- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 18 Jan 1951, p. 179-191
- Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield and Lady Tweedsmuir, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Lord Tweedsmuir
Russia's intentions. The British Commonwealth. The recent conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. Focus on the Far East. The most significant event in the last six years of Communism engulfing China and China in turn engulfing Tibet. Fighting in Korea, Indo-China, and Malaya. The concept of the "rice bowl" and what it might mean to India and Pakistan if this rice bowl moves into Russian satellites. Changes to the Commonwealth. Easternizing Western institutions. Decentralization of Government in Britain. The re-distribution of the white British race as one of the most pressing problems to be solved by this generation. Seeking to achieve a better balance. The Commonwealth becoming more important, and bearing more responsibility over the last six years.
A few words about Western Europe today. Two questions: "Has Europe the will and the power to unite for action in peace and in war?" and "What success will attend the creation of a European army and what will Germany's place be in that army?" Disappointment on this Continent that Western Europe has not yet managed to join together in a strict political federation. The speaker's feeling that Europe will unite to achieve a purpose in three main directions: in the field of military co-operation; in economics; and out of these may grow a political union. Some simple questions the whole free world should ask themselves: "Can the Free World do without Europe? Can the United States and Canada do without Europe? Can Europe do without them?" A universal "No" in reply to all three questions. A discussion follows. The situation in Europe, which has faced three great conflicts in the space of one man's lifetime. The need for Western Europe to have the confidence that the rest of the free world will stand beside her. Concern over France and Germany. The part Germany should play in a European Army. The duty of all the free nations. Leadership. What an individual may do. Opposing the challenge of Communism by arms and by faith. Making plain that if pushed to defend our way of life we will.
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- 18 Jan 1951
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"THE FREE WORLD PARTNERSHIP"
Two Addresses By BARON TWEEDSMUIR OF ELSFIELD AND LADY TWEEDSMUIR
Thursday, January 18, 1951
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. Sydney Hermant.
MR. HERMANT: Members and Guests of The Empire Club of Canada: This is a very special occasion. Lieut-Col. Lord Tweedsmuir and Lady Tweedsmuir are both going to address this meeting on "The Free World Partnership". Lord Tweedsmuir will discuss the Commonwealth aspect of the subject; and Lady Tweedsmuir, Western Europe.
The son of a famous and beloved Governor-General of Canada Lord Tweedsmuir was educated at Eton and Oxford. He served as Assistant District Commissioner of the Uganda Protectorate from 1934 to 1936, and in 1937 he came to Canada where he joined the Hudson's Bay Company. He spent the winter of 1938-39 in the service of the Company at Cape Dorset, in the Canadian Arctic. John Tweedsmuir, as he is known to his comrades, was first commissioned in the Canadian Army in 1939 and he served with the Canadians for the duration of the War. When the 1st Canadian Division went to Sicily Lord Tweedsmuir was appointed 2nd in Command of Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment--the Hasty-P's--and when his Commanding Officer was killed in action Col. Tweedsmuir took over command of the Regiment. Col. Tweedsmuir was seriously wounded in action and was carried off the field by his batman. Having recovered from his wounds he became G.S.O.1 on the staff of Sir Oliver Leece who succeeded General Montgomery as Commander of the 8th Army. Lord Tweedsmuir thus served as liaison officer between the Canadians and the British, a task for which he was admirably suited and which he performed with great distinction. For his outstanding service and valour he was twice mentioned in despatches and was awarded the O.B.E. When the Canadian Corps left Italy for North-West Europe Lord Tweedsmuir naturally accompanied them, and he was appointed Officer in Charge of Administration of Civil Affairs dealing with enemy captured materials, personnel, displaced persons and refugees. For this further outstanding service he was awarded the Order of Orange Nassau with Swords by the Netherlands Government. Although tempted to return to Canada at the end of the War Lord Tweedsmuir has said that he felt he could best serve Canada and the Empire by taking his place as a Member of the House of Lords, and he is the youngest Member of the Opposition front bench in the House. He takes an active part in the business community, being a Director of 8 Companies, and as a hobby is a Naturalist and Author of several works in that field. We honour him for his distinguished name, for his late Father who gave so much to Canada and the Empire; we honour him for his own outstanding record of service, and we particularly appreciate the statement that he made upon his arrival in Ottawa the other day when he said: "After all I feel that I am more than half Canadian for if you add up the years I was here with my Father, and the years that I served with the Canadian Army, they come to more than half my adult life". And so, My Lord, we say "Welcome Home, May you always so regard Canada". Col. Lord Tweedsmuir will speak on the Commonwealth aspect of the subject: "The Free World Partnership".
