420. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State0

Secto 113. Eyes only for the President and Acting Secretary. Ottawa for Ambassador only. Believe it would be important for President to have frank talk with Prime Minister during Canadian visit about neutralist tendencies Canadian policy especially as presented by Minister External Affairs Green. Following examples are recent items:

At NATO meeting Green indicated Canada felt itself positioned between two nuclear giants and felt special interest in reducing tensions between. He thus seemed to join the long parade of those who have wished to provide a bridge, meaning continuous concessions on our part to an insatiable power determined to pursue its world revolution by every available means.
Recent Washington Post story came from conversations Green had on airplane with reporters during flight Oslo to Geneva.1 I had explained to him Cuban rebuff of all earlier efforts to find negotiated settlement, that offer of mediation distorted problem into bilateral US-Cuban affair and that we were consulting members OAS about next steps and would be in touch with Canada. When I discussed Washington Post story with him in Geneva, he replied lamely that what he intended was to say that if he were asked to mediate he would be glad to do so.
US, UK and France were startled to have Green decline to join us here in Geneva in consultation about conference problems on ground that he did not think it appropriate to attend “Western caucus” since Canada is a member of the ICC. Last evening I challenged him on this concept, had him confirm that Poles are hand in glove with Communists and asked him whether that meant the ICC now contained one Communist and two neutrals. His reply attached far more importance to good relations with India than with Western world on such issues. For example, when Indian Chairman ICC Hanoi refused to go into question Soviet airlift going through Hanoi, Green thought Indian point was sound, that ICC Hanoi could not know where such flights were going in the absence of an ICC Laos. Further, Canadian members of ICC have given us minimum information about such matters.

Green’s attitude this conference one of relative indifference to far-reaching stakes which free world has in Laotian situation and in general is more like that of neutrals than Western countries.

I would not suggest that President personify discussion by involving Green by name but rather press Prime Minister on general attitude Canada on questions directly affecting free world. Green is obviously bemused by great peace-making role which Canada (obviously usefully) plays in such situations as Suez, Congo and other affairs on which they have been asked to participate. Be it said, Green’s point of view seems to be supported by considerable amount of Canadian public opinion. Suggest Merchant brief President this situation prior conversation Prime Minister.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/5–1461. Secret. Repeated to Ottawa. According to another copy, this telegram was drafted by Rusk who was in Geneva to attend the conference on Laos. (Ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 193, Chron)
  2. Washington Post, May 12, 1961.