allowed to go unchallenged, naturally what I have said in respect of commitments would place the present administration and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) in a most embarrassing position. However, to take care of that matter, the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) on March 10, 1936, commenting upon the statement of Mr. Thomas, the then Secretary of State for the Dominions, said:
A summary of the white paper which was recently laid on the table of the House of Commons at Westminster, describing the proposal of the government of the United Kingdom, for the strengthening of its defence forces and the reorganization of the committee of imperial defence, was communicated to us. The summary reached us at the same time that a full statement appeared in the press of the contents of the white paper. But we were not asked our
opinion of the white paper nor were we asked to give any approval of it or any commitment with regard to it.
The statement of the Prime Minister would not be complete, nor would we have a complete disclosure of the foreign policy of this country, unless, in respect of the matter to which the Secretary of State for the Dominions had referred, one quoted the statement made in the house by the present leader of the opposition, when he was prime minister, in answer to a question by the present Prime Minister on May 20, 1935. The present Prime Minister had asked the present leader of the opposition if at the conferences in connection with the jubilee celebration any commitments had been made by Canada, and the then prime minister (Mr. Bennett) replied:
At this moment I shall not do more than say that I think it is very desirable that I should at once make it clear that so far as this dominion is concerned no commitments were sought with respect to the matters to which reference has been made, nor were any given. I say that because it is desirable that there should be no false conceptions and no misstatements or misunderstandings abroad with respect to matters of such importance to us all.
So that the record is now complete. We have not only the present Prime Minister but also a former prime minister, representing the only other political group which has held office in Canada, telling us that we have no commitments, nor have we had any commitments with any unit in any part of the world.
These official statements effectively arrest the interpretation the hon. member for Vancouver North sought to give the other night. Then, finally, in a broadcast statement over the national network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, on July 19, 1937, after his return from Great Britain, following the coronation and the imperial conference, the Prime Minister said:
In concluding what I have to say on the subjects of foreign affairs and defence, I should like to make perfectly clear that the position of the Canadian government, as asserted prior to the conference, of the full and untrammelled responsibility of the Canadian parliament for decision on the vital issues of foreign policies and defence, was completely maintained throughout. It was made clear in the conference discussions that Canada was not committed to joining in any Imperial or any league military undertakings; and, equally, that there was no commitment against such participation; that, in brief, any decision, on the part of Canada, to join in war would have to be taken by the parliament of Canada in the light of the circumstances and facts of the day, as they may exist in Canada, and in the areas involved. That position has been made clear in Ottawa, in Geneva, and in London, and it remains the position of the government of Canada. Neither at the Imperial conference itself.- nor at any time, prior or subsequent to the conference, were commitments made with
respect to matters on which the Canadian parliament would wish to be informed in advance; nor have policies with respect to any matter been enunciated or approved which were not wholly in accord with those of the government as known to the country, and previously expressed by myself or my colleagues in parliament.
I now leave this matter of commitments. I ask the house to agree that, if any hon. member suggests again that there are commitments, the onus will rest with that hon. gentleman to indicate precisely the full nature of the alleged commitments.
It is said constantly that we have no foreign policy.
By no means. A contract of that sort can be ended. For instance, one can recite the case of Italy regarding an arrangement made with the Austrian government in connection with the Austrian Tyrol. That was denounced. That was a contractual obligation, but there is a difference between a contractual obligation and a constitutional obligation. As I pointed out the other night, there is no constitutional obligation on the part of Canada in respect to these naval bases.
I do not agree fully with all that this government has done by way of foreign policy, but I do say that this government has had and has a foreign policy. In the light of existing circumstances, it is the only foreign policy that this country could have, bearing in mind Canada's best interests. In the Italo-Abys-sinia dispute, whether or not we liked the way our government acted, its foreign policy was clear and well-defined. Regarding our attitude toward the reoccupation of the Rhineland there was no question as to our official point of view. We had a definite policy respecting the proposed amendments to the covenant of the League of Nations. The Prime Minister made that clear to the assembly of the league when he spoke on behalf of this government in 1936. Hon. members may not have agreed with him, but he did not equivocate in the matter.
