A Distinguished former United States Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Livingston Merchant, was recently quoted as saying, "Canada is more important to the United States than any other single country." This will startle the average American who thinks of Canada-when he thinks of it at all-as a land of snow, wheat, "Northern Dancer," tourist camps and discontented people who speak French.

Americans would do well to think a little more often and more deeply about their relations with the fast-developing country to the north that lies between them and the Soviet Union-relations which involve partnership on the continent and coöperation in the wider world. At this time, when the United States is entering upon a period of renewed leadership in international affairs under President Johnson-leadership for peace, security and progress-Canadian developments, both domestic and international, can affect the burden of responsibility which the United States is carrying.

Barely 18 months ago I had the privilege of meeting with President Kennedy at his home in Hyannis Port to review the state of relations between our two countries and to discuss broader international issues which were current at the time. I recall his remarking then on the number of changes which could be foreseen on the world scene as a result of predictable retirements, elections and other events then known to be impending.

In the short interval since that meeting more drastic changes have taken place than could have been contemplated at our meeting, including his own tragic and lamented death. Through it all, we Canadians have shared your sorrows and your anxieties. Like you we have attempted to appraise the significance of developments in Europe and in NATO; of the assertion of a growing economic and political role by the "developing countries" of Asia, Africa and Latin America; of the brusque and unexpected change of leadership in the Soviet Union; and of the display of an atomic potential by Communist China. One thing which has remained unchanged amidst the changes has been the close coöperation between our two countries and the continued need for such cooperation. Much may change but this will remain. Our interdependence may not be equal in both directions. But it is there, and it should be appreciated by Americans. This in its turn requires an understanding of what is going on in Canada.


A great deal has recently been written and said both in Canada and abroad about what have been described as Canada's current problems of national unity. The fact that we have a "national" problem has come as a surprise to most Americans who tend to think of Canadians as a steady, sensible, rather unexciting people with few problems. Surprise often leads to exaggeration of what has happened. There is an impression in some quarters that divisions between the two founding peoples of our country, the French- speaking and the English-speaking, are jeopardizing the very future of Canada as a nation; that Quebec is on the point of breaking with the rest of Canada in anger and violence. This is a long way from the truth of the matter, but it makes for exciting reading.

Canada is a very big country, bigger than its neighbor. Yet its geography is very different from that of the United States. Canada has become one country despite geography and not because of it. Most of the Canadian population and nearly all Canada's economic activity, except that related to primary and extractive industries, are concentrated in a relatively narrow ribbon of varying width and density along the United States boundary over a distance of some 3,000 miles. In addition, there are natural features which lend a certain intrinsic coherence to each of several distinctive parts of the country. The Atlantic Provinces are a geographical unit separated to a degree from the rest of Canada by the eastern seaboard states. Forest, river and rock tend to separate the industrial heartland of Ontario and Quebec from the flat expanse of the Prairie Provinces. The Rocky Mountains lend to British Columbia a certain splendid isolation. These geographical conditions have tended to inhibit the rather free- wheeling movement of people from one part of the country to another, which has long been characteristic of the United States population.

In recent years movement between one part of Canada and another has become more commonplace as transportation improved, wealth increased and business and industry developed more complex patterns. But regionalism has remained strong. The position of the French-speaking part of the population should be viewed against this general demographic background and not solely in terms of its own particular linguistic and cultural origins.

Our French-speaking citizens possess a civilization and culture which is French both in its source and in its quality. Yet they are completely Canadian. After the original Indians and Eskimos they were the first Canadians. They were the first people from Europe who chose to inhabit and colonize the northern part of our continent. They built a complex and flourishing society in the valley of the St. Lawrence which over the centuries has acquired a true quality and character of its own-a character in which heredity has blended with environment and which, while different from that of neighboring Ontario, is essentially Canadian.

French-speaking Canadians are to be found in the west and in parts of the Maritime Provinces (and indeed in neighboring New England), but the great majority live in the Province of Quebec. In this Province, a great forward movement is taking place in the economic, social and cultural fields. It is a vital movement, and basically encouraging. Naturally, it has important political implications.

The leaders of the Province of Quebec want the widest possible responsibility and opportunity to assist the people of their Province to move ahead. They seek a more widespread recognition throughout the whole of Canada of their language and culture as an essential element of the national life. Separatism within this French Canadian nationalism is a minority movement to which the government of the Province is opposed and which has no significant political identity. It has, however, provoked a certain apprehension among some Canadians, and not only English-speaking, that Quebec's aspirations may prove excessive and lead to national division. This is part of our present problem. Nevertheless, these manifestations of change must be seen in perspective and should not be distorted beyond their actual importance.

