|Table of Contents|
Hearing before the House Committee on Armed Services on the Panama Canal treaties (H.A.S.C. No. 95-34)
[H.A.S.C. No. 95-341]
PANAMA CANAL TREATIES
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
OCTOBER 20, 1977
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 9707 WASHINGTON : 1977
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
NINETY-FIFTH CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION
MELVIN PRICE, Illinois, Chairman CHARLES E. BENNETT, Florida BOB WILSON, California
SAMUEL S. STRATTON, New York WILLIAM L. DICKINSON, Alabama
RICHARD H. ICHORD, Missouri G. WILLIAM WHITEHURST, Virginia
LUCIEN N. NEDZI, Michigan FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina
CHARLES H. WILSON, California DAVID C. TREEN, Louisiana ROBERT L. LEGGETT, California ROBIN L. BEARD, Tennessee
RICHARD C. WHITE, Texas DONALD J. MITCHELL, New York
BILL NICHOLS, Alabama MARJORIE S. HOLT, Maryland
JACK BRINKLEY, Georgia ROBERT W. DANIEL, JR., Virginia
ROBERT H. (BOB) MOLLOHAN, EILWOOD H. (BUD) HILLIS, Indiana
West Virginia DAVID F. EMERY, Maine
DAN DANIEL, Virginia PAUL S. TRIBLE, JR., Virginia
G. V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY, ROBERT E. BADHAM, California
HAROLD RUNNELS, New Mexico LES ASPIN, Wisconsin RONALD V. DELLUMS, California MENDEL J. DAVIS, South Carolina PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado ABRAHAM KAZEN, JR., Texas ANTONIO B. WON PAT, Guam BOB CARR, Michigan JIM LLOYD, California LARRY McDONALD, Georgia THOMAS J. DOWNEY, New York GOODLOE E. BYRON, Maryland CHARLES WHITLEY, North Carolina
JoHN J. FORD, Staff Director
[H.A.S.C. No. 95-34]
HEARING BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES ON THE PANAMA CANAL TREATIES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
CO3MMITTEE ON ARiIED SERVICES,
Washington, D.C., Thursday, October 20, 1977.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:02 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Melvin Price (chairman of the committee) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
The Chair has a short statement to make before we start.
Mr. J. T. M. Reddan, our former special counsel for the Investigations Subcommittee was employed by the committee on a part-time basis earlier in the year. Mr. Stratton has requested that Mr. Reddan again be retained on a consultant basis. Mr. Reddan's knowledge of investigative procedure and his knowledge of the Defense Department can prove very valuable to the subcommittee.
The contract will be for a period of 1 year at a rate not to exceed $3,000 annually.
The regulations of the Committee on House Administration require contracts to be approved by the full committee prior to submission to House Administration for approval.
Therefore, if there are no objections we will approve the proposal to retain Mr. Reddan as a consultant; an I will forward the request to the Committee on House Administration. There being no objection I will take that action.
The committee is meeting this afternoon to hear Gen. George S. Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will present testimony on the Panama Canal Treaty.
General Brown, will you proceed with whatever statement you care to make.
STATEMENT OF GEN. GEORGE S. BROWN, USAF, CHAIRMAN OF THE
*JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
General Buowx. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am here to discuss the security aspects of the proposed Panama Canal Treaty.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize the Panama Canal as a major defense asset, the use of which enhances U.S. capability for timely reinforcement of U.S. forces. The strategic military value of the canal is reflected in our ability to accelerate the shift of military forces and logistic support by sea between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The strategic value of the canal is not expected to change substantially
throughout the life of the new Panama Canal Treaty and beyond, so l ong as the canal provides the sole means of transiting ships across the Ainerican Continent.
U.S. military interests in the Panama Canal are in its use, not its ownership. Therefore, any new treaty must assure that access to and security of the Panama Canal are protected in times of war and peace. This assuirance is provided by a permanent regime of neutrality to be maintained by the United States and Panama which specifies that the canal wvill rem-ain open to all world shipping at reasonable tolls, without disc-rimination, in accordance with specific rules of neutrality, and that it will always be operated efficiently under rules that are just, equitable, and reasonable and necessary for safe navigation and efficient, sanitary operation.
Defense of the Panama Canal has two components: Internal Security and external defense. Both are presently the responsibility of the U.S. Government.
Internal security entails surveillance and control. It is primarily concern ed with countering sabotage and terrorist activities. Currently the Canal Zone's police and security forces are responsible for internal security. When required, reinforcement is provided by the U.S. military units assigned to U.S. Southern Command. Under the new Panama Canal Treaty there will no longer be a Canal Zone and police f unctions will becom-e the responsibility of the Government of Panama. However, the Canal, Commission will continue to provide security for canal installations. The military units of U.S. Southern Command will be available to augment the Panamanian forces and Commission guards.
External defense is concerned with defense against armed attack by hostile forces using guerrilla or conventional tactics. Under the new Panama Canal Treaty, the United States will have primary responsibility for the defense of the canal during the balance of this century. Under the new Panama Canal Treaty, the Panamanian Guardia Nacional and appropriate U.S. forces commander will develop plans in concert to provide for mutual defense. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will continue to plan for rapid reinforcement of U.S. Southern Command in the event of emergency need.
Our capability to defend the Panama Canal will be enhanced through cooperation with the Government of Panama. The new treaty provides a basis for such cooperation between the United States and Panama. The alliance relationship should develop and strengthen during the life of the Panama Canal Treaty and be enhanced by the neutirality treaty. The regime of neutrality provided in the neutrality treaty calls for a canal open to all ships of all nations in times of peace or war. It specifically provides that United States and Panamanian naval ships shall transit expeditiously without impedimentS or precon(ditionus. Since both the United States anl Panama agree to this regime, our riht to take the measures that we may deem to be necessary to iintaiin the canal's neutrality is assured.
For these reasons, the Joint Chiefs of Staff support the treaty as being protective of the military interests of the Uni1ted States and as pr~oviding._ an effective basis for defense of the canal.
~I'l11011. Mr. Chairman.
The Cui~~.Thank you, General Brown, for your statement.
General, which military installations and facilities are scheduled for disposition under the proposed treaty, and which bases will be retained under our control under the treaty, and when will the action take place?
General BRowN. Under the terms of the treaty, of course, the Canal Zone itself goes out of being. And those defense installations referred to commonly in treaty language as "lands and waters" which are not required for the defense of the canal or the operation of the canal are turned over to Panama.
I have a factsheet, Mr. Chairman, of the military installations listed, and I am trying to find it.
During the life of the treaty, the United States may use the following major defense sites. They are: Howard Air Force Base, Fort K Rodman U.S. Naval Station, Fort Clayton, Albrook Air Force
Station-west of the runway-and the Corozal Army Reservation. On the Atlantic side. they are Fort Davis, Fort Sherman, Galeta Island, and the Navy pipeline which transits the entire isthmus. There are other areas that we wil have use of in a coordination fashion, and I will define that in a minute.
On the Pacific side they include Quarry Heights, U.S. Naval Headquarters at Amador, Empire Range, Fort Clayton training area, Corundu Heights housing, and Fort Amador. On the Atlantic side, they include the Pina Range, Fort Sherman training area., Fort Gulick and Coco Solo housing.
Now, concerning those areas that are defined as major military areas of coordination. There the U.S. rights are the same as defense sites, except that exterior security of these military areas of coordination are the responsibility of Panama. We plan to use combined patrolsthat is Panamanian with U.S. membership. And the U.S. flag may not be flown, and no change in the basic character and functions of these areas will be made without the consent of both military forces.
The United States shall control and schedule training and be responsible for safety on the ranges.
I think that, Mr. Chairman, outlines what we have left. But I think you asked me what we would relinquish.
General BRow.N. Unfortunately, my papers are not arranged in that fashion, so I would have to take a moment here to pull them out.
The following major U.S. Forces transfers are required on the first day of the treaty, which is defined as 6 months following ratification. We will have to move an aviation batallion, temporarily, from Albrook, where it is east of the runway, across to the west side of the runway, and subsequently on a permanent basis to Howard Air Force B~ase.
We will have to relinquish the headquarters currently used by the 193d Infantry Brigade from Fort Amador, and we will temporarily locate the headquarters on Albrook Air Force Station, temporarily, and subsequently when facilities are prepared at Fort Clayton.
Then, 3 years subsequent to the treaty signing, we transfer certain other major facilities. The Corundu Air Force Antenna Farm will be moved to Howard Air Force Base, and the Fort Kobbe complex.
PX warehouses that are not on defense installations will be collocated. There are other facilities, but they are associated with the canal rather than defense installations.
1 will be happy to list those too if you would like that for the record.
The CHAMMANT. I think you can list them for the record.
General BROWN. Yes ,sir. The Naval Industrial Reserve Siyr
reverts to Panama, with a U.S. recapture clause for priority U.S. use. The canal railroad reverts to Panama, with U.S. priority use.
The U.S. Armv Tropic Center which conducts environmental tests of military matei'ial will be continued. The navigational activities are also to be continued, subject to a separate arrangement. The U.S. Army Atmospheric Science Laboratory, which provides meteorological data for Central and South America also will continue, but under a separate arrangement.
It is also provided the United States may conduct all of these activities that I have listed, and some others 1 will list, during the life of the treaty. They are the oceanographic activities, the InterAmerican Geodetic Survey activities, the humanitarian relief operations, and the schooling for Latin American military.
Now there is a qualification on that schooling, in that the U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Gulick may be continued for 5 years, but subsequent arrangements would be subject to agreement by the two govern-ments.
The CHAIRMrAN. With the disposition of these installations, will replacements be required for them?
General BRzOWN. The major unit replacements that will be required are some facilities to support the relocation of the helicopter unit at Howard Air Force Base, principally in the way of matting or aprons for parking and operations, and a "home for the headquarters of the 193d Infantry Briga de.
The ChIAIR'MAN. What cost is involved in those replacements?
