Hon. BROOKE CLAXTON (Minister of National Defence):
Mr. Speaker, I believe no important statement ever made in this house has been received with a greater degree of unanimity by the house and throughout the country than the statement made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) on January 30 of this year regarding Canada's participation in the making of peace with Germany and Austria. The reception it received from the leaders of all parties in the house and the reception it received throughout the country showed that on this matter, as today on most matters of external policy, the Canadian people were united to a greater degree than perhaps even they themselves generally recognized. That has been demonstrated in the debate today. In moving this motion the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) said, "I stand with the government." The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) said that the government's stand had his full support and that he was in complete agreement with its general lines; while the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low), who has just resumed his seat, commended the government for the stand taken. This is a demonstration of Canadian unity on a great and important issue never before seen in this house, and I believe never before seen in the country in peace time. It comes out of the unity we had in time of war. The right we claim to be heard in time of peace stems from our contribution, the contribution of the whole nation, made in unity during the war.
Today I will deal with four matters, because they have been touched upon by some hon. members and because they have a bearing upon our discussion. First, there is the question of the Paris conference, the function of that conference, the role we played there and the lessons to be learned; second, whether the fact that our troops were not occupying Germany has any bearing on the present situation; third, the extent of our participation in war gives foundation for our right to work for peace; and fourth, the special position, the capacity of Canada to make a great contribution to peace at this time.
With what the hon. member for Peel said about the Paris conference I have not very much to find disfavour. Everyone knows that the role of that conference was limited. It
grew out of the Potsdam conference held in July and August, 1945, when the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union, the three nations which had carried the supreme burden in war decided they would form a council of the foreign ministers of the three powers and France to set about drafting the terms of peace with the satellites of Germany. The Paris conference stemmed from that meeting, and the meetings of the council of foreign ministers, which took place at London, Moscow and Paris. Meanwhile, in accordance with their instructions, their deputies were drafting the terms of peace with the five satellites of Germany: Italy, Bulgaria. Roumania, Finland and Hungary.
The conference was called on July 5 to meet at Paris on July 29. Its function was not to draft treaties of peace but to make representations to the council of foreign ministers as to what the drafts they prepared should contain. By the terms of invitation the council of foreign ministers was to have the final say as to what the treaties contained; and by the terms of the draft treaties themselves, the treaties with the five satellite powers were to come into effect upon their ratification by the four great powers.
When we in Canada received that invitation we could either go to the Paris conference on those terms or not go at all. The government of Canada, I believe rightly, like the other seventeen governments which received identical invitations, decided to be represented at the Paris conference by a delegation; and we considered it so important that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) himself headed that delegation. We did not have a large delegation. Some nations were represented by as many as three hundred. The Canadian delegation, we found, had all too few members to do good work without overtiring them. However the Canadian delegation made an effective contribution within the scope of our interest in the matters under discussion. Speaking at a plenary session at the outset of the conference, the Prime Minister made the suggestion that during the conference itself the council of foreign ministers should meet to discuss questions arising during the conference. That was one of the few constructive proposals with regard to procedure that were made during the early plenary sessions. It was well received and acted upon in part, and I believe it contributed substantially to the work of the conference.
However there is no doubt that on account of the narrowness of the terms of reference, the vagueness of the rules of procedure laid before the conference, and the acrimonious
way in which those rules were debated at the outset-not by Canada-the work of the conference, and the atmosphere in which it was carried on, were adversely affected. Further, the fact that everything had to be translated into three languages, not simultaneously, and the fixing of October 15 for a deadline for the conference because it was necessary to meet the arrangements made for holding a meeting of the united nations assembly in New York on October 23, combined with other factors to reduce the usefulness of the conference and gave it a deadline that was almost impossible to meet without overtaxing human endurance.
For example, toward the end, the territorial commission on Italy met at nine o'clock at night and went on until next morning at six o'clock. But that record was broken by one commission which began at ten o'clock one morning and continued until nearly three o'clock the following afternoon, making twenty-eight and a half consecutive hours of sitting.
The way in which the discussion developed on the issues which came before the conference tended to emphasize the vote and the manner of voting. Peace cannot be made either by votes or vetoes; peace must be made by understanding, patiently worked out by people who have the interests of peace at heart.
The conference finished its work on October 15 and, with regard to a number of matters on which the council of foreign ministers had not been able to reach agreement prior to the conference, the conference expressed its views. Those views were received and considered by the council at its meetings in New York and undoubtedly contributed to the settlements that were ultimately arrived at in December.
Now the treaties have been signed. By and large they are not bad treaties. But I have every conviction that they are better treaties by reason of the fact that the Paris conference was held; they are better treaties by reason of the fact that seventeen nations were called in to consultation with the four great powers in working out the texts of the agreements.
The Paris conference showed what should be avoided in holding a peace conference; but it did not show that a conference should not be held; indeed, quite the contrary.
With relation to the hon. member for Peel's suggestion, that we should have put ourselves on record earlier, may I say I do not think it would have been possible at one conference to have expressed oneself at great length with regard to the procedure that was to be followed at another conference.
The final discussions in plenary session on the text of the treaties and recommendations began on October 7. The conference had to close on October 15, and there were exactly six sitting days for the final discussions, and also for the votes. Voting took almost half the time. So that everything anyone had to say had to be compressed into a very short space.
But to show that we did not need to wait until now to criticize the procedure, I should like to put on record the observations I made at the final session. On October 8 I said this:
We hope the experience gained at this conference will not be wasted. For example every delegate here knows of one deficiency or another in the rules of procedure. These rules should be examined and amplified in the light of our experience. Suggestions might be made with regard to machinery for preparing the drafts of the other peace treaties which have still to be evolved. We hope that before this conference concludes, or soon after, nations wishing to do so should be encouraged to put forward the suggestions for the procedure to be adopted in making the peace for Germany and Japan.
So that I had in mind at Paris in October the view expressed by the hon. member for Peel today in March, and I believe I expressed this kind of view more fully than any other delegate among the twenty-one nations at the conference. None of those who spoke dealt with the questions of procedure and the lessons to be learned from our experience at Paris as fully as I had done in these and in other observations in my short speech.
Now, with regard to the second point, namely as to whether or not the withdrawal of the Canadian forces from western Europe had any effect whatever on our present position, I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the house there is no proof whatever that the return of Canadians to their homeland, many of whom had been absent for six years, had any effect whatever on our position abroad, or in the making of the peace. To the contrary, I say there is positive proof that it had no effect. That is seen in the position occupied by Belgium and Holland which have had occupying forces in part of the German territory, in one of the zones. Yet they are receiving treatment no different from that received by Canada at the present time.
There was never any hint that the presence of occupying forces would give more weight to anyone's voice in Europe. There was never any suggestion that that would improve Canada's position with regard to representation on the allied military government or the control council at Berlin. Canada was never invited to become a member of either; she was never
offered a zone. And without having a role, how could she play a more important part than she has played?
We are represented at Berlin by a mission; and having been there, I say that our mission is on exactly the same footing as that of the other representatives which have missions in Berlin at this time, but which are not among the Big Four having representation on the control council and the allied military government, namely the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the Soviet Union. There are no others. And there is no evidence-no proof-that the presence of any force Canada might have in Europe would change our position by so much as an ounce of more power or weight.
Further, I would ask my hon. friend this question: What is his idea of the size of the occupying force it would be necessary for Canada to have, in order to have some weight? Would it be five thousand or ten thousand or fifteen thousand Canadians kept from their homes?
And I further ask my hon. friend this question too: How could we, with a force of that size, exercise any influence and make our people in Canada believe that the continuing absence from Canada of their loved ones was earning something for Canada either in terms of prestige or power, or in the civilizing influences which our force might exert in western Europe? We thought that rather than keep forces in Europe, eating food in Europe, it was much better to send food to Europe; and no country has a better record than Canada on that.
But, Mr. Speaker, our right to be heard in making the peace does not depend upon whether or not we had five thousand or ten thousand soldiers of Canada in Europe a year after the war. Our right depends upon how many sailors, soldiers and airmen of Canada we had in Europe and in the fighting centres of the world during the war. The record of Canada is one which speaks for itself and one which I am sure hon. members opposite would be the first to say-if they have not already done so-would give us as workers for peace the right to stand side by side with the nations with whom we fought shoulder to shoulder, as brothers in arms. Canada entered the war voluntarily by the act of its own government, and with the support of its own parliament, as a free people, on September 10, 1939. We entered the war against Japan on December 7, 1941, the day of Pearl Harbor. In neither case was Canada attacked. We did not wait to be attacked. We entered the war because our own interests were involved, because we saw that freedom, like peace, like trade and
prosperity, is indivisible, and we saw that the best place to defeat the enemy is before he comes to your gates, as far off as it is possible to reach him.
