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Burmese Relief Center--Japan
DATE:September 7, 1995
Sub:An Argument for Sovereignty of Monland, Kawthoolei,
Wa, and Karenni 

Letters to the Editor
September 8, 1995

Anthony Davis's "Law and Disorder" discusses the role of
the State Law and Order Restoration Council in the opium
trade (INSIDE STORY, Aug. 25).  It says that SLORC
permitted ex-CPB (Communist Part of Burma) groups "the
autonomy to step up heroin production" and that "Khun Sa
is relatively small-time compared to these guys."

The U.S. government is finally acknowledging SLORC's
role in the drug trade.  On June 20, Congressman Benjamin
Gilman, Chairman of the House Committee on International
Relations, requested the General Accounting Office "to
prepare a report to the Congress on the feasibility of
stemming the production of opium in Myanmar through
assistance to the Wa people."  It is his intent to provide up
to $15 million per year in narcotic control assistance to
(Myanmar).  The draft of this proposed legislation states
"recipients of assistance may not be connected to or
sponsored by SLORC."

I was discreetly given through an intermediary a U.S.
government report on Myanmar which I forwarded to the
SLORC leadership.  This report may have played an
important role in securing the unconditional release of Aung
San Suu Kyi.  It states that in recent years the SLORC has
publicly concluded cease-fires in place with several armed
ethnic groups, such as the Wa, Kachin and Karenni, under
which these groups retain their arms and control of certain
territory, which (Myanmar) government troops undertake
not to enter without permission.  These agreements appear
to constitute a formal acknowledgment by the government
of (Myanmar) that it neither controls large and well-defined
parts of its national territory, nor is it in a state of
belligerency with organizations that are in effective control
of these regions.

Consequently, arguably consistent with international law,
the U.S. government might:

++ not apply to such regions, or to goods originating from
such regions, any trade and investment sanctions that it
imposes on the part of Myanmar controlled by SLORC;

++ formally assert that Americans have the right to trade in
and with such regions, and to travel to and in them, and to
overfly them, without leave or hindrance from the SLORC

This could position (but not commit) the U.S. government
to make sure that anti-SLORC forces are able to buy food
and/or arms at a later date, to counterbalance SLORC's
Chinese arms.

Myint Thein
Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.