October 22, 1951

KURT MEYER

COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY

LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) asked a question about the transfer of Kurt Meyer. The hon. member for Lake Centre said:

In so far as his incarceration is concerned, was he released or transferred under an order in council, and has there been any communication to the effect that he will now take his place in any army being formed1 in western Germany?

An order in council was passed on October 18, which I shall now table, authorizing the Minister of National Defence to commit a person convicted by a Canadian military court and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more to a service prison, either in or beyond Canada. Pursuant to that order, and with the approval of the cabinet, I directed that Kurt Meyer be committed to Werl prison in Germany, which I designated as a Canadian service prison for that purpose. There has been no communication to the effect that Kurt Meyer will now take his place in any army being formed in, western Germany. It would be impossible for him to do so, as he is still serving the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon him.

The hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming) asked this question:

Was any request received from any other government for such an order in council?

The answer is no; but I understand that some representations were made to the Department of External Affairs, which may be dealt with by my colleague the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson).

Then the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Cold well) asked:

Because of the importance of the matter, will the minister say whether he is still under the control and the jurisdiction of Canada or whether his incarceration has been transferred to the jurisdiction of another country?

The answer is that Meyer is still under the control and jurisdiction of Canada. The prison in which he is now incarcerated is under the control of the United Kingdom occupation authorities in Germany, but they have no power to interfere with his sentence.

The hon. member for Lake Centre said something about the secrecy connected with the transfer. So far as I know it is quite unusual to give advance publicity with respect to the transfer of prisoners, either civil or military.

Topic:   KURT MEYER
Subtopic:   COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Secretary of Stale for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, supplementing what the hon. member has said, I might add that the German ambassador designate, Dr. Dankwort, called on an official of the Department of External Affairs on October 15 to make representations on behalf of his government for the granting of a pardon in the case of the German war criminal, Kurt Meyer.

The German embassy has since been informed that the ambassador's representations have been considered by the government and that they cannot be accepted. The German ambassador on this visit made no reference at all to the transfer of Kurt Meyer to the United Kingdom zone in Germany. The announcement regarding this transfer had not indeed been made public at the time of the interview.

Topic:   KURT MEYER
Subtopic:   COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Under what authority was the order in council passed? I am not sure I understand that.

Topic:   KURT MEYER
Subtopic:   COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

Under authority of section 178 (2) and (6) of the National Defence Act.

Topic:   KURT MEYER
Subtopic:   COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY
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?

Donald MacInnis

Mr. Maclnnis:

May I ask the minister if Kurt Meyer can now be released without the express authority of the government of Canada?

Topic:   KURT MEYER
Subtopic:   COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY
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LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Claxton:

No.

Topic:   KURT MEYER
Subtopic:   COMMITMENT TO WERL PRISON, GERMANY
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MOTION GIVING PRECEDENCE TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved:

That on and after Monday, October 22, until the end of the session, unless and until otherwise ordered, notwithstanding the terms of standing order 15, after the daily routine, government notices of motions and government orders shall have precedence on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays over all other business, and on Mondays and Wednesdays over all other business except questions and notices of motions for production of papers and the debate on the address until concluded.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I hope my face is not getting too red in making a confession. There is no doubt that in this motion I have

Business of the House made a mistake. It has been pointed out to me that if the house adopted the motion in the form in which it now appears we would be precluded from dealing with the other motion fixed for discussion today. Therefore I shall ask one of my colleagues to move an amendment whereby we would substitute the words "Tuesday, October 23rd" for the words "Monday, October 22nd".

When this was pointed out I thought I might hold this motion until we had disposed of the other one. However, it was again indicated to me-and the rules are sometimes a bit tricky-that if that were done and we did not conclude debate on the other motion today we would have no right to proceed with it tomorrow.

Therefore I shall ask my colleague to move that "Tuesday, October 23" be substituted for "Monday, October 22".

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION GIVING PRECEDENCE TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Are you sure you are all right now?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION GIVING PRECEDENCE TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I hope I am. I saw a comment the other day about the present Prime Minister to the effect that he did not know any more about the rules of the house than any other hon. member and I must confess that that is true.

