842.154 Seattle-Fairbanks Highway/151

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

No. 1169

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 7 of January 16, 4 p.m., in reply to the Department’s No. 3 of January 15, 6 p.m.,44 regarding the proposed highway from Seattle, Washington, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and to enclose a copy of a letter from the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs45 confirming the information previously reported by the Legation as to the lack of funds in Canada for any such project at the present time.

The letter points out that in Canada highways are the concern of the provinces and that while the government of the Province of British Columbia are sympathetic toward the proposal they do not appear to be in a financial position to undertake it. The letter also explains that the federal Departments indirectly interested appear to have no funds available which could be used to subsidize or assist a provincial project for such a highway, and that, in fact, the federal Government has already undertaken extensive commitments to subsidize an east-west trans-Canada highway which public opinion would probably regard as having priority over a north-south project in one province.

In conclusion the letter states that in these circumstances it would be difficult for the Government at the present time to enter an arrangement looking to the planning, financing and construction of the proposed highway from Seattle to Fairbanks, and that while it may be hoped that circumstances will alter in the future it would hardly be feasible to make any definite forecast.

Since the receipt of the above mentioned letter the Department of External Affairs has telephoned to the Legation to say that a new angle to this question has arisen46 and that in certain quarters an interest in the above road has suddenly been manifested. While the Department of External Affairs does not feel that this new development will change the ultimate decision, nevertheless they have suggested that the Legation may wish to defer reporting finally on this question pending the submission of a subsequent report from the Canadian Government.

In view of the above the Department may wish to hold this despatch, not communicating its contents to the interested Departments of our Government until hearing further from the Legation.

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I have thought it advisable to send this despatch along in its present form in order that the Department may be in a position to explain the situation in the event of further inquiries of the nature referred to in the Department’s telegram No. 3 of January 15, 6 p.m.

Respectfully yours,

Norman Armour
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. i. e., the visit of the Premier of British Columbia to Ottawa.