330. Memorandum of Conversation1



New York, September-October 1965


  • US-Canadian Auto Parts Agreement


  • US
    • The Secretary
    • Mr. Robert L. Barry
  • Canada
    • Secretary of State for External Affairs, Paul Martin
    • Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, M. Cadieux
    • Assistant Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, HBO Robinson
[Page 698]

Mr. Martin asked if the Secretary had been briefed on the auto parts agreement now before the Congress. He pointed out that this issue was significant in the coming Canadian elections and that his party was concerned about it. It has gone through the House without problems but in the Senate it has been amended to provide for a Congressional review in 1968. While Martin said that he has been told that this problem will be ironed out in the Senate-House Conference, it would be a great disappointment if it were not. The Canadians feel that the agreement as negotiated provides adequately for automatic review, since the President would have to report on its implementation to the Congress after 1968. In any case it would be impossible to judge how the agreement is working by the beginning of 1968 and thus Congressional review could serve no useful purpose.

Martin pointed out that, if the Senate provision for review stands, there will be considerable political uproar in Canada. It would be claimed that the United States had repudiated the agreement and the Liberal Party would have to pay a price for this politically.

Mr. Martin said that he hoped that Secretary Rusk and the administration would throw their weight behind the agreement as reported out by the House. He has already been maintaining in his political statements that this is an agreement which serves both American and Canadian interests, and that, had relations between Canada and the US not been very good, it could not have been negotiated. Martin said the Liberals have been trying to avoid anti-American attacks by the Conservatives in the campaign and this would be most difficult to achieve if the Senate amendment was passed.

Secretary Rusk said that he would look into the matter and get a report by the following day. The Administration also hopes that the agreement will not be altered by Congress, he said. But he cautioned that under the United States constitutional system if Congress turned down an administration proposal, there is no recourse.

At the close of the meeting the Secretary asked Martin what line should be taken with the Press. If Martin desired, the Secretary said, he could report that he had made the strongest representations on the auto parts agreement.2

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 347, CF 2547. Confidential. Drafted by Barry and approved in S on October 12. The memorandum is Part VI of VII; other memoranda of conversation are ibid. The meeting was held in the Waldorf Towers.
  2. The Automotive Products Trade Act of 1965, P.L. 89-283, offered adjustment assistance to individuals and firms affected by the abolition of tariffs on cars and car parts between Canada and the United States. For text of the law, signed by President Johnson on October 21, see 79 Stat. 1016.