Slate: At Issue. Panama. Week of 01-27. verbal (unseen) countdown in spanish
Panamanian street scene. Cars parked, two-three story buildings, three kids or teens leaning against a parked car, some cars driving by, a few people walking or standing around. Slow pan toward end of street, mountain in background Narration.
Slowly pan over to moderator or host of the show standing on sidewalk, he introduces himself as George Natanson, Chief of the Los Angeles Times Latin American Bureau.
Pan from Natanson back to street scene, NET Presents At Issue graphics overlay.
Street corner busy with Panamanian citizens crossing the street, cars driving by. Narrator speaking about the issue on January 9th, 1964 of "which flag would fly in the Panama Canal Zone?" American students had violated an order not to fly the American flag alone in front of their school. Panamanian students demonstrated in a peaceful protest.
Police officers standing at their police car, peaceful student protestors holding large flag and signs, police officers standing by with batons.
Student demonstrators holding flags becoming unruly and violent.
Chaos and violence as police seen fighting with students and media taking photos. Panamanian students smashing rocks, overturning a car
Moderator, George Natanson, in the studio two blocks from Panama Canal zone, talking into camera introduces University of Panama student guests, Alfredo NOEL deLeon, and Julio Shaik. WS Natanson and the two students seated at a table in the studio.
INTERVIEW - TWO UNIVERSITY OF PANAMA STUDENTS, ALFREDO AND JULIO:
would you like to tell us what actually happened so far as you were concerned, on July 9, and Thursday afternoon, when the when the trouble started.
I was in the university, attending to my class. And we got the information that a riot at then exploded at the Forth of July Avenue between our Panamanian students, and Canal zone.
George Natanson 3:21
These were Panamanian high school students.
Yeah, High School. So when I went there, I saw where the students were going in the Canal Zone with the flag with our flag. And they were being shot by the Canal zone students
George Natanson 3:44
being shot by the Canal Zone students?
And also by the army men.
George Natanson 3:48
by the army, I see. Then, what did you do?
Well, I was going in the Canal Zone tool, but two high school students got shot, so I had to take them to the hospital.
George Natanson 4:04
These are two Panamanian high school students.
So I took them to the hospital.
George Natanson 4:10
You personally took them them to the hospital. What is it? Now you just Panamanian students? What is it that you would like to see what is it you want from the United States?
First thing that we want? We want a new treaty.
George Natanson 4:24
That is to revise the the old one.
Yeah Because it's full of injustice for our people
George Natanson 4:32
In what way Alfredo are they full of injustices?
In the way that the perpet, the perptuity yes. Of the territory of the canal zone. And they don't respect our sovereign sovereign sovereign sovereignty sovereignty over the the Canal Zone territory because that territory, its polymers belong to us. It's not property of the United States of America.
George Natanson 5:06
That is the basic issue. The Panama Canal Zone is not the property of the United States government.This is what you feel
That's Panamanian territory
George Natanson 5:17
And you would like to do with a clause away with the clause that says perpetuity
That's right becuase any treaty should have advantages for each of the two parties who are signing. But here, we don't consider that Panama has any advantage in that treaty. Because it's full of many clauses which are really tied up.
George Natanson 5:39
Well, here's something that many people in the United States have been wondering about, and there have been a lot of accusations. Are there communist back of this movement? Is this a Castro right? Directed movement? Would you say so? Or no?
no. I say no, that's ridiculous. Because this movement here was organized by high school students. And in my opinion, they know they can have a full essay opinion of what the political and politcal facts are. They are just full of patriotism. That's all. And that's why they fought. So there, you can see that there wasn't any communism, organization behind this movement.
George Natanson 6:31
Do you think there are many communist in Panama, Alfredo?
I wouldn't say that there are many communists in Panama, maybe because every part of the world, they say they have communist. But I think that I always see is that in any part of the world, any nation that protests against the United States, or anything, they say That is communism? In Panama, we never hear that. We didn't never had any accusation from the, from the United States or any part of the world that we had communism here in Panama.
George Natanson 7:08
Well, now we've discussed as far as the United States is concerned what do you think about Panama, you have problems of your own, you have a small group of people here owning a great deal of the wealth. Is that correct? What do you think to do about that?
Well, right now Panama is in a vrey bad economic situation, you see a very close economic situation, a very bad situation. And I consider that right now. Every decision to be taken by the government to try to help poor people and lets bring our economy up.
George Natanson 7:46
I see. What do you think? The same thing.
Yeah, I think the same
George Natanson 7:50
well, let's go just one briefly then to the zone again. And Do either of you have friends in the Panama Canal Zone amongst the Americans?
Yes, I have France
George Natanson 8:01
amongst American students?
George Natanson 8:04
Have you seen them since, since this happened?
