« AnteriorContinuar »
that the United States has the will to meet its treaty obligations at Panama and that it will continue to do so and thus serve to regain the public image that our great country has lost through weak and timid policies in recent years, particularly in Latin America. It will open the way for the next great step by the Congress in the evolution of our Isthmian Canal policy—the major modernization of the existing Panama Canal. These two steps together, sovereignty reaffirmation and modernization, should meet the canal situation for many years into the future.
Accordingly, I urge prompt favorable action on the Panama Canal sovereignty resolutions now pending.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to include as part of my testimony, a 1971 Memorial to the Congress by the Committee for Continued U.S. Control of the Panama Canal, which in a brief space supplies the essentials of a highly complicated problem, and a 1971 paper of the Office of Interoceanic Canal Negotiations of the Department of State that clearly outlines the policy for surrender; also the 1971 resolution of the American Legion.
PANAMA CANAL-SOVEREIGNTY AND MODERNIZATION-MEMORIAL TO THE CONGRESS
COMMITTEE FOR CONTINUED U.S. CONTROL OF THE PANAMA CANAL
Panama Canal: Sovereignty and Modernization.
The undersigned, who have studied various aspects of interoceanic canal history and problems, wish to express their views :
(1) The report of the interoceanic canal inquiry, authorized under Public Law 88-609, headed by Robert B. Anderson, recommending construction of a new canal of so-called sea level design in the Republic of Panama, was submitted to the President on December 1, 1970. The proposed canal, initially estimated to cost $2,880,000,000 exclusive of the costs of right of way and inevitable indemnity to Panama, would be 10 miles West of the existing Canal. This recommendation, which hinges upon the surrender to Panama by the United States of all sovereign control over the U.S.-owned Canal Zone, has rendered the entire Canal situation so acute and confused as to require rigorous clarification.
(2) A new angle developed in the course of the sea level inquiry is that of the Panamic biota (fauna and flora), on which subject, a symposium of recognized scientists was held on March 4, 1971 at the Smithsonian Institution. That gathering was overwhelmingly opposed to any sea level project because of the biological dangers to marine life incident to the removal of the fresh water barrier between the Oceans, now provided by Gatun Lake, including in such dangers the infestation of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean with the poisonous yellow-bellied Pacific sea snake (Pelamis platurus).
(3) The construction by the United States of the Panama Canal (1904–1914) was the greatest industrial enterprise in history. Undertaken as a long-range commitment by the United States, in fulfillment of solemn treaty obligations (Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901) as a “mandate for civilization” in an area notorious as the pest hole of the world and as a land of endemic revolution, endless intrigue and governmental instability (Flood, “Panama : Land of Endemic Revolution .” Congressional Record, August 7, 1969 (pp. 22845–22848), the task was accomplished in spite of physical and health conditions that seemed insuperable. Its subsequent management and operation on terms of "entire equality" with tolls that are “just and equitable” have won the praise of the world, particularly countries that use the Canal.
(4) Full sovereign rights, power and authority of the United States over the Canal Zone territory and Canal were acquired by treatv grant in perpetuity from Panama (Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903). In addition to the indemnity paid by the United States to Panama for the necessary sovereignty and jurisdiction, all privately owned land and property in the Zone were purchased by the United States from individual owners; and Colombia, the soverign of the Isthmus before Panama's independence, has recognized the title to the Panama Canal and Railroad as vested “entirely and absolutely” in the United States (Thomson-Urrutia Treaty of 1914–22). The cost of acquiring the Canal Zone, as of March 31, 1964. totalled $144,568,571, making it the most expensive territorial extension in the history of the United States. Because of the vast protective obligations of the United States, the perpetuity provisions in the 1903 treaty assure that Panama
will remain a free and independent country in perpetuity, for these provisions bind the United States as well as Panama.
(5) The gross total investment of our country 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 by the taxpayers of the United States of more than $5,000,000,000; which, if converted into 1971 dollars, would be far greater. Except for the grant by Panama of full sovereign powers over the Zone territory, our Government would never have assumed the grave responsibilities involved in the construction of the Canal and its later operation, maintenance, sanitation, protection and defense.
