357. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Canada1

163. For Merchant. Secretary met with Secretaries Wilson, Humphrey and Brucker Oct. 17 to discuss St. Lawrence Seaway situation. Brucker explained Canadians believe we need their consent dredge south Cornwall channel despite our legal opinion to the contrary and that Canadians suggest dredging in north and south channels be carried on simultaneously and cooperatively to avoid impasse.

Consensus of meeting was that it might be possible create de facto situation enabling our side preserve its legal position and any possible damage claim, but at same time enabling work proceed.

At suggestion of other conferees, Secretary said he would examine feasibility of calling meeting with Canadian Ministers next week, including Howe and Pearson, to discuss foregoing. Conference if held might be publicly described as another of regular series of meetings to discuss relations in general. Request your comments on this plan and any alternative recommendation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.42321–SL/10–1856. Confidential. Drafted by Nugent, cleared with G and S/S, and approved and signed for Dulles by Beam.