General BROWN. There are some costs involved, Mr. Chairman, and we have got those here.
The temporary move of the headquarters is estimated to cost half a million dollars., and a half a million, also, for the temporary relocation of the Army aviation battalion.
The permanent moves-I have got to stress these figures 'are based on getting all new facilities according to existing standards-cost for the 193d Infantry Brigade headquarters at Fort Clayton is listed a's $10.1 million; the 210th Aviation battalion at Howard Air Force Base i~s $9.3 million, and $0.8 million for other miscellaneous buildings. PX warehousing is at $41 million, and the Corundu Antenna Farm at $6 million.
The CHAIRINAN. Thank you.
-Mr. STRATrON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General, I don't have any great problem with the basic part of the treaty-. The thing that concerns mne is what happens after the year 2000.- We have had a debate over in the Senate, and general acknowledgement that the treaty does not spell out that right, and apparently efforts are made to spell it out.
You have not really discussed the question that I think is the serious question, andl that is, how do we defend the Panama Canal after all of our forces are out of Panama in the year 2000?
First of all, let me just ask a couple* of preliminary qnostions.
Once the United States is out of Panama, would not be
regarded by itself as one of the major military powers in the world, would it?
General BRowN. Obviously not, with just under 2 million population and no military force other than the Guardia Nacional.
Mr. STRAYr N. Then we would have, would we not, a very valuable strategic piece of real estate controlled by a relatively powerless country? And doesn't that create a power vacuum that could represent some threats?
General Brow,-,;-. I don't believe so, Mr. Stratton, because under the regime of neutrality, anything we see as a threat to that regime of
neutrality, it seems to me we can respond to the protect that regime of neutrality. In addition to which I might add, by the terms of the treaty, Panama has agreed that no foreign military forces will be stationed on her soil.
Mr. STRATTON. Well, we are not talking about the treaty. I am talking about military threats.
You addressed most of your comments before congressional committees on the problem created by an aroused Panamanian citizenry. I would certainly agree. If Panama has control of the canal they would have to be out of their minds to try to destroy it or to prevent its operation.
But what about the threat from Cuba What about the threat from Russia?
Let me put it this way: From a military point of view, wouldn't it be infinitely better for us to have at least some forces in the Panama Canal area to deter an attack from the outside, rather than to have to mount that attack from Gitmo, or Roosevelt Roads, Homestead, after Cuban paratroopers, let's say, had already landed in the Canal Zone?
In other words, why don't we, if we really mean to defend the canal after the year 2000, maintain a base so that we could deter an attack with antiaircraft guns, with planes patrolling, and so on, rather than to have to try to storm ashore after the Cuban or Soviet paratroopers had already taken over the canal?
General BRowN. Mr. Stratton, by this treaty, after the year 2000 the United States will not maintain forces on the ground for the defense of the canal. That will be a responsibility of Panama. And both countries agree to the neutrality of the canal. In addition to which, should we feel that neutrality-ihat regime of neutrality is threatened, it seems to me the United States is perfectly capable of doing whatever we have a political will to do. a/
I would grant you, it would be easier, simpler and less costly to repel this invasion force you visualize,, if we are there, but it doesn't mean we can't do it if we are not there.
Mr. STMXTTO-N. I don't know bow you could storm ashore without ruinincr the canal in the process. If we are really going to defend the canal, and if it is really vital to our national interest after the i7ear 20001 which I think it is, it seems to me wrought to insist from Panama, in return for all the millions of dollars we are giving them and all the, installations we are giving them, we have at least one military base there to deter an attack.
General BROwN. Well, Mr. Stratton, you note the absence of the word "vital" in my statement. I don't agree with you. I think that is a matter of judgment. I don't think the canal is vital to the United States. I think the United States will continue to be a viable nation, even if the canal were closed or disrupted.
Mr. STRAFoNO. That is where we differ.
General BRO\N-. That is in a literal sense. I acknowledge your point to defend the canal would be easier, simpler, and cheaper if we were to have some semblance of military force there for that purpose. But after the year 2000, we don't have that responsibility.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will recess for a few moments while the members go over and respond to the rollcall vote, and then we will return. It may be we may be interrupted again because we have the B-1 amendment coming up very shortly.
Mr. STRATrON. I want to go and vote and defend the B-i, but I certainly hope we would not accept a treaty in this form without putting in something that would make it a little easier and les costly for us to defend it.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. We will proceed, General, until the chairman returns .just to save a little time for you.
The chairman asked you which bases the United States would retain control over under the treaty. I wonder if you could identify those five bases. You named five, I think. 'Would you identify those again, please?
General BROWN. That are retained, Mr. Wilson?
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. Yes.
General BROWN. Yes.
Those that will be retained, that is among the major installations, are: Howard Air Force Base, which is the operating jet base down there; Fort Kobbe, Rodman U.S. Naval Station, Fort Clayton, and that part of Albrook Air Force Base that is west of the runway, and Corozal Army Reservation, Fort Davis, Fort Sherman, Galeta Island, and the Navy pipeline.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. There are more than five bases that we will retain United States control over.
General BROWN. Oh, yes, sir, I have got apples and oranges here. I would say if you are looking at major installations, we would list Howard, Kobbe, Clayton, Albrook, Davis, and Sherman. Then we have certain supporting facilities such as the Navy communications site, the pipeline, Army reservation, and so on.
So I would say among the major there are six.
Mr. CHARLES WILsON. I see.
I wonder, General, if you could specify the terms of the $345 million.
General BROWN. Specify the terms of what?
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. Would you delineate the use of the $345 million package of loans and credits we are given to Panama for defense and development?
General BRowN. Yes, sir.
The economic compensation to Panama breaks out in this manner: 30 cents per Panama Canal ton, which is estimated to generate N4 to $50 million a year from the tolls, adjusted periodically in proportion to the changes in U.S. 'Wholesale Price Index for manufactured goods;
a fixed additional $10 million per year from revenues, and another $10 million per year, if available, from revenues. And if not available in a particular year, that payment can be carried over. Then an additional $10 million a year for certain services, such as police, fire, and sanitation, adjusted for inflation every 3 years.
By a separate bilateral agreement, $345 million in loans, including $50 million in foreign military sales credits over a 10-year period, an Export Bank loan of $200 million over 5 years, and a housing investment guarantee of $75 million over a 5-year period. And an overseas private investment corporation guaranteed loan of $20 million.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. Those are the items that make up the $345 million?
General BROWN. The latter four do make up the $345 million, yes, sir.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. Is this a one-time cost? You mentioned some military assistance over a period of 10 years.
General BROWN. These funds that I outlined in detail are to go to the Panamanian Government, and none of them will come from appropriated funds. There will be no request to the Congress for money to do this, but the Congress will be asked to underwrite the FMS credits.
Mr. CHARLES WiLSON.' Of course, we have got to put the money in these banks, though they will be getting the loans.
Are there any annual defense-related costs to the United States under this assistance program? For example, if Panama wants the compensation for loss of jobs that will result from the base closures?
General BROWN. Let me ask General Dolvin, who served as the defense negotiator on the team, to join me. He is an expert in this.
General DoLwIN. No, sir, there is no cost identifiable or associated with base closures.
Mr. CHARLE S WILSON. General, either you or General Rogers, I believe, felt this treaty was a reasonable thing for the Department of Defense and for the Joint Chiefs to support. If I am not mistakenthis is from newspaper reports I read-you are alleged to have stated that the canal could not be defended at the present time anyway. Is that correct.
General BROWN. No, sir. I have not made a statement to that effect. I think the canal can be defended. What I have said is that the canal can be interrupted, and we could not guarantee that wouldn't happen.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. That is under the present circumstances.
General BROWN. Under any circumstances.
Mr. CHARLES WILsON. This has always been the case.
General BRowN. Yes.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. So the treaty doesn't necessarily change that situation?
General BRowN. The treaty won't change that; no, sir.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. All our troops be under a foreign command then ?
General BROWN. No, sir. Our troops will remain under U.S. command, all the time, and of course, they are only going to be there through the balance of this century.
Mr. CHARLES WILSON. Mr. Whitehurst.
Mr. WHITEHURST Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General, I read your testimony in addition to hearing' you deliver the balance of it. In the third paragraph on page 2, thelast sentence, "The military units of U.S. Southern Command will be available to augment the Panamanian Forces and commission guards."
When you say "will be available," do you mean on our initiative, on their initiative? Would you define that statement and amplify that a little further?
General BROWN. Yes, sir. This is during the balance of the century during the treaty period. We will have U.S. military forces present in Panama, and it will be our responsibility to defend the canal during the balance of the century. So in answer to your question, it will be on our initiative that we employ those forces.
Mr. WHITEHURST. OK. Then, what happens after the treaty period?
General BROWN. After the treaty period, there will be no U.S. forces. It will be Panama's responsibility to do that. If we feel that the neutrality of the canal is threatened, we can act unilaterally, in whatever manner, in my judgment, is called for. And if we have, as I said before, the political will to do it.
Mr. WHTEH URST. The political will to do it, right? What is stated in the treaty with regard to after the year 2000?
General BROWN. After the year 2000, it says the Government of the United States and the Government of Panama agree to maintain the regime of neutrality. That is article IV. It is without condition.
Now, I am not a lawyer, but the lawyers I have talked to say if we sought to define all of the conditions under which we might want to act 23 years from now, we probably would miss some. We would restrict ourselves if we did that. Now we are totally unrestricted. We have an obligation, as I read this, to maintain that regime neutrality, as well as a right to do so.
Mr. WHITEHURST. Another question, I just scribbled this down based on my own feelings about what I have read regarding the treaty.
Why does the Guardia Nacional need the kinds of numbers of weapons they are scheduled to get under the treaty?
General BROWN. Well, let's be specific. Let me detail the types of weapons they are to get. And what these weapons do is provide a modest amount of mobility and firepower of what I would say is of a light or minor nature. There are a few helicopters. I am sorryMr. WHITEHURST. That is all right.
