March 19, 1954

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Frequently invitations come to Canadians to visit places in the United States and to speak there, and I think it would be quite unusual and quite unfortunate if there were any attempt by either government to censor what might be said by a person who receives and accepts such an invitation. I know that Canadians who receive and accept such invitations are conscious of the delicacy of their position, and I would hope that any citizen of the United States who received and accepted an invitation to speak in Canada would be equally conscious of the delicacy of the situation that might be created if he went beyond what would be generally looked upon as reasonable bounds.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   SENATOR MCCARTHY
Sub-subtopic:   REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ON PROPOSED VISIT
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INQUIRY AS TO ENTRY OF RUSSIAN ARTISTS INTO CANADA


On the orders of the day:


LIB

John Decore

Liberal

Mr. John Decore (Vegreville):

In the

absence of the Secretary of State for External Affairs, may I direct this question to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration? Is the minister aware of a statement recently made in Toronto by the Russian ambassador to the effect that the soviet government has gladly accepted the invitation from the Canadian soviet friendship society to Russian singers, violinists, ballerinas and other artists? If so, is it the intention of the government to allow these people, who are so anxious to charm us with their music, entry into Canada?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO ENTRY OF RUSSIAN ARTISTS INTO CANADA
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

The soviet government did make application, Mr. Speaker, for a temporary visa for the people mentioned by the hon. member for Vegreville. As is our custom under these circumstances, we asked for information about the artists and the purpose of their trip to Canada. That

information has not yet been received, and until it has been received no decision will be made.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO ENTRY OF RUSSIAN ARTISTS INTO CANADA
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REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON


On the orders of the day:


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinton):

May

I ask the Minister of Trade and Commerce if he will give the house some report on the conference held at Washington this week between representatives of the Canadian government and representatives of the United States government, and in particular tell the house what agreements or undertakings were entered into on behalf of either of the countries with respect to trade in any of its aspects?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I am glad to take this opportunity to tell hon. members something about the meeting. I consider it a very important meeting indeed. I believe it is the first occasion on which four senior cabinet ministers of the United States have met with four members of the Canadian government to discuss matters of common interest in the field of economics. I think that the meetings were summed up very well by the communique issued at their conclusion, which I have not seen published in full in the Canadian press. I suggest that the reading of that communique may give my hon. friend the answers that he requires. It reads as follows:

The first meeting of the joint United States-Cana-dian committee on trade and economic affairs was held in Washington on the 16th of March. The United States was represented by Hon. John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, Hon. George M. Humphrey, Secretary of the Treasury, Hon. Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture and Hon. Sinclair Weeks, Secretary of Commerce. Canada was represented by Right Hon. C. D. Howe, Minister of Trade and Commerce and Defence Production, Right Hon, James G. Gardiner, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Douglas Abbott, Minister of Finance-

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Did I slip?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Years ago.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

I continue:

-and Hon. L. B. Pearson, Secretary of State for External Affairs. In addition to the members of the joint committee, Governor Adams, the assistant to the President, the Hon. Douglas Stuart, United States ambassador to Canada and Dr. Gabriel Hauge, economic assistant to the president, participated in the discussions.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for United States and Canadian ministers to examine the trade and economic problems that are common to both countries.

The ministers noted that the flow of trade between Canada and the United States is greater than that between any other two countries. They discussed

various aspects of present trade relations and agreed on the desirability of avoiding any action which would interfere with this trade from which the two countries derive such great benefits.

Since the common economic problems of Canada and the United States can be solved with greatest success in a world where the volume of trade is steady and increasing and where exchange arrangements are of a kind to facilitate such growth, consideration was given through the discussions to the need for action towards freer trade and payments on a broad front. It was agreed that few things would contribute more to the well-being and stability of the free nations of the world than a forward move in this direction. The need for such progress seemed all the greater at a time when many western countries are faced with the necessity of supporting effective defence programs over a long period.

The United States and Canadian ministers found encouragement in many of the economic developments that have taken place over the past year. They noted that the gold and dollar reserves of other countries generally have been rising; that there has been a marked improvement in the internal economic stability of many countries; and that these favourable developments have made possible some relaxation of import restrictions. Nevertheless, it was agreed that the recovery to economic health has not progressed equally for all countries. What is needed, it was concluded, is the creation of a more flexible system of trade and payments throughout the world which would offer greater resilience to changing circumstances and which would contribute dynamically towards rising standards of living. It was agreed that much of the necessary preparation for such an advance has already been accomplished by the work of the commission on foreign economic policy in the United States, by the proposals of the commonwealth economic conference, and by discussions within the organization for European economic co-operation.

