US embassy cable - 89STATE405134

TFPM02: SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON PANAMA

Identifier: 89STATE405134
Wikileaks: View 89STATE405134 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1989-12-21 09:35:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL UN OAS XM
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 210935Z DEC 89
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO ALL AMERICAN REPUBLIC DIPLOMATIC POSTS IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 405134 
 
FOLLOWING USUN NEW YORK 03993 DATED 12/21/89 SENT ACTION SECSTATE 
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE BEING REPEATED FOR YOUR INFO: 
 
REFERENCE: USUN NY 03993 
 
QUOTE C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 03993 
 
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO OAS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATELY 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, UN, OAS, XM 
SUBJECT: TFPM02:  SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON PANAMA 
 
1.  (U)  SUMMARY:  SECURITY COUNCIL MET EVENING DEC. 20 
TO CONSIDER THE SITUATION IN PANAMA.  SOVIET, CHINESE 
AND NICARAGUAN DELEGATIONS CONDEMNED U.S. INTERVENTION. 
FRANCE, UK AND CANADA FOCUSED ON THE NEED TO UPHOLD THE 
WILL OF THE PANAMANIAN PEOPLE AND SUPPORTED U.S. 
ACTIONS.  AMB. PICKERING MADE U.S. STATEMENT WHICH 
HIGHLIGHTED RECENT ATTACKS ON AMERICANS, THE DECLARATION 
OF A STATE OF WAR BY NORIEGA, U.S. CONSULTATION WITH 
DEMOCRATIC PANAMANIAN LEADERS AND NORIEGA'S BLATANT 
ROBBERY OF THE ELECTIONS.  COUNCIL WILL MEET AGAIN 11 AM 
DEC. 21.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C)  DURING INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS PRIOR TO THE SC 
MEETING, SC MEMBERS DISAGREED REGARDING HOW TO PROCEED. 
U.S. ARGUED THAT A FORMAL MEETING SHOULD BE PUT OFF 
UNTIL DEC 21 IN ORDER TO ALLOW THE OAS TO CONSIDER THE 
ISSUE.  NAM SC MEMBERS, THE SOVIETS AND THE CHINESE ALL 
ARGUED FOR AN IMMEDIATE FORMAL SESSION OF THE SECURITY 
COUNCIL.  AS A COMPROMISE, IT WAS AGREED THAT THE 
COUNCIL WOULD MEET FORMALLY AT 8 PM, BUT THAT DEBATE 
WOULD BE LIMITED TO THE COUNTRY THAT REQUESTED THE 
MEETING -- NICARAGUA -- AND SC MEMBERS. 
 
3.  (U)  AT THE FORMAL SESSION, NICARAGUA, THE USSR AND 
THE CHINESE CONDEMNED U.S. INTERVENTION AND THE USE OF 
FORCE AS CONTRARY TO THE UN CHARTER.  NICARAGUA 
CHARACTERIZED U.S. ACTIONS AS NOT ONLY A VIOLATION OF 
PANAMANIAN SOVEREIGNTY, BUT AS A THREAT TO ALL OF 
CENTRAL AMERICA. 
 
4.  (U)  FRENCH DELEGATION SAID THEY REGRETTED THE NEED 
FOR INTERVENTION BUT THAT THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WAS 
NORIEGA'S REFUSAL TO ABIDE BY THE RESULTS OF FREE 
ELECTIONS IN PANAMA.  THE FRENCH SUGGESTED THAT THE SC 
PRESIDENT ISSUE A STATEMENT REAFFIRMING THE RIGHT OF THE 
PEOPLE OF PANAMA TO EXPRESS THEIR WILL.  THE CANADIANS 
SAID THAT IN THE CASE OF NORIEGA INTERVENTION WAS 
JUSTIFIED AND THAT CANADA SUPPORTED U.S. ACTIONS.  UK 
STRESSED NORIEGA'S SUBVERSION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS 
AND EXPRESSED FULL SUPPORT FOR THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE 
U.S. AND FOR THE RESTORATION OF A LEGAL AND DEMOCRATIC 
GOVERNMENT IN PANAMA. 
 
