March 26, 1947

GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF ADDRESS IN REPLY

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the house that I have received a message from His Excellency the Governor General, signed by his own hand, reading as follows:

I have received with great pleasure the address you have voted in reply to my speech at the opening of parliament, and thank you for it sincerely.

Alexander.

Government House,

Ottawa.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF ADDRESS IN REPLY
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INDIAN AFFAIRS


Second report of the joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons appointed to continue and complete the consideration and examination of the Indian Act.-Mr. Brown.


PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

CHANGE IN PERSONNEL OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE


Right Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Veterans Affairs) moved: That the name of Mr. Fleming be substituted for that of Mr. Rowe on the select standing committee on public accounts. Motion agreed to.


ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION

WORK OF CANADIAN DELEGATION-DISCUSSIONS ON INTERNATIONAL CONTROL


Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): I should like to table two copies of the first report of the atomic energy commission to the security council. While copies for distribution to all members of the house are not at present available, it is hoped to be able to obtain sufficient printed copies shortly. The last occasion upon which a full statement was made to the house in regard to atomic energy' was on December 17, 1945. when the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) described the events leading up to the Washington declaration of November. 1945. In view of the importance of the subject and the length of time which has elapsed. I thought it might be appropriate to make a statement to the house at this time. As this report is only of an interim nature and the discussions on the international control of atomic energy are still in progress, I should like, if it is agreeable to the house, to confine myself to a statement on the work of the Canadian delegation to the atomic energy commission to date, and to indicate the state of the discussions on the international control of atomic energy'. I feel that I need hardly' impress on the house the importance of the subject matter dealt with in this report and as I assume that the members interested in these matters will wish to read this document, I shall only pass in review the various phases in the deliberations of the atomic energy commission leading up to the completion of the report and its transmission to the security council. I shall also outline briefly the situation with regard to the discussions which have taken place on atomic energy in the security council. As hon. members are aware, the declaration on atomic energy' made in Washington on November 15, 1945 by the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister of Canada urged that at the earliest practicable date a commission of the united nations should be established to prepare recommen- [Mr. A.bbott.1 Atomic Energy Commission dations for submission to the united nations. Following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the U.S.S.R., the United States and the United Kingdom in Moscow in December, 1945, the atomic energy commission of the united nations was established by a resolution of the general assembly of the 24th January, 1946. The first meeting of the commission took place in New York City on the 14th of June, 1946. The countries represented on the commission from June 14 to December 31, 1946, were Australia, Brazil. China, Canada, Egypt. France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, U.S.S.R., United Kingdom and the United States. After December 31, Belgium, Colombia and Syria were elected to replace Egypt, the Netherlands and Mexico. The Canadian representative on the commission has been, and is, General A. G. L. McNaughton. At the outset, the atomic energy commission was presented with, two different plans. The United States government at the first meeting of the commission on June 14 put forward proposals for the international control of atomic energy closely resembling in many respects the plan as outlined in the Lilienthal report. The United States government's proposals included the renunciation of the atomic bomb as a weapon and suggested that when an adequate system of control had been established the manufacture of atomic bombs should stop, the existing bombs should be disposed of and the authority set up to administer the system of control should be placed in possession of the technological data necessary for the production of atomic energy. In addition, the United States government's proposals contained a statement which had no counterpart in the Lilienthal report "that there must be no veto to protect those who violate their solemn agreements not to develop or use atomic energy for destructive purposes". At the second meeting of the commission on June 19, the Soviet government put forward its plan proposing the immediate outlawry of atomic weapons and the destruction of all stocks of atomic energy weapons within a three months' period. In addition, the Soviet government proposed an international convention for the prohibition of the production and use of atomic energy and the establishment of two committees; a "committee for the exchange of scientific information", and a "committee for the prevention of the Use of atomic energy to the detriment of mankind". Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Mexico and the United Kingdom agreed in principle that the United States plan might form the basis of discussion in the commission. The Polish and Soviet representatives considered the Soviet plan should be given equal consideration with the proposals advanced by the United States government. In June and July four committees were established by the commission: a working committee or a committee of the whole; a committee described' as No. 2; a legal and advisory committee; and a scientific and technical committee. The discussions which ensued occupied the attention of the commission until July 31, at which time the commission went into committee to discuss in detail the question of whether an effective control of atomic energy was possible. The scientific and technical committee was instructed to report its findings with an indication of the methods by which it believed control might be achieved. In October the committee reported that "they did not find any basis in the available scientific facts for supposing that effective control is not technologically feasible." The work of the scientific and technical committee coincided with the chairmanship of the Canadian representative from August 14 to September 14. and consequently responsibility for suggesting the next step which might be taken in the work of the commission fell upon the Canadian chairman. The Canadian delegation accordingly put forward a proposal that: Committee No. 2 proceed to examine and report on the safeguards required at eacli stage in the production and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, to prevent the possibilities of misuse indicated in the report of the scientific and technical committee; that the committee may hold informal meetings as it may decide, at which scientific representatives may take part in the discussions. The informal discussions which ensued proved of value in clarifying both the nature and the degree of the control which it is necessary to apply. In the discussions on raw materials the Canadian delegation was able to make a useful contribution by having officials from the bureau of mines and from the Eldorado refinery describe the characteristics of the processes of mining and refining of uranium. In November it was proposed that the commission should report its proceedings, findings and recommendations to the security council in a first report by December 31. It was agreed that prior to this, committee No. 2 should report to the commission in plenary session. This proposal was accepted by the majority of the commission with the Soviet representative reserving the position of his government and the Netherlands and French representatives accepting on the "understanding that the Atomic Energy Commission



