Britain in 1971
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 7 Jan 1971, p. 181-195

Hayman, His Excellency Sir Peter T., Speaker
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What is happening in Britain in 1971. A list of major events in Britain over the last 25 years. The role of countries the size of Britain, and the size of Canada in 1971. Some characteristics of the British which have not changed over time. Some of the problems currently faced by Britain and how they might affect Canada. Entry into the European Community: reasons for Britain to join. Remarks on Canada's attitude to Britain going into Europe. How such an entry can be an opportunity for Canada. Comments on Europe and European defence. The Singapore Conference and Commonwealth problems. The Simonstown agreement and the provision of maritime force of arms. Relations with South Africa. Two ways of dealing with South Africa. Words about Britain's economy, the Heath Government's economy. Anglo-Canadian relations.
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7 Jan 1971
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Full Text
JANUARY 7, 1971
Britain in 1971
Ladies Day
CHAIRMAN The President, Harold V. Cranfield
GRACE Rev. Dr. Ross K. Cameron, D.D., C.D.


Your Excellency, Reverend Sir, Mr. Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen it is my honour on behalf of the Empire Club and the Royal Commonwealth Society to welcome you to what I understand is the occasion of your first public address to a Toronto audience. It is always a pleasant task to rewrite an introduction of a speaker because he has received honour and recognition by the Queen. In my brief term of office this is the second time this has occurred. The earlier occasion was when Mr. Charles Hardie became Sir Charles Hardie. I was delighted therefore to be advised on New Year's morning as we were paying our respects to the Lieutenant Governor that you, sir, were on the Queen's Honours List. All present I am sure join in our congratulations. Our speaker, who shares his natal day with Mrs. Cranfield, establishes by that alone that he is a person of great gifts and a man of destiny. (I will give you the day, June 14th, but you would not wish me ungallantly to reveal the year?) He was educated in a prep school where his father was Head Master and later at Stowe in Buckinghamshire. It is a new but very excellent school, as you might well expect, where birching may not be a practice. There may have been some special occasions in which the axiom "spare the rod and spoil the child" was tested. The result, in any event, came out to everyone's satisfaction. He completed his formal education at Worcester College, Oxford and has been a career diplomat of unprecedented success ever since. He was released from a Home Office appointment in order to take up arms in World War II, so his life has been entirely in Government Service in war and peace. This has been spent in the Ministry of Defence, with N.A.T.O., with the British Embassy in Belgrade, Malta, Baghdad, New York and Berlin. In the latter post he was the Minister. In 1966 he was appointed UnderSecretary of State in the Foreign Office. This responsibility was enlarged in 1968 when our guest was promoted to Deputy Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when these were amalgamated. There is much more I could say in this introduction but this modest man has requested brevity by these words, "Please make this bit short."

His recent appointment to succeed Sir Colin Crowe as our British High Commissioner is one for which he came prepared; for his deputy undersecretary post at the Foreign and Commonwealth Services held him responsible for policy both in North America and in the Middle East. By his wise counsel and skill at negotiation, he served the British Government with distinction.

We share the advantage of friendship, he and I, with the Senior representative to Europe of one of Canada's great railways. Our mutual friend advised me of his Excellency's appointment and was observant enough and gallant enough to suggest that we should declare this to be a Ladies Day in order to give ourselves the privilege of meeting Lady Hayman whom my informant advised is (quote) "Absolutely charming," (end of quote). I am pleased indeed that it was possible because of some highplaced assistance in British-Canadian relations here at Toronto to see his suggestion followed and I am confident that I speak for you all.

Our speaker has permitted me to prepare you for today's topic by his disclosure that it was to be about Britain's role in the world of today. In anticipation of the Heads of Commonwealth Governments meeting in Singapore in Mid-January, we have all been anxiously concerned that the Commonwealth will come out of it stronger and not destroyed. The very purpose of the Empire Club is to (quote) "promote the interests of Canada and the British Commonwealth by the consideration and discussion of subjects and events relating thereto" (end of quote).