LORD TWEEDSMUIR: Mr. Hermant, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am indeed very grateful for the kind words that have been said about me. Unfortunately, there are only too many people here today, who knew me only too well. I wondered, when I came along today, whether my wife or myself would be speaking first, and I see you reversed the old principle of Ladies First, and I am rather relieved in a way. "Ladies First" grew up as a custom in Scotland in the Middle Ages. It was thought advisable to send the ladies first if there was any question of an ambush. And apparently on this particular occasion, there is no need to apprehend any such occurrence.
And indeed I feel that I am coming home when I come to Canada. It is not really a visit, this is just a glimpse. As Cecil Rhodes said, "So much to do, so little time to do it."
I see around me today so many people that I knew in the last war, men who were friends of mine and whom I have seen in every possible position and predicament, except one and that is in civilian clothes, as I see them for the first time today and long may they be able to retain them!
I would like to say, as President of the Canadian Veterans of the United Kingdom, how deeply grateful we are to every one in this Club who have so generously helped us to continue what The Canadian Army in England started in the war--the children's Christmas parties. They are so much appreciated by the children and by the people of Britain. Believe me, your kind generosity is being put to a most admirable cause, and the present position of the Canadian Veterans of the United Kingdom owes a tremendous amount to the energy, the keenness and the ability of a previous officer of this Club, and who, as is known to us all, is Major Jim Armstrong.
Now I feel, surrounded as I am by so many old friends and comrades, that six years have rolled back and I live again in the time which I so well remember, the days when one only too well understood the parable of the one-armed paper hanger, days when we shared every possible kind of quarters and not infrequently the confines of the dog house.
Well, I am going to discuss this exceedingly important subject very briefly; not that it is not of the greatest scope, but I believe the broad issues to be so plain there is no need to labour them, and also I cannot help remembering the instruction of my father's that "if you knew what you were talking about you could say it in twenty minutes, but of course if you did not, it took much longer."
It is difficult, when dealing with this subject, not to begin with the most popular of all unpopular subjects, the men who rule Russia. There can be no doubt left in the minds of any thinking man or woman that Russia intends to conquer the world, if possible, without firing a shot herself. She seeks to spread her system by a sort . . . of missionary creed, which is half a system of government and half of religion. It is a religion which so degrades the human personality that a man ceases to be a man and becomes instead merely a statistic. Well we can not say that she is not being mighty successful in the far Eastern half of the world. The world is a biggish place, and the British Commonwealth is scattered all over it, so that any event that happens anywhere necessarily affects it somewhere.
When you look at the size of this association of nations one draws a good deal of comfort from seeing that it embraces one-quarter of the world's people and a third of its land space, and when you add the people of the United States, our firm friends, you add another 140 million souls with a vast potential of production.
But let us always remember that mere size by itself means nothing. It is only when their resources are organized, when the brains of the best are put together to formulate a plan, that you really get results. And I don't think there can be any more striking tribute to that, since the war ended, than the success of that titanic operation, the Berlin Airlift.
You remember, as I said, that mere size by itself is nothing. It is quality that counts. One first class British brigade prevented Greece from going behind the iron curtain. It is making a plan together and putting our resources to the right use, at the right time, which matters.
Only two days ago Mr. St. Laurent returned to Canada from the conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. The attention of he and his colleagues was focused on the Far East, a part of the world on which a lurid and blinding light now beats.
For it is there that cold tide of the cold war moves like a furious tide race, and foams into China and Malaya and laps the shores of all the rest.
I don't think there has been a more significant event in the last six years than that Communism has engulfed China, and China in turn has engulfed Tibet. For many months past fighting has gone on in Korea and IndoChina. For several years it has continued in Malaya. And we can not see the Far East as a separate problem from other concerns. It contains a great part of the world's resources.
