Canada in World Affairs
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 26 Nov 1959, p. 114-121
Green, The Honourable Howard, Speaker
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Some facts about Canada's diplomatic efforts. Canada's 51 diplomatic missions. The speaker's assertion that "for no nation is there a greater challenge in world affairs or a greater opportunity for leadership than there is for our own Canada. We can perhaps give finer leadership than any other nation." The speaker then explains why he says that, discussing the issue under the following headings: Our Ties with the United Kingdom and France; Our Membership in the Commonwealth; Then to my Third Picture, the United States; Canada and Latin America; Our Participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Our Role in the United Nations; Membership in the Ten-Power Disarmament Committee. The involvement of community leaders in meeting the challenge and taking the opportunity for world leadership.
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26 Nov 1959
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Full Text
An Address by THE HONOURABLE HOWARD GREEN, M.P. Secretary of State for External Affairs
Joint Meeting with the Canadian Club of Toronto
Thursday, November 26th, 1959
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. Harold R. Lawson.

MR. LAWSON: I hold in my hand a copy of an Empire Club year book. Its date is unimportant, for year after year we have included in a foreword an excerpt from the minutes of the organizational meeting of the Club. It reads in part, "The Chairman in a brief speech" (and it is gratifying to know that the Chairman of our Club had the good sense to speak briefly even in those Victorian days when the art of public speaking was in flower) "pointed to the desirability of an organization, following the plan of weekly luncheons, to be addressed by prominent men, or men speaking with authority upon the issues of the day, and having also a distinctive basis of British Unity in its work and policy."

While not having precisely the same object, the Canadian Club of Toronto performs a parallel and most happily compatible service; in fact the old Toronto Globe pointed out as early as 1903 that there was plenty of room for both the Empire and Canadian Clubs.

My reason for bringing up all this past history is simply to point out that our two Clubs have never before carried out their basic function more effectively than we do today, when we welcome as our guest of honour Canada's Secretary of State for External Affairs, a man whom Blair Fraser recently described as having "a deep emotional attachment to `the British Empire' (as he continued to call it long after `Commonwealth' had become fashionable even in Conservative circles)."

Our speaker was born in Kaslo, B. C., in 1895, graduated from the University of Toronto in 1915, then joined the 54th Kootenay Battalion as a second lieutenant and served overseas (where it is recorded that his men grumbled about his parsimoniousness with the rum rations), returned as a staff captain, graduated from Osgoode Hall in 1920 and was called to the bar in British Columbia in 1922. He was first elected to Parliament in 1935 and has never since lost an election. In 1957 he was appointed Minister of Public Works and Acting Minister of Defence Production. In June of this year he was appointed Minister of External Affairs. In addition, for the last three sessions he has served as House Leader.

The new Minister is known above all as a man of unswerving integrity. It is said that in twenty-four years of public life he has not been known to say anything he didn't believe or do anything he didn't think right. A colleague has called him a lone pine because he stands by himself and doesn't bend no matter how hard the wind blows.

Our subject today is "Canada in World Affairs". It is a privilege to present to you a lone Canadian pine, the Secretary of State for External Affairs, the Honourable Howard Green, M.P.

MR. GREEN: One month ago today the Department of External Affairs held a conference in Paris of the heads of the twenty-nine Canadian diplomatic missions in Europe and the Middle East. It lasted four days and we had an intensive discussion of various problems arising in those areas of direct concern to Canada and also problems of general international concern today. In other parts of the world are twenty-two more Canadian diplomatic missions, making a total of fifty-one. I mention these figures only to illustrate what many Canadians may not know--that Canada is not far behind the major world powers in the extent of her diplomatic effort.

In each one of these missions carefully selected Canadians are constantly conferring with government, business and other leaders in a variety of fields, keeping in regular contact with the Department in Ottawa--and in short--making it possible for Canada to play a very important part in world affairs.

