611.42321/12–3152: Telegram

No. 959
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Canada1


133. For Bliss only. Fol is portion of Pres’s Budget Message to be delivered Jan 92 relating to St. Lawrence and is supplied for your info only. We will transmit copy to Can Emb informally on Jan 2 as a courtesy to Can Govt to prevent it being startled by press stories:

“The situation regarding the St. Lawrence Project is somewhat different now from what it has been. When the last Congress did not approve the 1941 Can–US Agreement calling for joint construction of both the Seaway and power phases of the project, Canada and the United States proceeded with alternate arrangements, under which the main river control works necessary for power development would be built by appropriate entities in the two countries, and Can would build the necessary additional works to provide a deep waterway between Montreal and Lake Erie on the Canadian side of the International Boundary.

[Page 2065]

“The alternate arrangements are well along. The IJC has approved the plans for the main dams and control structures in the International Rapids Section of the St. Lawrence River. The Province of Ontario is ready to construct the Canadian share of these works. Applications are pending before the FPC for a license to build the US share. The Govt of Can is prepared to construct the waterway. Under these circumstances, the Canadian Government has informed us that they consider it no longer practicable to revert to the 1941 Agreement.

“I believe, however, that there is still an opportunity for the US to join, as we should have long ago, in building the St. Lawrence Seaway. If the new Congress proposes practical arrangements for sharing the cost and the construction of the Seaway, I believe the Canadians will, even at this late date, admit us to partnership in the Seaway. I hope very strongly that this will be done, for it is clearly in the best interest of both countries that this important waterway along our common boundary should be built and controlled by both countries together.”

Woodward under instructions from Pres will see PM first available date probably Jan 7 to express both Administration’s desire to see project achieved and hope door will remain open for possible US participation in Seaway.

We understand Senator Wiley will make public statement on Jan 1 re his proposed bill for US Authority to cooperate with Can Authority in Seaway construction. His bill may be introduced opening days new Congress.3

  1. Drafted by L. D. Brown and cleared by A. F. Peterson.
  2. The text of the “Annual Budget Message to the Congress: Fiscal Year 1954,” transmitted to Congress on Jan. 9, 1953, and containing this quoted portion of the message, is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1952–1953, p. 1128.
  3. Wiley introduced his bill (S. 589) on Jan. 23, 1953. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearings on this bill were held in April and May and it was approved on June 3. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 16 reported a compromise bill (S. 2150), but there was no floor action on the bill. The House Public Works Committee held hearings from June 11 to June 18, 1953, on legislation (H. J. Res. 104) similar to S. 589 and S. 2150 but took no subsequent action. For an account of Congressional action during the 1953 session on this and related legislation, see the Congressional Quarterly Almanac, vol. IX, 1953, pp. 411–413.