Franklin Roosevelt and the Origins of the Canadian-American Security Alliance, 1933-1945: Necessary, but Not Necessary Enough

By Galen Roger Perras | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Terribly Serious About the Wrong Things: Roosevelt and the Decline of American Interest in Canada, 1942-1945

In 1974 Canadian historian J.L. Granatstein commented that the linking of Canada's economy to the United States during World War Two "might have been marginally acceptable to Canada if there had been an accretion of influence in Washington to offset it, but if such an intangible as influence can be measured, after mid-1941 there was probably an absolute decline." 1 Granatstein was correct. Canada's influence in the United States, never substantial, had declined dramatically after 1941; perhaps far more importantly though, American interest in the Dominion had fallen even more precipitously. Though Moffat warned in February 1942 that the American military's desire to keep "Canada outside their counsels is going to cost us dear for decades," and the American consul in Winnipeg cautioned that many Canadians believed that the United States had formulated secret plans to occupy much of northern Canada, 2 few Washington decision-makers heeded such concerns. Hickerson dismissed allegations of an American conspiracy to control Canada as "saddening," and though the State Department's veteran Canadianist expected to witness the rise of "some degree" of anti-Americanism occurring in Canada at war's end, in May 1943 he definitely thought that his nation's relations with Canada were "excellent." 3

Senior American officers heartily agreed with this assessment, although few were inclined to ponder Canada's strategic future even when prompted. In July 1942 Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy had distributed within the War Department an anonymously written memorandum that argued that because they had "devoted too little thought to our Northern neighbor," Americans had not recognized the existence of a "Canadian mind." Postulating that this continued American failure to cultivate

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