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There is no doubt that the Panama Canal constitutes a vital link in the U.S. defense network and has to remain in our hands.
I, therefore, urge all members of this body to support House Resolution 239.
STATEMENT OF HON. C. W. BILL YOUNG, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate this opportunity to testify in behalf of my resolution, House Resolution 190, and other similar resolutions which call on the United States to retain sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone.
The Treaty of 1903 in which Panama offered the United States terms to build a canal in Panama instead of Nicaragua has been condemned almost every day by the Panamanians. Since 1903, Panama has insisted on more generous terms and benefits, and despite two revisions in 1936 and 1955, Panama still claims that she is not receiving a fair share.
On December 1, 1970, the final report of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission, authorizing a sea-level canal regardless of ecological damage or economic costs, would surrender the United States' sovereign rights and jurisdiction. Panama demands that we sign all of our rights over the canal to her, without regard to her previous commitment and the security of the entire Western Hemisphere. Presently, the United States has sovereignty over the canal and the Canal Zone. This canal, which cost approximately $375 million, has not paid its own way. Now, Congress will be asked to build a new canal, at a cost estimated to be $2.88 billion, a canal whose feasibility remains questionable and over which the United States will have no authority. We must not give away our rights to control and to defend the canal as a condition to building a new one or improving the present one. The possible consequences of signing away these guarantees are severe, and I call on this committee to report favorably a resolution to retain U.S. sovereignty over the Panama Canal.
CONVENTION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SHIP
Concluded November 18, 1903; ratification advised by the Senate February 23, 1904; ratified by President February 25, 1904; ratifications exchanged February 26, 1904; proclaimed February 26, 1904. (U.S. Stats., vol. 33.)
I. Independence of Panama. II. Canal zone.
III. Authority in canal zone.
IV. Subsidiary rights.
XV. Joint commission.
V. Monopoly for construction, etc. | XVIII. Neutrality rules.
VI. Private property.
VII. Panama; Colon; harbors.
VIII. Panama Canal Company and
IX. Ports at entrance of canal.
X. Taxes, etc.
XI. Official dispatches.
XII. Access of employees.
XIII. Importation into zone.
XIX. Free transport.
XX. Cancellation of existing treaties. XXI. Anterior debts, concessions, etc. XXII. Renunciation of rights under concessionary contracts.
XXIII. Protection of canal.
XXIV. Change in governinent, laws, etc.
The United States of America and the Republic of Panama being desirous to insure the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Congress of the United States of America having passed an act approved June 28, 1902, in furtherance of that object, by which the President of the United States is authorized to acquire within a reasonable time the control of the necessary territory of the Republic of Colombia, and the sovereignty of such territory being actually vested in the Republic of Panama, the high contracting parties have resolved for that purpose to conclude a convention and have accordingly appointed as their plenipotentiaries,—
The President of the United States of America, John Hay, Secretary of State, and
The Government of the Republic of Panama, Philippe BunauVarilla, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Panama, thereunto specially empowered by said government, who after communicating with each other their respective full powers, found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following articles:
The United States guarantees and will maintain the independence of the Republic of Panama.
The Republic of Panama grants to the United States in perpetuity the use, occupation and control of a zone of land and land under water for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of said Canal of the width of ten miles extending to the distance of five miles on each side of the center line of the route of the Canal to be constructed; the said zone beginning in the Caribbean Sea three marine miles from mean low water mark and extending to and across the Isthmus of Panama into the Pacific ocean to a distance of three marine miles from mean low water mark with the proviso that the cities of Panama and Colon and the harbors adjacent to said cities, which are included within the boundaries of the zone above described, shall not be included within this grant. The Republic of Panama further grants to the United States in perpetuity the use, occupation and control of any other lands and waters outside of the zone above described which may be necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the said Canal or of any auxiliary canals or other works necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the said enterprise.
The Republic of Panama further grants in like manner to the United States in perpetuity all islands within the limits of the zone above described and in addition thereto the group of small islands in the Bay of Panama, named, Perico, Naos, Culebra and Flamenco.
The Republic of Panama grants to the United States all the rights, power and authority within the zone mentioned and described in Article II of this agreement and within the limits of all auxiliary lands and waters mentioned and described in said Article II which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the sovereign of the territory within which said lands and waters are located to the entire exclusion of the exercise by the Republic of Panama of any such sovereign rights, power or authority.
As rights subsidiary to the above grants the Republic of Panama grants in perpetuity to the United States the right to use the rivers, streams, lakes and other bodies of water within its limits for navigation, the supply of water or water-power or other purposes, so far as the use of said rivers, streams, lakes and bodies of water and the waters thereof may be necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the said Canal.
The Republic of Panama grants to the United States in perpetuity a monopoly for the construction, maintenance and operation of any system of communication by means of canal or railroad across its territory between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific ocean.
The grants herein contained shall in no manner invalidate the titles or rights of private land holders or owners of private property in the said zone or in or to any of the lands or waters granted to the United States by the provisions of any Article of this treaty, nor shall they interfere with the rights of way over the public roads passing through the said zone or over any of the said lands or waters unless said rights of way or private rights shall conflict with rights herein granted to the United States in which case the rights of the United States shall be superior. All damages caused to the owners of private lands or private property of any kind by reason of the grants contained in this treaty or by reason of the operations of the United States, its agents or employees, or by reason of the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the said Canal or of the works of sanitation and protection herein provided for, shall be appraised and settled by a joint Commission appointed by the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Panama, whose decisions as to such damages shall be final and whose awards as to such damages shall be paid solely by the United States. No part of the work on said Canal or the Panama railroad or on any auxiliary works relating thereto and authorized by the terms of this treaty shall be prevented, delayed or impeded by or pending such proceedings to ascertain such damages. The appraisal of said private lands and private property and the assessment of damages to them shall be based upon their value before the date of this convention.
The Republic of Panama grants to the United States within the limits of the cities of Panama and Colon and their adjacent harbors and within the territory adjacent thereto the right to acquire by purchase or by the exercise of the right of eminent domain, any lands, buildings, water rights or other properties necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation and protection of the Canal and of any works of sanitation, such as the collection and disposition of sewage and the distribution of water in the said cities of Panama and Colon, which in the discretion of the United States may be necessary and convenient for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the said Canal and railroad. All such works of sanitation, collection and disposition of sewage and distribution of water in the cities of Panama and Colon shall be made at the expense of the United States, and the Government of the United States, its agents or nominees shall be authorized to impose and collect water rates and sewerage rates which shall be sufficient to provide for the payment of interest and the amortization of the principal of the cost of said works within a period of fifty years and upon the expiration of said term of fifty years the system of sewers and water works shall revert to and become the properties of the cities of Panama and Colon respectively, and the use of the water shall be free to the inhabitants. of Panama and Colon, except to the extent that water rates may be necessary for the operation and maintenance of said system of sewers and water.
The Republic of Panama agrees that the cities of Panama and Colon shall comply in perpetuity with the sanitary ordinances whether of a preventive or curative character prescribed by the United States and