109. Minutes of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meeting1


  • The Secretary of State—Henry A. Kissinger
  • Mr. Sisco
  • Mr. Casey
  • Mr. Brown
  • Mr. Seymour Weiss
  • Mr. Lord
  • Mr. Boeker
  • Mr. McCloskey
  • Mr. Springsteen
  • Mr. Hyland
  • Mr. Vest
  • Mr. Maw
  • Mr. Katz
  • Mr. Rufus Smith
  • Mr. Hartman
  • Mr. Donaldson


Secretary Kissinger: Who would like to lead off on Canada?

Mr. Hartman: I guess I should. It is not quite in Europe yet.

Rufus Smith is here with me—Jules, and a lot of other people who are more expert than I.

I suppose we really ought to have a couch here, or something, because this is more a psychological problem, I think, than almost any other set of relationships we have got around the world.

The basic problem that we have, always have had, is the proximity of Canada to the United States, and the differing strength, the economic power that we have, that has such an effect on them.

I think you have had an earlier discussion on the general trends in U.S. and Canadian relations, and I won’t go too much over that ground. I would only point out again the importance of the relationship, mainly in the economic area, as far as the United States is concerned. It is our [Page 395] most important trading partner. We have got tremendous investments there.

But on the strategic side as well, there is the place that it has in our defense relationships—and the general kind of goal that the Canadians see for themselves in the world, and the helpful role that they have played in such things as UNEF forces and UN activities generally.

It is a complex relationship in which very often we do things in this country which we think are only related to our own domestic policies, but they have an immediate effect on Canada. We have got so much contact back and forth across the border, with cultural penetration, and all those things which to a people who are struggling for some kind of a national identity makes it very difficult for them. And we have seen various outcroppings over the years of their efforts to sort of resist this, what they would consider to be a kind of Americanization of their society. These actions have ranged all the way from efforts to control television time to some of the efforts they have made to prevent American publications from having the kind of dominance that they have on the Canadian market.

The paper that we have come up with now, which was intended to move a little bit more towards a sort of tactical way to deal with Canadian problems, doesn’t really add very much new. It describes the trends in relationships. There is a natural trend moving towards greater integration of the two societies. You could either try to speed that along, and move towards a relationship in which Canada really becomes more and more a part of an American complex, and let it proceed naturally, and try and deal with the problems that naturally arise, because of the differences in our society, or you can try to sort of stop the trend. I don’t quite see myself how you can do any of these things. You can have them in your mind as a conceptual problem.

Secretary Kissinger: I have the impression from reading the paper that it follows my old maxim about State Department papers—that if you pick Option 2, you are never wrong. (Laughter)

Mr. Hartman: I don’t know whether it is Option 2 or 3.

Secretary Kissinger: And if Option 2 is to do nothing—if the do-nothing option is not Option 2, then you have to hesitate. If Option 2 says do nothing—

Mr. Weiss: As a matter of fact, we got good action a couple of times by moving the options around and you approved the wrong one.

Secretary Kissinger: You sometimes confuse me by not making the do-nothing option the preferred option.

Mr. Hartman: I think that really the most important thing that we can do is to build a little bit of calm confidence into our relationship; that when we have a problem, we discuss it with each other frankly, [Page 396] and we say what our views are, and we say it very strongly, depending on the strength of our feelings—we let them do the same thing, and recognize that we are going to have a continual problem in our relationship. But that if we have a basic understanding, that in the end we know how to solve these problems, we can seek solutions together. I don’t see any institutional means to do this. I think we have got to develop our contacts on a sort of ad hoc basis. We have got enough institutions around to talk to each other.

Secretary Kissinger: How about a declaration of principles?

Mr. Hartman: No. (Laughter)


Mr. Katz: We tried that.

Secretary Kissinger: Let me make an observation about my inadequate study of this paper. To me, with all due respect, to make an academic point, it is the classic non-paper. It states three options of which only one has any reality at all, and that doesn’t give you anything to do.

The first is to expedite integration. You know that is not possible. I don’t know what we would do. Supposing I said to you that is going to be our policy—we are going to integrate Canada and the United States more.

Mr. Hartman: Call a constitutional convention, offer them statehood.

Secretary Kissinger: You know damned well this cannot be done. First—you cannot even express it as a politically realistic policy. Secondly, if you could think of some things to do, it would produce exactly the opposite result of what you want.

That is Point One.

