s 17930 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE October 9, 1975
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr.
GLENN). The Senator from Montana.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, it
was refreshing once again, in a moment
of potential crisis, to listen to the distinguished
Senator from Wisconsin (Mr.
NELSON) state the true history of the
Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the part
he played in It, about which I will have
something to say shortly.
But I would point out, Mr. President,
that we had better stop, look and listen
now, and recognize the potentialities Involved
In the legislation before the Senate.
This is just the first ~mall and probably
least expensive step on a long journey
which will begin with the stationing,
I assume, of American civilian
technicians In the Sinal between the Israeli
and the Egyptian troops located
It takes nothing into consideration
coocerning· what will happen on the
Golan Heights. Will there be American
technicians stationed there? And at what
Nothing is being said about the neXt
step, probably the West Bank of the Jordan.
Will American civllian technicians
be stationed there? Perhaps. And at what
It says nothing about the difficulties
inherent In bringing about a settlement
for the old clt7 ot Jerusalem.
It says nothing aboUt S~ alShelkh.
It says nothing about ~e PLO.
So I want to raise a warning, if I may,
that this is the first small step toward
what can become a real involYement as
far as this Nation is coneemed and, for
the first time in this situation, a direct
Mr. President, I oppose this resolution.
Senators should not be under any illusion.
This is not simply a resolution to
authorize the President to send 200 civilian
technicians to the Sinai.
It is a resolution to alter radically the
United States' role in the Middle East,
the most volatile and dangerous area
In the world.
It is a resolution which would result
in the Senate's Ignoring the treaty provisions
of the Constitution.
It is a resolution which will trigger
far-reaching commitments to Israel and
Egypt without either Congress or the
American people knowing the extent of
rinally, It is a resolution which has
onW;.ous parallels to Congress consideration
of the Gulf o! Tonkin resolution.
Eleven years ago the Congress, In great
h ;:.s':c, approved the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.
Then, as now, there were pleas
n.;m the executive branch for speedy
:'dion. No member o! this body conI
,•mplated that his vote for that resolu-on
would lead to 11 years of war and
nore than a third of a million American
The 303,000 Americans were wounded,
more than 55,000 Americans are dead,
and the cost w111 reach about $400 b11llon
before the end of the first half of the
At that time our role In Vietnam was
only as advisers. No change In that role
was intended by Congress In passing that
resolution, as the distinguished Senator
from Wisconsin has so aptly brought out.
He referred not to the Gulf of Tonkin
resolution as being responsible for our
participation In Vietnam, that Is, the
Congress, but when we voted the first
Here, too, we have a resolution rather
Innocuous on its face, contemplattng
only the sending of a llmfted number of
civllian technicians. But, as we should
have learned from our experience in Indochina,
all too often, events, not good
intentions, shape, and control policy.
There Is another uncanny reminder of
the Gulf of Tonkin resolution here. On
Wednesday, the Foreign RelaUons Committee
Initially approved an amendment
to the text of the House resolution which
would have eliminated the Implication In
s~tion 5 of the resolutkm before us that
the President has inherent authority to
make the commitments contained in the
underlying secret agreements with Israel
and Egypt. Later, the committee reversed
Itself and struck out that amendment on
the grounds that chanalng the resolution
would risk having to go to conference
with the House and delay final congressional
action on the measure. We are
seeing some of the results of that today.
I recall that during the closing moments
of "the debate on the Gulf Of
Tonkin resolution Senator NELSON proposed
an amendment which would have
reiterated that the American role in Vietnam
was to be llm1ted to the giving of
aid and advice. Senator FuLBRIGHT, the
floor manager of the resolution, said that,
although the amendment reflected President
Johnson's policy, adoption of It by
the Senate would probably require a conference
with the House and delay final
passage. History may have taken a different
turn if the Senate had done what
was right rather than what was expedient,
and had followed the advice of the
distinguished Senator from Wisconsin
(Mr. NELSON) .
Mr. President, the sending of American
technicians to the Sinai changes the nature
of our involvement In the Middle
East. By placing the American flag in
the middle of the conflict the chances
of our Involvement in the next round of
fighting, should It occur, will be greatly
Increased, as will the danger of a confrontation
with the Soviet Union. This
action demeans the peacekeeping role of
the United Nations, because they are the
ones who should have furnished the technicians.
Instead of strengthening that
role we are weakening it. I fear that this
arrangement for an Israeli withdrawal
from some 1,500 square miles of sandpossibly
one-tenth, certainly no more, of
the entire Sin&i-has not enhanced, but
has dlmlnished, the prospects for an
It will be argued that Congress has
minimized the danger that the technicians
will serve as a tripwire to U.S. military
involvement in specifying In the
resolution that the technicians must be
removed if fighting breaks out and that
they can be removed by concurrent resolution
if Congress thinks they are In danger.
