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The border in question this program is produced and recorded at the University of British Columbia Canada under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters ties that bind. This is the sixth of 10 programs devoted to historic and current aspects in the relationship between the United States and Canada the ties that bind. One could reasonably suppose that some Americans are becoming heartily sick of hearing about troubles between their country and other so-called friendly countries in the western world. It might be presumed that those who experience this annoyance will say that they can understand difficulty from Iron Curtain countries but it is really too much to submit to the constant complaints from friends which after all the United States has pledged to protect. Yet the United States has had problems with her allies France Britain
Latin America and to an increasing extent with Canada. The average American citizen is unaware of many things coming from Canada. Trouble is perhaps the last thing he expects. But there are positive accomplishments in Canadian American relations accomplishments which are often misinterpreted by after dinner speakers who talk about the longest undefended border as if this were an easy outcome of natural fundus each for the other Canadians and Americans who engage in this sort of tired international platitude give many other Canadians and Americans a big pain. Now officials in the State Department and in the External Affairs Department are under no illusions as to why Johnny Canuck and Uncle Sam appear to get along. It's a result of hard work and whenever either side has not done its international homework there is a field day for those who specialize in reporting trouble across the forty ninth parallel.
The most distinctive feature of relations between Ottawa and Washington has been a willingness to negotiate and if not a willingness at least an awareness of the necessity of negotiation. Now this negotiation is increasingly being conducted through committee and commissions of Representatives from Ottawa in Washington. It might be too much to say that these international bodies have prevented open breaches between the Republic and the dominion but it is certainly no exaggeration to state that present difficulties between the two countries would be infinitely worse without them. A man who is considered an expert in the behind the scenes institutional framework of the United States and Canada is Dean FH Soward dean of graduate studies at the University of British Columbia and a former member of Canada's External Affairs Department at a conference on U.S. Canada relations Dean soured. Describe a few of these boards and commissions and the work they have done and are still doing today.
Perhaps I should begin by reminding you that this is quite a recent development in the cooperation of the two countries that at the time the calendar became. A country in 1867. It was of course very much still in the field of a colony although a self-governing colony the word dominion which Colonel Stacey likes in the pairs until about nineteen hundred and seven. And it was a very firm conviction of the British Foreign Office that there should be no. So I say monkey work on the part of Canadians that might imperil the diplomatic unity of the British Empire. This is a favorite phrase that lasted until one hundred twenty two. That conviction was equally shared by the American government they also wanted no nonsense from Clem's and they would prefer to deal with the men who really ran the show. Here's a remark from Lee minister from United States to London regarding fishing negotiations
995 still less can the United States government consent to be drawn let any time into a discussion of the subject with the colonial government of Canada anywhere except the five years ago was in pretty sharp contrast with the network of agency that we have at the present time most of which I'm glad to say are almost entirely unknown to the two countries concerned. The reason I say I'm glad is of the absence of interest in their existence is a good indication that they're doing a pretty effective job and they don't become involved in the limelight. There hasn't quarrels over over policy. Well having made that remark as the minister did his secretary state took a different view. It's a secular state buried in the Cleveland regime and he didn't carry the participation of the Canadians in the Golgi nations on those issues and that was that wasn't the first time. But it was the first time he was functioning in a sense as a Canadian as Johnny McDonald of course was part of the commission or the treaty of
Washington but he was definitely a British emissary not too well disguised. But in the middle 80s things began to change. Now to turn from that to the actual agencies I want to proceed from the one that has probably least Nolen least important down to the one which is the best known and most continuously used. They at least know is the International Boundary Commission which goes back to 900 inmates only one person from each country serves on that commission and its terms of reference are to maintain in a state of effective demarcation the boundaries. In other words keep the markers nice and clean and see there are enough them along the border so people know they actually exist. This is entirely a technical job. I represent of a drone from the Department of Mines and technical surveys. I assume the same thing would happen in that estates probably from the Department of the interior. These two gentlemen have to keep in mind and here I can really get figures on from tears for a change. Three thousand nine hundred eighty seven miles between nine states and Canada
and fifteen hundred forty miles between what is Columbia Yukon and Alaska. No. The United States borders Canada is now with Alaska along a large part of the extreme northwest. Canada's other borders are the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and Russia across the arctic front here. The next body in point of origin and one of the most important bodies is the international joint commission which was established 900 which arises from LI Boundary Waters agreement of 109. It had a predecessor in a group of delegates set up under international law to waste commission. But after the need was found to have a treaty governing the use of Boundary Waters. And this was in the go she added with the untiring efforts of Secretary route and the British ambassador Lord Bryce in the Boundary Waters agreement 109