Second—Option 3, to stop integrative tendencies, the non-do-nothing option—that is also nonsense, with all due respect, because while I would not urge that we speed it up, for us to resist it from the American side seems—in the name of what, for what reason?

So that leaves us with the Option 2, which is do what you are doing.

So that is not a particularly fruitful way of spending our time.

Either we should not schedule a meeting on a subject on which we have no recommendations, or we should have recommendations.

Mr. Casey: The paper is a little more useful if you look at it issue by issue.

Secretary Kissinger: That is right. That was going to be my—I agree. But if you want to address the strategic problem, it seems to me that the problem that Canada will be facing very soon, as the Common [Page 397] Market articulates, is whether to be drawn in that direction or in our direction.

I joked about a declaration of principles with us. But you know damned well they are going to be faced with a proposal of a declaration of principles by the Common Market. And what I would like to look at is the impact of a European political community on Canada, on the part of Europe, bringing about Option 3. That is a real possibility, it seems to me.

Conversely, until that happens, to what extent can we use the fact that Canada is not part of the Nine now and feels itself out of it—to what extent we can use the fact of their feeling out of the Nine by being forthcoming in consultive procedures with Canada, to create not integrative links but political links. Certainly at the Energy Conference the Canadians were very helpful.

Mr. Hartman: Yes.

Secretary Kissinger: That is a line that I would find interesting to explore. What we can do without trying to integrate them formally more closely with us—we can let them share in some of our decisions where they would not normally have an opportunity to, to give them a sense of participation, without asking a great deal in return, or anything in return.

Mr. Lord: But is the European option a real one for Canada, given its tremendous security needs with us, and the tremendous trade and economic needs. I don’t see what appeal Europe would have to them.

Secretary Kissinger: Europe gives them political independence.

Mr. Brown: Gives them independence from us.

Secretary Kissinger: Gives them political independence. We have no possible way of dissociating from them in the security field. Nor do we have any real—nor would we engage in a trade war with them. They wouldn’t have to make a choice.

Mr. Weiss: May I say one thing on this. I think it is useful to dissociate the question of sort of how Canada might go, from the question of who has leverage over who in something like, for example, the military relationship.

You know, you say we could not dissociate from them. I don’t know that Winston may not be right. They may need us a hell of a lot more than we need them over the long run.

Secretary Kissinger: In what way?

Mr. Weiss: Well, you know, the Canadians have no defense outside of the United States. And in terms of what is happening with our own air defense, that is getting down, as you well know, to such a miniscule consideration—

[Page 398]

Secretary Kissinger: And therefore, what is the conclusion from that? Since we are no longer engaged in air defense, we have what hold over them?

Mr. Weiss: No. The conclusion may very well be that just in terms of the question of tactics and leverage, as distinct from what our basic policies ought to be, we ought to at least take a hard look at whether in terms of the defense relationship, and the area of the intelligence relationship, the Canadians get more from us or we get more from them. I am not reaching a conclusion. I am saying that is worth looking at, because it might be useful to you, in how you deal with the Canadians.

Secretary Kissinger: But so far the Canadians are not yet moving in an antagonistic direction. And therefore we don’t face the problem of leverage.

Mr. Hartman: No. I think the question isn’t so much whether they are going to move over and actually join the Europeans, as to whether or not there will be policies that the Europeans will adopt that the Canadians might be attracted to follow, which would go in a different direction from us. So far that doesn’t look to be the case. And I think one of the advantages—

Secretary Kissinger: But that is partly also because they are being excluded from the European decision making.

Mr. Hartman: That is true. And I think probably that will continue to happen, because the calculation in Europe will be that they would be a kind of a Trojan horse for us: But I think one of the advantages of our tri-regional approach is that that does involve the Canadians. If we can move ahead on that, it means that we have got a kind of North American concept—complex. The Japanese suggested to us yesterday that maybe if we go ahead with this approach, we also ought to include Australia and New Zealand with them, to give them a few friends out in that area.

Secretary Kissinger: What does that mean concretely?

Mr. Hartman: Well, it means that it would genuinely be a tri-regional approach. It would not be just Japan on the Pacific side, but it would be Japan, Australia and New Zealand, U.S. and Canada, and Europe—and not just the EC Europe, but we would have the Norwegians and a couple of the other NATO countries.

Secretary Kissinger: There is no way of ever accomplishing this, to phase it in with the other exercise.

Mr. Hartman: We are going to try.

Secretary Kissinger: You are going to ask me first, though, aren’t you?

Mr. Hartman: You have approved it. You have approved the talking points.