There is a disposition to say that the Brussels Conference was not a success and that this country had no foreign policy in connection with it. We must not overlook the important contribution made by that conference respecting the present conflict in China. I am sure I can give no greater authority for this statement than Doctor Hu Shi. At the Brussels conference, which met on November 24, there were represented many
of the countries represented in Washington when the nine-power treaty of 1921-22 was drawn up. That treaty provided for the recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, and the Brussels conference reaffirmed its provisions. While some hon. gentlemen may contend that there are no teeth in that reaffirmation, I should like to point out what Doctor Hu Shi had to say. Speaking in Ottawa the other day this great Chinese philosopher observed that he regarded the reaffirmation as being of tremendous importance. The policy of this government was to agree with the reaffirmation of the principles of the nine-power treaty. If that does not mean having a definite foreign policy in respect to that one matter, then what does it mean?
The position that we took is of great significance when we realize that Sweden, Norway and Denmark, all peace-loving countries, all members of that Scandinavian group traditionally strong collective security countries, made reservations and refused to vote for the declarations given. Hon. gentlemen opposite often hold up these countries as the best examples of consistent foreign policy. These three countries in declining to vote refused to affirm the declarations and Canada did, I presume because of the foreign policy of the present government. When you consider the number of countries represented you realize that there was a diminution as compared .with the conference of 1922. Our country was not only represented, but went the full way with the other countries in expressing its horror at the use of force in faraway China. Hon. members may say that we should have done more, but I do not think we could in the light of the present world situation.
What do we mean by foreign policy? If hon. gentlemen opposite think that the government should have a declared formula for every question, then it is impossible to expect this or any other government to have a foreign policy. There are certain constant factors such as geographical position, economic interests, and the general state of community opinion which must be borne in mind. There are few men more astute in the conduct of foreign affairs than was Sir Eyre Crowe, at one time head of the western division of the foreign office. In a famous memorandum given on January 1, 1907, he laid down the basis of Anglo-German relationship. Anyone who analyses Mr. Harold Nicolson's estimate of that memorandum will appreciate the value of what I have said. In dealing with Anglo-German relationship, as conceived by Sir Eyre Crowe, certain considerations had to be
borne in mind by the British government, among which was the fact that Great Britain was an island, facing the exposed flank of Europe. Being an island, she had to maintain food outlets and inlets. If that is true in the case of Great Britain, it is equally true in the case of Canada. What are the constant factors to be considered? Any one who is prepared to examine these constant factors will not fail to recognize the truth of what I am saying.
Let me digress for a moment. I am not saying that the present foreign policy of this country should be maintained continually or should have been maintained from the close of the war up to about two and a half years ago; I am simply answering the statement that we have at the moment no foreign policy. In a recent book on Canada, Andre Seigfried said:
The foreign policy of Canada is based on three essentials, which are relatively simple and easy to summarize. They are first, the assertion of a distinct political status in international affairs; secondly, protection against menace from overseas powers; and thirdly, economic considerations, connected with the development of natural resources and the maintenance of the export trade. Whichever way we turn, we are sure to be confronted by one or other of these three propositions.
The attitude Canada adopts is a function of either her proximity to the U.S.A., her connection with Great Britain, or her intei'-national trade, which in turn depends upon the maintenance of peace.
I do not think anyone will quarrel with the statement that these are the constant factors which must be kept in mind. When we criticize the absence of an external affairs tradition in this parliament we should remember that we are a comparatively new member of the family of states. We have not yet acquired the complete technique in these matters that is expected of much older and more experienced countries. I am not offering this as an extenuating circumstance; I am simply stating a fact. The progress we have made is certainly much greater than that made by the great republic to the south, having in mind the length of time that country has been a member of the family of states.