provided for the creation of the commission with certain duties and the aims to prevent disputes regarding the use of boundary waters and the Boundary Waters I carefully defined in the treaty. To settle all questions arising from the disputes which were then pending between the United States and the Dominion of Canada and frankly a remarkably comprehensive authority which has never been used to make provision for the adjustment to settlement of such questions as may further involve the two countries. And then they hastily I don't view our recollections of the Alaskan boundary situation in no way to have the character of an arbitral award. Note. The Alaska boundary decision which went against Canada still rankles about the border. Canadians feel that the United States loaded the arbitral body which decided the dispute with men who were unwilling to concede anything to the Dominion. Although they were supposed to arbitrate in a judicial manner few Canadians however argue
with the legality of the decision which set Alaska's present borders. Now the treaty provided for three members from each country each having its own chairman with a meeting at least twice a year in April and in October it may meet much more often of course and that is strictly been the case but it is call upon one of the statutory arrangements to meet twice a year in the two capitals. The chairman of the present commission for Canada is generally not who said that post now or I think it's 11 years. There are two other commissioners as I said one is an engineer from Montreal. They always have to meet we balance our representation on these commissions. The other is the hydrologic specialist from Manitoba. His predecessor was a foreman with met with the Prairie Fire rehabilitation commission in Alberta. We attempted to have the chairman of our commission a man of some experience in public life. But that message tied down very closely to a political program. In
other words he's not an agent of the government in the sense of being a political ad here into that government a very direct sense. The commission has handled approximately 75 questions to state and they may arrange to improving the scenic amenities around the Agra falls to pollution of smoke from the trails mother in the state of Washington or of course much more vital issues such as the question of Columbia power at the present time. I think the best way of indicating the sort of jobs they handle is trade and greatly from the annual report of the partly External Affairs four thousand nine hundred fifty nine international joint commission coming out of the jurisdiction of the department sternal affairs. After saying at regular meetings engineering official reports dealing with international development of the tidal water potential of past McQuarrie B were submitted to the commission that's been going on now for 20 years. Finally a point was made on the development of the rubber which on the floor reaches for the bonding between New Brunswick and Maine. I want it all apart but these are samples and
May 30 of the gardens of Canada United States request of the commission to investigate the alleged pollution of the waters of the Rainy River and Lake of wood by sewage and industrial waste. At the top are meeting the commission heard reports from officials on the Technical Advisory Board report on air pollution in the Detroit Windsor area and trying to flee to the 20 river system in January. Plain American governments requested international joint commission to make a special report on the determination on a portion of benefit that might result from such cooperate developments with particular reference to electrical generation flood control. The Columbia River power development treaty was signed by the two federal governments in 1961. However Canada was embarrassed when the Canadian province concerned British Columbia refused to agree to the terms of the treaty which had already been signed. I said a moment ago that very often these commissions functioned so effectively the people don't know they exist. I've never yet found an in my class and leave it in my seminar
on the foreign policy of Canada in the last 15 years and used to do that when the three members of the trading section of the commission. And this is this is a triumph of successful diplomacy. Now they're a pair little later on commissions. Also the functional character to deal with fisheries one dealing with the halibut fishery on this coast which was established in 1923 when with the Pacific salmon fisheries established on this coast in 1947. This is a little unusual because our commission is chaired by a senator and his associates. One is an expert from the Department of Fisheries. Another is a well-known man in the fishing industry itself. There is a third commission of this type which is most recent in creation the international Great Lakes commission and our Great Lakes Fisheries Commission as recent as nine hundred fifty six. And this commission involves the problems of Ontario as well as the federal government. Its
main task is conservation of fish on the Great Lakes with particular reference to the problem of the lamprey which apparently is eating up all the fish and side and takes them. Take the two government problems in the states involved to do something to get rid of that lamp right. So this is for the international Great Lakes commission of 1956. The committee was established in 100 49 which really are also more time experience. We had a network of committees during the Second World War. Leaving aside for a moment the one on defense dealing with the economic problems with agriculture with inductor resources and so on and in a sense an inheritor of this committee this idea was a joint industrial mobilization planning committee established in 1949 and quite active during the Korean War. It was to coordinate plans for in defense production and to attempt to the fact that it isolation. This is to be a small committee to meet country. In our case the minister of trade and commerce the honorable C.D.
