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Panama without any compensation whatever of the terminal yards and passenger stations of the Panama Railroad. The last was a clear violation of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty of 1914–22 with Colombia, which gives that country important rights in the use of both the Panama Canal and the Railroad.
The 1955 Treaty completed the withdrawal of the United States from Panama to the boundaries of the Canal Zone but did not alter the basic sovereignty and perpetuity provisions of the 1903 Treaty as regards United States exclusive sovereign control in perpetuity of the Canal enterprise, which includes the Zone.
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN FOSTER DULLES DEFENDS U.S. POSITION
AT PANAMA, 1956
Following the nationalization by Egypt in 1956 of the Suez Canal, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, whose connections with the Panama Canal dated back to World War I, issued an order that no officer of the U.S. Foreign Service, in conversation, speaking or writing, was to equate the status of the Panama Canal with that of the Suez Canal, and that violators would be disciplined (Congressional Record, Vol. III, Pt. 19 (Oct. 5, 1965), p. 25974). That order was the last strong statement by a Secretary of State as regards U.S. sovereignty, over the Canal Zone. Secretary Dulles' successors, less conscious of the realities involved, gradually weakened and the aggressiveness of Panamanian radicals correspondingly increased. No high official of our government spoke out as they should have done. Thus matters took their retrogressive course.
U.S. FORMAL RECOGNITION OF PANAMA TITULAR SOVEREIGNTY LEADS TO HEAVIER
On May 2, 1958, there was an organized mob invasion into the Canal Zone called Operation Sovereignty. Red led Panamanian University students planted 72 Panama flags at various spots in the Zone, including some squarely in front of the Canal Administration Building. Instead of acting promptly to arrest and punish the trespassers, our responsible authorities naively ignored the incidents as youthful pranks. Instead of pranks they were probes of our government's will power to stand up for the just and indispensable rights of the United States at Panama.
Soon afterward, during a July 12-16 visitation in the Canal Zone by Dr. Milton Eisenhower, President Ernesto de la Guardia, Jr., told him that flying the Panama flag in the Zone would promote cooperation. That was a very suave statement.
Following the riots of November 3, 1959, which required the use of the U.S. Army to protect the Canal Zone from mob invasion, Under Secretary of State Livingston T. Merchant visited the Isthmus and, under instructions, publicly announced that the United States recognized Panama's titular sovereignty over the Canal Zone but, quite significantly, did not define that term.
As predicted by me in the Congress at the time that disingenuous action did not beguile Panamanian radicals but simply whetted their appetites for more concessions.
U.S. CONGRESS OPPOSES SURRENDERS AT PANAMA. 1960 Reactions in the Congress were quickly forthcoming. On February 2, 1960, the House of Representatives, by the overwhelming vote of 382 to 12, opposed the formal display of the Panama flag in the Canal Zone in a House Concurrent Resolution but, unfortunately, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations did not act. As a follow up to the resolution, the House, on February 9, unanimously adopted the Gross Amendment to the 1961 Department of Commerce Appropriations Bill prohibiting the use of any funds under that appropriation for the formal display of the flag of Panama in the Zone. The Senate accepted this amendment and it became law.
As early as April 30, 1960, I predicted in an address in the House that soon after the Congress adjourned there would be an order from the President based upon the recommendation of the State Department, authorizing the display of the Panama flag in the Zone.
Later, on June 23, 1960, I addressed the House, stressing the problems that would follow as the result of the hoisting of the Panama flag in the Zone territory and warning the Congress that elements in the State Department were planning to authorize it. Next, on June 30, I wrote Secretary of State Christian A. Herter appraising him of these facts, urging him to clean out the responsible ele
One of the great purposes of United States policy of exclusive sovereign control over the Canal Zone was the avoidance of the never ending conflicts and recriminations that always accompany extra-territorial rights. To speak so bluntly as the gravity of the situation at Panama demands, the State Department in recent years has been dominated by those who timidly accept as valid every major claim of Panamanian radicals for the surrender by the United States of its sovereignty over the canal enterprise and its transfer to Panama. Such action would undoubtedly result in the immediate dominance of the Isthmus including the Canal Zone by Soviet powers against which Panama could not cope.
