Mr. Marlin (Essex East):
The minister indicates, Mr. Chairman, that he does not intend to make a statement with respect to this item. This is a matter of great importance.
Canada, of course, is doing its duty in providing $6,493,500 in respect of the purchase of its quota of bonds that have been offered for sale to meet the present financial difficulty into which the United Nations has been plunged. The comments that have been made in many quarters suggest that the necessity of extending this form of financing to the United Nations is regarded as an indication of the ineffectiveness of that body.
I rise at once to say that regardless of its inadequacies this is not the time to belittle the work, the purpose and the potential role of the United Nations. We strongly support the government in the affirmation of this principle. There are on both sides of the iron curtain people and countries that have engaged in a depreciation of the effectiveness of the United Nations. However, I would strongly support the observations made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs and indeed by the Leader of the Opposition in speeches that both have made outside of this house to the effect that all we have to do is to glance at the world, its problems and its turbulence in order to realize how much worse the situation would be if it were not for the United Nations. The time that we would lose, the experience that would disappear, in the process of building up a world community if the United Nations were to disappear, I am sure will cause most people to regard these attacks on and depreciations of the United Nations as idle indeed.
The fact is that the United Nations has presented its members with this financial situation for a number of reasons. Not the least of these reasons is that this deficit situation arises out of the fact that the United Nations itself was engaged in the accomplishment of one of the purposes for which it was created, namely to deal with situations that threaten the peace or actually violate the peace. It also arises out of the fact that all
countries have not lived up to their obligations as their membership in the United Nations commands. I understand that 82 members or 87 members-I am not sure of the figure; there seems to be some dispute about it-of the United Nations are in default. This is, of course, a serious consideration. When one thinks of the millions of dollars being spent in armaments today and when one realizes the relative low cost of the operations of the United Nations, this deficit and the need for providing for it should not occasion the criticism or depreciation that has been made of the United Nations.
Canada's foreign policy is based upon a number of factors, one of which is the United Nations. I take it that in this house we are all united on that one point, at any rate, and that we are determined to see to it that this collective security organization is maintained, is strengthened and is not allowed to lapse into a position in which its usefulness is no longer apparent.
The charter of the United Nations, in article 19, deals with the case of members who are in default. It provides that there may be a period as long as two years in which defaulting members may have an obligation of paying their dues. Then under article 19 likewise provision is made for countries which, in certain circumstances, cannot pay their dues. A country may have suffered some particular catastrophe such as a severe earthquake, may have undergone an economic crisis or may have a government which is so unstable that elections are not possible. Circumstances of that kind may be extenuating circumstances explaining why a nation has not met its obligations. While these are descriptions of possible situations, the fact is that many nations are not living up to their obligation to bear their portion of the cost not only of peace keeping operations but of the general work of the organization itself. What are we to do? Are we to take punitive action against those nations which do not even meet the requirements of article 19? I think that course would be unwise. In any event, before punitive action could be taken, I think there would have to be an amendment to the charter. As that course in turn requires action by the security council in which the veto operates, we cannot look for any solution through that particular form of procedure. However, even if we could take it, I would think that course would be unwise.
In examining the list of countries which are in default we note that there are a number of them which do not offer the kind of excuse which is permissible under article 19. Among those countries are two at least
Supply-External Affairs of the great powers. Just by way of digression may I say this. I believe that the amount of contribution that Her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom is going to take up of this $200 million bond issue does not represent fully the percentage requirement which the United Kingdom would be expected to take up. Her contribution would be 7.58 per cent which would mean the purchase of $15 million worth of bonds, whereas actually the government of that country has decided to take up bonds to a maximum value of $12 million. I am assuming that the figure represented by the intended purchase by Canada of United Nations bonds represents our complement or our obligation as a member of the United Nations and that we have taken up the full amount. The minister will correct me if I am wrong in this regard. I certainly think that we should take up the full amount. However, I think that we have done so.
As I observed a moment ago, the fact is that some of the greater powers have not met their obligations. Notable among these is, of course, the Soviet union. The Soviet union has refused not only in this instance but in many others since 1946 to assume obligations not only with regard to peace keeping operations that were contrary to what she regarded to be her foreign policy interests but has also refused to take up certain other obligations. Moreover, her payments have not always been payments that were made on time. Other countries-and France is among these-have refused to bear their share toward certain peace keeping operations. It seems to me that this situation is regrettable. However, these remarks are not intended to be exclusively applicable to France. While they apply to her, they apply as well to other countries. There certainly ought to be a distinction made between an obligation to pay one's financial obligation to the organization and willingness to accept certain consequences of the decisions of the United Nations. There should be no equation between the decisions of the United Nations in matters of policy and the payment to the United Nations by any member state affected by that policy.
