Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
I should like to say just a word about the Geneva agreement, which has been before the house for consideration. Hon. members will recall that some time ago I introduced a motion respecting this agreement. The motion appears as item No. 3 under government orders:
That it is expedient that parliament do approve the general agreement on tariffs and trade, including the protocol of provisional application thereof . . .
In the course of the debate the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) moved an amendment with a view to separating the part of the resolution which referred to the British preference from the rest of the motion so that there would be two resolutions instead of one, in order that these matters could be debated separately. The idea was that the part relating to the Geneva agreement would go to a committee. I indicated at the time that the government would be prepared to facilitate the agreement going before a committee.
The matter has been gone into carefully and there has been some conference with hon. gentlemen opposite who lead the different parties. As a result of what has been considered it seems that the best means to bring about what is desired would be to have an amendment moved to the amendment which
the hon. member for Vancouver South has moved to the original motion. The amendment would have as its purpose to divide the original resolution into two parts and have them appear on the order paper as two separate resolutions. This is a matter of procedure.
Perhaps the best course would be for me to leave the matter at the moment as I have explained it and to say that tomorrow, if the house is agreeable, I shall ask that we proceed to divide the original resolution in the manner I have directed. In order to do that I will ask one of my colleagues to move an amendment to the amendment of my hon. friend in the following words:
That the amendment be amended-
(a) by deleting the words "referred to the committee of the whole house with instruction to divide" and substituting therefor the words "divided as to"; and
(b) by adding at the end of the said amendment the following:
"the said resolutions to be expressed as follows:-"
The first resolution would read:
That is is expedient that parliament do approve the general agreement on tariffs and trade, including the protocol of provisional application thereof, annexed to the final act of the second session of the preparatory committee of the united nations conference on trade and employment held at Geneva from April 10 to October 30, 1947, together with the complementary agreement of October 30, 1947, between Canada and the United States of America; that the house do approve the same, subject to the legislation required in order to give effect to the provisions thereof;
The second resolution would read:
That it is expedient that parliament do approve the complementary agreement of October 30, 1947, between Canada and the United Kingdom relating to the general agreement on tariffs and trade, and that the house do approve the same, subject to the legislation required in order to give effect to the provisions thereof.
I give this as a notice at the moment. If hon. members would look carefully at what I have said between now and tomorrow, if it is then agreeable to the house we could proceed tomorrow with the suggested amendment to the amendment. This would facilitate having the Geneva agreement referred forthwith to a committee. The government would be glad to facilitate that procedure and would wish to take it. I might say that I understand
Tariffs and Trade
the committee to which hon. gentlemen opposite would wish to have the Geneva agreement referred is not a special committee of the house or a joint committee of the two houses; it is the standing committee on banking and commerce. That would be quite agreeable to the government if that is what is desired.
Subtopic: UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE AT GENEVA, 1947- APPROVAL OF GENERAL AGREEMENT