MARCH 22, 1965
The United States and Canada Common Aims and Common Responsibilities
AN ADDRESS BY
The Honourable George H. Ball,
UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES
JOINT MEETING OF THE CANADIAN CLUB OF TORONTO AND THE EMPIRE CLUB OF CANADA
The Hon. Donald M. Fleming,
President of The Canadian Club
When Winston Churchill addressed the United States Congress three weeks after Pearl Harbour he expressed a prophetic sentiment in these memorable words:
"I avow my hope and faith, sure and inviolate, that in the days to come the British and American peoples will for their own safety and for the good of all walk together side by side in majesty, in justice, and in peace."
Even before those glowing words brought Senators and Congressmen to their feet cheering, Canada and the United States, accepting the decree of history, of geography, and of high destiny, had learned to march together in friendship, in trust, and in comradeship. Neighbours are not immune from mutual difficulties. Good neighbours, however, know how to resolve their mutual difficulties and problems. They can discuss them with utmost frankness. Canada and the United States are, and must ever be, the best neighbours in all the world. It is given to them by the grace of God to set an example before the whole world, to demonstrate how nations may nurture and practice the true spirit of neighbourliness.
The mantle of world leadership which today rests firmly on the shoulders of the American nation has imposed upon its government responsibilities without parallel in human history. We are prone to think of those responsibilities only in their collective sense. We do not always think of them as we should in terms of the individual responsibilities borne by men in high offices in the Government of the United States. Theirs is a personal responsibility of incalculable weight--a responsibility to all humanity. It is our privilege today to welcome a man who bears one of the principal responsibilities in the Administration of our sister nation.
Born in DesMoines, Iowa, 55 years ago, The Honourable George H. Ball graduated from Northwestern University, in Arts in 1930, and in Law in 1933. In the early days of the New Deal he moved to Washington and served, first, the Farm Credit Administration, and later, the Treasury Department in a legal capacity. After a period in private practice in Chicago in partnership with Mr. Adlai Stevenson he returned to Washington and to government service in 1942, this time in the Lend-Lease programme and the Foreign Economic administration. In 1946 he left the public service to found a law firm with offices in New York, Washington, Paris and Brussels, and for the next fifteen years specialized in international law and commercial relations. Among his clients were the French Government and the European Common Market. Even in those days he was a frequent visitor to the capitals of Western Europe.
When the late lamented President Kennedy took office in January, 1961, Mr. Ball was recalled from private practice and appointed to the high and exacting post of Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs, a role for which his experience had admirably equipped him. Before the year 1961 had passed he had added Political Affairs to his responsibilities in the post of Undersecretary of State.
The role of Undersecretary of State in the United States Administration is very different from the one bearing the same title in Canada. In our system the Undersecretary of State is the senior permanent official or Deputy Minister of his Department. In the United States the Undersecretary of State is a policy-maker. He is a member of the Administration. Indeed, in the development and direction of United States external policy, whether political or economic, Mr. Ball ranks only after the President and Mr. Rusk. He talks daily to the President. He is one of the closest advisers of the Chief Executive of the United States.
His responsibilities are enormous, alike in their weight and their diversity. He has become the principal troubleshooter of the United States Administration. "Let George do it!" has become almost a national policy. Whenever crises threaten in Europe Mr. Ball is almost certain to appear on the scene, and often on the shortest notice. It was so in Cyprus. In the Cuban crisis he played an influential and exciting role in the decisive planning which led to the unforgettable climax. For the week before President Kennedy's national broadcast he slept in his office and by various stratagems escaped attention at a time when secrecy was of vital importance. He has been the principal United States representative in the dialogues with President de Gaulle over difficulties in Europe.
In all the economic negotiations between Europe and the United States Mr. Ball has borne the burden of leadership for his country, and an exacting burden it has often been. He has led the United States delegation to all sessions of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at Paris since its formation four years ago. Let me, as leader of the Canadian delegation at the 1961 and 1962 sessions of OECD, pay a deserved tribute to the constructive, responsible, and always considerate, manner in which he fulfilled his duty there.
