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St. Lawrence Seaway

 

Though the idea for the St. Lawrence Seaway dates back to the late 1800s, it was not until May 13, 1954 when the Wiley-Dander Seaway Act was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower that this important waterway became a reality. The Act authorized the U.S. government to work jointly with the government of Canada to create a deep-water 114-mile navigation channel in the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Ogdensburg, New York. The seaway enabled large ships and tankers to sail directly from the Atlantic Ocean to Duluth, Minnesota on the Great Lakes. The completed seaway resulted in lower costs for shipping goods to and from the Midwest.

Letter, Acting Secretary of Defense Foster to Senator Tom Connally concerning Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff support of the St. Lawrence Seaway, February 25, 1952 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)

Letter, Senator Alexander Wiley, Wisconsin, to General Eisenhower concerning U.S. participation in the St. Lawrence Seaway, December 30, 1952 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Memorandum, Sen. Wiley to Gen. Eisenhower concerning St. Lawrence Seaway, December 30, 1952 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

"U.S. Costs under Senator Wiley's St. Lawrence Seaway Bill (S.589)" [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Memorandum, Attorney General Herbert Brownell to Sherman Adams concerning Department of Justice opinions on the St. Lawrence Seaway, c. February 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter, the President to Senator Alexander Wiley, February 6, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter, Secretary of Defense Wilson to Sherman Adams concerning Department of Defense views on St. Lawrence Seaway, February 19, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Memo stating support for St. Lawrence Seaway from Departments, March 11-12, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter, Congressman Alexander Wiley to Sherman Adams concerning Seaway bill, March 17, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter to Secretary Dulles from Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada, L.B. Pearson, concerning St. Lawrence Project, March 24, 1953 [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 32, St. Lawrence Seaway]

Memorandum for Legislative Meeting on the St. Lawrence Seaway, March 30, 1953 [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 32, St. Lawrence Seaway]

Memorandum for the President from Secretary of State John Foster Dulles concerning St. Lawrence Project, April 1, 1953 [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 32, St. Lawrence Seaway]

Agenda memorandum for members of the PJBD - Canada-U.S. concerning the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, April 2, 1953 [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 32, St. Lawrence Seaway]

Letter, Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson to Sherman Adams concerning Department of Defense views on the St. Lawrence Seaway, April 6, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Memorandum regarding April 13-17, 1953 meeting of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense (PJBD), Canada-United States concerning the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 32, St. Lawrence Seaway]

"A Report to the National Security Council by the NSC Planning Board on National Security Interests in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes Seaway Project," April 16, 1953 [OSANSA, NSC Series, Policy Papers Subseries, Box 5, NSC 150/1]

Memorandum for Sherman Adams from Walter Bedell Smith, Acting Secretary of State concerning attached memo on foreign policy aspects of St. Lawrence Seaway, April 20, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter, the President to Senator Alexander Wiley concerning national security interests in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes Seaway Project, April 23, 1953 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter, Major General Guy Henry, Chairman, U.S. Section, Permanent Joint Board on Defense to the President re St. Lawrence Waterway, April 23, 1953 [DDE's Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 32, St. Lawrence Seaway]

Senate Bill S.2150, provides for creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development, January 6, 1954 [White House Records Office, Reports to Pres. on Pending Legislation, Box 19, 5/13/54]

Letter, Arthur Radford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Senator Homer Ferguson concerning S.2150, creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, January 18, 1954 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Press Release, remarks by the President, Senators Wiley and Ferguson, and Congressman Dondero at the signing of the St. Lawrence Seaway Bill, May 13, 1954 [White House Records Office, Reports to Pres. on Pending Legislation, Box 19, 5/13/54]

Letter, Congressman George Dondero to the President concerning St. Lawrence Seaway project, May 13, 1954 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Letter, President to Congressman George Dondero, Michigan, concerning St. Lawrence Seaway, May 20, 1954 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 696, OF 155-D-1 1953 (1)]

Memorandum, "St. Lawrence Seaway -- Great Lakes, Channels and Harbors," January 4, 1956 [Office of the Staff Secretary: Subject Series, Alpha Subseries, Box 23, St. Lawrence Seaway (1)]

