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Telegram to the Governor of New York Concerning the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Projects.

September 27, 1945

[ Released September 27, 1945. Dated September 26, 1945 ]

Honorable Thomas E. Dewey

The Governor of the State of New York

Albany, New York

This is to acknowledge receipt of your telegram of September nineteenth with reference to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Projects.

I am sure that you are aware of the fact that I have been and still am in favor of constructing both the Seaway and the Power projects; and was happy and proud to vote for them on December 12, 1944 when I was Vice President-elect but still a member of the United States Senate.

I continue to be enthusiastically in favor not only of the development of the St. Lawrence Waterway but also of the water power on the river. I also continue to believe very strongly that the necessary power facilities should be built by the Federal Government and turned over to the appropriate New York State agency in accordance with the agreement recommended by the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army and the Power Authority of the State of New York dated February 7, 1933. This was the program of President Roosevelt, and I have always been in favor of it.

A group of Senators interested in these same objectives, composed of Republicans and Democrats, have been holding meetings to discuss the best means of obtaining these results. I am informed that you have been kept fully advised about these conferences as they have progressed. The conferees have been advising with my representatives as to the best manner to bring the proposals to a successful conclusion in the Congress of the United States.

Inasmuch as it is a legislative matter, I am inclined to follow their ultimate conclusions on the best means of avoiding continued fruitless discussion and of getting some early, definite action toward accomplishing both of these objectives. It is the early construction of the project-both power and seaway--which will benefit the people of New York and the Great Lakes area, and not the form of any particular bill.

As you know, I have always been, and still am, ready to cooperate in any way I can to have the Congress of the United States ratify as soon as possible the Canadian-American agreement of March 19, 1941 for the development of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin, and also take the appropriate steps to transfer to the State of New York the ownership and management of the St. Lawrence power facilities at the International Rapids.

I am not so much interested in the details of legislative procedure; nor do I feel that it is proper for me to interfere with the sponsors of the legislation as to the legislative procedure to be followed. I am, however, most interested in the ultimate objectives which I am sure you wish to attain just as I do.

Copies of this telegram are being sent to the interested Senators and to the members of the New York State Power Authority.


Note: Governor Dewey's telegram, released with the President's reply, stated that he had been informed that the President intended to sponsor a bill which would merely ratify the international agreement for the development of the St. Lawrence and completely omit the accord between the Federal Government and the State of New York for the development of its power resources. The telegram further stated that it had been suggested that the President would urge an amendment to the bill, after introduction, to permit the inclusion of the Federal-State accord.

Governor Dewey stated that he was opposed to this procedure. "If the Federal-State accord is ultimately to be part of the bill," he added, "in fairness to the committee members considering it and to the vital interests of the people of the State of New York the accord should be a part of the bill from the very beginning."

The telegram concluded with a statement that copies were being sent to interested Senators and members of the New York State Power Authority.

Harry S Truman, Telegram to the Governor of New York Concerning the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Projects. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231148

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