In the meantime, it was agreed that it is essential that pressing, but possibly temporary, economic problems should not be solved by expedients which might make more difficult the advance on a broad front that was held to be necessary. One immediate problem which received close consideration was that raised by the accumulation of large agricultural surpluses. Special incentives and favourable weather conditions have operated in varying degrees to enlarge these surpluses. The ministers of both countries recognized that if surpluses were to be disposed of without regard to the impact on normal trade great damage might be done not only to the commerce of Canada and the United States but also to the world economy. The ministers reaffirmed that it is the continuing policy of their respective governments, in disposing of agricultural surpluses abroad, to consult with interested countries and not to interfere with normal commercial marketings. They stated that it is their settled intention that any extraordinary measures that might be adopted to reduce surpluses should result in greater consumption and should augment, and not displace, normal quantities of agricultural products entering into world trade.

In advancing toward a freer system of world trade and payments, it was agreed that existing international organizations would continue to play an important role. The valuable work already done by the international monetary fund, the international bank and the contracting parties of the general agreement on tariffs and trade was recognized. Ministers noted with satisfaction the arrangements which have recently been made within the fund to enable its resources to be used more effectively. Acknowledgment was also made of the useful service that has been performed by GATT in developing a code of commercial conduct and in

Inquiries of the Ministry providing a forum where multilateral tariff agreements could be negotiated and where the problems of commercial policy could be discussed.

It was appreciated that it is for countries whose currencies are now inconvertible to decide when and under what circumstances they might wish to make them convertible. It was also realized that enlightened economic policies on the part of the United States and Canada will materially contribute to establishing and maintaining broader freedom of trade and payments throughout the world. Because of the importance of that objective, the United States and Canadian ministers warmly welcomed the evidence of a desire in many countries to take decisive steps toward the restoration of a broad area of convertibility, and expressed a willingness to do their part to help in making such a movement successful.

The discussions at this meeting of the joint committee were marked by the friendliness and candor which are characteristic of relations between the two countries. At the invitation of the Canadian ministers the second meeting of the joint committee will be held in Ottawa.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

May I ask the minister for some more specific information following the rather general statement which he has read. What steps, if any, have been undertaken with respect to removing the effect of breaches that have occurred thus far on the part of the United States congress in the letter and spirit of the general agreement on tariffs and trade, and also specifically what measures are likely to be taken in the reasonably near future with respect to the matter of convertibility?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Well, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refers to many violations of the agreement on the part of the United States. I know only one that can be considered a violation, and that was not of tremendous importance to Canada. I am speaking of the dairy products quota. It is my hope that future action in that direction can be avoided by neither party taking any action that will be in violation of the GATT agreement.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

The minister did not deal with the second part of my question, nor did he get the full purport of my question. I was not speaking of future breaches of GATT. I was talking about the possibility of taking steps to correct the breach the minister referred to, the restriction on the importation of dairy products from Canada. The second matter was the matter he mentioned in his speech, namely convertibility, and I would ask him if he could tell us more specifically what steps are contemplated in that direction?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

So far as the first question is concerned, no steps were taken to deal with dairy products. This was an exploratory meeting. I know of no way in which a meeting of that kind could reverse an act of congress.

3148 HOUSE OF

Inquiries of the Ministry

So far as the second question is concerned, the conference made known to all the world that it considered that steps to convertibility might be taken according to the timing set by other countries, and that when convertibility was undertaken by any country co-operation from the United States and Canada would be forthcoming.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORT ON CONFERENCE AT WASHINGTON
Permalink

INQUIRY AS TO UNITED STATES GIFT TO JAPAN


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

I wonder whether the minister could tell the house whether he learned if the United States is proceeding with the reported gift of 500,000 tons of wheat to Japan, and whether as a result of the conference there will be cooperation between Canada and the United States in sharing the Japanese market for grain?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO UNITED STATES GIFT TO JAPAN
Permalink

March 19, 1954