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Each. Year at all. Hello. I've been asked to say something awful or start talking on this program. Oh ared statement it says 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. The border in question. I'm Bill McCarthy and I'm the writer and narrator of the series. In this program I thought we would depart from the format of the other programs that we have been doing and make just a little bit more informal. The subject of
this particular program which incidentally. Gone out to sea to do is water treatment in which we hope to live. Examined some of the problems arising from International Water Rights International that is in respect of the United States and Canada and we are going to put special emphasis on the Columbia River and the conflicting views of territorial sea limits and fishing rights. Later on in the program some of the people that are most concerned with this problem your account of it will be cut in on take. Now I think before we begin we should have some background to this whole problem of water in the Canadian-American really seen. Anybody that looks out of an atlas or a map of the two countries will see that nearly one third of the international border between the two countries is water the same large sea clay and the Great Lakes and transect nor crossing the border of many
places are international rivers. No going back right to the time when the United States decided it didn't want to be a colony of Britain any longer and no one blames them for that. We find that trouble was developed almost immediately for example during the peace conferences between Britain and the newly born United States. The Americans where very concerned lest they lose their fishing rights their traditional fishing rights on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. And we can understand that this anxiety. But the Americans went further and they said now that they were separate they still insisted on their right to fish with in the three mile territorial sea limits of the then British North American colonies which are now Canada.
And this became a very bitter bone of contention between the British and American look negotiators. Now John Adams one of the American negotiators made it a very very strong move plead for these rights to fish within the three mile territorial sea limits of the British North American colonies and to give an idea of just how strongly he felt about this. Let me read what he said during the negotiations and I'm quoting from the document. Indignantly he said if we are forced off it three miles or three leagues distance we should smuggle eternally. That there are men of war and might have the glory of sinking dollar and then a fishing schooner. But this would not prevent a repetition of the crime. It would only inflame him and irritate and through all restraints and conquer them from them in the island of Newfoundland itself and Nova Scotia to
Britain at the time was heartily sick of this whole business with the American colonies. And not only that it was if it wanted to become friendly with the United States and so they agreed to allow the Americans to fish within the three mile limit. Well this is to this day given a great deal of trouble later on in the program we will look at Canada's desire to extend the three mile limit to 12 miles and the American refusal and objections to this added to this loop was brought up in 1958 in 1960 in the international sea laws conferences. But I would like before we go on too far for that to go back to. Holland Canada and the United States settle some of their differences over water rights with the establishment of the international joint commission
this commission that was set up specifically to handle international water boundary problems. And it was set up in 19 0 9 which was. But if you think I think that was above six years following the Alaska Panhandle dispute anyone that heard any of our early programs may realize what a source of irritation this was to Canada. I think I mentioned but. I did know that not Atlantic fisheries was a perennial dispute between the two countries the United States and Canada. But in 1910 This Not That led to fisheries dispute was not submitted to a special tribunal of impartial jurors but to the Court at The Hague.
Incidentally this is the same court which the United States had rejected for settlement of the much disputed Alaskan boundary dispute in 1993 and later counted her Newfoundland Newfoundland wasn't then a province of Canada had the satisfaction of seeing their principal arguments respecting the convention on the North Atlantic fishing rights which would be trying to make you know 18 and which the United States had not agreed to Solveig Hague court accept and accepted and confirmed. No perhaps I should bring this thread up to date because this is a bit of old history and go back will maybe only three or four years when a special mission set up by President Eisenhower known as the Hades coffin mission to look into Canadian American relations made a report to the United States. And this one particular part of the report refers to fisheries. And this is what they say in many of our recommendations meaning the
haze cockin the recommendations the action we suggest involves a greater degree of forbearance on the part of the United States than of Canada in fisheries the reverse is true in the current dispute over extending jurisdiction beyond the traditional three mile limit. We are inclined to urge more forbearance on that part of Canadian interests. We fear apart from the fact that economic and trade patterns have long been based on the three mile concept that attempts to a search of wider range of purely national jurisdiction would turn back the clock in the dramatically successful era or rather era area of fisheries cooperation. This of course refers to Canada's desire to extend the territorial sea to 12 miles. These proposals Canadian proposals were brought out at two conferences on the international law of the sea. One in nine hundred fifty eight thousand nine hundred sixty the United States. Oh polled used
the Canadian contention on some reasonable grounds I believe one of them is purely defense. As it is pointed out that if every country extended their sea limits to 12 miles bodies of water such as the Mediterranean would be reduced to a series of small inland lakes and rivers. Seriously can Twitter tale naval operations. However there is another aspect to this which the Canadians feel about very strongly and that is that American fishermen are now able to fish closer to Canadian shores then are Canadian fishermen. And this is because Canada has strictly applied conservation measures and as a result while Canadians are forced to follow conservation measures American fishermen are not obliged to do so by pushing out the 12 mile limit.