So, today's meeting touches on a subject intimate and important to all of us here. We are pleased indeed to welcome your Excellency to his first ambassadorial post and I present to the audience:

His Excellency Sir Peter Telford Hayman, K.C.M.G., C.V.O., M.B.E., British High Commissioner to Canada whose topic is: "Britain in 1971."


Thank you very much indeed, Dr. Cranfield, for that very kind and warm introduction to me. You said two other things to me: (a) I should be about twentyfive minutes; and that I will endeavour to be; and (b) that I should stick close to the microphone. That I will try to do but I have a habit of walking around when I feel passionately about something and as a matter of fact I feel passionately about Anglo-Canadian relations.

Sir, it is indeed a great honour to appear before the Empire Club and the Royal Commonwealth Society in the presence of the Premier of Ontario. It is a great pleasure and honour that he should be here with us.

Empire-Commonwealth. I personally hope that none of you, and of course you don't, wish to have any kind of embarrassment about those words. It seems to me that the historical associations between Britain and Canada, which are all an integral part of the Commonwealth, and the fact that the Empire (although we may be greatly daring and call it the "British Empire") has in fact brought great numbers of people along the road to freedom over the years and so I don't think that any of us should perhaps join with the rather modern fashion to raise eyebrows about those words and I hope we won't.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am very conscious as I stand here of my predecessors, all of whom, I think, when they first come to Toronto have addressed this audience. I think particularly of that exciting person Joe Garner. I think also of that very lovable man Lord Amory, who used to have a phrase when he was in Ottawa. It was described as "going to Toronto." That meant he was in fact going to get on a Trans-Canada bus, look in on Toronto and then go all over Canada and get to know probably more Canadians than any other of my predecessors. And then there is my immediate predecessor Colin Crowe, who was almost my closest friend at school, although I did stand rather in awe of him then and continue to do so since he became head of personnel department and therefore responsible for our future. As head of personnel department he was wise enough to appoint himself here but alas for all of us for only two years. So it is following those people that I want to address you.

My last visit is very, very sharply etched in my memory and it was when I was following my then boss, Michael Stewart. We were all air sick in the airplane coming down from Ottawa and you may not have realized it, those of you who listened to Mr. Stewart, but he had sat in the airplane waiting patiently to dictate the last version of his speech to somebody or anybody and found no one to dictate to and in fact he prepared his final speech just before he addressed you. Then there was that little matter of Biafra which he, of course, thoroughly enjoyed dealing with, as I am sure you all recognized.

What was extraordinary, being here in 1969 and coming here again at the end of last year, was the fantastic changes which took place in Toronto even in that year. You have been described, rightly I think, as the fastest growing city in North America and this is very clear to outsiders like myself who come here.

When I was here at the end of the year I had what was to me a very exciting discussion with Mr. Robarts who told me very clearly and gave me very clear instructions to bring as many visitors, British visitors--interesting visitors--to Toronto as I possibly could. That is what I will endeavour to do for you, sir.

We were also very kindly received at that time by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor and as I visited him when I was with Mr. Stewart he kindly showed me once again that wonderful collection of portraits in Government House, which is perhaps the best collection of beards and whiskers in North America. A very, very fine collection of portraits.

Then we were kindly received by the Mayor in your Town Hall, which I think is a terrific building. The only pressure I think that we put on the Town Hall was when Mr. Samples and I went to the elevator together and the elevator was groaning upwards bearing the two heaviest men in North America.

What happened during my very short time? I have been here these two months and they have in fact been very busy, exciting, anguishing months. The two things which stand in my memory, of course, are the kidnapping and release of Jasper Cross and the very sad death of Pierre Laporte.

