353. Telegram From the Embassy in Canada to the Department of State1

43. While seeing Pearson July 23 on another matter, I asked him if he was prepared yet to discuss my letter of July 202 and enclosure of draft notes on 27 foot north channel. He replied in negative saying inter-departmental committee has it under consideration. He added that he thought they could agree in all probability to all points except sentence providing for agreement before any future construction duplicatory works. He said firmly this was a fundamental point Canadian Government could not concede. He added that of course they would never proceed in future without genuine consultation and they would give us all assurances that such works would not be contemplated until economically justified.

I pointed out that they were today seeking our agreement on north channel dredging to 27 foot depth which was essential predecessor action to any later works; hence I said I was unable to understand why if we agreed to dredging now, Canadian Government was unwilling to reinstate for future our present right to be a party to decision. I reiterated problems agreement to Canadian request created for us which explained firmness our position. Pearson concluded conversation with promise to consider all and talk to me when deliberations his inter-departmental committee were completed. I must confess I have little hope Canadians under any circumstances will accept verb “agree”. They might, however, come up with some alternative language which would be worthy of our consideration.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.4232/7–2456. Confidential.
  2. Merchant’s letter to Pearson, July 20, was a covering letter for the suggested texts of an exchange of notes concerning the channels north and south of Cornwall Island. (Despatch 68 from Ottawa, July 23; ibid., 611.42321–SL/7–2356)