February 27, 1911 (11th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)


I would like to read a paragraph from a letter written by Mr. J. A. Macdonald, the present editor of the Toronto ' Globe, and published in the Stratford ' Herald,' of the 21st inst. I propose to read one paragraph of the letter, and then to ask only one question:
(1) Reciprocity had absolutely nothing to do with my going to Washington a year ago. After the close of a certain libel suit in which I was defendant I sought change and rest. On my way to Atlantic city I dropped off at Washington for a day or two. My presence there would have been unrecognized had not the newspaper men dragged me into the discussion of the American-Canadian tariff situation, then at an acute stage. Once in I made the most of it, and got good newspaper copy for the ' Globe.' I saw Aldrich, Cannon, Lodge, Dolliver, Champ Clark and Secretary Knox. On the third day President Taft sent for me. We discussed tariff matters with a great frankness. He expressed an earnest wish to meet Sir Wilfrid Laurier or some member of the Canadian government at Albany, and asked me to prepare the way. That evening I left for Ottawa. The only man who knew of these things was Ambassador Bryce, with whom I was in daily conferense. Not until I reached Ottawa did Sir Wilfrid know. So far as I am aware he knew nothing of my movements. Therefore, when Col. Hughes charged in parliament that I was the ' unofficial agent ' of the government he spoke a falsehood.
La Jolia, Cal., Feb. 18, 1911.
I would like to know from (the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier)) whether or not that was the first communication with respect to the tariff [DOT]negotiations between this government and the government at Washington.
SiT WILFRID LAURIER. The brief communication that the government had. was from the President of the United States, inviting Mr. Fielding to meet him at Albany. Mr. Macdonald is right in saying that up to the time of the interview, there had been no communication with him whatever or anybody else.

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