5.  (U)  AMB. PICKERING MADE THE U.S. STATEMENT, WHICH 
STRESSED THAT THE U.S. ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE IN RESPONSE 
TO ARMED ATTACKS BY NORIEGA'S FORCES.  THE U.S. HAD MADE 
REPEATED ATTEMPTS TO SOLVE THE CRISIS BY DIPLOMATIC 
MEANS BUT NORIEGA HAD REJECTED ALL SUCH ATTEMPTS.  THE 
USG CONSULTED WITH THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED 
LEADERSHIP, WHO APPROVED OF OUR ACTIONS.  TEXT OF U.S. 
STATEMENT IN PARA 6. 
 
6.  (U)  TEXT OF U.S. STATEMENT: 
 
BEGIN TEXT:  MR. PRESIDENT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 
51 OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER UNITED STATES FORCES 
HAVE EXERCISED THEIR INHERENT RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENSE 
UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW BY TAKING ACTION IN PANAMA IN 
RESPONSE TO ARMED ATTACKS BY FORCES UNDER THE DIRECTION 
OF MANUEL NORIEGA.  THE ACTION IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT 
AMERICAN LIVES AS WELL AS TO FULFILL THE OBLIGATIONS OF 
THE UNTIED STATES TO DEFEND THE INTEGRITY OF THE PANAMA 
CANAL TREATIES.  WE SHARE THE SORROW OF ALL THAT THESE 
NECESSARY ACTIONS HAVE CAUSED A LOSS OF LIFE AND DAMAGE. 
 
THE SITUATION IN PANAMA HAS BEEN INTOLERABLE.  FOR 
NEARLY TWO YEARS, THE UNITED STATES, THE NATIONS OF 
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN WORKED TOGETHER TO TRY 
TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS IN PANAMA.  THE GOALS OF THE 
UNITED STATES REMAINED UNCHANGED THROUGHOUT THIS PERIOD 
- TO SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF AMERICANS, TO DEFEND 
DEMOCRACY IN PANAMA, TO COMBAT DRUG TRAFFICKING AND TO 
PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF THE PANAMA CANAL TREATY. 
REPEATED ATTEMPTS WERE MADE TO SOLVE THE CRISIS THROUGH 
DIPLOMATIC MEANS AND NEGOTIATIONS.  NORIEGA TURNED THEM 
ALL DOWN. 
 
THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE CRISIS IN PANAMA HAS BEEN THE 
STRUGGLE BETWEEN NORIEGA AND HIS THUGS AND THE PEOPLE OF 
PANAMA.  HIS RUTHLESS CABAL REPEATEDLY OBSTRUCTED THE 
WILL OF THE PANAMANIAN PEOPLE WHICH HAD BEEN EXPRESSED 
IN FREE ELECTIONS.  AS A RESULT OF LAST NIGHT'S ACTIONS 
THIS SITUATION HAS BEEN REVERSED.  THE FREELY ELECTED 
LEADERS OF PANAMA PRESIDENT GUILLERMO ENDARA AND VICE 
PRESIDENTS ARIAS CALDERON AND FORD HAVE ASSUMED THE 
RIGHTFUL LEADERSHIP OF THEIR COUNTRY. 
 
IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT THE UNTIED STATES GOVERNMENT 
CONSULTED WITH THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADERSHIP 
PRIOR TO LAST EVENING'S ACTIONS AND THAT THEY APPROVED 
OF OUR STEPS. 
 
SOME MAY ASK WHY MY GOVERNMENT HAD TO TAKE MILITARY 
ACTION NOW.  PRESIDENT BUSH PROVIDED THE ANSWER THIS 
MORNING:  "LAST FRIDAY, NORIEGA DECLARED HIS MILITARY 
DICTATORSHIP TO BE IN A STATE OF WAR WITH THE UNITED 
STATES AND PUBLICLY THREATENED THE LIVES OF AMERICANS 
LIVING IN PANAMA.  THE VERY NEXT DAY, FORCES UNDER HIS 
COMMAND SHOT AND KILLED AN UNARMED AMERICAN SERVICEMAN, 
WOUNDED ANOTHER, ARRESTED AND BRUTALLY BEAT A THIRD 
AMERICAN SERVICEMAN, AND THEN BRUTALLY INTERROGATED HIS 
WIFE, THREATENING HER WITH SEXUAL ABUSE. 
 
