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H.R. 111 was carefully designed to honor my commitment to implementing legislation and to achieve a proper degree of balance in meeting the various concerns of our Nation raised by the Panama Canal Treaty. The evidence that this hearing will bring out may require some modification of H.R. 111. But I think the basic principles behind this bill still remain sound. It is my urgent hope that after the Members of Congress have had a chance to study and assess today's evidence, they will turn back to the vital task of enacting legislation to implement the Panama Canal Treaty.
And in view of what the evidence will show during these hearings, I would hope that the President of the United States would let our treaty partner, the Government of Panama, know that this Nation will not permit their continued participation in fomenting revolution in Latin America.
There is more to come and more to be said, but we will break at this point, and Brandon Grove, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Department of State, will not be testifying today, but we will be hearing instead from Mr. Brian Atwood. Mr. Brian Atwood is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs, Department of State, and Mr. William B. Robinson, Director, Office of Munitions Control, also from the Department of State.
Mr. Atwood, we will hear from you, and then Mr. Robinson and then perhaps Mr. Bryant. STATEMENT OF J. BRIAN ATWOOD, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRE
TARY FOR INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM B. ROBINSON, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MUNITIONS CONTROL, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, AND CLYDE G. BRYANT, JR., CHIEF, SUPPORT SERVICES DI. VISION, OFFICE OF MUNITIONS CONTROL, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. ATWOOD. Mr. Chairman, I have a prepared statement. Mr. Robinson and Mr. Bryant are here to respond to questions.
Mr. HUBBARD. What is Mr. Bryant's first name?
Mr. HUBBARD. We will try to return in about 10 minutes or less. The subcommittee will now stand in recess.
Mr. HUBBARD. Having been interrupted by the rollcall vote, we now resume this hearing by calling on Mr. Brian Atwood, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations.
Mr. Atwood. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to present a very brief statement on behalf of the administration.
I cannot resist a comment that if this were a court of law, I might have to challenge one or two of the judges. It seems that many of you have made up your minds. I think you will find over the next few days that these issues are very, very complicated, and that conclusions are difficult to arrive at.
First, we in the administration are deeply concerned about the situation in Nicaragua. Indeed, we are confronted with a very dangerous situation in the entire Central American region. As you
know, the United States has good relations with a large number of countries in Latin America. The policies of these countries on the Nicaragua situation vary considerably. In fact, many of our close friends, many of the democracies in that area, agree with Panama in its policy toward Nicaragua.
But let me address some of the points made by you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Bauman, earlier, by emphasizing very strongly on behalf of the administration that nothing could diminish our influence in that crucial area of the world more than defeating the Panama Canal implementing legislation or encumbering it with amendments which violate the treaties.
Nothing could strengthen the hand of our adversaries—Cuba and the Soviet Union-more than forcing the United States to go back on its treaty obligation to Panama. And nothing could be more adverse to our own interests than creating the conditions which would cause the closing of the Panama Canal.
I have had an opportunity this week to discuss this matter briefly with Chairman Murphy, and he agrees, as he has indicated in the statement he has issued, that the implementing legislation should be considered on its own merits.
For these and other reasons the matters you will examine over the next 2 days are extremely delicate. I am confident that this subcommittee will work with the administration to conduct these proceedings on the basis of fairness, keeping in mind legal and national security considerations.
We have cooperated fully with your staff in preparing for this hearing on very short notice. We have advised the staff that we cannot discuss certain information relating to active criminal and civil proceedings. You have asked to discuss some cases which are being investigated actively or for which indictments have already been issued. I am sure that you will agree that indicted individuals—whether they be American, Panamanian, Nicaraguan, or whatever nationality-should not go scot free because of pretrial publicity. I sincerely hope that the administration's inability to discuss these matters will not subject our witnesses to charges that we are trying to deny this subcommittee information.
We have also advised the staff that we cannot participate in any effort to damage our relations with a friendly government. In this regard, certain information which may or may not be relevant to your inquiry, must be classified for diplomatic or intelligence reasons relating to our national security. We obviously will not discuss this type of information in public. I am confident that subcommittee members understand these restrictions. Our witnesses would not want to be put into the position of having to confirm or deny information members of this subcommittee have received in classified briefings.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a comment on the practice of permitting a foreign government to present evidence against the nationals of another government before a committee of Congress Working in the Office of Congressional Relations and having worked on the Hill for 6 years, I am a strong advocate of congressional prerogatives, but this procedure seems to me to be terribly awkward from a legal and foreign policy perspective. I would point out that there are international organizations, such as
the United Nations and the Organization of American States, that are the proper forums for presenting evidence of violations of international law.