On that I would simply say this, that we accepted and agreed with the way the Canadian Government handled this affair and we have a great regard for the professional way in which the police rescued Jasper. I had a letter from him a day or so ago. He is, as you probably know, having a very well-deserved holiday with his wife in Switzerland and he was honoured by Her Majesty in the New Years honours. I think that he is a remarkable man and I think that the shared anxiety of that time--and not the first time that Canada and Britain have shared anxiety and sorrow--and I think of two world wars and many other occasions; I believe that the affair of Jasper Cross and the kidnapping thereof and all that went with it may and will bring our two countries closer together. I think this is terribly important.

The second fact is the visit of Mr. Heath. Alas it was for only a very short time and alas combined with a visit to another country. I know that Mr. Robarts feels, and I certainly do, that visits by British Ministers ought to be more exclusively to Canada than they sometimes have been in the past. Mr. Heath's visit was in fact a great success. He got on very well with Mr. Trudeau. Both, I think, realized that the other was a realist, a fairly tough realist. The foreign policy of both might not be the same. You don't see eye to eye with us on all issues (and I am going to come to that in a moment) and we don't see eye to eye with you on all issues but both I think recognize in the other a firm realist both in foreign policy and in home policy. I think Mr. Trudeau rather liked the style of government of Ted Heath as he came here and as his government is unrolling in Britain.

Now let me say a word about what is happening to your old friend and close relation Britain in 1971. I say "old friend" but of course we are not all old. Really in many ways I suspect that we are younger than you. What has happened in this last twenty-five years to Britain? Well, let me remind you all of a few of the things:

(1) We have brought millions of people onwards toward freedom and liberation; all the people who are going to be assembling in Singapore, and many others.

(2) We have devised the most tremendous social security system the world has ever known.

(3) As a result of what we did with you in the war we lost a great deal of our foreign investment but through our efforts we have replaced that and more than replaced that by our export drive.

(4) We have been one of a small group of countries (you indeed have played a part there too) trying to solve all the perplexing problems which have vexed the world in the last twenty-five years.

(5) We have played no mean part, I think, in providing aid for under-developed or the developing countries.

Those, I think, are four or five things which Britain is about.

You may remember what Dean Acheson once said. Dean Acheson was a friend of Britain but often a critic of Britain. That is because he looked like an Anglican clergyman and he was anxious not to appear to be too much British. You remember that Dean Acheson said we had lost an Empire and not yet found our role. I believe that he would say that we have indeed found our role and very much so.

What is our role? What is the role of countries of our size, your size and our size, in 1971? Is it possible that perhaps in the seventies the two super powers may in a sense cancel each other out or reach a stalemate and that there will be a great opportunity for your country and my country to work together with our family relationship and achieve very much a position of influence and primacy in the world? I believe this to be so because your old friends in England are still the same country you know. We still have the same sort of ingenuities, technological ability. We have solved the pollution problem, or very largely so, which vexes so many people here. I think we have perhaps the same kind of governmental skill or Machiavellian low cunning, which ever you like, that we have always had.

We have contacts all over the world, some inimical, some friendly, but they are contacts and these, I believe, are of great value in the world. I saw in a newspaper the other day, not a Toronto newspaper, a statement that going to Britain was like rummaging in an old attic. All I would do is change a certain phrase used by a certain famous Englishman and say "Some rummage, some attic."

This is Britain in 1971 that I have sought to paint for you. Now I want to talk about one or two of the problems which face us. It would be very foolish if I came and addressed an audience like you and if I just gave you a certain amount of good feeling and a general kind of platitudinous blah. I have no intention whatsoever of doing that. I want to talk about two of the main problems which face us.

