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canal because the canal operating employees, both American and Panamanian, would have no basis for being paid, and the other privileges which were carefully worked out for them would not be there.
And then we would have a hostile Panama feeling as though they had been betrayed by the United States.
I think the mood of the country would be such as to encourage some adverse actions against the United States and the installations in the canal area.
Mr. HUGHES. As of October 1, the Panama canal Company goes out of existence?
General MCAULIFFE. That is correct.
Mr. HUGHES. Who would be in a position to set rates for the canal?
General MCAULIFFE. The treaty specifically prohibits the Canal Zone Government and the Panama Canal Company from operating in Panama, as of midnight on September 30.
The treaty only states that an appropriate entity will be established to run the canal, and that we will have Panamanian representation in it. So it is up to the implementing legislation to lay out the structure of the organization that would run the canal and provide a basis, an authorization, so to speak, for the hiring and paying of employees.
Mr. HUGHES. Aside from the administrative questions that will have to be resolved with regard to the setting of rates and the paying of salaries and all of the other things that go into operating the canal, what would be the posture of the decisionmaking with regard to the defense of the canal at that time?
As I understand it, under the implementing legislation we would be setting up a commission that would indeed be making those decisions.
Where does that leave us on October 1 insofar as decisionmaking, insofar as defending the canal?
General MCAULIFFE. Mr. Congressman, I expect, the good Lord willing, I shall be there October 1, and I can assert that I shall have ample authority to defend the canal through that period and will do it unilaterally if we do not have the cooperation of the Panamanian forces.
I may be defending a nonoperating canal, but I can indeed use my forces. The use of those forces is not constrained under these circumstances.
I can use the forces to defend the canal and to protect U.S. installations and U.S. citizens, if necessary.
Mr. HUGHES. I thank you, because I was not one of the early supporters of the Canal Treaty. I would not have, in all probability, voted for them in the form in which they were finally accepted.
But I find we are in a different posture now, and it would seem to me the options are not very attractive if we reject the implementing legislation.
From what you have described to me there are not many options open to our country other than to implementing the Canal Treaty so that we can protect our interests in the canal, including the employees' interests, and national defense interests.
Is that what you are saying?
General MCAULIFFE. That is very much what I am saying. I will have to say, and to reassure the members of this committee, that we are enjoying a great deal of cooperation and assistance and you might say harmony on the part of Panama in that area right now. This has been the case since the ratification of the treaty, and it is much different, almost 180 degrees or so, from the situation that I have faced down there over the past-over the previous 3 years. I have been there just a month short of 4 years. It has been my contention all along that the treaties were designed to enhance the security, and our use of the canal.
I believe that by eliciting the cooperation and the active participation of Panama, and I believe that with an acceptable implementing bill we can achieve that objective, indeed we would face a promising situation in Panama rather the bleak one that seems to come out of the comments that I have heard recently.
Mr. HUGHES. Thank you.
Mr. GROVE. I would like to fully associate myself with the views that General McAuliffe has expressed.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you.
General McAuliffe, I rose to the rank of corporal in the Army, and I am used to yes and no answers. I am wondering if a general can answer yes and no questions. I would like to ask you to do that. If I remember, I always had to answer yes or no to officers.
I would like to know, so I know clearly in my mind, when you went to Nicaragua, did you ask for the resignation of Somoza?
General MCAULIFFE. No, sir, I did not.
General MCAULIFFE. Not in my presence, and I want to say again, though, that there is implicit-or there was implicit in this process of the plebiscite that was then under active consideration, the premise that President Somoza would resign earlier than the end of his tour.
Mr. CARNEY. General, were you accompanying Ambassador Moss on the evening when he sought to persuade the General from breaking relations with Nicaragua?
General MCAULIFFE. No, sir, I was not.
Mr. CARNEY. The question was asked of you if the Russian-made plane that was alluded to yesterday in testimony-and I am not sure if you did not answer that for security reasons, or the fact that
General MCAULIFFE. It is for security reasons.
