342. Memorandum of a Conversation, Ottawa, March 17, 19551



  • Canada
    • The Honorable Lester B. Pearson, Secretary of State for External Affairs
    • His Excellency Arnold D. P. Heeney, Ambassador to United States
    • Mr. Jules Léger, Under Secretary for External Affairs
  • United States
    • The Honorable John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State
    • The Honorable R. Douglas Stuart, Ambassador to Canada
    • Mr. Douglas MacArthur, II, Counselor, Department of State


The Yalta Papers
Mr. Pearson’s Recent Speech in Toronto on March 14th
The Meeting with the Canadian Parliamentary Group
[Page 848]

The Secretary paid a brief call of 20 minutes today on Mr. Pearson prior to meeting with the Canadian Parliamentary group. The discussion was very general and covered the following points:

1. The Yalta Papers

[Here follow Pearson’s remarks that Winston Churchill was not happy with the United States publication of the Yalta Papers.]

2. Mr. Pearson’s Recent Speech in Toronto on March 14

Mr. Pearson then made reference to his recent speech on March 142 and said he had been bitterly attacked by certain elements in Canada although others had approved the stance he had taken. The violence of the attack against him had been very great. There had been editorials suggesting that since the U.S. dictated Canadian foreign policy he, Mr. Pearson, should resign and let Mr. Dulles conduct Canada’s External Affairs. He had received a letter from a staunch supporter in his constituency saying that he would never vote for him again. Despite these criticisms, Mr. Pearson felt that it had been important and essential to say the things that he had said, and he did not regret his speech. The Secretary said the speech had produced a very favorable reaction in the U.S. and that he fully agreed with Mr. Pearson that the destinies of Canada and United States were inextricably linked together and what happened with respect to one country inevitably affected the other. He had no doubt that Canada and United States would continue to stand staunchly together.

3. The Meeting with the Canadian Parliamentary Group

The Secretary asked Mr. Pearson if he had any guidance to give him regarding his forthcoming meeting with the Canadian Parliamentary group. Mr. Pearson said that there would probably be a great deal of interest and a lot of questions with respect to the Formosa Straits; also the question of trade between Canada and the United States, which he would like to discuss at a subsequent meeting, would come up and was one which all Canadians viewed with a great deal of importance. There might also be some questions with respect to the European situation. Mr. Pearson said that anything the Secretary could do to set forth clearly the position of the United States and the reasons for its policy with respect to these matters would be very helpful. He [Page 849] felt that the Secretary could speak with a very considerable degree of frankness since the meeting was off-the-record. He felt certain that none of the Parliamentary group would attribute anything to the Secretary although they might give out the general points which had been covered by his presentation and subsequent questions.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 440. Secret. Drafted by MacArthur on March 21. Dulles was in Ottawa for an official visit, March 17–19. In addition to this and the following two memoranda of conversation, six others record the conversations Dulles had with Canadian officials regarding Far Eastern issues. (Ibid.)
  2. Pearson addressed the Canadian Club of Toronto on March 14 on the subject of relations with the United States. He highlighted the fact that the defense of Canada and the United States was inextricably bound together. In commenting on the speech, some Canadian journalists expressed the fear of being dragged into a war because of U.S. involvement in the Taiwan Straits crisis. A summary of Pearson’s speech and Embassy comments are in despatch 664 from Ottawa, March 18. (Ibid., Central Files, 742.00 (W)/3–1855)