I saw one? Yes. He says he studies in a Canal Zone. His mother is a Puerto Rican. And he speaks Spanish very well. And he was he had come down here to Panama.
George Natanson 8:19
What do you think about some zonians as you call them, the people that is only think about them?
What I say is that they believe that land is of their own, that part that they have hired to the United States belongs to the United States. And in some magazines. It appears sometimes that Canal Zone is a property of the United States. And that's something which they are wrong.
George Natanson 8:49
They do the zonians believe that's their property
they believe that property
George Natanson 8:54
and what do you think should we get, should we push all the zonians out of the zone or?
Well, I think that the they have to reckon that we can't push them out on from the Canal Zone, but they're supposed to know, the rights that we have over the Canal Zone they must recognize those
That's our property.
George Natanson 9:17
Thank you very much, Julio, and Alfredo.
Interview concludes. Natanson thanks Alfredo and Julio.
Cutaway to map of Panama.
Back to Moderator George Natanson seated at a large table with three new guests. Natanson introduces guests George Carrasco, Panamanian Newsman and John Heymann, Panamanian Columnist for TV and Radio; and Dan Kurzman, Latin American correspondent for the Washington Post and author of the recent book, "Subversion of the Innocent".
INTERVIEW/DISCUSSIONS - CARRASCO, HEYMANN AND KURZMAN.
so here we are, we could fellows What do you think? about the evaluation of the press that is to say, what do you think the way we've been covering it? You've seen our dispatches.
John Heymann 10:07
I didn't know about this title, Subversion of the Innocence. And I think this is the most fantastic. The coincidence, because I believe that Canal Zone students which were pictured as such a horrible group of people, there are really the innocent, which have been subverted by people in the zone, who for quite a long time has been building up some kind of a hate condition between the zone and Panama. And even the picture shows that these grown ups especially persons who have been writing quite a bit in mailboxes and so forth, newspapers participated.
George Natanson 10:56
Do you think our interpretation the American present interpretation of the of the occurrences has been good, bad.
John Heymann 11:05
Oh it has been spotty and different? At the beginning, there was quite a lot of wrong information running around, but I believe that your personal presence here and I don't mean just you too but the whole as a group has been very healthy. And a little more fair picture is getting through
George Natanson 11:30
there was a Panamanian story has been in put over the Panama story has been put over.
George Carrasco 11:36
I was at first it wasn't put very clearly over. And even some of the newspaper men that were accepted, and showed us Panamanian newspaper men their dispatches originally were different from what were published after they had arrived at the central offices.
George Natanson 11:51
Specifically, have you got any examples?
John Heymann 11:56
Yes, UPI correspondence over here, even put some little ads and front page and decorations we have not sent such kind of story. What's his name?
George Carrasco 12:11
Constable Dave constable was one of them.
George Natanson 12:13
He's a, he's a local stringer.
George Carrasco 12:16
Yes, but he was the one who sent up the first information up to the United States. And it was changed over. Evidently, it was changed up in the central office in the States. And he told me also the same thing happening in England, he sent dispatch to London. And he received three or four days after the same newspaper, which he works. And it was completely different from what he said it was not what was published or what he had sent
George Natanson 12:39
Dan, what do you think about that from the US point of view?
Dan Kurzman 12:42
Well, knowing the reporters who are here, generally, the American reporters, I rather feel that they did a good objective a job as could be done. Of course, when you're covering a story with all sorts of facets to it, and you're say in one place, and you were your only one person, obviously you...There are times when you can't get the whole story through. But generally speaking, I'm convinced that theybwrote the story as they saw it. The Panamanian press, I suppose, could be the same thing could be said about them. I mean, the course over here, I think the situation, the Panamanians probably feel a little bit more emotional about this issue, then do the Americans because the Panama Canal issue was not really an emotional issue among the reporters here and I don't think most Americans, as it is compared to what it is among the Panamanians who feel so strongly about it. So I don't believe that mostly that the American reporters here would have had too much reason to have distorted the news at all. As a matter of fact, most of them I know, seem to have taken a very favorable view of many of the claims of Panama
George Natanson 13:57
A lot of those I don't think that I am, by and large, you know, all of the fellows that did come down here from the States, by and large are those who have worked in the area or staff correspondence assigned, like in my case, I'm assigned to Mexico working through these countries. Danis assigned to Latin American affairs in Washington, and others that were amongst us. There were some discrepancies.