(6) In 1939, prior to the start of World War II, the Congress authorized, at a cost not to exceed $277,000,000, the construction of a third set of locks known as the Third Locks Project, then hailed as “the largest single current engineering work in the world.” This Project was suspended in May 1942 because of more urgent war needs, and the total expenditures thereon were $76,357,405, mostly on lock site excavations at Gatun and Miraflores, which are still usable. Fortunately, no excavation was started at Pedro Miguel. The program for the enlargement of Gaillard Cut, started in 1959, with correlated channel improvements, was completed in 1970 at a cost of $95,000,000. These two works together represent an expenditure of more than $171,000,000 toward the major modernization of the existing Panama Canal.
(7) As the result of canal operations in the crucial period of World War II, there was developed in the Panama Canal organization the first comprehensive proposal for the major operational improvement and increase of capacity of the Canal as derived from actual marine experience, known as the Terminal Lake Third Locks Plan. This conception included provisions for the following:
(1) Elimination of the bottleneck Pedro Miguel Locks.
(3) Raising the Gatun Lake water level to its optimum height (about 92').
(4) Construction of one set of larger locks.
(5) Creation at the Pacific end of the Canal of a summit-level terminal lake anchorage for use as a traffic reservoir to correspond with the layout at the Atlantic end, which would improve marine operations by eliminating lockage surges in Gaillard Cut, mitigate the effect of fog on Canal capacity, reduce transit time, diminishing the number of accidents, and simplify the
management of the Canal. (8) Competent, experienced engineers have officially reported that all “engineering considerations which are associated with the plan are favorable to it.” Moreover, such a solution :
(1) Enables the maximum utilization of all work so far accomplished on the Panama Canal, including that on the suspended Third Locks Project.
(2) Avoids the danger of disastrous slides.
(3) Provides the best operational canal practicable of achievement with the certainty of success.
(4) Preserves and increases the existing economy of Panama.
(5) Avoids inevitable Panamanian demands for damages that would be involved in the proposed sea level project.
(6) Averts the danger of a potential biological catastrophe with international repercussions that recognized scientists fear might be caused by constructing a salt water channel between the Oceans.
(7) Can be constructed at "comparatively low cost” without the necessity for negotiating a new canal treaty with Panama. (9) All of these facts are elemental considerations from both U.S. national and international viewpoints and cannot be ignored, especially the diplomatic and treaty aspects. In connection with the latter, it should be noted that the original Third Locks Project, being only a modification of the existing Canal, and wholly within the Canal Zone, did not require a new treaty with Panama. Nor, as previously stated, would the Terminal Lake—Third Locks Plan require a new treaty. These are paramount factors in the overall equation.
(10) In contrast, the persistently advocated and strenuously propagandized Sea-Level Project at Panama, initially estimated in 1970 to cost $2,880,000,000, exclusive of the costs of the right of way and indemnity to Panama, has long been a “hardy perennial,” according to former Governor of the Panama Canal, Jay J. Morrow. It seems that no matter how often the impossibility of realizing
any such proposal within practicable limits of cost and time is demonstrated, there will always be someone to argue for it; and this, despite the economic, engineering, operational, environmental and navigational superiority of the Terminal Lake solution. Moreover, any sea-level project, whether in the U.S. Canal Zone territory or elsewhere, will require a new treaty or treaties with the countries involved in order to fix the specific conditions for its construction; and this would involve a huge indemnity and a greatly increased annuity that would have to be added to the cost of construction and reflected in tolls, or be wholly borne by the taxpayers of the United States.
(11) Starting with the 1936–39 Treaty with Panama, there has been a sustained erosion of United States rights, powers and authority on the Isthmus, culminating in the completion, in 1967, of negotiations for three proposed new canal treaties that would :
(1) Surrender United States sovereignty over the Canal Zone to Panama ;
(2) Make that weak, technologically primitive and unstable country a senior partner in the management and defense of the Canal:
(3) Ultimately give to Panama not only the existing Canal, but also any new one constructed in Panama to replace it, all without any compensation whatever and all in derogation of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution. This Clause vests the power to dispose of territory and other property of the United States in the entire Congress (House and Senate) and not in the treaty-making power of our Government (President and Senate)—a Constitutional provision observed in the 1955 Treaty with
Panama. (12) It is clear from the conduct of our Panama Canal policy over many years that policy-making elements within the Department of State, in direct violation of the indicated Constitutional provision, have been, and are yet, engaged in efforts which will have the effect of diluting or even repudiating entirely the sovereign rights, power and authority of the United States with respect to the Canal and of dissipating the vast investment of the United States in the Panama Canal project. Such actions would eventually and inevitably permit the domination of this strategic waterway by a potentially hostile nower that now indirectly controls the Suez Canal. That canal, under such domination, ceased to operate in 1967 with vast consequences of evil to world trade.
