711.4216 M 58/22

The British Chargé (Chilton) to the Secretary of State

No. 144

Sir: I have the honour to inform you that the Government of Canada have recently noted that a special Committee of the United States Senate has been appointed by the Vice-President to investigate the problem of a nine-foot channel in the waterway from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and to enquire into the navigability of the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers, with a view presumably to exploring the possibility of establishing direct maritime communication between the Great Lakes and the South Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Dominion Government further understand that certain legislation now before Congress proceeds, after defining the nature of the work to be undertaken in the stretch above mentioned, to confer upon the Sanitary District of Chicago the legal right to divert for sewage dilution and navigation purposes, 10,000 cubic feet of water per second from Lake Michigan upon condition that the said district shall pay into the Treasury of the United States such sums as may be estimated to be its reasonable share of the cost of constructing compensating works at several points for the purpose of controlling and restoring to the lakes in question the levels lost by reason of this diversion of water.

In this connection, the Dominion Government observe that no provision is made for the restoration of the levels of the St. Lawrence River from its head to tidewater. In other words, the restoration to be provided in the legislation above-named is to be in the waters where United States navigation predominates but no such restoration is provided for the waters so extensively used by Canadian shipping.

Reports submitted to the Canadian Government during recent months refer not only to the loss of levels that affect navigation, but also to the diversion of water for power purposes both in the international stretches where compensation may be determined and in the international stretches below Cornwall in the Province of Quebec. In that regard, Lord Byng of Vimy desires me to point out that the limit of 10,000 cubic feet of water per second, as contemplated by the proposed legislation, is about 1.500 cubic [feet] per second more than is being diverted at present, and His Excellency considers it possible that the proposed legislation may mean that 10,000 cubic feet per second is allowed for diversion and power at Lockport, while additional water power will doubtless be required for lockages.

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In view of the above, I have the honour to inform you that the Government of Canada are unalterably opposed to the proposed diversion of water from the Great Lakes watershed to that of the Mississippi, to the great detriment of navigation from Sault Ste. Marie to tidewater. The diversion that has already taken place at Chicago has lowered the waters of the Great Lakes to an extent that is now common knowledge. This affects harbours upon which many million dollars have been expended in deepening operations. It also affects the locksills of the Sault Ste. Marie Canals, the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Canals and, further, this diversion of water has a most injurious effect upon the ocean shipping channel between Montreal and the sea, where the Government of the Dominion have spent many more millions of dollars in dredging operations. How great have been the injuries sustained by navigation interests may be seen from the fact that every inch of navigable water means an additional 60 to 80 tons of carrying capacity. The waters of the Great Lakes are the heritage of both the people of the United States and the people of Canada, and the Dominion Government are of opinion that it is quite obvious that these waters should be conserved for the interests of both peoples. The Government of Canada, therefore, sincerely hope that the Government of the United States will not only not permit any further diversion of water from Lake Michigan, but will intimate to, and if necessary insist upon, the Sanitary District of Chicago adopting some more scientific method of sewage disposal than is foreshadowed at present.

I have the honour to request that I may in due course be furnished with an expression of the views of the United States Government upon the contents of this note, for communication to His Excellency the Governor-General of Canada.

I have [etc.]

H. G. Chilton