General BROWN. I have it here.
Mr. WHITEHURST. Maybe I have exaggerated.
General BROWN. It amounts to a few patrol craft, light intercoastal boats, and a few helicopters.
Mr. WIRITEIIURST. How about tanks and APC's?
General BROWN. I don't remember seeing them on the list.
Mr. WHITEHURST. There are no tanks or APC's on the list?
General BROWN. No. Here we are. Excuse me.
The ground force program includes the formation of one lilt infantry brigade of three battalions, and one eningeering company armed with light arms-,-16's and M-6 machine guns, 81-iillimeter mortar, and 90-millimeter recoilless rifles; the navy program-14 patrol boats and 7 landing craft; the air force program-two C-130's and one helicopter.
Mr. WHTTIIURST. I believe I lost 1 minute of my time while you were looking for that.
General BROW.N. At least.
Mr. WH1TEHRURST. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. White.
Mr. WHIaTE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Stratton was asking you what happen after 20 some-odd years. Shouldn't there really be an option to renew in this. treaty, as anyone
would want in a contract when they had a large investment, so we would know what would happen after 20 years?
General BROWN. Well, Mr. White, I don't know. That is a judgment. Our negotiators apparently didn't think so.
Mr. WITE. What do you think?2
General BROWN. I think that it is important that the United States ratify this treaty, and that we divest ourselves of the last vestige of colonialism the United States has around the world.
Mr. WHI1TE. General Brown, we had the President of Panama here. President Torrijos is not an elected official, as I understand, of Panama.
The rights of the United States to defend the canal, and the rights of our ships, to go to the front of the line, are not clarified in the treaty. There was, I believe, an attempt to try to clarify the ambiguities of the language.
Don't you think the clarity should be in the treaty? The terms of the treaty should not be dependent on the judgment of an individual who may be deposed, who was not actually elected by the will of the people ?
General B-ROW\N. Again, this is currently under debate in the Senate, and in the Senate committee. And I don't know that 1 am qualified to judge.
I find the neutrality treaty adequate as it is stated. I do find the statement issued after the meeting of General Torrijos and President Garter to be helpful in the way of clarification.
Mr. AXHiTE. Would you rely on that if you were the President? Would you rely on that statement?
General BROWN. Yes, sir. 'We haven't negotiated a treaty with General Torrijos. 'We have a treaty between the United States and Panama. President Carter is not going to be around in the year 2000.
Mr. WH-1ITE. But he was elected and that is different from the one who is a usurper of power.
You mentioned the obligation to go in after some 20-odd years. Is that what you testified before? 'We have an obligation to 'go in at the expiration of the treaty?,
General -BROWN. I think we have the obligation to maintain the regime of neutrality. Whether we can achieve and maintain the regime of neutrality through diplomatic action or some actions other than direct military actions, I don't knowv.
Mr. A TiTE-'. Well, in other words, it is possible at the expiration of the treaty, that a Panamanian Government could interpret this treaty as obligring, this country to go in with military force to enforce neutrality ?
General BROWN. Absolutely, in my judgment.
Mlr. 'WAiTE. Even though we didn't have, any authority derived from an existing treaty, because there would be no treaty-correct?
General Browx. There will be only the treaty of neutrality subsequent to the turn of the century, yes, sir. U
MIr. YIIITE. If you had been President at the present time, would you have recommended these treaties?
General BrOWN. Oh, yes, sir. I have worked hard to accomplish these treaties, and I must say I wasn't clever enough to see the regime of neutrality-the neutrality treaty in the form it is in-but the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I advocated that we had to have that neutrality into the indefinite future, and we had to have expeditious passage of U.S. naval vessels. It is not in the main treaty because it smacks of perpetuity. It is perpetuity.
Mr. TViIITE. Even the obligation to use military force, when this government may not desire to use military force ? If the Panamanian government calls on this country to enter militarily after the expiration of the treaty we would be required to?
General BRowN. No, Mr. White.
I don't feel the United States will have to do anything the United States doesn't want to do, but I do feel we have an obligation under this treaty to maintain that regime of neutrality. We may seek to do it by diplomatic action. We don't have to send in military forces.
Mr. WJITE. My time has expired.
Thank you, General.
The CHAIRMAN. Mrs. Holt.
Mrs. HOLT. I read your statement, and I understand you made the statement that the canal is not vital to U.S. interests. I would like you to clarify that statement and tell me what you mean.
(General BRowN. In the exchange with Congressman Stratton he used the word "vital," and outlined a certain scenario, and I made the point that he would note in reading my statement the absence of the word "vital," because in a literal sense I think the United States would continue to remain a viable nation even if the canal were closed.
Mrs. IHOLT. Don't you think the small size of our fleet today makes it even more imperative that we have free flow between the Atlantic and the Pacific ?
General Buowx. I do. and I so testified on the Senate side.
I think, you know, if we did in fact have truly a two-ocean Navy, we would still want the canal. We would still have use for it, but it wouldn't be as important a military asset as it is today because of the size of our fleet, in part. So without question. I think it has become more important, although the movement of U.S. Navy vessels through the Panama Canal when you look at the history over the years-in the last 2 years we have only moved about 20 to 26 vessels a year.
Mrs. HTorLT. Does that mean you think it is more important or it isn't very important ?
General BRowN-. 1 think as long as the U.S. Navy is of the size it is, it is important to the United States that that canal remain open and free and accessible to the U.S. Navy.
Mrs. HourLT. I (do't see how in the world under this article IV the lawyers who are advising you, can believe that we could act unilaterally to maintain neutrality. I can't see how you can get that out of art iel IV, not any way in the world.
General lInowN. Well, I guess we just have a disagreement.
Mrs. Hour. What do you think the effect on worldwide shipping would be if the canal fell into hands that didn't permit free passage? How do you think it would affect the world?
General BROWN. Well, in the first place, let me say that we are indulging in an academic discussion. I don't see that condition ever obtaging. But the United States today puts through the canal about
7 percent of our seaborne cargo.
In the rest of the world, of course, Japan profits greatly by the canal, and there are some nations of Latin America, like Colombia and Ecuador, and those on the Pacific side, that it is most important to their viability to have tle canal.
Mrs. HOLT. So the loss of the use of the canal would be a tremendous
pon in the hands of somebody who wanted to use it in that direction?
General BRow.N. Oh, it would be a weapon. And I assume if somebody had it who wanted to create difficulty and they sought to close i d it can be closed without going down there, you know-you
can send a missile over there and close it, destroy it. But I don't think that is a reasonable scenario.
Things bigger than the Panama Canal are at stake if you start shooting nuclear rockets. And you can't hit accurately enough with a nonnuclear rocket to do any good.
The Panama Canal ceases to be an issue at that point. The world hgot a bigger problem.
s. HOLT. Don't you think, General, it is a lot more subtle than that? I certainly feel the strategy we are seeing being used today is more the usurping of rights, using oil or other weapons as a tool. I think that that is the danger here. I wonder if you don't agree with me?
General BrowN\. I can understand the use of commodities like oil as a weapon, or other resources. I don't know what would be gained by taking the canal in some manner and then seeking to deny its use to certain powers for some purpose. Again, it just doesn't seem like a viable scenario to me.
The CHAIRAIAN. Mr. Treen.
Mr. TREE N. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General -Brown, during World War II was the Panama Canal open to German, Japanese, Italian shipping ?
General BRow-. Yes; under the existing treaty today, we guarantee the canal is open and free for the passage of all ships during peace and war.
Mr. TREE-N. Did we actually have German ships transiting the canal during World War 11?
General BRow-N. No; t-he United States was able to keep them from getting there.
Mr. TREEN. Neither military nor merchant ships of any of the countries we were at war with went through the canal during the war? General BRowN. I don't think there was a single belligerent ship of the Axis. Powers that transited the canal during World War II.
Mr. TR EE. You don't think we would really let them come through there if they tried, do you'?
General BRow-N. No; that is the point. We can interdict the approaches, with the Navy, and with such air power as needed, and in the event we should miss one, I can guarantee it wouldn't get away.
Mr. TRE. Under the new treaty, between now and the year 2000 what are our rights in that regard with respect to-let's say we went to war with Japan?
General BROWN. Precisely the same. The canal is open to all shipping in peace and war.
Mr. TREEx. But if we went to war with Japan, is there any doubt in your mind between now and the year 2000, that we wouldn't let Japanese ships transit the canal?
General BRowN. Not only that, I don't think they would be silly enough to try.
Mr. TREEN. And we wouldn't 'be silly enough to let them.
General BRowN. Exactly.
Mr. TREEN. But after the year 2000, we have a different situation, don't we?
General Br.owN. After the year 2000, no, I don't think we do, Mr. Treen, because we can still interdict the approaches to that canal. We have the capability if it is our national determination and will to do So.
Mr. TREEN. OK, I will grant you that for the moment. But we wouldn't have the power actually, other than that, to prevent the transit of the canal?
General BROWN. No; not like such a thing as refusing to provide a pilot.
Mr. TREEN. Let's suppose that the Panamanian Government in the year 2001 decided that it would close the canal to Japanese shipping, Japan being an important ally of ours at that time. We would have the obligation. I gather, under your responses to Congressman White, to take such steps to guarantee that the Japanese would be permitted to use the canal ?
General BRown-. I think we would be permitted to have the right to maintain the neutrality which would include the free, unimpeded, nondiscriminatory use of the canal. So whet-her Japan is an ally or not we should act.
Mr. TREEN. If Japan were a belligerent at that time, we would really have the obligation to insure it had the right to go through the canal under the guarantee of neutrality ?
General BROWN. But that right doesn't say, you know, we have to garantee free passage across the Pacific.
Mr. TREEN. I understand that. But we do have, under your interpretation of the treaty, the obligation to guarantee the neutrality and the use of that canal by all countries, whether they are friendly or not at that time. The point I am leading up to, if we would not move to implement our guarantee or neutrality in the year 2001, in a case where moving to enforce that neutrality would be against our interests, we in effect, would be repudiating the treaty-it would seem to me. So that Panama then would say, you don't come in here to enforce neutrality. If you choose not to the treaty is repudiated.