(13) Extensive debates in the Congress over the past decade have clarified and narrowed the key canal issues to the following:
(1) Retention by the United States of its undiluted and indispensable sovereign rights, power and authority over the Canal Zone territory and Canal as provided by existing treaties ;
(2) The major modernization of the existing Panama Canal as pro
vided for in the Terminal Lake Proposal. Unfortunately, these efforts have been complicated by the agitation of Panamanian extremists, aided and abetted by irresponsible elements in the United States, aiming at ceding to Panama complete sovereignty over the Canal Zone and, eventually, the ownership of the existing Canal and any future canal in the Zone or in Panama that might be built by the United States to replace it.
(14) In the 1st Session of the 92nd Congress identical bills were introduced in both House and Senate to provide for the major increase of capacity and operational improvement of the existing Panama Canal by modifying the authorized Third Locks Project to embody the principles of the previously mentioned Terminal Lake solution, which competent authorities consider would supply the best operational canal practicable of achievement, and at least cost without treaty involvement.
(15) Starting on January 26, 1971 many Members of Congress have sponsored resolutions expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should maintain and protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal enterprise, including the Canal Zone, and not surrender any of its powers to any other nation or to any international organization in derogation of present treaty provisions.
(16* The Panama Canal is a priceless asset of the United States, essential for interoceanic commerce and Hemispheric security. The recent efforts to wrest its control from the United States trace back to the 1917 Communist Revolution and conform to long range Soviet policy of gaining domination over key water routes as in Cuba, which flanks the Atlantic approach to the Panama Canal, and as was accomplished in the case of the Suez Canal, which the Soviet Union now wishes opened in connection with its naval buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. Thus, the real issue at Panama, dramatized by the Communist take over of strategically located Cuba and Chile, is not United States control versus Panamanian but United States control versus Soviet control. This is the issue that should be debated in the Congress, especially in the Senate. Panama is a small, weak country occuping a strategic geographical position that is the objective of predatory power, requiring the presence of the United States on the Isthmus in the interest of Hemispheric security and international order.
(17) In view of all the foregoing, the undersigned urge prompt action as follows:
(1) Adoption by the House of Representatives of pending Panama Canal sovereignty resolutions and,
(2) Enactment by the Congress of pending measures for the major modernization of the existing Panama Canal. To these ends, we respectfully urge that hearings be promptly held on the indicated measures and that Congressional policy thereon be determined for early prosecution of the vital work of modernizing the Panama Canal, now approaching saturation capacity. Dr. Karl Brandt, Palo Alto, Calif., Economist, Hoover Institute, Stanford, CA.
Former Chairman, President's Council of Economic Advisers. Comdr. Homer Brett, Jr., Chevy Chase, Md., Former Intelligence Officer, Carib
bean Area. Hon. Ellis 0. Briggs, Hanover, N.H., U.S. Ambassador retired and Author. Dr. John C. Briggs, Tampa, Florida, Professor of Biology, University of South
Florida, Tampa. William B. Collier, Santa Barbara, Calif., Business Executive with Engineering
and Naval Experience. Lt. Gen. Pedro del Valle, Annapolis, Maryland, Intelligence Analyst; Former
Commanding General, 1st Marine Div. Herman H. Dinsmore, New York, N.Y., Former Associate Foreign Editor, New
York Times, Editorialist. Dr. Lev E. Dobriansky, Alexandria, Va., Professor of Economics, Georgetown
Univ. Dr. Donald M. Dozer, Sta. Barbara, Calif., Historian, University of Calif., Sta.
