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ment in Latin America. In view of the increasingly leftist orientation of the Government of Panama and official support by the Soviet Union of the objectives of the Government of Panama in the current negotiations with the United States, the policy decisions involved are so basic and so vital to U.S. security as to seem almost ridiculous when stated in the form of questions **
* * * just how close can we afford to allow Soviet-trained guerrillas to operate in relation to U.S. territory in yet another Latin American nation? What are the advantages which will accrue to the United States if we relinquish this vital international waterway constructed by the United States to a government aligned with the Soviet Union? Surely it does not require a master diplomat or military tactician to answer these questions.
The hard-line attitude of the present Government of Panama with advance indications they will settle for no less than complete abdication of U.S. jurisdiction means that already our negotiators are standing on less ground than in previous tasks, unless we make it clear that this is not an acceptable basis for talks.
To relinquish this area of immediate influence voluntarily in the hope of somehow appeasing the revolutionary agitators in Panama would, in my opinion, have the directly opposite effect. It would be an open invitation to the Communists to further test us in our back yard with more and more outrageous demands. As we strive to maintain a favorable position in world commerce and a prudent defense posture, it would be disastrous to permit this ocean-to-ocean lane to fall into potentially, if not already, hostile hands.
STATEMENT OF HON. HAROLD R. COLLIER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Chairman, I am grateful to you and to the Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs for this opportunity to testify in support of House Resolution 163, which I introduced on January 29. This measure expresses:
The policy of the House of Representatives and the desire of the people of the United States that the United States maintain its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Panama Canal Zone. and resolves
That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of the United States maintain and protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over said canal and that the U.S. Government in no way forfeit, cede, negotiate, or transfer any of these sovereign rights or jurisdiction to any other sovereign nation or to any international organization.
At this point I want to pay tribute to our esteemed and persistent colleague from Pennsylvania, Representative Daniel J. Flood, who has, for a decade and a half, been warning the American people about the potentially dangerous situation in the Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama. At times he has been a voice crying in the wilderness, but today more than 100 Members of the House have placed their names on resolutions such as the one that I am sponsoring, thus eloquently indicating their concern over the proposed treaty.
While it is true that, under the Constitution of the United States, “The President * *
* shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties," I do not interpret this to mean that Members of the House of Representatives should remain silent on such an important matter as the pending treaty between the United States and the Republic of Panama or other negotiations pertaining to the Panama Canal.
It is absolutely imperative that Members of the House speak out. We who must face the voters every 2 years are closer to the people than are the Members of the other body, only one-third of whom have run for office since 1968.
While a Senator may have been chosen by a majority of the voters of his State, his views on such a topic as the pending treaty may be diametrically opposite to those of the people who voted against him in the election or in his party's primary. It is possible that large numbers of those who supported him in the primary and in the election disagree with him in regard to the treaty. Members of the House have a duty not only to listen to the voices of their constituents, they also have a solemn duty to alert them to what is going on in the Nation's Capital.
Besides, we cannot ignore certain plain words of the Constitution that are particularly gemane to the present discussion. Article IV, section 3, clause 2 provides that,.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Certainly the Canal Zone is territory and the Panama Canal is property, Mr. Chairman.
The idea of constructing a canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is an old one. As far back as 1517, but a few years after the four voyages of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish explorer who was the first white man to simultaneously behold both oceans, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, envisioned the possibility of a waterway that would mingle the waters of the two great seas. Alexander von Humboldt, the German scientist and geographer, who explored Mexico, Central America, and South America from 1799 to 1804, wrote about the practicability of cutting a passage through the Isthmus of Panama.
Another German who was interested was the universal literary genius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. On February 21, 1827, two decades before the United States extended its territory to the Pacific and three-quarters of a centry before we began to build the Panama Canal, Goethe uttered these words, as recorded by his Boswell, Johann Peter Eckermann:
This much is certain. Should a passage be successfully completed in such a way that ships of any size with any type of cargo could sail through the canal from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, positively incalculable results would ensue for the entire civilized and uncivilized world. It would suprise me, however, if the United States failed to seize the opportunity to take hold of such a project. It can be predicted that this youthful nation, with its decided trend to expand westward, shall in thirty or forty years have taken possession of and have populated also the great regions on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. It can further be predicted that important commercial cities will gradually arise along the entire coast of the Pacific Ocean, where nature has already fashioned the safest and most spacious harbors, in order to serve as for
warding centers in the great trade between China, as well as East India, and
While Goethe did not live to see the United States connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean by means of a canal, his prophecies were fulfilled. Before the construction of the Panama Canal, a ship had to travel more than 13,000 miles—more than one-half the circumference of the earth-in order to go from New York City to San Francisco. Utilization of the canal has cut the distance to about 5,200 miles. In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the battleship Oregon took over 2 months to sail from the Pacific to Cuba via Cape Horn.
Mr. Chairman, I want to discuss briefly why I believe the status quo in the Canal Zone should be maintained and why I hope the pending treaty will be rejected by the other body.
My friends in the other party frequently accuse the Republicans of "wanting to go back to the days of William McKinley” and often tell us that we can no longer follow the counsel of Theodore Roosevelt, who advised us to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Certainly I would not want to go back to those days, even if it were possible, but by way of rebuttal I will say that William McKinley knew what to do about Cuba and Theodore Roosevelt knew what to do about Panama. Both of these small nations owe their independence, their very existence as free countries, to the United States of America.
When an uprising occurred in Panama on November 3, 1903, the presence of the warship U.S.S. Nashville at Colon, where it had appeared the day before, prevented Colombian troops from crossing the isthmus to put down the rebellion. When the independence of Panama was proclaimed, the United States was the first nation to recognize the new country.
