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Mr. Chairman, I believe that this Resolution would not serve the commendable goal of the protection and conservation of whales.
Instead, it would become
counterproductive to our good relations with Norway and Japan and could only serve as a negative propaganda device. Rather, in view of the substantive progress made by our State Department in its negotiations with Japan, and in particular observance of the current litigation, we in the Congress should do nothing which will exascerbate current international agreements and the prerogative of the Courts to determine the authority of the President to
act in this sensitive matter.
For those reasons, I am requesting your serious review and rejection of H. Con. Res. 54.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Dymally.
Our first witness today is the distinguished gentleman from the State of Washington, Congressman Don Bonker, who has been a leader in Congress on international whaling protection. Don, we welcome you. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. DON BONKER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Mr. BONKER. Thank you, Chairman Yatron. I shall be brief. I want to thank you for conducting this hearing and allowing me to participate, along with these distinguished leaders in efforts to protect and preserve marine mammals, in support of House Concurrent Resolution 54, and also U.S. preparations for the upcoming 37th annual meeting of the IWC.
The resolution which I am sponsoring reaffirms long-standing congressional intent and the policies which at least five administrations have adopted, that the United States strongly endorses IWC efforts to conserve and protect the world's threatened whale populations. The resolution enjoys the cosponsorship of 65 of our colleagues in the House.
The resolution has four essential purposes. One, to reaffirm that noncompliance with the IWC's 1982 decision to suspend all commercial whaling in 1986 undermines international whale conservation efforts.
Two, to express the sense of Congress that the agreement reached between the United States and the Japanese Governments which would permit continued Japanese commercial whaling 2 years beyond that date which was set by the IWC, violates both U.S. law and IWC policy.
Three, to urge the President to ensure that the United States upholds this historic IWC decision, and four, to reaffirm several commitments previously made by the Secretary of State to the Con
gress, that fishery allocations would be used to secure compliance with the moratorium.
Mr. Chairman, I think all of us are deeply concerned, if not disappointed, by the agreement which was negotiated between the United States and Japan to allow 2 additional years of commercial whaling, which is in violation of our laws and the IWC decision. In fact, I think it is ironic that our Government now finds itself in court defending Japan's right to continue commercial whaling. This is a sad commentary on the bipartisan effort that has been ongoing for the last decade to end commercial whaling and is in stark contrast to the administration's earlier outstanding record in the fight to save whales.
Now, Mr. Chairman, the argument that will be made on behalf of the agreement is that more time is needed. I have been attending these IWC meetings for the past 7 years, and everybody knew that we were making our way toward a moratorium. The Japanese and others have fought successfully to prolong that decision. But the decision has finally been made. It does not come as a surprise to anyone. Japan and other whaling countries have had ample time to make proper adjustments for this upcoming decision.
Second, this administration has really been outstanding in its support of these resolutions and, indeed, its representation at the IWC meetings has really been an improvement over the Carter administration on this issue. But now we find ourselves in a position where we have negotiated with the Japanese in such a way that extends the moratorium, which is in violation of IWC policy, and violates our own law. That is why the matter is in court. The court has already ruled in favor of the environmentalists and against the administration and that agreement. I have no doubt whatsoever that the next decision will affirm the lower court's ruling.
So I don't think we need additional time. I think the moratorium has been in the process for many years, and whaling countries have to realize that that moratorium is coming and they have to put an end to commercial whaling.
The other point I want to make is that prior to coming into the committee room, I sponsored an amendment in the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee to the so-called Magnuson law which extended our fishing jurisdiction to 200 miles. The subcommittee chairman had successfully put into his bill removal of the so-called basket clause, which is the President's authority to curtail or terminate fishing rights of foreign countries inside our waters. for foreign policy or other reasons. There are many on the committee who were concerned that in the past the exercise of this power has had adverse effects on our own fishing community, so there was a desire to remove Presidential authority for this purpose.
I inserted language that would, in effect, preserve the President's authority insofar as it pertains to the conservation of living marine resources, as the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the Secretary of Commerce, considers appropriate. The whole idea is to preserve executive branch power to curtail fishing opportunities for those nations who are not in compliance with IWC quotas or its policy. That amendment passed successfully.
So, Mr. Chairman, I can say that Congress continues to strongly support the IWC's goals and to put an end to commercial whaling.
I am hopeful that your committee will adopt this resolution and put Congress on record once again that we want to cease all commercial whaling; that we are strongly against any efforts to compromise on the moratorium; and that we are especially disappointed over the decision negotiated between our Government and Japan to extend commercial whaling another 2 years.
Mr. Chairman, I am sorry to take up so much time. I appreciate your indulgence.
Mr. YATRON. Congressman Bonker, we thank you very much. I want to say, as a cosponsor of the resolution, I am committed to working along with you. I commend you for your leadership and your statement.
I would like to ask you one question. Given that there has been traditionally bipartisan support in the Congress, as well as the executive branch, on whale protection, how would you explain the administration's turnabout in this particular instance?
Mr. BONKER. That's a good question. I have often said, of both the Carter and Reagan administrations, that it was very easy to support a resolution and to support our efforts in Brighton or Buenos Aires to promote an end to commercial whaling. But when the chips were down, it was going to be a tough issue, particularly with respect to Japan. "Judgment Day" has come, politically.
When the administration was faced with the decision to curtail fishing opportunities, and the Japanese strongly objected, they ended up with a compromise. What that says to me is that, as a symbolic issue, the administration did support a moratorium, but when the tough decisions had to be made, that support was lacking. I would have to say I would expect no less from the Carter administration. I just think that's the political mindset in the executive branch on this matter.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much.