General BitowN. No: because if we read this, it says the United States of America and the Republic of Panama agree to maintain the regime of neutrality.
Mr. TREEX. If we don't come in and help them maintain, if de don't go in there to maintain the neutrality, it seems to me then there is an argument that can be made by international lawyers that we repudiated the treaty.
General Bnowx. I am just not qualified to testify on that.
Mr. TREEN. Of course, there is nothing to prevent Panama from repudiating the treaty. Countries have repudiated treaties over the course of history. They may feel the treaty, the neutrality treaty that begins in the year 2000 is a handover from the colonialism and may decide to repudiate that treaty. If that is the case, do you think this country would move, or should move at that time, if Panama said the United States can't use it any more?
General BROWN. As I stated, Mr. Treen, because of the words here, "agree to maintain," unconditionally stated, that we not only have the right, but we have an obligation.
This doesn't mean the use of military force necessarily. But I think we do have an obligation and a right to act, if, in fact, that regime of neutrality is threatened. If Panama seeks to exclude the free movement or free passage by ships of any nation, I think we have an obligation and a right.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Nichols.
Mr. NicHOLS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Brown, you mentioned that we were going to move aviation battalion to Howard Air Force Base, and the 193d Brigade to Albrook and Fort Clayton, and another installation to Fort Roby. All these installations are in the canal zone? I am not familiar with them.
General BROWN. Yes; they are all in the canal zone.
Mr. NIcToLs. It is really a transfer of people within the zone itself? General BROW.N. Yes; it is. That is exactly right.
Mr. NICHOLS. Would you describe what you understand the relationship of General Torrijos and the country of Panama to be with the Soviet Union and Communist Cuba?
General BROWN. Panama does not have diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union as does the United States.
Mr. NICHOLS. Do they not trade with them, General?
General BROWN. Panama has sought to interest the Soviet Union in some economic activity in Panama, and our information is without success to date.
Now, there is a newspaper office, TASS, operating in Panama. But at the moment that is about the extent of it.
Mr. NICHOLS. And with Cuba?
General BROWN. And with Cuba, they do enjoy diplomatic relations. There has been a military visit by officers of the Guardia Nacional of Panama to Cuba. General Torrijos has also, I think, visited Cuba.
There are Cubans in Panama in the strength today of probably between 100 and 200, doing the normal things, that is, the diplomatic mission, some newspapers, some business enterprises, but that is the extent of it according to the information I have.
Mr. NICHOLS. Thank you, General.
You know the admiration I have for you, it relates to your expertise, your knowledge, plus your tremendous service record during World War II and elsewhere. I am disturbed, nonetheless. It is my understanding that four former Chiefs of Naval Operations. I suppose beginning with Admiral Anderson. and Ollie Burke. and Admiral Kearney and Thomas Moorer have all gone on record in a joint statement for continued U.S. control of the canal.
Admiral Moorer, whom I know you hold in high esteem, having served with him, I believe he stated in military affairs there is no substitute for ownership of the territory and ability to control and deny the waters and air space thereof.
Frankly, General Brown, the thing that I think disturbs my constituents, and this Congressman the most, if I could just discuss a hypothetical situation; if we are going to make plans we need to look at various possibilities. The country of Panama could become a satellite nation to either the Soviet Union or Communist Cuba. If that should happen, and if a shooting war erupted, let me ask you, don't you believe from a military standpoint that we would be much better served if we retained the canal, if our people were there, rather than relinquishing our rights to the canal ?
General BROWN. Mr. Nichols, you know to get into this discussion is kind of like getting into play in the last play of the game.
I don't think we would ever let that condition occur.
I must acknowledge, in the scenario you have outlined, that the only answer is "yes, we would be in a better position," if we had some concern-that is either to retain or adjust-I have some concern for communism in that part of the world, and I think it would be bad. It would be against our interests.
On the other hand, it seems to me that communism thrives on instability, on unrest, on dissatisfaction. And I think if we are concerned about communism coming into Panama, that the conditions that would invite communism would be far more apt to pertain under the condition where we failed to ratify these treaties than if we ratified them.
Mr. NICHOLS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dickinson.
Mr. DicKiNsoN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General, I understand your statement. But it seems to me that your statement, as a member of the JCS, is basically couched in terms of the military situation and what our legal rights are, as opposed to the pragmatic political considerations which we all have to be concerned with.
Perhaps I am wrong, but that is the way I tend to view it.
Even if we hadn't been kicked out of Vietnam, when we were, if we had withdrawn under the Vietnamization Mr. Laird, and others, liked to talk of, I couldn't in my wildest dreams ever picture us getting embroiled again in a conflict abroad. I don't care what the terms of our withdrawal were, and I don't think you do. Once we left Vietnam, no matter what happened, if the North Vietnamese had not honored the treaty we entered into with them, had they abrogated it and gone back into South Vietnam, I don't think we would have sent troops back.
I think the same applies to our presence in Korea; it is more a token presence now. When we withdraw under the present plan, I don't think politically that this country, even if the North invaded the South, is going to be willing to commit troops--our troops into Korea again. Would you agree with that, or would you disagree with that assessment?
General BRowN. Well, Tl of course, hope you are wrong because we are going to leave several thousand airmen over there. We are going
to leave several thousand communications and intelligence specialists. I would guess when it is all done, I have forgotten tlie numbers, bt we are going to have 9 ,000 to 10,000 Americans there. -Now does it take 40,000 Americans to be hostage to our action or does it take 10,000. 1L do n't know.
Mlr. IicKi.NsON. I believe, as long as we have American troops stationed there, probably we will def end them or do whatever is necessary to extricate them, one or the other-probably extricate them so they might go some other place. But I can't see us recommitting ourselves to a land war anywhere in Asia. What bothers me is that when I see a draw-down of our presence in Panama, then under what scenario would we be, prepared to recommit Would we commit our troops there if we had an expeditionary force f rom the Soviet Union, or f romn some place else, invade Panama? Perhaps, but we really don't see this happening. What I fear is that as our presence is withdrawn, through the year 2000, whatever happens internally there, I think we are going to have to live with it, and write it off.
This is the thing that bothers me and bothers so many of us, 1 believe. By withdrawing our presence, leaving the place physically, then unless we have a real invasion, and an amphibious landing by some foreign party, I don't see us going back in and committing American trops to defend what we presently would, if we had maintained our presence there.
So this is a political matter more than a military matter, I think. The willingness-and you used the phrase, the political will of the United States; this is the thing that bothers me, not our military capability. Once we withdraw, are we willing to return? I don't think that we are. What do you think?
General BROWN. Mr. Dickinson, that is why in my response to an earlier question, I tried to make the point that the United States would use the means appropriate to the requirements of the problem. In all cases I don't think that would necessarily be military force.
On the other hand, it seem-s to me the most likely circumstances
-would be where the canal is disrupted by some dissident element in Panania, and it could very well be thiat the Panamanians would needle help in the form of engineering help, anti maybe some security troops for a temporary time. It isn't a, matter of going down there and fighting a war. In which case we might very well recognize article IV Of the treaty and provide that.
I would hope that there is never a requirement to fight a 'ground war in Asia. A lot of us have felt for years, and our predecessors, that we should never get involved in such a venture. And we have been in it twice in my short career.
Air. DICKINSON. And we got bloody both times.
Thank you. Mly time is up. But to extrapolate from the answer. if
I might, Mr. Chairman, I can readily envision a situation wh-lere evenl the people of Panama might want thie intervention of the United States for further security when, in fact, the titular head, whoever hie might be. a dictator or wh-latever aovei-inent, imighlt, not. want it.
So we would have our hands tied and be hiamstrung, so to speak.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. M.Nr. Montgomery.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Following up on what Congressman Dickinson was talking about. 1 think you have one thing on your side as far as I am concerned on the treaty, and your position. But I agree with Mr. Dickinson, if the balloon went up in Korea, as it did in Vietnam, we would have to go back into South Korea. I am not sure how well we could get Americans to come forward and participate again in Vietnam or in South Korea.
One thing you have on your side, however, after 20 years or after 30 years, if something were to happen in Panama, I believe we could gret Americans to rally. They have been taught in schools over the years that the Panama Canal is ours. We worked for it, and we paid for it.
Mr. DiCKINsON.'Would you yield there?
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Yes.
Mr. DicKi~NsoN. I want to add a personal note, General.
I have three sons, one was drafted and served his 2 years. The second one missed the draft. The third is draft age now. Hie is 18. I can't envison any circumstances I would willingly let him go into t-he service to save Panama Korea, Vietnam-you name it-in vie of what has presently happened. I think this pretty well reflects the attitude of the American people.
General BROWN. Mr. Dickinson, I am deeply distressed to have a member of the Armed Services Committee of the House of Represent atives talk in that mannerMr. DICKicNsO.N. That is exactly the way I feel.
General BrtOWN [continuing]. Because you and I share responsibility for the Armed Forces of the United States. If you reasoning is because of the will of the people as you see it-the support of this thing-and the belief that the Congress is behind it and all that, that is something I am not as well able to judge as you. But if it is on things that are internal to the military establishmentMr. DiCKINSON. Oh, no, no.
General BROWN [continuing]. Then I have got to take exception Mr. DicKiNSON. It doesn't have anything to do with the military. I am just saying we have been willing to sacrifice to go to war, to make whatever commitments are necessary in the interest of national security. Those who decided they didn't want to participate, we now bring them back and embrace them. 'We tare even talking about giving them veterans benefits. I can't see drafting my third son involuntaril 'y to go off and fight a war for somebody else in the interest of our national security. I think the American people will agree with me.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Back to my point. 'What I was trying to drive at is that the mail to Members from all over the country is running 70 to 80 in favor of keeping the canal. If the Amierican people want the canal, I don't know why we don't keep it. If the ballon goes up down there, then we will tackle that problem when it comes forward.
