"CANADA - A WORLD PARTNER"
An Address by THE HONOURABLE PAUL MARTIN Minister of National Health and Welfare
Thursday, February 24th, 1955
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. James H. Joyce.
MR. JOYCE: We are honoured to have as our speaker today the Honourable Paul Martin, Minister of National Health and Welfare in our federal government.
Born in 1903 in Ottawa, Paul Martin obtained an honours Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Michael's College, University of Toronto in 1925. He taught there for the next three years while studying law. In 1928 he received his M.A. and graduated in law from Osgoode Hall, Toronto. Through scholarships, he subsequently attended Harvard University, where he received a Master of Laws degree in 1929; Cambridge University, England and the School of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.
Mr. Martin joined a law firm in Windsor on his return to Canada in 1930 and in 1934 became senior partner of the firm of Martin, Laird, Easton & Cowan. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1935 for the riding of Essex East in Western Ontario, and has represented it continuously since.
He has always taken an active interest in Canada's place in world affairs. In 1936 he was Chairman of the Canadian delegation to the World Youth Congress in Ottawa. In 1938 he was an official delegate to the 19th Assembly of the League of Nations.
He was Chairman of the Canadian Government delegation to the International Labor Conference in Philadelphia in 1944 and delegate to the 94th Conference of the I.L.O. Governing Body in London, England.
On April 18, 1945, Mr. Martin assumed his first Cabinet post as Secretary of State. On December 17, 1946, he became Minister of National Health and Welfare, his present post.
Mr. Martin has been a government delegate to three sessions of the United Nations, was first Canadian representative to the Economic and Social Council and a delegate to two subsequent sessions.
From this it will be seen that Mr. Martin is well qualified to speak to us today on the subject of "Canada - A World Partner".
MR. MARTIN: The other day the Atomic Energy Commission of the United States, through Mr. Strauss, informed the world that the force of the modern H-Bomb is 1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bomb used in 1945.
This, of course, staggers the imagination.
In the face of this, it is worthwhile recalling that tomorrow there begins in London a meeting of five men representing five nations to begin discussions on a matter vitally affecting the peace of the world, the question of disarmament.
The five countries and the men are: -Mr. Cabot Lodge of the United States -The Right Honourable Mr. Nutting, Minister of State for the United Kingdom
-Mr. Jules Moch of France
-Mr. Norman Robertson of Canada
-Mr. Andrei Gromyko, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.
There can be no doubt about the urgency of the need for solving the problems that harass the world. Unless they can be solved, the world now divided by argument could be torn to pieces by armed conflict. The choice before us is destruction or the dawning of a better day.
Last Fall at the United Nations we were encouraged by the very considerable progress made on the separate but related problems of disarmament and the peaceful use of atomic energy. The Canadian delegation was privileged to play a leading part in the negotiations on these two questions. In the matter of disarmament, the Soviet Union and the Western Powers, by their joint sponsorship of a resolution proposed by the delegation of Canada, agreed on a common approach to this difficult and vital problem.
While we had no illusions about the significance of this degree of agreement, it did seem to present some indication of a lessening in the tensions that now so tragically divide the world. Events during the past few weeks, in such far away places as Formosa and Moscow have provided a grim reminder, however, that the temperature of the international climate may change with dramatic suddenness.
In view of the great interest centering on the meetings about to begin in London of the Sub-Committee of the Disarmament Commission, it might be useful to review briefly some of the events leading up to this important development.
Two years ago the United Nations set up a Disarmament Commission. Last June a Sub-committee of this Commission met. On June 11, there was presented a set of proposals, known as the Anglo-French memorandum, which were accepted by four powers but rejected by the Soviet Union.
On September 30th in the General Assembly, Mr. Vyshinsky called upon the United Nations to conclude an international convention on the reduction of armaments and the prohibition of atomic, hydrogen and other methods of mass destruction. He announced at this time that the Soviet Union would not insist on an unconditional banning of atomic weapons before agreeing to a formula for the reduction of conventional armaments.
This was a complete reversal of the position that the Soviet Union had taken since 1946.
Following this speech, Canada decided to test the sincerity of this important declaration which, if genuinely put forward, represented an advanced position for the Soviet Union. We, therefore, proposed in the Political Committee a procedural resolution on disarmament. This Resolution was immediately supported by France, Great Britain and the United States and we invited the Soviet Union to join in co-sponsoring it.
In tabling the resolution I pointed out, as I do now, that armaments are a symptom rather than a cause of international tension. They are, as a great student of the art of diplomacy has indicated, primarily the reflection of international differences and only secondarily the cause of them.
Looking at Mr. Vyshinsky, I suggested "that any actions, however, which diminish international tensions and contribute to a real understanding in world politics are direct contributions to the solution of the problem of disarmament".
If the Soviet Union genuinely wished to make a real contribution to disarmament, permitting progress on such matters as the conclusion of a peace treaty with Austria would be a major contribution to this end, I reminded him. So would actions to grant a real, rather than a spurious national autonomy to those many European peoples, the control of whose destiny has in the past fifteen years been forcefully assumed by Moscow.
I said to Mr. Vyshinsky that the statement he had made on the 30th September was a heartening one. True we had been misled by Russia before, but could it be at long last that they had begun to realize the implications of the growing interdependence which technology is forcing on the human race? Or could it be because the men in the Kremlin had their eyes on the strengthening that was taking place in the defences of the West? In any event, Canada was making a proposal to reduce armaments, while, at the same time, joining with her sister nations of the West in making NATO stronger.
