Hon. Howard C. Green (Aciing Prime
Minister): It gives me great pleasure to announce that His Excellency Habib Bourguiba Sr., President of Tunisia, has accepted the invitation of the government to pay a state visit to Ottawa on May 1 and 2. The President and Madame Bourguiba will be the personal guests of Their Excellencies the Governor General and Madame Vanier at Government house during their stay. Details of the program will be announced as soon as arrangements have been completed.
Hon. members will be aware of the significant role which Tunisia has played in international affairs since achieving independence in 1956. President Bourguiba has headed the government of his country since then, and to him personally must go much of the credit for Tunisia's outstanding international contribution. By his wisdom and understanding he has always exerted a constructive influence not only in matters of direct concern to his country but also in major international issues and particularly those involving the Arab world and Africa. It is at the United Nations that Canada has best been able to observe and appreciate the contribution which this dynamic country has made to international understanding.
Any reference to the international posture of Tunisia and the important part played by President Bourguiba would be incomplete without mention of his continuing contribution to a solution of the problem of Algeria. Not only has his moderating influence been felt in the United Nations on this question, but he has been unstinting in his effort to contribute to an honourable solution of a problem which has been such a deep source of friction between his Arab neighbours in Algeria and France. If, as we all hope, this problem is resolved in the near future, the final settlement will owe much to the dedicated efforts of President Bourguiba.
Yesterday I announced to the house the appointment to Tunisia of Canada's first ambassador, Mr. H. F. Feaver. I mentioned, too, that for more than three years His Excellency Mongi Slim has been ably discharging his function as Tunisian ambassador to Canada. It is with regret that we have now received word of Mr. Slim's impending departure for another and very important assignment, for we have learned to value highly his friendship and effectiveness. With President Bourguiba about to visit this country it is, however, particularly fitting that we should receive the welcome news that Mr. Slim's successor is to be the president's son, His Excellency Habid Bourguiba Jr., who will shortly present his letters of credence to the Governor General. His previous appointments have been as Tunisian ambassador to Italy and France, and I am sure the house will agree that the appointment of the president's son here is a mark of the high esteem in which Canada is held by the Tunisian president and government.