Right Hon. W L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I should like to lay on the table of the house copies in English and French of an exchange of notes with the United States setting forth an agreement on compulsory military service.
There are three notes. There is the note of March 30 from Mr. Sumner Welles, Acting Secretary of State, to the Canadian Minister in Washington; the note of April 6, No. 222, from the Canadian Minister in Washington to the Acting Secretary of State, and the note of April 8 from the Acting Secretary of State to Mr. Wrong, charge d'affaires in Washington.
The United States Selective Training and Service Act, when it was passed in the summer of 1940 applied only to United States citizens, and to aliens who had declared their intention of becoming United States citizens. The act was amended in December, 1941, after the entry of the United States into the war. One of the amendments which was then passed provided for the conscription of Canadians and of nationals of other co-belligerent countries who were resident in the United States, and who had not declared their intention of becoming United States citizens.
Thus, by last December all Canadians residing in the United States became subject to compulsory service on the same basis as the United States citizens. Subsequent to the passage of this legislation the United States informed us that they would be willing to permit some of these Canadians to elect to serve in the armed forces of Canada, in lieu of service in the armed forces of the United States. The United States offer applied to non-declarant Canadians-that is to say, to Canadians who had not declared their intention of becoming United States citizens. We gladly accepted this offer, since we agreed with the United States that the united war effort of our countries would be strengthened if Canadians in the United States who had not yet given evidence of their desire to make the United States their permanent home were given an opportunity to fight in the armed forces of their own country and under their own flag, instead of fighting in the armed forces of the United States.
The agreement is reciprocal in every respect. If United States citizens, in Canada should in future be made liable to compulsory military service in the Canadian armed forces they will be given exactly the same privileges as Canadians in the United States are being given by the United States government.
The United States government has also, by the exchange of notes, declared that it is agreeable to the Canadian government imposing on United States citizens residing in Canada a liability to compulsory military service.
It might be a convenience to hon. members if this exchange of notes were printed in the Votes and Proceedings of the house. They will be printed a little later in a series of
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