Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of
State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Secretary of State
- Subject: Material on Canada
To take full advantage of your visit to Canada November 21–23 to bring Canadian attitudes, policies and actions into conformity or harmony with those of the United States, and to dispel or mollify Canadian apprehensions regarding United States action on matters of common interest.
It is recommended that, to the extent that the nature of your visit permits, you take every opportunity that presents itself to indicate to Canadian Cabinet Ministers our conviction that there is no cause for complacency. It could be observed that fundamentally there is no lessened danger of aggression by the Soviets than existed in the tense days of the Berlin blockade and the onset of the aggression in Korea. (Your speech2 has been designed for the same purpose.)
You could add that every NATO partner has got to see how it can best contribute to collective security, especially at this time when the organization is threatened by the strains experienced by Britain and France. The present moment is an opportunity for Canada to provide an inspiring example in NATO, thus contributing to a confident attitude at the next meeting.
Based on past experience that direct U. S. approaches on these matters can do more harm than good, it is recommended that you not raise the Canada–NATO issue frontally but, by private conversations with Cabinet Ministers, build up a favorable climate for a NATO approach.
Bilateral Defense Matters
If opportunity presents itself, you could express hope that the execution of our joint responsibility to defend the North American continent can be carried forward without bickering and in an atmosphere of mutual confidence. You could note that there seems to [Page 2052] be evidence of defects on both sides when recent problems are examined—unilateral planning on one side, and hypersensitivity regarding political repercussions on the other; but that we cannot allow the joint defense job to become bogged down by such considerations. You could add that the United States has no desire to put one more soldier on Canadian soil than is necessary to discharge the job at hand, taking into account the portion of the total defense task which Canada is presently in position to handle. You could assure them as to Canadian sovereignty—we completely respect it.
St. Lawrence Project
If the Seaway and Power Project is raised by the Canadians, you might express gratification that the two countries seem on their way, finally, toward making use of a great natural resource. The understanding and cooperative attitude of the President could be noted, and also—on the point of the authority of the FPC to name the power entity—Mr. Truman’s remark to you on the telephone that “God, Himself, couldn’t move the FPC.” It would be well to mention that by the terms of the Federal Power Act, a licensee of the FPC is not granted immunity from litigation by opponents and we would be unwise not to expect litigation, perhaps of long duration.
Hoof and Mouth Embargo
Only if this subject is raised by the Canadians should you express confidence that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will not maintain the embargo any longer than necessary; that you believe the Canadian livestock industry concurs in the need to control hoof and mouth disease and that the embargo is not a protectionist device. You might express optimism, in a nebulous way, about resumption of our meat imports from Canada but not be specific in this matter, and certainly not with Minister of Agriculture Gardiner, whose speeches have done more harm than good.
General. A few salient points regarding present Canadian attitudes are provided at Tab A. It is clear that Canadians are becoming increasingly complacent, introspective and engrossed with internal politics. To the extent that Canadian interests on the international scene are or could be endangered, there is a concomitant endangering United States interests.
Bilateral Joint Defense Matters. A résumé of difficulties encountered with the Canadians in getting approval of either U.S. or US–Canadian joint defense projects in Canada is given at Tab B, a memorandum to Deputy Undersecretary Matthews.3 The Permanent [Page 2053] Joint Board on Defense, Canada and the U.S. is encountering heavy going and while the fault is not all the Canadians’, they certainly share the blame.
St. Lawrence Project. You will recall the exchange of letters between Prime Minister St. Laurent and President Truman in which the Canadians outlined reasons why they considered the 1941 Seaway Agreement as superseded. The most recent developments and the present position of the project is outlined at Tab C.4 The Canadian Government fears that the St. Lawrence will be an important issue in the next election unless steady progress is shown in bringing it to fruition. The Government has pressed the Department to have the entity named on the U.S. side to construct the power works, presumably the New York State Power Authority, and seems unable to understand that this is beyond the power of the Administration since the U.S. entity will be that authorized by permit of the Federal Power Commission or—theoretically—authorized by Congressional action. It is probable that the Canadians do not appreciate the extent to which any non-federal entity undertaking construction would be exposed to litigation on the part of interests opposed to the project.
Hoof and Mouth Embargo. The greatest caution is required regarding the fact that the Department of Agriculture is taking positive steps to lift the embargo imposed last February 25 when hoof and mouth disease was confirmed. Premature leakage regarding the steps contemplated by the Department of Agriculture could upset these plans. The embargo stopped meat and livestock exports to the U.S. worth $100–135 million per annum. By internal adjustments and price support, plus a triangular deal involving the U.K. and New Zealand, it has been possible to avoid serious difficulty but reopening the U.S. border would be welcomed economically. The matter is of political significance and especially so to Minister of Agriculture Gardiner, who has been personally criticised for his part in coping with the initial outbreak of the disease in Canada.[Page 2054]
- Drafted by Avery Peterson.↩
- Reference is to remarks made before the Canadian Club at Ottawa on Nov. 21. For the text, see Department of State Bulletin, Dec. 1, 1952, p. 847.↩
- See the memorandum by Perkins dated Nov. 14, supra .↩
- Reference is to a memorandum by Perkins to the Secretary of State, Nov. 1, not printed.↩
- Peterson was also the Department of State member of the U.S. Section, Permanent Joint Board on Defense, United States–Canada.↩
- Reference is to the Ninth Session of the North Atlantic Council at Lisbon, Feb. 20–25, 1952; for documentation, see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 107 ff.↩
- NATO Military Committee document, not found in Department of State or NATO Sub-Registry files.↩