With respect to the merits of the motion itself, I am sure that hon. members feel that we should make a start on the government business for which this special session has been called. In the discussion with the leaders of the opposition groups held the other day I think it was made clear that hon. members need have no fear that a motion of this kind would preclude the discussion of any matter of general public interest which it might be appropriate to discuss, and that we were quite prepared to try out, at least experimentally, the procedure that has prevailed in the British house and set aside a day for discussion of any matter that comes up and that is felt to be of greater urgency than the ordinary matters on the order paper. So I should hope that this motion, with the amendment which I shall ask the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) to move at this time, will carry.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION GIVING PRECEDENCE TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the motion be amended by replacing the words "Monday October 22" with the words "Tuesday October 23."

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION GIVING PRECEDENCE TO GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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Amendment agreed to. Motion as amended agreed to.


UNITED NATIONS

MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF CANADA'S CONTINUED PARTICIPATION IN PEACE EFFORTS

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved:

That this house approves the continuation of Canada's participation in the efforts being made through the United Nations to establish international peace, and in particular to defeat aggression and restore peace in Korea, and by the North Atlantic treaty nations to deter aggression and promote stability and well-being in the north Atlantic area.

He said: In moving this motion it is not my intention to speak at length, but I think hon. members will expect me to explain why this motion is made at this time and in its present form.

The house is not being asked to endorse any new policies. With respect to the United Nations action in Korea the Canadian position was enunciated in parliament in June of 1950 and the house was advised at that time of our intention to provide naval support without delay. In July the airlift to Tokyo was established and recruiting started for a brigade group for service with the U.N. forces in Korea.

Financial provision was made for these and other additional defence activities at the special session in September 1950, and the order in council providing for the dispatch of the brigade group to Korea was tabled in the house on September 9, 1950.

In the north Atlantic area a decision was maide at Brussels, on December 19, 1950, to establish an integrated force under the command of General Eisenhower. During the course of the last session, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) advised the house that present plans for Canadian participation in this integrated force involved the dispatch to western Europe of an army brigade group and eleven R.C.A.F. squadrons to form an air division.

Financial provision was made at the last session for the development of these formations and for other expansion of our defences. In making this financial provision parliament was giving the most effective of all stamps of approval on the policy itself.

Recruitment of the 27th brigade was undertaken in the spring and, as was indicated in the order in council tabled by the Minister of National Defence on Thursday last, that brigade group has now reached a state of training where it can usefully be dispatched to western Europe. The first of the eleven air squadrons envisaged in the NATO program is also virtually ready for dispatch overseas.

Meanwhile, over the past year the government has made available to several of our north Atlantic partners very substantial quantities of military supplies and equipment.

While there is nothing specifically new in our program, and while hon. members are not being asked to approve any change or any expansion of existing policies-I might emphasize that the key word in the motion is "continuation", continuation toward achievement of our consistent objective, the establishment of international peace-it is nevertheless true that the course of world events, particularly in the past two years, has made it necessary for Canada, in concert with other free nations, to adopt fundamentally new measures in our external relations.

We have joined with other members of the United Nations in the basic activities of that world organization, and especially in its efforts to suppress active aggression and restore peace and order in an area where international security has been violated.

In the north Atlantic area we have undertaken to send armed forces overseas in time of peace, which is certainly something new. These Canadian forces will take their place in an international formation designed as a deterrent to aggression, a safeguard of peace in the whole north Atlantic area and a guarantee of the security of Canada itself.

In the course of the next few weeks, as the minister said when tabling the order in council on Thursday, it would be the intention of the government to have the whole of this 27th brigade dispatched to Europe.

The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) will be leaving Canada, probably at the end of this week, to attend meetings of the United Nations and the NATO council, meetings which it is possible will require him to be away most of this session. Before the session ends, or before we expect the session to end, there is a meeting of the NATO council scheduled to take place in Rome at which the Minister of National Defence will be expected to attend. As hon. members know, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) was prevented from being present at the first stage of this session because of a meeting of a twelve-man committee which was taking place in Paris and which was the consequence of the deliberations of the NATO council which took place in Ottawa just before the session commenced.