The first of them, of course, is Britain and Europe, as I know this poses problems for our Canadian friends. Why are we going to try and get into Europe? There are two reasons. The first political, the second economics. Political: we have found, perhaps rather late, that it is absolutely essential that Western Europe, the cradle of most civilizations and the place from which the families of almost everybody in this room came from, that this voice is not loud enough in the councils of the world. We have felt that we should join in to make that voice a little louder. We are as a matter of fact Europeans, whatever certain people in the world have said. They have called on us, goodness knows, both you and us, and we have been involved when there have been tyrants, whether they have been Napoleon or Hitler or Kaiser. They are quick enough to recognize that we are Europeans then. So one of those reasons is political.

The second reason is economic. Here is this fantastic group in Europe of nearly three hundred million people, a highly sophisticated market getting together, and we in Britain (I want to say something about Canada in a moment) we in Britain want to be part of that so that our industry can thrive and prosper.

I don't know whether anybody listened to the very excellent CBC programme last night with Dick Crossman. Some people are inclined to doubt whether people in Britain really want to go into Europe. Let me say that there are people both on the right and on the left who are hesitant about that; people of my own generation. There are those people on the left who think that they may come under some Conservative thralldom and people on the right who don't like foreigners.

You remember that character in Life and Cold Climate, Uncle Matthew. The ladies will forgive me if I say this. He used to say, "Abroad? Bloody!" Those are the kind of people who may be hesitant about our going into Europe. All the young people, my own children, the young businessmen, the young professional men, the young technicians, feel that we certainly must go into Europe or it will be no good for the future.

Now what about the relationship with you? Your attitude on this was very well and plainly stated by Mr. Jean Luc Pepin the other day and I would simply like to say something about Canada's attitude to our going into Europe.

First of all we are quite determined, and this is very much Mr. Heath's own view as the new Prime Minister, we are quite determined to consult you at all stages and the visit of Mr. Pepin, the visit of Mr. Sharp, the visit here of Mr. Heath and the forthcoming visit in March of Mr. Rippen are all examples of very close ministerial consultation between Britain and Canada on this important subject.

The second point I would like to make is that we will in Britain be much better political and economic partners for you in Europe, strong in Europe, than if we were outside.

The third thing is we are determined if we go into Europe to maintain our position as a world political and economic power and therefore without any doubt we shall make the European community much more outward looking than it is at the moment.

Fourth, after 1973 when we hope we may get in, when the arrangements are finally made, there will be quite a long transitional period which will make it easier for our friends outside and then quite a high percentage of particular items will not be subject to tariff, around thirty per cent. We are trying to negotiate with you for duty free quotas for another twenty per cent. The remaining fifty per cent after all the duty is not going to be very high. I know that there are agricultural problems but the duty is not going to be very high.

Ladies and gentlemen, I commend to you the European community 1971 as an opportunity for Canada. I know your own trade with the community is rising. Here is this superb market of three hundred million people, in a way, waiting for the best business operators to take advantage of them. I think it is a tremendously exciting situation.

Now I want to say just one further word about Europe and European defence. A great many problems face us in European defence. There is the great problem of East-West, relations whether we should in fact have a European Security Conference, the question of the future of Berlin, the question posed by recent events in Poland. A lot of these problems were brought up at the last NATO Conference.

On that I would say just one word. Anybody who served in Berlin, as I have done, will remember and realize quite sharply that the largest concentration of conventional military might in the world still exists between Berlin and the border of West Germany. Those who have been inclined to take a somewhat relaxed view of the Soviet should, I think, bear that fact in mind.

Now I want to come to another issue. You, sir, have talked about the Singapore Conference and it would be right for me to discuss the Singapore Conference and some of its aspects very briefly in this speech. First of all, there is no question about our tremendous attachment to the Commonwealth and our wish, which Mr. Trudeau made clear when he talked to Mr. Heath, that the Singapore meeting should be about a lot of serious Commonwealth problems and not just concentrating on one or two highly evocative issues.

I do think this is terribly important and I do think the background of this must be borne very closely in mind. All of you here whose stock-in-trade is the Empire and Commonwealth need not be told that this is the one group left in the world, which in fact straddles geographical areas and straddles ideological barriers. No other group in the world does this. So if we think of history and sentiment that is terribly important but if we are thinking of this world, January 1971, we must remember that.