Furthermore in Indo-China, Burma and Siam there is what is called the "rice bowl". Rice is the staple of food for most of the Far East. If those countries fall into the hands of the Communists and that rice is diverted to Russia's Satellites, the outlook for India and Pakistan will indeed be a grave one. We can not, therefore, divide one part of the world from the rest and conveniently forget it.
It is not easy for the peoples of the West like ourselves to understand the peoples of the East, but learn to understand them we must. We run a race with time, a race that we cannot afford to lose.
Now between the West and the East there stands but one bridge, and that one long erected, and that is the British Commonwealth of Nations. That is the only association of humanity which understands the concerns and wants of the East and West. A few years ago, about four years ago, the Commonwealth meant something different--that you met round a very much smaller table. Every one of the nations there represented regarded, however distantly, Europe as their Mother Continent. Now that has changed. With India, Pakistan and Ceylon, those powerful nations of Asia sitting around that table, for every one Commonwealth citizen who has his roots originally in Europe, there are four now who do not. And these great countries, have taken over apparatus of government and of law and of the services built by ourselves. Are stemming in the main from our Western out-look and our Western religion. Now they have sole charge of these great organisms that we built up, and slowly and necessarily they are adapting them to an Eastern concept,--it is the first time in the world's history that anybody has found themselves in the position of Easternizing Western institutions. If they go too fast it is possible that they will damage that building beyond repair, but we wish them all good fortune in the task that confronts their leaders at this very moment.
As far as understanding goes, there is many a man here who was in the Canadian Corps in Italy who will remember it did not take us long to get to know and like those splendid troops from India and Pakistan then, who were with us on that battle field. Those allied armies in Italy form a very interesting study. Individually those nations were powerless. Collectively they were irresistible. The justification of any association is that the bundle is stronger than the sticks that compose it. Every one of those sticks could have been snapped by itself, but collectively that bundle wore out the strength of Hitler's war machine.
Now I have said a word to you about the East. Now a short word about the West. For many, many decades Government has been slowly decentralized from Britain: The decentralization has been complete. To a certain extent the decentralization of industry is going ahead, and Canada has leapt to the front rank of the industrial powers of the world. But one thing that is highly centralized, dangerously centralized, is what might be called the White British Race--5/7ths of them live in 1/90th part of their territories, and that not the richest part either. It is a circulation, this movement of population. One-fourth of the people living in Canada were born outside of it. A quarter of those born in it, live outside. I am informed on good authority that if no single human soul would have come in those intervening years, providing none had left, the population of Canada would be what it is today.
I believe the re-distributions of the white British race is one of the most pressing problems that our generation will have to solve. Do not let me give you the impression that it is simple. Nothing is more dangerous than oversimplifying great issues. My father once attended a lecture in the early 1900's, in which the lecturer was so foolish as to say when he alluded to South Africa, that all that that great country needed to go ahead was a better water supply and a better type of citizen, and a voice from the back of the hall said, "But surely, that is all that is wrong with hell."
I do not wish to over simplify this subject, but I think you would all agree with me that we must seek to achieve a better balance.
In bringing my remarks to a close and giving way to my better half, one thing I think is crystal clear in the world so distorted by propaganda, and that is that the Commonwealth in the last six years has not got less important, but vastly more so, and consequently that much heavier is our responsibility. People I think are now beginning to see a good deal of force in an association, which is the only league of nations that has ever worked. They are beginning to see something intensely mysterious and at the same time admirable, in a collection of nations who can be defined as being unforeign to each other, and who have arrived at a technique of co-operation such as the world has never seen before, but with which the world can do with a lot more. This derives from human sympathy far above the degraded comprehension of the men in the Kremlin, but something which has enormous force. The recollection of Canada's service in war is warmly treasured in England. England's admiration for Canada's present achievements is not less warm. When the inhabitants of Winnipeg were forced from their homes by the rising Red River, when fire seared Rimouski like a surgeon's knife, I do not think there was deeper sympathy for these unfortunate people than there was among their millions of well-wishers back in Britain.
I will bring my remarks to a close, by just saying that the Commonwealth has never been more important, and never had to carry a heavier burden. We are, as Edmund Burke said, "on a conspicuous stage and the world marks our demeanour." With that cement of that deep human sympathy we have withstood a lot in the past. We have been an anvil that has worn out many hammers, and if need be, we will wear out as many more, providing we do not allow that anvil to erode or rust through lack of understanding.
