711.4215 Air Pollution/447
The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Canada (Robbins)
Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of the Legation’s despatch No. 131 of July 28, 1933,20 in regard to the air pollution problem arising from the operation of the Smelter at Trail, British Columbia.
Communication in regard to this air pollution problem was resumed with the Canadian Government by the Legation’s note to the Department for External Affairs of Canada dated February 17, 1933, pursuant [Page 60] to the Department’s Instruction No. 841 of February 10. After some delay, an arrangement for informal discussions was made. These discussions took place at Ottawa, May 19 to May 23, last. When these discussions terminated it was understood that the Canadian Government was to make proposals in a note to the Legation. The receipt of the note was expected within a few weeks subsequent to the time the informal discussions took place.
I exceedingly regret the slowness with which the Canadian Government moves in dealing with this air pollution problem. The Legation’s despatch No. 1321 of April 13, 1933,21 indicates that discussion of proposed terms of settlement was then delayed because of the absence in Europe of the attorney for the Consolidated Mining and Smelter Company. Your despatch under acknowledgment indicates that action by the Canadian Government is now being delayed by the absence in Europe of the President of the Company.
It is especially regretted—considering the circumstances of this case and the necessity of an early settlement—that the Canadian authorities have seen fit to delay action merely because attorneys or officials of the Smelter Company happen to be traveling.
With the Department’s No. 973 of June 5, 1933, information was communicated to the Legation in regard to fumigations that took place in Stevens County, Washington, in the months of March and April, 1933. The Legation transmitted this information to the Department for External Affairs in a note dated June 7, 1933. No response has been received to this communication, except an acknowledgment from the Department of External Affairs dated June 8,21 in which it was stated that the matter was receiving immediate attention and that inquiry was being made at Trail.
Reports of the United States Experts who are making observations in the State of Washington indicate that severe fumigations of substantial duration continued in the State of Washington in the months of May and June, 1933.
The conductivity recorder operating at Boundary, Washington, showed the presence of sulphur dioxide on thirteen days in the month of May with fumigations lasting as long as 3.33 hours and with concentrations as high as .88 ppm.
The recorder at Northport, Washington, showed the presence of sulphur dioxide on sixteen days in the month of May. The longest visitation of sulphur dioxide at Northport lasted 9.67 hours. The maximum concentration at Northport for the month of May was .39 ppm.
The recorder at Evans, Washington, showed the presence of sulphur [Page 61] dioxide on seven days in the month of May. The longest visitation recorded at Evans lasted seven hours. The maximum concentration at Evans was .33 ppm.
The recorder at Boundary showed the presence of sulphur dioxide there on twenty-one days in the month of June, 1933. The longest visitation lasted 5.67 hours. The maximum concentration was 1.00 ppm.
The recorder at Northport, showed the presence of sulphur dioxide on twenty-three days in June, 1933. The longest visitation recorded at Northport lasted ten hours. The maximum concentration was .32 ppm.
The recorder at Evans, Washington, showed the presence of sulphur dioxide on two days in the month of June, 1933. The longest visitation of sulphur dioxide lasted 6.67 hours. The maximum concentration at Evans was .14 ppm.
A comparison of the readings for May and June, 1933, with the corresponding readings for March and April, 1933, shows an improvement in atmospheric conditions in Stevens County. However, I cannot contemplate the probability of a continuance, even temporarily, of fumigations such as are reported to have occurred in May and June, 1933, without registering complaint with the Canadian Government and without urging that adequate steps be taken by the Canadian Government to suppress this nuisance.
It is desired that you communicate this brief review to the Department for External Affairs and that you employ all available means consistent with a proper manifestation of firmness and tact to induce the Canadian authorities energetically to proceed with the adjustment of this long-standing air pollution problem.
You are authorized to confer with the Prime Minister upon his return to Ottawa, provided, of course, that the expected communication from the Canadian Government has not previously been received by the Legation. It is not deemed advisable to have the American Ambassador at London discuss the matter with the Prime Minister as suggested in the Legation’s despatch under acknowledgment.
Very truly yours,