711.4216 M 58/43

The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State

No. 533

Sir: I have the honour to refer to my note No. 256 of the 21st of March and to other correspondence on the subject of the diversion [Page 354] of water from the Great Lakes as a result of the Chicago drainage system, and at the request of His Excellency the Governor General of Canada to call your attention to the fact that this matter has come up for discussion in the Canadian Parliament on several different occasions during the current session.

On each occasion, and with increasing emphasis amounting to unanimity, demands have been made upon the Dominion Government to renew the protests which have already been lodged against the action of the Sanitary District of Chicago, in continuing and seeking to extend their claim to diversion of water from the St. Lawrence Watershed into that of the Mississippi, with consequent adverse effect upon important interests in the navigation both of the Great Lakes and of the St. Lawrence River, and the development of power, actual and prospective, upon the River itself and upon the waters connecting the Lakes.

The Dominion Government are constrained to believe that unless; some reassuring message can be made to the people of Canada that favourable progress is being made in the matter, public opinion throughout the Dominion will become so aroused as to render exceedingly difficult the amicable consideration and discussion of the far less-reaching problem and issue incident to the Great Lakes and the International Waterway. The Government of Canada are fully aware that in many parts of the United States public opinion is similarly being aroused, and are not ignorant of the fact that the United States Government is not less anxious than they are to see a settlement speedily effected.

It is for these reasons, therefore, while unwilling to prefer any request or take any steps which might add to the existing embarrassment, the Dominion Government feel that they must once again direct the attention of the United States Government to the serious situation, which has developed, and in doing so express the (hope that it may be possible now to obtain an expression of the views of the United States Government on the points raised in my note of March 21st. The Government of Canada feel that it would be most advantageous for them to obtain a statement from the competent United States authorities which will definitely define the position as it now stands, and they trust that such a statement will be of a reassuring character as to probable future developments.

In bringing these facts to your notice, I venture to hope that I may receive an expression of the views of the United States Government at your earliest convenience for communication to the Dominion Government.

[Page 355]

In this connection I would add that the Dominion Government propose to publish forthwith the note No. 256 which I addressed to you on March 21st.

I have [etc.]

(For the Ambassador)
Herbert W. Brooks17
  1. Secretary of Embassy.