Publication Title

Washington Law Review


Columbia River

Document Type



In a comprehensive study of the recent dispute between Canada and the United States over the Columbia River, Professor Johnson traces its history through the birth of the Harmon doctrine in 1898, the signing of the Boundary Waters Treaty in 1909, and the first Canadian claim to downstream benefits in the early 1950's. Against this background, he analyzes the negotiations and events—particularly the Canadian proposals to divert the Columbia into the Fraser, and to develop the Peace River instead of the Columbia—that culminated in the Columbia River Treaty in 1961. Before Canadian ratification of the Treaty, however, additional problems presented by the split between the Provincial and National governments had to be resolved. Their resolution brought about the signing of a Protocol with the United States in 1964, as well as ratification of the Treaty. Finally, Professor Johnson comments on the benefits accruing to each nation from the Treaty and its potential impact on future Canadian-United States relations.



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