711.4216 M 58/110

The Secretary of State to the British Chargé (Chilton)

Sir: I am pleased to refer to your note Number 711, of November 16, 1926, and to Mr. Grew’s reply of November 26, 1926 regarding the publication of certain correspondence between the Department and the Embassy relating to the diversion of water from Lake Michigan by the Sanitary District of Chicago and to submit the following observations:

It appears to this Government that the report of the Joint Board of Engineers on the St. Lawrence Waterway Project9 greatly alters the understanding of the situation with respect to diversions from the Great Lakes watershed and that it would be undesirable to publish the correspondence which was based upon at least a partial misapprehension of the facts.

It has been the impression, at least in many parts of Canada and the United States, that the fall of some thirty inches in Lake levels which has proved so burdensome to shipping interests was very largely due to the diversion at Chicago. The report of the Joint Board of Engineers shows that only a small part of the fall in lake levels has been due to that diversion.

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Thus the report of the Joint Board of Engineers demonstrates that instead of the Chicago diversion being in any major degree responsible for the lowering of lake levels it has been responsible therefor to only a minor degree. So far as the diversion at Chicago together with other artificial diversions, including those into Canada, contributes to the lowering of the lake levels the effect can, according to the report, be corrected by the construction of compensatory works. With the question reduced to the dimensions indicated in the joint report, it seems to this Government that it would be advisable to suspend publication of the correspondence referred to in your note and to enter upon a further discussion of the practical question of providing compensatory works as recommended by the Joint Board of Engineers.

In view of this greatly altered understanding of the matter this Government considers that no good purpose would be served by a further publication of previous correspondence but that it should be possible to arrive at a complete understanding of the situation by a discussion of the practical remedies now before us.

I shall be grateful if you will cause the views of this Government to be brought to the attention of the Canadian Government.

Accept [etc.]

Frank B. Kellogg
  1. Report of Joint Board of Engineers on St. Lawrence Waterway Project, Dated November 16, 1926 (Ottawa, F. A. Acland, 1927).