The size and status of the French-speaking population and their new feeling of confidence and progress give Quebec's aspirations a special significance at the present time. But in the last analysis I think that the hopes of the Province are not greatly different from those of the people of other regions and other Provinces for a better life and fuller expression of it. I believe that they will become an integral though a distinctive part of the aspirations of the vast majority of Canadians everywhere for a genuine Canadian spirit in a united Canada.

The national spirit which now exists has been fostered in recent years by improvement and diversification of the means of communication between the various regions of the country. The national news of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, publicly owned, is as likely to carry across the country a report of a speech in Alberta as of a conference in New Brunswick or a celebration in Quebec. The Canada Council-a public body-supports artistic and cultural activities and exchanges in all sections of the country. But there is nothing exclusive or, I hope, narrowly nationalistic about all this. Whatever may be done to encourage Canadian identity and thinking, we shall never be lacking a full flow of ideas and creative expressions-good or bad-from across the border. This we welcome along with the development of Canadian talent and thought, much of which we would hope might be of a quality which in turn would be able to make an impact on the United States. We do not want a hot-house culture but we do aim at one capable of surviving and thriving on its own merits.

The policy of the Government of Canada is to maintain and strengthen Canadian national unity. It is part of that policy to recognize that the Canadian people have two main national origins; that Canada today is a multi-racial society; and that history and geography have endowed us with a diversity in which an effective federal system of government alone can give significant unity. To this end the present Government of Canada is supporting a policy of coöperative federalism which is designed to ensure that the Federal authority has both the constitutional capacity and the financial means to discharge its responsibilities to the nation as a whole; and that each of the Provinces has the constitutional capacity and the financial means to discharge its responsibilities to its people and to its municipalities. These basic issues, which are common to all federal systems, receive constant attention at both the political and the administrative levels. At the present time we are also taking steps to reinforce the basis of our national life, perhaps somewhat belatedly, by adopting officially a distinctive national flag and anthem, as well as by working out a method through which the Canadian constitution may be amended in Canada and thus become formally, as well as in fact, a truly Canadian constitution. While such measures as these may be largely symbolic, they are none the less significant on that account. The underlying facts reflected in such symbols can be of profound importance in the development of a national feeling and identity.


These are some of our basic national preoccupations. Canadians are also, as always, preoccupied with their North American neighbor's policies and performances. This was true a hundred years ago when, at the pre- Confederation conferences in Charlottetown and Quebec in 1864, anxiety about the United States-and its continental intentions-was a dominant unifying consideration in the minds of the participants, an impelling reason for bringing the colonies together. Today Canadians are still preoccupied with their powerful neighbor, although perhaps in a different way, as we realize that our two countries are becoming increasingly interdependent.

Of course, Canadians are more aware of this than Americans, While in recent years there has been an encouraging increase in the degree of attention given in the United States to Canadian developments, there is still much room for improvement. A few Americans know Canada well, but many do not know it even a little. This irks us. Indeed a major irritant in our relations with the United States is the tendency of some Americans simply to take Canadians for granted. Most Canadians, on the other hand, know-or think they know-the United States intimately. They certainly have ample opportunity to acquire such knowledge-often the kind that doesn't enhance the reputation of a country. United States publications and radio and T.V. programs command a very large audience in Canada, and our own media carry a great deal of news about the United States. Your recent election-to say nothing about the World Series-was watched with as much absorbed attention and in as much detail throughout Canada as it was in the United States. We are almost always conscious of your existence and of what you are doing. There would certainly be no dissent in Canada to the obverse of Mr. Merchant's statement-that the United States is more important to Canada than any other single country.

The links between Canada and the United States are many and various and strong. These links range from complex joint defense arrangements to membership in the same professional societies and service clubs. Our people come and go and often stay. They move from one country to the other in vast numbers and for a host of personal and business reasons. The volume of our bilateral trade is the greatest in the world. Incidentally-though it is more than an incident for us-your transactions with Canada give you a large surplus in your current balance of payments with us. United States investment in Canada is on a very large scale indeed, and a great many Canadian companies are associates or subsidiaries of United States firms. There are also some instances of substantial Canadian investments in the United States. On the inter-governmental level and through various types of intergovernmental machinery, there is an almost unique pattern of consultation and negotiation on the whole range of bilateral questions which continually engage official attention either specifically or generally. In short, a very special and close relationship exists between Canada and the United States with respect to matters of common interest, which excludes very little.