Mr. Vyshinsky called me on the telephone and, after meeting with our three co-sponsors, who selected Canada as their go-between, I agreed to meet with Mr. Vyshinsky. We had a series of talks - in his office, in my rooms and at our hotel. Thanks to the co-operative attitude of the three countries, and particularly the United States, I was able to make proposals which were finally accepted by Moscow.
As a result, for the first time the Soviet Union joined the West in a proposal which won, for the second time in the history of the United Nations, unanimous support on the part of its 60 member nations.
We had clearly indicated to the Soviet Union then that we were not going to make the mistake that the free world had made in pre-Hitler days. We were not going to disarm while a potential aggressor was arming. And so I said that a prerequisite of any disarmament system is certainly that no state should have cause to fear that its security would be endangered by the operation of a system of controls or any other feature of a like program.
When I reported on behalf of the three sponsoring countries that the night before Mr. Vyshinsky had told me of Russian acceptance of our amended resolution, I warned against hasty or irresponsible optimism. I indicated that there was still a great gap dividing us from the government of the Soviet Union. As a result of Mr. Vyshinsky's intimation to me the night before, the gap had been narrowed, but I warned, as I warn now, that facile optimism, or wishful irresponsibility, would be fatuous and could be a grave disservice to the cause of peace."
Likewise did I warn against cynicism or despair.
If the meetings beginning tomorrow should end in failure, the responsibility will not be that of the West. This important exercise of ours at the Ninth Session of the General Assembly did not in any way disturb the unity of the West or lessen the necessity for strengthening the collective security and the friendly partnership of NATO. For, as Mr. Pearson said, commenting upon the seeming inconsistency between what he had been doing in London and Paris, and what I had been doing in the United Nations,
"The fact that opportunities may now exist at the United Nations for negotiations in the disarmament field, as in other areas, is itself the best justification of the collective policies which we have been pursuing on the political and the security fronts in London and Paris."
As a result of the unanimous acceptance of this resolution, the Disarmament Commission met in the Security Council Chamber on the 19th November, 1954, at 2:30 p.m.
By a curious coincidence, Mr. Vyshinsky was the Chairman. It was practically his last official act at the United Nations. It was this meeting that arranged for the important discussions that begin tomorrow. After the meeting, I walked over to him and acknowledged the accommodation extended in our mutual discussions and, putting my hand on his arm, I expressed the hope that we would succeed. Almost the last words I remember him saying were, "I hope so too". He died shortly after.
The Ninth Session of the General Assembly is notable for its achievement of another unanimous resolution: on President Eisenhower's proposal for a plan to develop atomic energy for peaceful and constructive purposes.
The United States has given a lead and the Government of Canada has indicated its readiness to support and participate in the plan. It now remains to be seen whether this new-found power of modern science will be attended by a statesmanship that would divert atomic energy from potential human destruction to the alleviation of the wants of mankind. Here again, the answer is to be found in the hearts and minds of the men in the Kremlin.
If we want peace in the world, we will have to work for it. And intelligent, patient and painstaking work it must be. Never was there a time when the challenge to human initiative was greater than at present, and never a time when the consequences of failure more terrifying. And so, through the United Nations and other instruments for international co-operation, we must keep up a steady attack on all the tiny roots and sources, the aggravations and misunderstandings that can lead to conflict.
If war is to be eliminated by getting at its roots we have to think of far more than the actual prevention of physical strife. We have to think of far more than the reduction of armaments. We have to think of far more than the control of atomic energy. In short, we have to think of all the possible sources of those irritations and disagreements that can lead men to seek recourse to armed conflict.
We are only beginning to realize how wide a field we have to cover. The field is almost the full range of human activity. These problems, whether they be in the social, political or economic fields, will call for the very best that trained minds and dedicated hearts can give.
As we look back over the recent course of these troubled years we should see he one essential face - not the difficulties, the setbacks, the obstacles-but the distance covered. For I believe that progress has been made during the past nine years. I believe that the United Nations has helped to foster the logic of world co-operation against the deeply ingrained instincts of dissension and war.
What we must steadfastly seek is an international climate that is more conducive to friendly agreement when just and equitable solutions to the world's problems are put forward. It is no easy task to harmonize the complex and divergent ambitions, desires and ideals of sixty member nations. But, through persistent trial and patient effort, the United Nations has already found peaceful solutions to disputes that in other times would almost certainly have ended in conflict. In this time of peril, I earnestly believe that, given intelligence, understanding and forbearance on the part of men of good faith, the United Nations will yet find a formula for lasting peace.
In closing, let me recall that this week has been set aside throughout Canada as National Brotherhood Week. During this annual observance, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews urges all Canadians to direct their thoughts towards the essential brotherhood of all men, regardless of race or creed or colour. As a citizen of the great cosmopolitan city of Windsor, with its rich medley of peoples, I have special reason to know the value of tolerance and mutual respect in the pursuit of human relations.
The Empire Club of Toronto, which takes its name from history's most successful association of free nations, is a singularly appropriate forum for the expression of the ideal of brotherhood in the community, national, and international sense. For in the Commonwealth, as in the Empire before it, there has been nurtured a genuine partnership among men of many continents who share a common devotion and a common love of freedom and justice.
Forty-eight years ago, when this Club was but three years old, the present Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Winston Churchill, described the essence of the Empire's strength and of its unity in these memorable words:
"We ... who look forward to larger brotherhoods and more exact standards of social justice, value and cherish the British Empire because is represents, more than any similar organization has ever represented, the peaceful co-operation of all sorts of countries, and because we think it is, in that respect at least, a model of what we hope the whole world will some day become."
This vision of a better world is still a shining source of inspiration and encouragement to the peoples of the Commonwealth and to all who share with them the determination to advance the cause of peace and brotherhood among the men and nations of the world.
THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Mr. Marvin Gelber.