Memo for Governor Sherman Adams from Rowland Hughes regarding connecting channels, January 5, 1956 [Office of the Staff Secretary, Subject Series, Alpha Subseries, Box 23, St. Lawrence Seaway (1)]

Memorandum for the Record, meeting of Sherman Adams and Secretary of the Army Wilbur Brucker concerning the St. Lawrence Seaway, August 20, 1957 [Office of the Staff Secretary: Subject Series, Alpha Subseries, Box 23, St. Lawrence Seaway (1)]

Memorandum for the Record, meeting of Sherman Adams, Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson, Secretary of the Army Wilbur Brucker, Secretary of the Treasury Robert Anderson, Bureau of the Budget Director Percival Brundage, Bryce Harlow and Andrew Goodpaster concerning responsibility and administration of the St. Lawrence Seaway, September 18, 1957 [Office of the Staff Secretary: Subject Series, Alpha Subseries, Box 23, St. Lawrence Seaway (1)]

Press release by the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation concerning the "Wiley-Dondero Canal" and "Bertrand H. Snell Lock" Honor Sponsors of Seaway, February 10, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 697, OF 155-D-1 1958-60 (1)]

Memcons regarding the opening ceremonies, February 11, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, Confidential File, Box 65, St. Lawrence Seaway]

Letter, Lewis Castle to Thomas Stephens regarding the opening ceremonies, May 13, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 55, PPF 1 F 107 St. Lawrence Seaway]

Letter, Lewis Castle to the President regarding facilities inspection, July 11, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 55, PPF 1 F 107 St. Lawrence Seaway]

Itinerary for the President's inspection trip, July 11, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 55, PPF 1 F 107 St. Lawrence Seaway]

Letter, the President to Lewis Castle, July 12, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 55, PPF 1 F 107 St. Lawrence Seaway]

Secret Service report regarding the tentative visit of the President to Messena, New York in June 1959, November 12, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 59, PPF 1 F 123 St. Lawrence Seaway Celebration]

Telegram, Canadian government to U.S. Secretary of State, November 18, 1958 [Office of the Staff Secretary, Subject Series, Alpha Subseries, Box 23, St. Lawrence Seaway (1)]

Memo, Clarence Conger to Thomas Stephens with proposed ceremonies schedule, November 19, 1958 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 59, PPF 1 F 123 St. Lawrence Seaway Celebration]

Memo, John Foster Dulles to the President with proposed plans for the opening celebration, January 15, 1959 [Office of the Staff Secretary, Subject Series, Alpha Subseries, Box 23, St. Lawrence Seaway (2)]

Press Release, official opening ceremony by President Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II in Montreal, May 20, 1959 [DDE's Records as President, Official File, Box 697, OF 155-D-1-A Inland Waterways, St. Lawrence Seaway Celebration]

Letter, Queen Elizabeth II to the President, May 27, 1959 [DDE's Papers as President, International Series, Box 17, Queen Elizabeth II 1952 to date (2)]

Time schedule for the opening ceremony, June 17, 1959 [DDE's Records as President, PPF, Box 59, PPF 1 F 123 St. Lawrence Seaway Celebration]

Letter, the President to Queen Elizabeth II, June 29, 1959 [DDE's Papers as President, International Series, Box 17, Queen Elizabeth II 1952 to date (4)]

Letter, the President to John Diefenbaker, Prime Minister of Canada, June 29, 1959 [DDE's Papers as President, International Series, Box 6, Canada (4)]

Letter, Lewis Castle to President Eisenhower enclosing receipt of first toll assessment of the St. Lawrence Seaway dated April 27, 1959 [Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Museum Manuscripts Transferred to the Library, FY 73, Box 1, Castle, Lewis G.]

Images in the audiovisual collection

Secondary sources on this topic include:

St. Lawrence Seaway by Clara Ingram Judson, Follett Publishing Company, Chicago, 1959.

The St. Lawrence Waterway: A Study in Politics and Diplomacy by William R. Willoughby, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1961.

The Seaway Story by Carleton Mabee, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1961.

Report to the Congress of the United States: Audit of Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation for the Period July 1, 1959, through December 31, 1960 by the Comptroller General of the United States, January 1962.

For additional information please see:

St. Lawrence Seaway Subject Guide