322. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Hon. Paul Martin, Secretary of State for External Affairs of Canada
  • Secretary Rusk
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Mr. Martin was very pleased indeed that I had made an effort to visit with him at Windsor, which is his home town.

We opened up with South Vietnam. I told him about the events of the last two days out there. He in turn told me that Seaborn (who did not wish to be identified to Americans as the source) felt gloomy about the prospect and in discussing details it was apparent that Seaborn was concentrating on the political disarray in Saigon itself at the top levels of government and had not really been focusing on what was happening in the provinces or the military action against the Viet Cong. We did not agree on a further date for a possible Seaborn visit to Hanoi. I told Paul Martin that I would see to it that Seaborn’s negative interpretation would not be passed to American sources in a way that would embarrass his relations with Americans in Saigon. Mr. Martin spoke especially highly of the intimate relations between Seaborn and Alexis Johnson. Mr. Martin told me that he had pressed Ikeda while on his recent trip to Japan2 to take a more active part in Asian affairs. Specifically, Martin said that Canada would drop out of the ICC and urged Ikeda that Japan should take on that responsibility. Apparently, Ikeda did not volunteer. Martin commented that it was alleged that there were some constitutional objections to Japan’s undertaking such a role but that he, Martin, was convinced that this would not apply to such activities as the ICC or to the United Nations.

On Cyprus, Martin had little new to offer except that Diefenbaker was making life very difficult for the government. Martin indicated that Canada was prepared to have its troops remain for another period of service and asked me whether I thought that the UN could raise the necessary funds to take care of the needs of the other contingents. (He stated that Canada would bear the cost of the Canadian component.) I told him that I thought that the UN would be able to raise such funds.

Martin then told me about the proposed meeting in Ottawa of the countries (other than the great powers) which had contributed forces to UN peacekeeping activities. He said the Russians had strongly opposed this meeting and had been working against it in other capitals on the ground that it was a NATO imperialist plot. Martin said he had told the Russian Ambassador that this was a complete mistake and that the meeting would simply exchange views among those who had indicated their readiness to make troops available for the UN and that the representation would be across a broad political spectrum. Martin said he still agreed that the great powers ought not to be excluded in theory from contributing such forces to the UN but he and I both agreed that it was undoubtedly better for the great powers not to be included in this particular meeting.

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We discussed Article 19 and I emphasized the importance in not taking the United States for granted on this issue and suggested if there is to be any change in the Soviet position, it would probably require complete solidarity among the rest of the membership—as in the case of the Troika proposal. Martin seemed to have some vague notion that the Soviets might find some way to compromise but he offered no evidence of a Soviet intention to do so.

We talked briefly about the automotive parts problem and I emphasized that our lawyers were almost certain to reach a decision against Canada under our legislation and that it was of the utmost importance to talk the matter over promptly at a ministerial level to see whether some answer could not be found. He did not make a flat commitment on such talks but it was clear that he was concerned about the chain reaction which might get started if we invoked our own legislative remedies. He made the point that both sides were prospering in our mutual trade and that we should not let something like this interfere with it. I told him that it was very hard to convince people, whose interests were adversely affected by practices for which we had a legal remedy, to take their comfort from the general prosperity of Canadian-American trade. (This should be followed up to press for the ministerial talks.) The Prime Minister will mention this to President Johnson in the northwest this week.3

I pressed Mr. Martin on trade with Cuba but he retreated behind the wheat deal with the Soviet Union and referred to certain steps of cooperation, such as reducing airplane flights, and I got no impression that he was considering additional specific steps. I told him that I thought that a recent resolution of hemisphere Foreign Ministers had the indirect effect of deferring indefinitely Canadian membership in the OAS because it would be unlikely that the OAS would admit a new member not prepared to abide by those resolutions.4 He told me how he himself had pressed hard for Canadian interest in OAS membership and closer relations with Latin America but concluded by saying that he thought it probable that the matter was now deferred.

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I told him about our attitude on Malaysia and emphasized that our problem was not the policy problem as to whether at some stage the United States might not become involved but rather the practical problem that we could not become involved unless those who had direct commitments evidenced a substantial commitment of their own to provide the forces to deal with Indonesian aggression against Malaysia. I told him that the time was finished when the United States could act as the residual of responsibility in such matters if others approached it on the basis of meeting responsibility. He indicated that Canada had sent a survey team to Malaysia to inquire into what assistance Canada might give but clearly indicated that this would not take the form of military forces. They may assist Malaysia with aircraft and other equipment if the Malaysian mission now in Washington indicates an interest in such help on its projected visit to Canada.

As we left the meeting, the press was waiting and I complimented Mr. Martin personally for his role in the Columbia River Treaty and expressed our appreciation for Canada’s important contribution to the Cyprus problem.5

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL CAN-US. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Rusk.
  2. September 4-5.
  3. Johnson and Pearson were participating in ceremonies inaugurating the Columbia River Treaty, which was signed at Washington January 17, 1961, and entered into force September 16, 1964. (15 UST 1555) For texts of their remarks, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964, Book II, pp. 1071-1077. According to an undated memorandum attached to the briefing materials, no memoranda of conversation of the Johnson-Pearson meetings were prepared. Briefing papers are in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2432. Pearson briefly discussed the meeting in Mike: Memoirs of the Right Honorable Lester B. Pearson, Vol. 3, p. 125.
  4. For text of the final act of the July 26 meeting of Foreign Ministers, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 328-334.
  5. For Rusk’s comments on his meeting with Martin at a press conference the same day, see Department of State Bulletin, October 5, 1964, p. 472.