The St. Lawrence Seaway-Power Project

August 3, 1932

Report Outline
The Sr. Lawrence Project in the 1932 Campaign
St. Lawrence Seaway and the Treaty with Canada
New York State and the St. Lawrence Development
The New Treaty and Chicago Drainage Diversion
Economic Aspects of the St. Lawrence Project
Special Focus

The Sr. Lawrence Project in the 1932 Campaign

Signing of a treaty between the United States and Canada at Washington, July 18, 1932, incorporating an agreement for joint development of the St. Lawrence project, presaged inclusion of that long-discussed plan among the issues of the presidential campaign. A week before the treaty was signed, President Hoover refused to confer with Governor Roosevelt regarding division of costs between the federal government and New York state of the work in that section of the river where power is to be developed. Roosevelt sought to reach a complete settlement on this point prior to conclusion of an agreement with Canada. Hoover declined to consider it until the treaty had been signed and ratified.

While opposition to the St. Lawrence project as a whole is not expected to be widespread, two main points of disagreement are likely to be stressed in campaign speeches and at hearings of the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which is to consider the treaty during the fall: (1) Failure of the administration to arrive at a full understanding with New York authorities on the power phases of the project similar to that already reached in Canada between the governments of the Dominion and of the Province of Ontario; and (2) dissatisfaction in Illinois over the treaty provision limiting the amount of water to be diverted from Lake Michigan into the Illinois waterway connecting Chicago with the Mississippi River.

The old controversy over alternative routes, which dominated discussion of Lakes-to-the-Ocean project in earlier years seems largely to have subsided. The weight of economic and engineering opinion favors the St. Lawrence route. Emphasis upon the larger power potentialities of that route appears to have helped reconcile the people of New York to abandonment of the plans they advocated for construction of a Lakes-to-the-Hudson ship Banal. Although echoes of the former controversy will doubtless be heard, future consideration of the waterway from the standpoint of New York will in all probability turn chiefly upon the power aspects of the development.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
St. Lawrence Project
Mar. 14, 1951  National Security and the St. Lawrence Project
Jul. 02, 1947  St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Development
Mar. 08, 1941  Revival of the St. Lawrence Project
Aug. 03, 1932  The St. Lawrence Seaway-Power Project
Energy and the Environment
International Energy Trade and Cooperation
Regional Political Affairs: Canada
Water Resources