611.42321 SL/2–751

The Ambassador in Canada (Woodward) to the Secretary of State

No. 1015

Subject: Ambassador’s interview with Prime Minister regarding St. Lawrence Waterway.

On February 6 by appointment I called on the Prime Minister1 to discuss the latest developments in connection with the St. Lawrence Seaway project. Present also in the Prime Minister’s office were Minister of Trade and Commerce C. D. Howe, Minister for External Affairs Lester B. Pearson, and Minister of Transport Lionel Chevrier. I indicated to the Prime Minister that as we regard this project to be a matter of mutual interest to Canada and the United States, and in view of this mutuality of interest I wanted him to be fully informed regarding the latest political developments in Washington.

These developments, of which I gave him a chronological review, included the interdepartmental meeting at the White House on January 22,2 and the meeting at the White House on January 26,3 at which time the Defense Mobilization Administrator, Mr. Chas. E. Wilson, stated his approval, and the resolution introduced by Senator Green4 with the endorsement of more than 20 others on February 1. I suggested that Mr. Howe undoubtedly deserved some credit for influencing Mr. Wilson’s views in this matter.

I also gave the Canadian Cabinet members an account of the legislative measures which have been introduced in the Congress with bipartisan support. This and other developments I said accounted for the President’s statement to me that the prospects for United States action on the St. Lawrence Treaty are better than they have been for the fifteen years he has been working on it.

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The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation of these developments, and asked me to convey his thanks to the President for his personal interest and leadership. This has been done under separate cover. The Prime Minister and the other Canadian Ministers then discussed the situation among themselves, the Prime Minister suggesting that it might be well for Canada not to press the St. Lawrence question too vigorously at this time. It was agreed that Chevrier, who said that he was booked for three speeches on the subject, could carry out his obligations provided he spoke only on the Canadian aspects of the problem. Pearson also remarked that it would be well to avoid any more Canadian representatives going to Washington in this connection.

This remark of Pearson’s may have been a reference to the recent activities in Washington of Richard Hearn, General Manager of the Ontario Hydro-electric Commission, who made a series of trips to Washington during January to discuss the St. Lawrence Seaway project with Mr. Wilson, to whom he obtained access through a mutual friend in Commonwealth Electric. According to a recent report from our Consul at Niagara Falls, Mr. Hearn returned from Washington in a state of exuberant optimism over the prospects.

Stanley Woodward
  1. Louis St. Laurent.
  2. The Administration’s plans to secure Congressional approval of the St. Lawrence project were discussed at the meeting, described in a memorandum by the Canadian desk officer, William N. Dale, January 22, not printed (611.42321 SL/1–2251).
  3. No record of this been found in the Department of State files.
  4. Senator Theodore Francis Green, of Rhode Island, introduced S. J. Res. 27 on February 1.