Howe and the chairman of the industrial defense board on the American side the chairman of the national security resources Commission and other missions board this commission function for at least seven years and then it either sank without a trace or also ceased to admit that was it that exists. I can't find what happened to it. It appears in the annual report of the department's turn affairs up to 1956 and then it just drops out of sight while Mr. Greene was here I asked one of his staff and he didn't even know existed. So with the Barton doesn't know I'm afraid I can't expect to know any more than they did. It may have simply dropped out of us because it was felt on necessary. But in any event as far as the records are concerned it's not listed as one of these private on lists of telephone numbers not on it is not listed since 1956. The point of most significance to Canada for 20 years although recently it's important I think is diminished is a P J B D. The permanent joint board on defense
this board was given a delightful terms of reference. You couldn't ask for anything much broader For its job to consider in the broad sense the defense of the north half of the Western Hemisphere. Nobody's ever defined precisely what they mean by the North how I think it went down as far as the bulge of Brazil. But you won't find any way to put it on paper to say oh that's actually the case. That's a Rosa card from the realisation of acute danger in the summer of 1940. We now know if only recent bottom of the Mackenzie King record is published this year. For the details of the conversation between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King but the decision made with great haste at Ogdensburg first a set of immediately a bard with these terms of reference and obviously paralleling the experience of the international joint commission that is the special importance of the IJA see as a technique. Again they were a little cautious four or five from each country mostly from the services. It was indication with a civilian chairman
and the secretary who should be drummed for the two countries from the Department of State and from the department sternal affairs. Now this commission was questioned they couldn't waste any time at all. This is August 1940. Between August 1940 and the end of the war it brought forth some 33 recommendations almost entirely on defense problems that they involve the Alaska Highway and they all red route for flying planes to the U.K. the question of can all right have other issues. The American shamen was merely gliding a little flour about as well no one above is kind of a figure you can imagine for a civilian in American life. The Canadian German was a triumph of medicines. He was the chief censor colonel and bigger. He was a liar who'd spent his life in Ottawa he'd been with the government during the First World War. He was one of the experts at the Peace Conference. But Colonel bigger was hardly known outside his office by his own desire and he certainly was not known well as censored during the war
and kind of a bigger reflection with weight on him treasonous. I can say the same for Mayor LaGuardia for obvious reasons but that was Colonel of biggest conception of his task which he held for some five years. The services had representation three from each side. At first they were not at a very high level. The most recent listing I have seen they are they come as the vice chief of staff as far as canned is concerned the board meets in private. There are never any press releases to my knowledge. They avoid publicity. How often they meet us and not very often describe you'll hardly refine any reference to that and any reports they issue no published reports. Occasionally they offer interesting suggestions which we hear about later. They help to iron out the complications over the American lease basis a New Finland but seem inconsistent with with Libyan sovereignty after New Finland became part of Canada. They gave some advice from the defense point of view on the importance of this and Lawrence Seaway and help to
reinforce the arguments for that Seaway itself. What note. The establishment of the Permanent Joint board on defense came as something of a surprise both in Ottawa and in Washington. President Roosevelt invited Prime Minister Mackenzie King to meet at Ogdensburg after a night's discussion. A press release announced the P.J. B did neither statesman first put the matter to Congress or parliament and its original draft was said to have been scribbled on the back of an envelope. I suspect although I can't prove this that the right has been a little downgraded in significance because of the increase in joint planning so the operations of Natal the joint U.S. Canada planning group I think must take over a lot of what was the task of the P J B D and between one thousand forty one thousand forty five. Don't get me into a pretty advisory board. It annoys you to Florida whatsoever. It simply made recommendations but these recommendations are used to treat of a great
