Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
If I recollect aright, when we were discussing the estimates of the Department of External Affairs at the close of last session, the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) asked whether the
Legations-Argentina and Brazil
government intended to have representation in the Argentine or any of the other South American republics. At the time I replied that the government was giving consideration to the matter. I am now in a position to state that the government has decided to have a minister sent to the Argentine and also to have a minister sent to Brazil.
At the time, when my hon. friend previously brought up the question, I indicated that the government was considering whether or not it might be possible to have an arrangement with respect to the South American republics similar to that which was made with regard to Belgium and Holland, having one minister represent this country at two capitals, in this case Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero. For obvious reasons, however, it has seemed inadvisable to restrict the appointment to one minister and has seemed very desirable to have two appointments.
I might say that the formal approval of His Majesty the King is necessary before a step of the kind is taken. That approval has been obtained, and the governments of the Argentine and Brazil have been informed, at our request, by the foreign minister of the United Kingdom through the British ambassadors to those countries, that it is the intention of our government to make the appointments in due course. I should say that both countries intimated to the government some time ago that they would like to be in a position to send ministers to Canada. Each of these governments asked whether we would be prepared not only to receive their ministers but to reciprocate in the matter of making appointments to their respective countries. It is just within the last month or two that it has been possible to give them a definite answer on that point.
My hon. friend has asked me to elaborate. I do not know just what he may have in mind. It may be that he refers to the possibility of trade commissioners being able to perform the duties that ministers might perform; I notice there has been some comment in the press to that effect. I imagine, however, this would not commend itself to my hon. friend. I do not think any country has a finer trade commissioner service than Canada has, and the work that is being done by our trade commissioners in the South American republics is satisfactory in every particular. But as hon. members will realize, representatives of the Department of Trade and Commerce as such have not immediate access to foreign governments. In many countries to-day, in order that the ministry may be approached by a representative of another country, that representative must have ministerial standing. Hon. members also are aware
that at the present time matters of trade are becoming largely controlled by governments themselves, by means of quotas, prohibitions and restrictions of various kinds, so that it is becoming imperative to have someone with the authority of a minister to gain the contacts that are necessary with governments on these matters. Perhaps I need only add that the importance of the South American republics, both from the political and the economic point of view, is obvious; and the government feels that it would be in the national interest that we should have this representation at an early date.
Subtopic: PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS PLENIPOTENTIARY TO ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL