June 22, 1920

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (leader of the Opposition):

Before the House goes into committee I would like to avail myself of the opportunity of expressing our thanks to the hon. member for St. Antoine (Sir Herbert Ames) for the very interesting, illuminating and comprehensive address to which we have just listened. It has indeed been inspiring to hear from the lips of one who has been in the midst of

affairs in Europe the strong conviction which my hon. friend has voiced that the League of Nations is undoubtedly going to be the success which its promoters had hoped it might be. This word, coming at this time in the world's affairs, is extremely encouraging as we look forward into the future. Certainly, the hon. gentleman has given us this evening a striking contrast between two entirely different attitudes of mind in dealing with the great problems with which the world is confronted. He has spoken of the League as being guided by reason and a spirit of co-operation as contrasted with that other attitude which relies upon force in the management of the relations betwen men and between nations. He has emphasized the fact that through cooperation, rather than coercion, progress will be made in the affairs of the world. I believe that all the members of this House share the hope, and certainly most of us the belief, that it is to cooperation and enlightenment we must look for advance rather than to a perpetuation of the old system-let us call it the mediaeval system -of reliance upon Force in the affairs of nations and of men. He ihas pointed out that already in the very brief space of five months a constructive programme has been entered upon-a programme that from an international point of view deals with such vital questions as health, justice, labour, finance, transportation, and other of those vast interests which the different nations have in common. Certainly if this programme is to be worked out, it will only be through an attitude of good will among nations toward each other; and anything that this Parliament, or the members of it, can do' to promote an expression of good will is certainly likely to be for the good of all of us. [DOT]

I shall not say more than a word at the moment of the suggestion which the hon. member has made that Canada should invite the League of Nations to hold its next annual gathering in this country. There is perhaps something to be said for a certain perspective that it is wise to maintain in these international -affairs; if there is a note of criticism I would offer at this moment, it would be that the remarks of my hon. friend suggest just a slight danger of our taking ourselves a bit too seriously in this new family of nations and that some of the older nations-nations that have played a part in the affairs of the world much longer than we have been privileged to do- may feel that the extending of any such invitation should be made by them in the

first instance. I say that just because I think it is well, as a young country, that -notwithstanding the noble exploits of our men in the war, and the place we hold in the world in many directions-we should maintain if possible that calmer outlook of endeavouring to see ourselves as others see us, as well as endeavouring to display the hospitality and cordiality which the people of this country are noted for.

I should add Mr. Speaker: that

no one could have listened to the address of my hon. friend this evening without being impressed with the changed relations which have come about since the war, and which afford to every country a wider horizon and a larger outlook in regard to matters which are of common concern to mankind. It is, I think, a hopeful sign to find the interest in world affairs which has been exhibited in this Parliament to-night. Canada has much to gain and nothing to lose, in having a wider vision, in feeling herself a part of the great family of nations, and in sharing a knowledge and responsibility in regard to all questions that are of common human concern. The hon. member has well illustrated wherein today we are recognizing the dawn of a new era. He has given us glimpses of this larger horizon; and if I might make any suggestion to him it would be that in the few days he will be with us before his return 'he seek to impress upon fellow members on his side of the House, just as strongly as he can, the belief he has expressed so emphatically this evening, namely, that the League of Nations is a factor to be reckoned with, a factor to be counted upon, and that in regard to military and naval expenditures at this particular time we may do well, perhaps, to follow the advice which the Supreme Council has given of endeavouring as far as possible to give our first thought to productive activities, and to limit as much as possible for the time being, unnecessary extravagances and expenditure.

Hon. NEWTON W. ROWELL (President of the Privy Council): Before you leave the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I desire-on behalf of my colleagues and hon. members on this side of the House, just as the leader of the Opposition has already done for his side-to express our appreciation of the very clear, comprehensive and intensely interesting statement that the hon. member (Sir Herbert Ames) has just made to us. While we have on a number of occasions in this House discussed the plans and the work of the League of Nations, this

evening we have had the opportunity of seeing the League at work. The hon. member has presented to us such a vivid picture of the actual work being carried on, that I am sure every hon. member of the House will go away with a much clearer realization of the important and vital place which the League of Nations holds in the world's life, and of the great possibilities which lie in the League for the promotion of human welfare throughout the world. When some months ago I learned from the hon. member that it might be possible for him to return to Canada before the House rose, it was arranged by correspondence with him that he should have the opportunity, or rather that the House should have the privilege, of hearing him make a statement on this matter; and I am sure that not only is the House indebted to him, but the people of the country also," for I doubt if in any assembly there has yet been made as clear and comprehensive a statement of the work of the League as that with which we have been favoured this evening. The hon. member has made some very interesting suggestions touching matters of policy. I have no doubt those will receive the serious consideration of the Government that such suggestions deserve.

