Mr. R. T. GRAHAM (Swift Current):
Mr. Speaker, I desire first of all to record my whole-hearted and unqualified approval of the resolution introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). Not only do I approve the principle contained therein, but my approval extends particularly to its wording. On this particular occasion the wording of the resolution is important because, in general terms, it indicates the instructions from the government and parliament of Canada to the delegation which will go to San Francisco to speak for the country.
You, Mr. Speaker, and other hon. members, will have noted that while in general terms the resolution approves the Dumbarton Oaks agreement as a basis for discussion, its terms are sufficiently flexible to permit of improvement, and to permit of the Canadian delegation doing all within its power to improve if possible the agreement reached at Dumbarton Oaks. Then, finally, in recognition of the fact that Canada is a democracy, and that no agreement reached at San Francisco could in the long run be efficacious or useful unless it had
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behind it public opinion in Canada, the resolution provides that before the charter adopted at San Francisco can be binding upon or accepted by Canada, the Canadian parliament will have an opportunity to discuss the complete proposal, and to pass judgment thereon. So, as I say, I am particularly pleased with the way in which the resolution appears before the house, in respect of both its subject matter and its wording.
There are some issues which in their very nature transcend party lines, or which do not develop that cleavage of opinion which generally divides the different parties and groups in the house. Surely if there ever was an issue before the House of Commons worthy of the united support of all hon. members it is the one now before us. The history of Canada in the present generation must make clear to all of us the fact that there is one issue on which we should stand united, namely that of preventing if possible a recurrence of war and the sacrifice and suffering that follows in its wake. Canada cannot stand aside from seeking a solution to this age-old problem.
As hon. members know, this country is as peace-loving as could be imagined. In my lifetime I have not known of any responsible leader of any political party in Canada, or any other person prominent in our public life, showing any desire to embroil Canada needlessly in a war. So I say the people of Canada are whole-heartedly behind anything that may bring hope of permanent peace and security to a world in which Canada forms a small but very important part.
I join in the hope already expressed in this debate that we will find that degree of unity in the House of Commons, in the editorial pages of our press, over the radio and in the hearts and minds of our people which may in its turn enable the delegation from Canada to promote unity among the nations of the world in the setting up of this organization, which holds out such high hopes to the whole of the human race.
In this connection I think it proper to call to the attention of hon. members an expression used in May of last year by the Prime Minister upon his return from the conference of prime ministers in London. On that occasion the house paid him a well-deserved tribute of friendship, and in replying he said that if the speech he made in London had any value it was because he recognized that the things that unite us are so much greater than the things that divide us. That is what prompted him to make the appeal, not only to the members of the British commonwealth but to the nations of the world, for support of those
principles that will lead us to a better world, a world in which there would be some hope of permanent peace.
I am not sure that all of us recognize the immensity of the task we have embarked upon. There are those who, with some justification, do not believe that there is any hope of setting up an organization that will be able to outlaw war. If one were a pessimist he would have to agree that the history of mankind, particularly the history of our own day and age, would justify that attitude. I do not class the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) as being one of these, yet he gave to-day an indication of a line of thought that is understandable when he suggested that the position of the world depends, not upon the contribution that Canada and the smaller countries can make, but upon the good will and the purposes of the three great powers, the United States, Russia and Great Britain. We must however rise above these fears and set ourselves to the task, no matter how great the difficulties.
From our viewpoint, if perhaps not from the viewpoint of others, one of the cornerstones of any such organization must be a sufficient degree of unity, a great degree if you will, between the two great English speaking democracies, our mother country, Great Britain, and our neighbour to the south, the United States. Canada has done and can do much to cement their friendship and cooperation. These countries are joined together by a common language, a common political philosophy, by aims and objectives which are the same because of their history; and yet if one considers the aftermath of earlier wars he finds that even those two great democracies, if they so desired, could find issues upon which to divide or which would create sufficient dissension to make it impossible for them to cooperate in a world security organization. To illustrate, I need only direct your attention to the position in the Pacific and the trade rivalries that of necessity exist between those two great countries. If it is difficult for those countries, and our country, to find a unity of purpose sufficient to bind them together as united nations, when one thinks of other nations not so bound together by ties of language and of common philosophies it is easy to be overwhelmed by the difficulties of the task that lies ahead. Again I say we must look upon these difficulties as but a challenge to overcome them.
