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Mr. WILLIAMS. What does the commission estimate the cost of the new canal to be?
Mr. MAILLIARD. It depends if they can build it by atomic means.
Mr. FASCELL. They decided in their report that they cannot use atomic energy at this time.
Mr. MAILLIARD. At this time, but if that can be done the cost is fairly moderate but if it has to be done by conventional means it is enormous.
Mr. FASCELL. They have a guesstimate in their report.
Mr. WILLIAMS. So how much would it cost to build new locks so that they could accommodate larger ships?
Mr. MAILLIARD. I don't know the figure but much, much more.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Much, much more than three and a half billion or say four and a half billion at today's prices?
Mr. MAILLIARD. Heck, this canal cost us almost $3 billion in 1903. Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes; the 9 or 10 years that it took, $2.9 billion.
Mr. MAILLIARD. You have to clear it out and build it over, new locks.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I am not so sure that is true.
I have no questions. I commend our colleague on his concern and his statement.
It was my privilege to ride a ship through the canal back in World War II and I have been interested and felt that I knew something about it ever since. I felt it would be a definite mistake for our country to lose sovereignty there.
Mr. WILLIAMS. That is exactly the position that I take. If we are ever going to have to change the treaty, the time to make the change would be if we were forced into it. Who knows, some of it might change. They might get back to a democratic form of government in Panama or there might be another coup and maybe three colonels will take over the next time.
In the meantime, the time to give thought to any concessions we may have to make in order to get permission to build a sea-level canal, if that is what we decide we are going to do, that is the time to make the concessions. I would much rather see the concessions made in monetary terms and no loss of sovereignty either on the present canal or the canal that we may be going to build.
Mr. FASCELL. Any other questions?
Thank you very much. We appreciate your coming and testifying and joining us in deliberations on this very vital question.
Mr. FASCELL. The subcommittee stands adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.
(Whereupon, at 3:19 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.)
STATEMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
STATEMENT OF Hon. THOMAS G. ABERNATHY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
Mr. Chairman, as my State of Mississippi is one of the great coastal States located on the Gulf of Mexico, I have long recognized the importance of the Panama Canal to both interoceanic commerce and hemispheric security, and have tried to follow events affecting the status of that vital interoceanic link.
The Panama Canal enterprise consists of two principal parts: the canal itself and the protective strip of territory known as the Canal Zone. Recent proposals to cease sovereignty over the Canal Zone to Panama are about
as sensible as separating a steam locomotive from its tender, and is unthinkable to any realistic person. Instead of talking about surrending the Canal Zone, we ought to be making plans to extend it to include the entire area of the Chagres River drainage basin.
In the early part of this century, the people of our country demanded perpetual sovereignty and ownership of the Canal Zone, and got both in accordance with constitutional requirements. In the present negotiations, we are attempting to secure better treaty relationships by agreeing to give away what is U.S. territory and property under the naive assumption that such a surrender would meet Panamanian aspirations. This is nothing but expressed readiness to submit to blackmail.
While there has been much propaganda about meeting the aspirations of Panama, there are other countries involved in the canal situation: Great Britain, Colombia, and all other nations that use the canal, and we have to pay tolls. It is unrealistic to think only of Panama.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that I reflect the view of the vast majority of the people of our country when I say that they oppose any surrender of our duly acquired rights, power, and authority over the Canal Zone and Panama Canal, which, including defense, represents a net investment of some $6 billion.
STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER S. BARING, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF NEVADA
Mr. Chairman and members of the Inter-American Affairs Subcommittee, I am in support of House Resolution 369 to maintain and protect the rights and jurisdiction of the United States over the Canal Zone and Panama Canal during the treaty negotiations.
I fear that the current strong arm tactics by Panama's Gen. Omar Torrijos, are fanning the fires of hatred against the United States. I also fear that sincere U.S. negotiations with Panamanian officials seem to be headed into oblivion unless voices in Panama are lowered to a tone of peaceful deliberation regarding both the United States and Panama's rights.
