Today in Canada's Political History - February 17, 1918: Sir Robert Borden meets President Woodrow Wilson at the White House

As the concluding year of the First World War got underway, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden was in the American capital on this date in 1918. His trip to Washington D.C. was an opportunity for Canada’s wartime leader to confer with British and American officials and military and political leaders.

“Sir Robert Borden, the Canadian premier, was presented to President Wilson today by Lord Reading, the British ambassador,” the American media reported. “The premier is here conferring with officials of the British and Canadian war missions regarding transfer of British credits here to Canadian account. Before going to the White House, Sir Robert said that the main purport of his visit was to discuss with American officials and Lord Reading ‘certain matters of common war-time concern to both governments.’ The premier thought it inadvisable to divulge any intimation of their nature until the outcome was assured.”

Wilson was the third American President that Borden knew. He also enjoyed warm friendships with Wilson’s predecessors William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosvelt.

Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist. He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy. A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.