711.42157 Sa 29/164

The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State

No. 228

Sir: I have the honour to inform you that the Government of Canada have had under consideration the contents of the note which you were so good as to address to Mr. Chilton on the 27th ultimo in connection with the proposed improvement of the St. Lawrence River Waterway, and they concur in the suggestion of the Government of the United States that two additional engineers be appointed by each Government to the Joint Engineering Board whose membership will thus be increased to six, three members thereof representing the United States and three representing the Dominion of Canada. The Canadian Government desire me to express regret, however, that, owing to the death on the 3rd ultimo of Mr. W. A. Bowden, the late Canadian member of the Board, all three Canadian representatives will have to be new appointees.

The Dominion Government have noted the proposal of the United States Government that the national committees to be appointed by the two Governments concerned should meet from time to time for the purpose of formulating the terms in which the matters to be enquired into by the enlarged Joint Engineering Board should be defined. In this connection I would point out that the intention of the Dominion Government in constituting a national committee is that the body in question should be advisory to the Government of Canada, and it is felt that to impose upon this body, at all events at the outset, the duties suggested would be inconsistent with the purpose which it is intended to serve and would change the character of the said body from one primarily national to one of international significance. The Government of Canada consider that the terms of reference can, at least in the first instance, be settled quite adequately and in all probability more promptly in the manner set forth in the note which Mr. Chilton had the honour to address to you on January 30th last, and they desire me to express the hope that the Government of the United States will concur in this view. Immediately upon being advised to that effect the Government of Canada will be ready to appoint a technical officer for the purpose named, and in the event of the Government of the United States considering the appointment of more than one such officer to be desirable, they would have no objection to making an additional appointment.

The Government of Canada are entirely agreeable to the inclusion in the first instructions to the enlarged Joint Engineering Board of the two fundamental questions referred to in your note under reply, [Page 347] namely, whether the scheme for the improvement of the St. Lawrence Waterway which the Engineering Board submitted in their report of June 24th, 1921, is practicable and whether the estimates of the costs put forward by the Board require revision. On their part, the Dominion Government would suggest that amongst other matters, the Board should be directed to enquire into the extent to which the water levels in the River at and below Montreal, as well as the River and lake levels generally may be affected.

The Dominion Government desire me to suggest that, subject to the concurrence of the United States Government, this correspondence may be released on the night of Friday the 14th instant for publication simultaneously in Washington and in Ottawa on the morning of Saturday the 15th instant, and in these circumstances, I have the honour to request that I may be favoured with the views of the United States Government on this matter as soon as possible.

I have [etc.]

Esme Howard