I am urging today that this subcommittee report favorably on House Resolution 369 and that the subcommittee further urge Congress to insist that the United States continue to strive for calm and meaningful negotiations toward an equitable agreement on the treaty, but with the United States standing pat on its rights in the Panama Canal Zone, too.
Recent reports to Congress definitely show that the new leftist regime, headed by General Torrijos, is threatening to try to dissolve any such agreement that would continue reciprocal sentiment as to rights of the United States in the Canal Zone.
In fact, there are reports indicated that Panama's revolutionary leader is openly courting both Cuba and the U.S.S.R. in an attempt to force the United States to give in to all of his regime's demands of complete sovereignty by Panama over the canal.
I say that that is a fine thank you that the United States gets for helping a neighboring foreign country with both our money and expertise in constructing and maintaining the canal which is the most profitable mainstay for revenue in the Panamanian Government accounts.
The record of the involvement by the United States in the canal shows payments over the $5 billion mark and, in addition, the United States has had a continuing financial commitment in the Canal Zone area which has resulted in at least $50 million in the form of a gratuity to the Republic of Panama for use of the canal as a shipping passageway.
I have supported the rights of the United States in the Canal Zone in past years for both defense and economic purposes. Today, the United States contributes most of the business through the canal with traffic either originating or terminating in U.S. shipping ports.
Also, in the event of military aggression by another foreign nation against Panama, the U.S. people would help defend Panama and the Canal Zone.
STATEMENT OF Hon. John H. BUCHANAN, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ALABAMA
U.S. SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE PANAMA CANAL Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs. Since the Panama Canal is of great strategic importance to the United States and to the defense and security of the entire western hemisphere, I am gratified that the subcommittee is holding hearings on this subject.
Most of us have never questioned the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the United States over the Panama Canal at the Canal Zone. This authority is firmly grounded in the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903 and our jurisdiction has resulted in, among other things, an aggregate net investment in the canal of over $5 billion.
At this time, however, this sovereignty is being seriously threatened and the Congress has a constitutional obligation to protect the vital interests of the United States in this matter.
The threat to U.S. sovereignty over the canal is a real one and part of its manifestation is now already history. Between 1964 and 1967 a special U.S. team negotiated three abortive treaties with the Republic of Panama. As we are now all aware, these treaties would have resulted in a relinquishing of U.S. sovereignty over the canal and a serious threat to the ability of our country to effectively control the canal or provide for its defense.
As members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs are even more acutely aware, these treaties did not take into account the constitutional authority of the Congress over the disposal of U.S. property. The provision under article IV, section 3, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution specifically vesting in the Congress the power to dispose of territory or other property of the United States was virtually ignored. The treaties would also have removed operation of the canal from the authority of the Congress-placing it under a nine-member commission, with five representatives from the United States.
The 1967 treaties were, furthermore, negotiated on the premises that construction of a new sea-level canal was a pressing need for U.S. interests, economically feasible and could be built by nuclear excavation. It is my understanding that all three of these premises have been brought into serious question by many experts. It is not my intention, however, to engage in a discussion of the merits or feasibility of a second canal. The critical factor is that the supposed U.S. interest in building a second canal was a principal justification for the surrender of U.S. control over the existing Panama Canal in the 1967 treaties. The United States was expected to make serious concessions in order to obtain the needed land and permission to build the second canal. The issue of a second canal is still, furthermore, very much alive.
Fortunately, the 1967 treaties never came to fruition. Word of their contents brought loud cries of protest from the American people and equal indignation on the part of many Members of the Congress. In a December 1970 "Report on Problems Concerning the Panama Canal," the Subcommittee on the Panama Canal of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee expressed strong opposition to ceding U.S. sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Canal Zone. The Ninety-first Congress also saw the introduction of some 105 resolutions declaring it to be the policy of the House of Representatives and the desire of the American people that the United States maintain its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal Zone.
Because of my own deep concern about this matter, I cosponsored such a resolution in the last Congress (H. Res. 594) and again in the 92d Congress (H. Res. 375).
Notwithstanding the failure of these treaties and the above widespread expressions of concern, negotiations are now in progress on a new canal treaty. Events since 1967, furthermore, suggest that there is every reason to expect Panama's demands for U.S. concessions to be even greater.