Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

The Canadian Minister called this morning, at my request. In our previous interview he had asked, and I had agreed to have drawn up, a memorandum covering the plan to get boring and survey work started for the St. Lawrence power development.

I handed him such a memorandum,14 prepared by Mr. Leland Olds and by Mr. Hickerson. It will be found in the files of EU.15

Mr. Christie said that he had received a telegram from Ottawa, based on some newspaper reports that the President had decided to go ahead with the St. Lawrence power features, eliminating the seaway. This had caused some concern. From reading the memorandum, however, he gathered that this was not the case.

I said that it certainly was not the case. The growing needs of defense, the possible shipping situation now and later, and conceivable [Page 153]changes in the Atlantic all heightened in our minds the need of inland navigation and possibly inland ship-building, as well. The President had expressed himself as not wishing to take the St. Lawrence–Great Lakes matters “in bites”, but as a whole, which of course included navigation. All that we were trying to do here was to get matters started so as to make construction necessary for the most immediate requirements, namely, power, but with full intention of going forward with the whole project as rapidly as circumstances permitted.

The Minister said that he would send this to Ottawa.

A. A. B[erle], Jr.

[For text of agreement between the United States and Canada regarding Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway effected by exchanges of notes, signed October 14 and 31 and November 7, 1940, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 187, or 54 Stat. 2426.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Division of European Affairs.