Mr. Mitchell Sharp from time to time talks, wisely if I may say so, about the dangers of polarizing areas of the world into geographic boundaries: North America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and so on. Now the Commonwealth is the one organization which can print that happening and it is terribly important that it should be preserved intact.

Now let me come on to the problem which will be among the many which are discussed. I am talking about the Simonstown agreement and the provision of maritime force of arms, or whatever it is you like to call them, under the Simonstown agreement.

On that I would like to make three or four quite brief points. First, I would like to remind you that the British Government and British Ministers have not reached a final decision on this. They have been consulting their Commonwealth friends. The latest person with whom Mr. Heath discussed this very fully and very realistically was Mr. Trudeau. There are going to be final consultations and discussions in Singapore.

The second point I want to make is: we detest apartheid. Make no mistake about that. We feel that there is really no future for South Africa with a system of apartheid and we have never hesitated to say that to the South African Government on numerous occasions. It is both a cruel and also an extremely stupid policy. We have said this again and again.

Thirdly--and this is realized, I think, generally through the world--nobody can call our Prime Minister in any sense a racialist. Those of you know a bit about the last general election will realize the personal problems which faced Mr. Heath on those kind of issues and he is the last person that you could regard as a racialist, a fact which, as I say, is generally recognized.

The fourth thing I want to say is to say a word about the strategic and the defence problems involved. We have talked about the importance of Indian Ocean defence, the defence of our trade route, since the Suez Canal is temporarily closed. The Cape of Good Hope route is much more important.

We have said that a threat, or potential threat, or a potential influence, is placed on those sea routes. Anybody who has dealt with the Soviet Union--and it so happens that I have been dealing in the Foreign and Commonwealth office most recently with the affairs of the Middle East but before that with the affairs of Britain's relations with the Soviet Union--nobody who ever dealt with the Soviet Union should underestimate the forcefulness and drive of that remarkable country. The Soviet Union has, of course, moved in a big way into the Middle East for the last two years and spread down into Aden and into the Indian Ocean. Now this poses a threat--a threat, an influence--it moves in that direction.

Those, I think, are the points I would like to say to you. I would like to say a word about relations with South Africa. There really are two ways of dealing with South Africa. First there is treating her and saying "We dislike your policies so much we will treat you completely and utterly as an outcast like Red China was until comparatively recently." I think I would share your view about Red China. We get Red China into the U.N. and get it kicked around in the same way as you and we and the United States of America have been kicked around.

We believe in the second way of doing this, which is not isolating the country, but pointing out the errors of her ways to her but remaining in touch with her. We believe that is the right way. Trade with her as you do and when it comes to a question of honouring an agreement at least consider it against the background of the things I have described whether that is a good thing to do or not.

Sometimes when I talk to my African friends in Ottawa they say this is going to throw the African members of the Commonwealth into the arms of the Soviet Union. Ladies and gentlemen, the Soviet Union are there in the Indian Ocean already as a matter of fact and I believe there are quite a lot of Africans who dislike to be too close friends with the Soviet Union.

Now, sir, I think that is all I would say on that particular subject. My time is passing on and you were fairly precise in your instructions to me about the length of time. I wanted to say one word about Britain's economy--the Heath Government's economy. There have really been three or four points which Mr. Heath has put emphasis on. First of all, on letting much more of the cake, the national cake, go to the private sector. Secondly, a cut in income tax as a stimulation for the businessman and a cut in corporation tax as a stimulation for the businessman, some decrease in government expenditure and less interference with private enterprise in all its forms. Mr. Heath voted in the second reading of the International Relations Bill just before we left for Canada. It is the first really major attempt to try and get into industry and into industrial relations some reforms which are badly needed.