He has been his country's spokesman in all the meetings with the European Economic Community and its six constituent countries, and in all meetings under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) at Geneva, including the Kennedy Round of Trade negotiations. He was a powerful force behind the enactment by Congress of the Trade Expansion Act. He has played a leading role in all meetings and negotiations between Canada and the United States in these past four years in relation to trade and economic matters.
From close personal contact in many such meetings I can and do testify that Mr. Ball is a man of infinite goodwill. He is also a realist, a patient and resourceful negotiator, a man of unwearying industry, keen intelligence, persistence, and determination. He speaks with frankness and sincerity. One of his great assets is his straightforwardness in speech and thought. He has won the respect of the political leaders of many countries, including Canada. As he has earned their confidence and their friendship, his service to his own country has become more and more valuable and important.
It is not easy for a man bearing such responsibilities, who must be available to the President on the end of a telephone line twenty-four hours a day, to leave the United States in order to make a private visit to Canada and to deliver a speech. In inviting him to do so-indeed pressing him-I have assured him that we are profoundly grateful to him and also that in this forum complete and untrammelled freedom of expression prevails.
The subject chosen by our distinguished visitor is "The United States and Canada-Common aims and Common Responsibilities."
It is with pride and the deepest appreciation that I present to this meeting one of the leading figures in the international political life of our time, and a warmly cherished personal friend, The Honourable George Ball.
There is an honourable ritual that rerequires any representative of the United States Government visiting Canada or any Canadian Minister visiting the United States to try to provide a fresh and scintillating assessment of the state of relations between our two countries at the precise moment of his visit. This is not an undertaking without hazards. I still bear the scars of my own effort last year. Nor should it be approached cavalierly. For the relations between your country and mine are too intimate to be easily analyzed and too complex to be taken for granted. They cannot be summed up in a few platitudes and certitudes-and anyone who tries will surely miss the mark.
Our relations, after all, have deep roots. They are not an affair of the moment. They are compounded of history as well as the events of the day. They are the resultant of many national attitudes and national experiences. Nor can they be expressed in simple equations. They are composed of complex variables. They are not all of a piece; they exist in a number of different forms and on a number of different levels.
First, there are the bilateral relations between the Canadian and American peoples and between the Canadian and United States Governments. Thousands of our citizens cross common borders each day in opposite directions. Our economic eggs have been scrambled irrevocably. Our governments are in constant communication on a wide spectrum of problems-defence, foreign policy, civil aviation, fisheries, conservation, emergency planning, highway improvement, power production, and so on.
Second, there are relations that flow from geography. Your country and mine have common problems and common responsibilities because we are, at the same time, nations of North America and nations of the Western Hemisphere. And our borders on the two oceans give us common interests-and subject us to common dangers-in both the Atlantic and Pacific areas.
Third, we have special relations as fellow members of the Western Alliance dedicated to the defence of the NATO area from Communist aggression.
Fourth, as industrialized nations in a highly interdependent world economy, we have responsibilities to manage our affairs with due regard for other nations. We have special responsibilities, in addition, for what has been called the North-South relationship-responsibilities to assist in improving the peoples of the less-developed countries.
Finally, apart from the duties and obligations that derive from geography or wealth, our common membership in the United Nations requires us to see to it that both the spirit and the letter of the Charter are applied in resolving the problems and conflicts of mankind.
The fact that our relations exist on many levels complicates the solution of the problems between us. Within the intricate and elaborate structure of world relationships we are each important countries. Whatever either of us does has an impact around the world. For that reason we are required always to keep in mind that no problem between us exists in isolation. Whatever we do on one level of relationship has its echoes on others.