respect. It certainly was meant to be a permanent right. That was he put in the title that at the outset I remember a press conference not a lot during the war and General Eisenhower as again was it came to Canada to begin the official thanks of the government for leadership of the allied forces in the war itself. I give a press conference as part of standard routine you let you lay a wreath and you have a lunch and a dinner and you have a press conference. So he gave his press conference only the press treat him with great friendship and interest but in a worrying moment they asked about the PJ Dee Dee do you think it will continue after the war. No I don't need to record the BJP did it he had said he made to disguise it very well. Any hand on heart he said yes he thought it was continuous both of what Mr. King was sitting there like in the D like a like a Buddha for a time you got a little impatient. Although you'd never guess it from his appearance and then Mr King spoke up and in place of the gentle use of the intentional as a bridge should remain permanent and the general
flushed and said yes it will be permanent so I don't weather Well our friends lives I remember as a General Eisenhower his views on the b day b d back and I didn't 45. Two boys have developed at the cabinet level which I think is most interesting and could be of real importance but we don't know yet whether that about to be the case. The first of these brides is the Joint Committee on trade and economic affairs and they were U.S. economic affairs deliberately to make it a good broad reference. The terms of reference are as follows to consider matters affecting the harmonious relations between the two countries and in particular to exchange views in matters which might adversely affect the high level of mutually profitable trade which have to build up. This is quite a large bribe. The ministers from Canada the minister of finance minister of trade and commerce the Minister of Agriculture or fisheries as alternative if they discuss fisheries questions and the Minister of External Affairs.
The American members or the SEC of the Treasury. The second day of Commerce the secretary of agriculture the secretary of the Interior and the secretary of state. There is no chairman of joint chairmen in the case of this board. It's simply a round table conference. Originally I mean it was specified in the press release that it should meet once a year and more often if necessary. I think it arose from some of the concern over the development of the American surplus farm disposal program in the middle 50s. There were media in the two Kappas Alternately they met first in Mike's 954 in Washington they did not meet again to September 955 which is almost a year and a half. They did not meet again till October 1957 a little over two years on the third occasion. The fourth occasion was January 1959. Now I think the more repentant they have met pretty close to the time of the last meeting was fibrin of this year.
As a report made by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations around the house committee by Messrs Kaufman and Hayes They said this bridge has not been characterized by frequency and regularity of meetings. Let Money have a sword which costs a good deal of CA made in Canada and some environment in the United States. This was the first meeting of the board in 1957 with a new distraction from Canada and it's deep in Baker and Mr Smith Mr Fleming and the other members of the cabinet in agriculture and so on were at the conference and the American secretary of commerce was the first out of the meeting and the reporters were waiting for him and he thought they were all Americans and he said Well boys we fixed up. Between average you meant that they think it's only a standing issue between the two countries but it bothers me again if I don't know why of course they got the story back home you know if you look at our hands are there some very ancient questions I asked a girl with the meaning of what is meant by we fixed them the Joint Committee on trade and economic affairs.
