Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969

Author: Richard M. Nixon  | Date: June 27, 1969

Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
June 27, 1969

Mr. Prime Minister, Governor Rockefeller, all of the distinguished guests, the Governors, the Members of the Cabinets of both Nations, the Members of Congress from the Senate and frown the House, and all of the other distinguished guests and those who have gathered here today for this very special ceremony:

I want to express, first, my appreciation to Governor Rockefeller for his very generous and warm welcome. It is good to be here in New York State again.

It is good to see this wonderful turnout in the interest of international friendship. And I particularly was glad to note that when the Secretary of State was introduced that the people from Norfolk [New York] were here to welcome him. Because I think, as you may know, Secretary Dulles 1 also came from northern New York; Secretary Rogers was born in Norfolk and grew up in northern New York State. I think you will be interested to note that while we commemorate 10 years for the Seaway today, this is also the 33d wedding anniversary of Secretary and Mrs. Rogers. So we give them our special greetings today.

1John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State 1953-1959.

Now, on this occasion, I realize, too, that we think of the closeness of our two countries, Canada and the United States. We think also of the speed of change, the fact that 10 years ago we were celebrating the opening of a Seaway, and that within a month we hope to see the landing of the first man on the moon.

I would only suggest that when Governor Rockefeller made his introductions, that perhaps he may have been a bit prophetic. Our two Nations are indeed close together. And when he presented Mrs. Trudeau, she might be out there on the American side here in this audience.2

2Prime Minister Trudeau was not married.

On this occasion, in trying to think ofwhat would be appropriate to say in presenting to you the Prime Minister of Canada, I think that ’the inscription which appears on the great installation in which we met just a few minutes ago is one to which I can refer.

Ten years ago when Queen Elizabeth, on this very day, met with me, after having met with President Eisenhower the preceding day on the Canadian side, she unveiled a plaque and that plaque set forth the common purposes of our two countries.

It pointed out that our frontiers are the frontiers of friendship; our ways are the ways of peace; and, our works are the works of progress and of freedom.3

3 The inscription, which appears on the international peace monument at the Robert Moses-Robert Saunders Power Dam, reads: "This stone bears witness to the common purpose of two nations whose frontiers are the frontiers of friendship, whose ways are the ways of freedom and whose works are the works of peace."

I think that as we stand here today, and we think of the United States and Canada—frontiers of friendship, ways of freedom, works of peace—that what we have done in this great cooperative venture is certainly an example for the world to follow in terms of the relations between nations.

Sometimes we just take for granted the fact that we have the longest unguarded frontier between two nations in the world. Sometimes we just take for granted the fact that our two countries have had a period in which we have fought together in war, in which we have worked together in peace, and in which we have been joined in really true friendship for over a century and a half.

But we should not take for granted these magnificent accomplishments. And this Seaway, which opened the heartland of Canada and the heartland of America, this Seaway which was conceived by men who dreamed of great .things and was put into being by men who were able to produce them, the practical engineers, this is an indication of what can happen when nations can work together, when they can be at peace with each other.

And today, as I walked with Prime Minister up this Avenue of Flags, with the flags of all the nations, and then the flags of Canada on the one side and the flags of the United States on the other, I was proud to be an American citizen,

I was proud, also, of the relations between our two countries and I am particularly proud today to present to you the man who heads the Government of our neighbor to the north.

It was altogether appropriate that the first official visitor to the United States of America, after my inauguration as President, was Prime Minister Trudeau, because our two countries are so close in the ways that I have mentioned.

And on that visit, he made a great impression on our Government officials and also on the American people. We are glad to have him back here today on what is, in effect, a semi-official occasion.

We welcome the Prime Minister to the American shore just as he will welcome me in a few moments to Canada.

And we can only say in welcoming him that we look forward to that continuing friendship which has produced so much in the way of progress in peace and freedom for the American Continent and the Northern Hemisphere of the great continent in which we live.

I am proud to present to this audience of Americans and Canadians, the Prime Minister of Canada.

NOTE: The ceremony began at 1:50 p.m. at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Lock on the Seaway at Massena, N.Y.

The President spoke following introductory remarks by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York. The Governor’s remarks are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, p. 922).

The remarks of Prime Minister Trudeau follow:

Mr. President, Governor Rockefeller, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I want to thank you, particularly Governor Rockefeller, for having invited us, so many Canadians both on and off the platform, to visit the State of New York.

This is a unique occasion. It is the first half of a ceremony, the second half of which will take place in Montreal, and which celebrates a truly unique event.

President Nixon reminded us that it was the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Seaway, but, also, the 10th anniversary to the day of his meeting with Queen Elizabeth on the Canadian-U.S. border 10 years ago.

The dream of a Seaway permitting the ships of the world to sail into the heart of the American Continent was a dream in the minds of men in these lands for many centuries; and, also, the dream, no doubt because of their industry, because of their inventiveness, the dream of harnessing the falling water from the Great Lakes falling towards the seas, this tremendous source of energy, which could be harnessed for the use of both nations.

This dream was realized thanks to the cooperation, not only of the Governments of two great countries, and of several of the Provinces and States therein, but thanks to the cooperation of the people of these countries and of the many institutions, public and private, on both sides of the border.

And, now today, 10 years later, we see the benefits of this—those who live along these shores see the ships of many nations. Ships of over 30 nations, I am told, will go through these locks and up and down these waters from faraway lands of Japan and Thailand and the Soviet Union, bearing cargoes as diverse as Scotch whiskey and soybeans.

This also resulted in the development of industries and, also, because the creators of this vast work were careful to preserve its beauty in the development of the tourist trade and more and more intensified exchanges between the people of the United States and the people of Canada.

But more than showing cooperation between two people for economic benefits, I think this great work, as the President said, has given spirit and imagination to the people of these two lands.

I remember when I was a boy in Montreal we used to say that Montreal was the harbor which was the sea-going harbor which was further inland of any sea-going harbor in the world, some thousand miles inland. And now I am sure it is the school boys and girls of the cities of Duluth and of the lake head, who are saying that of their cities some 2,000 miles away from the sea.

And this tremendous work of engineering, this tremendous work built on cooperation by two countries, symbolizes the unity and friendship between our two countries.

And I think it is proper that this ceremony should take place beside the lock named after General Eisenhower, because General Eisenhower will long be remembered in esteem by Canadians, those who remember the ceremony 10 years ago, and more still by those Canadians who followed him as the General to victory in Europe.

Another American we will remember, an American who is well-known, a poet, Robert Frost, who wrote a poem called "Mending Wall," and in which he tells of two neighboring farmers bringing stones from their lands and replacing them on the wall that has been a bit damaged by the frost swells during the winter. And they talked and one feels that perhaps they don’t need a wall so strong, so long, because they are friends. But one says to the other, perhaps to justify his work, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Perhaps it is also true, Mr. President, that good ditches make good neighbors. And this day is one which permits us tocelebrate the opening of this Seaway which unites our countries, and which is truly a marvelous ditch.

And may that ditch long run between our countries and insure the friendship of the people of the United States of America and of the people of Canada.


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Chicago: Richard M. Nixon, "251 Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway.," Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1048-1049 484–486. Original Sources, accessed July 24, 2024,

MLA: Nixon, Richard M. "251 Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway." Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1048-1049, pp. 484–486. Original Sources. 24 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: Nixon, RM, '251 Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway.' in Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1969. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1969 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1048-1049, pp.484–486. Original Sources, retrieved 24 July 2024, from