December 17, 1962

RAILWAYS, CANALS AND TELEGRAPH LINES


Fourth report of standing committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines-Mr. Howe.


EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Secretary of Slate for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I thought the house might be interested in a brief report on the NATO ministerial meeting which took place in Paris last week and which I had the privilege of attending along with my colleague the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Harkness), who has gone on to visit Canadian troops in the United Nations emergency force and so is unable to be in the house today.

In the background of this particular NATO meeting was the Cuban crisis; and by the way, may I say that this crisis should not be regarded as having been finally settled as yet. It is true that big steps have been taken toward a settlement, but this has not yet been concluded. The Cuban crisis has had quite noticeable effects on the alliance. One is that as a result of the crisis the diplomatic position of the alliance itself has been considerably improved. Then in my opinion the crisis has served to draw the allies much closer together than they were previously and in the case of the government of each country-and certainly this is true of Canada-it has increased the value we place on this defence organization.

The meetings in Paris lasted for three days and were very harmonious. In fact they were the most harmonious meetings of NATO that I have attended. Great credit, of course, was given to the United States for the firmness yet moderation shown in the Cuban crisis. Some question was raised with regard to methods of consultation in a crisis like this, but no real complaint was made against the United States for the manner in which the allies were consulted or informed.

I think we in the alliance face a new position with regard to consultation. Many threats are of global nature, and furthermore one can 27507-3-171J

never be quite sure in what part of the world the next threat is going to come. Then there is the question of the rapidity with which a crisis may arise. That, of course, was true in the case of Cuba, and it made consultation difficult. The permanent council will be studying from now on methods by which consultation can be improved. There is no doubt that we could have a better system, and an attempt will be made to work one out.

On the first day of the conference there was an extensive review of the international situation dealing primarily with east-west relations. On behalf of Canada I took the position that NATO now has the initiative as a result of the Cuban crisis, and that every effort should be made to retain that initiative rather than getting into the position of always waiting for the communist world to make the first move with NATO then acting in response to communist initiatives.

It was agreed that the alliance must be kept strong, and we believe as well that it should be prepared to negotiate at all times. I think that is a sound policy provided there is no letting down of the guard. We also suggested that there should be an attempt made now to do some contingency planning, as it is called, in the political and diplomatic fields. There has been such planning in the military and economic fields but not sufficient in the diplomatic field. For example, I think there should be several plans worked out which would cover what the alliance should do in case the Russians sign a peace treaty with East Germany. This is the type of contingency planning I think should be done in the political and diplomatic field.

Then we went on to point out that there is a contact with the communist world in the disarmament negotiations which are going on in Geneva. I did not deal with this subject at any length, but Canada is one of the four NATO countries represented on the disarmament committee and, of course, it is a very good field in which to negotiate.

We also dealt with the relationship between NATO and the United Nations. In days gone by there has been a tendency in NATO to write down the United Nations, for quite frequently NATO nations have been criticized in New York. Canada has felt that more importance should be placed in NATO on the activities of the United Nations. For example,

2700 HOUSE OF

Report on NATO Meeting we pointed out several ways in which NATO's position had been improved by activities at the United Nations within the last year, and perhaps the house might be interested in these six examples which I gave.

1. The increasing support which U Thant is receiving and which indirectly undermines the prospects for the troika approach.

2. The determined current effort to find a solution in the Congo and to reduce United Nations operations and costs. These are all examples of how United Nations activities have been of great help to NATO.

3. The satisfactory outcome of Belgium's transfer of power in Ruanda and Burundi.

4. France's brilliant achievement in bringing independence to Algeria.

5. The decision of the international court on the sharing of the peace keeping expenditures of the United Nations.

6. The gain in prestige for the United Nations as well as for the west which has taken place as a result of the outcome of the Cuban crisis. As hon. members know, U Thant has played a significant role in these negotiations, and there can be little doubt that Soviet prestige has fallen in the United Nations and in the eyes of the uncommitted nations of the world.