Make no mistake about it--that part is important. In fact, for no nation is there a greater challenge in world affairs or a greater opportunity for leadership than there is for our own Canada. We can perhaps give finer leadership than any other nation. Now why do I say that? Let me sketch for you a few pictures.

1. Our Ties with the United Kingdom and France

We have inherited from our British and French forbears traditions of justice, constitutional government and of individual liberty. Perhaps we should pause more often to count the blessings which have come down to us so easily from the two great races from which we have sprung. I believe, too, that the very necessity of having had to make two cultures and two languages live and grow in harmony together has endowed us with qualities of tolerance and understanding which have great relevance to our attitude in international affairs today. I might add that our national fabric has been tremendously strengthened by peoples from many other lands as well--all of whom came here with a deeply ingrained love of freedom and with determination and initiative to succeed in the new world.

On my recent visit to France and Britain, it was perfectly obvious that the leaders of those two great countries were receiving me as a member of the family and not as a stranger. We must never under-estimate the valuable asset we have in this easy and intimate relationship with two of the great world powers, from both of whom Canadian views will always receive the utmost attention.

Although we think and speak of them as "the old countries", I can assure you that they are young and new countries in their political and economic outlook. Both are enjoying an unprecedented prosperity, so well deserved after the sacrifices of two world wars. Both are engaged in exciting and enlightened new political experiments in relation to their former colonial territories; the French, under the courageous and imaginative leadership of President de Gaulle, have founded a French community which bids fair to emulate the Commonwealth as a free and equal association of nations. To you who value so highly bonds of affection with the United Kingdom and possess loyalties which have meant so much in Canadian history, I do not need to elaborate on the far-sighted policy the United Kingdom Government is following in guiding its colonies into self-government and independence. This brings me to my second picture.

2. Our Membership in the Commonwealth

We in Canada are sharing in this political evolution which has produced the Commonwealth of Nations. This is another association contributing to Canada's international strength today. Our Commonwealth is an association for which we have a deep sentimental attachment reinforced by the comradeship and common sacrifices made in two world wars. I, for one, never for a moment discount the value, in international affairs, of the very special fraternal quality that sets Commonwealth relations apart from the relationships with "foreign" countries, however close and friendly the ties with any such country may be.

But, of course, there is far more to this unique fraternity than mere sentiment. The Commonwealth is an entirely new concept embracing the belief that sovereignty, limited by a voluntary association with other sovereignties for the preservation of common values, is an acceptable, satisfying and civilized political order. It is, moreover, a dynamic concept with members being constantly admitted as they emerge from colonial to independent status. In 1957 we welcomed into the Commonwealth the Federation of Malaya. Next year will see Nigeria take her place in our family of nations, and Canada will shortly be opening a diplomatic post in the capital, Lagos. Shortly thereafter our island neighbours in the Caribbean--the West Indies Federation--will be joining the club, and it has been one of Canada's policies to extend substantial aid and assistance to this potential full Commonwealth member.

The fact that these new nations are voluntarily joining the Commonwealth, graphically illustrates the kind of multi-racial community which is developing, bound together by common ideals and institutions, and exercising a profound influence for good throughout the world. I believe the Commonwealth offers a lesson for the world in that it points the way towards the only tolerable solution of the basic dilemma of our time--the problem of achieving order with freedom.

There are lessons, too, for others in the way in which there is mutual assistance within the Commonwealth for improving the lot of the less-developed members. The greater part of Canadian assistance has been carried out under the Colombo Plan, to which we have this year raised our contribution to $50 million. The full title of this Plan is "The Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and South-East Asia", and the word "cooperative" has been consistently stressed in the ten years of the Plan's operation. Working together there has been established a very fine relationship among the member countries of the Plan and the Plan lives up to its title.

Canada has found a large number of projects where Canadians and Asians have worked harmoniously together, have learned from one another and together have made an effective contribution to the development of a particular country. Canadian experts sent to Asia and the Asian student trainees who have come to Canada in a two-way stream of traffic have enriched and broadened our understanding of one another.