I have no apology to make for my statement regarding Canadian foreign affairs. I am speaking now, not of a situation I should like to see, not of a situation that I think should have been, but of a situation that is. In this respect I suggest that we have a very definite foreign policy. This foreign policy was given to the house last year by the Prime Minister, but it will bear repetition. There are at least seven principles of our foreign policy. The first and guiding principle in the formulation
of Canada's foreign policy should be the maintenance of the unity of Canada as a nation. If this were not basic we would be faced with the absurd proposition of trying to keep peace in 'Europe at a time when Europe was not inclined to accept our assistance, and at the same time further jeopardizing the unity of Canada. That surely is fundamental, and no hon. member has stated that proposition better than the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan), who speaking in this house in 1926, said-and I commend his words:
May we not reasonably hope that those who succeed us in filling the highest offices in the gift of the people of Canada shall only undertake such inter-imperial and international responsibility as may be undertaken with the general approval of all sections of the country, and to ensure that the action of parliament, and of the government which this parliament maintains and sustains, shall have the approval not only of a majority of the electoral constituencies throughout Canada, but also have the substantial support and cooperation of the constituencies in every important section, district or province of the dominion?
If that was not our attitude then we certainly could not make an effective contribution under present circumstances to the restoration of peace in the world. Add to that the fact that we have normal problems in respect of lack of unity. If hon. members were to follow, for instance, the observations of the hon. member for Argenteuil (Mr. Heon), or perhaps go the full way of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods-worth), is there any doubt of what the effect would be in this country? One has simply to remember the effect of conscription in this country; and by the way, talking of conscription, I for one deplore anyone in another place or in this House of Commons or for that matter outside Parliament advocating, in respect of a possible future conflict, that we should again think in terms of the conscription of our man power.
The second principle is that Canada's foreign policy is, in the main, a matter not of Canada's relations to the league but of Canada's relations to the United Kingdom and the United States. Whether we like it or not, this is the fact. We have certain affiliations; we have certain neighbours; and in the light of the uncertainty of world affairs, whatever we do must be done in the light of our relations with these affiliations and to these neighbours. There may be some who want us to withdraw from the Empire; there may be some who want a modification of our position in it; but no one, regardless of the position he takes in this respect, will deny the
need for taking into consideration the fact that whatever we do must be done in the light of these two relationships.
Most certainly, but I do not quite appreciate how that touches what I have just said. That is involved in the new status which we have acquired, but in no sense is it related to the matter to which I am referring.
I am not afraid to assert in this house that we are a North American state. I am not afraid to assert that the very fact that we are on the North American continent should not only give us the right but should compel us to realize that our situation as a country on the North American continent does confer certain opportunities in respect of possible assistance in the event of a conflict, as well as certain orientations because of this geographical reality. But to state that we are a part of the North American continent and that we are a member of the British Empire is not in itself, I acknowledge, likely to take us out of the difficulties to which the hon. member has alluded. I am merely pointing out that in forming its foreign policy the government of this country, when it comes to make a decision, has to bear in mind these constant factors-and our relationship to Great Britain and our relationship to the United States are two very important constant factors. I believe in Canadian participation in the Pan-American Union, but I realize that if, as a matter of foreign policy, this government made a decision one way or the other at the present time with respect to that matter, greater disadvantage would come than advantage.
The third principle is that Canada should as a general rule occupy a back seat at Geneva or elsewhere when European or Asiatic problems are being discussed. With regard to the period from 1920 up until two years ago, I would not agree with that as an adequate formulation of Canada's foreign policy, but in the light of circumstances as they are, in the light of the attitude, for instance, of the Scandinavian countries, peace-minded as they have traditionally been, and in the light of the attitude taken by the greater powers generally, could we take at the present time any other position?
One of the most important figures in bringing about an earlier conception of the League of Nations, and conceiving the idea long before
the wTar wTas at an end, was Lawrence Lowell, a former president of Harvard university; and here is what he says about participation at the present time in full measure in respect of the League of Nations, and in respect of any part of the Americas trying to bring about any real appeasement in Europe:
Any general war in Europe would be a calamity to civilization that would drag us down with that part of the world from which we sprang; but in the present aspect of affairs we cannot help to prevent it, for it rests upon conditions there which we cannot change, upon the inability of European nations to act with harmony enough to settle their dissensions by peaceful means.