The leader of the Opposition has been good enough to suggest that the hon. member should endeavour to inculcate in the minds of the members on this side an appreciation of the value of the League of Nations. Hardly a year has passed since this question was first discussed in the House and hon. gentlemen opposite then made light of the whole business. I am glad that in the course of the year they at least have been converted to the importance of the League of Nations; and the appreciation which hon. members on this side have always entertained of that League, and of the place of Canada in it, will I am sure be greatly enhanced by the most illuminating address to which we have listened this evening.

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Motion agreed to, and the House went into committee, Mr. Boivin in the Chair.


UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

For the purpose of giving hon. members the opportunity of asking questions-as the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Boland) intimated his desire to do- I would ask the Chairman to call Item 27, Civil Government, External Affairs.

Department of External Affairs-salaries, $55,705 ; contingencies, $56,000.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Article 18 of the League of Nations provides:

Tout traits ou engagement international con-clu a l'avenir par un membre de la sociStS de-vra etre immSdiatement enregistrS par le Secretariat et publiS par lui aussitOt qu possible. Aucun de ees traitSs ou engagements interna-tionaux ne sera obligatoire avant d'avoir StS enregistrS.

Do commercial treaties as well as purely political treaties come under this article?

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

I am afraid that in this instance I can only quote what the hon. member has already quoted. As we understand it, every treaty entered into after the signing of the pact by any member of the League with a non-member, or by members of the League with each other, must be registered with a department that is part of the Secretariat of the League. That department examines the Treaty, and if it contains anything contrary to the spirit or the letter of the Covenant, the treaty is not accepted and the nation is asked to revise it. It is hoped and expected that in that way open diplomacy will be encouraged, and that no engagement will be made that might involve nations in war in support of one another. The department has only just been set up. As I understand it, every nation is bound to register its treaty, and any nation that refused would by that very act render itself no longer a member of the League.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Of understand, then, that all treaties are to be subject to the approval of the Assembly of the Council of the League?

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

All treaties.

Mr. iBELAND: The hon. member referred to the public and private sittings of the Council during the last five months. I did not quite understand in what particulars the two kinds of sittings differed. Will the hon. gentleman give us some information regarding the difference?

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

The sessions of

the Council of the League of Nations usually take place about a month apart. From four to eight days are devoted to a session. Generally they sit perhaps one or two days in secret session, and then they hold a public session. The votes are always taken at a public session. At this session the rapporteur presents the resolution that has been agreed upon and makes a statement in support of it. Usually the public sessions are social functions, there being generally present several ambassadors and a certain

number of the public-in fact, any one who desires to be present can attend so far as the limited space will allow. Generally fifty or sixty newspaper men are present to report all the details that are given. The private meetings are of a more or less informal character, and they are considered to be absolutely necessary in order that there may be the utmost freedom of discussion among the representatives. I have been able to attend several private meetings when I presented my budget, or where there has been discussion on some matter that required financing, and I have been struck, as I said in my speech, with the determination to always artive at a unanimous agreement. I have seen a question brought up that developed a very considerable difference of opinion, I have seen it discussed for an hour and then withdrawn, the Chairman saying, "Gentlemen, you have had an opportunity of hearing all the different points of view. We will take this question up again the day after tomorrow." When the question came up again it would be considerably amended, and in its amended form it would show evidence of an attempt to meet the different points of view. Perhaps that question would come up at three or four successive meetings until finally it was presented in such shape that it would be passed unanimously, and then action wcjuld follow.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

Is there a time limit

within which treaties secretly made must be registered?

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

As I understand it, no treaty is valid until it is registered; that is, no nation which is a member of the League is bound to observe the treaty.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

If a nation on failure to register a treaty is thereby ipso facto outside the League, it seems to me that that is an easy way to dissolve the League.

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UNION

Herbert Brown Ames

Unionist

Sir HERBERT AMES:

The nation that has refused to do what it contracted to do would be expected to withdraw from the League.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

If secret treaties were

entered into by powerful nations, and those nations refused to register the treaties, on discovery of their failure to so register the League is dissolved.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

That would not dissolve

the League of Nations.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

If the Great Powers went out of the League where would you get the force to keep it alive.

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UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The nation that violated the provisions of the Covenant would be expelled from the League, but it does not cease to be a member by simply failing to comply with the terms of the League.

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UNION
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

The League would have to take action to expel any offending members.

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UNION
UNION

Newton Wesley Rowell (Minister presiding over the Department of Health; President of the Privy Council)

Unionist

Mr. ROWELL:

Yes.

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June 22, 1920