3. Then to my Third Picture, the United States

Nearer home, we have a third source of international strength in our unique relationship with our large and friendly neighbour to the south, the United States. I say unique because here again we tend to take for granted the deep understanding and friendship which permeates the daily relations of our two countries. We have, of course, much in common through having developed, albeit in our separate ways, from common origins in a shared physical environment. But it is more than a common history and more than the mere fact that destiny has decreed that we occupy one half a continent that renders the Canadian-American relationship unique. I venture to say that there are few neighbouring states in the world between which ordinary day-today life is so completely intertwined. There are few families in Canada which do not have relatives living somewhere in the United States. Many of our clubs and other societies straddle the border, we read the same magazines, listen to the same radio programmes, watch the same movies, and, for better or for worse, are exposed to the same quiz programmes. Commercially we are each other's best customers. Between no two other nations is there such a free interchange of ideas and products.

These intimate contacts at the citizen level are matched by a network of inter-governmental arrangements more complex than between any other two nations. In the realm of defence, we have the Permanent Joint Board, established in 1940; and, of course, NORAD, the jointly operated air defence command responsible for the air defence of the continent as a whole. For boundary questions, we have the International Joint Commission which, I believe, is an example to the world of how trans-boundary resources can be dealt with in a civilized and equitable way. Supplementing these formal arrangements are the inter-parliamentary groups which find members of the Canadian Parliament and of the United States' Congress meeting annually or oftener to exchange ideas to the common benefit of both legislatures. At the ministerial level there are two standing committees, one on trade and economic matters and the other on defence. Less than three weeks ago, my colleagues the Ministers of Finance, Defence and Defence Production and I attended a meeting of the Canada-United States Defence Committee at Camp David at which we not only discussed frankly problems of bilateral defence concern, but also exchanged views on the broad range of international problems facing the world today.

Now I am not going to pretend that we never have any differences of opinion with our southern neighbours; we do, and these differences invariably get free play in the press of both countries. It is inevitable that the impact of a large population such as that of the United States on her much less thickly populated neighbour is profound, and that we cannot afford to be complacent if we wish to preserve our separate identity as a nation. It is the Government's policy to speak up frankly when Canadian national interests are suffering as a consequence of United States policies. I would stress the word "frankly" but hasten to add that we get as good as we give. This is the way friends face and overcome their differences--and I am sure you would have it no other way.

4. Canada and Latin America

As we survey Canada's role in world affairs, we should never neglect the close friendship we enjoy with the other nations of the Western Hemisphere--the twenty Latin American nations to our south. Like ourselves, they are determined to be independent and to reach their own decisions in international affairs. Several, like us, are middle powers, and, like us, are exerting growing influence in the councils of the world. I have found co-operation with Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina--to name only a few--both natural and useful in the United Nations, and I look forward to an intensification of Canadian trade and political relations with all Latin American states. I believe that many of you here today, with your far-reaching business connections, have much to contribute towards this objective.

5. Our Participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The fifth sketch I would draw for you is of Canada's partnership with 14 other like-minded nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. One of the principles underlying the North Atlantic Alliance is that no state, however powerful, can guarantee its security in the nuclear age by national action alone. Since its inception in 1949, NATO has brought to all its members--large, medium and small--a measure of security and purpose in the face of a serious Soviet military challenge. The Treaty binds its fifteen member states together for the defence of North America and Europe, and it is in recognition of the fact that the defence of the two continents is indissolubly linked, that Canada has maintained a fully equipped air division and brigade of ground forces in Europe, notwithstanding heavy defence commitments at home in North America.

Today NATO endows us with a sense of mutual confidence and responsibility for the vital East-West negotiations laying ahead which no member, by itself, could have attained. That spirit of interdependence can be maintained and enhanced, however, only if the fullest advantage is taken of the opportunities for consultation which the NATO Council offers on matters which significantly affect the Alliance as a whole or its members. That is not to say that all NATO countries must speak with one voice on all questions. That would be impossible and indeed undesirable in an alliance of equals, for it is this very independence of thought and expression which distinguishes NATO from the Warsaw Pact.

