Truman Library, Charles S. Murphy files

No. 947
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador to Canada (Woodward)

  • Subject: St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project


  • The President
  • Ambassador Stanley Woodward

In a conversation with the President today on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, I reported that the IJC was meeting today and tomorrow in Washington holding final hearings with the objective of bringing out a release of an Order of Approval on the joint application. I said that we were all hopeful of the success of the meeting.

I also said that I had been impressed by the fact that all three U.S. Commissioners and all three Canadian Commissioners, as well as others in Washington, seemed to feel that in the distribution of cost allocation, too much of the burden was now placed on the cost of the construction for power. It was the consensus of opinion that in order to make available cheap electricity in the valley of the St. Lawrence, more of the burden of the overall costs of construction should be placed on the seaway and less on the hydro-electric development.

I asked the President whether I might approach Prime Minister St. Laurent in his name and sound him out on the subject.

The President instructed me to do so, adding that he wanted a common sense and fair arrangement and if this meant reconsideration of the allocation of costs, it should be done, in his opinion. He said that he had no disposition to delay construction of the project but that we should work things out to the best advantage of all concerned.