POSSIBLE US RESTRICTIONS ON OATS AND GROUNDFISH FILLETS
The US Tariff Commission has been receiving representations that restrictions should be imposed on the importation of oats and groundfish fillets. United States imports of oats come almost exclusively from Canada and we provide about 60 per cent of their imports of groundfish fillets. Restrictions in either case would be very serious.
No actual hearings have been held as yet in the case of groundfish fillets and it will not be finally dealt with until the end of the summer. Hearings have, however, been concluded with regard to oats and the Commission may make its recommendations within a few days. If it recommended restrictions, it would be for the President to decide whether to impose them or not. As there will be no advance knowl
edge of the nature of the recommendation or as to when it is made (although it now seems probable that it will not be before Wednesday) it is important that any representations from the Canadian Government should be sent in as soon as possible.
As this matter is of great importance and as the decision of the President is crucial, the most effective course appeared to be a letter from the Prime Minister to the President. The Prime Minister, after consultation with the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Secretary of State for External Affairs in Port Arthur and Sudbury, has signed a letter which was sent to Washington by air courier today. A copy is attached.
As the letter is of a personal character, it is desirable to have official representations made at the same time. For this purpose, a draft note from our Ambassador in Washington to the Secretary of State has been prepared to accompany a copy of the case on oats that was made by the Chief Commissioner of the Wheat Board at the hearings on July 8. A copy of the draft note is attached for consideration.?
The text of the draft note has been sent to the Embassy by teletype. When it has been approved or amended, a copy of it will be attached to the Prime Minister's letter and the letter will be delivered to the White House tomorrow. The note will be delivered to the State Department on Monday.
Le premier ministre au président des États-Unis
Prime Minister to President of United States
Ottawa, July 17, 1953
Dear Mr. President:
In our conversations during my visit to Washington in May we discussed the importance to the strength and security of the free world of maintaining and expanding world trade, including that very important fraction of total world trade which takes place between the United States and Canada.95
Mr. Pearson and I were gratified by the sympathetic understanding you and your colleagues showed for these objectives, and by your evident concern to avoid any sources of friction and misunderstanding between our two countries, which would be bound to result from new trade restrictions. On June 30th, our government felt obliged to make representations about the restrictions which had been announced to come into effect on July 1st, and since then we have been greatly disturbed by the fear of still further restrictions.
I am not, of course, referring in any way to emergency embargoes imposed as precautions against the spread of contagious diseases in plants or animals.
What has been so greatly disturbing to us recently is the reference to the United States Tariff Commission of several cases of major concern to Canada, particularly the cases of oats and groundfish fillets which are both of substantial and traditional. importance in our trade with the United States.
In the case of oats, hearings were held last week and it is our understanding that a report will shortly be made to you. Since the interest of Canada and the livelihood of thousands of Canadian farmers would be seriously affected by a restriction on the import of oats, our Government is sending a note to yours about this matter. I enclose a copy with this personal letter.
Because of the sympathetic understanding you showed for our position last May, I am venturing to tell you personally how serious I fear would be the effect on Canadian opinion if the United States were to impose new restrictions on imports from Canada of highly important commodities like oats and fish from which our people have derived a part of the income which enables us to make our huge purchases of commodities produced in the United States.
We appreciate that, in the United States, a section of farm opinion is strongly opposed to these imports from Canada and we have tried on that account to show the utmost forbearance in all our approaches to your Government.
But we in Canada also have a public opinion which has to be considered, and it would be increasingly difficult for our public to understand or to accept without some form of counter-action on our part new restrictions on important Canadian exports to the United States, particularly when our total imports from your country are so much greater than your imports from Canada.
Harmonious trade relations in the past eighteen years have greatly increased the feeling of friendly neighbourliness between Canada and the United States and have, we think, added greatly to the economic strength of both countries.
The possibility of any action which would mar those harmonious relations is something our government would greatly deplore, and I am sure you and your administration would also deplore it.
And I would not be honest if I did not say frankly that the imposition of new restrictions which would affect only a small fraction of your total consumption of commodities like oats and fish, but which would jeopardize the livelihood of thousands of Canadians could not fail to create resentment and ill-will and consequential demands for action on our part.
It is for that reason that I feel justified in bringing this to your personal attention. Should we not both do our utmost to resist demands for action which could not fail to do harm to both countries?
Voir la pièce jointe 2 du document 662./See Document 662, enclosure 2.