LONG RANGE PANAMANIAN AIMS
Lest there be some doubt as to the long range aims of the Panama Government as to its objectives, on April 29, 1958, Ambassador Ricardo M. Arias of Panama, in a major address at the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, made this significant revelation : "The foreign policy of my country during the past 50 years has been to exert every effort in order to obtain at least for Panama, conditions similar to those granted to Colombia in January 1903." (Ho. Doc. 474, 89th Congress, p. 23.)
The blackmailing and demogogic revolutionary government of Panama would have the world forget the history of that country: the Panama Revolution under the guaranty of the United States, the reasons for the 1903 Treaty under which the United States constructed and has subsequently operated and defended the Panama Canal, the transformation of Panama from a cesspool of disease and penury into a relatively healthy land of comparative prosperity, and the vast suns provided by our government for canal purposes. The net total of these sums including defense, as of June 30, 1968, was more than $5,000,000,000, all provided by the taxpayers of the United States.
All the facts just enumerated, Mr. Chairman, the present government of Panama would remove from the memory of mankind. The United States can well stand on the record that it has made at Panama in dealing with all of these matters and trust to history for vindication.
Manifestly, Panama cannot eat its cake and have it also. After the United States built the canal and successfully operated it for more than half a century, a fly by night and sanguinary revolutionary government would have our country neglect its duty to its taxpayers and surrender the indispensably necessary protective frame of the Canal to Panama and thus enable that country to expropriate the canal itself and drive us from the Isthmus. The present Revolutionary Government of Panama has been motivated by a complete disregard of historical verities and its policy of truculence and impossible claims has undoubtedly been induced by Soviet assurances, for Soviet experts are already in Panama. This always happens prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations.
WHY NOT SURRENDER TO COLOMBIA RATHER THAN PANAMA?
In response to the officialdom in our government who seem determined to destroy the 1903 Treaty and surrender our just rights, power and authority at Panama, why should not such surrender be made to Colombia, which until November 3, 1903, was the sovereign of the Isthmus instead of Panama ?
Any surrender of the Canal Zone and Canal is unthinkable; but if any surrender should be made it should be to Colombia, of which Panama was once a province, and not to Panama.
SEA LEVEL CANAL-A POLITICAL MOVE
In the light of what has taken place it is interesting to note that Colonel John P. Sheffey, former Executive Director of the recent sea level studies and now of the Office of Interoceanic Canal Negotiations in the Department of State, made the following revealing statements before a gathering of marine scientists on March 4, 1971, at the Smithsonian Institution :
1. That the canal investigation under Public Law 88-609 calling for consideration of the long range Canal program originated with the State Department following the 1964 riots as a means for improving treaty relationships with Panama.
2. That President Nixon had accepted the final 1964 Johnson canal treaty policy.
3. That the main purpose of the sea level proposal was to obtain “better treaty relationships" with Panama.
4. That if such relationships are not obtained the project is not warranted.
5. That the sea level proposal is not justified economically and that it “may never be constructed.”
6. That because of opposition in both the United States and Panama the 1967 draft treaties would not be the basis for future negotiations.
7. That the sea level proposal was recognized as “ecologically dangerous.” 8. That a decision to construct one would be a “political" decision.
Could there be more shocking admissions concerning a subject of such vast importance to the entire world than those just enumerated ? (Congressional Record, March 24, 1971, p. 53879.)
PRESIDENT NIXON ADOPTS THE FINAL JOHNSON POLICY
The latest information on the canal treaty situation is that President Nixon, on the advice of the same appeasement officials in the State Department who advised President Johnson and whom President Nixon in his 1968 campaign had avowed to replace, has established objectives similar to those of his predecessor as modified by events since 1967. This information is that the "renewal of violence in Panama, possibly more extensive than experienced in 1964, might be unavoidable if the treaty objectives considered by the Panamanian people to be reasonable and just are not substantially achieved." This is complete blackmail on the part of the Panama Government, which today is unconstitutional under Panamanian requirements.
Though averring that the United States has "no intention of yielding control and defense of the Canal to the threat of violence,” the State Department view is that it is in United States interest to demonstrate again as in 1967 our "willingness to make adjustments” which do not significantly weaken our rights to control and defend the canal and that it would be difficult for the United States to “justify itself in world forums” in the event it is again forced to “commit" its armed forces against “Panamanian incursion into the Canal Zone." (Background . . ., 1971, op. c.t.) Could there be any more obvious double talk? The United States did not commit its Armed Forces against anybody.
