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During his 1976 campaign, President, then candidate, Jimmy Carter, stated unequivocally:
"I would never give up complete control or practical
The proposed treaties would immediately extinguish all U.S. control, practical or other. Panama would forthwith become the sovereign, exercising all sovereign power and control. Sovereign power and control are inseparable. If we surrender power as the treaty provides, we lose control.
In effect, we have a management contract at our expense for the next 22 years with the same responsibilities we now have for canal operations but with no control or authority. The latter would be vested in the host country Panama - as it always is. Over that period, we have the privilege of disbursing to them somewhere between $ 70 and $ 80 million per year while underwriting all costs of operation, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation. Over and beyond these amounts, collateral agreements not covered by the treaties for economic aid and other purposes could, over the 22-year span, aggregate as much as $2.2 billion. Panama's population is 1.5 million. This aggregate would approximate nearly $1467 per capita for each Panamanian. On a per capita basis for the United States, this would be the equivalent of a payment of $322 billion. Arguments that technically the United States is not the sovereign, notwithstanding that it now possesses in perpetuity the exclusive right to exercise sovereign power (to the exclusion of the exercise of such power by Panama) are meaningless and border on the absurd. These arguments are neither germane nor sensible. Unless the present power of the United States over the Canal Zone (and therefore over the Canal itself) remains undiminished, the government of the United States would place itself in the untenable position of accepting responsibility without authority. This we must not do. There can be no compromise here. It would not work. It never has whenever it is required to work. The proponents contend that the language in the neutrality treaty which states that the parties will maintain "the regime of neutrality" gives the United States the right of intervention if necessary. These words are similar to those of the Hay-Pauncefort Treaty of 1901 between Great Britain and the United States. No one has ever contended that this gave rise to any British intervention rights. And as noted hereinbefore, Dr. Escobar flatly denies that the words confer on the United States any such rights and he also flatly denies that the United States may decide what would constitute a breach of neutrality. In the premises, the word "neutrality" in
Panamanian eyes would apply to everybody as the treaty. itself states. So that the Soviets or their proxies, the Cubáns, can be provided with naval base facilities at Colon or Panama City or both, and Panama undertakes no obligation not to be "neutral" in favor of Cuba and the U.S.S.R. Soviet naval facilities in Panama were discussed as recently as July 16, 1977 as hereinbefore mentioned, while the Soviet delegation was in Panama to conclude an economic treaty with Panama - naval facilities and a sea-level canal.
The real issue, the real choice, is whether we should stay or leave altogether. The answer should be clear. We cannot leave. We cannot surrender in the face of threats and duress even if there were an explosion if the treaties are not confirmed. But there will also be violence if the treaties are confirmed. The Panamanian radicals, encouraged by Escobar, promise this already. United States influence in this vital area is seriously impaired by the extension of Communist power and influence outward from Cuba and by our past defeats and retreats. The western world and our allies in the far east already doubt our resolve and will to defend ourselves. And too, perhaps, do the Soviets. There is ample room to deal fairly and equitably with other but much less important problems on the Isthmus without these treaties.
KARL R. BENDETSEN 2918 GARFIELD TERRACE, N. W.
WASHINGTON, DC. 20008
November 17, 1977
The Honorable James B. Allen
Dear Senator Allen:
Recently. Omar Torrijos of Panama staged a propaganda show. He offered to resign if this "sacrifice" would sway the U.S. Senate to believe that such action would somehow convert the proposed treaties from a large minus to a discernible plus. He also proposed to "restore" freedom to the censored Panama press. To anyone who is accurately informed concerning the true nature of the Panama government, these gestures, calculated as they are to deceive, would constitute an insult to his intelligence.
Sadly however, the wall of deliberate myth which has been erected around the Marxist government of Panama has obscured from a majority of U.S. citizens, as well as from many of our Senators, a clear perception of the nature of that government. Total power is held behind the scene. It is primarily held by Senors Vasquez, Escobar and Jaén Marxists all. It is they who were instrumental in installing Torrijos after they removed Martinez. The latter was the first dictator who took power upon the ousting of Arnulfo Arias. He is the constitutionally elected President of Panama. He has been exiled by the Marxists but he was elected by the largest majority ever received by a Panamanian president.
If this ruse works to obtain Senate ratification, it will be a pity and another bad day for the United States. Certainly Torrijos or some other dictator would shortly be installed. No freely elected government could be. Free elections in Panama are an impossibility.
And those who possess the power to "restore" or to "return" to the press its freedom will not have yielded the power to extinguish it again. The majority of Panamanians want a freely elected government. There is no way for them to establish one so long as Panama remains in the grip of those who behind the scene possess the power. The majority of Panamanians DO NOT want the U.S. Senate to ratify these treaties. This they do not want because ratification would perpetuate Panama's brutal Marxist dictatorship.
There will be those who ask: "But what about the plebiscite?" Yes, there was a plebiscite and there were observers there. They reported that the voting was free and open. If there was any unseen pressure, one may be certain that it was to get out the vote. Most of the "NO" votes were Escobar's radical students. They want the United States totally ejected at once. They will still want that if the treaties are ratified. Most of the "YES" votes were cast under duress, the duress of a brutal dictatorship and the consequent fear of its reprisals.
PANAMA CANAL TREATY
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1977
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m., in room 1318, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator James B. Allen of Alabama (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senator Hatch of Utah.
Staff present: Quentin Crommelin, Jr., chief counsel and staff director; Dr. James McClellan, professional staff (minority); and Melinda Campbell, chief clerk.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR ALLEN
Senator ALLEN. The subcommittee will come to order.
The Subcommittee on Separation of Powers convenes to continue its investigation of certain constitutional questions 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 in executive agreements made outside the context of the proposed Panama Canal Treaties. These extrinsic financial arrangements also 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.
In conducting its review of these two major constitutional issues, the committee 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 Prof. Raoul Berger of the Harvard Law School and to receive for the record the written testimony of Prof. Charles E. Rice of the Notre Dame School of Law.
Without objection, the testimony of Professor Rice will be inserted in the record at this point. [Material follows:]