Congress is deluding Itself if it Ulinks
that these technicians can be pulled out
without thereby virtually insuring an
outbreak of fighting. Does the Senate
want to take on the responsibility for
triggering another round of fighting?
And how would we get the technicians
out? By use of our military forces, _of
There are too many potential pitfalls
which have not been adequately examIned
In connection with this proposal.
Much stress has been placed on the
fact that civillans, not military men, will
be sent to the Sinal. I find no comfort
In this argument.
Is the American flag any less involved
because they will be civilians?
Are assigned civilians any lesa deserving
of protection by their Nation?
I think not. A national c6mmitment
will be involved, either way.
Although the resolution states that
passage will not constitute approval.. of
the underlying agreements, this is but
an attempt to allow Congress to have i!.i
cake and eat It, too. No language In this
resolution, the committee report. or assurances
from Secretary Klss1nger can
change the essential fact that the technicians
are a part of a package deal.
Israel did not sign the pullback agreement
in Isolation from the assurances
contained 1n the secret agreements.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 50, Folder 76, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
October 9, 1975 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE
These agreements are part and parcel of
the overall atTangement.
If there is any doubt on this score,
the State Department has told the Congress
that two of the agreements with
Israel will not be signed until after Congress
has approved the sending of the
technicians. No congressional approval
1s sought for those agreements. It is alleged
by the State Department that they
are within the President's power to make
unilaterally. Once the Congress approves
the sending of the technicians, it is
morally and politically bound to support
the package. Congress cannot wash its
hands of the pledges in the other agreements,
without a specific statement of
disapproval. In action will be construed
The disclaimer in the resolution reminds
me of the provision the Senate put
on the initial Cambodia aid bill in 1970,
following the beginning or our military
involvement there. The provision stated
that by giving aid, the United States was
not committing Itself to defend Cambodia,
thus allowing Congress to say that
it had not approved any commitment to
the Lon No! government. But that was
followed by more than 4 years of doing
precisely what Congress said we were not
committed to do. The underlying agreements
with Israel and Egypt are there
and in this resolution Congress has done
nothing to challenge their validity.
Executive branch spokesmen have attempted
to downplay the significance of
the underlying agreements, which w111
not be presented to the Congress for approval.
Yet the Senate's legislative counsel
Constitutionally, Agreement E (wlth
Israel). and possible G (wlth Israel), and
H (with Egypt), are beyond the power of the
President to enter Into without the advice
and consent of the Senate.
For the last several years the Senate
has attempted, in various ways to restore
Congress' proper role in the making of
foreign policy. This has focused on efforts
to restrain the Presidential practice
of making unilateral commitments to
foreign countries without congressional
approval. Three years ago, for example,
the Senate by a vote of 50 to 6 said that
any baae agreement of foreign aid pledge
to. Portugal or Bahrein should be submitted
a.s a treaty, subjects of lnfln1tely
less signiftcance than the agreements involved
here. As distinguished witnesses
such as George Ball and Paul Warnke
told the committee, several of the provisions
in the agreements involved here
could be Interpreted as military commitments
But, the Senate Is unable to debate
the executive branch's interpretation of
these agreements, which will be signed
when Congress approves this resolution
because the State Department's legai
opinion is classifl.ed "secret." How many
Members of this body know what is in
that document? How many can say, in
the view of the executive branch. what
the United States is legally committed
Yet, in voting for this resolution we
will be saying to the President, "I do
not -contest your right or authority to
make the kind of commitments con-tained
in these four agreements." Congress
will again be passing the buck to the
President, sanctioning h1s making-unilaterally-
major commitments to foreign
countries. The Senate will be turning
back the clock, repudiating the policy
endorsed in the national commitments
resolution, by a vote of 70 to 16, that a
commitment to another nation can come
only by "means of a treaty, statute, or
concurrent resolution of both Houses of
Congress specifically providing for such
Mr. President, this resolution does not
face squarely the issue of American policy
and commitments in the Middle East.
It represents· only the tip of the iceberg
of the Sinai package of agreements. In
voting for the resloution, Senators will
not be voting only on sending 200 technicians
to the Sinal. They will be committed
to this entire package of agreements
a.nd the significant change in
American policy they represent.
Throughout the course of our involv~ment
in Indochina the best intentions
of Presidents and Secretaries of State
were overridden by events. The costs of
this package are too high. The risks of
the course contemplated by this resolution
are too great.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 50, Folder 76, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
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