We entered the war in no half-hearted fashion. We entered the war and stayed right through, and I ask the people of Britain if they think that our flyers who helped them during their hour of need in the Battle of Britain did not earn the right to have a voice in the peace? I ask the peoples of Europe if the bridge of ships with which we did half the work of keeping open to the other side was not a major factor in giving the allies, and not the enemy, a chance to say what the peace shall be? I ask the people who stood our bombing, and who afterwards thanked us for it, if those great clouds of bombers that we sent over night after night softening up the enemy did not help to pave the way to victory? I ask the people of western Europe, of France, of Normandy and Dieppe, of Belgium, The Hague and1 Bergen-op-Zoom, what they have to say about Canada's part in the war and what their vote would be as to what our part should be in the peace? It was my privilege to be there this autumn during the almost three months of the Paris conference and I heard what they said. It was a moving thing, Mr. Speaker, to go through the streets of Falaise and Caen and along the beaches from St. Aubin to Arro-manches and visit the scenes from which Canadians had come more than three hundred years ago, to find there Frenchmen with the same names as those we know in Quebec, standing in front of the houses sometimes of necessity shelled and bombed by our men, standing there with tears of gratitude in their eyes for Canada and cheers for Canada and for the part we had played in their liberation. It was a moving thing to make that great pilgrimage with the Prime Minister. I do not believe the people of Canada have yet appreciated that was one of the greatest events in the whole experience of those parts of France, that a Canadian Prime Minister should go there from village to village and be received, not only on his own account, but as the representative of a country which they had reason to be grateful to and with which they had special ties of love and affection and which they regarded as a principal factor in their being once again free. The same was true of the channel ports and as we journeyed through Belgium and Holland. If every Canadian visited Europe for just a few days, he would get a truer view of his own country; he would find then that there is no country
and no people on the face of the earth more respected, better liked and more envied than Canada today.
What the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) said about this situation in Europe is all too true, and it was a useful thing that I should have seen it. What I saw was saddening. While it sent me back home prouder than ever of being a Canadian, more grateful than ever of the fact that I happen to have the good fortune to bo born in Canada,, it made me also more full of recognition of the responsibility which is ours because of our good fortune.
And, Mr. Speaker, I cannot think that when our part in war is considered that the people abroad are unmindful of the fact that Canada was the third greatest industrial nation in the war. Why, there is not a single country in Europe that has not received aid from Canada at one time or another. They speak there of the miracle of Canada's production and of her war effort.
While our material contribution of industrial production and food totalled some twelve billion dollars in war, Canada's contribution since the war in the work of restoring what had been destroyed, in the work of laying the foundations for peace, in the work of rehabilitation-Canada's contribution has been second to none throughout the world in terms of her population. In mutual aid we gave $2,471,000,000; in military relief $84,700,000; contribution to the United Kingdom in 1942, $1,000,000,000; to UNRRA, $154,000,000; in wheat to Greece, $12,600,000; or a total of $3,722,300,000. That is the financial measure of our aid to other countries during the war and in the immediate post-war period. But think of it in terms of human lives. I was in Greece, and saw there the people of that country, and the king, their Prime Minister and his ministers had their first opportunity of expressing personally through a Canadian minister to the people of Canada their gratitude for our contributions. From August, 1942, on, we sent 14,000 tons of wheat per month to Greece, and that meant the difference between life and death by starvation for about half the Greek population. That is a country which is grateful.
In addition to what I have just said, aid has been given in the form of loans by Canada to the United Kingdom, $700,000,000 in 1942 and $1,250,000,000 in 1946, a total of $1,950,000,000; a wheat loan to the Soviet Union of $10,000,000, and credits provided under the Export Credits Insurance Act of $750,000,000, or a total of $2,710,000,000 in loans by Canada.
There is hardly a part of Europe that you can visit today where you do not see a Canadian truck carrying some Canadian produce at some time or another to render relief and aid to the people.
I ask, Mr. Speaker, if the people of France and the French government do not feel that we should be heard and participate fully in preparing the peace that we had such a large part in maldng possible for them? I ask too, the people of the United Kingdom, not only because of their historic relations with us, not because of gratitude because that should not exist between our countries, but because from the beginning to the end we worked together, because we had a common interest in victory, a common interest in freedom and a common interest in peace. I believe they and our friends in the United States will not hesitate to support our position.
And I ask, Mr. Speaker, the representatives of the Soviet Union if they will not remember that when they were carrying such a large proportion of the total burden of war we helped with as much materials as we could get to them, to the extent of millions and millions of dollars. We helped with munitions of war, with drugs, with technical assistance and even with the blood of Canadians going to them in blood banks.
Altogether our men overseas were the best ambassadors that any country ever had. The role of representing Canada abroad is made easier because of the respect and affection earned for us by the sailors, the soldiers and the airmen of Canada. They have done this for Canada and also for the other countries whose good fortune it is to have been on the winning side. We all contributed to that, and our contribution-whether it is measured in industrial or food production, in contributions of money and food after the war, in soldiers fighting up the whole long length of Italy from Sicily to the Po, our soldiers fighting from the beaches of Normandy right through to the Rhine-was the third greatest among the allied nations on the western front. But it is not only on account of contributions to victory that the Canadian people would expect to have participation in the peace, but also because we have shown our capacity in peace.
