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I think this is most dangerous. These are the things that I brought to the attention of the President and the State Department. I am sure they knew it as well as I. I think it is most dangerous to whip up this kind of feeling among the natives, because if their government does not produce, I think there will be serious trouble.
While our State Department has said we will never let them take over the Panama Canal, there is only one way to stop it if we have no sovereignty right in the Canal Zone itself, and that is by armed force.
Mr. FASCELL. In either case, it seems that armed force would have to be used if you had that kind of confrontation, regardless of the technical questions.
Mrs. SULLIVAN. It would if they are sovereign in the Canal Zone. It would be much more difficult for us to use force for we would then have to invade their territory. Now we are not invading it, because we are sovereign.
Mr. FASCELL. How would that question be resolved if our troops continued to stay there!
Mrs. SULLIVAN. The troops are all within the Canal Zone itself. None of our bases are in the Republic of Panama. So, we are within our own borders under the treaty that was signed by Panama and the United States in 1903.
Mr. FASCELL. Mr. Morse!
I would like to thank Mrs. Sullivan for her enormous contribution. I was privileged to serve on her subcommittee, and I have observed her work since that time.
I wish you would share with us now the point you made in your letter to the President with reference to the resumption of negotiations. Let me ask a question first.
You indicated that there is not any need for expansion of the Canal until the end of the century. Would it be possible to effect expansion or modification under the present treaty without some new agreement ?
Mrs. SULLIVAN. There is no need to negotiate at all, because we are within our own rights, and have constantly expanded and improved the cause.
Mr. MORSE. Would you summarize the points you made?
Mrs. SULLIVAN. The letter to the President is very short. I wrote it as of May 20.
As you know, I have been associated with matters related to Panama, the Panama Canal, and especially the Canal Zone, since the mid-thirties. For the past 14 years I have been deeply involved in these affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Panama Canal of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. Unfortunately, I was forced to relinquish this important subcommittee chairmanship this year because under the new reorganization of the 92nd Congress, with certain exceptions, no Member may hold more than one subcommittee chairmanship.
As a result of all my years of work and association with Panama, the Canal and the Canal Zone, I have become increasingly convinced that the United States should not surrender its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama. Because of the unsettled and volatile conditions around the world, I feel it would be dangerous for the United States to begin such negotiations at the present time. If these negotiations begin and the Panamanian negotiators overextend their promises to the people of Panama far beyond their ability to deliver, they may reach the point where it would be impossible for them to back down without real trouble. Newspaper reports from Panama state that these negotiations are to begin immediately in the United States. I am not certain whether this is fact or propaganda from Panama.
As I said before, I firmly believe that it is in the best interests of the United States not to cede our jurisdiction or our sovereignty over the Canal Zone to Panama, especially since we have so many recent examples of the confiscations of property by dictatorial governments such as we have seen in Cuba, Chile, Peru, and elsewhere. Once we lose our sovereignty over the Canal Zone, nothing could stop them but armed intervention to protect the Canal.
Then I attached a copy of the insertion of mine in the Record of April 1st, and ended:
I believe, Mr. President, that you will find a majority of the Members of Congress in both Houses in agreement with the expressions contained herein. May I have your thinking on this matter.
Mr. MORSE. In view of the fact that negotiations have gone on and in view of the fact that the Panamanian leadership has been continuing the kind of assertions that have been made, let us assume for the moment the Congress did adopt a resolution such as you and Mr. Flood and others have filed. Is it likely that that would precipitate the kind of violence about which you are apprehensive?
Mrs. SULLIVAN. Were you a Member of Congress when we passed the resolution in the House on flying the Panamanian flag ?
Mr. MORSE. I was in Congress at the time, but I did not hear the debate.
Mrs. SULLIVAN. The resolution had no teeth in it. It was merely an expression of the Congress. I do not believe we had adjourned more than a few days when the President gave the order to fly the Panamainian flag wherever the American flag was flown. He did this on the advice of those he had sent to study the situation.
Flying the flag increased the agitation. As long as I can rememberI am sure as long as any of you can remember—there has been this agitation. It isn't anything recent. It will continue because the leaders in Panama want the Panama Canal, and the income therefrom.
I think some of the thinking of the State Department is that in today's world we have no right to be in this area, because they have said so before our committee, time and time again.
Regardless of what President is in power or what party is in power, the State Department has kept up this barrage of changing the conditions in our treaty with Panama.
Mr. MORSE. Thank you very much.
Mr. FASCELL. I would like to follow up on one question Mr. Morse asked about whether modifications could take place in the present canal. The U.S. point of view is that under the present treaty we could proceed but is it the Panamanian point of view?