One such matter is the concern of each country in the sustained economic growth of the other. The Canadian economy is so closely geared to the much larger economy of the United States that economic trends in Canada are more deeply influenced by trends south of the border than is the case of any other country. This is a basic fact of life for us. The United States, for its part, clearly has a great interest in economic trends in Canada-its largest customer-where so much United States capital is invested and where so many of its products are sold. It is satisfying that at the present time the economies of both countries are exhibiting sustained momentum with relatively high rates of employment. Last year the Canadian G.N.P. rose 6.6 percent in value terms and it will probably increase by 8 percent this year. This sort of performance reflects hard work and wise management by Canadian producers, and sound economic policies on the part of the Canadian Government.

In the months ahead, as in the past, the United States and Canadian Governments will together be concerned with a whole range of economic questions-some of them specific, others, such as balance of payments and the broad terms of trade and investment, touching the national interests of both countries and related to the whole texture of international economic life. In the latter field the Canadian Government, like the United States Government, is at the present time particularly interested in a satisfactory outcome of the current GATT negotiations aimed at achieving a substantial and equitable reduction of trade barriers so as to expand world trade, which is of the greatest importance to the Canadian economy.

In the field of Canada-United States economic relations, within the limits of existing international arrangements there has already been recognition by both governments of the need for each country to follow economic policies which take account of the interests of the other. Joint studies and consultations are already under way concerning the general principles of our coöperation and the problems of particular industries, such as the automotive industry. I am hopeful that this may lead to further progress in the avoidance by each of action harmful to the other and in positive arrangements to promote growth on a rational basis.

In the development and utilization of the natural resources of the North American continent, there are many encouraging possibilities. At our meeting in 1963, President Kennedy and I reaffirmed our governments' desire to coöperate in securing the best use on a broad basis of such resources of the continent as oil, gas, strategic metals and minerals and electricity. Similar views were expressed in my friendly conversations with President Johnson at the beginning of 1964. Both governments have an interest in moving toward a freer flow across our common border of basic materials and commodities of this kind. Each of us can often do better by coöperation than either could do separately to advance its own interests. We should, I think, be more conscious of the great advantages of such coöperation and should make more of our opportunities to promote it.

In the use of water resources, there is a long history of cooperation between Canada and the United States, going back to the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and the establishment of the International Joint Commission. The two governments are continuing to make good use of that Commission which now finds itself with more current business than ever before. The most significant development in this general field since the St. Lawrence Seaway project was the conclusion last September of the Columbia River Treaty. This was a major breakthrough-after years of frustration-in the field of coöperative arrangements between the United States and Canada for the management of waters flowing through both countries and for the development of hydroelectric power from those waters for the benefit of both countries.

I can state with assurance that it is in no mean or narrow spirit that we Canadians view our association with Americans as we face the challenge of the development of a continent of which both our peoples are the inheritors. It is a challenge as new and complex as ever faced our pioneer forefathers. In meeting it together, each country has to protect its national interests. But that need not stand in the way of working together for mutual advantage. The national interest can only benefit from such cooperation. It could also suffer from a lack of it through timidity or prejudice. We are bound to be aware, always, of your disproportionate power and your world responsibilities. I hope you will be aware of our growing strength and our determination not to confuse coöperation with absorption.


As Canada and the United States look outward, the difference in power and responsibilities between the two countries is as apparent as in our relations with each other. The United States is a superpower in the classic sense. While some Americans occasionally flatter us by giving the impression that our country should accept responsibility, more nearly parallel with theirs, the fact is that Canada has to relate such responsibilities to her resources. We are not in the middle, or neutral, on the big issues of peace, freedom and security, but we are a middle power in the sense that we do not have the military or economic strength to exercise a decisive influence on those issues. At the same time, our record in two wars and at the United Nations has shown that we are capable of making a sturdy and effective contribution to a common cause and of working in a responsible and constructive manner with others toward the solution of international problems. We accept obligations even if we cannot determine developments.

