March 2, 1948

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

I was coming to my point of privilege. The only justification for denial to parliament of information that parliament is entitled to was the excuse that to produce it would reveal certain ciphers.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No, no.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

I am stating my point of privilege.

Mr. SPEAKER,: The hon. member is

making a statement, not discussing a question of privilege.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Air. CLAXTON:

And he is making an inaccurate statement.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have noticed that hon. gentlemen opposite, including the hon. gentleman who has just spoken, have tried to have it appear that the reason I gave for not agreeing to table the letter addressed by Mr. Drew to myself was the secrecy of certain ciphers or some decision that the British government had taken, apart from the usual reservation that the British government makes with respect to the publication of documents to which it possesses a certain right. The reason I gave to the house, and hon. members have only to look up Hansard to see it, as to -why I was unwilling to table

Mr. Drew's letter to me is that that letter contains references to certain communications that were produced before the commission and were produced only on the undertaking that those communications would not be made public, and because the British government is still unwilling that they should be made public. I communicated with the British government not to ask whether Mr. Drew's letter might be tabled; the government takes the full responsibility for not tabling Mr. Drew's letter. In taking that responsibility, I wished to be perfectly sure that I would not be breaking any pledge given to the British government at the time the secret telegrams were made available to the commission. The British government declines to allow publication of certain telegrams that were placed before the commission and were kept entirely secret, and to which no reference was to have been made. In a second request I asked if the British government would review their decision in that regard. I have received a reply that they have reconsidered it and they still decline to allow publication of those secret telegrams. Having regard to the obligation which this government is under to the British government, I am not going to break faith with the British government by tabling a letter which contains references to a communication to which no reference should have been made by anyone who was appearing before or with the commission.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Now that the Prime Minister has explained-

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

-may I say that the Prime Minister has just done, Mr. Speaker, that which you a few minutes ago denied me the opportunity of doing.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member should

not reflect on the Speaker.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Withdraw.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. The Prime Minister made a statement. The hon. member for Lake Centre rose to a question of privilege, and the Prime Minister felt that he should answer it. The hon. member knows perfectly well that he should not say anything which would give to the house or to the public the impression that I have been deliberately unfair in my rulings with regard to ministers of the crown and members of the opposition. He knows perfectly well that I am trying to do my duty and be fair to all hon. members.

Hong Kong Inquiry

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Sit down.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASSELMAN:

Putting on the gag.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

What a spectacle I

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

These interruptions have all the spontaneity of trained seals. What I intended to say-

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1
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March 2, 1948