325. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations1

1440. Law of the Sea. Department anxious Canadian Government continue be in no doubt as to serious and fundamental opposition by USG to projected plans of GOC to implement recent extension exclusive fishing limits by employment straight baseline system so as to close in as “internal waters” and thus cut off from High Seas waters of Hudson Bay and Strait, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Bay of Fundy, Dixon Entrance and Hecate Strait. It being important that our position be reiterated to Foreign Minister Paul Martin before December 13 (earliest Secretary could raise subject in Paris)2 or his return Ottawa, you are requested see Martin soonest and make following points to him:

We have consistently stressed that Canadian proposals create vital security problem for us and Free World generally; we are convinced that less friendly nations (e.g. USSR, Indonesia, etc.) could use Canadian precedent to close off vast areas contiguous waters, very seriously hampering security measures of Western allies. While we thus cannot accept Canadian proposals we have tried through many months of discussion to take forthcoming attitude, seeking arrangements that would accommodate Canadian needs without creating precedent jeopardizing [Page 694] vital security interests at stake. Question fisheries zone extension first raised Kennedy-Pearson meeting May 19633 but without reference enclosure plan. Pearson announced general intentions Parliament June and detailed plan presented in August to USG negotiators led by Alexis Johnson. During three subsequent meetings USG sought such formula through our offers for expert study fishery and security aspects of Canadian problems, acquiescence in nine mile extension fishing limits and Hudson Bay claim, removal of subject from US-Canadian Permanent Joint Board on Defense agenda at Martin’s request and offer non-contentious ICJ suit all rejected by GOC. Most recent informal suggestion made by Assistant Secretary Tyler October in Ottawa rejected November 30.4

USG regrets that problem which it sees as entirely of GOC making should be cause of friction between two friendly neighbors with vast area of identity of objectives and interests. As we have repeatedly emphasized, we cannot either with due regard for our own world-wide security interests or the interests of the Western Alliance acquiesce in GOC move to cut off St. Lawrence Gulf and other bodies of water from High Seas. We will of course make known our views to other interested Governments, a step we have refrained from until now in hopes arrange some accommodation with GOC. We remain hopeful that GOC will be able to devise some solution for their problem which will be consonant with Free World interests.

FYI: France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal have all resisted Canadian proposals. USG does not wish to give impression of “ganging up” on GOC. However it obvious GOC has given distorted picture its negotiations with other countries—especially France. Because of this and our lack of success bilaterally with Canadians we feel time has come to consult with other interested governments. End FYI.5

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 33-4 CAN. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Glazer; cleared in BNA, IO, and L; and approved by Freshman. Repeated to Ottawa.
  2. The NAC Ministerial meeting was scheduled for December 15-17.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIII, Document 449.
  4. See Document 321. Canadian rejection of Tyler’s informal approach was reported in telegram 635 from Ottawa, December 2. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 33-4 CAN)
  5. In telegram 763 from Ottawa, December 9, Butterworth reported that the departure of the Canadian Delegation to the Paris meeting would be held up by internal political considerations and that he had sought a meeting with Martin who had requested he talk instead with Cadieux. He had carried out the démarche outlined by the Department and his presentation had been rejected. “Nevertheless, it seems to me important that Secretary should have a solemn talk with Martin.” (Ibid.)