George Carrasco 14:18
I'd like to put up one question to our colleague here, Mr. Natanson from the Los Angeles Times. You've been here now for about two weeks. Have you changed your idea of what you had in mind or what you recorded the first day you came here? Now that you have been here with us two weeks? Have you changed? The first impression,
George Natanson 14:37
Well as a matter of fact, George I, I had been traveling into Panama in the last year and a half now I'm just about a little bit more than that with the paper. And I have had a fairly good background in this if I may say, and I felt a long time ago this thing was building up to an explosion and it did mention and managed to say it in a couple of stories. But no, I won't say I changed because I already had a fairly good idea when I came in here, I believe Panama has a point. And it has a case and it should be listened to, and the United States. And if we're not going to be emotionally passionate about it, I think we simply have to have a discussion, diplomatic level, whatever, to solve these problems. And I felt that then I feel it now. And then I was the first thing that I moved out with when I when I got in here on the Sunday two weeks ago. So
John Heymann 15:31
you see that emotions are running high. And this matter is something very simple to understand if you live it as long enough, because this, and I think we shouldn't even look about the last incident as an isolated affair. This is such a long build up. And the patients in Panama really has been abused in many cases. Just a little tiny example. In 1942. United States and Panama came to agreement about 12 points. One of it was a bridge or the canal. It wasn't until 1956 During the meeting of presidents of the hemisphere in Panama, and President Eisenhower up here in the Cresta which is a private home of the American ambassador signed the finally the law authorizing this bridge, which was agreed upon in 1942. In the presence of our president Arias, and money didn't come through the 1959. We didn't get the bridges in 1963. So we waited 21 years for a little bridge. And if you come to the different points you will see that we have a long patience but somehow someday it breaks.
Dan Kurzman 16:59
I believe that one thing that's greatly interesting to hear in this respect, is the influence that President Kennedy had on the Panamanians here perhaps is fortunate that this influence was as great as it was because it helps to sort of cushion the the bitterness that now exists because so many so many Panamanians told me including peasants, who live in mud hovels out in the sticks. They know who President Kennedy is, and practically have tears in their eyes when I mentioned him, and they say that he was the real American that used a lot of upper flame really trying to help the people here, he did light, and he did light a flame and the flame has not gone out, fortunately. And so I think that we should take for the United States, far as the United States concerned, full advantage of the goodwill that he helped to create in this country
John Heymann 17:57
There was one mistake we should never make, we shouldn't put all the blame on the zonians Because basically, it's a treaty by itself, the treaty conditions which are behind all that this perpetual clause that we, after all we are human beings, you know, God, I mean, how can we deal in eternity? And I would like to ask you a question, the treaty, and to make it shorter. I have the treaty over here says that both governments agree and recognize their joint obligation to ensure the effective and continuous operation of the canal, that agreement in perpetual perpetuity, that's 90 In some ways, slipping other 1936Treaty. Now, this means that this is a definite commitment that obliges both countries to cooperate, not only the operation of the canal and its conditions neutrality, but it also say that this operation must be continuous and perpetual, perpetual. Under the circumstances, we feel that the United States cannot decide. And without approval of the government of Panama, the change of the present route, they cannot open a new one they can't aband it. They cannot do anything else except one thing, continues operation even that's not the single ship left on the ocean. That's perptual.
George Natanson 19:32
In other words you are just turning it right around to your advantage.
George Carrasco 19:34
We're tending to support to support the position. They are defending the perpetuity clause.
George Natanson 19:41
That's what I mean, yeah
John Heymann 19:42
Both governments are standing on the zone
George Natanson 19:45
So we are we're almost obligated to remain here in the zone perpetually, until the end of time
George Carrasco 19:53
not almost. are
Dan Kurzman 19:56
It might not lead to the advantage of either one.
George Carrasco 19:58
So but that is the position of the United States. The perpetuity clause states
Dan Kurzman 20:01
but in any case, I have the feeling that many people in the US government would like to make certain changes. And I think one of them might be this perpetuity clause. But of course, there's a question of elections coming up in the United States. As there is a question here, and course may not make much difference to you Panamanians because as far as you know, you want your rights and whether we have elections or not as beside the point, but the course in the United States when the election might very well be close, and many people in the United States think in terms of US sovereignty, and of course, there's a romantic aura around the Suez. Pardon me, the Panama Canal
John Heymann 20:46
He was waiting that you brought us up
Dan Kurzman 20:55
well, I happen to cover it. So I sort of got to mix up for a second the Suez situation
Dan Kurzman 20:59
But the thing is, because of this romantic aura, and all people, many people, the United States, I believe, feel that the the Panama Canal Zone is really in the Panama Canal is part of the United States. And in an election year, it may be difficult to explain to the people that we've got to give up some of our rights there. I think that perhaps after the American elections, it might be easier to to make a compromise that you consider
John Heymann 21:24
See this postponement of issues, we are used to that, and I think somehow it snapped something here and we came to and end to it. And when a man like Congressman Celedon, was after our president was a subcommittee of the Congress for American Affairs says that the United States cannot give up its sovereign rights and sovereignty in the Canal Zone, there's something basically wrong somewhere, because you don't need a treaty. You don't need all these big books. This is canal zone books, treaty clauses and limitations. If you if Parliament would have said the United States is sovereigning the canal zones, period, we have never said that.