General Brown, this is one thing that our people seem to be together on at this time. They want the canal, and they want to keep the canal.
I had the privilege of going to see the commissioning of an LPA, amphibious landing( ship, aircraft, with the, MNarines on it. It. is the second one we built and it is one of our largest inilitary warships.
I asked the questioll. (1011111 (ro Illroll.-rif the I"Ill"Ima Cawal And it was desio-lied to (ro throludl tilt, calial. You have to III) part. of'
die ran-ij),oilone sideofthe llip; 'Mit, it, will (rothrowdl III(- callal. A114 1 ('111-1 lfflad to see (lie Navv P- -tl!l 41 ,m illfr towar(t ll -jllr tht,, (.alotl a,thev build those shlp- 'I'llev 'Ire hitildill-'r them where thev c ul f)-( ) throlio'll t1w c'mal.
Mr. McDoN-mI). Will tll(. ()vjA'W11I'.lIl A-l"dd
Nir. i 'r(amu"ity. Yes.
Mr. General. Cmlrres-limll Dlfklll -oll Iwolladit 111) file,
P(Mit re(rardillo- Ills ONVII 011 (W A ]I,,, ment lolle(t tile I'a(.1 he lw- 1,(,t Icence,
'Al d so )11 1. v I I I I I I I I a rv I I I I I. t he .111,11 t a lw e -:
bout the thil I I I it< 11,(
I think vour statement. that voll 'are colicerned ,is a illelill)('r of
Arined SelIVICOS (",oil 111111 t eik-11MI t th"It Ile llzl- I-lie re-qmn- Ibllltv a- lolt (101 to protect tile security of tili- atloll-crcat,"- some fi*114ral:1011 I it-ll,\, spe 111 (r
whell Ave hear the 1--cinkill" 1110111ber of' the I-Ild, a kin such a wav that does not S(leill, to s1loulder that allle lv- poll: 41)111tv.
generall J IzowN-. MerelY I ain siipportlng the, rat 1 fi(-at loll.
Air. A1cDo-_N-_kii). I th*nk vwt are upport*vo of tlj,
General WeIL i just lwcait- e .\-oil sit oil that side of the aisle
doesn't mean you support tliit: as a meniber of yom- party.
Mr. AIcDoNAl1D. N_ z.
0 "M I upport the Com-41tiltion 'Illid Ihe country. General BiZoNvN. MY oath L- -() the ('()I institute loll too.
-All'. MCDON-ALD. All ri(rlit.
The (-"'HA lRALkN. I'lle (relitlelliall 1 ; AICO"Jilzed iiow oil Ills own time.
Gelieral, ill this staten I ent. I reacl A. yesterday afternoon, and I lta, e a prettv toiurh stoniach, havincr done a lot of tautopSie- -aoollt 200 of thein. well s othi r things (I a I ill S1111(r(Il-W. I thollolit I va troll" to flirow up after rea(lincr this. is this your person.A]. statement. volli. personal. feelimr. the statement tl..at -\-oil have (rIven
General Air. Conp-ressman. that, statement iva- drafted bv
the staff, and I personally re-worked it to make is absolutely consistent, wifli the treaty.
I realize YOU alid I dolA auroe.
-Air. Mcljo N-mi_). Is till,, youl. pen. onal opinion oil this as well
General Aly personal opinion, as I stated a, while. 111gro, Mr.
Coll cyressill a I l. is tllat l tile, 1-111te(I States should ratifv tlle -e tlvatleI personally \vorke(l hard for the treaty bectiuse I the United
States shoub! dives'u- itself of the last. ve'stim, of colonialism we have (11101,111d the world.
-All-. You feel fike this is tile last vestige of cololl ia I 11- i 11
Air. McDo-,mm. 11 think You I)efter cut out some of the cocktail parties.
IVII(at will yOil (To Nbout G11"Intanaino P)ay that come--; ill) alter tlii--TIOW abolit I Ile A-11.0 11 Islands
Geller"11 Gllaritarinillo is different.
-Air. McDo-mm. f dont think we 'will, see finy (lit1'erence ill flie 11(1illinistnatioll whell the Glialitallaillo collle 4 111).
General Obvioll-d v, Ive talked about ("Illa'If.waillo In
lwarilig. I Nvollhl be NN-111111r to fitllz .1bout it nt :,111 v t 11'. w.
Mr. McDONALD. Isn't that part of our colonial vestige, if we are going to include Panama, that is not secretive, is it?
General BRowNw. Mr. McDonald, we have no concern for anything outside defense in Guantanamo. We don't have anything that appears like the Governor's Mansion on the hill in Guantanamo.
Mr. M cDONALD. Are you suggesting it is U.S. sovereignty?
General BROWN. It is not.
Mr. McDONALD. The Supreme Court has ruled it is. On what basis do you say it is not?
General BROWN. Because a child born of other than American parents in the Canal Zone is not an American citizen. Goods purchased down there must be declared in customs as you enter these United States as a couple of examples.
Mr. McDONALD. Well, that means it is not sovereignty, when the Supreme Court has ruled that it is? Are you going against the Supreme Court ruling?
General BROWN. Mr. Congressman, I won't quarrel with the Supreme Court.
Mr. MCDONALD. I should hope not, General, if you do, you cite a different authority.
General BROWN. I don't know what it is you are specifically referring to.
Mr. M CDONALD. Well, the Supreme Court decision in the early part of the century very specifically reaffirms our sovereignty over that. That was an issue. Are you not aware of that decision, in Wilson v. Shaw, in 1907? President Taft stated at that time:
It is hypercritical to contend that the title of the United States is imperfect, and that the territory described does not belong to this Nation, because of the omission of some of the technical terms used in ordinary conveyances of real estate....
That is ilson v. Shaw, by the Supreme Court in 1907.
General BROWN. Yes, sir, I am generally familiar with that, but not in the specific fashion that you outline.
Mr. McDONALD. General, let's go on to another point.
You talk about instability, unrest and dissatisfaction is where communism breeds. We will have to agree, the instability and dissatisfaction led to the Hungarian revolution in 1965, and we did nothing.
We have a bad track record standing up to communism.
I am concerned that we are not going to be able to stand up if we ever move out of the canal too.
The ChA1RAN. iMr. Treen.
Mr. TREEN. I ask the gentleman be allowed to have 1 additional minute and I ask him to yield to me.
The C AIRMtAN. Without objection.
Mr. McDONALD. I yield to the gentleman from Louisiana.
Mr. TREE N. I understand, Mr. McDonald, the treaty talks about us having the rights as if we are sovereign-rights that would be the same as if we were sovereign, which would suggest to me from a legal standpoint that means we do not have title to the land as we did with Alaska, nor do we have title such as when we purchased the Louisiala territory.
I am really not arguing with you about what we ought to do in the canal. But that narrow legal point of whether the Canal Zone is sov-
*ereign in the same sense as owned territory, I think the treaty itself says as if we were sovereign, would be entirely redundant language if we were sovereign.
Mr. McDONALD. Mr. Treen, it points out the reversionary title if we give it up it goes back to Panama. If Panama doesn't want it it groes back to Colombia. If Colombia doesn't want it it goes back to Spain. If Spain doesn't. want it, I suppose it goes back to the Aborigines.
The Supreme Court ruled we hatve sovereignty in perpetuity, which seems like a long time, but it only lasted a few decades.
The CHAIRMAN. We have Mr. Hansen to testify. I would like to coneluide this hearing as soon as possible.
We have another important earned services matter pending before the House at the present time.
Do you have any final sum-up on this question, or Mr. McDonald's 'question?
General BROW-N. Well, Mr. Chairman, I think that the question of
-:sovereignty is as Mr. Treen has pointed out, and I think personally
-would leave it to the lawyers to interpret, that.
I am aware of the Supreme Court decision which has been cited. However, I am also aware of the things that we do in daily practice and those we don't do to show that we are sovereign. It is not in that
I notice in Secretary Dean Rusk's testimony of last week, before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, that he made one point which I felt was very cogent; and that was that the existing treaty is not a sufficient, legal basis for the United States to act. 'Whereas the new treaty would -be in the eyes of a world court, in his judgment, :and probably the United Nations.
But certainly not the United Nations in the case of the 1903 treaty, where even our friends would vote against us.
Now I understand, in part, what Mr. McDonald has said, because
-he has expressed-and I gather that is what he was talking about when he was talking about his strong stomach-that there is a feeling throughout the country, -which I recognize, and that is, that the United States keeps backing down and never stands up to the principles to show the determination arnd the strength that we all believe this country has and should have. But I am not personally convinced that the Panama Canal Treaty issue is the issue on which to stand uip. I think it would be counterproductive. I think it would work against the interests of the United States, -with all of Latin America, and in fact, and with all of the Third World, and in fact with our own friends like France and the United Kingdom, who ar e well aware, of our attitude at the time they sought to do thing c about. the Suez Canal.
So I think, given the fact that we have been working at this thing for over 13 years, that the principles under which these treaties were negotiated were known publicly, and a voice was not raised in opposition-there was not a concerted action to suspend or divert the action during these 13 years under four Presidents-that to do so now would be completely contrary to the best interests of the United States, in my judgment.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General.
We appreciate your, testimony and the time you have given to the ,committee this afternoon.
General BROWN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CAIRMAN. Our next witness will be our colleague, the Honorable George Hansen from the great State of Idaho. Mr. Hansen.
STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE HANSEN, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM IDAHO
Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today and I am going to be reasonably brief because I do know we have a very vital issue on the floor of the House in the consideration again of the B-1 bomber.
I guess I am going to be here to somewhat rebut some of the opinion that was expressed previously by the gentleman from the Air Force and the Joint Chiefs, and perhaps give some aid and comfort to Mr. McDonald, Mr. Montgomery, and Mr. Dickinson, and some of the others who were expressing a different point of view.