Mr. Smith, do you have any questions?
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. No, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YATRON. We have a vote on the floor again. Congressman Bonker, we would like to invite you to come up to the dias to join us if you would like. But I think we will have to take a temporary recess for about 10 minutes while we go over to the Capitol to respond to the rollcall.
I am sorry for the delay.
[Whereupon, the subcommittee took a short recess.]
Mr. YATRON. In the interest of time, I think we should begin. The other members should be here very shortly.
Our nongovernmental witnesses will be testifying as a panel. We are pleased to welcome Mr. Craig Van Note, executive vice president of Monitor; Mr. Mark Cheater, wildlife legislative director of Greenpeace, U.S.A.; Mr. Campbell Plowden, whale campaign coordinator, Humane Society of the United States; and Dr. Robbins Barstow, volunteer executive director of the Connecticut Cetacean Society.
It would be very much appreciated if the witnesses would limit their oral statements to 5 minutes or less. This will give us more time for the question and answer period. Of course, your entire statements will be included in the record.
Our first witness is Mr. Craig Van Note, executive vice president for Monitor. It is a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Van Note, and we look forward to hearing your statement. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF CRAIG VAN NOTE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, MONITOR
Mr. VAN NOTE. Thank you, Mr. Yatron.
I am speaking today on behalf of 14 conservation and animal welfare organizations. We are extremely pleased that this subcommittee is continuing its oversight of U.S. policy on whales and whaling.
Mr. Yatron, you and Mr. Bonker are key actors in the battle to protect and preserve the great_whales. We strongly support your resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 54. It demonstrates the sense of the Congress and of the American people once again.
This hearing is timely because the State and Commerce Departments have capitulated to Japanese pressure and are actively seeking to subvert the regulations of the International Whaling Commission. What we have seen over the past 7 months is a cynical decision by the Reagan administration to appease Japan and abandon 13 years of U.S. leadership in whale conservation. The decision to sell out the whales and subvert the moratorium was made purely for political expedience. The capitulation to Japan came after many months of concerted political and economic pressure by the Japanese Government and industry, with the technique of constant complaints, threats, and bullying that has proven so successful in achieving Japan's goals around the world.
The culprits in the administration were high level State Department officials in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, specifically the Japan desk, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and the Office of Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs. Rather than carrying out the longstanding U.S. policy for a moratorium and for enforcement of IWC regulations, and rather than enforcing U.S. domestic laws, these State Department officials decided the United States should accede to Japan's demands.
When Commerce Department officials opposed the sellout, the State Department officials went over their heads to the White House, where they obtained an order from a high-ranking Presidential lieutenant, forcing Secretary of Commerce Baldrige to accept the bilateral agreement condoning Japan's outlaw whaling. This craven act was so outrageous and clearly illegal that the conservation and animal welfare community brought a lawsuit in U.S. district court. The distinguished law firm of Arnold & Porter and a senior partner, William D. Rogers, a former Under Secretary of State, are generously representing the conservationists pro bono.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles Richey ruled on March 5 that the bilateral agreement was flatly illegal. He ordered the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of State to certify Japan for its defiance of the sperm whaling ban and to impose Packwood-Magnuson amendment sanctions on Japan's fishing industry.
I would submit for the record a copy of our amended lawsuit and a copy of Judge Richey's decision.1
1 See app. 9.
Mr. YATRON. Without objection.
Mr. VAN NOTE. On April 5 Japan announced it will agree to end commercial whaling in 1988, pursuant to the bilateral, if the U.S. district court decision is overturned. However, we have found that Japan is using deceptive words here. Because while they say they will agree to end commercial whaling if the lawsuit is overturned, they have not said they will end all whaling. This is a crucial distinction because Japanese officials have already announced that they are seeking to continue the whale killing beyond the moratorium or 1988 by redefining "coastal whaling" as noncommercial, subsistence whaling and by continuing their pelagic whaling by unilaterally granting themselves, through a major loophole in IWC rules, scientific research permits to kill as many whales as they want in the guise of noncommercial, scientific study of whales.
I would like to submit for the record a news story from April 5 quoting Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Moriyoshi Sato, on this.1
Mr. YATRON. Without objection.
Mr. VAN NOTE. He stated:
The IWC is discussing the resumption of whaling based upon reassessment of resources, and we intend as well to demand (that we be allowed) to carry on non-commercial whaling. We intend also to make every effort for the continuance of whaling.
It is obvious that Japan has no intention to end all of its whaling. It will use semantic tricks and the scientific loophole to continue its coastal and pelagic whaling.
Japanese Government officials are claiming that the United States will support their effort to reclassify Japan's coastal whaling as noncommercial, according to our sources in Tokyo. If high officials at the State Department and Commerce Department have committed to subverting the commercial whaling moratorium, it is a craven act, taken in secrecy, for pure political expedience.
A major issue that concerns us regarding the moratorium is Japan's importation of whale products from other whaling nations. As you know, the Packwood-Magnuson amendment includes trade in prohibited whale products as one means of diminishing the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission. When the moratorium goes into effect at the end of this year, we are extremely concerned that Japan might continue importing whale products and thus encourage other whaling nations to continue their whale killing.
Should the administration once again bow to Japanese demands and condone the continued trade in whale products after this year, it would be a powerful incentive for the total destruction of the moratorium and defiance of any whaling regulations.
We believe Japan must halt all trafficking in whale products this year, and we urge the Congress to raise this issue at the highest levels of the Reagan administration. If the administration refuses to treat such trade as certifiable, then we shall be forced to initiate new litigation in the Federal courts.
1 See app. 10.