Under the terms of the treaty of November 18, 1903, which was signed by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and Panama's representative, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, the United States was granted exclusive use, occupation, and control of the Canal Zone, in perpetuity. The United States could exercise all sovereign powers to the entire exclusion of the exercise of sovereign powers by the Republic of Panama.
Panama was to receive $10 million in cash and a $250,000 annuity to begin 9 years after the treaty was ratified. Because of devaluation of the gold dollar, the annuity was increased to $430,000 in 1936. It was further increased to $1,930,000 in 1955 through an appropriation of $1,500,000 from the Department of State. The treaty was proclaimed on February 26, 1904, and the United States formally acquired the Canal Zone on May 4, 1904.
As Panama had been a land of endemic revolution, those who framed the treaty of 1903 insisted that it contain perpetuity, sovereignty, and protective clauses, thus guaranteeing the political stability that was so essential for the future efficient operation of the canal. The United States would never have undertaken to build and subsequently maintain and operate the waterway if it had not been granted complete and perpetual control by the treaty. I would like to mention at this point that Panama has experienced several unconstitutional changes of heads of government since 1930.
What has the Panama Canal cost our Nation? The gross investment for acquisition of government of the Canal Zone, along with construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and police protection of the Panama Canal, offset by recoveries by the Treasury, plus defense of the Panama Canal by the Army, Navy, and Air Force of the United States totals over $5 billion.
The figure of aproximately $2 billion for the gross U.S. investment does not accurately reflect its present value which, conservatively speaking, would be anywhere from 100 percent to 200 percent more than that.
To implement the treaty of 1903 the United States proceeded to acquire outright ownership of all land and other property in the Cana Zone by purchases from the individual owners. The rights exercised by the United States in the Canal Zone are thus derived from both the grant from the Government of the Republic of Panama and purchases from the individual property owners.
While the United States has spent more than $5 billion on the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone, the Republic of Panama has derived considerable in the way of financial and other benefits because of the huge expenditures we have made.
Because of the presence of members of our Armed Forces who are on duty in the Canal Zone, the Republic of Panama is spared the necessity for maintaining an elaborate and costly defense establishment of its own. The dependents of our Armed Forces provide an additional stimulus to the republic's economy because of their purchase of goods and services there. The Army, Navy, and Air Force schools have trained 37,000 Latin Americans since 1946, graduates including most of Panama's 6,500-man National Guard.
More than $161 million was injected into Panama's economy through employment and purchases during 1969. At least partly because of this, Panama has either the third or the fourth highest per capita income in all of Latin America. The isthmian nation has also been a passenger on the foreign aid gravy train, having received $242,300,000 from the various foreign aid programs of the United States during the period 1946 to 1971. Half again as much was spent on interest, as this huge sum had to be borrowed before we could give
Many of the benefits that Panama receives from us cannot be measured in terms of dollars. The U.S. Southern Command, which is stationed in the Canal Zone, frequently transports seriously ill or injured persons from the interior of the republic to the capital or other sites where they can receive proper medical treatment. Our aircraft have flown many missions in support of Panama's relief efforts during floods and major assistance was provided when Panama City suffered from devastating fires.
Before the United States appeared on the scene, the people of Panama suffered from yellow fever, malaria, and the bubonic plague. Due to the efforts of our Government, the Canal Zone area underwent a metamorphosis from one of the worst pestholes in the world to the healthiest spot in all the tropics.
In accordance with the treaty of 1903, the United States continued to enforce sanitary and health ordinances in Panama City and Colon. The treaty of 1955 between the two nations, at the request of Panama, relieved the United States of this responsibility.
What was the result of this transfer of responsibility? Garbage accumulations in the streets of Panama City became the food sources for an unprecedented increase in rats, which are carriers of the bubonic plague and other diseases. The Rodent Control Section of the Municipal Health Board of Panama City trapped 934 rats in a single 8-hour day. The rats averaged over 2 pounds in weight.
The greatest benefit that Panama receives from our presence in the Canal Zone is its continued independence, which can be guaranteed only by our remaining on the isthmus in perpetuity. While it is true that Panama's most important natural resource is its strategic location, it must be recognized that this also constitutes its greatest danger. That danger has been tremendously magnified by the Communist takeovers in Cuba and Chile and communism's increased strength in other Latin American countries.
The fundamental question in the proposed surrender of our sovereignty over the Canal Zone is not whether the United States rather than Panama shall control this strategic area, but whether the United States rather than international communism shall control it.
If Western civilization is to be able to defend itself against Communist aggression, it is absolutely imperative that the United States continue to control, maintain, operate, and protect the Panama Canal. If the United States relinquishes full sovereignty over this strategic waterway, all of the nations of Latin America will inevitably and swiftly go the way of Cuba and Chile.
General Omar Torrijos, the dictator of Panama, has already abolished the national legislature, banned political parties, forbidden political meetings, muzzled the press, and jailed or exiled major political opponents.
If the Vietcong can tie up the United States in Southeast Asia for almost a decade, what is to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the jungles of Latin America under Soviet leadership?
Surrender of the Panama Canal will encourage Communist revolutionary overthrow of constitutional governments not only in other Latin American countries, but it would have a calamitious impact on such other crucially important strategic places as Southeast Asia, Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and southern Africa.
Should the Communists secure complete control of the Suez CanalRed Sea route to the Middle East and Far East, Europe will be confronted with the same situation it faced in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Turks. This forced the Portuguese to seek a new route to India by way of the Cape of Good Hope. A fortunate result of the loss of Constantinople was the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus
do those who advocate the surrender of the Panama Canal anticipate equally happy results!
Mandatory economic sanctions against Rhodesia, which were inspired by the United Nations organization and instituted during the