Mr. Chairman, most of this has been rehashed. I do have some new material, I think I would like to enter into for just a moment, then perhaps we can go to questions.
I would like to address myself just briefly to this point of sovereignty. I have been doing a lot of studying. I guess you become quite a student of these things over a period of time. And it is absolutely clear that the Supreme Court said in the case that was cited earlier that the United States has title to that property, sovereignty or not. It has title to that property. It is ours. It was purchased four times. Once from the French-the rights for construction of the canal-once from the Colombians. We cleared the title, the Panamanians didn't. We cleared the title by indemnifying the Colombians. Then we purchased it from the Panamanians. And finally, of course, we purchased it from the landowners themselves.
The Supreme Court verified this, and they said we own it just as we own Alaska, and Alaska is now a State. I don't care whether you want to play legal games or not. It is a matter of fact that the United States owns that property, and I get a little tired of all this political banter about whether we own the property or not. That colloquy about lack of confidence in the military of the United States was very interesting. I think there is a lack of confidence in some respects. We could have won that war in Vietnam if we had unleashed the military the way they are able to operate-but we didn't. We saw some bungling. We saw some bad things happen over there that showed we had weaknesses. and we weren't able to deal with the situation, especially on a limited basis.
Then for us to have the military line up like good little soldiers behind the Chief Executive, and nobody dare speak out with regard to Panama, something, so close to home, does disturb the majority of Americans. The Panama (aml is the tie that binds our two great coasts on two oceans, and I think people do have a feeling in watching the current vacillation that indeed it is hard to trust and really hard to feel confidence in the military command of the United States of America.
I don't blame Mr. Dickinson for the way he feels with regard to iis son serving in the military .
I think it is ilteresting( to note that too nmnch bullving goes on ut the high command of the military with regard to dealing wit ho w own troops, and too little of the -guts" it takes to stand up to Jwople abroad who are mistreating us. I would like to bring to tiie conni 't attention at this time, a comnmunication tlhat I intercept ed fromt tllc Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, dated on the 20th of Any .
I will submit it for the record, if I might ,Mr. ClainIna.
The CIIAIAN. Without object ion it wll be acept for t IIe I < t .
[The following information was received for the record:]
FoR COMMANDERS FROM GENERAL JONES-PANAMA CANAL TILATllS
1. On 10 Aug. 1977 Panamanian and U.S. negotiators announced agreement in principle on conceptual framework for two new treaties. One, the neutralit:v treaty, provides for the permanent neutrality of the canal; the second, the Panama Canal Treaty, deals with the operation and defense of the canal. B#YA treaties would enter into effect after ratification and document exchange peru esses are complete. The neutrality treaty will be of indetinite duration. Wher'eathe Panama Canal treaty will terminate in all aspects on 31 Deceimlber i000.
2. The Panama Canal is a major defense asset, the use of which enhav United States capability for timely reinforcement of Uiiited States forces. Irstrategic military advantage lies in the economy and ilexibility it provides t accelerate the shift of military forces and logistic support by sea between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and to overseas areas. United States' Military intetests in the Panama Canal are in its use. Not its ownership. The proposed trea le" would assure that access to and security of the Panama Canal are protest tu .ili time of war and peace.
3. As President Carter has stated, "We will have operating control and the right to protect and defend the Panana Canal with our own military is:r until the end of this century. Under a separate neutrality treaty we Wi:i 1hiv\ the right to assure the maintenance of the pernianent neutrality of the canal we may deem necessary."
4. The Air Force actively participated in the development of all defense re ated aspects of the proposed treaties, and fully supports them. They woild prov .I. basis for development of a continuing friendly relationship between the firied States and Panama which would be of significant importance in insurine ru the Panama Canal would be available to the inited States when needed. the U.S. no longer operates the canal, the proposed neutrality treaty would provide an adequate basis for safeguarding our interests in the canal.
5. It is important that our personnel, particularly our senior people, understand our support for the proposed treaties.
Mr. HANSEN. It is for all conmanlders, from General Jones.
It deals in five points, but I won't go through it all.
The first point is to redefine somewhat what the traties are supposed to do.
Point 2 is to declare that the Panama ('anal is a ma mor dI >or asset, the use of which enhances V.S. forces. Its 1 rate lc milit ar
advantage lies in the economy and flexibility it provills Io aced 'in the shift of military forces and logistic Suppoi't by sea bet ween 11 Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and to oversea- areas.
That is the strong.~est statement I iave seei ite li i 1 v
seemlfs they are telling one story to iheir own culnetl's to Iv 0)y illduce the support of the imlilitary wlo they IknoB iw knwild ho a li V tough about this. And then they are telling Ihe Ainerican PNT !.other story which in so many words says. 'We < on't need it qu : e badly any more."
I think it is time we get our act together. We fimn1t Ih is dichn10'01V existing between what is told the military and civilians, a nl also w is told U.S. citizens and what Panam nian ,citizens are told.
It goes on to quote President Carter in saying something that I don't think in light of the Dole interception that President Torrijos would accept. It says:
As President Carter has stated, "We will have operating control and the right to protect and defend the Panama Canal with our own military forces until the end of this century. Under a separate neutrality treaty, we will have the right to assure the maintenance of the permanent neutrality of the canal as we may deem necessary."
That is a unilateral statement, "as we may deem necessary,' and I don't think Panama would accept it that way. And I would challenge this administration to see if Panama would agree to that statement.
The final thing, Mr. Chairman, and that is point 5-and to me this is the "gag rule" or "half-gag rule" if you would. This is where you put the lid on the military. This is the Singlaub situation.
It says: "It is important that our personnel, particularly our senior people, understand our support for the proposed treaties." And if that isn't an implied threat that your future military career would b jeopardized if you speak out contrary to the administration position, "I'll eat your hat."
I would like to make a couple of other points, Mr. Chairman.
I don't know whether it has been brought up or not, and that is this: that I come from the West. I come from a rural area. I come from an area where water rights are important. I don't know of one farmer in the world who would give up his water rights to the community for any kind of a neutral situation or any similar circumstance on the assumption that somehow he might have some kind of control over it or access to it if things got really tight-if water were short. Now, compare this to the Panama treaty proposals where we, in a sense, are giving up our "water rights."
What we are doing in giving up the Panama Canal under the circumstances proposed in these treaties, is giving up our rights to have final determination of the use of that facility. I think that is extremely dangerous. If things are short, if things are tight, then anything short of an act of aggression or an act of war, may not be sufficient for us to cope with the situation.
Now, let me just point this out. We know the Panamanians want to divert some of the water for their own purposes. We know that they may, according to the environmental impact report, move into the watersheds and cause some destruction. I know for a fact, due to conversations with the Canal Zone Governor, that we are in a water-short condition already with barely enough to get through some of the years and be able to keep the traffic going full time.
If we allow Panama to destroy the watersheds to a degree, are we going to have a full-time canal or part-time canal? Are we going to have to curtail the operations of that canal? Under our own management we know where we stand, and the record speaks for itself.
Can we guarantee that under Panamanian control?
Second, how about the shortage of money?
Panama is a country with approximately 11/2 million people, which are heavily in debt. Will they "reach in and tap the till"- the capital reserve upkeep funds for the canal?
The political pressure for social spending will surely cause Panama to go into such canal funds established for desiltation or renewal of the locks. Will they be able to resist the clamor for low-cost housing,
or will we end up with a curtailment of the operation because the canal facilities are allowed to run down?
And how about trained personnel?
Six months after that treaty is in force all people there will be going under Panamanian law. That is a dictator system, both civil law as well as criminal law. And are these people groingr to willingly train their Panamanian replacements? We could well end up with the Corp's of Engineers running the canal.
With this sort of training and disruption, can we have an efficient operation? Can we have a full-time operation. And can we use it when, we want to? I gets down to a problem of shortages -short ag(es of water, of money and of trained personnel.
Are we then going to have a shortage of access of the use of that canal in a time of need?
Then there is the insurgency problem. I think it is the most spineless attitude I have ever seen to say we have got to get out of there under the threat there, might be some kind of violence, or terrorism.
It is absolutely unreal, Mr. Chairman, because I feel that the U.S. Marines can handle any problem. I would certainly bank on them a lot more than I would on the Panamanian militia to protect that fa*~iity. The attempt or the inclination to disturb the facility would be a lot more real under Torrij os' cont rol than it would under our own control. The Panamanians know we don't economically depend on it as heavily as they do. It wouldn't economically destroy or seriously handicap the United States if something were to happen to the canal. But if Torrijos has it, -what happens then? He is dependent on it. It would be the biggest economic facility in his country. If somebody wants to pull a coup and do something to "upset his apple cart," what is the easiest thing to do? It is to politically and economically damage him by curtailing his operation.
It seems to me the temptation to disrupt the service. of the Panama Canal is magnified immensely by transferring it out of the hands of the United States of America to Torrijos' control. I think it is absolutely economic foolishness and military suicide-for the United States to make a move like this.
In my letter of October 17, 1977, to General Jones, I made the points presented to you today and asked: "In light of the controversy over the Dole interception, are the assurances contained in your message still valid?" This should certainly be explored.
And there is such a taint on these treaties, MNr. Chairman.
There are these massive bank loans with Panama, which I helped to expose. I filed a lawsuit against Sol Linowitz which caused him to resign from the board of directors of Marine MAiidland Bank. All sorts of things have been going on that would be considered to be "hankypanky." And as f ar as I can see there is only one set of people who really stand to benefit out of this, outside of the money we pour out to Latinl America in general, and that is 60 or 80 U.S. attorneys who represent, these foreign interests and those sitting as directors of bigy international banks and multinational corporations who are going to have their kitty's fattened because of the amount of money they -will get under the circumstances provided by the proposed treaties.
I hate to put it this bluntly. M\r. Chairman, but it is a rip-off of the American people. It is billions of dollars out of the pockets of
American citizens being funneled into the pockets of vested interests. I don't think the people of the United States are in a mood to tolerate
TheCHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
M, r. Montgomery.