It has been the fortune of hon. members present, the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken), the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon), the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) and many others to have the honour to represent Canada at international conferences. I believe that if one goes through the long record of conferences- there were ninety-eight last year-the more important ones, UNRRA, the foundation of
the bank and the fund, the food organization, the economic and social organization, PICAO, the international refugees committee and the trade conference which is now under way, as well as the various conferences of the united nations, he will find that Canada has played not a boastful, vauntful place, but a useful place, a place which has been recognized by others attending these conferences as objective, fair-minded, free from self-seeking and always headed and staffed by people well informed, well briefed and competent to do their job.
I ask the hon. members I have mentioned, who have taken part in these conferences, if they will not bear me out in saying that as they moved around among the other delegations, whether it be our good friends to the south or the Latin-American countries; whether it be the Europeans or the Soviet Union and its associated countries, no matter what the countries are, they found that their representatives usually were ready to say that they were surprised that Canada, a country of twelve million people, should be able to secure the representation that she has been fortunate in having in international conferences. I believe that the hon. gentlemen whom I have mentioned would also agree with me that in our Department of External Affairs we have a group of representatives of our country which is second to none throughout the whole world today. Incidentally, from what I have seen at several of the conferences, I believe that they are seriously overworked and I hope that when the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) brings down his estimates he will secure support from the house to ensure that we do not continue to put the burden on our representatives abroad that we do today.
In addition to what we have been able to do at these conferences, there is the very special position of Canada. Canada has no particular or selfish interest or demands. That was the view expressed by the Prime Minister at Paris-and repeated on every occasion when the occasion arose. We want nothing from any nation except the chance to work with them- to lay the foundations of a lasting peace and of that degree of prosperity among all nations which is an essential ingredient of peace.
Canada has a special interest in international security because of our dependence on world trade. We have a special stake in peace because almost thirty-five per cent of our national production ordinarily comes from world trade; but that also gives us a particular equipment with which to see the needs of other nations. Another reason why we can play a part is the nature of our people them-
selves, the fact that we are essentially a people of minorities, which gives us a special position to understand minority and other similar questions.
It was not just coincidence that at the Paris conference one of the members of the Canadian delegation, Lieutenant-General Pope, head of our military mission at Berlin, was asked to sit in with the representatives of Hungary and of Czechoslovakia to try to act as an umpire in a discussion of some of their vexed minority problems. Hon. members with experience will agree with me that the times when Canadians, because of their experience and because of their objectivity, are asked to act either as chairmen, as draftsmen or as the third men in the ring for an informal discussion, are positively embarrassing. Then, too, because of the nature of our people, because some thirty per cent have as their mother tongue French it usually follows that our delegates are more bilingual than those of other countries. That was so at Paris when practically every member of the Canadian delegation had a working knowledge of both French and English. That gave a tremendous advantage in discussions with other nations.
Mr. Speaker, we have a new-found capacity to be of service in the cause of international peace. That lies in the unity of the Canadian people as represented in the house and through the country on this all-important question. It is no longer possible for some hon. members who take a colonial point of view or a totally nationalist or isolationist point of view to say that they represent any substantial part of the Canadian people. These are the noisy extremes; but in the wide centre lies the great bulk of the Canadian people who recognize our position in the world, recognize how it has been won, recognize the obligations and the opportunities it gives. The people who take this view are not only in a majority but as represented by spokesmen for all parties of the house, newspapers from end to end of the country and people everywhere they are the great bulk of the Canadian people. On this as, I believe, on all fundamental questions where the vital interests of Canada are involved we stand together, and this debate is important as showing it.
Now let us see what the position is. The council of foreign ministers met and had a long series of discussions at New York when they discussed the terms of the treaties with the five satellite powers which were ultimately settled in December. They had a limited number of meetings, discussing preliminary arrangements with regard to the treaties with Austria and Germany, and having done that
they said their special deputies would hear representations with reference to those treaties. When the special deputies met in London we made the representation which was read in this house by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) on January 30 and which received such universal support. On receipt of that recommendation the special deputies met, and it is well understood everywhere that they were unable to agree unanimously on the procedure, and they had no power to decide anything in the absence of agreement. Therefore the matter is now referred to the council of foreign ministers who will be meeting at Moscow. They will consider it and our hope is that they will make some arrangement, satisfactory we trust to this and other countries in a similar position, which will recognize not only our right to work with them in determining the main lines of the peace but also the fact that on the record, and because of our position, we can render useful and constructive assistance in that great work.
We are not interested in this for reasons of status. Our status as a nation does not depend upon any council of foreign ministers; it has been won and settled for all time. This is a question of procedural machinery, a question of working out something which we believe to be of vital importance. We believe it to be such because we believe we can make a useful contribution toward what we all have in mind and all people everywhere have in mind ; that is, that having won the war and won the right to say what the terms of peace shall be, we can now lay the foundations of peace again for ourselves as a first instalment of that better world for which we hoped and worked and fought, and which it is now in our power to have.
Subtopic: GERMANY AND AUSTRIA-CANADIAN SUBMISSIONS -MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31