We, the Anglo Saxons, perhaps to some extent invented the trade union system; but in Britain it has got old and a bit decrepit in some ways and management may be the same. Here is Mr. Heath and the new government making a strenuous attempt to bring the trade union movement in Britain more into keeping with the nineteen seventies and I hope that this will be successful.

Finally this is what I would like to say is the most important thing: Anglo-Canadian relations. Perhaps that is not a very original remark to end up on but to me it is terribly important because I think for an Englishman, or a Briton, this is the most important post, the most exciting post that you could possibly come to in the Foreign and Commonwealth service. I think it is terribly important that we should get Anglo-Canadian relations moving fast and furiously in the way that I have tried to describe. Pressures may be put on them as we try to get into Europe and you have your own special links with United States. I think this is a very true and I think that even a greater danger than that is despite all our family ties and historical ties (and I speak in this great City of Toronto, of course, with special emphasis on all that) despite all that I fear a danger of drifting apart by these two countries who are such old friends. That, I believe, would be a great tragedy. I think we can base our relationship for the future on a realistic background. I think that you need us because I think you want a friend in Europe. You want European friends. Who better than your old friend in Britain? I think that we need you because even if we go into Europe we certainly do not want to be a sort of land-based European power. The Europeans don't want us as that. The Europeans want us as a country with worldwide ties and therefore as one of the most important of these worldwide ties we want to maintain and build up a special relationship with you.

Sometimes one hears about the old concept of twin pillars of the Atlantic. I myself don't much favour that as a concept. I think that we have a relationship of very long standing, a very, very important relationship to us, make no mistake about that, between ourselves and Washington, which is a very, very firm relationship. You have a very firm relationship with the United States of America. What I am trying to say is that a relationship between Britain and Canada is certainly not at the expense of our effective relations with Washington. It would be quite wrong to say that but I believe and I think the United States government would agree with this, I believe that the British-Canadian relationship can be increased and strengthened and make more powerful as a complement to our effective relations with Washington.

How do we set about doing this apart from all the millions of personal ties which exist here? Well, I believe that we do it by having as many visitors as possible. Therefore, I shall carry out the instructions, to the best of my ability, that Mr. Robarts laid upon me. I believe we should have ministerial visits; I believe we should have as many business visits exchanged and Parliamentarians and cultural visitors as possible. Some of you met Lord Fulton, the Chairman of the British Council, not too long ago. I want to get as many visitors as possible moving between Britain and Canada and between, of course, Britain and Toronto. Here you have Mac Samples, my old colleague, and somebody who I know is absolutely dedicated to the same views as I am.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me end on this note: we do tend from time to time as people to say, "Well, you know this is a fine thing that has gone on in the past, a historical tie and close links and the sentiment about it is very important." The fact that we have got friends, the fact we have got a grandmother in Renfrewshire is extremely important. In addition to that I believe that we should build up consciously a realistic link between Britain and Canada which is based on hard realities, on your future in 1971 and our future in 1971, and if that is done I see no reason at all why a special relationship between Britain and Canada should not be as important and as forceful and as valuable in the world as our relations always have been in the past.

Thank you very much, sir.

The gratitude of the Club was expressed by Mr. John Hall, Chairman, The Royal Commonwealth Society.

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Britain in 1971

What is happening in Britain in 1971. A list of major events in Britain over the last 25 years. The role of countries the size of Britain, and the size of Canada in 1971. Some characteristics of the British which have not changed over time. Some of the problems currently faced by Britain and how they might affect Canada. Entry into the European Community: reasons for Britain to join. Remarks on Canada's attitude to Britain going into Europe. How such an entry can be an opportunity for Canada. Comments on Europe and European defence. The Singapore Conference and Commonwealth problems. The Simonstown agreement and the provision of maritime force of arms. Relations with South Africa. Two ways of dealing with South Africa. Words about Britain's economy, the Heath Government's economy. Anglo-Canadian relations.