.Mr. MONTGOMERY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank Mr. Hansen for his very strong testimony. Of course, I agree fully with everything he says. I would like to thank him for carrying on the fight.
I would say today if they had a vote in the Senate, that the treaty would not be ratified. I think the administration's strategy and philosophy is to delay bringing the vote up in the Senate until they can build their strength up.
There are people, Mr. Chairman, like George Hansen, and others, if they will keep this issue before the American people, I believe we can 'Win in the Senate. And I know we can win it in the House. And as I
-said to General Brown, if the American people want to keep the Panama Canal, let's keep it, and see what the consequences are later ,on down the road.
It is just like you say, it is a bad deal. And I have noticed the military that I have talked to, and that -have testified before our committees, .the stand they have taken. They seem to be very, very uncomfortable in taking the stand of defending the treaty and saying that the canal will be safe and the- military can protect our interests in Panama.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. W~hitehurst.
-Mr. WHITEIIURST. Congressman Hansen, you are preaching to a
-small choir, but you are preaching anyway. I have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. MacDonald.
Mr. McDONALD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me compliment you on your excellent presentation. I am sorry the general couldn't stay around. I understand his need to pass out, however. I wish he would have stuck around. I think it would have been -an anecdote to som-e of the toxins he has been picking up in recent months. I was rat-her shocked to hear the general in summation come rout with -one fairly tale after another. One is this illusion we have had four Presidents operating openly to the American people on the Panama Canal. And it is just not fair to sabotage this at this time after we have had such an opportunity in the past to speak up.
Mr. Hansen, you are certainly an expert, and one who has followed the Panama Canal issue, as Congressman Montgomery already stated .you have led the fight. You are to be complimented for that very excel lent work.
In your' opinion do you feel the American people have been treated honestly on this clown through the years? I can remember, it was just 1 year ago this month, that the then Candidate Carter told uis in a Second television debate we were not going. to give up contr-ol of the Pantamna Canal. He took more or less that posit-ion.
That~ statement lasted less than 1 year, for a man that was not going t o lie to us. Do you feel like the administration has been honest on this issue? We only got the treaty about 1 day before they had that circus ,down there with the signing.
Mr. HANSEN. That is a leading question, Mr. McDonald. I think ,you about answered it with the question.
Mr. McDoNALD. The general is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is supposed to be a knowledgeable man. He is supposed to be a patriot. He just stated it is more or less "dirty pool" to come up at this time and suggest there is something wrong with it, after we have had all1 this time-four Presidents, to express our disapproval. Up to this time we have always -been told we are j ust negotiating. Mr. HANSEN. I would say this, Mr. McDonald. You are certainly right in what you are saying. In fact, I found that everybody seems to have been included in"'the negotiations except the Congress of the United States who have continuously been on record against any giveaway of the Panama Canal. Then they come and say we, along with the people of the United States, are supposed to accept it. I think it is time that the people downtown-I don't care which political party they represent-that they understand there is a group of people up here on Capitol Hill who represent the people of the United States.
The next time, they ought to take us in on a thing like this then they wouldn't come up with a problem like they are facing today.
Mr. McDONALD. He mentioned a former Secretary, I assume Dean Rrzsk, the same one I know from Georgia, who has stated in the World Court we might'not be able to uphold our rights there in Panama unless we kind of go-along with this treaty. To my understanding, the Connally reservation which would keep the World Court fingers out of it is still in effect. Were you aware the Connally reservation has been repealed?
Mr. HANSEN. There are certain people in this country who would like to subject us to a World Court.
However, the laws of -the United States still apply and the Connally
reservations still valid..
Mr. McDONALD. 'The Connally reservation says we don't submit to the World Court issues we feel are internal matters. There is no reason in the world I see we would be submitting a Panama Canal question to -the World Court unless wc. lost our senses.
MNr. HANSEN. I agree, Mr. McDonald.
This business regarding the Panama Canal operation is an internal affair, that is exactly what it is. Regarding the matter of sovereignty which, I think eyou brought up earlier, I think it ought to be put to rest. People issue. Many say the phrase "as if we were sovereign" is a weakened position of soverei 'gnty.
This is not true. In f act, there was no real sovereigynty able to be expressed in the area at the turn of the century because Panama was a fledgling nation, only days old when the United States recognized their independence and when we made the original agreement.
Point 1 in the 1903 treaty, said that the United States guarantees Panama's sovereignty.
Panama in return then guaranteed us their sovereignty over the Canal Zone.
On that assumption, then, the United States moved into the area as a -vestige of the Monroe Doctrine, and we asserted sovereignty for Panama and for ourselves.
We guaranteed Panama's sovereinty and in doing so we guarnted
our own sovereignty which, in a sense we are saying in the phrase, "as if we were sovereign."
This was assertion of sovereignty. It was an assertion of power by the United States. Whether anybody likes it or not, we are sovereign. And the Supreme Court certified our sovereignty when it said we are the titled owner of that area. It is our property. How-ever, it is ridicuIons to argue sovereignty and ownership. The real argument now is do we give it away or not?
I think it will be a disaster if we do.
I might ask at this point, Mr. Chairman, permission to also insert in the record along with the message to commands from General Jones, mv letter to General Jones confronting him on this matter.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you.
[The following information was received for the record :]
OCTOBER, 17, 1977.
DEAR GENERAL JONES: I am deeply appreciative of your integrity and many years of service to our country. I regret that it is necessary to confront you with a matter of serious concern.
However, I am in possession of an August 20 message which you sent to all major Air Force commands regarding the Panama Canal, the contents of which I have this day released to the Press.
It is appalling that you have apparently "gagged" all Air Force personnel,. especially those senior officers whose true opinion would be of great use to the public and the security of this nation.
The information I received along with your message indicates that, "Paragraph 5 of this message makes it quite clear that we, as military personnel, are expected to support these treaties," and that any action otherwise would be highly detrimental to a military career. It is quite apparent to me that this is a clever but still blatant attempt to deprive the American people of the full information to which they are entitled on a matter so serious.
In light of the controversy over the Dole interception, are the assurances contained in your message still valid? The question is particularly pertinent in light of the recent so-called agreement between Carter and Torrijos which was not signed by either person and which was gutted by statements of Torrijos on his. return to Panama.
If a Senior Officer did express a contrary opinion could he expect the same treatment as General Singlaub?
In light of your contention in paragraph 2 does this mean that the United States with no control over the Canal would have to make good any operational deficits of the Canal's operation or pay for any needed maintenance.
Did you receive any pressure from the White House for your own support or to send such a message to the members of your command?
Your comments in paragraph 2 show significant contradiction between what the military is telling itself about the military value of the Panama Canal andwhat they were telling the public in past Senate hearings. I would like to know exacty what the official military position really is.
Furthermore, I have serious doubts that in light of recent controversies over treaty interpretation that the Panamanians would accept the unilateral authority of President Carter's statement in paragraph 3 which says that the United States "... will have the right to assure the maintenance of the permanent neutrality of the Canal as we vmY (cem flCcssary." (Emphasis added.)
As I already have strong indications of numerous complaints of senior military personnel who are being "squelched." I must demand an immediate retraction of this "muzzling" order along with proper apologies from you and aiy higher authority responsible.
Finally, in your statements to the Congress, the public, or your command. I would strongly suggest that you arrive at a consistency that is compatible with iiatiotal security and wilh the basic rights of individuals in a free nation. I assure you that my colleagues will be most interested in observing the action of
the high command of the nation's armed forces during deliberations over the proposed Panama Treaties in the days ahead.
Your expeditious reply to my questions will be greatly appreciated.
Member of Congre8s.
OCTOBFR 21, 1977.
DEAR MR. ITAISEN: The thrust of your letter of 1T October .197T concerning my message to Air Force commanders on the Panama Canal Treaties appears to be contained in the assertion that the message has "gacr ed" all Air Force personnel.
That assertion is mistaken. The message was categorically riot a ga- order. It was not intended to muzzle Air Force senior commanders. In fact, the last seiitence of my letter makes clear that niy intent was rather to let senior Air Force commanders know why the Air Force supported the treal -not to dictate their personal opinions.
The message of 20 August 1977 was a straightforward communication to the Air Force's senior managers of an Ufficial position arrived at by the President and supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There was nothing unusual about the message, and I felt no pressure to send it.
We expect and encourage our people to voice their free opinion on proposed courses of action. Once a decision has been arrived at, however, they are expected to support established policies. This does not mean that they are thereafter prohibited from expressing their personal views when, for example, questioned by the Congress. Quite the contrary, by custom, policy, and law when asked by Congressional Committees for their personal views our people are expected to say
-%7%,hat they think-and the record will show they have.
I fully endorse the proposed treaties. This is nay personal view, as well as my view as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Since renegotiation of the existing treaty began in 1964, four Presidents have supported the -search for a new agreement. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have been deeply involved in the negotiations at every phase. During the most critical stages which occurred over the past two years, a senior military officer representing the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefsof Staff has been a member of the negotiating team.
The Joint Chiefs have discussed these matters with senior military commanders, have weighed carefully the national security aspects of alternative courses of action, have participated fully in the evolution of the treaties' terms, and unanimously favor ratification.
General. USAF., Chief of Staff.
WHO CAN SAY WHAT?--DiSAGREEMENT AiRisEs OVER CANAL OPINIONS
(By Bruce Callander)
NVASHIINGTON.-Sometimes what you said isn't nearly as important as what people say you said -or what people think you meant in saying it.
Ever since the Joint Chiefs of Staff voiced their unanimous endorsement of the Panama Canal treaties, some members of Congress have been trying to prove that (1) they were under pressure from the White House to do so and (2) the services have told their members generally that if they can't say anything nice
-about the pacts, they shouldn't say anything at all.
Gen. George Brown, chairman of the JCS, has found a number of occasions to challenge the first premise. In a recent Florida speech he noted that the chiefs frequently differ with presidential decisions and say so, at least within the executive branch. But, said Brown, the chiefs really favor the Panama agreements anti didn't have to be coerced by the White House to say so publicly. (Last week's issue).