MR. HERMANT: May I say, Lord Tweedsmuir, that in this country the ladies have the last word.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are to hear from the other partner. Lady Tweedsmuir, daughter of Brigadier Alan F. Thompson, of Aberdeen, Scotland, was educated in England, Germany and France. Prior to the War she was primarily interested in Youth organizations and during the War she recruited a Red Cross Detachment and her home became an Auxiliary Hospital for Service patients. Lady Tweedsmuir was also a welfare supervisor in an Engineering Works in Aberdeen. In the general election of 1945 Lady Tweedsmuir unsuccessfully contested North Aberdeen, but at the by-election of 1946 she was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for South Aberdeen and retained this seat in the general election of 1950 with a record majority of 8,826 votes in a 3-cornered contest.
Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir were married in July, 1948, and have a young daughter. Lady Tweedsmuir is a Director of the British Film Institute. She was chosen to represent the Right Honourable Winston Churchill as a Delegate to the Council of Europe at Strasbourg. We are particularly pleased to welcome Lady Tweedsmuir to this meeting and we would hope that she, too, will come to regard Canada as "home". We know that she will feel particularly at home in Toronto, the seat of the only Conservative Government in the Empire. Lady Tweedsmuir will now speak on the Western European aspect of "The Free World Partnership".
LADY TWEEDSMUIR: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: I should like to thank you first, one and all, for your wonderfully warm welcome, and I hope and believe that you feel with me how hard it is to follow on after such a speech from my husband today.
This is my first visit to Canada. I have always wanted to come, and I am awfully sorry it is only what my husband described as a "glimpse", but there is an old saying that when you once get a glimpse of the promised land, it drives you on for ever and ever to the next visit.
Well now today I come to you as someone who does not know Canada at first hand, but who does, I think, know a little about it from second-hand from my husband, but he has told me some very strange things about you and your country. Perhaps you can best tell me whether they are true. For instance, he said to me that "I would have to know a Canadian very well before I found out what his surname was."
I feel also not entirely a stranger because I come to you as a Scot. And as I look around, I am reminded of the saying, "the Scotsman will gladly die for his country but he will not live in it."
I also come to you as a European, and it is for that reason that I wanted to say just a few words about Western Europe today, and you have done me great honour in asking me to speak. I feel that, whatever does happen in the Far East, that at heart we know that the great struggle will come in the West. And also, Mr. President, I think I am right in saying that Western Europe is the homeland of a great number of people in this nation today.
I think there are two questions which people have uppermost in their minds when they think of Western Europe. They say, first, "Has Europe the will and the power to unite for action in peace and in war?" And, secondly, they say, "What success will attend the creation of a European army and what will Germany's place be in that army?"
Well, now, first I am bound to say that I know very well that there is a great deal of disappointment on this Continent that Western Europe has not yet managed to join together in a strict political federation. Yet, while people may forget their differences in the free air of Canada, that is not so in metropolitan Europe. It is but a short time since the movement to unite Europe came after she was shattered after this war. Surely what really matters is not that you should have a signed piece of paper to mark your union, but that you should be able to unite together and achieve a purpose. I feel very much from experience, that Europe will unite to achieve a purpose in three main directions.
Firstly, in the field of military co-operation. Secondly, in economics.
Out of these may grow a political union, but it may not be the kind of strict political federation that many have in mind. But the first thing that matters is that you should unite for a purpose. Well I think it is military co-operation that is uppermost in everybody's minds, today, and I can only say that the appointment of General Eisenhower had a wonderful effect upon the Continent. It is for that reason that the Great Debate as it is called, which was stimulated by Mr. Hoover's recent speech as to the extent or absence of the United States in Europe caused very great concern upon the Continent, because people there really believed that after the appointment of General Ike that that issue was largely settled. Of course one quite well understands that the considered counsels from a distinguished Past President of the United States, and also from a respected Senator of today must naturally receive considered thought. But surely the whole free world should ask themselves some simple questions? "Can the Free World do without Europe? Can the United States and Canada do without Europe? Can Europe do without them?" I think we one and all would reply, "No" to all those three questions.