Canada played a leading part in the formation of the NATO alliance and from the outset has been a strong advocate of the development of an Atlantic community embracing North America and the European nations from which came the forebears of most Canadians and Americans, We believe in this concept, but we would lose interest if it degenerated into merely an old-fashioned military alliance directed by three or four of its most powerful members. Meanwhile, the armed forces which we contribute to the NATO shield in Europe bear witness to our determination to continue to bear our share of the burden of collective defense, so long as it is genuinely collective.

At the same time, in the troubled years since the last great war, Canada has developed a special interest in international peace-keeping in many of the world's trouble spots and has played a leading part-with men, equipment, money and ideas-in the effort to make peace-keeping activities effective. The concept as it has developed under the auspices of the United Nations is by now familiar. What it involves, in essence, is international action to contain local or regional disputes and to create the conditions in which solutions can be negotiated at the political level. I think it is generally recognized that these peacekeeping functions of the United Nations are vital if the organization is to play its appointed part in the maintenance and, indeed, the enlargement of peace and security. The readiness, even eagerness, with which countries have called on the United Nations to help keep the peace in an emergency is the best evidence there can be of the increasing extent to which our aspirations for peace and security are being focused on coöperative action through the world organization.

But here, as in other areas, the means at the disposal of the United Nations have not always been adequate to the responsibilities it is being called upon to assume. If these responsibilities are vital, as we think they are, more will surely need to be done to equip the United Nations to keep the peace. Some countries, including Canada, have already set aside standby units within their national forces which can be made available for service with the United Nations. Others have responded readily with men and equipment, with transport and funds in the successive emergencies with which the United Nations has been faced. Last November a conference of 23 nations with experience in United Nations peace-keeping operations was held in Ottawa, at the invitation of the Canadian Government, to enable representatives of these countries to compare experiences, to survey the problems that have been encountered, and to see how, individually, they can improve their response to the United Nations in future situations requiring the service of an international force. Of course, any policy decisions with respect to the U.N.'s peace-keeping capacity can be taken only in and by the United Nations itself. I hope that progress may be made here, but it will be difficult in an atmosphere of cold-war and neo-colonial suspicion.


Peace-keeping cannot be separated from social and economic development. A world half-rich, half-poor will never be a world at peace. So within the United Nations and outside it, Canada, like the United States, is actively concerned with the economic and social conditions in the developing countries. It is not simply a matter of economics but of something which has had and will continue to have a fundamental bearing on the stability and security of the world in which we live. It is a question both of human brotherhood and of enlightened self-interest. The leaders of the materially less developed countries want to give their people a better way of life and to bring to them the benefits of modern science and technology. We must do what we can to help them. In Canada, we are already channeling a growing volume of assistance to the less developed countries. The Canadian Government was recently able to announce a 50 percent increase in the Canadian foreign-aid program, which now amounts to just under $200,000,000 a year-a substantial figure in relation to our resources.

However important foreign aid is, and will remain, as a means of assisting the economic development plans of the less developed countries, there is no doubt that in the longer term these countries must also be enabled to earn more of their resources for development from trade. Every practicable technique must be brought to bear on the problems of the less developed countries. I see this as one of the major problems that we shall have to face over at least the next decade or two.

As Canada and the United States face these and other international issues, each may with good reason have confidence in the other. Canadian views on specific issues are not always the same as those of the United States. There is not always a complete identity of interest between them, nor will there be in the future. This is because, over the years, we have been developing our own character in Canada, our own external interests and our own judgments, just as the United States has developed its. While we must never ignore the heavy world responsibilities of the United States, we feel bound to speak with our own voice on any problems which are of concern to us. We like to know what our big partners are doing, especially our neighbor. This, however, should not be cause for disquiet. Canadian interests in fact run parallel to those of the United States over a very wide range of problems, and our two countries have a fundamentally similar outlook on world affairs. I remember John Foster Dulles once saying to me, a little impatiently, that he would not want to have me along if he was playing golf because I would undoubtedly ask to be consulted every time he was about to putt. He accepted with good grace my reply that I would only interrupt him if he was using a "nine" iron instead of his putter.

In the period ahead I am sure that our two countries will be able to work together closely and effectively. No doubt we shall continue to judge each other more critically than we judge anyone else because we usually expect more of each other; and we know that our friendship is strong enough to stand the test of criticism. What is essential is that we show understanding and respect for each other's views and recognize the overriding interest which each of us has in good relations with the other. That is my concept of how we should coöperate in the period ahead when undoubtedly many changes will occur and many difficult decisions will be required. In that spirit we will continue to give the world an example of good neighborhood.

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