It seemed to the government that to comply not only with the letter but with the spirit of the defence act it was advisable that there be some opportunity for parliament to discuss these plans which have been disclosed, and if

United Nations and NATO parliament felt so disposed it could indicate its disapproval of what the government was doing. Of course, it is the responsibility of the government to make these decisions and the defence act requires that when such decisions are made, if parliament is not then in session, it be called within ten days. We felt that that implied that an appropriate opportunity must be given to parliament to discuss the decisions the government has taken the responsibility of making and to interfere with their implementation if parliament felt that they should not be carried out.

It seemed to us also that it would be a source of encouragement to our forces in Korea and to the forces we are about to dispatch to Europe, as well as strengthening the position of those who will represent Canada at these international meetings, if there were an affirmation by this house of its wholehearted and, I would hope, unanimous support of the efforts our country is making to help maintain peace and security in the world.

There is one point I wish to emphasize. The motion has been carefully framed so that it invites approval only of those national policies on which, I think happily for Canada, all parties in the house have hitherto been agreed and on which I hope we will continue to be agreed.

We are very anxious not to embarrass any hon. members opposite by the slightest suggestion that we are asking for any blanket vote of confidence in the government, but we do believe it would be desirable at this critical time in world affairs to give to our own people and to the world a demonstration of the fundamental unity of the Canadian people in their determination to do their share to preserve peace in the world.

I have discussed with the leaders of the opposition groups what may be the most convenient order of procedure for this debate, and I have been informed by them that they would prefer to have the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) give us a review of the background against which these activities are being undertaken before they themselves are called upon to speak. I take it that would be regarded as the logical order of procedure. I shall not attempt to go any further at this time than to submit the motion, and I assume that after there has been a statement of the background situation hon. members will wish to put their views before parliament and the Canadian public.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF CANADA'S CONTINUED PARTICIPATION IN PEACE EFFORTS
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Secretary of Stale for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to support this resolution, the terms of which I

United Nations and NATO think will commend themselves to all sections of this house, it is my purpose, as has been indicated by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), to give a general and I am afraid somewhat lengthy review of the international situation at the present time and to discuss some developments in that situation which have taken place since we last met. I agree that it is important that this should be done early in the session. For that reason I found myself in approval with the observation of the leader of the official opposition (Mr. Drew) last week when he requested an early opportunity for this kind of discussion. As a matter of fact we would have been prepared to go ahead with this discussion last week, but after consultation with the various groups in the house it was considered this would be the best day on which to commence.

In making what I might call a "tour d'hori-zon", I think it is desirable that I should begin with our relations with that country which is nearest to us, the United States of America. The day-to-day problems between Canada and the United States are growing in complexity and number and scope, but are approached in almost every case from either side with a desire to find fair and mutually satisfactory solutions. It is natural that these contacts between our two countries, especially in the field of defence and defence supply, should have increased as we work together with other states in a closely knit coalition to safeguard the peace. The United States is the powerful leader of that coalition, I suppose by any test.

Of course it is quite normal that we in Canada should be preoccupied with that leadership and with the power behind it. Not long ago the spectre that haunted Canadian policy makers in this field of foreign affairs was that the United States would remain aloof from international efforts which were being made to protect the peace against nazi and fascist aggression. We sometimes worry now lest the United States may feel it necessary to pursue policies inside our coalition which the other members cannot wholeheartedly follow, or that inadequate co-operation from those other members may discourage American effort and leadership to the point where Washington may even decide, on some unhappy day, to go it alone.

Any Canadian government is bound to do what it can to remove either of these unhappy possibilities. This may mean at times expressing its own views forthrightly in other places, including of course Washington itself. This is indeed a first principle of Canadian diplomacy deriving from the inescapable fact that no country in the world has less chance of isolating itself from the effect of American policies and decisions than Canada. We must

recognize, however-and I am sure we do recognize-that a diplomacy of this kind, depending as it does on the influence we exert with greater powers, can only be carried out successfully if our interventions are restrained, responsible and constructive, and if we act in discharging our own obligations in a way which deserves the respect of pur friends.

In addition, all of us inside the coalition must avoid words, actions or reactions which will weaken our unity without any compensating advantage to the national interest. I do not mean by this that we should hide our differences by pretending that none ever existed. In any coalition, indeed in any neighbourly relationship, there are bound to be honest differences, and unless they are examined and discussed frankly they may fester underground and poison the relationship. It is, however-and I am sure all hon. members will agree with me-of vital importance that in any such discussions of differences we should act with good temper and in good faith; that we should always display a sense of responsibility, a sense of proportion, and indeed I suggest at times a sense of humour. Our efforts should constantly be not to score points at each other's expense but to come to agreed solutions.

There is one question in our relations with the United States, that of the St. Lawrence seaway, concerning which we have not been able to reach such an agreed solution. We would like to see that seaway built as an international project as a witness to our good neighbourhood and close co-operation. That, however, has not been possible, and the action, or rather the inaction, of the United States congress, which adjourned last Saturday night, shows, I think, that it is not going to be possible to secure agreement with the United States on this matter at an early date. Therefore we are prepared to recommend that this seaway should be built by Canada, and we shall soon request and expect to receive that co-operation from the United States government which it must be remembered is required under the boundary waters treaty.

The following steps remain in fact to be taken before the Canadian development can take place. In Canada, authorizing legislation, as announced in the speech from the throne at the opening of the present session of parliament, is required and will be introduced to provide for the construction of the St. Lawrence seaway and power project, and to provide for an appropriate agency of the federal government to deal with the construction of the seaway. Then an agreement, the terms of which have already been worked out, must be concluded with the government

United Nations and NATO

of Ontario for the construction by the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission, together with the appropriate authority in the United States, of the power development in the international rapids section of the river, and with respect to the division of costs between power and navigation. There must also be an agreed division of responsibility with the United States agency for the construction of these power development works. Then, although the situation is somewhat different because the international section of the St. Lawrence stops before the Quebec border is reached, steps are being taken to work out an agreement with the province of Quebec covering possible power developments in that province arising out of the Canadian waterways construction.

And, finally, from the point of view of Canadian action, an application by the Ontario authorities for the construction of the power works must be transmitted by the Canadian government to the international joint commission for approval there.

Then, on the United States side, a decision must be made-and I am now talking of the construction of the Canadian seaway-a decision must be made and approved by the president as to what agency in the United States will be responsible for constructing the United States part of the power project in the international section of the St. Lawrence river. That is a complicated problem in which many United States political considerations are no doubt involved, and the solution of the problem may take some time. At least, it cannot I suppose be reached overnight.

Secondly, for United States action, the agency which is to be responsible for the construction of the United States part of the power development must obtain a licence from the United States power commission. The procedure for obtaining such a licence involves public hearings before the commission, to which all interested parties must be given an opportunity to present their views.

And thirdly, for United States action again, an application by the agency responsible for the construction in the United States must be transmitted for approval by the United States government to the international joint commission in conjunction with a similar application by Ontario.

So far as Canadian action is concerned, that part of it which is a responsibility of the federal government will be pressed without any delay. That is all I wish to say this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, though I could say much more, if time permitted, on our relations with our great and friendly neighbour.

May I say a word at this time about our relations with the nations of the commonwealth? Those are, as usual, on a good and friendly basis. There is full exchange of information and adequate consultation. We are satisfied with the existing position. However, the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green), who brought this question up the other night and who, if I may say so, with respect, is apparently the leader of the dynamic wing of his party in foreign policy, is not satisfied with the present position. He pleaded on Thursday last that in Canada we should give a lead in the rebuilding, to use his own words, "the rebuilding of the strength of the commonwealth so that it might become a third world power". Well, as I see it, such a rebuilding of the commonwealth into a world power as such could hardly be attempted without centralizing the political institutions of its members, without a single centre of control and authority-

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF CANADA'S CONTINUED PARTICIPATION IN PEACE EFFORTS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Was it not such a power in 1945?

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF CANADA'S CONTINUED PARTICIPATION IN PEACE EFFORTS
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October 22, 1951