611.4231/2025

The Canadian Prime Minister ( King ) to the American Minister in Canada ( Armour )1

Dear Mr. Armour: I have been considering with my colleagues in Council the question of the possible extension of the Trade Agreement between the United States and Canada signed on the 15th November, 1935.2 As you will recall, it was the conviction of the Government of the United States as well as of our Government, at the time the Agreement was concluded, that the advantage to both countries of the increase of trade which would follow the coming into force of its provisions would become so apparent that the extension of the reciprocal trade provisions between the United States and Canada might well be considered at a comparatively early date.

Having been aware of the fact that the negotiation of a Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States was under consideration,3 the Canadian Government has hesitated to suggest consideration of an extension of the United States–Canada Agreement pending discussions between the United Kingdom and the United States, lest some embarrassment might thereby be occasioned either to the United Kingdom or to the United States Government. Our Government, however, has now been informed by the Government of the United Kingdom that it considers discussion of the feasibility of such an extension would facilitate rather than interfere with its own discussions, as the provisions of such an extension might have a direct bearing on the negotiation of an Agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Unless a similar view were held by the Government of the United States, our Government would not wish to raise the question of possible [Page 161] extension of the United States–Canada Agreement at this time, or indeed until such time as the Government of the United States might be desirous of having the matter considered. If, however, the view of the Government of the United States as to the appropriateness of having concurrent consideration given Agreements between the United Kingdom and the United States and Canada and the United States were similar to that of the Government of the United Kingdom, the Canadian Government would be prepared to have exploratory conversations between officials of the two Governments commence immediately with a view to ascertaining in how far it might serve the interests of both Governments to proceed with negotiations. Our Government would be prepared to have these preliminary and confidential discussions take place either at Washington or at Ottawa or at both places as might suit the convenience of the Government of the United States.

I wish to make it clear that in suggesting consideration of this course, the Canadian Government have very much in mind the urgent necessity, which the Secretary of State of the United States has repeatedly emphasized, of widening international trade, as the most constructive and enduring method of ensuring world peace. They also believe that it would be the most effective and speedy means of giving consideration to the important questions affecting Canadian trade which have arisen in the discussions between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Yours sincerely,

W. L. Mackenzie King
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Canada in a letter to the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs, August 8; received August 11.
  2. Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 91 or 49 Stat. 3960; for correspondence, see Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. ii, pp. 18 ff.
  3. See pp. 1 ff.