Mrs. SULLIVAN. Yes, they know this. It is definite. We have constantly improved the canal. We have widened the Culebra Cut, put up lights—we have done all these things. We reign there and rule there as though we were sovereign. We do not have to consult with them on this.
Mr. FASCELL. Thank you very much, Mrs. Sullivan.
(From the Congressional Record, April 1, 1971)
A NEW PANAMA CANAL TREATY AT WHAT PRICE? Hon. LEONOR K. SULLIVAN OF MISSOURI, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 1971 Mrs. SULLIVAN. Mr. Speaker, it has recently come to my attention that the administration is initiating efforts with certain officials of the Government of the Republic of Panama to reopen treaty negotiations concerning the present canal, a new sea-level canal, and certain other aspects of our relationship with Panama. I regard this activity on the part of the administration at this time to be extremely dangerous and ill advised.
Because of my strong feelings on this matter, Mr. Speaker, I am inserting in the record statement of mine on this subject as I believe it should be brought to the attention of the Members of the Congress.
The statement follows:
“New Panama CANAL TREATIES-POTENTIAL DISASTER FOR THE UNITED STATES
"I am gravely concerned over reports we have received to the effect that the Administration is taking active steps which may result in the reopening of treaty negotiations with the Republic of Panama.
"I have been associated with affairs in the Republic of Panama, and more particularly in the Canal Zone, since the mid-1930's and officially since 1953. As past Chairman of the Subcommittee on Panama Canal, I have worked closely with the Panama Canal Company, the people of Panama, and the people of the Canal Zone. In light of this long association with the affairs of Panama and the Canal Zone, I was amazed and dismayed to learn that the Administration has sent Ambassador Robert B. Anderson to discuss the reopening of negotiations for new treaties with the Provisional Government of General Torrijos. Ambassador Anderson, of course, was the Special Representative who headed the team which negotiated the three treaties with the Republic of Panama between 1964 and 1967.
“It is a fact, Mr. Speaker, that the abortive 1967 treaties never came to fruition and ended on a very negative note. For example, copies of these draft treaties were never made available to the Congress of the United States but apparently were being circulated on the streets of Panama back in 1967. In addition, these proposed treaties evoked loud protest from the people of the United States and, more particularly, from the Congress. Indeed, the House of Representatives in the Ninety-first Congress expressed itself as to the 1967 treaties blunder through the introduction of some 105 resolutions declaring it to be the policy of the House of Representatives and the desire of the people that the United States should maintain its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal Zone. In fact, since 1967, the Provisional Government of Panama itself has made known its objections to the 1967 draft treaties in unmistakable terms.
"From the standpoint of the U.S., there were a number of disabilities inherent in those treaties. They would have, for example, resulted in the United States relinquishing its powers of sovereignty over the Canal and would have operated in such a way that the United States would not be able to control effectively the Panama Canal or provide for its defense in a satisfactory manner. In addition, those treaties contemplated an unrealistic and unreasonable increase in tolls, rates and revenues and did not take into account the constitutional authority of Congress over the disposal of United States property. Also, those treaties would have removed the Canal from the authority of the United States Congress. In this connection, it should be noted that under the 1967 draft treaty relating to the present locks canal, control of the Canal would have passed from the Congress to the nine-man governing authority and the five American members would be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate and responsible tð the Executive, not to the Congress. This arrangement alone would tend to cast the treaties in an unfavorable light with respect to the Congress. May I also call to the attention of the House, the report of the Subcommittee on Panama Canal dated December 1, 1970 which goes into some detail on the 1967 treaty proposals and other subjects concerning the operation of the Panama Canal.
“Aside from the disabilities inherent in these treaties, they are based on a
number of erroneous premises. For example, at the time the 1967 treaties were drafted and negotiated, it was thought that a sea-level canal was economically feasible and could be built by nuclear excavation. It is clear from the AtlanticPacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission Report that nuclear excavation has been eliminated for the foreseeable future. Absent nuclear excavation, it would cost approximately $2.5 to $3 billion (at 1970 estimate cost figures) to construct a new sea-level canal on Route 10, as recommended by the Interoceanic Canal Study Commission. Testimony before our Committee has shown that based on traffic forecasts and the Canal Improvement program, the existing Canal should be able to handle the traffic to the end of the century. At the present time, it seems clear that the Republic of Panama, or anyone else for that matter, cannot premise treaty negotiations on the assumption that Congress will authorize the construction of a new sea-level canal or enact legislation to transfer the existing Canal to any other country.
