Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President


In February 1949, you discussed with the Prime Minister of Canada1 his government’s desire for certain changes in the 1941 Agreement regarding the United States leased naval and air bases in Newfoundland.2 I discussed this subject with the Canadian Minister for External Affairs on September 10, 1949,3 and as a result of this discussion the problem was referred to the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, U.S.–Canada, for settlement. This body carried on negotiations over a number of months and finally, on March 28–30, 1950, they joined in formal Recommendations to the two Governments for approval, as is customary.

As the Department of Defense was primarily concerned, the Recommendations of the Board were first transmitted to that Department, and there is attached a copy of a letter dated July 13, 1950 from the Secretary of Defense4 indicating his approval of the Recommendations as well as the concurrence of the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

I feel that these Recommendations are the best possible under the circumstances, and I recommend that you approve them for this Goverment.5 Following your approval, this Department will initiate action to put the Board’s Recommendations, into effect through an exchange of notes with the Canadian government.6

There are enclosed copies of the pertinent documents, including a letter4 addressed to you from Major General Guy V. Henry, U.S. Army, Retired, Acting Chairman of the United States Section of the Board.

Dean Acheson
  1. For text of the memorandum of President Truman’s conversation with Prime Minister Louis S. St. Laurent on February 2, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. ii, p. 393.
  2. For documentation on the negotiation of this treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom, see ibid., 1940, vol. iii, pp. 49 ff. and ibid., 1941, vol. iii, pp. 53 ff. For text of the agreement and exchange of notes signed at London, March 27, 1941, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 235, or 55 Stat, (pt. 2) 1560.
  3. Memorandum of conversation between Dean Acheson and Lester B. Pearson, not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. President Truman’s handwritten notation on the original of this memorandum reads “Recommendation approved 8/1/50 HST.” On the Recommendation attached to the memorandum President Truman wrote “Approved 8/1/50 HST.”
  6. The Recommendation is printed as part of the agreement between the United States and Canada respecting leased bases in Newfoundland, effected by exchange of notes signed at Washington, February 13 and March 9, 1952, 3 UST (pt. 3) 4271, or TIAS 2572.
  7. Not printed.