The Secretary of State to the British Appointed Ambassador on Special Mission (Grey)

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to Your Embassy’s note, Number 699, of September 29, 1919,22 with which was transmitted a copy of an Approved Minute of the Privy Council for Canada, appointing Mr. W. J. Stewart, as representative of the Dominion of Canada, to confer with a representative of this Government with a view to formulating the terms and conditions which should be embodied in the proposed reference to the International Joint Commission, for investigation and report, the matter of the further improvement of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Lake Ontario.

I beg to enclose herewith a copy of a memorandum, dated November 11, 1919, signed by the American representative, Lieutenant Colonel Keller, Corps of Engineers of the United States Army, and Mr. Stewart, setting forth their recommendations. This report has received the approval of the Chief of Engineers, War Department, who thinks that the proposed procedure is calculated to produce the desired results with the least expenditure of time and money, and that the terms and conditions suggested for the reference to the Commission adequately cover the subject matter.

I shall be glad if you will ascertain and inform me whether the recommendations meet the approval of the Canadian Government and whether that Government is now ready to join this Government in submitting the matter to the Commission.

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing
[Page 411]

Memorandum of Recommendations by American and Canadian Engineers for Reference to the International Joint Commission

Subject: Further improvement of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Lake Ontario.

Having been charged by our respective Governments with the duty of conferring relative to the terms and conditions which should be embodied in the reference to the International Joint Commission of the question of the further improvement of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Lake Ontario, the following is a statement of the agreement reached by us after three conferences, one at Ottawa, one at Montreal, and the final one at Washington, D.C.:

It is our view that the necessary work of surveying and preparing plans and estimates in accordance with a number of alternatives should be done jointly by engineers of the respective governments who are already charged with these or similar duties, and that the International Joint Commission should be charged with the duty of making the general investigations and obtaining the information necessary to enable it to select the most desirable plan and to make the desired report and recommendations relating thereto.

We have accordingly prepared a draft of a letter to the Commission embodying the above general distribution of the work and setting forth the questions upon which report and recommendations are desired. This letter follows:—

“To the Secretary,
International Joint Commission,

Sir: I have the honour to inform you that the Governments of the United States of America and of the Dominion of Canada, under the provisions of Article IX of the Treaty of the 11th of January, 1909,23 between the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, herewith refer certain questions, as set forth below ‘ involving the beneficial use of the waters of the St. Lawrence river, between Montreal and lake Ontario, in the interests of both countries, and, in general, the rights, obligations, or interests of either in relation to the other, or to the inhabitants of the other along their common frontier.’

It is desired that the said questions be made the basis of an investigation to be carried out by the International Joint Commission, to the end that the said Commission may submit a report to the two countries covering the subject matter of this reference, together with such conclusions and recommendations as may be considered pertinent in the premises.

Question I. What further improvement in the St. Lawrence river, between Montreal and lake Ontario, is necessary to make the same [Page 412] navigable for deep draught vessels of either the lake or ocean-going type; what draught of water is recommended; and what is the estimated cost?

In answering this question the Commission is requested to consider:—

Navigation interests alone, whether by the construction of locks and dams in the river; by side canals with the necessary locks; or by a combination of the two?
The combination of navigation and power interests to obtain the greatest beneficial use of the waters of the river.

Question II. Which of the schemes submitted by the Government or other engineers is preferred, and why?

Question III. Under what general method of procedure and in what general order shall the various physical and administrative features of the improvement be carried out?

Question IV. Upon what basis shall the capital cost of the completed improvement be apportioned to each country?

Question V. Upon what basis shall the costs of operation and maintenance be apportioned to each country?

Question VI. What method of control is recommended for the operation of the improved waterway to secure its most beneficial use?

Question VII. Will regulating lake Ontario increase the low water flow in the St. Lawrence Ship Channel below Montreal? And if so, to what extent and at what additional cost?

Question VIII. To what extent will the improvement develop the resources, commerce and industry of each country?

Question IX. What traffic, both incoming and outgoing, in kind and quantity, is likely to be carried upon the proposed route both at its inception and in the future? Consideration to be given not only to present conditions, but to probable changes therein resulting from the development of industrial activities due to availability of large quantities of hydraulic power?

Pending the receipt of plans, estimates and other engineering data necessary for the final consideration of this reference, the Commission is requested to hold such public hearings as may be considered necessary or advisable in order to obtain all information bearing, directly or indirectly, on the physical, commercial and economic feasibility of the project as a whole.

To facilitate the preparation of the desired report each government will, from its official engineering personnel, appoint an engineer with full authority to confer with a similar officer of the other Government for the purpose:—1st. Of acquiring, each in his own country, such data as may be found necessary to supplement the existing engineering data and surveys and, 2nd. Of preparing complete outline plans for and estimates of the cost of the proposed improvement, including the value of all property, easements, damages and rights connected therewith. These plans and estimates are to be submitted to the Commission as soon as practicable but not later than one year from the date of appointment and the Commission is requested to [Page 413] forward to the two Governments its final report with recommendation not later than three months thereafter. A copy of the instructions furnished these engineers is attached hereto.

Yours truly.”

Further, in accordance with the procedure proposed by us, we have prepared the following instructions to the engineers who will be charged with the making of surveys and the preparation of plans and estimates.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • C. Keller
  • Wm J. Stewart