January 13, 1958

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I was asked on Friday about a second letter sent by Mr. Bulganin, the chairman of the council of ministers of the Soviet union. I informed the house that such a letter had been delivered to me by the Soviet ambassador that morning. With it the Soviet ambassador delivered what might be described as an unofficial translation. This translation has been checked against the Russian language original and revisions made where necessary. I am now able to table that approved English translation of the letter.

This new letter from Mr. Bulganin is being studied with care. Similar letters have been received by the governments of other NATO countries, and they will be the subject of further careful examination and consultation in the NATO council. The main proposal in this new letter is that a high-level meeting be held in the next two or three months. The specific proposal, and I quote, is for:

-a meeting of leading statesmen on a high level with the participation of heads of governments.

The agenda proposed for this meeting largely covers the same ground as the proposal made in the previous letter from Mr. Bulganin dated December 13, 1957. On one or two points relating to disarmament this letter is somewhat more specific than the previous letter, and these points are now being studied. They do not, however, appear to contain anything that has not been brought up in the discussions held in the United Nations subcommittee on disarmament.

I believe it is the intention of some of our NATO allies to send replies to the first letter early this week. The Canadian reply which is now being prepared after careful coordination of our views with our NATO partners will be sent in a day or so, and the text will be made available to the house. I therefore ask leave to table the letter in question.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Did the Prime Minister intend that the translation of the letter be printed in Hansard?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Not unless the house asks for it. It is very lengthy, and I thought it should be tabled and therefore available to hon. members in all parts of the house.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The Prime Minister made two statements. I think, in conducting orderly comment, if the party leaders wish to comment they might deal with the first statement which has to do with the Russian correspondence.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Algoma East):

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Prime Minister's first statement I wish merely to ask him this question. Is it intended that the reply to which he referred as likely to be sent from Canada this week will deal with both the Bulganin letters, or the first one only which came early last December?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

The first reply will be in reference to the first letter, but I am hopeful that we shall be able to make the replies practically simultaneously.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

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

May I ask the Prime Minister a question relating to the letters. Last week I inquired whether more than two communications had been received from Russia up to that time. My reading over the week end of the Manchester Guardian leads me to believe that a further statement was made by the supreme council of the Soviet union which was handed to the ambassadors in Moscow for delivery to governments and parliaments other than those of Russia, of course, and which contained seven points that in the opinion of this newspaper at least were worthy of consideration.

Has the Prime Minister or the Secretary of State for External Affairs received a copy of that statement from our ambassador? I think it was delivered on Christmas eve or Christmas day to the diplomatic corps in Moscow.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, possibly I might clarify the answer of the other day by reading the explanation which was handed to me by the officials. On Friday, in connection with the second letter from Mr. Bulganin, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar asked about the number of such communications that had been received. He also raised a question about a seven point program

Inquiries of the Ministry adoDted by the supreme soviet of the U.S.S.R. late in December, that being the one to which ne now refers.

I told him there had been just the two notes, that is the letter of December 13 and the second one dated January 8 and delivered to me on January 10. These were apart, I said, from the New Year's greetings sent to Canadians in general.

I have since confirmed that no formal communication came to us as a result of the peace program adopted by the supreme soviet of the U.S.S.R. This seven point program, the details of which, of course, we received from our embassy at the time, did not contain anything that was not already covered in the Soviet proposals to be found in the letter we had received from Mr. Bulganin on December 13.

I should inform the hon. member, however, that at an earlier stage, on December 1, a request was received at the Canadian embassy in Moscow from the foreign ministry of the U.S.S.R. to pass on to the government and parliament of Canada a declaration dealing with peace and security which had been adopted by the supreme soviet of the U.S.S.R. on November 6. This declaration, which did not contain any points that had not been covered in previous Soviet statements and public pronouncements, was forwarded by the embassy to the Department of External Affairs. The Secretary of State for External Affairs carried out the request of the Soviet foreign ministry by transmitting the text of the declaration to both Speakers, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate, on December 11. I shall be happy to send a copy of this particular document to the hon. member for his perusal.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   TABLING OF SECOND LETTER FROM PREMIER BULGANIN
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REPORTED RUSSIAN DRIVE TO ESTABLISH EUROPEAN BUFFER ZONE


On the orders of the day:


SC

Frank Claus Christian

Social Credit

Mr. F. C. Christian (Okanagan Boundary):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Secretary of State for External Affairs of which I have given him notice. Would he care to comment on Canada's position with respect to the neutrality drive by the Soviet government for the establishment of a buffer zone in Europe?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORTED RUSSIAN DRIVE TO ESTABLISH EUROPEAN BUFFER ZONE
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PC

Sidney Earle Smith (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Sidney E. Smith (Secretary of Slate for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry but I have not received notice of that question, and I will have to ask for an opportunity to consider it and give an answer at a later date.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REPORTED RUSSIAN DRIVE TO ESTABLISH EUROPEAN BUFFER ZONE
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CODE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RESPECTING OUTER SPACE


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Prime Minister, which I hope will be taken more seriously than when it was addressed on previous occasions to other ministers. My question is suggested by a paragraph in President Eisenhower's most recent letter to Premier Bulganin. In view of the tremendous bearing that man's activities in outer space, such as the launching of satellites, space travel and control of the weather, may have on the future existence of mankind, will the government put some of its top people in the departments of justice, external affairs and transport to work-

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CODE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RESPECTING OUTER SPACE
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LIB

James Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CODE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RESPECTING OUTER SPACE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

-on

the problem of coming up with a code of international law so there will be an agreed basis for the control of man's activities in outer space?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CODE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RESPECTING OUTER SPACE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I scarcely think that is a question for the orders of the day; however, the matter referred to by my hon. friend is one that is the concern of all nations. The writing of an international code dealing with outer space, the question of territorial limitations and the question of the rights of travel are all matters that are today receiving the active consideration of international lawyers everywhere. Certainly the problem is of such intricacy, having regard to the fact that it took some 300 years to develop the original rules of international law, that it could hardly be determined in a matter of a few weeks.

However, it is a question that certainly deserves serious consideration, and I recall referring to it on one previous occasion in this house as one that will exercise the minds of free men everywhere as well as those in the Soviet union and in its satellites and people elsewhere in the world, to the end that a code of international law may be achieved which I hope will be upheld to a greater degree than conventional international law.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   CODE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW RESPECTING OUTER SPACE
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January 13, 1958