Such statements of policy, Mr. Chairman are an expression of willingness to surrender in advance. What could be more pusillanimous or unrealistic than this State Department pronouncement! No wonder the eyes of the world are watching us at Panama, for upon what we do there could well depend the freedom or the slavery of the world. Shabby sentimentality has no place in the consideration of the problems of the Canal Zone and Panama Canal. Such policy pronouncements as those just cited are about as senseless as those that involved the United States in entering the Korean and Viet Nam war.
Instead of surrendering the Canal Zone to Panama it ought to be extended so as to include the entire drainage area of the Chagres River basin as was first recommended by General Clarence R. Edwards, the Commanding General of U.S. troops on the Isthmus, as the result of World War I experience.
PANAMA NEGOTIATORS DEMAND FULL SOVEREIGNTY OVER CANAL ZONE
In public statement by the Panamanian negotiators just prior to their departure for the United States on June 29, 1971, they said that they would demand full sovereignty over the Canal Zone or that there would be no treaty and that in event of failure to get such sovereignty they would return to Panama and explain matters to their people. In view of the anti-United States frenzy into which the people of that country have been whipped, this constitutes an open threat of violence comparable to that of January 9–12, 1964, which required the use of our Armed Forces to protect the lives of our citizens and the canal itself. Certainly there are few better examples of how appeasement begets blackmail than in the conduct during recent years of our policies at Panama. It must be borne in mind that those who made these threats overthrew by force and violence the Constitutional Government of Panama and are maintaining themselves in power by the same means. Why make treaties with the present Revolutionary Government which would in all likelihood be repudiated when Panama returns to a Constitutional government just as the present government repudiated the proposed 1967 treaties.
The greater part of the turmoil and bitterness that has evolved in Panama has been because Panamanian radicals and demagogs have failed to diagnose realistically the premises on which they base their policies and actions. Unfor
tunately, through continued insistence Panamanian policies now prevailing are not realistic.
Timidity and vacillation on the part of our State Department have served to induce extravagant claims and demands by Panama that have resulted in brain washing our accredited officials who have never emphasized the genesis of Panama and the Canal.
Panama is not a great power and can never be one. It is a small and weak country—the result of a Caesarian operation that was successful because the United States as a great power supported it. While Panama's frequently mentioned geographic position is an asset it is also a great liability because predatory powers covet it. The actual confrontation now occurring is not between the United States and Panama but between the United States and the U.S.S.R. The Soviet takeover of Cuba had, and still has, for its purpose the control of the Panama Canal.
Moreover, Panama at present does not have any Constitutional way to ratify treaties because the Revolutionary Government has abolished the National Assembly of Panama, which is the treaty ratifying agency of the Panamanian Government.
U.S. CONSTITUTION PROTECTS CANAL ZONE
Here I would emphasize the importance of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, that vests the power to dispose of territory and other property of the United States in the Congress, which of course, includes the House of Representatives. This places a high degree of responsibility on the subcommittee, for as in the case of the 1967 proposed treaties and, so far as can be ascertained, at the present time, this wise Constitutional provision is being ignored by our treaty negotiators.
An examination of court decisions will disclose that the Constitutionality of this provision has been upheld many times. One example of our government complying with it was in the 1955 Treaty in which the conveyance of lands and property of the United States to Panama was “subject to the enactment of legislation by the Congress.” (Chapin-Fábrega Treaty of January 25, 1955, Article V.)
PANAMA CANAL IS PART OF THE U.S. COAST LINE
As foreseen by the formulators of our major Isthmian Canal policies of site, type and control, the Panama Canal is a part of the coast line of the United States. Its protection is just as vital to national defense as the protection of Delaware Bay or San Francisco Harbor.
General plans for the major increase of capacity and operational improvements of the existing canal have been developed and are covered in pending legislation but cannot proceed until the sovereignty issue is clarified and our undiluted control and owenrship of the canal and the Canal Zone fully understood and recognized, for the Canal can no more be separated from the Zone than boilers from a steam power plant.