They would be able to enforce conservation. Incidentally I remember talking to Canadian Ministry of the minister of fisheries at one point when he told me that the only way he could handle the Americans at one point was to construct Canadian fishermen on the what's called to go out and fish. The Americans Well these are some of the disputes on the seas but we mentioned earlier that there are also rivers which cross the borders international rivers and of course we all think now the Columbia River which has given rise to some of the sharpest domestic policy political arguing in recent times in Canada and it has given rise to a certain amount of strain between Canada and the United States. You may have heard how the the Canadian minister of justice sharply criticized an American Minister for
interfering in Canadian domestic politics. What are the merits of this. As far as the fact remains that up until the end of 1961 the long sought for Columbia River treaty which had been signed by both the prime minister Diefenbaker of Canada and President former President Eisenhower of the United States had not been ratified by Canada. Now I think that because this is such an important issue to both countries that we should in this off the cuff talk that we're having to go back and look at the beginning of that dispute. People on both sides of the border probably don't can't follow this Columbia River dispute quality dispute dispute I probably has a more domestic dispute than between
Canada the United States. It concerns the Columbia River which flows between Canada and the United States rises in Canada and flows across the border into the United States on the United States. And there are many many big hydroelectric and conservation projects such as the Grand Coulee Dam. The problem that faces the Americans is that they want to develop this river further however they are faced with the problem of the shortage of water at one time of the year and in abundance at another time. This is the flooding that occurs and what the negotiations were about were to dam the Canadian section of the river to control this flooding. Now we have a recording here of the Honorable Lee Davy Fulton the Canadian Minister of Justice who negotiated the treaty with the United States. And so the question that was put to him when we made this recording
was how long had negotiations been going on between the United States and Canada on the Colombia where you could swear that back to 1940 for our run rate two governments repaired to the Internet where they can make for a project the middle of January that is of a calamity. The rep of the bee then there was simply to steady and produce a report on what projects could best be built to make the maximum use of the waters of the river system and the instructions were to disregard the boundary but simply to prepare a series of projects which between them would make the best use of the word. There was no question referred to the idea at that time of the proceeding with respect to sharing the benefit. However during the course of these discussions then with Narcan as chairman of the Canadian fiction to whom we had a great deal in this matter developed the concept that there should be what are called downstream benefits to be shared between the two countries. That is to say that benefits arising on one side as a result of construction on the other
should entitle the upstream country to it to a share of those benefits. He put forward this concept during the course of the IGC studies the Americans of course never accepted it. This was a situation that happened in 1956 when the former prime minister referred to the directors of the government of United States the problem of making an intergovernmental agreement for the sharing of the records of these of these rivers. As a result of the then minister of Northern Affairs and a team of officials went to rushing to abet the fact is that they never got anywhere because the Americans at that time were not even prepared to discuss the concept of downstream benefits or the sharing of benefits that was the situation when we took office in 1957 that our first task then to persuade the American government that they should recognize this concept of downstream benefit as a result of about a year and a half two years of negotiations with the American government and 57 to the end of 58. We
were able to get them to agree to refer to the IJA once more a separate question that drives the question of what principle should be applicable to the share in the benefits arising on this river. Perhaps I should break in here and mention that in regard to the American concept of downstream benefits there was a bit of confusion I believe in American philosophy on rivers. As a result of something called the Harman doctrine the Harman doctrine it was briefly stated in probably oversimplified least I'm oversimplified by stating that it simply said that a an upstream country could not be deprived of its use of water simply to protect a downstream country. This the Americans have told me is a matter of fact. A lawyer with the American State Department a former legal advisor to the State Department said Bickley Harman
doctrine had never ever been a policy of the United States. Fact remains though today the Americans insisted that it be written into the International Boundary Waters Treaty and or some. Similar to it and the Canadians It is reported of course we have no way of knowing this. We're able to use this stick against the Americans. Now that Canada was the upstream country now the problem developed not as a result of relations between the United States and Canada but because of relations between Ottawa the capital of Canada and Victoria the capital of Kurdish Colombia. In 1960 late in 1960 prime minister different take on President Eisenhower signed the Columbia River treaty. However when Mr. Diefenbaker came back to Canada he found that the Premier of British Columbia was would not grant him the
necessary water licenses to dam the Columbia River in British Columbia. And this was absolutely necessary before any work could start. Prior to this however the Canadian government had no idea that the British Columbia government would take the attitude that it subsequently did. And we have here now is one or two recordings of people that were involved in the negotiations the triangle of negotiations between the United States Canada and British Columbia and the first one is the. The finance minister of Canada Mr. Fleming. But I wouldn't wish to make any specific comment or say we're reviewing them or in these discussions the discussions have covered a very broad range of aspects of all of the proposals. There are some features of the proposals naturally that
are common to all. There are some basic considerations that must be brought to the point of common ground in relation to any of the proposals. But I will say that we have had a very thorough and comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the financial proposals that have been put forward by either the government of British Columbia or the federal government. So as far as the Columbia River was concerned if I may use an outrageous pun everything was going along swimmingly and the prime minister and his colleagues didn't have any reason to expect any problem to reinforce this. Let's listen to a recording of the attorney general of British Columbia made sometime before this dispute became a dispute.
