711.4215 Air Pollution/64: Telegram

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

90. Your 139, June 28, 3 p.m. Department is surprised at apparent unwillingness of Canadian Government to join Government of United States in reference to International Joint Commission of questions arising from deposit of fumes in State of Washington from Trail [Page 88] Smelter in a form which will admit of Commission rendering the greatest possible degree of assistance to the two governments and to inhabitants of both countries in solution of a problem which is daily becoming more aggravating.

Emission of fumes from Trail Smelter with consequent devastation in Washington presents question of grave concern to inhabitants of that state. Government of United States and Government of Canada are necessarily interested in solution.

International Joint Commission was established and is maintained by the two governments at large expense for the purpose of dealing with border problems and it would occasion keen regret if utility of the Commission were impaired by refusal of Canadian Government to submit to the Commission in proper form the questions which the Commission was established to investigate.

The Government of the United States is satisfied that the fumes from the Trail Smelter cause and threaten damage on a large scale to animal and plant life and probably to the health of the inhabitants. A sovereign state has a right to expect that the soil and the air over its territory shall not be polluted by agencies beyond its control and if the Canadian Government is unwilling to arrange for a proper reference of this question to the International Joint Commission the Government of the United States must look to the Government of Canada to suppress the nuisance which has caused such large damage to inhabitants of the United States and threatens to force the removal of entire communities.

The absence of the Chairman and forthcoming resignation of another member of the Canadian Section of the Commission presents no reason for delay in submitting problem to the Commission. Some time may be required for Commission to study matter before investigation can be planned and matter ought to be put before Commission so that available members can be studying it preparatory to convening of whole Commission. It seems obvious that if question is not put before Commission at once, little if any progress in investigation will be made by Commission this summer season.

If Canadian Government has any other solution to propose than reference to Joint Commission, Government of the United States desires to know what it is. It is imperative, however, that early indemnification of American citizens for losses already inflicted on them be arranged and that further spoliation of their homes and interests be prevented.

Please address note to Canadian Government in sense of foregoing and urge immediate action.