May 24, 1938

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

When my right hon. friend was speaking earlier in the evening, and took exception to the government's attitude, I was not aware whether he was referring to what I said in speaking on external affairs, or whether it was to what I had said in reply to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) this afternoon. I gather it is what I said in reply to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It was not so much a

question of reply, as the language itself.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Well, what I

want to make clear at the moment, and to have the house understand, is that my right hon. friend is not taking exception to what, in speaking on external affairs, I said in relation to the Sino-Japanese war, but rather to the remark I made or something I failed to say in reply to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre on the orders of the day. May I say at once that when the hon. member asked the question he did of me I had not seen, nor had my attention been drawn to the statement made by the Japanese minister. That was why I asked my hon. friend what statement it was he alluded to. He said he was referring to the Japanese minister having said he agreed with the statement I had made in this house, a statement of policy. I am prepared to stand by any statement of policy I have made in this house as to the attitude we should assume towards other countries.

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CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

My criticism was

not with regard to the Prime Minister's statement of policy, but rather that the Japanese minister had commented on what had been said in a debate in this house.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I was trying

to find the particular point to which reference was made. However, I have since obtained the reported statement of the minister from Japan. It appears in the press as follows:

Baron Tomii, who is accompanied by his wife and eight year old daughter, expressed appreciation of a recent utterance of Prime Minister Mackenzie King with regard to the Sino-Japanese conflict.

" I don't remember the exact words, but they were to the effect that Canadian people should be very careful in making remarks concerning the hostilities now going on in China," said the Baron. " I do realize how difficult it would be for people living thousands of miles away to understand fully the situation that exists in the far east."

Foreign Policy

In the first place I think hon. members will agree that while I have made a statement as to the attitude which should be assumed generally towards critical situations in other countries, I have, as far as I can recollect, made no statement referring particularly to the hostilities now going on in China, as suggested in the words attributed to the Japanese minister. My statements from time to time have been that in dealing with critical situations that exist in other parts of the world we in Canada, which is a neutral country, should be particularly careful in our discussions in this house, or over the radio or in the press or elsewhere, to be guarded in our utterances and not say things which may unnecessarily embarrass those who have to deal with these situations. That is the kind of statement I have made, and I think it is what the minister from Japan must have had in mind, because I see in another paper, the Ottawa Citizen of yesterday, the minister is quoted as follows:

When asked about the situation in China, the minister quoted Prime Minister Mackenzie King's remark made recently in the House of Commons that it was misleading and caused " a suspicion of our neutrality " for Canadians to comment on the foreign policies of other nations.

Evidently the same thought was in the mind of the minister when speaking in the one case at Niagara Falls and in the other at Ottawa. What doubtless the minister had in mind has been some statement that in relation to these two countries which are at war we are neutral; Canada is not at war with Japan; Canada is not at war with China; and our position of neutrality should be respected.

I want to say at once that I think the Japanese minister, if, as reported, he went beyond that statement and began to speak of the hostilities as between China and Japan, and indicated what he thought would be the outcome of the war, and referred to China in the course of his remarks, was forgetting the very attitude and policy which I had suggested here should be followed.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

And which he himself

had taken.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes, quite so, which he himself had taken. In that I think he was entirely wrong; I do not for a moment hesitate to say that. Perhaps I might add that an almost humorous aspect is given to what is perhaps a very serious matter, by the fact that when the new Chinese consul arrived in the city some little time ago he made some remarks at a luncheon reflecting pretty strongly on his country's 51952-2031

enemy, and it was thought at the time that those remarks should not have been made

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He was only a consul.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes. I think, however, that they have now had a sufficient round of controversy in our country, and I hope no further reference will be made by any foreign representative in this country reflecting upon other lands with respect to which we are trying to preserve as impartial an attitude as possible.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I am sure every hon.

member will be pleased to think that the interruption of my remarks has afforded an opportunity for the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to make the observations he has made. I found it a little difficult to accommodate my mind to the thought that we in this country were to listen to a statement of the war aims of a country which had signed with us a document at Washington agreeing that it would protect the integrity of the country with which it is now waging war. That is my trouble; and I deny the right of any man, whose nation has signed a document guaranteeing with the Dominion of Canada the integrity of China, to come here and talk about the defeat of China in a war which was not declared and for which there is no justification. That is the reason I made the statement I did. The Prime Minister is right when he assumes that I was not criticizing him for not having complained of the action of the minister from Japan in pointing out that he agreed with the Prime Minister, although frankly I would not feel at all complimented by having one who represents a country which has violated every international obligation it has entered into saying how much he appreciated my attitude of mind towards anything. I desire to make that observation as strong as it is possible for me to make it. I am not one of those who believe that you serve any useful purpose by forgetting your own dignity and the honour of your own country in order to placate any power, however powerful it may be. As I was sitting here I could not but recall the words of a great Englishman who was attacked in Germany by von Bulow. He said, "I am answerable to my sovereign, and not to the citizens of a foreign country." I feel perfectly certain that in our desire to maintain neutrality the Canadian people have no desire, in the interest of trade expansion or otherwise, to sacrifice their sense of national honour and of the decencies of international relations.

Foreign Policy

There is only one more thing I desire to point out, and it is that when dealing with a certain phase of the situation, in my judgment-and I express it only as my judgment -the Prime Minister entirely overlooked the fact that we have bound ourselves, in a manner that was acceptable to all governments, to successive parliaments and to the Canadian people, to a free association with the other elements of the British Commonwealth of Nations. I cannot but think that this was not answered by the language of the Prime Minister when he said, "Canada is Canada; South Africa is South Africa; Australia is Australia, and we have no interest in United Kingdom policies."

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I never said we had no interest in United Kingdom policies. We have interest in the policies of all countries.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Then I shall put it in this way, that while the Prime Minister says we have an interest in the policies of all countries, he made it clear that we had no special interest in the policies of the United Kingdom-

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Not at all.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

-or of the other component parts of the commonwealth of nations, and he developed the idea-

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I rise to a point of order?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Surely.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The right hon. leader of the opposition cannot misinterpret what I said and expect me to remain silent.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I would not expect it and would not want it.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have made no statement of a character that would permit such an inference to be drawn. I have given the house every reason to understand that we have very special cause and every desire to cooperate with all parts of the British Empire and to be interested particularly in matters that pertain to any part of the empire.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Well, I was dealing only with the speech I listened to, not with the observations just made.

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May 24, 1938