The very moment that we surrender sovereignty over the Zone to Panama as presently planned, Soviet power will take over the Republic of Panama as it did Cuba. In fact, as previously stated, Soviet experts have already arrived in Panama and are advising the University, social security organizations, and labor offices of the Panamanian Government.
Thus, also as previously indicated, the issue is not United States control of the Canal Zone versus Panamanian but continued U.S. sovereignty versus U.S.S.R. domination.
DANGERS OF SURRENDERS
Before any surrender to Panama of sovereignty over the Canal Zone there are many questions that must be answered satisfactorily, among them the following:
Where would Panamanian political leaders flee for asylum to escape assassination such as has frequently occurred for many years?
How could the lives of our citizens and the Canal itself be defended against mob violence without the protective frame of the Canal Zone under the control of the United States?
How could the Canal be efficiently maintained and operated unless the undiluted control of the Zone with all its tremendous facilities remains with the United States?
How could the constant conflicts and recriminations that always feature extraterritoriality be avoided in the event of surrender of Canal Zone sovereignty?
How could the Panama Canal be modernized without further extortions through further treaty negotiations?
Why jeopardize our present treaty rights to modernize the existing canal by “expansion and new construction" abrogating the workable 1903 Treaty?
Why should the United States abandon policies successfully tested in the operation of the existing canal based on provisions of a workable Treaty for a mere option for a new canal sea level design that even its advocates admit may never be constructed ?
Why does the State Department ignore the marine ecological angle involved in constructing a salt water channel between the oceans, which recognized scientists predict would result in infesting the Atlantic with the poisonous Pacific sea snake and the predatory Crown of Thorns starfish that would have international repercussions ?
Is not the Republic of Panama a small and weak country whose independence is assured only so long as the United States remains on the Isthmus?
Is not all the talk by the Revolutionary Government of Panama about the dignity of the fatherland false and demagogic?
Why has it whipped the people of Panama into a frenzy of great expectations which when not realized may result in violence?
What would be the legal complications of ending more than six decades of United States jurisdiction and the Canal Zone Code that has been enacted by the Congress?
Would not such surrender be in violation of the 1950 Panama Canal Reorganization Act (Pub. Law 841, 81st Congress) that placed the canal on a self-sustaining basis?
Would not the surrender of the Canal Zone arouse controversy with Great Britain as violative of the 1901 Hay-Paunceforte Treaty and other large maritime nations that have accepted that treaty?
Would not surrender of the Canal Zone to Panama violate the right of Colombia under the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty of 1914–22 in the Panama Canal and Railroad?
In view of terms of the 1903 Treaty ceding sovereignty over the Canal Zone to the United States how can it be legally surrendered except by the abandonment of the Panama Canal?
Would not such surrender revive the claim of Colombia not only to the Canal Zone and Canal but also to the entire Isthmus?
Should such surrender be made why not make it to Colombia rather than Panama ?
What reason except a determination to acquire the Panama Canal has motivated the U.S.S.R. in the takeover of Cuba, the building of bases there, and operating submarines off both coasts of Latin America ?
Instead of surrendering the Canal Zone to Panama why not extend it to include the entire watershed of the Chagres River?
Would not the cession of U.S. sovereignty over the Canal Zone to Panama facilitate the expropriation of the Canal as occurred in Egypt after the surrender of the Suez Canal Zone?
Would not such expropriation be supported by the full might of Soviet power?
Then who would operate and control this great artery of marine transportation and world strategy?
Can you think of a worse blow against the United States short of nuclear attack than the loss of the Panama Canal ?
Would not cession of the Canal Zone constitute a precedent for other nations, emboldened by such surrender to Panama, to challenge our right to Alaska, the Gadsden Purchase, the vast Southwest, Florida and the Louisiana Purchase?
The historic canal policy of the United States is for an American canal, on American soil, for the American people and world shipping as provided by law; and that is the policy that should be followed without any dilution.
PRESENT TASKS BEFORE THE CONGRESS
The present task before the House of Representatives is the transcendent one of clarification and reaffirmation of our sovereign control of the Panama Canal enterprise. The resolutions now pending reflect the views of our best informed Congressional leaders and specially qualified citizens from various parts of the nation. Their adoption will serve notice in the world, especially Soviet rulers,