Dan Kurzman 22:14
I have a feeling that aside from the merits of the case, not certain amount of domestic politics in Panama has something to do with the with the strong stand by the Chiari government. There is course an election coming up in May here. And this national this issue of the canal, of course, is the overriding issue, and they probably will be in the election, because it has such emotional content. And it's clear that even if Chari felt that for the time being, say, for tactical reasons, it would be smart not to push too hard in a particular point. He finds himself I think, in a corner in a box, so to speak, because of the emotional fervor over this and and also he's being pushed by by those who have their own ideas, why they want them to take an extreme stand, for example, I have no doubt that this is a nationalist movement and all that that's occurred. But I also have no doubt that the communists are trying to take advantage of it. To the extent they succeed. As another point, I don't think they succeeded very, very well up to now. But undoubtedly, there are extreme elements which are trying to push him into an absolutely extreme position, Mr. Chairi so that when it comes time to deliver and he's unable to deliver, he will be very vulnerable to their attacks. I think that's a point that shouldn't be taken into consideration.
George Carrasco 23:33
I'm glad that you brought up the political point on the political issue and influence. The same thing happens in the United States. Mr. Johnson is being pushed by Mr. Goldwater, you also you also have a problem of deciding what to do and when to do it. You also have an election coming up. Now we're on the same table, we're in the same boat.
George Natanson 23:52
What's the answer then, leave it t
George Carrasco 23:54
No the answer is let's negotiate.
George Natanson 23:57
Back to the same point them because we've got these two pressures hitting us before May in your case in November in our case, right,
George Carrasco 24:05
At least the Panama government pointed out if they set one date 30 days after that they were good. start negotiating. Let's set the date after the election, if possible
John Heymann 24:16
I mean, there's there's definitely no point because if an agreement can be reached that just as George has said that by May 30, for example, that's 20 days after the election, when we know who is the new president. So for that negotiation was started which the incoming president the president elect will take part to assure continuity. I mean, I don't think there's
Dan Kurzman 24:44
Its really unfortunate that these two elections are coming up because without them, it might be very much easier to push some sort of solution
John Heymann 24:52
I tell you, the answer panama got in 1961 This Chairi government started, it was then told that you better wait a little while because afterwards your government and our government is just new, we have to wait organize. So since you had between organizing and election, I mean, when is the time?
George Natanson 25:18
So the question is, let's get out. Right. And we've only got just a very few brief seconds left. And there is one thing too I think that some of our people in the United States are very interested. What do you fellas think? Is this? Is there a communist strong communist movement in Panama, which is, Dan brought it up, But is it pushing them? Is it is it taking a major part in this thing?
John Heymann 25:39
May I just express my personal view? This is not a communist affair here. There are communists in Panama, and they will be stronger day by day if we do not get certain concessions.
George Natanson 25:54
Or in other words, we've got that's another reason for not wanting these profits get into it. So let's get into it so not to get into it
Dan Kurzman 26:00
I can't help but agree with you there. But as the nationalist movement, that people are their true nationalist, become more and more frustrated, this will give greater openings for the executives to take advantage
George Natanson 26:09
Well, Fellows is I thank you personally on my head, my half and Dan's been a pleasure meeting and talking with both of you. Let's hope that our two governments continue the same way.
Discussions conclude. Cutaway to map of Panama. Natanson (unseen) narrates and reviews the ensuing problems that must be resolved.
Natanson looking into camera and summing up the issues - we risk losing the continent; Panamanians feel we have procrastinated and that we haven't delivered, therefore, conclusions must be rapid or there's a risk of problems with the Communists who will use this as a propaganda weapon to "turn the tide against us."
Fade to dark
Unknown unseen announcer introduces George Natanson. Credits overlay background of lush mountain in Panama and street in Panama. End program.
End Reel - At Issue - Panama 1-27-64
Description: At Issue Episode #17 OBD: 1964-01-27 TRT: 30 min Description: This program examines the Panama crises from the standpoint of American and Panamanian newspaper coverage, and the reactions to that coverage by Americans living in the Panama Zone and Panamanian citizens. Representatives of the American and Panama press discuss their views on the press coverage. In separate interviews, tow University of Panama students give their opinions about hopes for resolving the crises and the role of Communist influence in the January 9 flare up. Moderator: George Natanson, Chief of the Latin American Bureau, Los Angeles Times Guests: Dan Kurzman, Latin American correspondent for the Washington Post; George Carrasco and John Heymann, Panamanian newspaperman Alfredo Noel deLeon and Julio Shaik, University of Panama students
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