But if the existence of relations on many levels complicates the solution of problems between us, it can also simplify them. Some of our difficulties in the past have, I think, come about because we focussed on issues too narrowly. From time to time we have both been too self-centred. We have failed to take into account the larger context of our interests and relationships. We are doing better these days. The year 1964 produced a good harvest of CanadianAmerican relations. This year promises to be a vintage year.
Let me mention one recent achievement. That is the solution of the problem of our automotive trade. A few months ago a healthy solution of this problem was hard to foresee. Your Government was concerned with the disparity between domestic automotive production and consumption. It had designed an import duty rebate scheme that was causing considerable anguish to some American producers. Those producers were initiating procedural steps that would have led to the imposition of countervailing duties. Our governments were starting down a hazardous path of action and response, retaliation and counter-retaliation that would before long have wasted our resources and embittered our relations. By agreeing to eliminate tariff and other barriers to automotive trade we avoided economic warfare. We have found a solution that should, over the years ahead, greatly benefit producers and consumers on both sides of the border -a solution that should lead to a rationalized and integrated North American industry with lower costs and lower prices.
This agreement demonstrates how, by imagination and good will, we can resolve our differences. It provides, I would suggest, three lessons that should prove useful guides in the future:
First, we were able to reach a healthy and mutually beneficial result because we did not act unilaterally but by common agreement and by a decent awareness of one another's problems and interests.
Second, we followed our liberal economic instincts and did not distort the operation of market forces by piling restriction on restriction.
Third, we did not let ourselves get bogged down in political theory but acted in the tradition of pragmatism that is the heritage of both our countries. We knew good business when we saw it and were not deflected by doctrinal speculation as to the far-out implications of what we were doing.
The handling of the automotive problem is a good example of how two nations can live together rationally on a single continent. In its simplest terms the central problem that we face together-and I think we are as concerned about it as you-is how we can preserve the distinctive values of two separate national identities while still employing the resources of this vast continent in the most efficient manner. This is not, I submit to you, a problem that should outrun the imagination of highly ingenious peoples. After all, in the life of any nation there are many areas where the strict application of economic laws is traditionally tempered to preserve social values. This is almost the universal experience of nations with regard to agriculture and natural resources. In essence that is what a good part of CanadianUnited States relations is all about. Under one heading or another our governments are constantly consulting as to how to find a balance between common economic logic on the one hand and each nation's social and political objectives on the other. But since we are nations of realists, I think we should recognize that the area of available manoeuvre and of national flexibility is being progressively reduced. Competition in international markets is growing constantly more rigorous as other great trading nations-through one device or another, such as the European Common Market-exploit the benefits of the economies of scale.
How we work these problems out between us over the next few years will, therefore, be a test of the wisdom and resilience of both nations. I offer only one strong admonition today: that we do resolve doubts in favour of economic liberalism rather than resort to artificial measures that can in the long run only restrain the growth of productivity at the expense of both our peoples.
We can, as I have suggested, solve most of our problems by a healthy dose of pragmatism and a lively appreciation of one another's interests. But this does not mean that either of our nations will ever fully comprehend the problems of the other with full sensitivity to all the nuances of national anxiety, pride and history that may be involved.
The beginning of wisdom in achieving effective relations between our countries and our peoples is, I think, the recognition that we can never fully understand each other. No matter how much we read one another's books and magazines, watch one another's movies and television, listen to one another's radios, or even talk together in a calm and rational fashion, neither of us will ever achieve a total comprehension of the other's national interests and attitudes.
For every great nation possesses a kind of interior life--a private family life-in which no outsider can ever fully participate and from which every outsider is to some extent excluded. If we are to avoid disappointment and frustration and serious misunderstanding we must frankly recognize that fact.
In my own observation, actions that have tended to embarrass the relations between our countries have sometimes been taken not because one nation ignored the atti tudes and interests of the other, but because it thought it understood them when it didn't. I think it may be a wise principle that when a line of policy involves the intimate domestic concerns of either of our countries the other would be well advised to indulge a sympathetic presumption as to its neighbour's motives and not insist on making a wholly independent judgment.