The third great power of to-day, Russia, is just as important in the final outcome of the setting up of this organization. Unity between Great Britain, the United States and Russia
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is of course one of the true keystones of any organization that may be set up. Russia has emerged from a great revolution which occurred some twenty-five or more years ago. She has been engaged in the tremendous task of consolidating her position as a world power and of developing the economic life of a great self-sustaining empire. We know that if the united nations organization is to be fruitful in its results it must be established on an appreciation of the things that unite these three great powers, the United States, Great Britain and Russia and not upon the things that might possibly divide them.
Let me read a statement made by Sir Norman Angell which I think illustrates what I have in mind. Referring to the place of Russia and our relationship to Russia, he says:
The issue this time will not depend so much on guarantees to France as to Russia. For obvious geographical and military reasons, Russia will have the last word concerning future treatment of Germany. Again the same point arises: the outcome will depend, not so much upon whether we can trust Russia, as upon whether Russia can be brought to trust us, to trust that we of the "capitalist west" will not combine against her "in defence of capitalism," and that we will, if she is attacked, come to her aid just as twice within a quarter of a century we went to the aid of France.
We should be realistic in our approach to the task that lies ahead. We must approach this problem so that we shall be able to count on that degree of cooperation between all the powers that will be necessary to make a success of any organization we may hope to set up in San Francisco.
I need not recall the other difficulties, such as the Polish question, and the place that France will understandably seek to gain in this world. One could go over the continents of this earth and in each he will find problems that require the utmost degree of tolerance, the utmost of understanding, the utmost of friendly help if solutions are to be found for the problems that exist, and if the causes of war are to be removed so that this new organization may have some possibility of success.
The history of Canada is to no little degree a lesson in the wisdom of -tolerance and understanding. I hope the Canadian representatives at San Francisco will have in mind some of the lessons that we have gained throughout our history. I recall the brief session of this house last November. The issue then before the house was one that excited, not only a great deal of controversy -but considerable heat in some portions of the house. After everything that could be said seemed to have been said, the debate still continued. I remember a friend of mine coming to sit beside me. He
asked me if I did not think it was an imposition that the members had to listen to the hon. member who was then speaking, and who insisted on making his contribution to that particular debate. While I would have liked the house to get through its business and permit us to go home, I said to him: "Instead of complaining we Canadians should be thankful indeed that we have in this House of Commons an institution that permits us to settle our disputes, and any crisis which may arise in the nation's history, in the manner in which we met that particular crisis, if you care to call it that. How blessed are we that, instead of bullets and armed revolutions and unexpected clashes of armed forces, we have found in our democratic institutions a safety valve of expression which permits our people through their elected representatives to speak their minds, to claim the opportunity to present the viewpoints of their constituents in this House of Commons, and after what is on some occasions a lengthy debate, to accept as a nation the verdict of the majority." So as I say, in Canada's history surely we have learned some lessons which those whose duty it will be to represent Canada not only in the San Francisco conference but in the subsequent organization, may bring to that organization -and help to build up and strengthen it in the work it proposes to do.
Still more so is this true of the British commonwealth of nations. I -recall the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in the speech which he made in London last year, when, addressing both houses and referring to Britain and the commonwealth, he used these words:
So long as Britain continues to maintain the spirit of freedom, and to defend the freedom of other nations, she need never doubt her preeminence throughout the world. So long as we all share that spirit we need never fear for the strength or unity of the commonwealth. The voluntary decisions by Britain, by Canada, by Australia, by New Zealand, and by South Africa are a supreme evidence of the unifying force of freedom.
