356. Memorandum of a Conversation, Washington, September 13, 1956, 9:30 a.m.1


  • St. Lawrence Seaway–Cornwall Channels


  • Mr. Brucker, Secretary of the Army
  • Mr. George Marler, Canadian Minister of Transport
  • Mr. Heeney, Ambassador of Canada
  • Mr. Merchant, US Ambassador to Canada

At Mr. Brucker’s invitation I participated in an off-the-record meeting with Mr. Marler who was attended by Ambassador Heeney. The meeting started at 9:30, prior to which I had about half an hour with Mr. Brucker who brought me up to date on developments relating to the Seaway. The meeting continued without interruption through lunch and until 2 O’clock when Mr. Marler left for the airport.

It was stipulated that there would be no publicity concerning the meeting, that it would be totally off the record and no notes taken. Mr. Brucker explained with, I felt, great impact the legal position on which we rested our conviction that Canadian permission was not required for our proceeding with dredging in the south channel. Mr. Marler also agreed to arrange on his return to Ottawa for agreement to proceed on certain peripheral operations such as the high bridge and dredging for its footings. There was a prolonged and frank discussion of the problem of the 27-foot Cornwall Channel which it was agreed had legal overtones but was essentially a political problem for which some solution must be found. Mr. Brucker called attention to the limited time available for reaching an agreement in this matter if we were to avoid losing part or all of the 1957 dredging season which begins about the first of April.

Mr. Marler will consider the complex of problems further and discuss them with his colleagues. He is hopeful that by the end of the first week of October he will be prepared to have another talk with Mr. Brucker which it was agreed would be similarly off the record, limited and private.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.42321–SL/9–1356. Confidential. Drafted by Merchant.