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ate I feel sure that good use will be made of the information that you have furnished the committee.
So, we commend you for your statement and for your interest in this most important question. We commend you on your concern for the people of Virginia and those whose jobs would be in danger.
We thank you very much.
Senator CANADA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, Senator Scott.
Senator ALLEN. We are hopeful that we will have another meeting of the committee tomorrow or early next week. We hope to have before us Mr. McCullough, author of the tremendous work entitled "The Path Between the Seas," having to do with the Panama Canal, and also Mr. Bendetsen, past Chairman of the Board of the Panama Canal Company. We hope to have both of these witnesses Friday and if not at that time then at another time convenient to all.
Our committee is open to any representative citizen who wishes to give us the benefit of their views.
We stand in recess subject to the call of the Chair.
PANAMA CANAL TREATY (DISPOSITION OF UNITED STATES TERRITORY)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 1977
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:35 a.m., in room 1114, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. James B. Allen of Alabama (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senator Hatch of Utah.
Staff present: Quentin Crommelin, chief counsel and staff director; Paul Guller, editorial director; Melinda Campbell, chief clerk; and Deirdre Houchins, minority clerk.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN ALLEN
Senator ALLEN. The subcommittee will please come to order.
The Subcommittee on Separation of Powers convenes today to continue its investigation of certain constitutional issues involved in the negotiations conducted by the executive branch for the transfer of U.S. territory and property in the Isthmus of Panama to the Republic of Panama.
Also subject to the investigation of the committee are financial arrangements apparently
concluded outside the context of the proposed Panama Canal Treaties. These extrinsic financial arrangements appear to violate the doctrine of separation of powers inasmuch as they deny to the Senate the right to give advice and consent to all aspects of the new proposed treaty arrangements with Panama. Clearly these separately consummated financial deals are properly a part of the proposed treaties, and the committee is seeking to ascertain the best recommendation to the Senate with respect to these extrinsic multimillion dollar financial agreements concluded by the executive department and the Government of Panama.
So the committee in conducting its review of these two major constitutional issues, has been privileged to hear from a variety of knowledgeable witnesses, both in the relevant areas of constitutional law and with respect to the factual backdrop against which these constitutional matters must be resolved. Today the committee is especially honored to hear the testimony of two highly distinguished individuals, both of whom have particular knowledge regarding certain aspects of the proposed canal treaties.
20-266 O. 78 - 15
I might say that Mr. Bendetsen was supposed to be our first witness this morning. His statement is quite comprehensive and we will there : fore first call on Mr. Torrens to testify inasmuch as his testimony is shorter.
I might say that under the rules of the Senate, we bave a period of 3 hours from the time the Senate went in to conduct our hearing. Inasmuch as we went in at 9 o'clock this morning in the Senate, we have only until 11 o'clock to conclude our testimony,
Capt. K. C. Torrens is National President of the Council of American Master Mariners, Inc. and is, therefore, the recognized national spokesman for the captains of vessels belonging to the U.S. merchant fleet. Captain Torrens' remarks will be important to the committee and to the Senate inasmuch as his remarks will represent the views of a highly skilled and highly responsible group of American citizens who. will be immediately and very directly affected should the Senate consent to ratification of these proposed treaties.
So at this time, Captain Torrens, we would be happy to receive your testimony. We are glad to have you with us.
TESTIMONY OF CAPT. K. C. TORRENS, NATIONAL PRESIDENT,
COUNCIL OF AMERICAN MASTER MARINERS, INC. Captain TORRENS. Thank you, Senator Allen.
Mr. Chairman, the Council of American Master Mariners, Inc., is a professional nonprofit association of shipmasters who now command, or have commanded American flag oceangoing vessels. The stated objectives of the council are to render a public service by voicing, as the need arises, the opinion of distinguished master mariners concerning professional subjects of a common interest to them and of concern to the maritime industry. It is a recognized obligation of the council to take such action as deemed appropriate, to promote the prosperity of the American merchant marine and to endeavor to make it of maximum benefit to the Nation.
Throughout the course of world history seamen in general, and master mariners in particular, have contributed immeasurably to the development of science, culture, and civilization. The great discoveries, lines of communications and commerce of the world have been developed by seamen and by commercial interests who were led, counseled, and directed by master mariners. We, therefore, feel it appropriate to present our views concerning the Panama Canal and the future of this vital waterway.
The main concern of the Council of American Master Mariners is that the Panama Canal be available as an unhindered waterway to all commercial shipping, as has been the policy and practice since the United States opened the canal. Under the existing treaties, the canal has been successfully operated as a service to international maritime traffic on a nonprofit and nondiscriminatory basis. We believe in the concept of a freely available international waterway and oppose any changes that would promote the creation of a profit-producing tollgate concept.
The proposed treaties do not appear to improve in any way the stability or effectiveness of the canal but do raise serious questions as to the future of the waterway.
