Written by U Ne Oo on 1997-01-27
Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA 5042
January 15, 1997.
Ambassador William Brown and Mr Stanley Roth
United States Envoys on Burma
c/- Mona Sutphen
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights in Labour
United States Department of State
Please find enclosed note, concerning with the businesses operating in Burma. The existence of international busniesses in Burma has been a constant source of dispute between human rights groups and businesses. I understand that the Government of United States have a policy of not to encourage and not to discourage the United States businesses entering into Burma. However, I am seeking help from U.S. government to inform the businesses from the UNited States which are operating in Burma about the status of their contracts with current Burmese government. The business contracts signed by current military authorities after the May-1990 election may not be considered as legitimate. Therefore, I ask the business community in United States to approach the Executive Committee of National League for DEmocracy for approval of their contracts.
I also like to note that this action will marginalize the illegitimate Government of Burma (SLORC) from promoting legitimacy. It is possible that the SLORC will respond this action by refusing access to or arresting the members of Executive Committee of National League for Democracy. I therefore ask United States Government prepare to make a vigorous response to SLORC if such case has occurred in Burma.
I also appeal the United States Government to give necessary support and leadership in forming a UNited Nations Contact Group for Burma. It has been reported that Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Jean Chretien, is visiting Thailand on 16-20 January and will be making initiatives to form a U.N. Contact group for Burma. Such a U.N. Contact groups will certainly help our Burmese democracy cause and therefore I appeals the U.S. Government to follow-up this valuable initiative from Canadian Prime Minister.
IN closing, I thank you for your kind attention to these matters. The continuing kind support to Burma democracy cause from the U.S.Government and Department of State are greatly appreciated by the Burmese people.
Yours respectfully and sincerely.
Sd. U Ne Oo.
Letter To the President of the UNOCAL
January 27, 1997.
Mr John F. Imle, Jr.
Union Oil Company of California
P.O. Box 7600
Los Angeles, CA 90051
I am a Burmese national currently residing in Adelaide Australia. I read with interest of your testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking on May 22, 1996, on the debate on bill S - 1511. In that testimony, you have outlined the longer-term objectives of the Unocal's involvement in Burma's Yadana Gas Project of which I find most interesting.
In that testimony, you also stated the Unocal have joined the project in 1993 and has 28.6 per cent interest and also is in partnership with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, the current Burmese government own corporation. I like to point out to you that the business contracts made by Unocal with the current military government of Burma may not be considered as legitimate. Following facts are indicative of such has been the case.
Firstly, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) does not have the mandate of the Burmese people to rule Burma; In other words, the ruling military council SLORC is not a legitimate government of Burma and therefore the rulings of the military council do not have the endorsement of the people of Burma. You may be aware that there was a general election in Burma on May-1990, at which the opposition party, National League for Democracy, has been elected to govern the country. These elected representatives of National League for Democracy are the only legitimate leaders of Burma today.
More importantly, the SLORC does not observe any constitution. This fact is explicitly stated in the paragraph 6 of SLORC's Declaration No. 1/1990 as: " The State Law and Order Restoration Council (Tatmadaw) is not an organization that observes any constitution; it is an organization that is governing the nation by Martial Law. " In Burma, we have had two Consitutions - The (1947) Union of Burma Constitution and The (1974) Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma Constitution. Since the ruling military council does not observe any of those constitutions, in legal and juridical aspects, the SLORC and its rulings do not have any connection whatsoever with the State of Burma. This fact has been pointed out by various international human rights organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Burma.
Therefore, any business contract or agreement made with the SLORC after May-1990 do not have the endorsement of the people of Burma. Furthermore, because of the non-constitutional nature of SLORC, the State of Burma is under no obligation to observe the terms of agreements made by the SLORC. There are the likelihoods of legal complications to the businesses operating in Burma when democratically elected government come into power.
Please allow me to stress that I am not suggesting the Unocal to pull-out of Burma as most of Burma activists frequently do. What I am pointing out to you is that the illegal aspects of the contract agreements your company have made with the SLORC. In order to redress this problem, let me suggest you to contact the Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and to seek endorsement of your company's current Burma contracts. This task - to seek endorsement of Unocal's contracts in Burma from National League for Democracy - has some political implications and it is obviously beyond the capacity of any private company and therefore you should seek help from your Government. I have recently written a letter about these situations to the U.S. State Department officials, of which I have enclosed it for your information.
In closing, I hope that the information given is useful to you.
(Sd. U NE OO)