It does, however, mean that by discussion of vital questions in advance of action by member states, such action may be taken in the light of and with a full appreciation of the viewpoint of other members, be they great or small powers. I believe this concept of consultation to be of the utmost significance in relation to the forth-coming East-West negotiations which, by the limited participation which is possible at such talks, will find some members of the western team doing the negotiating and others on the sidelines. For this reason Canada has urged that western negotiating powers must keep the Council in their confidence in the preparation of a pre-summit negotiating position. It is for the same reason that we have urged--and succesfully--that the forthcoming NATO Ministerial Meeting in December should be so arranged as to both precede and follow the Western Summit Meeting between the United Kingdom, United States and France, in consultation with West Germany. This will help to make the NATO Council "the laboratory of the West" in the formulation of western policies. It is here, too, that Canada will take advantage of the opportunity of having her voice heard in the preparations for summit meetings--of which there may well be a series.

6. Our Role in the United Nations

My sixth picture covers a wider canvas--in a sense as wide as the world itself--since it is of our role in the world organization, the United Nations. That organization since its inception has received strong and consistent support from Canada. Certainly the United Nations is not unlimited in its effectiveness and its authority is growing only with painful slowness; but I would remind you that these very limitations arise from the sovereign equality of the member states and from the tensions which prevail in a world divided into ideological camps.

Although it would be unrealistic to believe that the United Nations could achieve solutions to all current international problems, it is equally true that, if the organization should collapse, the world community would have no alternative but to erect a new similar organization in its place. It symbolizes and gives practical effect to mankind's desire for an ordered world and a betterment of international relations and human welfare generally. Without it there would be suspicion, hostility and probably chaos. Canada values highly the obligation and opportunity which United Nations member states have to consult together at regular intervals and to negotiate within the framework of a common objective--world peace.

Indeed, it is in the United Nations that Canada enjoys one of its greatest opportunities to offer constructive leadership. I have been impressed by the respect we enjoy in that forum as a disinterested middle power. The reasons are not difficult to find; no one fears us because we are without territorial ambitions; no one harbours resentment towards us since we have never held sovereign control of an alien people; no one suspects us of coveting his national resources as we are known to have plenty of our own. We have many close friends through the associations which I have been sketching in my preceding five pictures, and have earned others by gaining a reputation for independent thought and objective judgment on issues that come before the United Nations. We border on three oceans and have an acknowledged interest in the affairs of all continents of the world; notwithstanding a top-notch fighting record in two world wars, we are accepted by all as a peace-loving nation. We have won friends by lending generous assistance to less developed nations both through bilateral aid programmes and through multilateral ones under the United Nations auspices. Even the communist states seem to regard us with less suspicion than they do most western nations.

I might mention some aspects of Canadian participation in United Nations' undertakings which have been occupying our attention at the current session of the General Assembly in New York. The Canadian initiative which has perhaps attracted the most attention has been our proposal, eventually co-sponsored by ten other powers and unanimously endorsed by the Assembly membership, to encourage the world-wide collection and central collation of more accurate information on radiation. We took this initiative in the knowledge that even if nations agree to stop testing nuclear weapons, the problem of radiation will not vanish. It seems imperative that the substantial gaps which exist in our knowledge of this frightening phenomenon should be filled and that research into the biological effects of radiation should be based upon the fullest and most reliable information possible. I was greatly heartened by the enthusiasm with which the Canadian people greeted our initiative and by the complete support it received in the United Nations.

In other and perhaps less spectacular matters the Canadian delegation has also been active. During the past year Canada has been a member of the Outer Space Committee, in which useful work in the technical and legal spheres was accomplished. However, the Soviet Union declined to participate because of the make-up of the committee. If the committee is to succeed the Soviet Union must take part and accordingly some change in the composition of the committee is necessary. The Canadian delegation has been applying itself to this problem and, of course, stands ready to participate fully in the committee's work when its new composition is agreed upon.

