711.4216 M 58/128

The Secretary of State to the Canadian Minister (Massey)

Sir: In further reply12 to your Legation’s note, No. 230, of September first, I have the honor to inform you that this Government raises no objection to the publication of the correspondence referred to therein, relating to the diversion of water from Lake Michigan at Chicago.13

This Government has not failed to recognize the importance of the contentions made by the Canadian Government relating to the abstraction of water from one watershed and the diversion of it into another. In my note of July 26, 1926, I informed the British Ambassador that this Government was not prepared to admit the conclusions of law stated in his notes of February 5, 1926, and May 1, 1926, on this question.14 I did not think it was advisable to enter into a discussion of this legal question in view of the fact that the issues involved in certain cases which were then and are still pending in the Supreme Court of the United States are closely parallel to the questions presented in the Ambassador’s notes. For this same reason I do not now desire to enter into a discussion of this question at the present moment.

This Government, however, has heretofore indicated that it is prepared to enter into discussions and negotiations with Canada covering the whole question of preservation of lake levels in the mutual interest of the two countries.

This Government is glad to note the agreement by the Government of Canada with the conclusions of the Joint Board of Engineers that the diversion at Chicago has affected lake levels less than six inches. It also notes the feeling on the part of the Canadian Government that lake levels could be dealt with, so far as navigation is concerned, by compensating works as recommended by the Joint Board of Engineers. It would appear in this connection that the question as to the practical results of diversion in its effect on navigation could be entirely remedied.

As to the observation by the Canadian Government that the installation of compensatory works to restore lake levels would not recoup to the Great Lakes System the power lost to the system by the diversion at Chicago, I would, without in any way admitting the principles of compensation, call attention to the fact that Canada [Page 487] now receives 36,000 second feet at Niagara as against 20,000 cubic feet per second on the American side for power purposes. I would further observe that without development of the lower St. Lawrence this question does not arise in that connection.

I again wish to point out that all these problems appeal to the American Government as matters that may be settled by practical engineering measures which might be adopted pending further discussion of the principles involved.

Accept [etc.]

Frank B. Kellogg
  1. Reply of Sept. 12, 1927, not printed.
  2. Printed in Correspondence Relating to Diversion of the Waters of the Great Lakes by the Sanitary District of Chicago (From March 27, 1912, to October 17, 1927) (Ottawa, F. A. Acland, 1928).
  3. Notes printed in Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. i, pp. 580, 584.