The Council of American Master Mariners is deeply concerned by the following:
First, the terms of the treaty giving total control of the canal to the Panamanian Government raise the possibility that right of passage and accessibility may be impaired, curtailed, or perhaps even denied as a consequence of local domestic quarrels, internal upheavals, or at the whim of a future administration.
Second, the possibility of lower standards for pilots assigned to navigate large and extremely costly vessels in these restricted waters give rise to concern. The Panama Canal is the only body of water in which a shipmaster relinquishes responsibility for the navigation of his ship to a pilot. We view with anxiety a situation where masters may have to entrust the navigation of their commands to persons of unknown or unproven skills. The present high standards of seamanship and shiphandling have assured all ships safe passage by responsible pilots, carefully selected from experienced officers of the U.S. merchant marine who have proven their competence and skill after rigorous professional qualifying examinations.
Third, we question the assumption that the Republic of Panama can or would adequately protect the canal from sabotage or attack. The statement of understanding issued by President Carter and General
Torrijos Herrera, which purports to clarify the right of the two countries to defend the canal against any aggression states in part:
Under the treaty concerning the permanent neutrality and operation of the Panama Canal-The Neutrality Treaty-Panama and the United States have the responsibility to assure that the Panama Canal will remain open and secure to ships of all nations. The correct interpretation of this principle is that each of the two countries shall in accordance with their respective constitutional processes, defend the canal against any threat to the regime of neutrality, and consequently shall have the right to act against any aggression or threat directed against the canal or against the peaceful transit of vessels through the canal.
This does not mean, nor shall it be interpreted as a right of intervention of the United States in the internal affairs of Panama. Any United States action will be directed at insuring that the canal will remain open, secure, and accessible, and it shall never be directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of Panama.
Do the "Internal Affairs” or the "Political Independence" of Panama include the actions of the many factions, either political or ideological, that might threaten the canal as leverage for their political goals, to gain recognition, or to overthrow the ruling regime? In any such situations, the United States would be in a sensitive position and perhaps powerless to take any protective action within the terms of the Carter-Torrijos Statement.
Four, tolls presently are subject to public review and must be justified as being required to meet operating expenses. It is feared that, under the proposal, we can anticipate escalating tolls to generate revenue beyond the operating expenses of the canal. Future increases may be dictated by the vagaries of local domestic pressures that could price the canal out of economic viability for existing traffic, or tolls could effectively become the means of levying tribute.
Five, we are apprehensive of the limitations of article XII, section 2(b) which prohibits the United States of America from negotiating with third States for the right to construct an interoceanic canal or any other route in the Western Hemisphere, except as the two parties may otherwise agree. These limitations effectively block any effort to
. provide an alternate route to the year 2000.
We recognize that this is an extremely sensitive, complex, controversial, and emotional issue with farreaching implications. We fear that the commitments already made, regardless of how well intended, would solve none of the probỈems of the Panamanian people and have placed the United States in an extremely awkward position. Those problems that exist should be identified and appropriate measures taken to resolve them. The United States should not abrogate the responsibility of providing a freely accessible waterway for international maritime commerce in order to placate the parochial interests of any political group. We suggest that the Panama Canal should be considered in the interests of all the users as an international public utility which, once provided, shall necessarily be continued and should not be permitted to become a profitmaking enterprise for the benefit of any entity.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator ALLEN. Thank you very much. That is a fine statement indeed. Your testimony certainly voices the concerns of the Council of American Master Mariners who obviously have a stake in this matter.
We recognize your concern for American shipping.
Do you see any provisions of the new treaty that would be of benefit to American shipping anywhere at all?
Captain TORRENS. No, sir.
Senator ALLEN. Everything would be stacked against American shipping, wouldn't it?
Captain TORRENS. As I see it, there is nothing there that would improve in any way the situation as it now stands.
Senator ALLEN. Can you think of any good reason why these treaties should be approved by the Senate ?
Captain TORRENS. I cannot.
Senator ALLEN. I noticed that you commented on the agreement entered into between the President and Mr. Torrijos, which by the way has not been signed and is more or less a memorandum of a joint press release, and you suggested that falls short of accomplishing anything. How do you view this supposed agreement ?
Captain TORRENS. I find that the treaty itself is difficult to come by, to study it closely. The wording that I mentioned about the Torrijos agreement was based on what I had seen in the paper. I trust that it is accurate.
But what bothers the council is that it prevents us from doing anything that would interfere in the internal politics of the country. What does that mean in practical effect? This is where I feel some of the greatest danger will lie. Because of disagreements between the local factions the canal could be used as a lever to promote the interests of certain parties. In those cases we would be hard put to see how our sction would not infringe upon that agreement.
Senator ALLEN. In other words, the supposed agreement gives the United States the right to defend against all countries except Panama and they might be the ones that we would need to defend against; isn't that right?
Captain TORRENS. That is right. That is the way I see it.
Senator ALLEN. If any country would endanger our limited control and use of the canal, it might not be another Central or South Ameri