March 12, 1948

HONG KONG

DREW LETTER-QUESTION AND ANSWER IN BRITISH HOUSE OP COMMONS

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, in view of

some of the doubts expressed and implications made, which are recorded in Hansard, as to statements of mine concerning communications between the Canadian government and the United Kingdom government respecting publication of the letter known as the Drew letter and the refusal of the United Kingdom government to allow the publication of certain telegrams exchanged between the United Kingdom and Canadian governments in 1941, I am sure lion, members will wish to have the following information on an exchange of question and answer which took place yesterday in the United Kingdom House of Commons. Injustice to myself I feel this question and answer should also be recorded in Hansard.

The question appeared in the name of Mr. Quintin Hogg, Conservative M.P. for Oxford City. The text of the exchange is as follows:

Question: "Mir. Hogg to ask the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what communications have passed between the Canadian and British governments relative to the publication of letters known as the Drew (Premier Drew of Ontario) letters concerning Canadian troops at Hong Kong and if he now agreed to their publication."

Answer: "There has been no correspondence

between His Majesty's government in Canada and the United Kingdom about publication of letters from Colonel Drew to which the honourable member (Hogg) refers.

"The Canadian government inquired whether they might publish certain telegrams exchanged between the United Kingdom and the Canadian government in 1941 relating to the dispatch of Canadian forces to Hong Kong and to the situation in the Far East at that time.

"We replied agreeing to the publication of those telegrams which related to the dispatch of troops but we said that we felt unable to agree to the publication of telegrams relating to the international situation.

"Such telegrams are framed on the basis that they wull not be published and the whole system of full and frank communication between His Majesty's governments would be prejudiced

if telegrams of this nature had to be prepared on the basis that this rule might not eventually be observed.

"The question was very carefully examined at the highest level and the United Kingdom regret that they cannot reconsider their decision."

Topic:   HONG KONG
Subtopic:   DREW LETTER-QUESTION AND ANSWER IN BRITISH HOUSE OP COMMONS
Permalink

TARIFFS AND TRADE

REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

It was announced last night, Mr. Speaker, that the first order to be called today would be the one which appears as No. 3 on the order paper with respect to the Geneva agreement. The purpose of calling that order today was to enable the subject matter of the trade agreement to be referred to the banking and commerce committee. The procedure in the house has always been to pass the second reading in the first instance, before assigning a bill by direction of the house to one committee or another. But hon. gentlemen opposite expressed the view earlier that it would be helpful if, before being asked to vote on the second reading, the subject matter could be referred to a committee, and the committee on banking and commerce was the committee agreed upon.

I just wish to point out, in order that this will not become a precedent, that it is quite exceptional to refer the subject matter of a resolution to a committee before the resolution itself has been voted upon. In order that the matter may be proceeded with in a regular way I would move, seconded by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent), the following motion, which serves the same end:

That the subject matter of the general agreement on tariffs and' trade, including the protocol of provisional application thereof, together with the complementary agreement of October 30, 1947, between Canada and the United States of America, be referred to the standing committee on banking and commerce.

This is not a resolution and therefore no notice is required; if carried it will be an order of the house. But hon. members will see that it is to carry out the purpose that was intended, namely, to enable the house to have the subject matter of this agreement referred to the banking and commerce committee.

Tariffs ami Trade

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

If it is in order to deal with this matter now, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a very brief comment.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The motion is debatable.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

My understanding is that if this motion is adopted it carries with it neither approval nor disapproval of the details of the resolution itself?

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is correct.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

Our interpretation of the motion is that the resolution will be referred to a committee, there to be considered and sent back either with or without some recommendations, and that when it comes back to the house we will be free to deal with it as we choose. If that is the purpose of this motion, if that is what is to be accomplished, we will offer no objection at this time. But we want to reserve our right to take any attitude that seems necessary when it comes from the committee back to the house for further consideration.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I explain the position exactly to my hon. friend. The motion is not to refer the resolution to the banking and commerce committee. It is to refer the subject matter of the resolution, which is the Geneva trade agreement, to enable the banking and commerce committee to call before it experts or anyone it may wish to call to give the committee such information as it may wish to have. When the committee has all the information it wishes on the subject matter of the trade agreement, then the resolution which is on the order paper, and which meanwhile will remain there as it is, will come up for debate in the house. The committee cannot change the terms of the agreement, but in committee an opportunity would be afforded to look into the details of the agreement.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
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?

Mr. COLD WELL@

As I understand it, this is an international agreement between various countries of the world. As such I presume the house has to accept or reject it.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is right.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Is not the purpose of referring the subject matter to a committee to enable all the points to be elucidated?

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is it.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

In order that members of parliament may understand them, so that we may either vote for or against the resolution?

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is the purpose.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

That is my understanding.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is correct.

Topic:   TARIFFS AND TRADE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE OF SUBJECT MATTER OF GENEVA TRADE AGREEMENT TO BANKING AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Permalink

March 12, 1948