I claim to know. My
right hon. friend claims to know with respect to this side, and I do know with respect to his. There appeared an editorial ini the Free Press of Winnipeg a few days ago dealing with the matter, and the editor of that paper asked, "Why be a stickler for names? It does not make any difference what you call them." That is the very point I desire to discuss.
What is international law? What is the law of nations? It is not something that you may set at naught by the use of terms that have no meaning. It is highly important that your terms be used in the sense which diplomatic usage and custom and established precedents have given to them down through the centuries, and when you use the word "minister" it means just what I have read to this house, and the same with the use of the word "ambassador". It is important that there should be no confusion in terms. These are words used in the intercourse between civilized states, and they are exactly defined by the authorities. Oppen-heim, in his International Law, says:
Law of nations or international law is the name for the body of customary and conventional rules which are considered legally binding by civilized states in their intercourse with each other.
Bearing that in mind, I have no hesitation in saying that to set up an ambassador in the United States is not a difficult thing to understand. They realize our position within the British Empire, but when you are dealing with foreign nations, using the word in the larger sense, when you are dealing with people unaccustomed to our institutions, the implications are such as to leave a wrong impression on the public mind, and those implications involve responsibilities of a character which this country is not ready, in my judgment, to accept. You set up a ministry in Tokyo. The Japanese are highly specialized in international law, and they will read the word "state" as meaning just what I have said, and " minister" as meaning just what I have said. They will treat Canada in the sense I have indicated from the authorities, with all the implication? relating to
The Address-Mr. Bennett
property, protection, navy and army, and all these other matters that are involved. What are the implications with respect to setting up diplomatic relations in Tokyo? One can understand it in Paris, where they are familiar with our institutions, but when you are dealing with a far-off country, the situation is fraught with the greatest possible danger to this country. It is all nonsense to talk of the status of Canada being improved because you call somebody a minister. What this country wants in Japan and all other foreign countries are trade commissioners, under the Minister of Trade and Commerce, to carry forward Canada's trade. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Malcolm) knows that trade commissioners are what are wanted, men who will carry forward Canada's trade, not our diplomatic skill and power, to the countries of the world. What this country desires to deal with are practical matters, not matters that carry with them the implications of international law to which I have referred, and these are serious matters that cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. They are matters that have caused wars in days gone by-the designation and description of a country's representative, the rights and powers and immunities they enjoy in foreign capitals, their right to speak with authority for the state they represent their right to command armed forces, whether naval or otherwise-all these questions are involved in these implications. I say that what this young country wants, with the Colonial Laws Validity Act still outstanding, is not ministers in foreign capitals dealing with diplomatic matters, but rather trade commissioners dealing with matters affecting the expansion of our trade and commerce; and when you appoint a diplomatic representative I say that the implications involved are most dangerous. They are fraught with the greatest possible danger to the body politic. It is easy to talk in terms of great boasting of the position of our country, but Canada's position in Japan will be no greater with an embassy or ministry or legation set up in Tokyo than if under the old flag you still carry on trade and commerce and look to the British navy for your protection.
I desire to make it perfectly clear that we on this side of the house are opposed to setting up these legations as long as our present status continues. We do not desire that the implications that are attached to our position shall be misunderstood in the world at large.
It is going to bring about disaster, as certain as anything can be. About that there can be no doubt. One need not engage in prophesy; one need not be a prophet who reads the diplomatic history of Japan and the United States during the last twenty-five years, to understand what it means to start diplomatic relations in Tokyo. It is only necessary to know what has taken place to understand the situation. You, Mr. Speaker, represented this country in dealing with problems of immigration and if we set up an embassy or legation in Tokyo you can realize the position. We embark on these different problems with respect to immigration and other important problems, but it is idle boasting to talk about our position in a foreign country because some representative over there can wear gold lace and a uniform. That does not advance the interests of the country a single sou.
Mr. WOODSW'ORTH: Does the hon. gentleman not agree that some very far-reaching implications along the line he has been mentioning are involved in Canada's membership in the League of Nations?
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY