Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file, Admin series

No. 963
Memorandum by the President

Memorandum for Legislative Meeting, Monday, March 30, 1953

  • Subject: St. Lawrence Seaway

The consensus of opinion at the Cabinet meeting on Friday was that the Administration should take a stand in favor of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The principal reasons are:

The Canadian Government intends to move in any event and our interests could badly suffer if we did not take some action to achieve cooperative control.
Unless the United States cooperates, Canada will construct the Seaway on Canadian soil, at a cost substantially in excess of the proposed United States location. This will result in increased toll costs to United States shipping.
The Canadians propose to construct the Seaway with a 27 foot channel, insufficient to accommodate United States shipping. The American proposal, as provided in the Wiley Bill, contemplates the authorization of a channel of greater depth, which from our point of view is most desirable for both our commercial and defense requirements.
The provisions of the Wiley Bill reduce the cost to the United States below any other proposal so far submitted.
This proposition will certainly be, sooner or later, an economic necessity. We should move on it before some emergency situation might require extraordinary expenditures.
The adoption of the final bill depends first on authority given to the State of New York for the construction of a power facility in cooperation with the Province of Ontario. This will probably be provided by a license granted by the Federal Power Commission, a matter now pending.

If there is general concurrence with this attitude, I should like for Senator Taft and Mr. Martin, upon leaving this conference, to announce that the Administration definitely favors the general plan described in the Wiley Bill and will support it.