THAT WAS ENOUGH. 
 
GENERAL NORIEGA'S RECKLESS THREATS AND ATTACKS UPON 
AMERICANS IN PANAMA CREATED AN IMMINENT DANGER TO THE 
35,000 AMERICAN CITIZENS IN PANAMA.  AS PRESIDENT, I 
HAVE NO HIGHER OBLIGATION THAN TO SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF 
AMERICAN CITIZENS.  AND THAT IS WHY I DIRECTED OUR ARMED 
FORCES TO PROTECT THE LIVES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS IN 
PANAMA AND TO BRING GENERAL NORIEGA TO JUSTICE IN THE 
UNITED STATES." 
 
I WANT FOR A FEW MINUTES TO NOTE THAT THE TURN TOWARD 
DEMOCRACY THAT CHARACTERIZES OUR ERA BEGAN IN THIS 
HEMISPHERE.  IN RECENT YEARS, NATION AFTER NATION HAS 
DECIDE TO FOLLOW THE DEMOCRATIC PATH.  TOGETHER, HERE IN 
THE AMERICAS, WE ARE BUILDING THE WORLD'S FIRST 
DEMOCRATIC HEMISPHERE. 
 
THE PEOPLE OF PANAMA BEGAN THEIR HISTORIC JOURNEY TOWARD 
DEMOCRACY WHEN THEY SPOKE CLEARLY ON MAY 7 OF THIS 
YEAR.  THEY VOTED FOR NATIONAL DIGNITY.  THEY VOTED TO 
END A BRUTAL DICTATORSHIP.  THEY VOTED TO BE FREE.  THEY 
HAVE A RIGHT TO BE FREE. NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO DENY THAT 
FREEDOM. 
 
NEVERTHELESS, THAT VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY WAS MET WITH 
NORIEGA'S IRON PIPES AND RIFLE BUTTS, HIRED MOBS AND 
PRISON CELLS.  THE WHOLE WORLD DENOUNCED THE VIOLATION 
OF HUMAN RIGHTS WHICH WE WITNESSED IN PANAMA AS DID THE 
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES.  INDEED THE IMAGES OF 
COURAGE AND THE IMAGES OF BLOOD FROM THAT HISTORIC WEEK 
IN PANAMA WILL ALWAYS BE ETCHED IN OUR MEMORY. 
 
THE QUESTION BEFORE US HAS NEVER BEEN OUR COMMITMENT TO 
PANAMANIAN SOVEREIGNTY NOT IS IT TODAY.  FOR THE 
SOVEREIGN WILL OF THE PANAMANIAN PEOPLE IS WHAT WE ARE 
HERE DEFENDING.  THE QUESTION BEFORE US WAS OUR 
COMMITMENT TO UPHOLD THOSE HISTORIC TREATIES FROM THE 
DAY THEY WERE SIGNED. 
 
AND LET US BE CLEAR ABOUT ONE THING, IF NOTHING ELSE. 
NORIEGA DID NOT STEAL THE MAY 7 ELECTION BECAUSE OF 
"SANCTIONS" OR THE LEGITIMATE EXERCISE OF TREATY 
RIGHTS.  HE STOLE THE ELECTION BECAUSE HE LOST IT, AND 
ATTEMPTS TO SHIFT THE FOCUS FROM THAT OVERWHELMING FACT 
ARE NOTHING MORE OR LESS THAN DELIBERATE OBFUSCATION. 
THERE IS ANOTHER ISSUE AT STAKE IN THIS DEBATE OVER 
PANAMA -- THE DISGRACE, THE TERRIBLE EVIL OF DRUG 
TRAFFICKING.  WE HAVE BEEN REMINDED AGAIN OF THE 
TERRIBLE PRICE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN -- AND WHOLE 
SOCIETIES -- PAY BECAUSE THESE MONSTERS -- THESE DRUG 
TRAFFICKERS -- CONTINUE IN OUR MIDST. 
 