For the next move is being made right now. We have technical advisors with the Canadian negotiating team in Washington bringing together the final dots in the treaty making problem itself. We can't go anywhere without a treaty and therefore the treaty is the first thing to be concluded. And then he was asked by a reporter the attorney general of British Columbia was asked did he think that an agreement was possible or could be arrived at easily. Regarding financing. Well I don't think there's too much basic disagreement auto law has been given an offer of assistance which the premier of a province has indicated is an expensive offer from our standpoint. He has also gone on to say that British Congress stands ready willing and able to get on with the Colombia development so that there is no basis for any lack of agreement.
The reporter then asked Mr. Bonner if British Columbia the province of British Columbia would be prepared to go ahead with financing the Colombia development by itself. Yes we've given careful thought to that and it would appear that the Columbia financing would not present major problems over the period of the construction which is about. Nine years from from start. With this background one reporter suggested that the prime minister of Canada must have greeted the Premier of British Columbia's treatment of the treaty with Popeye and incredulity. He just couldn't believe that Victoria the capital of the province could take this attitude after having been in on all the negotiations. In any event as it turned out the province of British Columbia was having second looks at this Colombian deal. First of all they thought it might be a good idea to south holler to the United States were developed
in Canada. Now this is contrary to federal policy since the early 1900s Canada has a policy of not exporting power to the United States. And this is for the very logical reason that having once done it they were unable to get the power back once when they needed it. However the province did have its points and we recorded earlier statement by the Hon. re Willesden the minister of lands and forests of the province of British Columbia. There's no controversy here insofar as financing is concerned a tall pretty Columbia government has desired to get for our people the same terms from the federal government as have been given on other projects across. Canada. When we have attempted to do this. We have been accused of attempting to delay the project on the Columbia. It's estimated that
this initial phase will cost some 450 million dollars and will take approximately 10 years to complete and certainly the financing the financing. Four hundred fifty million dollars in 10 years is not an insuperable burden for the province of British Columbia or the beach. The Power Commission. There's absolutely no delay in the financing. There is no question that it will not be financed. The only question is at the moment is how much support we're going to get from the federal government. They've offered us half of the funds we require at Marketplace. Right. But when 8 percent and quite frankly we don't think this amounts to any effort any operation at all. And if this is the best that we can anticipate and expect then certainly British Columbia does not think it warrants too serious consideration. This is not a problem. It's not insuperable. It's not holding up the development of the Colombia the project will go for it. We have the ability to
proceed if the federal government has to create differently than has been the case. But out there you know there are other types of projects and I think part of Canada. Meanwhile the United States was understandably becoming somewhat impatient with this back fence haggling between the junior government of Canada and the senior Government of Canada and it was suggested on officially that the United States might decide to forget the whole treaty if Canada couldn't settle there Canadians couldn't settle their disputes among themselves. But leaving aside for a moment the question of controversy which gets a bit boring after a while. Let's go back to the minister of justice Mr. Falk and are recording where he was asked how many projects are involved in the Colombia on both sides of the river and where these
projects are. I would later fry their B3 project a dam at the outlet it out of a lake at BAM at the outlet of Bengal lake at or near the Abbot of Bengal lake at the head of the lake and starts grabbing at make a creek at the proper bend of the Columbia River. Not to mean that damage is done by the arrow make them and there will be a total of seven thirty nine thousand acres flooded with some twenty eight thousand could be called the arable the value of the land is estimated at the moment to be in the order of 2.3 million dollars and the buildings on the land some four and a half million dollars. Sure but what we want to know is just what are these downstream benefits. Canada would get one half of all increased power production made possible on the United States side of the border as a result of the control flow made possible by Canadian story. The total increase power production at American
plant made possible will be in the order of 12 billion kilowatt hours per annum of which Canada share will be something in the order of six and three quarter billion kilowatt hours for em. Well that's some of the background. Most of the experts feel that kind of his internal differences will be settled and that Canada will ratify the Colombia treaty. This whole question of the relationship between Canada and the United States regarding water is probably exemplifies all Canadian relations. Here we find the International Joint Commission and other commissions similar to it are able to negotiate a potential danger spots in the relations between nations. And paradoxically setting out here midway between the United States and Canada on a wide wide lake
paradoxically in the Columbia River controversy the controversy was not between Canada and the United States. It was a controversy which was a Canadian internal controversy. This program was 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. The nine in the series the border in questions. This is d n a e b Radio Network.
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The border in question
Water treatment
Producing Organization
University of British Columbia
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the issue of international water rights.
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
Writer: McCarthy, William
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-57-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:57
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Chicago: “The border in question; Water treatment,” 1961-12-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “The border in question; Water treatment.” 1961-12-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: The border in question; Water treatment. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from