347. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, June 2, 19551


  • Canadian Protests on Hard Board and US Disposal of Surplus Agricultural Products


  • Ambassador Heeney, Canadian Embassy
  • Mr. Couillard, Counselor, Canadian Embassy
  • Mr. Smith, Commercial Counselor, Canadian Embassy
  • Mr. Hopper, Agricultural Counselor, Canadian Embassy
  • Asst. Secretary Waugh,E
  • Mr. Nichols, IRD
  • Mr. Fuqua, TAD
  • Mr. Miner, BNA

[Here follows discussion on the recent proposal in the United States Senate toward raising the duty on hard board.]

The Canadian Ambassador then turned to the second subject he wished to discuss: U.S. disposal of surplus agricultural products. He presented Mr. Waugh with a detailed note on this subject.2 He emphasized particularly the connection between the US program for disposal of surplus agricultural products and the markets for Canadian wheat. The Canadians hoped that their Note on this subject would be carefully studied and would be answered in the near future.

[Page 856]

Mr. Waugh stressed the extremely serious and the very real difficulties involved in the question of surplus agricultural products. He explained that the problem was being carefully, exhaustively and authoritatively studied. He pointed out that US policy on this question had in the past and would, he believed, in the future give real consideration to the concerns of other nations. He pointed out that if, for example, the US should alter its policy to sell its surplus of agricultural products on a commercial basis, this might well have most seriously adverse effects on the world price of certain commodities, including wheat. The Assistant Secretary referred to the great concern of a good many other nations with regard to their principal, in some cases sole, product, such as sugar, Egyptian cotton and the like. Mr. Waugh said that, speaking frankly, it was one thing to prepare and deliver notes on this subject; it was quite another to find a solution to the problem.

The Canadian Ambassador agreed. Canada had no easy and ready answer to suggest. He wondered whether publication of the Canadian Note he had just given Mr. Waugh on the U.S. disposal of surplus agricultural products would be helpful or otherwise at this juncture. Mr. Waugh felt that publication would not be helpful but assured the Ambassador that the Canadian Note would of course be carefully studied. The Assistant Secretary expressed the view that this subject should be high on the list of agenda items in the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs. Discussion then ensued on the difficulty of fixing a time for the meeting of this committee in view of the numerous commitments of the U.S. and Canadian principals concerned. Mr. Waugh hoped that he would be able to secure the Secretary’s views on this subject very shortly. Ambassador Heeney remarked that he had asked his Ministry for its thinking on the dates the committee might meet.3 It was agreed that the Ambassador and Mr. Waugh would keep in close touch on the subject.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.424/6–255. Confidential. Drafted by Robert G. Miner.
  2. In this note, June 2, the Canadian Government complained that U.S. disposal of agricultural products, especially wheat, under the provisions of Section 402 of the Mutual Security Act and the provisions of Public Law 480, had led to the reduction of commercial sales for Canada. Moreover, in a number of cases, the U.S. Government failed to consult Canada. (Ibid., 411.4241/6–255)

    U.S. wheat disposal policy was a major issue in U.S.-Canadian relations during 1955–1957. Documents on this subject are ibid., 411.424 and 411.4241.

  3. The U.S.-Canadian Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs met on September 26; see infra.