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November 18, 1977 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-11-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, November 18, 1977 23

Panama Canal Treaty Raises
Queries on Anti-Israel Actions

By JOSEPH POLAKOFF

(Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

The U.S. and Panamanian
governments say -explicitly
that the Panama Canal
treaties awaiting U.S. Sen-
ate consideration have the
last word on any nation's
use of the waterway, but
former Secretaries of State
Henry Kissinger-and Dean
Rusk contradict that official
contention. They have
pointed out that both the
U.S. and Panama are
obliged to obey the man-
dates of the United Nations,
and they recommend the
U.S. veto any UN Security
Council action which might
bar free access through the
canal by any nation.
A formal opinion from
Secretary of State Cyrus R.
Vance is being sought by
Senate Foreign Relations
Committee members
intrigued by this - question.
The legal principle
involved is whether the
United Nations, by imposing
sanctions, can bar a
nation's ships or cargoes
from transiting the canal by
calling on Panama and the
United States to abide by its
decision. Putting it another
way, does the treaty entered
into by the U.S. and Pan-
ama supersede any action
the United Nations may
take respecting use and
defense of the canal? The
principle also may be
applied to other inter-
national waterways, such as

the Suez and the
Dardanelles.
Since Israeli ships, sailing
for the Zim Shipping Co. on _
its Pacific line, use the Pan-
ama Canal, and the Arab
states and their Communist
and Third World allies have
the votes to pass anti-Israel
sanctions in the United
Nations, the matter of
whether the bilateral treaty
or a UN action prevails is of
over-riding importance to
all maritime countries.
The State Department has
said that no country's ships
can be legally barred from
the canal, since the treaty
'specifies it will be "open to
all nations on a free, open
and non-discriminatory
basis." The Panamanian
Embassy observed that
"Panama might apply sanc-
tions as a government but it
would not apply those sanc-
tions toward another coun-
try's use of the waterway."
At the last Senate hear-
ings on the treaties, the
icsue was put bv Sen. Clai-
borne Pell (D-R.I) to Kissi-
nger and Rusk. It was the
last question of a long hear-
ing at which both former
Secretaries of State had
strongly urged Senate ratifi-
cation of the treaty. Never-
theless, when Pell, as tern-
porary chairman, used his
prerogative of asking addi-
tional questions brought up
the issue, both Kissinger
and Rusk, by their attention
and the tone of their respon-
ses, indicated apprehension.

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'Copyright 1977, JTA, Inc.)

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