The British commonwealth of nations is of course the earliest league of nations, if you care to call it such, of which the world has record, and in its over-all results, I think all of us must agree, its success has made, time and time and time again, a great contribution to the freedom of all nations, not only those that are partners in the commonwealth. When I think of the British commonwealth I always have in mind some of the examples which are afforded by the history of this group. One is the history of Ireland, particularly southern Ireland; the other is the history of the Union of South Africa. I believe that it is a great
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tribute to the reality of the freedom permitted by the British commonwealth that the Irish Free State has exercised its right as an autonomous state to stay out of this war. I disagree with its decision but I recognize the historical value of its right to make that decision. On the other hand the Union of South Africa is fighting by the side of Canada and other component parts of this great commonwealth in the war in which we are now engaged. In considering these contrasted situations, one must first trace the history of the relationship between Great Britain and Ireland, the long period of disunity, occasionally of repression, of frequent application of the special crimes act, and of attempts to enforce upon Ireland certain decisions of the central power; and note the results of that policy. Think on the other hand of the result of Britain's wisdom, immediately upon the conclusion of the South African war, in giving to the Boers complete freedom to govern themselves within the framework of the British commonwealth. When I see the dividends which that policy of tolerance and generosity has paid in the results which have flowed from it, I say that the commonwealth of nations has set an example to the united nations which they may well respect and follow, and from which they can draw useful lessons.
In reflecting upon Canada's war effort, the magnitude and amazing success of which in its contribution to the common cause is generally recognized, I am struck by the advantages we have reaped by profiting by the mistakes wdiich were made in the last war and in the period which followed that war. In the setting up of an organization to preserve international peace and security, I believe we would be wise, as most of the speakers have indicated, to study the experiences of the past, and observe why the efforts which were made after the last war were not as successful as it was hoped they would be. Some of those errors are quite apparent. One was that the task was not undertaken until the completion of the war. Over sixty nations gathered at Versailles without the unifying influence of a common war effort and attempted to find by discussion there a basis of peace and of the establishment of a league of nations. Looking back, one is not in the least surprised that in the atmosphere of selfishness, hatred and bitterness engendered by the war, the human beings who led the conference at that time found it impossible to establish a successful institution. I am delighted that in our day we have shown wisdom in not waiting until the end of the war to sow seeds which in time may grow into a strong
and vigorous organization to preserve the peace of the world. I think too that we have gained greatly from the conversations which have taken place between the heads of states and from the various conferences which have led up to the one which is to take place in San Francisco.
Another mistake which was made in 1919 was in tying the league of nations covenant to the peace treaties, which were signed as it were under duress by enemy nations. One of the wisest things that those who took part in the Dumbarton Oaks conference did was to separate completely from the work of the united nations organization the task of dictating or enforcing peace terms between the belligerents in this war. It will give that organization the opportunity to stay apart from the inevitable dissatisfaction w'hich will result from those peace treaties, signed1 under duress, as necessity dictates, with all the implications of continued occupation and control which they must contain. So I am greatly encouraged, as I say, that in these conferences, seeking to eliminate a good many of the things which might divide the larger conference, we have already taken many steps towards ensuring the success of the San Francisco conference. You will recall that as early as May, 1943, at Hot Springs in Virginia, a conference was called to consider and make recommendations with regard to food and agriculture. Then at Atlantic City a little later there was another conference to deal with relief and rehabilitation; then at Bretton Woods a conference to deal with monetary and financial matters, and finally the conference held at Dumbarton Oaks to consider the setting up of the framework of an organization to preserve international peace and security. It is true that the organizations dealing with these specific matters are functional in their character, as has been said; but it is hoped, as indicated by the suggestions for a charter contained in the Dumbarton Oaks agreement, that finally the assembly of the united nations will undertake the task of correlating the activities of these different economic and socially-minded groups.
I think, too, that the great powers who took part in the Dumbarton Oaks conference, in the long run, did the cause which they seek to serve a great service by not being too specific in the setting up of the proposed organization. I was pleased this afternoon to hear the Prime Minister suggest that it might be wise to provide in the charter for a future meeting, say in five or ten years' time, in which, in the light of the atmosphere of that day, such changes could be made in the organization as were found to be necessary.
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Let us be certain of this, that at the conclusion of a war that has so devastated the world as the present one has done, the people of the world, even the statesmen of the world, since they are human, are hardly in a frame of mind conducive to the founding of an organization that hopes to perform the great service to mankind that this united nations organization, it is hoped, will render. So that we must of necessity cast our min'ds some years ahead; and, thinking in terms of that future, I believe it would be wise to give to the San Francisco conference the right to include in the charter some provision whereby the united nations will recognize the necessity of perhaps periodically reviewing the set-up and making such changes as will render it more workable and better able to fit into the framework of the worlds needs.
