May 19, 1950

PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ferguson:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead!

Topic:   NAVAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   REPLACEMENT OF "RULE BRITANNIA" BY "O CANADA" AS FORMAL SALUTE BY NAVY BANDS
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NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY

SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON


On the order for motions:


LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. Brooke Claxton (Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members will be aware, the North Atlantic council, which has been meeting in London since May 15, completed its sessions

yesterday. The following is the text of the communique issued by the council summing up the decisions taken in London:

The North Atlantic council established in accordance with article 9 of the treaty has so far only met twice at the ministerial level and on two other occasions when members of the council have been represented by their governments' diplomatic representatives in Washington.

But under article 9 the council is the principal body of the North Atlantic treaty. It is therefore the paramount duty of the council to put itself in a position to exercise its full role as the central and most important of the various organs of the treaty by taking the most effective steps to keep itself informed of all matters which fall within its competence, by taking the necessary decisions and by ensuring the execution of such decisions.

A year's experience has shown that on the political side the meetings of the council have been too infrequent to permit a sufficient exchange of views on matters of common interest within the scope of the treaty. On the military side the strategic concept of the treaty has been adopted and a defence plan drawn up and the corresponding estimate of the necessary forces is being established. The next step is to put these plans into effect by taking further measures in the direction of common defence, the division of financial responsibilities and the adaptation and development of the necessary forces.

In view of this situation, the council will in particular undertake the following task:

(a) Study the interrelationship of the various programs to support the plans for the defence of the north Atlantic area and ensure co-ordination of the work of the defence committee, the defence financial and economic committee, and all other bodies established under the North Atlantic treaty organization.

(b) recommend to governments the steps necessary to ensure that effect is given to the co-ordinated plans prepared for the defence of the north Atlantic area.

(c) Exchange views on political matters of common interest within the scope of the treaty.

(d) Promote and co-ordinate public information in furtherance of the objectives of the treaty while leaving responsibility for national programs to each country.

(e) Consider what further action should be taken under article 2 of the treaty, taking into account the work of existing agencies in this field.

To enable the council effectively to carry out its responsibilities and to exercise them continuously, each government will appoint a deputy to its council representative. Each deputy will be in a position to give whatever time may be necessary to ensure that the responsibilities of the council are carried out effectively.

In the intervals between meetings of ministers, the deputies, duly authorized by their respective governments, will be responsible, on behalf of and in the name of the council, for carrying out its policies and for formulating issues requiring decisions by the member governments.

The council, having considered the reports of the defence committee and the defence financial and economic committee, issued directives to guide them in their future work. These directives emphasize that the problem of adequate military forces and the necessary financial costs should be examined as one and not as separate problems.

In formulating their directives the council proceeded on the basis that the combined resources of the members of the North Atlantic treaty are sufficient, if properly co-ordinated and applied, to

ensure the progressive and speedy development of adequate military defence without impairing the social and economic progress of these countries.

The council, recognizing the indispensability of self-help and mutual aid among the treaty powers in making progress towards an integrated defence, and convinced that further mutual assistance is essential to rapid progress towards the strength required for the common security of the north Atlantic area, recommended that each party make its full contribution through mutual assistance in all practicable forms.

The council unanimously agreed that if adequate military defence of the member countries is to be achieved it must be along the lines of the most economical and effective utilization of the forces and material at the disposal of the north Atlantic countries. They accordingly urged their governments to concentrate on the creation of balanced collective forces in the progressive build-up of the defence of the north Atlantic area, taking at the same time fully into consideration the requirements for national forces which arise out of commitments external to the north Atlantic area.

In furtherance of article 9 of the treaty the council established a North Atlantic planning board for ocean shipping, to be composed of representatives of the participating countries concerned. This board will report directly to the council and will work in close co-operation with other bodies of the treaty organization in all matters relating to the factor of merchant shipping in defence planning.

The ministers believe that the decisions they have taken here in London represent a marked advance towards the practical realization of the objectives of the North Atlantic treaty.

It is evident that this has been the most important meeting of the North Atlantic council so far. Decisions have been taken which should ensure that the gathering strength of the North Atlantic treaty nations is organized in the most efficient fashion for the defensive purposes of the treaty and that progress will be made in the fields of political and economic co-operation. We have taken a long step forward, and I know that hon. members will fully realize the importance of these developments in building up a stable and prosperous north Atlantic community.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Will Canada appoint a deputy to that permanent committee?

