Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1


Subject: Conversation with Canadian Ambassador

Participants: Hume Wrong, Canadian Ambassador Secretary
Mr. Haselton, BNA

The Canadian Ambassador called by appointment at 2:30 today. He opened the conversation by saying that he is leaving tomorrow for a short visit to Ottawa and merely wished to see if there were any thoughts or messages which I might like him to convey to Mr. Pearson or other officials in Ottawa. I said I had nothing particularly in mind but asked that my personal regards be given to Mr. Pearson.

[Here follow summaries of brief discussions of various subjects.]

The Ambassador said he intended to discuss the St. Lawrence problem in Ottawa. There is a possibility, he said, that a “high-level approach” may be made to the Department on this subject before long. The Prime Minister has been under considerable domestic pressure to [Page 908] make a statement, such as has already been made by a number of public figures in Canada, to the effect that Canada will go ahead with the Seaway project on its own if favorable U.S. action is not taken during the present session of Congress. The approach to which the Ambassador referred would apparently involve a suggestion that the power and seaway features of the project be separated; that Ontario and New York be authorized to proceed jointly on the power part of the project; and that Canada, alone, undertake the Seaway within its own territorial waters, which could be done, the Ambassador said, at a cost of only about $30 million more than has been estimated for the joint project. The Ambassador said his position up to this time has been that the Prime Minister should defer a public statement on the subject as long as possible—at least until the House Public Works Committee has made its position clear.2 I confirmed that in my opinion a statement now by the Prime Minister would not be helpful and might tend to complicate the situation rather than to clarify it.

  1. Drafted by Norris S. Haselton, Officer in Charge of Dominion Affairs.
  2. The Committee had conducted hearings from February 20 through April 30 on various resolutions to approve and implement the 1941 St. Lawrence Agreement. House Committee on Public Works, St. Lawrence Seaway: Hearings, 82d Cong., 1st Sess. (Washington, 1951). The Secretary of State’s statement before the Committee is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, March 12, 1951, pp. 432–434.