Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks to a Committee of the National Seaway Council.

December 09, 1938

I have always appreciated the support of the National Seaway Council in my efforts to assure the early undertaking of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Project. History shows that it has been the grand persistence of such organizations as yours which has ultimately enabled the country's leaders to overcome selfish opposition to great undertakings.

For many years it has been my sincere conviction that the St. Lawrence Project would prove second to none in its direct contribution to the economic welfare of millions of people on both sides of the border. It has seemed to me a logical continuance of the cooperation between two peoples which has afforded an almost unique example of the possibility of achieving peace among nations.

In my message of January 10, 1934, requesting consideration of the earlier treat)r, I expressed the belief that fears the St. Lawrence Project would work to the disadvantage of other transportation agencies were groundless. I am more than ever convinced of that fact today. In the vast system of interdependence of which we are all parts, selfishness works inevitably to the disadvantage of any group seeking to preserve its special position by blocking the opportunity of others to enjoy the full use of nature's resources.

The economic story of this continent is an extraordinary record of the extent to which stimulus to economic growth in one region reacts to the benefit of all. Any area which has grown in economic importance becomes a greater market for the products of other regions. More products are exchanged and all transportation agencies participate in the growing prosperity.

The two nations, Canada and the United States, share a great water resource which is today only partially used. Removal of the barriers to its full use for navigation will release millions of horsepower of cheap hydro-electric energy in sections in which the rapidly growing market for power will soon overtake present sources of supply. Failure to take advantage of this cheap power will not only tend to cramp industrial development but will force the substitution of more costly power with the resulting burden on consumers of electricity. In an age so dependent upon transportation and power, serious consequences will follow failure to anticipate future requirements.

In view of the importance of these considerations, I am hopeful of an early agreement between the Canadian Government and our own.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks to a Committee of the National Seaway Council. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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