Barbara ; Authority on Latin America. Lt. Gen. Ira C. Baker, Washington, D.C., Former Commander-in-Chief, Allied
Air Forces, Mediterranean; Analyst and Commentator on National Security
Questions. K. V. Hoffman, Richmond, Va., Editor and Author. Dr. Walter D. Jacobs, College Park, Md., Professor of Government and Politics,
University of Maryland. Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Lane, McLean, Va., Engineer and Author. Edwin J. B. Lewis, Washington, D.C., Professor of Accounting, George Washing
ton University, Past President, Panama Canal Society of Washington, D.C. Dr. Leonard B. Loeb, Berkely, Calif., Professor of Physics Emeritus, University
of California. William Loeb, Manchester, N.H., Publisher and Author. Lt. Col. Matthew P. McKeon, Springfield, Va., Intelligence Analyst, Editor and
Publisher. Dr. Howard A. Meyerhoff, Tulsa, Okla., Consulting geologist; Formerly Head of
Department of Geology, University of Pennsylvania. Richard B. O'Keefe, Asst. Professor, George Mason College, University of Vir
ginia ; Research Consultant on Panama Canal, The American Legion. Capt. C. H. Schildhauer, Owings Mills, Md., Aviation Executive. V. Adm. T. G. W. Settle, Washington, D.C., Former Commander, Amphibious
Forces, Pacific. Jon P. Speller, New York, N.Y., Author and Editor. Harold Lord Varney, New York, N.Y., President, Committee on Pan American
Policy, New York; Authority on Latin American Policy, Editor.
University of Illinois, Author and Editor.
BACKGROUND ON PANAMA CANAL TREATY NEGOTIATIONS
1. Panama has been discontent with the Treaty of 1903 since its inception and has sought more generous terms with increasing intensity in recent years. Revisions were made in 1936 and 1955. But the most objectionable feature from Panama's viewpoint-US sovereignty over the Canal Zone in perpetuity--remained unchanged. Neither did the increases in payments and other economic benefits for Panama in the two revisions provide what Panama considers to be its fair share.
2. Panama's discontent led to destructive riots along the Canal Zone border in 1958 and 1964. The 1964 upheaval and subsequent criticism of US policy in the OAS, the UN, and in other international forums underscored the timeliness of President Johnson's decision that the reasonable aspirations of Panama could be met in a new treaty that continued to protect vital United States interests. On December 18, 1964, the President stated :
"This Government has completed an intensive review of policy toward the present and the future of the Panama Canal. On the basis of this review, I have reached two decisions.
"First, I have decided that the United States should press forward with Panama and other interested governments, in plans and preparations for a sealevel canal in this area.
"Second, I have decided to propose to the Government of Panama the negotiation of an entirely new treaty on the existing Panama Canal.
"Today we have informed the Government of Panama that we are ready to negotiate a new treaty. In such a treaty we must retain the rights which are necessary for the effective operation and the protection to the Canal, and the administration of the areas that are necessary for these purposes. Such a treaty would replace the Treaty of 1903 and its amendments. It should recognize the sovereignty of Panama. It should provide for its own termination when a sea-level canal comes into operation. It should provide for effective discharge of our common responsibilities for hemispheric defense. Until a new agreement is reached, of course, the present treaties will remain in effect.”
3. The basic US treaty objectives established by President Johnson in 1964 and supported by Presidents Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower were to maintain US control and defense of a canal in Panama while removing to the maximum extent possible all other causes of friction between the two countries. To this end, new treaties were negotiated between 1964 and 1967 which contained the following major provisions (as summarized in the December 1970 final report of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission) :
The first of the proposed treaties, that for the continued operation of the present canal, would have abrogated the Treaty of 1903 and provided for : (a) recognition of Panamanian sovereignty and the sharing of jurisdiction in the canal area, (b) operation of the canal by a joint authority consisting of five United States citizens and four Panamanian citizens, (c) royalty payments to Panama rising from 17 cents to 22 cents per long ton of cargo through the canal, and (d) exclusive possession of the canal by Panama in 1999 if no new canal were constructed or shortly after the opening date of a sea-level canal, but no later than 2009, if one were built.
The second, for a sea-level canal, would have granted the United States an option for 20 years after ratification to start constructing a sea-level canal in Panama, 15 more years for its construction, and United States majority membership in the controlling authority for 60 years after the opening date or until 2067, whichever was earlier. It would have required additional agreements on the location, method of construction, and financial arrangements for a sea-level canal, these matters to be negotiated when the United States decided to execute its option.
The third, for the United States military bases in Panama, would have provided for their continued use by United States forces 5 years beyond the termination date of the proposed treaty for the continued operation of the existing canal. If the US constructed a sea-level canal in Panama, the base rights treaty would have been extended for the duration of the treaty for the new canal.
The Panamanian President did not move to have these treaties ratified. Consequently, no attempt to ratify them was made in the United States.
4. President Nixon has established negotiating objectives similar to those of President Johnson in 1964, modified by developments since 1967. Primary US objectives are continued US control and defense of the existing canal. The rights