Fortunately, Canada has in this regard an unblemished record and we may well pride ourselves on that fact because, whatever we may think of the United Nations, whatever may be the weaknesses in the voting procedures of the general assembly, whatever we may think about some of the abuses that may have developed, the fact is that the United Nations is the instrument of the world that speaks for the conscience of mankind and which has been a stabilizing factor. The fact
1622 HOUSE OF
Supply-External Affairs that the question of disarmament in a sense is now being discussed outside of the United Nations, the fact that such questions as Germany are being resolved or attempted to be resolved outside the precincts of the United Nations, must not be regarded in any way as an indication of the failure of the organization to accomplish its purposes.
Nor are we going to gain much by suggesting that because we now recognize the principle of universality of the United Nations the interests of some of the great powers are being seriously affected as a result. It should not be forgotten that between 1946 and 1955, when the United Nations was half what it now is in size and membership, we in the west were able to find concurrence for many of our policies and many of our international objectives. Now that new members have been added to the United Nations, now that as a result the balance of power in the United Nations has changed, and on some occasions materially changed, that should not cause us, disturbed possibly by some of the consequences, to embark on the kind of campaign of depreciation that has been launched, notably by the Soviet union.
This was begun, of course, a year ago last September when, because the Soviet union recognized that its particular objectives were not being realized in the United Nations, the Soviet union sought to change the character of the organization. It sought to give expression to this determination by urging a reform in the office of the secretary general itself. It did so by proposing the principle of the troika instead of the secretary general operating as he does now under article 99 of the charter as one who speaks, not for any one nation but for the interests of all of the nations, which they regarded as something not in their interests.
Canada resisted their proposal, and the Leader of the Opposition in speeches he made in this house and elsewhere supported the government in the expression of support they had given through the Secretary of State for External Affairs and others in joining the majority view that that kind of procedure would result in the emasculation of the United Nations itself. This problem has been temporarily met and it has been met by catastrophe. The death of the secretary general created a hiatus of which the Soviet union took advantage to seek again to urge a majority of the United Nations to accept its recommendation for a division of the office of secretary general to take into account the three important divisions of world opinion-the western world, the communist world and the uncommitted world. Undoubtedly we shall have to face this situation in 1963 when the
office of secretary general will become vacant and when an opportunity will be provided to elect a permanent secretary general.
In talking about a permanent secretary general, I have never mentioned this before but I should like to take this occasion to note this fact for purposes of the record.
I think it should be noted that there is a long history attached to the office of secretary general that is not unrelated to one of the members of this house. I hope he will not be embarrassed by what I am going to say tonight. In 1946 I was one of the delegates from this country at the United Nations first general assembly that was held in Church house in London. I was privileged to go there with the then minister of justice, Mr. St. Laurent, later to become Prime Minister of Canada.
At that time, following meetings of the preparatory commission which had met in London during the fall of 1945, a number of names were being discussed for the office of secretary general and among those names were the following: General Eisenhower as he then was, later to become president of the United States, Monsieur Henri Spaak, then foreign minister of Belgium, the present Leader of the Opposition who was then under secretary of state for external affairs, and Mr. Trygve Lie. I do not think I do any injustice to Mr. Lie when I say that at first his name was not a prominently mentioned as other names.
General Eisenhower indicated that, if offered the position, he did not propose to accept it, and Monsieur Spaak, for reasons best known to himself, indicated early in the proceedings that he would not be a candidate. But I can attest because I was there that the name that was most prominently bandied about from one delegation to another was that of the Leader of the Opposition. That was in 1946. As we all know, Mr. Trygve Lie, who was at that time foreign minister for Norway, became secretary general. Mr. Vishinsky, then foreign minister of the Soviet union and the head of the Soviet union delegation, indicated in a press interview the reasons why Mr. Trygve Lie had been selected, and among those reasons was the fact that he came not from a commonwealth country but from one of those areas of the world where it could be said a greater measure of apparent neutrality in foreign affairs prevailed.
Mr. Trygve Lie served with distinction as secretary general of the United Nations. He resigned and when he was not asked to carry on it became necessary to elect someone in his stead as permanent secretary general of the United Nations. At that time the present Leader of the Opposition was
president of the United Nations general assembly. I was with him at that time as head of the Canadian delegation and again I can attest to the fact that it was almost the unanimous wish of every nation in the United Nations at that time that Mr. Lie's successor should be the present Leader of the Opposition.