THIS IS A WAR AS DEADLY AND AS DANGEROUS AS ANY FOUGHT 
WITH ARMIES MASSED ACROSS BORDERS; THE SURVIVAL OF 
DEMOCRATIC NATIONS IS AT STAKE. 
 
COUNTRIES THAT PROVIDE SAFE HAVEN AND SUPPORT FOR THE 
INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING CARTELS MENACE THE PEACE 
AND SECURITY JUST AS SURELY AS IF THEY WERE USING THEIR 
OWN CONVENTIONAL MILITARY FORCES TO ATTACK OUR 
SOCIETIES.  THE TRUTH IS, AND EVERY ONE OF US KNOWS IT, 
GENERAL NORIEGA TURNED PANAMA INTO A HAVEN FOR DRUG 
TRAFFICKERS AND A CENTER FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND 
 
TRANS-SHIPMENT OF COCAINE.  GENERAL NORIEGA COULD NOT BE 
PERMITTED FALSELY TO WRAP HIMSELF IN THE FLAG OF 
PANAMANIAN SOVEREIGNTY WHILE THE DRUG CARTELS WITH WHICH 
HE IS ALLIED INTERVENE THROUGHOUT THIS HEMISPHERE. 
THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, IS AGGRESSION.  IT IS AGGRESSION 
AGAINST US ALL, AND NOW IT IS BEING BROUGHT TO AN END. 
 
MR. PRESIDENT I ALSO WISH TO POINT OUT THAT THE UNITED 
STATES HAS BOTH THE RIGHT, AND FOR THAT MATTER, THE DUTY 
TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE PANAMA CANAL UNDER ARTICLE 4 
OF THE PANAMA CANAL TREATY.  THE BASIC UNITED STATES' 
RESPONSIBILITY IS TO OPERATED AND DEFEND THE PANAMA 
CANAL UNTIL ITS TRANSFER TO PANAMA AT THE END OF THIS 
CENTURY.  EVEN DURING THE NORIEGA REGIME'S ILLEGAL 
SEIZURE OF POWER THE UNITED STATES HAS CONTINUED TO DO 
WHAT IT HAS DONE SINCE THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE 
TREATY A DECADE AGO - PROVIDING FOR THE SAFE AND ORDERLY 
TRANSIT OF VESSELS THROUGH THE CANAL WHILE ASSURING 
INCREASING PANAMANIAN PARTICIPATION IN ITS MANAGEMENT 
AND OPERATION. 
 
FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS THE NORIEGA REGIME ENGAGED IN A 
SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN TO HARASS AND INTIMIDATE UNITED 
STATES AND PANAMANIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE PANAMA CANAL 
COMMISSION AND THE UNITED STATES FORCES.  IN THE LAST 
YEAR ALONE, THERE HAVE BEEN OVER 300 VIOLATIONS OF U.S. 
MILITARY BASES BY ARMED PANAMANIAN DEFENSE FORCES 
PERSONNEL; OVER 400 U.S. PERSONNEL HAVE BEEN DETAINED 
AND 140 U.S. PERSONNEL HAVE BEEN ENDANGERED.  THIS 
PROVOCATIVE AND INTOLERABLE BEHAVIOR REACHED A PEAK LAST 
FRIDAY.  IT THREATENED AMERICAN AND PANAMANIAN LIVES AS 
WELL AS CANAL OPERATIONS. 
 
AS THE COUNCIL DEBATES THIS ISSUE IT IS WORTH NOTING 
THAT CHAPTER VIII OF THE CHARTER CALLS UPON MEMBER 
STATES TO MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO USE REGIONAL AGENCIES TO 
SOLVE REGIONAL PROBLEMS.  THE LANGUAGE OF ARTICLE 52 IS 
STRIKING IN ITS USE OF THE WORD "SHALL" IN THIS 
CONTEXT.  THE USE OF "SHALL" LEAVES LITTLE ROOM FOR 
DOUBT THAT MEMBERS OF A REGIONAL ARRANGEMENT ARE OBLIGED 
TO REFER REGIONAL DISPUTES TO REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND 
THAT THE SECURITY COUNCIL IS OBLIGATED TO ENCOURAGE THIS 
RECOURSE TO REGIONAL AGENCIES.  CURRENTLY THE 
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES IS ENGAGED IN THAT 
EFFORT. 
 
