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New York Times Responses To Editori

Subject:       New York Times Responses To Editorial

Following are letters that appeared in The New York Times December 19, 1996


To the Editor:
The logic of "Doing Business in Myanmar' (editorial, Dec 16) and its 
call for Unocal to withdraw from Myanmar escapes me. If history has 
shown us anything, it is that economic isolation only causes chaos, 
suffering and hardship for the people it is intended to help. It does 
nothing to improve the living standards, promote democracy or advance 
human rights.

But the Yadana natural gas pipeline project between Myanmar and 
Thailand is doing just that. It is creating jobs, new industries 
and new opportunities for the 35,000 people who live in the pipeline 
area, an extremely poor and undeveloped region of Myanmar. Unocal and 
its project partners are providing improved medical care, new and 
refurbished schools, electrical power and agricultural development 

The project - a joint venture of Unocal, Total of France, Thailand's 
PTT and Myanmar's MOGE - has adhered to strict standards on employment 
practices. Contrary to some reports, there has been no forced or 
conscripted labor on our project. You imply that a railroad has been 
built by conscripted labor to "transport Government troops to protect 
the pipeline." But there is no connection between this railroad and 
construction of the Yadana pipeline. The railroad right-of-way runs 
perpendicular to the pipeline, and the railway itself will not be 
completed until long after the pipeline is up and running.

Unocal's withdrawal from the project would reduce United States 
influence in Myanmar. It would also further marginalize American 
influence with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other 
Asian countries that have commercial and diplomatic contact with Myanmar. Our departure would certainly not foster democracy or improve human rights. The best way for America to advance Myanmar's transition to democracy is to remain involved in the natio
n's economic development.

Roger C. Beach
Chairman and Chief Executive
Unocal Corporation
El Segundo, Calif., Dec. 17, 1996

To the Editor:
"Doing Business in Myanmar" (editorial, Dec. 16) was reckless in its 
disregard of not only the impact of unilateral sanctions on American 
companies, but also the impact on the targeted governments. Foreign 
manufacturers are more than willing to fill the void left when American 
companies are not allowed to export to, or invest in, some of the 
fastest-growing economies in the world.

The National Association of Manufacturers recently commissioned a 
study cataloguing United States economic sanctions for foreign policy 
objectives. A preliminary analysis of the data reveals that from 1993 
to 1996,  more than 50 American laws or executive decisions were adopted 
imposing unilateral sanctions. An astonishing 31 countries were 
specifically targeted during this four-year period, together 
representing more than 60 percent of the world's population, 20 
percent of the world's gross domestic product and 22 percent of the 
world's export markets.

It is often asked, "Does American business support human rights?" The 
more appropriate question is whether or not denying American 
manufacturers the ability to export is an appropriate and effective 
response to human rights violations abroad. It is clear that United 
States sanctions outside a multilateral framework simply lead to lost 
American exports and jobs, with little or no impact on the targeted 

Marino Marcich
Director, International Investment & Finance
National Association of Manufacturers
December 18, 1996

To the Editor:

Re "Doing Business in Myanmar" (editorial, Dec. 16): At the Unocal 
shareholders' meeting on June 3, Roger C. Beach, chairman of Unocal, 
agreed to work with a group of shareholders to have a neutral human 
rights organization inspect the company's pipeline project in Burma.

As one responsible for setting up such an organization, I have been 
stonewalled by management's failure to respond to my mail, faxes and 
phone calls. The excuses blocking me from meeting face to face with 
Mr. Beach and the corporate secretary last week would have been comical 
had not the human rights violations of those suffering in Burma been 
the issue.

(Rev.) Joseph P. La Mar
New York
Dec. 16, 1996