If we want to back up our argument by fact, it is not true that for the first time in recorded history it is now technically possible for one nation to become master of the world. For that same reason it is therefore technically impossible for us to seek to defend ourselves alone on our own shores.
It goes without saying that Europe must play a large part on her own, and people are naturally disappointed at what they feel is the indecision and the self-doubting of their own strength. Could we, however, not try to sense the political and human atmosphere there today? After all, in Western Europe, in the space of one man's lifetime there have been three great conflicts. Many countries have known only recently what it is like to be conquered, to have people living on your doorstep who are not of your race. People know from personal experience what it is like to have to go to the front and to have their homes bombed and family torn and destroyed. They also know, the 14 million people who are still refugees in Europe, what it is like to be stateless and to have no human rights at all. It is for that reason that you can understand why Western Europe so badly needs the confidence that the rest of the free world will stand beside her in this challenge which she must face. Therefore it is a very great inspiration for the confidence of Western Europe that the United States should accept the responsibility of living in the world, and that the Commonwealth is united with Europe too.
I know that there are many who are deeply concerned about France and about Germany, and I believe that when we try to think these matters out for ourselves that we could do no better than try to look into the heart and mind of the greatest living statesman today, Mr. Winston Churchill. He realizes perfectly well that in this era, he who is not with us is against us. Therefore in 1949 at the Council of Europe, he got the twelve free nations represented there to voluntarily invite Germany to take her seat at our Councils. In 1950 he realized that the one thing that Europe must do was to proclaim to the world that she is prepared and ready to defend her own land, and so he put forward that now famous resolution on the creation of a European army.
Many people quite naturally are deeply concerned as to the part that Germany should play in that Army, for there must be few people here who have not suffered at Germany's hands, and that is the same in Britain and throughout the Continent. But surely we must realize that the free world needs Germany. A nation of 80 million people with her history must always be a significant race. Wars have been and always will be fought in and around her country, and if we are agreed that we need Germany, then are we not also agreed that we need her now?
The part that Germany should play is Germany's choice: it is she who must decide whether she will contribute forces or not, and she is like someone wondering which of two insurance policies to take up. She is now, at this time, drenched in pacifism and nationalism, so I think perhaps it is not unwise if it is often made plain that no country in the heart of Europe can remain neutral. The experts tell us that Britain can not defend herself at the channel ports; she must defend herself as far East as she can, on the Elbe. Therefore any country in the heart of Europe will once more become a fearful battleground.
I believe the great thing which the Commonwealth wants to know is whether Britain means business. You, no doubt, often hear of our political arguments at home! We have a Socialist Government, I am a Conservative. We have many arguments and fights on the floor of the House of Commons, but underneath everything, the British people are the same, and on the great issues Britain does now, and always will, mean business!
Now I would say what is the duty of all our nations who are free? Surely it is to try and give leadership to Europe, because we dare not allow in Europe a void of accepted and acceptable leadership; but if we do fill that vacuum, those who hesitate or wonder, will throw in their lot in the end with us, I would like to quote the words of my father-in-law John Buchan. He said: "Leadership means courage and wisdom and a great carelessness of self."
I am always reminded of the fact that a speech to be immortal need not be everlasting. Therefore I would finish these remarks by saying: people often wonder what can I do? Most of us live very hidden lives, but surely every person has a great task in this battle in which we can all, by our actions, by what we say to each other, contribute to the moulding of public opinion. In a Democracy a Government can not act unless its decisions are based on the sturdy, informed and courageous public opinion of their country.
Therefore let us insure that nothing shall divide us long. Because many of us live on two continents, do let us be sure that the little things, the irritations, do not mount up into a public opinion which rends the great issues, because it is vital in the struggle that the free Nations maintain their concerted action. There is abroad an evil force which is dedicated to the proposition that none of us shall ever enjoy peace in our time, and it is a force that upholds a creed which is a negation of everything that the free world has learned in 5,000 years of recorded history. We must oppose that challenge not only by arms, but by a faith that is greater. We must make plain that if pushed to defend it we will go even to the awful sanction of war. Only then, can we with any honour, turn to the next generation and hand the future safely into their keeping.
VOTE OF THANKS, moved by Maj-Gen. A. Bruce Matthews.