AN ADDRESS BY
MAJOR RT. I-TON. ANTHONY EDEN, P.C., M.C., J.P., B.L.
Chairman: The President, Major F. L. Clause
Thursday, June 27, 1946
MAJOR CLAUSE: Gentlemen--Following grace with Canon Codywill you kindly remain standing while we sing the first verse of the National Anthem--and then drink a toast to His Majesty, The King.
Mr. Prime Minister, Gentlemen of The Canadian Club of Toronto--of the Empire Club of Canada--and ladies and gentlemen of our audience of the air--Today marks a highlight in the annals of these Clubs and we feel particularly privileged in meeting here today--through the courtesy of the Prime Minister of this Province, Colonel George Drew--to pay our respects to one of the British Empire's greatest statesmen; a man who has, in his relatively short but very prominent career, shouldered so successfully many of the most difficult and harassing diplomatic assignments of our time. If, Sir, I may paraphrase your remarks at the time of the Munich debate
"Every citizen owes to you a measureless debt of gratitude for your sincerity and pertinacity".
A scholar, soldier, author, Parliamentarian and statesman--the counselor and confidant of Prime Ministers and of Kings. Gentlemen-Major, The Right Honourable Anthony Eden, P.C., M.C., J.P., D.C.L.
MAJOR RT. HON. ANTHONY EDEN: Mr. President, Mr. Premier and Gentlemen: It would indeed be an unimaginative man who was not impressed by the size of this gathering and the warmth of the welcome you have so generously extended to me. I do indeed feel a friend among friends, and I thank you the more cordially for that welcome because I know that it isn't offered to me, personally, but to me as a citizen of a small island across the sea.
Gentlemen, it has been a heartening experience for me to be in Canada these last few days and, may I say in particular, this morning I enjoyed the privilege of meeting my old friend and your Premier, Mr. George Drew, once again.
As in these days I have been in your great cities and flown over your beautiful and fertile countryside, again and again I have thought you in Canada have indeed a great country, a land of promise and of unrivalled opportunity, and I have thought too in these days of another occasion on the Clyde, now nearly six and a half years ago when with my friend, Vincent Massey, we watched the sun slowly breaking through the gray skies and lighting up one of the largest armadas that ever sailed into that great river. That armada carried the first contingent of your Forces to Britain, and there are men here, I know, who from that day until a few weeks past or a few months past have been away from home, playing their part in this titanic struggle.
I looked over the ships that were there-ships like the Empress of Britain, the pride of your Merchant Marine, which now, unhappily, suffered in the contest, and I remember too the troops that were there. Your own 48th Highlanders--and I remember that as Mr. Massey and I stood there on the deck of the Warspite, we had a feeling that here indeed was a partnership in a common struggle.
May I say to this gathering how proud I am that Vincent -Massey should be with us on this occasion. (Applause.) I think it is his first public appearance in Toronto since he ceased to be your High Commissioner in London, and I think it is fitting that I, to whom it fell to do so much work with him, should tell you that there is no man in either of our lands who has made a fuller, a more sincere contribution to understanding between our two countries than has Vincent Massey. (Applause.)
There are other memories of those days-the arrival of your other regiments-the Queen's Own Regiment, the Toronto Scottish and others, and there is also the memory of the part played, not only then but throughout the war years, by the Royal Canadian Air Force, and-let it not be forgotten-the part played by the Royal Canadian Navy.
Whatever our thoughts today may be, this at least is certain, that you and I would not be gathered together in this room but for the part played by our Air Forces together in the Battle of Britain, and but for the work of the Navies and the Merchant Marine in keeping the seas open in those critical years. Gentlemen, our debt to the men who go down to the sea in ships must never be forgotten.
I have often heard it said that in the modern world, you here in Canada have a special part to play, as the interpreter, by reason of your exceptional knowledge both of the United States and of the United Kingdom. That, no doubt, is true. But I suggest to you that it is only a part of the story. Quite apart from Canada's position as interpreter, Canada has an important and constructive contribution to make on her own account. In world affairs, Canada is indeed now a principal in her own right. She has emerged from this war as one of the leading nations of the world.
Each one of us in this room has, I think, this in common, that we have a deep and an abiding faith in the British Commonwealth and Empire, a faith in the future, a faith in the contribution it can make and will make, please God, toward security and progress in the world.
Now, Sir, ours is not a faith that we seek to thrust down the throats of others, but we believe in our faith and we believe in it because it is founded on Freedom.
The British Commonwealth probably is not easy to define. It is probably none the worse for that. Good things are always hard to define, but it is an association of free people. Nobody compels anyone of us to belong to it. We belong to it because we like it better to live in that way, because we share common faith and loyalties and treasure them. But there is more to it, I suggest, than that. We believe in freedom and equality, not only between ourselves but within ourselves, and by that I mean that we believe in man's freedom and in his individuality. We believe in full religious toleration. We recognize each man's right to worship in the church of his own choice. We believe in the equality of citizens before the law.
