711.4215 Air Pollution/82

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

No. 548

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed copy of a note received from the Department of External Affairs dated July 26, 1928, with regard to the terms of reference to the International Joint Commission of the Trail Smelter question.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

For the Minister:
La Verne Baldwin

Secretary of Legation
[Enclosure 1]

The Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mackenzie King) to the American Minister (Phillips)

The Secretary of State for External Affairs presents his compliments to the Minister of the United States, and has the honour to refer to his memorandum of July 20th64 with reference to the complaints of property owners in the State of Washington of damages by fumes from the Trail plant of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada.

The Canadian Government is not able to accept the interpretation of its position which is contained in the memorandum. The view of the Canadian Government was that the gravity of conditions in the State of Washington had not been sufficiently demonstrated to warrant [Page 96] provision of a remedy of the drastic character suggested. It may be added that this is particularly the case since in Canada the control of industrial establishments of this nature falls within the jurisdiction of the provincial rather than of the federal government.

The Canadian Government is, however, pleased to state that it is wholly in sympathy with the wish of the Government of the United States to have the matter referred to the International Joint Commission in a form which will admit of the Commission recommending a solution fair to all parties concerned. It is prepared to agree to a reference in the form proposed in Mr. Phillips’ memorandum of July 20th, subject to a verbal alteration, which it trusts will commend itself to the Government of the United States.

The second clause in its present form might be construed as referring to the Commission the decision of the question whether the interests affected are entitled to damages, and the Commission might therefore be restricted in its findings merely to damages that resulted in a legal right vested in interests in the State of Washington. The object of the reference, it is understood, is to establish the amount that would indemnify the aggrieved persons, and with that in view, to obtain the necessary findings of fact. It is therefore proposed that the second clause be amended in such a way as to preclude the possible restriction of the enquiry to claims based on existing legal rights. The following amendment is suggested:

“The amount of indemnity which would compensate United States interests in the State of Washington for past damages”.

  1. See footnote 62, p. 94.