, will cede sovereignty over the Canal Zone to Panama and provide for the operation of the canal by a binational authority.
Changes in the Panamanian Government which have resulted from the seizure of power by Brig. Gen. Omar Torrijos Herrera on October 11, 1968, who placed radicals in key positions of power in order to maintain his terrorist regime, cause me to believe that the consequences which would result from ceding control over the Canal Zone at this time would be most grave. General Torrijos, who is no friend of the United States, has ordered a demonstration against the U.S. control of the Canal Zone to mark the third anniversary of his assumption of power. He has promised to stage the demonstration in Fifth of May Plaza and to fill it and the surrounding streets with more than 200,000 supporters. In view of the present political situation in Panama, the surrender by the United States of its sovereign rights, power, and authority over the U.S.-owned Canal Zone would be against the best interest of not only the United States, but also Panama itself and the security of the entire Western Hemisphere.
The investment which this Nation has in the Panama Canal is considerable in terms of energies expended as well as moneys invested. The total investment of the taxpayers of the United States in the Panama Canal enterprise, including its defense, from 1904 through June 30, 1968, was $6,368,009,000. Recoveries during the same period were $1,359,931,421, making a total net investment on the latter date of more than $5 billion. Although the Senate has the power of advice and consent in the making of treaties, article IV, section 3, clause 2 of the Constitution vests the power to dispose of territory and other property of the United States in the Congress. Thus, the people of our country who have invested so heavily in the Panama Canal have a controlling voice, through their elected Representatives in the Congress, in the disposal of their territory and property regardless of what may be provided in any treaty with Panama.
The Panama Canal is one of the key strategic points in the world and a focal point for power politics. Because of its importance to the entire free world, under no circumstances should it fall under the domination of a major foreign power. The only way to prevent that is for the United States to continue its undiluted control.
For the reasons I have outlined above, I recommend prompt and favorable action by this subcommittee on the pending sovereignty resolutions.
STATEMENT OF Hon. Dawson Mathis, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate very much this opportunity to express my views on the status of the Panama Canal Zone.
As a cosponsor of one of the many House resolutions calling for continued U.S. sovereignty over the canal and the Canal Zone, there is little I can add to the language contained in the resolution. It expresses my sentiments as I believe it expresses the views of a vast majority of the American people.
I feel very strongly that it is time for this subcommittee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the entire membership of the House of Representatives to take a positive stand on this issue. Time is of the essence because of the negotiations now underway between the United States and the Republic of Panama.
There can be little doubt in my mind that our country's treaty-based sovereign rights over the Canal Zone and its vast installations are in jeopardy at the bargaining table unless this Congress expresses in no uncertain terms that our Government should maintain these rights. Such action is necessary for the protection and security of the entire Western Hemisphere, including the canal and Panama.
Not only is the Panama Canal vital to our national security, this strategic crossroads of the Western Hemisphere is indispensible for interoceanic commerce. With some 70 percent of Panama Canal traffic originating or terminating in U.S. ports, we cannot afford for this canal to become another Suez Canal.
The American taxpayers' net investment of over $5 billion in the canal cannot be swept under the rug. This sizable investment could never be recovered in the event of Panamanian seizure or abandonment of the United States.
Under article IV, section 3, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the power to dispose of territory or other property of the United States is specifically vested in the Congress. I am hopeful that the House will insist that the United States should in no way forfeit, cede, negotiate, or transfer away any of our sovereign rights, jurisdiction, or territory.
STATEMENT OF Hon. John T. MYERS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF INDIANA As cosponsor of House Resolution 374 pertaining to the status of the Panama Canal Zone, I respectively urge this subcommittee to act favorably on this resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States maintain and protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal Zone.
Since its construction, the Panama Canal has proved its worth time and time again in war and in peace. The United States and the Government of Panama have reopened negotiations on the revision of the 1903 treaty governing the operation and defense of the Panama Canal. The will of the Congress should be clearly expressed on the issue of maintaining U.S. rights to operate and to defend the canal.
While it may be in our interests to demonstrate to the world our willingness to make adjustments in our treaty relationship with Panama, this should in no way entail a weakening of U.S. rights to control and to defend an international waterway that we built in time of great hardship, maintained at great cost, and have defended in times of war.
This Government has an obligation, not only to its own national interest, which is clearly involved in this case, but to all nations to insure the continued efficient operation of the essential international trade route. This nation has the technical ability, the political stability, and the economic resources sufficient to insure that the canal is administered efficiently for the benefit of all nations.
While it may be in our interest to negotiate a treaty whereby Panama assumes authority over civil matters in the Canal Zone, I do not believe that this country should cede its authority over the operation and defense of the Panama Canal.
I have no reason to doubt the stated objectives of the present negotiations; namely, continued U.S. control and defense of the existing canal. Neither do I challenge the administration's expressed willingness to provide greater economic benefits from the canal for Panama and release unneeded land areas. However, we must remember the negotiations are still underway between the United States and Panama and I feel it is most appropriate for the Congress to go on record urging the U.S. negotiators to safeguard our interests and maintain and protect our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal.
STATEMENT OF HON. THOMAS P. O'NEILL, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
UNCHANGING U.S. POLICY TOWARD PANAMA CANAL ZONE
Mr. Chairman, before the Panama Canal was built, President Rutherford Hays, in a message to Congress, announced in 1880: "The