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the continent as opposed to a sea-level canal might be very, very beneficial in favor of a sea-level canal. Also, economically it is just cheaper to move goods through a sea-level canal. From the point of view of general commerce, the benefits of container vessels, timber, coal, et cetera, are obvious. From the military point of view, the addition of a nuclear task force, an aircraft carrier task force, increased mobility, expansion and defensibleness are all benefits to be perceived. The last benefit is the benefit to our foreign policy.
INTERPRETATION OF TREATIES
Let me just say, Mr. Chairman, that two criticisms have been made. One deals with the treaties. Mr. Dole made a statement about what will be their interpretation.
The United States, our negotiators, this committee, the Senate, the American people, the people of Panama, everybody is going to have an interpretation which suits his own particular needs now and which will suit his particular needs 20 years from now, or 50 years, or 100 years. What will determine our ability to enforce the neutrality treaty, as we understand it, 50 years from now will be the amount of muscle that we have. It is just that simple. It is tragic to say, but it is true, that might makes right when it is a point of interpretation as to what is right. So, we can talk speciously of the different interpretations that are given. They don't mean a hill of beans. What is going to count is who holds the paper 50 years from now and who has the muscle to back up the piece of paper he is reading and the interpretation he wants to give.
TREATY LANGUAGE DEALING WITH SEA-LEVEL CANAL
Another criticism that I hear relates to something I was party toand that is in getting language in the treaty that dealt with the sealevel canal. I want to read that language because it is subject to some very unfortunate misrepresentation. The language is this:
During the duration of this treaty, the United States of America shall not negotiate with third states for the right to construct an inter-oceanic canal on any other route in the Western Hemisphere except as the two parties may otherwise agree.
People are saying that that is a lock-in for us, that we will only be able to build a sea-level canal in Panama. Of course, that is right. But what have we given away by that lock-in!
Let me read further the language of the treaty: No new inter-oceanic canal shall be constructed in the territory of the Republic of Panama during the duration of this treaty, except in accordance with the provisions of this treaty or as the two parties may otherwise agree.
This means that we have said we will not build a canal elsewhere, and when you build a canal in Panama, we are going to be party to it. Now that is a good trade.
What did we give away in the first instance?
We made a study—and here I would like to put up a chart that shows this—we studied here the entire isthmus area going from Mexico to Colombia. We studied 30 possible sites for the location of a new canal. We spent $22 million of good American taxpayers' money to make that determination. We narrowed that down to eight possible sites. Of those eight sites, four are in Panama. So there are now four sites left that deal with the first part of this treaty.
Of those, one of the sites involved a lock-not a sea level-canal. Of the three remaining, one was half in Colombia and half in Panama, so we would still need the agreement of the Panamanians. That brings us down to two sites.
Of the two sites, one is in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and one is in Colombia. Both had excessive amounts of dirt that had to be removed. One of them was only assumed to be effective if we would be able to use nuclear devices.
So, very quickly and clearly we came down to two sites in Panama and the site that was selected is the red line that you see there [indicating), which is exactly 10 miles to the West of the present Panama Canal.
[Senator Gravel's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR MIKE GRAVEL
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you in support of the newly negotiated Panama Canal treaties.
You have already heard from numerous expert witnesses on these two treaties. You have been told of their importance to the continued efficient operation of the canal, of how they preserve the U.S. interest in non-discriminatory access, and of how they provide the surest guarantee that the military significance of the canal will be protected. You also have heard the lasting effect Senate action on these treaties will have on the whole of Latin America, and the role they can play in realizing longstanding and legitimate Panamanian aspirations.
You also doubtless have heard one other reason for ratifying these treaties: Justice. We ought to ratify them because it is right to do so.
I happen to think that's one of the best reasons of all. And I don't accept the label "bleeding heart" that some would try to pin on this conviction. Justice is not, after all, out of fashion. It has always been a characteristic of the noble and the strong not the mean and the weak to set their injustices right.
And there can be no real doubt that the 1903 treaty with Panama fell somewhat short of complete justice. The historical record is unequivocal on that point.
On June 2, 1902, the Congress authorized the President to acquire a specified strip of land and additional rights and territory from Colombia (of which Panama was then a part) for the construction and operation of a ship canal. But when negotiations with Colombia fell apart, President Roosevelt took things more into his own hands and sent gunboats to stand off-shore while the
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Panamanians declared their independence. Only three days later the administration hastily recognized the new republic and immediately set about negotiating a canal treaty with a Frenchman named Philippe Bunau-Varilla, who consistently acted purely in his own self-interest, and who repeatedly engaged in deceit to win approval for actions detrimental to the Panamanian national interest.
What is more, U.S. officials at the time were aware of, and therefore complicitous in, these injustices. President Roosevelt so characterized it himself in 1911 when he stated, "I took the isthmus.
a statement upon which he later elaborated by explaining he took it "because Bunau-Varilla brought it to me on a silver platter."
Having ignored his instructions to consult at all points with the Panamanian government's official delegates, BunauVarilla drafted a treaty which was described at the time by Secretary of State John Hay as "vastly advantageous to the United States" and "not so advantageous to Panama." This document was signed at Hay's home on the evening of November 18, only 15 days after Panama had declared its independence. Not a single Panamanian was present, or had ever even laid eyes on the document. No member of the Panamanian ruling junta spoke or read English.
That same evening Panama's delegates arrived in Washington and attempted to reopen negotiations with the Department of State. They failed. Both the Department and Bunau-Varilla were now intent upon getting the treaty ratified. This they did by suggesting darkly that if Panama did not act with dispatch the Colombians might make a better treaty offer, leading the United States to withdraw its support from the new nation.
Although the Roosevelt administration had no such intention, rumors were abroad in Panama that Colombia might yet try to regain its lost territory, and the government feared for the worst. On November 26 they cabled their willingness to ratify the treaty as soon as it arrived by boat from New York. Six days later, on December 2, they did so after having the 31-page document only 20 hours, and only an English version besides.
Almost from the start, the Panamanians have been dissatisfied with the treaty. This is not hard to understand. Its terms grant to the United States "in perpetuity the use, occupation, and control of a zone of land and land under water for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection" of a canal "of the width of 10 miles." The treaty further
grants to the United States "all the rights, power, and authority within the zone mentioned. . .which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the sovereign. ..to the entire exclusion of the exercise by the Republic of Panama of any such sovereign rights, power or authority." In return for these generous concessions the United States agreed to pay the Republic of Panama $10 million and an annuity during the life of the treaty of $250,000 (raised to $1.9 million in 1955 and subsequently adjusted for inflation in 1971 to $2.3 million).
We must try to put ourselves in the Panamanians' shoes, to see it as they do. The best way I know to do this is to cite an analogy which has great currency in Panama.
It goes like this:
Imagine a strip of land extending 5
Of course, we would not tolerate such a situation within our borders. The Panamanians have no choice. The United States is a superpower and they are one of the world's weakest countries. Our military forces stationed in the Canal Zone are equal in size to Panama's entire National Guard. It is no match at all.
On their side the Panamanians have only logic. They ask us to ratify a new treaty. They point out that total U.S. control over a portion of Panamanian territory is a vestige of colonialism. They ask us to understand how it offends their national honor and pride as a people to have a U.S. police force, U.S. courts, and U.S. jails enforcing U.S. laws on Panamanian citizens within their own country. They show us how total U.S. control over land area in the Canal Zone limits the urban growth of their two largest cities, how U.S. control of all deepwater port facilities restricts the productivity of their country, and how U.S. commissaries unfairly compete with local businessmen.
How do we answer these charges?