That surely is a significant statement. No one is stronger in the championing of collective action than I am, and it is because I believe in collective action that I do not want it to be disturbed by pious wishes which can only result, if translated immediately into terms of action, in disaster to the countries that adopt them, and to the collective system itself. Members of this house have a responsibility in doing their utmost to keep this country out of war. And to this end the present government dedicates itself.
The fourth and fifth principles, taking them together, are that Canada is under no obligation to participate in the economic and military sanctions of the league or in the defence of any other part of the commonwealth. I need merely mention the resolution of this house that was passed in 1926 in respect of economic sanctions. Of the position taken by us then, I need say nothing more I think than that it was contrary to our membership in the league at that time, but it does represent a foreign policy persistently pursued in this country and so directed as to preclude the slightest possibility of our being drawn into a European conflict. However, there is this to be said: Events confirm the stand taken by the government in sponsoring the 1926 resolution. We have from the beginning taken the attitude at the league that we did not by way of anticipation, want to be drawn into any armed conflict in respect of trying to carry out the provisions of the covenant of the league. In the light of the fact that the greater powers as well as some of the other powers of Europe have used the league as a means of preserving the status quo, I think that events have more than confirmed the judgment of successive Canadian governments in respect of economic and military sanctions.
The hon. member knows that I have no authority to speak for the government. I am simply giving my interpretation of what I understand to be the present foreign policy of this government. I concur in Mr. Reid's excellent summary of present Canadian foreign policy.
Seventh, Canada is willing to participate in international enquiries into international economic grievances.
In 1921 our delegate, the present chief justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario, took the attitude that the primary function of the league was to deal with political matters; the examination of economic questions-raw materials and accessibility thereto, the closed market system of the world, and the like- was not properly within the functions of the league. Now. since the present government has not indicated the extent to which in this particular it is prepared to go, there may be offered some legitimate criticism, although not to the extent that some hon. gentlemen may suppose. We now recognize that the peace of the world is to be effected mainly through recognizing the economic implications of the relations of one state with another. And the government of this country, when it comes to implementing its policy in that respect, will be faced with the duty of considering the question of Canada as an outlet for population and as a source of raw materials. I would ask hon. gentlemen whether, in this connection, they would assert with regard to immigration, for. instance, that we should take a definite stand as to the contention that Japan has an insufficient area for the support of its population, or regarding the same claim on behalf of Italy? These are questions that cannot lightly be determined. While I believe that the peace of the world must be sought, once the present unrest has subsided, along such lines as these, I do not agree that anyone could reasonably be expected to make a particular pronouncement of policy at the present time in the absence of cooperative effort.
This program, be it satisfactory or unsatisfactory, is a program, and, as I have already suggested, one which in the light of existing circumstances is best suited to the interests of Canada. A country must not be unwilling to consider interests other than its own, but as, seemingly, this is a time when no country is willing to think of interests other than its own, it would be the highest type of folly for
this government to take any course different from the one it is pursuing.
So much with regard to the present. I have already stated my position with regard to the past up to two years ago. I am going to vote for these estimates, but not because I believe we are thereby defending our homes. If a war comes, whether of aggression or of defence, it can mean only the destruction of homes and much else. I consent to vote for these estimates for the same reason, and no other, that a man would consent to the amputation of an arm. In doing so I do not absolve anyone or any country. The condition of the world represents the vacillation both of public opinion and of governments. It may be said with a good deal of truth that Great Britain might have staved off the present situation, but we all have a measure of responsibility with regard to the invoking of article XIX, respecting consideration of the claims of an earlier Germany, Italy and Japan -claims which, if recognized, might have delayed the mischievous advent of the totalitarian states.
With regard to the future, the necessary disposition and good faith assured, and only the future-because to try to implement at this time the following program would defeat the purposes I have in mind-I am of the opinion that if the present balance of power system could be dropped, if the concert of certain nations could be disposed of, if it is possible to get back to Geneva, we shall then have to decide whether we are going to return to Geneva through the employment of force or through the agencies of conciliation. But if we do get back to Geneva we should embrace a program involving the following:
1. The renunciation of economic warfare; and that, this government can do quite readily because of its traditional fiscal policies.
