Hon. Howard C. Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs):
Mr. Speaker, the house is aware that the government has decided to extend its diplomatic relations with the independent states of Africa by opening two new resident diplomatic missions. On January 29 I informed hon. members of the appointment of the first Canadian high commissioner to Tanganyika, and today I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Fulgence Charpentier as first Canadian ambassador to the republics of Cameroon Chad, Gabon and Congo (Brazzaville). He will be resident in the capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, with concurrent accreditation to the other three republics.
I am also pleased to announce that diplomatic relations have been established with the republics of Togo and Senegal. The Canadian high commissioner in Accra, Ghana, has been accredited as Canadian ambassador to the government of Togo; the Canadian high commissioner in Lagos, Nigeria, who is already accredited to Sierra Leone, has been accredited to the government of Senegal. This brings the number of African states with which Canada has formal relations to a total of 15. It is hoped that through arrangements for non-resident accreditation of our two Canadian heads of mission in Ghana and Nigeria, diplomatic relations will be established in the near future with additional French speaking states in west Africa.
The decision to establish diplomatic relations with these French speaking African states has been taken because of the increasing importance of Africa in world affairs and the growing influence of these states both within Africa and at the United Nations. The French African delegations have played a notably constructive part in the deliberations of the general assembly, and the Canadian delegation has worked closely with them on many issues. Sharing a common French cultural heritage, Canada and the French speaking states of Africa have a mutual interest in establishing diplomatic relations. The opening of diplomatic relations with these
countries will afford an excellent opportunity for strengthening these natural ties.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that this is a field in which Canada can render great service. In 1961 the government established an annual program for educational assistance to the French speaking countries of Africa, which the new mission will help to administer. Mr. Charpentier's appointment will give us a better insight into the problems and requirements of these countries, particularly in areas where Canadian experience will be useful.
Mr. Charpentier, a native of Ste. Anne de Prescott, Ontario, is well known on parliament hill and in the city of Ottawa. He was chief of French Journals in the House of Commons for some years and during the war was director of censorship, receiving the M.B.E. for his services. He was a controller of the city of Ottawa during the years 1932 to 1935. Since joining the Department of External Affairs in 1947 he has served abroad in a number of posts and is at present head of the passport office. Mr. Charpentier, who will take up his appointment shortly, will find that both French and English are used in Cameroon and therefore his proficiency in both these languages will be put to good use.
On the orders of the day:
Subtopic: DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH INDEPENDENT AFRICAN STATES