We have also continued our humanitarian contributions to the several United Nations' programmes for refugees and taken a lead, which we hope other nations will follow in marking World Refugee Year with a special Canadian project for the admission to Canada of 100 tuberculous refugees and their families. In this endeavour the Federal Government has had the welcome support of most Provincial Governments and whole heartedly endorses the National Committee for World Refugee Year, shortly to launch its campaign here in Toronto.

Towards United Nations' efforts at peace-keeping and peace supervision, Canada continues to make a contribution in which, I think, we all can take pride. Our suport for the United Nations' Emergency Force in the Middle East continues undiminished and I believe it is true to say that we have contributed more manpower to various United Nations' observation groups--for example, in Palestine, Kashmir and Lebanon--than any other single nation. In consequence, we have developed in Canada a very large corps of both civil and military observers highly experienced in this specialized type of work. Although we do not believe that a standing United Nations' force in being is a practicable possibility today, we do maintain in Canada a battalion ear-marked for service with the United Nations should the necessity arise.

Through our membership in the Security Council, we have played an active and constructive part in the Laotian crisis and are gratified that our preference for the establishment of some form of continuing United Nations' representation in that disturbed country has already been in part realized (thanks to the courageous efforts of Mr. Hammarskjold, the United Nations' Secretary-General).

7. Membership in the Ten-Power Disarmament Committee

Related to Canada's United Nations work, but nevertheless to be pursued in an outside forum, is the important part Canada is to play as a member of the new disarmament committee. We have accepted the invitation of the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union to participate in the work of this ten-power disarmament negotiating committee--the other four western members being the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. The activities of this committee, which will, we hope, commence early in the new year, are intended not to replace but to supplement the responsibility of the United Nations in the field of disarmament. We shall at all times bear in mind that disarmament is a matter which deeply concerns great, middle and small powers alike.

Disarmament is a subject of special significance to Canada. Geographically we lie between the two nuclear superpowers; we are, in a sense, the ham in the sandwich--and have no desire to be "minced". Continued tension heightens the peril in which our geography places us and gives us special reason to spare no effort to bring about a lessening of world tensions. We welcome the improved atmosphere which has resulted from the visits of Prime Minister Macmillan to Moscow and Premier Khrushchev to the United States and we look forward to the further progress in this direction which may well result from the Soviet Leader's visit to Paris and President Eisenhower's return visit to Moscow. Canada believes that the present situation offers a new opportunity for progress in the field of disarmament and she intends to press towards that objective through her participation in the ten-power committee.

These are the seven pictures--our ties with the United Kingdom and France, our membership in the Commonwealth, our relations with the United States, our friendship with Latin America, partnership in NATO, our role in the United Nations and finally our membership in the ten-power disarmament committee. Others might be added but from these seven you will understand why I said in opening that Canada faces a great challenge in world affairs.

Add Canada's good record generally, her growing economic strength and the courage, common sense and God-fearing character of her people and you will agree with me that we can give leadership in the finest sense of the word.

Whether Canada does or does not will depend largely on the leadership given in the various Canadian communities. Each one of you here today is a leader--all in Toronto, some from coast to coast. I am confident that the members of the Empire Club and Canadian Club of this city will do their full share to help Canada meet the challenge which faces her in world affairs.

THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Mr. John C. Proctor.

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Canada in World Affairs

Some facts about Canada's diplomatic efforts. Canada's 51 diplomatic missions. The speaker's assertion that "for no nation is there a greater challenge in world affairs or a greater opportunity for leadership than there is for our own Canada. We can perhaps give finer leadership than any other nation." The speaker then explains why he says that, discussing the issue under the following headings: Our Ties with the United Kingdom and France; Our Membership in the Commonwealth; Then to my Third Picture, the United States; Canada and Latin America; Our Participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Our Role in the United Nations; Membership in the Ten-Power Disarmament Committee. The involvement of community leaders in meeting the challenge and taking the opportunity for world leadership.