No. 953
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Secretary of State


Memorandum of Conversation with the President

I telephoned the President and inquired whether he had received the letter from the Prime Minister of Canada.1 He said that he had not received it and did not know that any had been sent.

[Page 2046]

I then described the purpose and effect of this letter and read him the document. I said that the purpose of this letter was to cancel the agreement of 1941 in view of the action of the International Joint Commission, thus leaving the Canadians free to proceed with its own development and that thereafter, if any idea of a return to international action was contemplated, a new agreement would have to be negotiated. I reminded the President of his conversations of last April.

The President said he understood the Canadian point of view and thought that they were justified in cancelling the agreement. He also understood why they had chosen November 4 and thought that they had a good point in doing it on that day. He asked whether I had any recommendation.

I informed him that Mr. Murphy and Ambassador Woodward believed that Mr. St. Laurent should be asked to defer taking the formal action and that undoubtedly this would also be the view of Secretary Chapman. I then read to the President the attached draft letter,2 which I said was our recommendation.

The President said that if we felt strongly that we must ask for this deferral he would agree to do it entirely upon my recommendation. However, he felt strongly that the Canadians had acted with great patience, that they were entitled to take this action, and that he wished to do whatever was necessary to enable them to proceed during his term as President. He, therefore, asked me whether I pressed this recommendation upon him.

I said that I believed that ultimately the action which the Canadians proposed to take on November 4 would be taken. The only question was whether it should be taken more deliberately and whether that would have a better result upon the subsequent decisions of the two Governments.

The President said that he felt strongly that it wasn’t necessary or desirable for the subsequent effects; that he thought the matter should not be allowed to drag on; and that, therefore, he would decide that we should accept the Canadian note; and that he would immediately upon his return take up the matter with the various interested agencies of the United States, explaining to them that this was his decision, and outlining to them the action which he wished them to take.

I told the President that his wishes would be followed in this regard.

  1. Document 951
  2. Not attached to the source text.