271. Editorial Note

In a March 6, 1972, briefing paper for Henry Kissinger’s March 7 meeting with Treasury Secretary Connally, the NSC Staff noted that the stalled Canadian trade negotiations were not a problem unless the United States undertook unilateral actions to redress the adverse trade balance. The paper suggested that Kissinger tell Connally that mutual [Page 691] retaliatory actions during the President’s April 13-15 visit to Canada would not be helpful. The paper recommended that Kissinger ask Connally to develop a negotiating scenario for after the Canadian elections that spring. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 290, Treasury, Volume III) Kissinger and Connally met for lunch at the Treasury Department on March 7. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-1976, Record of Schedule) No record of their meeting has been found.

A March 28 briefing memorandum prepared for Kissinger’s March 29 luncheon meeting with Connally informed Kissinger that the Canadian Government had been taking a hard, critical line on the U.S. stand in the trade negotiations and that Prime Minister Trudeau had criticized the U.S. position on changes in the 1965 automobile pact. Secretary Connally reportedly was working on recommendations for the President’s April 13-15 trip. The paper noted the “passion” Connally evoked in Canada and questioned whether he should accompany the President. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Material, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 290, Treasury, Volume III) Connally was not present on the President’s flights to and from Canada. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)

The March 28 briefing memorandum reminded Kissinger that Prime Minister Trudeau hoped President Nixon would announce a “Declaration of Canadian economic independence” during the visit but noted that, in view of the President’s remarks on the state of the trade negotiations during a March 24 press conference (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, page 496), this was unlikely. Nevertheless, in President Nixon’s April 14 address to a Joint Meeting of the Canadian Parliament, the President said: “Canada is the largest trading partner of the United States. … Our economies have become highly interdependent. But the fact of our mutual interdependence and our mutual desire for independence need not be inconsistent traits. No self-respecting nation can or should accept the proposition that it should always be economically dependent upon any other nation. And so, let us recognize once and for all that the only basis for a sound and healthy relationship between our two proud peoples is to find a pattern of economic interaction which is beneficial to both our countries—and which respects Canada’s right to chart its own economic course.” (Ibid., page 538)