One of the arguments raised against the proposed plan, and it is a most natural one, is the fear that the three or four or five great powers may constitute a threat to the freedom and liberty of the smaller nations. However, like other speakers who have preceded me, I do not believe that the success or failure of the new organization will depend on the authority that is given to the members of the security council. I think we must recognize that power rests somewhere in this world, and at the moment, being realistic, we must know that the combination of the power of the United States, Russia, and Great Britain constitutes that military strength either to enforce peace or to cause another war. It is the use and direction of that power that we are concerned with, and when we must impose upon the countries possessing that military strength and power a responsibility, it seems to me to follow that we must of necessity recognize the responsibility they assume; and certainly in the earlier days of this organization we must give them the safeguards that will permit them to work without too much fear of accepting that responsibility.
I am certain that this united nations organization will not fail because we have given the great powers, too much authority. It will fail if, in the development of that organization, we do not win, along with the responsibilities that should go with it, the good will and understanding of all those great powers. The alternative of course-you and I know it-is that if we do not succeed in that purpose the great power that might disagree with the attitude of the united nations could walk out; and then of course we would have a repetition of the history of the past, and that power will inevitably attempt to gather about it-Germany perhaps, Japan perhaps, or some other nation-the countries that are discontented
with their lot in life. And then we shall find in truth two great groups of powers again facing one another with opposite purposes and different objectives.
That is the situation that inevitably leads to the outbreak of war. It seems to me therefore that Canada need not fear the authority that is given to the powers who must accept the chief share of the responsibility of preserving peace, because when we persuade them to join with the smaller powers in forming the united organization, if we succeed in convincing them that it is to the interest of each to continue to be a member of that united nations organization and make the contribution which each can, then I think there will be hope that the new organization will succeed where in that regard at least the league of nations failed.
Personally I believe that there was never in the world's history such an opportunity for gaining that measure of cooperation between the great powers as exists to-day. When we view the attitude of the people of the United States after the last war and view the attitude of the people and of the government of that great nation to-day; when we see Russia, great as it is in military strength, committed to the task of developing its own country's resources, I am convinced that the three powers, Great Britain, the United States, and Russia, have a common objective, namely, in their own interests to preserve peace. Relying upon that, I am not at all concerned at giving them a certain measure of authority in dictating the important decisions of the security council. I would ask the members of the house to consider this. We cannot hope to impose upon another country our political philosophy. We must take those countries as they are and seek to find a common purpose in pursuit of a common objective and somehow make them work to that objective and with that purpose in view.
President Wilson's remark that we fought in the first war to make the world safe for democracy is, I am afraid, not a correct statement of the position that we are in to-day. I think it would be more correctly put if we said that we are fighting to preserve for ourselves and others who believe in democracy, and who are capable of being governed by such a philosophy, the right to be so governed. But, I think every nation must accept within the framework of the united nations organization the principle that every country has the right to govern itself as it thinks best in its own interest.
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I noticed that the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) spent some time dealing with the very important subject of trade policy. With his statements, of course, I am in full agreement; but I would suggest that it is not likely that even that particular subject will be a matter for discussion at San Francisco; that it, like the other matters coming under the economic and social council of the proposed organization, will have to await the agreements between the nations and the submission of these to this parliament in due course. I think that this House of Commons and our delegates should confine themselves to the primary and paramount objective of setting up an organization that will hold out the hope to this world of the maintenance of international peace and security. I believe that if we keep that one objective in mind, bend all our unity, devote all our efforts to doing what we can to further that objective, we shall be doing what our Canadian people would have us do at San Francisco.
Sometimes it has been said that Great Britain in its hour of need always finds a great leader. Without introducing any party note into this discussion, but speaking more as a Canadian than as a member of the Liberal party, I say that Canada is indeed fortunate in sending a delegation to San Francisco which will be headed by a man of the character, experience and capacity of the present Prime Minister. I do not believe that any leader of any opposition group in this house would care to disagree with me in that. If ever a nation and if ever we as individual members of this House of Commons had an opportunity to contribute something of a worthwhile nature to the cause of world peace then surely that moment is now. In sending a delegation to San Francisco, headed by a man whose friendship with the United States and with the other members of the British commonwealth of nations is such that it will give him a position of great influence, we are doing something that I think will pay large dividends not only to Canada but to the cause of peace. I am extremely grateful that Providence has placed us in that position and given us that leadership.
Subtopic: PROPOSED GENERAL INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY