Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, as the house knows, the United States since July of 1957 has restricted imports of oil, first by what was known as the voluntary oil imports program and, since March 10, 1959, by mandatory controls. This government has consistently maintained and repeatedly emphasized to the government of the United States that we could not recognize that such controls were consistent with the mutual security interest of Canada and the United States and with the economic co-operation which must underlie such a vital common interest.
I am pleased, therefore to be able to tell the house that the United States government has today announced the exemption from import restrictions of crude oil, unfinished oils, and finished petroleum products which enter the United States by pipe line, motor carrier or rail from the country in which they are produced. Under the terms of the United States government decision the exemption will become effective as of June 1 next.
I wish to take this occasion to express the Canadian government's satisfaction at the decision which has been taken and announced by the United States. I am glad to recognize that it is the consequence of a desire on the part of the United States administration to reach agreement with Canada in the solution of a difficult problem.
The exemption will be of direct benefit to the export sales of Canadian crude oil and products. As important, if not more, is the benefit which will follow in terms of a normal, healthy development of the Canadian petroleum industry, which is thus restored to its appropriate place as an important and natural supplier of the North American markets.
In addition to its intrinsic importance for the future of the Canadian oil industry, the decision is also of significance in terms of our general relations with the United States in that it removes a source of distressing irritation and reflects a degree of co-operation and sensible development of resources which is so necessary for the economic prosperity and mutual defence of our two countries.