The security council met one day. Ten of the eleven members indicated their preference for the present Leader of the Opposition. The Soviet union indicated that the Leader of the Opposition's name would not be acceptable. I want to say now, as one who went through those days and who perhaps more than anyone else knows what happened, that the reasons which motivated the Soviet union in rejecting the present Leader of the Opposition as secretary general were reasons that were associated with the view that as one of the architects of NATO he would not be acceptable to them.
The communists did not want him. That was the real reason. I think all Canadians in this country who do not know the details of this episode should be so informed. I do not want to embarrass the Leader of the Opposition in recounting these details. However, he was the choice of most of the nations because he incorporated, in everything that he had done, something that I think is symbolic of the convictions and the feelings of the Canadian people, that is the belief that in this interdependent world, in this period of turbulence, if we are going to have peace in the long run it will only be by establishing on the international plane those processes of law, adjudication and conciliation that have proven so successful on the domestic plane. I think that every Canadian will be proud of the fact that one of our own was the overwhelming choice of most nations who would have preferred him. This is in no way to be construed as an expression of depreciation of the great services of Mr. Ham-marskjold.
Mr. Chairman, I am sure that the Secretary of State for External Affairs may be assured that we support strongly the efforts of this government to make the United Nations a vital force in this world of ours. We support the present vote to enable Canada, its government, to purchase bonds, a rather unique device conceived I believe by the United States, to enable the United Nations to meet its present financial difficulties. All this does not mean that we regard everything as satisfactory in the United Nations. I think we can say this because Canada had a lot to do with extending the membership of the United Nations. We recognize that in sup-26207-1-103
Supply-External Affairs porting the principle of universality and giving it effect, problems have been created for all nations.
But this is the essence of the United Nations. We can only hope that wise statesmanship, patience in diplomacy, will enable us to see developed in the general assembly of the United Nations, those attitudes, postures and procedures that are calculated to make it more effective than seems to be the case at the moment.
While it is not easy, we ought to try to develop a tradition in the general assembly to resolve some major issues at least by other means than merely voting. Some of these great issues of international consequence cannot be resolved by vote. The procedural questions are of a different order, such as whether there should be 10 or 14 members on the disarmament committee. That is another matter. However, the great issues that divide the world, the great issues involved in policy are such that I would hope the reputation Canada has built up over the years would enable us to make a contribution in the assembly by indicating to the newer members, towards whom we have much in common and towards whom we have great sympathy, that the way to resolve many of these issues is not always by the mere act of voting.
On the other hand, we want it to be clearly understood that if there have been abuses, the abuses do not lie on one side alone. When we think of the attitude of some of the great powers between 1946 and 1955 particularly, even up to the present time, we see that the abuses were by no means the monopoly of the newer members of the United Nations. We recognize, too, that there have to be changes made, changes in the security council to take into account the number of newer members; changes in some other organs of the United Nations to likewise take into account the increases in United Nations membership. These are things, however, that we can only deal with in the light of circumstances at the time. I believe that the words of Mr. Nehru, delivered in the 15th general assembly, are perhaps applicable here. He said:
It would not be desirable for the executive to be weakened when rapid decisions have to be made; that would mean abdication of responsibility undertaken by the United Nations. If the executive itself is split up and pulled in different directions, it will not be able to function adequately and with speed. There is always a particular time when decisions have to be made and this applies equally to the United Nations.
The minister may be assured that we in this party believe that Canada is taking the right course in having decided to purchase these bonds. The necessity for the creation of this issue of $200 million does not represent
Supply-External Affairs the bankruptcy of the United Nations, although in actual financial terms that may be the case. It represents rather the dangerous situation in so many theatres of our world in which the nations of the world have been projected. It is because the United Nations has a role to play that it finds itself at this time in the embarrassing position of having to devise a method for obtaining financial assistance beyond the normal procedures provided in the regulations under which the United Nations operate. When we think of the moneys that are being spent all over the world on armaments, how anyone could criticize the United Nations because it has resorted to this particular form of financing is difficult to understand.
I have taken the liberty tonight of saying these things with which we all agree because I think it is appropriate that in this parliament those of us who believe in the rule of law amongst the nations should fearlessly affirm our faith in the purposes of the charter, recognizing at all times its weaknesses, but firm in the conviction that it is the only instrument in the long run by which we can hope to make any progress in laying a solid foundation for peace amongst the nations of the world.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic: $ 70,500