Mr. CARNEY. In other words, you cannot answer that question solely on security?
General MCAULIFFE. In this open session.
Mr. CARNEY. I can appreciate that very much. It was just not clear to me.
General MCAULIFFE. I will have to say that almost any time you go to Tocumen Airport, you are bound to see a Cuban aircraft, because Cubana Airline flies into Panama several times a week. Concerning a specific flight, at a specific time, for a specific purpose, I would not be able to dress that in this session.
Mr. CARNEY. I can appreciate that. You did say something in essence, and I did not get the quote down fast enough, but you said that when you went to visit with General Somoza you explained to him the military's position in this situation. Is it the normal process for the U.S. Army to take sides in international politics?
General MCAULIFFE. No, sir.
Mr. CARNEY. Then why would you explain the military's position?
General MCAULIFFE. The military has had such a long involvement in Nicaragua, the U.S. military, and with General Somoza, that we thought, since President Somoza, General and President Somoza, had raised many questions at that time about the plebiscite process, and appeared to indicate to some people who had heard him talk that the U.S. military really was not supporting the plebiscite, when we heard those kind of comments, and I believe there was at least one, maybe more news articles written to that effect, coming out of Nicaragua at that time, then it was thought advisable to let him know that we on the military side, on the Defense Department side, also supported the concept of a plebiscite as a means of trying to salvage a moderate alternative to the Sandinistas. I will have to tell you that I do not want to see a Sandinista victory, and a Communist victory in Nicaragua, any more than any other individual who is familiar with that region.
I believe that it would have been possible if that plebiscite or something like that was permitted to go forward to where you would have emerging something between Somoza and the Sandinistas, but unfortunately it did not occur.
Mr. CARNEY. When you say "we in the military,” are you referring to the Joint Chiefs?
General MCAULIFFE. Yes.
Mr. CARNEY. And they briefed you prior to your going down there?
General MCAULIFF. No, sir. If there is any briefing, it is usually I am briefing them.
Mr. CARNEY. And yet you made the assumption that that is how the Joint Chiefs felt?
General MCAULIFFE. This matter was fully reviewed prior to my going-adequately reviewed within the Defense Department before I went to Nicaragua.
Mr. CARNEY. Do you think that the Panama Canal would be destroyed by the Panamanian Government if we do not implement the legislation?
General MCAULIFFE. No, sir, I do not, because I think that I have force enough, and I could call on more forces to keep it from being destroyed. I do believe that there will be rather extensive civil disturbances, perhaps leading to attempts at sabotage and the like against the canal, to disrupt its operation, and to let us know, and perhaps the world know, that Panama is not at all happy with the outcome.
Mr. CARNEY. Do we train, in any way, shape or form, the Guardia Nacional?
General MCAULIFFE. Yes; we do.
Mr. CARNEY. Does the Guardia Nacional get involved in the training of these so-called civilian groups that are being put together to go into Nicaragua?
General MCAULIFFE. Yes. I touched on that in my statement, Mr. Congressman. As a matter of fact, the group, I guess soon after its formation, went to one of the training bases in Panama, and was there, to the best of my recollection, for several weeks, if not a couple of months, presumably in training.
Mr. CARNEY. Were they in there training in the humanitarian nature of the Panamanian support for FSLN, or moral support? Do you think that is the type of training they took?
General MCAULIFFE. I think I would put that in the category of moral support because, as I have indicated, I believe the brigade itself, it never has been very large in number, from what I have been able to judge from reports emanating from individuals who were in the brigade and others familiar with it, has never been what I would call a competent military force. So it becomes a symbol, I think, of support to the FSLN.
Mr. CARNEY. You did say in your testimony that four members of the Brigade were killed in Nicaragua?
General MCAULIFFE. Correct.
