Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 65 D 238, “Memoranda of Conversation with the President—1952”

No. 938
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State


Memorandum of Conversation with the President

Item 2. St. Lawrence Seaway

I reported to the President that Ambassador Wrong, under instructions from his Government, had asked me to lay before the President the view of the Canadian Government, that inasmuch as there seemed to be no possibility of congressional approval of the 1941 agreement they requested the President to give the assistance which would be necessary to permit the all-Canadian project to go forward. This involved applications to the International Joint Commission and the possible naming of an agency to construct the hydro-electric power works on the United States side.

I also relayed the suggestion of Mr. Pearson, Canadian Minister of External Affairs, that it might be desirable for him to call upon the President over the next week-end when he would be in Washington.

Mr. Murphy was present during our discussion.

The President expressed the view that the Canadians had waited long enough for American congressional action; that they had been very patient and cooperative and that the Executive branch of this Government should now go through with its undertakings.

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I said to the President that the Canadian Government hoped that we could authorize the beginning of action not later than the first of May. The President thought that this was reasonable.

The President said that he would be very glad to see Mr. Pearson next Monday morning and directed me to be present at the interview and set up an hour with Mr. Connelly.

The President asked Mr. Murphy to make another survey of the congressional situation. I think that we in the Department should also have a report on this.

Mr. Murphy said that he had not given sufficient study to the steps which would be necessary to go forward with the Canadian project. I told him that Mr. Fisher1 was at work on this matter and I would ask Mr. Fisher to give Mr. Murphy the benefit of work which we had done.

Both the President and Mr. Murphy stated that if it was necessary to go forward with the project to have the New York Power Authority undertake the operation on the United States side, he was prepared to make that decision. Mr. Murphy hoped that in the proceeding before the Federal Power Commission it might be possible to have conditions imposed which would be useful in safeguarding the disposition of the American power.

The immediate action required is to get an appointment on Monday2 morning, if necessary using my time. It might be helpful if I could have my appointment made to begin at 12:15, which would give an opportunity for St. Lawrence discussion and any other matters I might have to take up. I should then notify Ambassador Wrong.

  1. Presumably Adrian S. Fisher, Legal Adviser to the Department of State.
  2. Apr. 14.