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

Yes.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of ihe Opposition):

The announcement which we have just heard, Mr. Speaker, and which we read earlier in the press, as to the unanimous decision of the representatives of the twelve nations of the Atlantic community is an announcement of what is undoubtedly the most momentous decision that has been made since the summer of 1945. Until this decision was reached yesterday, the Atlantic treaty and the set-up of the council still left some uncertainties as to the full scope of their activities. Even yesterday in his announcement of the earlier report the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) emphasized the fact that the discussions had been informal. The announcement which has now been made carries this matter far beyond the stage of informality. 1 feel sure that hon. members will welcome the fact that this matter has passed the stage of informal discussion 55946-168

North Atlantic Treaty and that now there is in definite form a permanent executive committee of the Atlantic council to which there will be a Canadian delegate with appropriate secretarial and official assistants.

It cannot be emphasized too often that at this very time we are passing through the most critical stage of modern history. I feel sure that the hon. members of this house of all parties will wish that the Canadian representative on that committee, whoever he may be, will at all times act with the knowledge that in the joint efforts to preserve peace there is complete unanimity in this house.

While that meeting does not deal with anything except the organization of the nations of the Atlantic community, it has been noticeable that in the reports of those discussions, which by more than coincidence take place at the same time as the conference in Sydney, there has been reference to the problems of the Pacific. I do not think it would be appropriate to allow an occasion of this kind to pass without bringing forward the suggestion that the free nations of the world will not have completed their task of containing and restraining communist aggression until they have taken similarly effective steps amongst the free nations of the Pacific community.

This is a great step forward; but at the moment the most vigorous communist pressure is in southeast Asia. Those who live in the free nations of that area are emphasizing the need for recognition of immediate action. I would express the earnest hope that, with this very real achievement to the credit of the Atlantic community, steps will be taken without delay to bring similar results in that complementary area where communism is so active today.

All security depends upon security from aggression. The Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Claxton) has pointed out that this permanent body which will be set up will deal not only with the military but also with the financial questions as one problem. To a great extent it might be said at the same time that the problem of advancing the social security and general welfare of the people in these and other free nations is directly related also to military and economic concerns.

There is one point of great importance mentioned by the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs which raises another consideration which I think should be brought forward immediately. The decisions yesterday have created a new North Atlantic planning board for ocean shipping, composed of representatives of the maritime nations within

North Atlantic Treaty this group of Atlantic nations. It is to be the purpose of that permanent planning board to plan for the preparation of adequate shipping and for the mobilization of that shipping in the event of an emergency. This, I say, immediately raises a consideration of great importance to every Canadian. In view of the fact that Canada has now agreed to become a part of a permanent planning board for maritime shipping in relation to the general world problem, I hope that it will mean the immediate re-establishment of the Canadian flag fleet.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

What are we debating here, Mr. Speaker?

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

We are not debating anything, Mr. Speaker. We are discussing an important occasion which does not call for trite remarks of the kind just made.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

I was just wondering what was before the house.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The statement is of course not debatable; but I think it is customary to allow brief remarks to be made by the leader of the official opposition and by leaders of other parties immediately after an important statement has been made to the house.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

I just wondered what the Canadian flag fleet had to do with the statement that has just been made.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

You will see the connection if you just wait.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I regret to say that the minister who has just spoken is perhaps the one minister who would not understand but I think that most of the others do.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Always the snappy comeback.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I am speaking to those who recognize the seriousness of the situation and who are not prepared to clown at a serious time like this.

The announcement that has been made definitely offers more hope and more reason for hope than we have had since the closing days of the war. I earnestly hope that in every respect members of the government who recognize their responsibility will go forward, carry out and fulfil in every way the agreement reached yesterday for the supreme purpose of restraining communist aggression and ultimately defeating it.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

As

I listened to the statement read by the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Claxton) a line or two of Tennyson came to my mind, namely:

The old order changeth, yielding place to new.

As I listened today and last evening to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) I

[Mr. Drew.l

thought of the extent to which the old order was giving way to the new; that a few years ago we thought it impossible that the nations of the Atlantic community, for example, could co-operate economically, socially and in our common defence. The statement made today and last night has impressed upon this house, as it must have impressed the countries of the Atlantic community, the fact that in all our domestic policies, whether they be economic or social, we have to consider their impact upon the rest of the members of that community. I said last night that I thought that perhaps more important than the military arrangements made among the ministers in London during the past few days were the arrangements for economic and social co-operation.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) mentioned southeast Asia. I firmly believe that there can be no defence against communism, or any other form of totalitarianism, in southeast Asia unless the nations of the world co-operate to improve the standards of living of the people of that part of the world. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we welcome this statement, and I can assure the government, the leader of the opposition and the members of the house that anything we can do to advance this great idea of co-operation first among the members of the Atlantic community, and then among the members, we hope, of the great world community, we shall be pleased to support and indeed to undertake.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

May I direct a question to the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs? Perhaps it should be answered by the Minister of Transport. Does this statement mean that there will be any change in Canadian policy with regard to the Canadian merchant navy?

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, so far as I am aware, it will mean no change.

Topic:   NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY
Subtopic:   SUMMARY OF DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COUNCIL IN LONDON
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May 19, 1950