2. Economic disarmament to be accompanied by military disarmament.
3. Positive international cooperation to make it possible for all nations to improve the standards of living of their peoples by having assured access to the good things of life. This positive cooperation involves:
(a) Improving the standard of labour and living by international agreement, as is being done by the international labour office.
(b) A consideration of the raw materials inaccessibility argument. There is a lot of nonsense in connection with this argument, but so far as it is valid it should be faced squarely.
(c) Freer access to markets, so that nations may be able to sell that which they best
produce, in order to obtain the exchange with which to acquire raw materials.
(d) Trading on a basis of equality rather than of discrimination; and that again, this government can afford to do in the light of its traditions.
(e) Currency stabilization and better coordination of financial policies.
(f) Possible extension of the principle of mandates or international development of certain colonial areas.
(g) Provisions for peaceful change.
Last, and I think most important:
(h) Readaptation of the collective system.
As regards this program I have sought not
to be an apologist for anyone. I have criticized the past foreign policy of the present and other governments. But confining oneself for the moment to the situation in which we now find the world, no man in the position of responsibility occupied by a member of this house can urge the government to resort to any other course than it is following at the present time.
I merely express again before taking my seat, the hope that it will be possible to permit the agencies of conference to replace force as an instrument of national policy and as a means of settling disputes between nations, the hope that the law will supplant the will of any one man or ruler of a country. While I recognize that in the present situation it is almost futile to attempt to be idealistic, I am convinced, even if that conviction is based upon idealism, that the present system of heavy armaments and of foreign policies based upon them cannot preserve the peace of the world. Peace can come only by a revision of the concept of sovereignty and a recognition of the fact that, because of the economic and political interdependence of the world, nations have to be prepared to give and take in respect both of political and of economic matters. But the time for that has not come; we can only hope that it will come in the not distant future.
In rising to speak to this matter of defence, may I say first that I would very much like to have more than forty minutes, but I feel that the indulgence of this house has already been extended on too many occasions, and I propose to try to keep within the rules in this regard.
First I desire to deal very briefly with some of the remarks made by the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin). He has, I think, endeavoured, and quite ably, to make an apology for what I still consider to be
the government's lack of policy. Having followed the hon. member's speeches from time to time on international affairs and the League of Nations, I am sure that what he undertook this afternoon must have been an uncongenial and perhaps even difficult task. In outlining the policy which he laid before the committee he said that he had no authority to speak for the government, yet he led us to infer that the government had a policy, and he laid before the committee a policy-
Will the hon. member permit me to point out that that statement is not accurate? I did not lay before the committee a policy. I laid before it what I understood to be the policy of the present government.
I accept that explanation and say that the hon. member laid before the committee a formula, and the idea I got was that it was the policy which is governing the government's policy; yet the formula is not the government's formula but that of Mr. Escott Reid, who has no responsibility whatsoever in relation to the government of the country.
The hon. member twitted my colleague the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. MacNeil) the other day, saying he had changed his position in regard to some of the matters now before the committee. May I just quote the concluding paragraph from what the hon. member for Vancouver North said last year in discussing the problem of defence, as found at page 887 of Hansard of February 15, 1937:
I submit we are being asked to support measures of defence which offer no defence. We are being asked to jeopardize our social security and to perpetuate social inequalities without the assurance that there will be additional security against danger from war. In the name of national defence we are facing commitments which mean anything but the defence of Canadian soil or Canadian homes. We desire peace, and we are taking the road to war. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the situation demands a straightforward statement from the government as to its intentions for the future.
In his address last Friday the hon. member for Vancouver North reiterated that position over and over again. Hence I would say that there was no change in the basic and fundamental principle from which he spoke this year as compared with a year ago. This year, as last year, we argue that defence plans should be based on a clear-cut foreign policy. We ask, as we did a year ago, what is that policy? So far this house has been given no definite statement from the government regarding it.