report would merely record the progress made in the commission to the end of the year without affecting the discussions in the commission." At a further plenary session of the commission on December 5 the United States delegate introduced proposals for the inclusion of certain items in the findings and recommendations of the commission's report to the security council. These proposals cover some of the main elements of the United States plan as submitted on June 14. During this time the general assembly of the united nations meeting in New York was debating the subject of disarmament, not only in relation to armed forces and their armament generally, but also specifically to the major weapons adaptable to mass destruction, including atomic weapons. At a meeting of the commission on December 20. the Canadian delegation put forward a resolution which reads as follows: Resolved that the commission approves and accepts the principles on which the findings and recommendations proposed by the representatives of the United States of America are based and instructs the working committee to include these findings and recommendations in the draft of the commission's report to be delivered to the security council by the 31st December, 1946, having conformed the wording of such portions of these findings and recommendations as deal with the same subject matter to the wording of the relevant parts of the text of general assembly resolution of December 14, 1946, on the "Principles Governing the General Regulation and Reduction of Armaments." The Canadian resolution was adopted by the commission by a vote of 10 to 0 and accordingly the proposals as contained in the findings and recommendations of the first report of the atomic energy commission to the security council were amended. The first report of the atomic energy commission was subsequently approved and adopted for transmission to the security council on December 31 by a vote of 10 to 0. with the Soviet and Polish representatives abstaining. That is the report I have tabled today. In January and February the security council discussed the commission's report at a number of meetings in which the Canadian representative. General McNaughton, participated under the provisions of article 31 of the charter of the united nations. Important statements of the positions of the Soviet and United States governments were made by their representatives on the security council. It became clear that, while all the members of the council were agreed on certain of the proposals, there was disagreement on a number of other proposals. including those on international inspec- tion and on sanctions. It was clearly impossible to attempt to reconcile these differences in the security council and the council, therefore, decided to refer the matter back to the atomic energy commission. The atomic energy commission has been instructed by the council to prepare and submit to the council a draft treaty or treaties, or convention or conventions incorporating its ultimate proposals. In addition, the security council has requested the commission to submit a second report to the security council before the next session of the general assembly-that which will take place in September, 1947. Because the discussion has been in general terms, there has been a good deal of misunderstanding about the position, for example, of the United States government on the question of sanctions against violators of an international treaty on the control of atomic energy. The latest statement of the United States representative on this subject has done much to clear up these obscurities. In an address on March 4 before the Overseas Press Club in New York, Mr. Austin, the United States representative on the security council and on the atomic energy commission, had this to say about the vexed question of the veto: Nothing could be more dangerous than to act upon the assumption that a treaty or a voting system would operate automatically. Let me illustrate the point by a brief reference to the veto. The veto power in the security council is widely thought of as a protection to an aggressor nation. Actually the veto would be no protection at all to an aggressor if the other nations should act together in accordance with the purposes and principles of the charter. If any great nation possessing the veto power should ever embark on a course of aggression in violation of the charter, it would be committing an act of nullification, an act of rebellion against the united nations. It would forfeit its position under the charter. No veto could protect such a nation from the consequences of its crime. Only the failure of the other nations to act together against it could spare the aggressor from lawful punishment. The heart of the problem of building collective security is the strength and the will of the member nations to carry out their obligations, individually and collectively. Veto or no veto, the strength of the great nations in relation to one another is such that no one of them can safely go to war in violation of the charter if it is certain that the others would act together in the defence of the charter. If the United States demonstrates convincingly that all its great material and moral power would be used in support of collective security under the united nations, that fact would have far-reaching influence upon the will and capacity of other member nations to act together to maintain peace. On the other hand, if we should falter, if we should dissipate our strength, if we should act in blind or shortsighted selfishness, we would inevitably undermine the whole cause. Atomic Energy Commission On March 10, Mr. Austin, speaking as the United States representative on the security council, in answering the Soviet representative's criticism of the United States government's position, said what the United States and the majority of the members of the commission were seeking was-and these are his words-"effective international control by a genuinely international cooperative development of atomic energy to which all nations would contribute their skills and their knowledge without secrecy, and in which all nations would share the benefits on an equitable basis. Our purpose is to assure that each nation can safely realize these tremendous benefits for itself without danger to its national security or the security of its own economic and social system." Mr. Austin went on to say: "The United States does not desire to impose its will, in questions of atomic energy, on other countries. The report itself proves the opposite. Ten countries united therein to forestall an atomic weapons race. The prohibition of atomic weapons in advance of a system of effective enforceable safeguards would not fulfil the mandate of the general assembly adopted unanimously, or prevent an atomic weapons race. My government has made it clear that we welcome all constructive suggestions which might advance the solution of our common problem and fulfil the mandate of the general assembly resolution." It is to be expected that the studies in the atomic energy commission during the next four or five months will indicate precisely the safeguards which wall be required to protect complying states against the hazards of violations and evasions of the ultimate international agreement on the control of atomic energy. As is stated in the introductory paragraph to section C of the report which I am tabling today, the commission hitherto has limited its examination of the problems of safeguards and measures of control "to the more technical aspects of the control of atomic energy". It is the hope of the Canadian government that further examination by the atomic energy commission of the problems placed before it by the general assembly of the united nations may lead to a realization on the part of all governments represented on the commission of the manifest advantages to be reaped under a system of effective control of atomic energy. The establishment of such a system would not only make a great contribution to the peace of the world, but would also make it possible for the peoples of the whole world to share in the benefits to be derived from the peaceful application of atomic energy. Canada, as a member of the commission, will continue to do its utmost to resolve the difficulties which still confront the commission. 1 shall keep the house informed, as occasion offers, of the developments in the work of the atomic energy commission, bearing in mind that the results of the work of this commission, when available in the form of a draft treaty or convention, will naturally be submitted to this house for its approval and for the usual procedures of ratification. The present report is an interim report only and the security council in dealing with it recognizes specifically that "final acceptance of any part of the report by any nation is conditioned upon its acceptance of all parts of the control plan in its final form." There is no commitment until commitment to the treaty in its final form, and that can be made only by bringing the treaty to the houses of parliament for the usual processes of ratification. The ultimate treaty or convention should be one which governments of democratic states can readily commend to their parliaments and peoples for acceptance. It is hoped therefore that the treaty or convention will be accompanied by a full report from the atomic energy commission setting out in detail the arguments and considerations in support of the provisions contained in the treaty or convention. It is also hoped that in the work of the commission a due perspective is maintained, so that the system of international control which is submitted to the nations for approval, goes as far as it is necessary in the matter of controls to provide international security and the benefits to be derived from the peaceful applications of atomic energy, but goes no farther.


PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Will copies of this report be available to hon. members, or is it the intention to have it printed in Votes and Proceedings?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: It would be quite an undertaking to have it printed in Votes and Proceedings, because it. is a document of some 85 or 90 pages.

Mr. IvNOWLES: It is in Hansard anyway.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   WORK OF CANADIAN DELEGATION-DISCUSSIONS ON INTERNATIONAL CONTROL
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Not the report.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: No, not the report from the atomic energy commission.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
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?

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

Did the minister not say he was going to have copies tabled?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I am informed by the secretariat of the united nations that the question is now being considered as to when they will print this report. We have asked them

Meat Rationing

for sufficient prints to have copies available for those who are interested, in our parliament and even outside of parliament. The printing has not yet been undertaken by the secretariat. If it appears to be too long delayed it may be the desire of hon. members that we have it printed ourselves for circulation here.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   WORK OF CANADIAN DELEGATION-DISCUSSIONS ON INTERNATIONAL CONTROL
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

I think the public has had a good deal of difficulty in understanding the atomic energy reports. I have not read this one, but generally these reports are couched in such full-blown complicated diplomatic language that it is difficult for the public to know what is going on. Will the government consider having this matter referred to the committee on external affairs so that it may be dealt with by those qualified to deal with it, and if so, will they make our representative, General McNaughton, available for examination before the committee?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: If I could count on the unanimous consent of the house I would have no objection to moving at once that the report which has been tabled be referred to the committee on external affairs. The committee could then examine the report. As to making General McNaughton available for examination in the committee, I am sure the committee would not wish to interfere with the sittings of the atomic energy commission; on the other hand, I feel it will be possible to coordinate the work in such a manner that if he is required for the proper information of the committee he can arrange to attend. Have I the unanimous consent of the house to move that the report just tabled be referred to the committee on external affairs?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   WORK OF CANADIAN DELEGATION-DISCUSSIONS ON INTERNATIONAL CONTROL
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Agreed.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I move that the report tabled this day be referred to the standing committee on external affairs.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
Subtopic:   WORK OF CANADIAN DELEGATION-DISCUSSIONS ON INTERNATIONAL CONTROL
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Motion agreed to.


MEAT RATIONING

DISCONTINUANCE AS OP MARCH 27

March 26, 1947