[Page 399]

Secretary Kissinger: We have approved the approach of the Japanese. We have not approved the Australian—

Mr. Hartman: No. But we have approved including Canada, Norway and perhaps one or two other NATO countries.

Secretary Kissinger: I didn’t focus on this.

Mr. Weiss: You see it wasn’t Option 2. You have to watch Hartman.

Secretary Kissinger: I focused on making an approach on behalf of the Japanese. What does it mean concretely that we involve Norway and the other NATO countries?

[Omitted here is discussion of the U.S.–EC declarations.]

Mr. Hartman: [Omitted here is additional discussion of the U.S.–EC declarations.]

Well, should we get back to Canada?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

Mr. Hartman: I think in many ways this locomotive case illustrates the sort of practical problems that we have. It goes to a point of extreme Canadian sensitivity, because it appears to them to be an exercise in U.S. extraterritorial application of its laws. We just heard today that the Canadian company board had a vote on this, and the American president has resigned, because the board voted to go ahead with the deal. In one sense that eases the problem, because if it is a Canadian board, they can take any action they want to if it is not contrary to our law—I believe that is right. And that leaves us then possibly with the only problem being are there American components and therefore should we refuse an export license on those components.

But that is an easier case in terms of Canadian sensibilities. They won’t be happy, but at least that is something that we can legitimately say we have control over.

But I think that is just illustrative of the kind of issues that we have in terms of our economic relationships.

You are going to be visiting up there. I think in the recent discussions—

Secretary Kissinger: I wouldn’t count on that—that quickly.

Mr. Hartman: Not in the next little while?

Secretary Kissinger: I know Moynihan has me signed up in his country. Everyone has me signed up. Has anyone looked at my schedule?

Mr. Hartman: We are in touch with your staff.

Secretary Kissinger: That’s fine. I have no time available in the next three weeks—so I don’t care what my staff said.

[Page 400]

Mr. Hartman: It is clear in the next three weeks you certainly don’t have any time. But I think there would be advantages for you doing this if you can find time in April.

Secretary Kissinger: To do what? What am I trying to accomplish? That is what we are having this meeting about.

Mr. Hartman: Well, I think that we really ought to have a discussion with this government now about the state of our relations, both our economic relations, our general political relations. I think we have sensed that there has been an improvement certainly in the tone—

Secretary Kissinger: Why?

Mr. Hartman: Well, I think that many of the things that we have been trying to do—just taking the energy question as an example—the Canadians see that we are trying to take some positive steps. When they see something that the United States is doing can have not only positive meaning for them, but it makes sense in world terms, they join us. They don’t react always just to say because it is an American initiative they like it and they are going along with it. I think when we have explained our position to them—

Secretary Kissinger: Or is it because they see themselves shut out of the European thing? They have lost their Commonwealth thing and they need some other association.

Mr. Hartman: I think they want links, yes. I don’t know that the European thing really plays that much a part in their decisions yet.

Mr. Katz: I think the change in their tone on energy came about because of a common external threat. They were very seriously concerned and threatened by the boycott. And they realized that they could not meet their own concerns operating unilaterally. And the links between us, the interrelationships between us in the energy field are so extensive that it just would have been impossible for them to operate independently. I think there was also a reaction to their Energy Minister—expressions about the blue-eyed heiress to the north—and I think he became something of a political liability at home, and balance had to be redressed.

Mr. Smith: There is another point, I think, Mr. Secretary, about your proposed visit. The Canadians want an opportunity to bring to your attention personally a number of bilateral, strictly bilateral, issues, and in their eyes you have committed yourself to a visit, and it will be regarded as welching on a commitment if you don’t go.

Mr. Hartman: I think there are a number of areas where it would help us in terms of the other things that we are doing, to have the Canadians fully aware of what our current views are. They are very interested in the trade negotiations. They have been very helpful in getting those started. They are quite anxious to see that our trade bill goes [Page 401] through so that we can fully participate in the negotiations. George Shultz feels they have been very helpful on the monetary negotiations. They will want to discuss the whole question of foreign investment, because there is a lot of pressure on this government, as there has been on previous governments, to take restrictive measures in that field. And I think it is well to let them explain what their political problem is, and then try to get down to the details of that, particularly with the Treasury, to see whether or not we cannot find solutions to any of these specific problems that come up.

