711.4215 Air Pollution/37a

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Canada (Phillips)

No. 111

Sir: American property owners in the State of Washington on the American side of the boundary between the United States and Canada have complained of extensive damages to their properties including trees and crops resulting from the drift of fumes from the works of the Consolidated Smelting and Mining Company of Canada, Limited, at Trail, British Columbia.

In compliance with instructions from the Department the Consul General at Ottawa brought this question to the attention of the Canadian authorities.49 In a despatch dated August 20, 1927, from the Consul General50 it was stated that the matter had been referred to [Page 79] the British Columbia authorities for investigation and report, and that he had received a communication from the Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs informing him that steps had been taken to have the submission of the report expedited.

In the judgment of the Department this is a question which might be referred for examination and report to the International Joint Commission in pursuance of Article IX of the Boundary Waters Treaty Between the United States and Canada of 1909.51 In view of the fact that American properties have been damaged by the fumes from the smelting works at Trail, British Columbia, over a period of several years and the Canadian authorities have not as a result of representations made by the Consulate General taken any definite steps to afford relief to the American property owners, it is desired that you inquire of the Canadian Government whether it would be agreeable to having a joint reference of this matter made by the two Governments to the International Joint Commission for examination and report.

It is requested that you inform the Canadian Government that this Government suggests that it be provided in the terms of reference to the Commission that the Commission shall make an investigation; in order to determine the extent to which properties on the American side of the boundary have been injured or destroyed as a result of the fumes, and the extent of damages caused to property owners, and to submit a report containing its findings on these questions and recommendations as to such measures as in the view of the Commission will protect the American property owners from damage by these fumes in the future. In taking up the matter with the Canadian Government, you should request that if it agrees in principle to the suggested terms of the reference, it designate a scientist to confer with a scientist to be designated by this Government and prepare the exact terms of reference.

As the American property owners desire that some action be taken as soon as possible with a view to remedying the situation complained of it is requested that you inform the Department as soon as possible of the views of the Canadian Government in regard to this proposal.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. Previous correspondence not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1910, p. 532.