101. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)1

From the President (re Canadian matter)

Pres: I just had a talk with Trudeau as you suggested.2 The way it adds up is this: First of all, just to repeat his conversation, he said that no Canadian Government could take the position that they did not own the Arctic; on the other hand, they avoided saying they did own the Arctic. In the meantime, we had these discussions—if we were to send a delegation, that would give him an opportunity to delay legislation until we had an opportunity to discuss the matter with our people. I told him of conversation you had with Cadieux;3 we were prepared to send a delegation headed by Dave Packard. He said they would be glad to receive him and asked that we inform his Ambassador here as to when it would go and I agreed. It would be a high-level team and would be very soon.

J: He will hold up?

Pres: He will hold up until he hears and would be glad to have the matter discussed and receive them, and will delay any decision on his part. The other point he said, not only do we have to consider US/Canada attitudes but multilateral, etc.—international law, etc., and of course I agreed.

J: He seemed receptive to Packard?

Pres: Because of Defense? The way I told him—well, let me say, I have no strong feeling; it’s just that the memo that came in mentioned Packard; he has a broad base. When I say he was receptive—as a matter of fact, he did not say anything about not wanting Packard but he did say he would be glad to talk to Johnson. My view is that it could be yourself. Maybe there was a little kernel.

J: I just wondered, because they are sensitive on the military.

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Pres: Another way we could turn it around—to send somebody with a Defense man, but head it with non-Defense man. Maybe if you go up. Shall we leave it this way—that you’ll follow through.

J: Thanks very much, Mr. President; I’ll follow through.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of U. Alexis Johnson, Lot 96D695, Telecons, March–April 1970. Confidential. A note on the transcript reads: “aprx. 5:10 p.m.” According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon and Johnson spoke from 4:57 to 5:01 p.m. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files)
  2. See Document 100.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–1, Documents on Global Issues, 1969–1972, Document 367.
  4. Johnson telephoned Kissinger at an unspecified time after his conversation with the President. Johnson inquired about the potential selection of Packard as U.S. lead spokesman. Kissinger agreed with his concerns about a Department of Defense team leader and asked about Johnson’s availability. When Johnson said he would accept the job, Kissinger told him to “assume that you will be the designated person.” (National Archives, RG 59, Records of U. Alexis Johnson, Lot 96D695, Telecons, March–April 1970) Johnson called Packard at 6:05 p.m. to report on his talk with the President and to ascertain Packard’s interest in the position. Packard stated he had no desire to lead the U.S. team. (Ibid.)