October 1957. Many of these Cabinet committees that was set up after President Eisenhower visited Ottawa in the summer 1058 And I think your brother's statement made by our Prime Minister shortly after that. This is the cabinet United States ministerial committee. I'm joint defense in other words this is in addition to the planning groups in the BJP and the other arrangements for a liaison between the chiefs of staff. And they carried by this committee is in a supervisory capacity. It supplements and does not supplant the existing committees and the work done by them as I have described. Again the terms of reference are put on a pretty general basis to co-write me to the highest possible level. The already extensive cooperation in military matters not only a military matter but also of the political and economic aspects of joint defense problems. And this committee consists from our side. Minister of national defense
the minister of external affairs and the minister of finance with the opposite numbers with state and treasury and the. Services in their kingdom they are normally at accompanied by the ambassadors from the two from the two countries. The investors as a rule set in with half a dozen or so cabinet ministers have these conferences. They've only met three times the first time was in Paris. Odd enough in December 1958 This was obviously a byproduct of the council meeting and a bad time. The second meeting was at Camp David in November 1959. Mr. Green were afraid of the other evening you may not have known him or actually said we don't even sit around the table they sat around informally in cultures and Chesterfields and chairs and there was no agenda they simply sat down and talked together as friends. The third meeting was at Montevallo which is a very pleasant to tell not far from Ottawa in July of this year. I think the
typical community will be an indication would hardly help me to weigh in but for the sake of Mr many functions I hear the description of three of the meeting. The members of the other Committee welcome an opportunity to have a timely discussion on a broad range of recent international developments of interest and concern to the two governments. You never know that meant the U-2 nature of the committee discussions are rightly constrained with matters involving the vital security interests of the two countries. They were frank to the negotiations just aren't they deployed the recent action of the Soviet Union in the drawing from the then Nation meetings. That's frustrating as rec. They were friendly agreed appending the achievement of general control disarm of the could be normal lax ation of defensive measures. The committee reaffirmed the common design intention of both governments Predator strike and not Atlantic alliance and to improve consultation between members within the council to consider ways and means whereby the amount of objective might be achieved in
the years ahead in other words it was a bland and perfunctory astutely Sarah. It's not meant to give away anything for a obvious reasons. We came we talked and we parted. This is about all you'll get from the communique for the conference of that kind. I don't think you can expect them to march if these men are going to talk freely and frankly the extent of campaign leaks afterwards or otherwise the value of these buildings will be will be almost nil. The most recent experiment I think in many respects it can be the extremely interesting when we see how it proceeds. And this is an effort at conferences oddly lawmakers of the two countries at the federal level. This arises from a report made that I mentioned earlier by Messrs Hayes and Cotton from Arkansas and from Maine. Mr. Coffin unfortunately was beaten in the election when he ran for governor recently during his term of office of the representative. He was extremely concerned with the question of relation of states and counties particularly between the legislative branches. In view of the differences in the structure of
governing the two countries and different interpretations of the problem that they faced. What no. Reports of the Hayes cup and congressional study commission to Canada received scant attention in the United States press. But good coverage in that opinion. One observation by Congressman Hayes and Compean was that only one American newspaper the New York Times maintains an opposite in the Canadian capital not to the right last in this institutional framework and I think the most important the respective embassies in the two countries these two are comparatively recent are French representatives in Washington the period with the wartime purchasing board in 1917 as part of a mission which is on a purely temporary basis. He may stay in Washington surreptitiously for the next 25 years. And he gave the longest continuous service of anybody in Washington from any foreign government that was forced to mention Manny who came from the part of the trade and commerce.
And when I first met him in the early 40s was taken around by him to the State Department people it was almost uncanny. His contacts in association with so many people in so many offices but the authorization for a mission as distinct from having an A. Undercover representative I don't mean that in any syrup in any sense of derogation to him that made 900 20 but no minister was appointed until nine hundred twenty seven. That is our own fault internal politics rather than any difficulty diplomatically cause a delay. But in 1927 Mr. Vincent Massey And later our governor general went to Washington to not great the first mission. And he brought with them. He picked his own staff some of the best people that we ever had in the department's general affairs. Shortly after the organization of Natal the secretary general who took leave that appointment large as me wrote a book on the issue of the first five years and he remarked in that book that when he took office he was faced by the
observation that there is too much harness and too little hars of the wrist of many committees were falling over themselves with not much being accomplished. I don't think we have too much Highness but we've heard of a good deal and if that highness is huge it depends upon the willingness of the two horses to move a step together as they draw a line on the chart of our mutual relations. Script and their mission by William McCarthy production Bill about on time. The board in question this programme was produced and recorded by the University of British Columbia Canada under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters This is the end. A radio network.
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The border in question
Ties that bind
Producing Organization
University of British Columbia
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores both tensions and amity between Canada and the United States.
Series Description
Documentary series on U.S.-Canadian relations, from a Canadian point of view.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Media type
Narrator: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Producing Organization: University of British Columbia
Production Manager: Valentine, Bill
Writer: McCarthy, William
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-57-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:58
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Chicago: “The border in question; Ties that bind,” 1961-12-05, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “The border in question; Ties that bind.” 1961-12-05. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: The border in question; Ties that bind. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from