These, Gentlemen, are the fundamentals of our faith and I repeat them to you now, because it is only by hearing them that we can realize those magic words of the American Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Now, I said just now that we do not seek to impose our conception of our way of life upon others. That is quite true, but equally, we must not be shy or timid in proclaiming our faith. The world of today has need of just that message. There is much to grieve us, much to make us anxious as we look at the present international scene. Scarcely a day passed without fresh evidence that the Allies of the common battlefield of eighteen months ago are still further at odds. Even for those who place their hopes of international collaboration in these postwar years on a very modest basis, even for those, disappointment must be keen. In war we found a common unity--to resist and overthrow aggression. We contrived to work and fight together. We devised a common strategy which we pursued together to a victorious end. How bitter it is that for the tasks of peace we fall so short of that unity which won the war.
Sometimes when one reads the international discussions and the sharp polemics which support them on either side, it almost seems as though the world had forgotten that just a short while ago, Britishers and Canadians, Russians and Americans, Frenchmen and Chinese, and so many others of the United Nations were laying down their lives in the hope that when victory was won, peace could finally be established on the basis of respect for international engagements and acceptance of the rule of law.
Now, Gentlemen, in the face of these disappointments, what should we do? Clearly we must hold to our course. The more unsettled world conditions, the more firmly must we cleave to our faith and hold by the engagement into which we have entered to keep the peace.
Now, I am sure neither you, nor any of the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire, nor the people of the United States wish to be exclusive in their friendship. The door is open to all. We know that full happiness cannot accrue to our peoples unless all the United Nations work together.
Let me give an example. Take the relations of my own country with the Soviet Union and with the United States. Who doubts we could reach true understanding on the problems of the day? There is no international issue that could not peacefully be resolved between us. Who can also doubt that if that understanding is not reached and maintained, not one of the people of those three countries would enjoy either full security for the present or full confidence in the future?
Those are the problems that beset us. But if we can't find full unity, strive much as we try to achieve it, we must hold to our faith and strive for the friendships of those who are like-minded with us. If we will do this, in the end I am sure that all will be well, despite the anxieties and the disappointments of the present time.
I refuse to be a pessimist about the future. Just look at the opportunities for good. They are so immeasurable if the nations could only contrive to see things that way and to work together to realize them. If we will put first things first, if we will hold to our faith, not as a threat to others, but as a daily inspiration to our own life, if we will make plain that neither our friendship nor our faith are exclusive, but that the doors are open to all, if we are firm but cool and reasoning, we shall win through.
Gentlemen, I make no apology to you for saying one special word about our relations, the British Commonwealth and the countries of the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. I know neither we, nor you, nor the United States desire that friendship to be exclusive. We want others to come in too to the same friendship on equal terms. Yet it is important, whenever opportunity offers to do everything that lies in our power to promote understanding between the United States and the peoples of the British Commonwealth.
That is why I was glad the other day that the chance came to me to go to this informal meeting at Bermuda where there were representatives from your Parliament, from ours, from New Zealand, from Bermuda itself, and eight Senators and members of the House of Representatives from the United States. Our meetings were quite informal. We had no resolutions. We had no set speeches. But I have no doubt that as a result of that meeting, as a result of those discussions, we were able to understand better each other's point of view. Certain misunderstandings were removed and we went back to our respective countries with the better interpretation of those with whom we had worked in those days.
How good it would be if we could only extend that principle, if it were possible with other countries to work in that way. It isn't only the friendship of statesmen that count, though God knows that is important enough, but all the way down, understanding between the people is the only foundation of lasting peace. The wider that understanding can be stretched the more peoples it can cover, the greater the opportunities for peace.
I hope with time others will see matters that way too, but even if they do not, it does not decrease our own obligation to do all that we can in our own way with those who are willing to partake of discussions with us.
My Friends, before I conclude, will you let me say one word about Canada. Your country has a brilliant record in these war years, and I know what this Province of Ontario has contributed to two world wars, and I think it not unfair to say that the contribution of the British Empire on both those occasions has been not unworthy of our past and is one in which our later descendants can take pride. Your sons, I know, have performed countless feats of valour on the battlefields of the world. I have no doubt that in peace too you will play your part. I pray that we together may help to lead the suffering world to the assured haven of an enduring peace.
These days it is hard for you or for me to open a newspaper or to turn on the radio without hearing of some new complexity, some new anxiety in the world life in which we live. But side by side with those forces and those anxieties are the great forces which make for better conditions for our people.
I felt so much agreement with something which I read that Sir Alexander Cadogan had said in a wireless talk yesterday: How important it is to give the United Nations Organization constructive tasks for peace to carry through and not merely to put before it controversies as they arise.
We have got to marshal the forces that make constructively for peace, wherever they may be, and they are immensely powerful, and however deep the disappointments may occasionally be, we must not lose heart. It is only by maintaining faith in our determination to win the peace as we won the war that we can be true to those who from your country and countless others went and returned not.