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Who was the first Prime Minister to meet with an American president and what happened? Who was the first Prime Minister to meet with an American president and what happened?
Sir John A. Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald, was the first Canadian prime minister who, while in office, met an American president. Macdonald was a member of the British commission that went to Washington to discuss trade, especially fishing rights.

Macdonald, though prime minister, was the only Canadian representative on the British negotiating group whose task was to work out a deal between Canada and the U.S. And even then, the British appointed Macdonald reluctantly, according to the book The Presidents and Prime Ministers by Lawrence Martin.

Relations between Canada and the United States were dicey at best in those days because the U.S. president, Ulysses S. Grant, firmly believed that Canada should be annexed by the United States. Macdonald, who was Canada's first prime minister, and many other Canadians were vehemently opposed to such an idea.

When Macdonald arrived in Washington, he was not officially welcomed by Grant nor by any other U.S. official. During his eleven-day stay, Macdonald proved to be a lone voice in trying to protect Canadian interests. Neither the British nor the Americans were in favor of the suggestions he made to protect Canada's rights.

Grant was aloof for most of the visit and only met Macdonald twice, once to be introduced and another time to say goodbye. Macdonald apparently didn't think much of Grant either. Canadian history experts say Grant's views on Canada and his desire to take over the then-not-quite-four-year-old country may explain why the American president avoided anything more than a brief encounter with Macdonald.

Copyright © Randy Ray and Mark Kearney, The Trivia Guys.
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