I would add, that I would hope that our diplomats would not subject themselves to the parliamentary procedures of a foreign government.
Finally, I am sure that you will agree that whatever the true facts in this matter are—and as I indicated before, they are terribly complicated, with conclusions difficult to draw—that whatever the true facts are, neither the Government of Nicaragua nor, for that matter, the Government of Panama can be considered an impartial witness to the matters before you.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. William Robinson and Mr. Clyde Bryant of the Office of Munitions Control are here and we will respond to your questions.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you very much, Mr. J. Brian Atwood, of the Department of State, for your comments and testimony.
As chairman of the Panama Canal Subcommittee, I would respond by saying this issue is being tried in the international courts of public opinion and in this particular instance, it is my opinion that Panama's actions do indeed violate the charter of the Organization of American States.
Next, I would add the Congress hears foreign witnesses quite often and, further, I think it is finally time that we bring to life facts that back up the views of millions of Americans who have opposed the Panama Canal treaties from the outset and also bring up facts regarding the people who are now suffering from the Panamanians' transportation of weapons, terrorism and insurgency into Nicaragua. These questions I would ask, please, Mr. Atwood, of you or Mr. Robinson or Mr. Bryant.
Would you describe for the subcommittee the procedures by which an individual applies for a license to export firearms from the United States?
Mr. ROBINSON. I am going to ask Mr. Bryant to do that.
Mr. BRYANT. The person, be it an individual, partnership or company, whatever, submits an application for a license to export unclassified arms, ammunitions, implements of war to the Department of State. That application is addressed on its own merits and within the Department of State the decision is made as to whether or not that application will be issued. There is a standard form for submitting such an application.
Mr. HUBBARD. Does the Munitions Control Office of the Department of State, which is located in suburban Virginia, handle the issuance of export licenses for firearms?
Mr. ROBINSON. Yes.
Mr. HUBBARD. To the best of your knowledge, did individuals known as James Howell and Antonio Alvarez visit the Munitions Control Office on or about January 24, 1979, seeking an export license?
Mr. BRYANT. They visited on January 24, but as I recollect, sir, they had submitted the application prior to that.
Mr. HUBBARD. But indeed this year, January 24, James Howell and Antonio Alvarez did visit the Munitions Control Office, seeking an export license?
Mr. BRYANT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBBARD. Do you have a copy of their application or the export license which you could provide for the record?
Mr. BRYANT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBBARD. Would you please submit that to the clerk for inclusion in the record?
[The following was received for the record:]
(DEPARTMENT OF STATE USE ONLY)
signature ense ne e granted to applicen::o export from United States to desti..lon indicated the desribed co.nmodity now in U.S. territory in the weristy given, provided commodity bears no U. S. military security cosa sificatio
DO NOT REPRODUCE THIS LICENSE (121.201c))
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DEPARTMENT OF STATE APPLICATION/LICENSE FOR PERMANENT EXPORT OF UNCLASSIFIED IMPLEMENTS OF WAR AND RELATED UNCLASSIFIED TECHNICAL DATA
Sa 23 78
FOR 12 MONTHS FROM ABOVE OATE
3. Country of Ultimate Destination
4. Probable Port of
Exit From U.S.
REPLIBIC OF PANAMA
6. Names and telephone numbers of U. S. Government personnel familiar with the commodity RE DATIS
7. Name, State and telephone number of applicant contact if U.S. Gov.
ernment needs additional information.
12. TOTAL VALUE: $ 8750.00 14. Specific purpose for which the material is required, including specific
SPORTING GOODS STORE
-16. Name and address of consignor in United States
18. Name and address of foreign end-user
as itea 17
20. This application represents: DONLY completely new orders
21, The IDENTICAL commodity was licensed to the country in block 3 under license no.
.: was licensed to other countries under license no.
Elever licensed for this applicant.
23. In this transaction, applicant is: Government
Bogent/manufacturer freight forwarder 25. APPLICANT'S STATEMENT (SEE INSTRUCTIONS)
hereby apply for a (TYPED NAME) license to complete the transaction described above; warrant the truth of all statements made herein; and acknowledge, understand and will comply with the provisions of Title 22 CFR 121-128 and any conditions and limitations imposed.