John F. Kennedy photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Diefenbaker of Canada.

February 20, 1961

PRESIDENT KENNEDY and Prime Minister Diefenbaker met today in Washington to discuss informally a wide range of international problems as well as bilateral questions of interest to the two countries. The Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, and the United States Ambassador-designate to Canada, Mr. Livingston Merchant, assisted in these discussions together with the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Mr. Howard Green, and the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Arnold Heeney.

The President and the Prime Minister welcomed this early opportunity for a friendly exchange of views between neighbors, in a tradition consistent with the long and intimate association between the peoples of Canada and the United States.

The President and the Prime Minister reviewed defense and security problems in all their aspects. They reaffirmed their purpose to work together for peace and freedom in the world. They expressed their readiness to cooperate wholeheartedly with all countries which sincerely seek this objective whatever the differences in approach or outlook. They recognized the central importance of the United Nations, as well as the essential role of direct diplomatic negotiation, in the pursuit of peaceful settlements. They agreed on the need to work steadily toward effective agreements under international control in the field of disarmament.

In reviewing the bilateral problems between the two countries, emphasis was placed upon the various consultative arrangements of a formal and informal character which have been developed between the United States and Canada as a valuable supplement to the traditionally close and friendly relations between the two governments. The President and the Prime Minister noted with satisfaction that joint meetings are about to take place in Canada between members of both houses of the federal legislatures of the two nations.

The President and the Prime Minister re-emphasized the importance of close consultation on economic matters. They announced that the joint United States-Canada Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs will meet in Washington, D.C. on March 13. This joint Committee at Cabinet level has been of great value over the years in furthering understanding between the two governments on questions affecting economic relations of the two countries.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Diefenbaker of Canada. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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