711.4216 M 58/43

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Howard )

Excellency: I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. 533 of June 13, 1924, in further reference to the diversion of water from Lake Michigan at Chicago.

In previous correspondence in regard to this matter reference was made to the suit brought by this Government to restrain the Sanitary District of Chicago from diverting a larger quantity of water from Lake Michigan than is authorized by the permit issued to the Sanitary District by the Secretary of War and to bills introduced in Congress during the past session with reference to the construction of the proposed waterway from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River and the sewage disposal system of Chicago.

The suit for an injunction, which is now pending on appeal in the Supreme Court of the United States, has been assigned for argument on November 10, 1924, early in the next term of the court. The position of the United States as plaintiff in this litigation is evidence of the interest which this Government has in the preservation of the navigability of the Great Lakes system of waterways. Until the Court has rendered an opinion in the case this Department will not be in a position to furnish the Canadian Government with further information in regard to the views of this Government concerning the questions involved in the litigation.

Hearings were held in March, April and May, 1924, by the Committee on Rivers and Harbors of the House of Representatives on the several bills introduced in Congress. In order that the Committee might be fully informed of the views of the Canadian Government in regard to the diversion of water from Lake Michigan I sent copies of your notes of February 13, 1924, and March 21, 1924, to the Chairman of the Committee. I have also sent him a copy of your note of June 13, 1924. In my note of April 2, 1924, I informed you that the Committee would be glad to have Mr. W. J. Stewart, [Page 356] Chief Hydrographer of the Canadian Government attend the hearings. The bills were still before the Committee on the adjournment of the session of Congress on June 7, 1924.

I regret that the formulation of a comprehensive statement of the views of this Government concerning the diversion of water from Lake Michigan will have to be deferred for a time because certain of the questions involved are under consideration by Congress and the Supreme Court both of which are at the present time in recess. This Government is prepared, however, to include consideration of the diversions of water from Lake Michigan among the questions to be referred by the United States and Canada to the Joint Board of Engineers appointed for the further investigation of the proposed Saint Lawrence Waterway,18 as will be fully explained in my note in regard to the instructions to be given to the engineers. It would be understood, of course, that the submission of this question to the Joint Board of Engineers would be without prejudice to the rights of this Government with reference to the diversion of water from Lake Michigan or the position which it may take concerning questions that may arise because of such diversions.

In connection with the statement made in your note under acknowledgment that it is the purpose of the Canadian Government to publish forthwith your note No. 256 of March 21, 1924, I invite your attention to the release of my note of April 2, 1924, given in my note of April 9, 1924.19

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. See note of Apr. 28, 1924, to the British Ambassador, p. 347.
  2. Latter not printed.