611.42321 SL/9–2251: Telegram

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


49. For Perkins EUR pass Murphy White House. Following the President’s instructions, I have told PriMin St. Laurent that the Pres wld be prepared to consider a proposition on the development of the St. Lawrence seaway and power project.

The PriMin has now requested an appointment with the Pres to state Canada’s proposals which are as fols:

To proceed with the project at once, or as soon as it can be done legally; that is, with clearance from the IJC, with Parliamentary approval, and with US sanction for New York-Ontario power development.
Hydro-electric power in the international section to be developed by Ontario and New York State, if New York participation approved by US Govt.
The Can Government to build the seaway as proposed, but on the Canadian side.
Tolls to be the same for US and Canadian shipping.
The door to be left open for US participation in project if we so desired. (Some cabinet members still prefer US-Canadian joint development on grounds it wld cost Canada less and canal shld be partly on US side for engineering reasons.)

The PriMin wants to make these proposals to the President in person. From his point of view it is urgent to do so before opening of Parliament on Oct. 9.

The Emb has nothing in writing, but I have been told the same thing by the PriMin, Foreign Min Pearson and Min of Transport Chevrier who is in direct charge. The proposal can thus be considered firm.

Suggest that perhaps the Pres may wish to obtain assurances from the PriMin in Washington as to when work might start on the navigation project and when it might be completed. The PriMin might wish assurances as to US Federal Power Commission approval of the power project.

I recommend that we examine the proposals as outlined above, and if found satisfactory, give the PriMin the appointment he has requested, if possible, for Thurs.1 We should bear in mind that Canadian Govt will raise the St. Lawrence issue anyway in one way or another and that we cannot stop them from doing so.

If the appointment is made for PriMin at White House, I think the Pres cld simply let the PriMin state his case, since it was on St. Laurent’s initiative that the appointment was requested, and it is a matter of prime importance to Canada.

No exchange of notes or memoranda appears necessary at this time. The Canadian Govt has got up a big head of steam on the St. Lawrence and we should take full advantage of it. It is the best possible moment for us to give them the go-ahead signal, if we can possibly manage it.

The PriMin wants to make his visit to Washington strictly business. He wld like to fly down late Wednesday, stay at the Canadian Emb, and call on the Pres Thurs, returning to Ottawa by plane the same day. He has asked particularly for no honors or ceremony.

To the press he cld be expected to say very little. He is naturally reticent and wld in any event wish first to give any info to Parliament.

  1. September 27.