Courtesy Reuters

President Nixon's visit to Ottawa in April was preceded by two White House pronouncements that made far more news in Canada than they did in the United States. On both occasions for quite different reasons the President's words struck Canadians as nothing less than fantastic. At a White House news conference on September 16, 1971, the President unintentionally made news from coast to coast in Canada by announcing: "After the Japanese were here I found that, both from the information they gave and the information we had ourselves, that Japan is our biggest customer in the world." Coming as it did hard on the trauma induced in Canada by the August 15 surcharge, the President's confusion of Japan for Canada as the best customer of the United States seemed to Canadians as all but unbelievable literally and disturbingly fantastic.

The second utterance, made on December 6, 1971, also got a billing of "fantastic" but this

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