This observation has special relevance today because we are each preoccupied with an absorbing national problem. In Canada you are seeking to resolve the special difficulties and preserve the special values of a bilingual society. In the United States we are coming to grips with the changes required to achieve a fully effective biracial society.
It would be neither appropriate nor useful for anyone from south of the border to express a view on your domestic affairs, but it is entirely appropriate for me to offer a few comments as to how we Americans are seeking to resolve our own most pressing domestic concern.
My country, as we are the first to admit, is engaged today in rectifying a grave social injustice. This undertaking is long overdue. Our task is, therefore, more difficult than it might have been had we tackled the problem with comparable determination at an earlier date. In the past hundred years we have managed-through great fortune and hard workto develop an American economy that is enormously rich and productive. We have found the means for assuring the majority of our people an adequate standard of living. But even on the economic plane we still have far to go. There are still blighted areas in the United States, pockets of unemployment and poverty. Under President Johnson's leadership, the United States has launched a vast programme to eliminate these conditions. Our Negro citizens, in particular, have not shared fully in our rich economic life. More fundamental than that, however, they have been denied social and political equality. Racial injustice is more serious in some parts of the country than in others. But it is a national problem.
Today-at long last-the United States is undertaking to remove a great blight of social inequity, to establish the full equality not merely of Negroes but of all other citizens-to abolish segregation and discrimination in every form, and to assure to all Americans the same privileges and opportunities. This requires a profound change in our society -a change that we are seeking to bring about within a remarkably short period. I am certain that we will succeed. The momentum achieved within the past few years will continue and accelerate until we have wiped out every last vestige of social, political and economic injustice.
Meanwhile we are quite aware that events in this peaceful revolution can take ugly forms. No American can be anything but saddened by the incidents in Selma and Mont gomery, Alabama, and in McComb, Mississippi. And we know all too well that pictures of police dogs and fire hoses are not good advertisements for the United States around the world. But at the same time we cannot help but be proud of the real meaning of the incidents these pictures portray. I do not refer merely to evidences of individual bravery and forebearance on the part of many people, both Negro and white, but also to the fact that these events are a part of the price we are paying for progress-the by-products of a determined national effort, fully supported by the overwhelming opinion of Americans-to bring about a shining transformation in our national life.
As President Johnson said last week:
"There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. "But there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy and what is happening here. . ."
"Our mission is at once the oldest and most basic of this century; to do right, to do justice, to serve man." ". . . .
And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth, and conquer the stars and still be unequal to ... [the issue of equal rights for American Negroes], then we will have failed as a people and as a nation."
And so I ask your understanding-as good neighbourswhile we move forward with our domestic revolution. It may, as I have said, often be difficult-or even impossible for you fully to comprehend all of the history and emotion, the clashes of interests and feeling that are involved. But we give you our word as your closest neighbour that we are working with speed and effectiveness to remove inequality and prejudice from our land.
What we do on the national plane cannot, as I have suggested earlier, be separated from the world obligations that we share in common. Today our two countries are deeply involved in the fight for freedom around the world. Your young men are keeping the peace in Cpyrus as you kept it before in the Congo. American soldiers are helping the people of South Viet-Nam to protect their beleaguered land from Communist aggression, which-though it has not taken the form of an army in columns crossing a frontieris as much an invasion as an earlier Communist movement against South Korea. Our efforts in the far corners of the world in aid of common principles form part of the cement that binds our two countries. For both think in terms of the world responsibilities that events have imposed upon us.
I have no doubt that we shall do what history requires for us. For Canadians and Americans alike are proud peoples, fiercely dedicated to liberty and equally selfless in
the defence of our common principles. And as Prime Minister Pearson said in New York last week, "When the chips are down and there is a real threat to basic values and principles that we cherish, we have stood and will stand together."
Thanks of this meeting were expressed by Lt. Col. Robert H. Hilborn, President of the Empire Club.