“If the 1967 proposals were unacceptable to the American people and to the Congress, how much more unacceptable will new treaties be which go even further than the last round of treaties in ceding American jurisdiction and sovereignty in the Canal Zone? For the Government of Panama expressed its dissatisfaction with the 1967 treaties in an August 5, 1970 letter to our Secretary of State and simultaneously released a 32-page document explaining the reasons for rejecting the 1967 draft treaties. In general, this document took an extreme position which, in effect, rejected U.S. control of the Canal, the right of the U.S. to maintain military forces on the isthmus, and rejected the management of the Canal for the benefit of shipping rather than the enrichment of Panama.
"It seems to me that it is entirely improper and incorrect when so many priority problems are facing the country at this time, that we should be pressured into opening up negotiations on new treaties that will once again engender enormous controversy and opposition. Undoubtedly, reopening negotiations on the type of treaties anticipated will result in protest by the American people when they learn the facts.
“The possibility of new treaty negotiations raises several basic questions in my mind:
"1. Why must we enter into treaty negotiations which give every indication of being contrary to the best interests of the United States?
“2. Must we enter into treaty negotiations at this time which can only cause further unrest in both the United States and Panama?
"3. Where has the United States failed in living up to its duties, obligations and commitments as set out in the basic 1903 treaty and its revisions of 1936 and 1955?
"I would be at least a little less apprehensive if someone in the Administration could answer these questions for me."
PANAMA TREATY NEGOTIATIONS JEOPARDIZE AMERICAN RIGHTS
Hon. LEONOR K. SULLIVAN OF MISSOURI, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 1971 Mrs. SULLIVAN. Mr. Speaker, as former chairman for 14 years of the Panama Canal Subcommittee of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, I have been deeply involved in the affairs of the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone,
In recent weeks, the Nixon administration initiated efforts with the Government of the Republic of Panama to reopen treaty negotiations concerning the present Canal and certain other aspects of our relationship with Panama. Because of my deep concern and intimate knowledge of the subjects of these negotiations which I believe would have very serious and adverse effects upon our Government and the situation in the Canal Zone if they are to continue under reported present negotiations, I feel that I must alert the Members of Congress and the public.
Therefore, I am making available certain correspondence and other pertinent material relating to this alarming development and I urge it be given careful and immediate consideration.
On May 20, 1971, I addressed a letter to the President of the United States setting forth my concern about the treaty negotiations, which is as follows:
"MAY 20, 1971. "The PRESIDENT, "The White House, “Washington, D.O.
"MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: As you may know, I have been associated with matters in the Republic of Panama, the Panama Canal and more especially the Canal Zone, since the mid-1930's. For the past fourteen years I have been deeply involved in these affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Panama Canal of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. Unfortunately, I was forced to relinquish this important subcommittee Chairmanship this year because under the new reorganization of the 92d Congress, with certain exceptions, no Member may hold more than one subcommittee chairmanship.
“As a result of all my years of work and associations with Panama, the Canal, and the Canal Zone, I have become increasingly convinced that the United States should not surrender its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama. Because of the unsettled and volatile conditions around the world, I feel that it would be dangerous for the United States to begin such negotiations at the present time.
"If these negotiations begin and the Panamanian negotiators over-extend their promises to the people of Panama far beyond their ability to deliver, they may reach the point where it would be impossible for them to back down without real trouble.
“Newspaper reports from Panama state that these negotiations are to begin immediately in the United States. I am not certain whether this is fact or propaganda from Panama. As I said before, I firmly believe that it is in the best interest of the United States not to cede our jurisdiction or our sovereignty over the Canal Zone to Panama, especially since we have so many recent examples of the confiscations of property by dictatorial governments such as we have seen in Cuba, Chile, Peru and elsewhere. Once we lose our sovereignty over the Canal Zone, nothing could stop them but armed intervention to protect the canal.
“Attached is a copy of an insertion of mine in the April 1, 1971, Congressional Record.
“I believe, Mr. President, that you will find the majority of Members of Congress in both Houses in agreement with the expressions contained herein. May I have your thinking on this matter? “Respectfully submitted,
"LEONOR K. (Mrs. JOHN B.) SULLIVAN,
"Former Chairman, "Panama Canal Subcommittee.
On May 25, 1971, the following acknowledgment was made of my letter to the President:
“THE WHITE HOUSE,
"Washington, D.C., May 25, 1971. "Hon. LEONOR K. SULLIVAN, “House of Representatives, “Washington, D.C.
"DEAR MRS. SULLIVAN: I would like to thank you for your May 20 letter to the President giving him the benefit of your views regarding jurisdiction of the Canal Zone.
“I will be pleased to call these views to the President's attention at the earliest opportunity. "With cordial regards, "Sincerely,
“WILLIAM E. TIMMONS, “Assistant to the President."
1 For text of attached insertion, see p. 46.