ASIDE FROM THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES THAT FLOW FROM THE USE 
OF "SHALL" IN CHAPTER VIII, COMMON SENSE DICTATES THAT 
WHERE THERE IS A REGIONAL ORGANIZATION AND A REGIONAL 
PROBLEM, RECOURSE SHOULD BE TO THE REGIONAL ORGANIZATION. 
THIS NEED NOT AND DOES NOT PRECLUDE UN INVOLVEMENT. 
HOWEVER, THE RISK OF WASTEFUL DUPLICATION IS OBVIOUS. 
FAR MORE SERIOUS IS THE POSSIBILITY FOR REACHING 
INCONSISTENT CONCLUSIONS.  IT IS IMPORTANT THAT 
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS CONTRIBUTE TO RESOLVING 
PROBLEMS NOT FURTHER COMPLICATE THEM. 
 
THE PURPOSE OF THE UNITED STATES IN THIS CRISIS IS CLEAR 
AND CONSISTENT.  WE RESORTED TO MILITARY ACTION UNDER 
ARTICLE 51 IN A SITUATION WHERE AMERICAN LIVES WERE 
CLEARLY IN DANGER AND WHERE OUR ABILITY TO HONOR 
OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE PANAMA CANAL TREATY WAS THREATENED 
BY VIOLENT ACTIONS.  WE DID SO IN A MANNER DESIGNED TO 
MINIMIZE CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE.  WE CONSULTED IN ADVANCE 
WITH THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADERS OF PANAMA AND 
THEY APPROVED OF OUR ACTIONS. WE INTEND TO WITHDRAW OUR 
FORCES FROM PANAMA AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AND AS 
PRESIDENT BUSH SAID: 
 
"THE UNITED STATES IS EAGER TO WORK WITH THE PANAMANIAN 
PEOPLE IN PARTNERSHIP AND FRIENDSHIP TO REBUILD THEIR 
ECONOMY.  THE PANAMANIAN PEOPLE WANT DEMOCRACY, PEACE, 
AND THE CHANCE FOR A BETTER LIFE IN DIGNITY AND 
FREEDOM.  THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES SEEK ONLY TO 
SUPPORT THEM IN PURSUIT OF THESE NOBLE GOALS." 
 
IN SUM, MR PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO QUOTE FROM A 
STATEMENT MADE THIS AFTERNOON BY SECRETARY BAKER.  OUR 
FOREIGN-POLICY GOALS IN PANAMA HAVE BEEN CLEAR, AND 
THEY'VE BEEN CONSISTENT.  WE HAVE SOUGHT TO HELP THE 
PANAMANIAN PEOPLE BUILD AN AUTHENTIC DEMOCRACY.  WE HAVE 
BEEN COMMITTED TO FULL IMPLEMENTATION AND REMAIN 
COMMITTED TO FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PANAMA CANAL 
TREATIES. 
 
WE HAVE MADE UNPRECEDENTED EFFORTS THROUGH THE OAS AND 
IN CONSULTATIONS WITH LATIN AND CARIBBEAN LEADERS, AS 
WELL AS OTHERS, TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS IN PANAMA. 
 
WE HOPED AND BELIEVE THAT THE ELECTIONS HELD LAST MAY 
COULD BE A MEANS TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS, BUT WHEN NORIEGA 
STOLE THAT ELECTION AND VIOLENTLY SUPPRESSED THE 
OPPOSITION THE CRISIS ONLY GREW WORSE. 
 
PRESIDENT BUSH HAS CONTINUALLY SAID THAT HE WOULD NOT 
RULE OUT THE USE OF FORCE BUT HE ALSO SAID, REPEATEDLY, 
THAT FORCE WAS CLEARLY THE LAST OPTION TO BE 
CONSIDERED.  THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.  END TEXT. 
PICKERING 
UNQUOTE 
 
 
BAKER 

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