That is not my opinion only. It is the opinion of political observers all across Canada. As recently as last Saturday evening the Ottawa Journal, edited by a gentleman whose ability and powers of observation I think none of us will question, remarked that this house and this nation should be told the truth regarding the defence estimates, should be told what is implied by them. For, he said, anything else is not honest, and can bring only injury. That, briefly, is the opinion also of the group with which I am associated.
The hon. member for Essex East illustrated what he termed our policy in relation to international affairs by quoting from the recent Brussels conference. Last October at Geneva we associated ourselves with other nations in calling upon members of the league to give at least moral support to China. We were also at Brussels, and what did the Chinese delegation say at Brussels? According to a Canadian Press dispatch dated November 15, 1937:
Canada has been a substantial contributor to Japan's weapon of war, according to a statement issued by the Chinese delegation to the nine-power treaty conference to-day.
The statement analyses Japan's dependence on foreign supplies for raw materials. It says that in 1936 Japan imported aluminum, used in aircraft manufacture, valued at 12,000,000 yen ($3,480,000). Of this Canada furnished 71-7 per cent.
In the same year Japan imported 33,000,000 yen worth of copper, of which Canada furnished 97-11 per cent.
In the same paper there followed a comparative table issued from Ottawa showing the increases in our sales to Japan last year.
Then the hon, member for Essex East undertook to read the hon. member for Vancouver North a lecture on our duties as members of parliament. He said:
What he states here should be different and from a different point of view from what he would say if he were in the lecture hall of a university or making a public lecture apart from his responsibility as a member of parliament.
Just a moment. I did not interrupt the hon. member, and I think he will be quite satisfied with what I am going to say when I have said it. Surely if this advice were followed the atmosphere of this chamber would be even more unreal than it already is, and we should sit here simply employing words to conceal our thoughts. In other words as the hon. member for Essex East this afternoon stated, this
institution of democracy might become the citadel of hypocrisy. I can only suppose that over the week-end he has read those words a good many times-
He has seen their implications, and realized that it must have been in a moment of mental aberration that he said what he did on Friday. To my mind it illustrates this, that even one of the most liberal-if I may put it that way-of the Liberals who sit on the opposite side of the house can be affected by the reactionary influences with which he is continuously associated. Once in a while we see an indication of that, and I take it this was one of the occasions.
Now we are told in this house that we may not discuss foreign policy, at least not as frankly as they discuss it at Westminster, or we may start a war somewhere.
Well, I might withdraw the words that a statement was made; in fact I do not think I used those words. But, last year, again and again the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre asked what the foreign policy of this government was, and again and again we had no indication of it. The same thing has occurred this year; we have no indication of that policy. Yet day after day I read in the press of their frank discussions of policy at Westminster. [DOT]
May I say to my hon. friend, seeing he has referred to it, that I think he will recall that last session I made a very comprehensive statement with respect to the foreign policy of the present administration. I think he will also recall that at the present session I said our foreign policy had not changed in any particular from that set forth comprehensively last session. I believe I also said that I hoped every hon. member would feel free to discuss just as fully as he might wish the question of foreign policy in this house, but that when it came to statements by the government, these had to be made, having in mind the government's full responsibility for its every utterance in the light of conditions as they are known to be.
I appreciate the explanation of the Prime Minister, and I accept his statement. May I direct his attention to the fact that all across the country in many of our leading papers, representing all shades
of thought, the statement is continually made -and I sympathize with it-that we have no clear cut understanding in this house or this country as to what policy the Prime Minister really has in mind.
That is not the fault of the government, and may I say one other thing. I think all hon. members of the house will see, if they look at Hansard, that for nearly two months I have been trying to have an item in external affairs taken up so that I might have a chance again this year to place before the house a comprehensive statement with respect to foreign policy. I wished to do that before the Minister of National Defence brought in his estimates. The minister's estimates have been proceeded with ahead of mine for the reason that if the expenditures are to be made, and made to the greatest advantage, they ought to be made very soon. On that account the minister has not been held back. But, as the records will show, for two months I have consistently asked for a chance to bring external affairs before the house. Personally I wanted to have the matter off my mind before the Easter vacation, but I am afraid that will be impossible now.