Volume #25 - 207.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTAT-UNIS
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 11 décembre 1957|
COLUMBIA RIVER PROBLEMS|
Les fonctionnaires canadiens ont accordé une très grande attention à la question du fleuve Columbia au cours des dix-huit premiers mois de l'administration Diefenbaker. Le Comité du Cabinet sur les problèmes du fleuve Columbia a été constitué et s'est réuni neuf fois entre septembre 1957 et décembre 1958. Le 20 décembre 1957, le Comité du Cabinet a mis sur pied un Comité des études économiques du développement du fleuve Columbia. Sous la direction du Général A.G.L. McNaughton, le Comité s'est réuni quatorze fois avant de publier le 24 novembre 1958 un rapport sur les ramifications économiques et les besoins techniques du développement du bassin du fleuve Columbia. Une grande partie de la documentation relative au Comité du Cabinet et au Comité économique est très technique et n'est pas par conséquent imprimée dans le présent volume. Les documents imprimés ici ont trait principalement aux communications intergouvernementales concernant les questions de procédure et juridictionnelles entre les fonctionnaires représentant les gouvernements fédéraux canadien et américain et le gouvernement provincial de la Colombie-Britannique. Les procès-verbaux des réunions du Comité du Cabinet et du Comité économique et une copie du rapport du Comité économique figurent dans le dossier MAE/5724-1-40.
Canadian officials devoted a great deal of attention to the Columbia River issue during the first eighteen months of the Diefenbaker government. The Cabinet Committee on Columbia River Problems was struck and met nine times between September 1957 and December 1958. On December 20, 1957, the Cabinet Committee established a Committee on Economic Studies of the Columbia River Development. This Committee, under the direction of General A.G.L. McNaughton, met fourteen times before issuing a report on November 24, 1958 on the economic ramifications of and engineering requirements for the development of the Columbia River basin. Much of the documentation relating to the Cabinet Committee and the Economic Committee is highly technical and is, therefore, not printed in this volume. Documents that are printed here relate primarily to inter-governmental communications concerning procedural and jurisdictional issues among officials representing the Canadian and American federal governments and the provincial government of British Columbia. Minutes of both the Cabinet Committee and Economic Committee meetings and a copy of the report of the Economic Committee are located on DEA/5724-1-40.
I am attaching a memorandum covering a call made by one of the Secretaries of the United States Embassy on the Head of American Division on the afternoon of December 10 with respect to the Columbia River. The following main points emerged:
[Ottawa, December 10, 1957]
Mr. Delmar Carlson of the United States Embassy called on me by appointment on the afternoon of December 10. The occasion of his visit was to deliver a copy of a letter dated December 5, 1957, from the Chairman of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission (copy attached).† The letter sets out certain elements in the engineering proposal put forward by the Chairman of the Canadian Section at the IJC meeting on October 4, 1957, which would not be acceptable to the United States for engineering reasons. The letter goes on to point out that adverse public opinion is also a factor with respect to certain of the engineering proposals. In consequence, the letter suggests that an executive session of the IJC be held at an early date and also requests the current position of the Government of Canada on the proposed Libby Application. The final two paragraphs of the letter state that the United States Section is eager to advance Columbia River studies including Libby, and reiterates that "we continue to favour equitable participation in the costs of headwater improvements beneficial to both Canada and the United States."
2. Mr. Carlson explained that he was acting under direct instructions in bringing this letter to the attention of the Canadian Government and in making certain comments with respect to it. At my request he has incorporated the main comments in a letter to me dated December 11, 1957.†
3. At the outset Mr. Carlson requested confirmation that the views put forward by General McNaughton on October 4 were not firm views of the Canadian Government. I repeated what I had told his predecessor, Mr. Dubs, on October 8, that General McNaughton was being precise when he said in the Commission that he spoke for himself and his fellow Commissioners. As Mr. Carlson knew, the Canadian Government had always treated the Commissioners as being an independent quasi-judicial body, although we understood that the United States attitude was different. Mr. Carlson immediately confirmed that the United States Commissioners acted directly under instructions from the State Department.
4. The first point which Mr. Carlson wished to emphasize was that under no circumstances should the above-mentioned letter be interpreted as a rebuff or a desire to break off negotiations. Indeed, the United States Government wished to continue examination of the Columbia question with the Canadian Government. Several times during the conversation he re-emphasized the concern of the State Department lest the Canadian Government should, under domestic pressures, make decisions as to the future use of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers without first having discussed the matter with the United States.
5. Mr. Carlson said that the United States was ready at any time to resume active discussion at the diplomatic level. The United States had concurred in our proposal of May 20274 to establish contact groups and indeed they might constitute an advantageous approach to the problem. He went on to say that the United States had been greatly encouraged by the indication at the meeting that a co-ordinated development would be considered and that other possible alternatives would be compared with it.
6. As a particular matter, Mr. Carlson said that a decision on the Libby Dam Application was of great importance to the United States. He pointed out that whatever the engineering situation might seem to be, public opinion in the area is very strong and it would probably be impossible for the United States Government to support any development which made Libby impractical. I told him that it was not easy to separate Libby from the whole development but that it might be possible to give some prior consideration to it if there was an indication that the consideration of the whole scheme was going ahead. It was clear, I emphasized, that there was an advantage to Canada in diverting water from the Kootenay to the Columbia River for use on the main stem in Canada and also if diversion took place to the Thompson-Fraser system, but that, of course, this advantage would have to be balanced against a substantial proposal for compensation with respect to Libby.
7. In regard to the desire to ensure that the Canadian Government would not make any decision without prior discussion with the United States, I said that I was speaking entirely without instruction, but that it was obvious that the way to keep the door open was to make a specific proposal. In this connection it seemed to me that before arranging an executive session of the International Joint Commission to hear the current position of the Government of Canada on the Libby Application, it would be of great advantage if the United States would provide through diplomatic channels a more specific elaboration of the offer made by United States Counsel with respect to the Libby Application on October 4, 1957. Such a proposal should not be a preliminary bargaining position which might be so limited that the Canadian Government would decide not to discuss or bargain further. At the same time, it should, of course, not be a final take-it-or-leave-it offer. It seemed to me, and with this Mr. Carlson agreed, that the proposal should be a substantial offer but negotiable.
8. I added that it would be most helpful if the United States could find it possible to indicate whether their Libby formula or elements of it could be considered as of general applicability for the purpose of calculating the amount to be paid for downstream benefits. In this connection, I mentioned that it might be of some assistance if they realized that the floor level of any offer must be the Kaiser offer made to British Columbia several years ago. Indeed, it would be necessary in any proposal with respect to Libby and with respect to the entire Columbia system that the proposal be of such a forthcoming nature that the Government of British Columbia could not under any circumstances refuse to accept it when it was presented to them by the Dominion Government.
9. It was agreed that if and when State Department is in a position to make any elaboration of their offer with respect to Libby or provide an indication of a general formula for calculation of downstream benefits, the communication would be between the Ambassador and the Under-Secretary. The level of the present communication had been decided by the Embassy for purposes of speed and convenience.
sup>271Voir volume 20, les documents 609 à 611./See Volume 20, Documents 609-611.
272Note marginale:/Marginal note:
273Note marginale:/Marginal note:
274Voir/See Document 23, Document 282.