That probably hasn't satisfied Brown's critics in Congress, but it's hard to accuse a four-star general of saying something he doesn't mean just to keep his boss happy. It's particularly hard in Brown's case because he has a reputation for speaking his mind even when it makes presidents unhappy.
So the lawmakers are trying to make hay over the second point-that, having voiced their approval of the Panama treaties, the chiefs are moving to muzzle other officers who may share their view.
That very well may be the case. General Brown put the proposition rather clearly in his recent speech. After telling how the chiefs voice their opinions pro and con in the high councils of government, Brown said, "What we do not do is 'go public' with dissenting views once a decision has been made. Every senior military officer understands the rules of play. Give your best; say what you think; advocate a course of action-and when a decision is made, support it.
"If a decision is unacceptable, and an officer wishes to speak out publiclyfine. He ctn take off his uniform, leave active service, and express that disagreement."
In short, once the word has come down, the officer has three options-praise the decision (if he approves of it), shut up and support it anyway (if he can) or get out and howl his head off (if he feels that strongly opposed).
Curiously enough, congressional critics of the JCS position do not seem to have picked up Brown's blunt remarks about dissent in service. But, they have latched onto another, milder statement by one of the service chiefs and have made much of it.
In mid-August, Gen. David Jones, AF chief of staff, dispatched a message to commanders about the canal treaties. The message accompanies this story.
Jones' statement follows closely the description the State Department gave of the agreements, but it ends with the sentence: "It is important that our personnel. particularly our senior people, understand our support for the proposed treaties."
Somebody passed a copy of Jones' message to Rep. George Hansen (R-Idaho) who promptly (1) dispatched a biting note to Jones, (2) cranked up a press release headed "Has the Military Been Muzzled on Panama?" and (3) put the whole business-Jones letter, Hansen note, press release and appropriate remarks-into the Congressional Record.
In his press release, Hansen said, "It is quite evident that any senior officer who dares express his own feelings will suffer the same fate as General Singlaub. I wonder if the Joint Chiefs received a similar message from the White House demanding their allegiance?"
In the Congressionat Record, Hansen said he was "shocked and appalled" by Jones' letter. The statements, he said, "are highly indicative of wide-scale 'Singlaubistic' thinking in the military and in addition they provide speculation of White House terror tactics and bullying."
To clinch his charge that senior officers are coerced, Hansen quoted the unna med officer who sent him Jones' message as saying that he opposed the treaties but now understood that he was not to say so.
Hansen said a good deal more in his press release about the White House's effort "to subvert the truth," about the treaties' being "a fraud" and about the. administration's "gagging" the military.
He also put a number of questions to Jones, asking him whether the White House put pressure on him either to support the treaties or to send the message to the field.
Presumably Jones could save time and trouble by sending Hansen a copy of General Brown's speech. It seems to answer the questions pretty clearly.
DEAR GENERAL JONES: Thank you for your reply of October 21 to my letter expressing concern for your message to Air Force Commands regarding the proposed Panama Canal treaties.
However, I am concerned that the problems I posed were not really answered satisfactorily by your response.
Your statement that the message is not a gag order for Air Force personnel is appreciated but apparently not understood by either Air Force personnel or individuals involved in related organizations such as the Air Force Association. Military personnel have complained to me and to other Members of Congress that they do not feel free to personally express positions contrary to Air Force policy. The tone of your message which I earlier brought to your attention, if typical, certainly doesn't do1 anything to welcome diverse opinions. Your October 21 letter to me in f:ict noted that your people have opportunity for free opinion only uII!ii a decision has been arrived at which, of course, is now the case. You continued on to say that they are then "expected to support established policies."
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
29 3 1262 05589 1211
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General George Brown, al,-o says that "military officers do not go public with dissenting views once a decision is made." Belov,, your level, including a few advisors, who in the military ever really enjoyed the input and freedom of expression regarding the Panama treaty'? The answer is not one and you know it. You cited freedom of military people to express personal views when questioned by the Congress. But you must know that such possibilities are remote. With Gen. Singlaub so fresh in mind, it is certainly obvious tliat no military inan who values his career would want to "buck the establishment." Isn't it interesting that polls of retired Admirals and Generals when they are free to speak their inind without coercion, are overwhelmingly against the treaties (300-7 by recent tabulation).
This week I received a letter from a high ranking retired Air Force officer who is an Air Force Asso-iation inember. He stated that the "recent National AFA meeting in Washington . wanted to adopt a resolution condemning the Canal treaties but General Jones had stopped the resolution." Another Senior Member of the Air Force complained about paragraph 5 of y our message NvIiich he said "makes it quite clear that we as military personnel are expected to support these treaties."
Now, General, it is obvious that the assurances you give me that there is no muzzling of Air Force personnel, especially Senior Commanders, is not understood by members of the military or affiliated associations.
Therefore I must challenge you to not only tell me that military people and associates are free to speak but tell them in a way they can believe.
A second major issue revolves around your lightly flipping through the pas:,a-e of recent history to name-drop those Presidents and others who have been in support of a new treaty. This gives me no comfort at all, General. Many of those same Presidents and certain military officers and Ambassadors like iMr. Bunker have also been the architects of American withdrawal and defeat around the world for two decades.
The American people are tired of appeasement and incompetence in foreign affairs which has stalemated us in one war and lost another and now finds us becoming more and more dependent upon other nations for even those elements involved in our basic survival. Just look at the oil situation.
Rather than independently achieving energy self-sufficiency, we find ourselves becoming more and more dependent upon foreign nations both in terms of price and supply. This can be similarly said of a number of other situations. Now, of all people, you in the military want to put our two-ocean naval capability and commercial maritime link between two great sea coasts atthe mercy of another power.
With a trackrecord like this, then the political and military leadership of this nation could hardly wonder why the people are skeptical of not only supporting the proposed Panama Canal treaties but also of even supporting the military in its enlistment programs and other necessary ways. One word of advice to you from one in Congress who has long supported the military is that you have feN-,real stalwart friends among the liberal elements of Congress and you arc, fast losing the support of the moderates and conservatives.
A third point of concern is that of dichotomy of sales pitch. When high military officers professing support of the treaties give a stron- statement of need f or continued access to the Panama Canal to all military personnel as you did in your message to all commands and then tell another story to the public. it doesn't wash well. For instance, in contrast to your message, General Brown before the I-louse Armed Services Committee on October 21 stated that he doesn't believe the Panama Canal is "vital" to the United States.
This business of telling different stories to the Civilian and 'Military sector of our society is no more tolerable than the situation of President Carter and General Torrijos, each telling their own nation that which might sound popular even though the positions. are in contradiction with 9ne another.
Finally, any person such as yourself who professes to know what the treaties are all about must know what you are doing to the pocketbooks of the taxpayers who support your very existence. Once you have given away, as the treaties proPose, the very land which American military bases now occupy to defend the Canal, how do you propose to continue such defense after the year 200,0 without the same convenient established bases of operation'? Of course, it is obvious. You will do just as we do in Europe and other places across the world-rent prollerty from. the nations concerned under limited conditions at costs of hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
But it is only money, isn't it General? And buying peace seems so convenient that some people never want to look back to the lessons of history which shows that principles, not payoffs, preserve the peace.
And General, you had better check the diversion of water problems and water shed damage possibilities to see if you would have a full-time canal under Panamianian operation and ownership. You should also check if Panamanian leadership, would be able to withstand "tapping the cash register" and using maintenance funds for social programs thereby ending up with a broken-down canal. Just who besides Uncle Sam would then be called on to step in and pay the tab to upgrade the facilities?
And don't forget to see just how much of the payments proposed in the new treaties -will never get into the Panamanian economy but actually go to service thie massive debts of General Torrijos.
And General, isn't it more important from the point of view of the citizens of the United States whom you serve that we keep our two great coasts bound ~together by continued unimpeded ownership of the Panama Canal than that we unite the two parts of Panama by surrendering this property?
We are a good neighbor and we can perhaps improve upon this. But we will not be a good neighbor if we give the Canal to Panama with strings attached as provided in the treaties which could permanently subject them to us in colonial status. Right now an independent Canal Zone owned by the United States needs no interfering in Panamanian affairs to protect and operate the Canal. In your own message to the commands you quoted President Carter as stating that "we will have the right to assure the maintenance of the permanent neutrality of the Canal as we may deem necessary." This absolutely means we have the right to meet any threat in Panama from within or without-which constitutes a dangerous and unnecessary blank check for our involvement and interference in Panamanian affairs. The proposed Canal treaties, contrary to claims of prop~onents, will deeply involve the U.S. in interventionism, colonialism, and imperialism.
General, I strongly feel that some kind of wishful-thinking euphoria has engulfed the high military command in which you serve and honestly believe that somehow you are operating on limited facts and unrealistic political assurances. I am prepared to back up this contention if you are concerned enough to discuss t he matter further. In 'the meantime, I think it is vitally important that I receive further communication from you regarding the matters raised ini this letter.
Member of Congress.
NOvEMBTER 2, 1977.
DEAR MR. HAN sEN: Bravo on your stand against the Air Force being stifled in any adverse comments on the Canal treaties.
General David Jones' muzzle is particularly galling since he has obviously taken an active political role in this debate.
At our last local Air Force Association (AFA) meeting it was reported from an attendee to the recent National AFA meeting in Washington that the conference, wanted to adopt a resolution condemning the Canal treaties but Gnral Jones had stopped the resolution. One man one thought.
From my 33 years association with the Air Force, I would be very skeptical of the opinion from an Air Force officer as to how many ground troops it would take to defend any territory.
The CHAkIRMNiN. Thank you very much, MNr. H-1ansen. We appreciate you ir appearance before the committee.
Mr. ITA.-SEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRAN. The committee will adjourn.
[Wh1ereupon, the committee adjourned at 3:45 p.m.]