Secretary Kissinger: Well, I didn’t ask for a meeting on Canada. I would not feel unfulfilled tonight if it was my destiny that we didn’t have a meeting on Canada. But if we have a meeting on Canada, or any other subject, the question I would like to have an answer to is what I am trying to accomplish. I would like to understand in terms other than continuing doing what you are doing, or go up there to discuss the state of our relationships—because I cannot discuss the state of our relationships. There are only two things that can happen if I go up there. If I don’t know what I am doing, then I have to listen to their complaints, and either meet their complaints or not. I will have no criteria within which to operate. So why did you think if we went through this item by item we would be better off?

Mr. Casey: Well, you come to more meaningful action-oriented decisions.

Secretary Kissinger: Like what? Can you give me an example?

Mr. Casey: Let me see. On foreign investment—I would be inclined to accept the Canadian action and go with it, which is Alternative 1. On industrial policy, I would be inclined to impose a policy and try to wean them away from their existing industrial policy. We have talked to them on industrial policy in the context of the defense production sharing discussion. They were down here three weeks ago. We have asked them to state their present industrial policy. We have some things going there. We have the automotive agreement. We have made a proposal which they didn’t turn down. We have the defense production sharing agreement, which they have come around to adjust in a way that is satisfactory to us.

I think there are some specific things that can be accomplished with them.

As to why you would be going up there—we have had an abrasive relationship with the Canadians on economic issues for three or four years now. It has been slowly improving. I think we have come to the point where we could agree on a few things—picking up those agreements, and a change in the atmosphere, which would be worth a visit.

There is a fair prospect that can be accomplished.

[Page 402]

I think on the energy area, there are some very concrete things to be discussed, very concrete things they want from us.

Secretary Kissinger: Like what?

Mr. Casey: The pipeline—a decision on the pipeline, the Kudo Bay gas pipeline—some decisions on the pipeline from Montreal down to New York City.

Secretary Kissinger: What’s holding it up? Is that really something I need to decide?

Mr. Casey: No.

Mr. Katz: There are two issues involving pipelines. One question relates to a specific pipeline route from Alaska, whether it goes via Canada or not via Canada. There is another issue which concerns having a treaty covering pipelines in general—pipelines transiting one another’s territory, having to do with conditions of transit. That is not at this point terribly controversial and is something that is a question—

Secretary Kissinger: The question that I would like answered, for my own education, is where is Canada likely to be going over a five-year period, what are going to be the various pulls on Canada—Japan, Europe, the United States, Latin America. What is the NATO-U.S.-Canada relationship going to be—U.S.–EC. And where do we want to go. Then we can decide these tactical things fairly easily.

In some areas I know this. In the case of Canada I don’t know it.

Mr. Katz: Mr. Secretary, there is one other question here, which I think needs to be focused on, and it is not so much where Canada is going internationally but where is Canada going as a nation. There are tremendous tensions within the country which could importantly affect our interests, in a strategic sense, in an economic sense, in terms of their foreign relations.

Mr. Brown: We have no control over those, do we?

Mr. Katz: We don’t directly.

Mr. Smith: We could make it worse.

Mr. Katz: Through inadvertence we can affect the political trends within the country.

Secretary Kissinger: How?

Mr. Katz: We can take some of our economic policies that can contribute to their economic problems internally, which would reinforce the trends—the problems that pull them apart. There is less we can do in a positive sense, I think. But I don’t think you can answer the question of where Canada is going to go in its relations with Europe, for example, and the rest of the world without knowing what their internal political situation is going to be.

Mr. Casey: I would go further and say where they are going to go in relationship to Europe and Japan and the rest of the world is going to [Page 403] be influenced very sharply by how we handle specific relationships with trade, energy.

Secretary Kissinger: That is exactly what I would like to know. I would like to know what actions on our part are likely to produce what long-term results. I would like the answer to that question. So before I go up there, could whoever worked on this paper take another run at it?

Mr. Hartman: Yes.

[Omitted here is discussion of the UN Special Session.]

  1. Summary: Kissinger discussed U.S.-Canadian relations with his staff.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Entry 5177, Box 2, Secretary’s Analytic Staff Meeting, March 8, 1974. Secret. The meeting ended at 3:50 p.m. Attached but not published is a summary of Kissinger’s decisions at the meeting, as well as a full list of those in attendance. The paper referred to at the meeting is apparently an undated paper entitled “US-Canadian Relations: Alternate Strategies,” forwarded to Kissinger under cover of a February 22 memorandum from Lord and Hartman. (Ibid., Policy Planning Council, Policy Planning Staff, Director’s Files (Winston Lord), 1969–1977, Entry 5027, Box 345, Feb. 1974)