Mr. CARNEY. And that those members, I could assume, might have been trained by the Guardia Nacional, since they are training the brigade, and we in turn trained the Guardia Nacional?
General MCAULIFFE. We have trained many Guardia Nacional individuals. We do not train the entire force. Please let me explain that many officers of the Guardia Nacional have gone to our schools in the Canal Zone. We used to, and we fortunately have been able to pick this up again, have military training exercises with the Guardia Nacional, which in itself is a means of training the units. But I am talking about the tactical side of the Guardia Nacional, which is about one-quarter of the force. The other threequarters is a police force, and we do not train that.
Mr. CARNEY. I think what I was trying to pick up is the word that my colleague from California was concerned about, and that was linkage. I think we just built a link with the U.S. military training the Panamanian military, who in turn have been training the brigade, who in turn lost men in Nicaragua. That is the linkage I would like to establish, and I thank you for your answer.
I have a question of Mr. Grove. Mr. Grove, have representatives of the American State Department ever met with representatives of the Sandinista movement?
Mr. GROVE. No.
Mr. CARNEY. Is there any evidence that the Sandinista movement is a Marxist-Leninist, or Communist group?
Mr. GROVE. Yes, I think there is. It has at least three main factions to it. There are considerable differences, as best we can ascertain, as between the factions. Two of them have been mentioned already earlier, that are very distinctly Marxist-Leninist, and I would say quite far on the left. The largest of the three factions, the Terciario, is to some extent perhaps even strongly influenced by Marxist thought, although I think there is a degree of variation, and when you look at the three, the larger one is less Marxist-oriented than the two smaller ones.
Mr. CARNEY. Were you ever in the accompaniment of Ambassador Moss when he perhaps sought to dissuade General Torrijos from breaking relations with Nicaragua?
Mr. GROVE. No, sir.
Mr. HUBBARD. Congressman, I will pass over Congressman Lowry for a question by Congressman Bowen.
Mr. BOWEN. Before we go, I would like to pursue a line of questioning that the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Hughes, had taken up, in which you described the immediate chaos and disorder that would ensue if we do not pass the implementing legislation. I am sure that you also realize there is a possibility, in fact, a likelihood, in diplomatic and legal channels that Panama would conclude as a result of the nonimplementation on our part of the treaties, that they would then take the step of declaring the treaties to be terminated. Then our President would have to make the decision at that point whether or not he would ask you to bring the troops home.
He would have to make a decision to withdraw American military and civilian personnel, or actually face the possibility of a military confrontation with Panama. I am sure you are aware of that logical conclusion of nonimplementation of the legislation.
General MCAULIFFE. Yes, sir. That is an entirely possible scenario that could ensue.
Mr. BOWEN. And in fact leaders of Panama have indicated that to be the case, that they would ask for termination if we do not pass the implementing legislation. As you pointed out, after October 1 we would have to have the treaties to remain in Panama, and if they are terminated, there is a grave likelihood we will have to bring our forces home. I think that will be very tragic. But I think it is a real likelihood if we do not pass the implementing legislation.
I gather you agree with that?
General MCAULIFFE. That is certainly very possible, and there are perhaps even some variations on that scenario that one could speculate about.
Mr. HUBBARD. Excuse me, General. Forgive me. Those of us without tennis shoes have to go to the House floor, and we have only 5 minutes left. We will come right back and pick up where we left off.
We are in recess for a vote.
In all fairness to General McAuliffe, we interrupted you during your statement, for the vote.
Mr. BOWEN. Let me restate it. We will finish this up quickly.
I had asked you if you agreed with my observation that if we failed to perform certain obligations spelled out in the treaties, for example, if we fail to pass the implementing legislation, therefore failing to establish the Panama Canal Commission, or failing to make the property transfer, or some other commitment that we had, that Panama would then, going beyond that initial period of disorder, chaos, and possible violence that you have described, would be justified under international law in declaring the treaties terminated, null and void, and we would then face the very diffi
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