In this international review I also dealt briefly with the Chinese attack on India. Here again, NATO is vitally concerned with all the developments arising from that unfortunate conflict. Canada feels that India must not be expected to rush to align herself with the west-or, for example, to make application to join NATO. Some people may think that would be very nice, but if India were to give up her unaligned position she would certainly lose a great deal of her standing in Asia and in Africa. We have quite a good understanding of India; there is not only the commonwealth relationship but we serve with India in the United Nations emergency force in the Gaza strip and in the Congo forces, as well as on the supervisory commissions in Indochina. We believe India's position should be viewed with a great deal of sympathy by the members of the NATO alliance.

In the military field the second day was devoted to a consideration of military questions. I think the most significant feature of that discussion was the suggestion by the United States that there is now ample deterrent capability on the western side. Of course there is great deterrent power on the communist side, as well, with the result that it is very unlikely that either of the great nuclear powers would wish to precipitate a nuclear war and the resulting terrible destruction that would ensue. Thus it follows

that the crises are likely to be of a nature not quite serious enough to precipitate a nuclear war. In other words the communists may go just so far that they do not actually precipitate a nuclear war.

There is a realization that NATO forces could be improved considerably to deal with that type of situation. In Europe there are, of course, some proposals for a European nuclear deterrent in the shape of medium range ballistic missiles. This question was not decided. It will be studied further by the council. It involves great expenditures; these missiles cost a great deal of money, and I think the European nations would be expected to provide a good deal of the cold, hard cash for such a deterrent. There would also be the question of control, how they would be handled and so on. The Europeans seem to favour land based medium range ballistic missiles, while the United States is more interested in having such a force at sea.

With regard to the conventional forces, there was a plea made by the United States for strengthening them, but this would not apply to Canada; in effect the proposal was made to the European nations. As hon. members know, Canada strengthened her conventional forces a year ago at the time of the Berlin crisis. We were very pleased to have it pointed out, not by ourselves but by the military authorities and the United States, that Canada had lived up to her commitments and, for example, that our brigade was the only combat ready unit in the NATO forces other than those of the United States. In spite of rumours which I have seen in the press at home since my return, there was not a word of criticism of Canada's military efforts in NATO.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

There was also a discussion on research development and production. As you know, Mr. Speaker, in NATO Canada has always been in favour of sharing arrangements for this type of development, and the Minister of National Defence made a statement to that effect in the course of the discussions.

Finally there was a discussion about special aid to Greece to help her with her defence expenditures. She is unable to continue the heavy expenses to which she is committed, and all the nations, or most of them in any event, are now arranging to give her some help with her defence costs. For example, Canada in 1963, subject to parliamentary approval, will provide $1 million in the way of spare parts for planes which Canada supplied to Greece at an earlier date, and

also $1 million in the shape of foodstuffs for the Greek army. Greece is a strong, close friend of Canada, and is very grateful to us for taking this position.

It was agreed that the next meeting, which takes place in the spring, will be held in Ottawa on May 21, 22 and 23. I am sure that had hon. members of the house been in Paris they would have been very gratified if they had been attending the meetings-I am not looking at anybody in particular, Mr. Speaker-with the reaction of the delegates from the other member nations. They were simply delighted to be coming to Canada for this meeting, and I am sure we will all see to it that they get a warm welcome and that they leave Canada with as good an impression as they have of our country at the present time.

It might be of interest to hon. members if the communique which was issued at the end of the meeting were printed as an appendix to Hansard and, Mr. Speaker, if that is the wish of hon. members I have it here.

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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

By leave, the minister

wishes to have the communique issued at the end of the ministerial conference printed as an appendix to Hansard. Is it agreed?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

[Editor's note: For text of document above referred to, see appendix.]

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the house join other hon. members in welcoming the minister back from the NATO council meeting. We knew, as it was put in another place, that he would be safe in Paris. We also knew he would be busy.

The minister's statement, as well as the communique of the council meeting, have been received with much interest but, Mr. Speaker, as so often happens in these matters they are perhaps more interesting for what they do not reveal than for what they reveal. The minister said that in his view this was the most harmonious meeting of the NATO council he had attended. There are two ways of ensuring harmony at meetings of this kind. One is to avoid making decisions on important matters; the other is to face important matters and try to come to agreement in respect of them.

It seems to me from what the minister has said that there has been one important decision-certainly one, and no doubt others- that has not been made, and which has been under consideration by the NATO council for a long time now. That is the question of whether or not a tactical nuclear deterrent should become part of the NATO defence

Report on NATO Meeting system. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that until a decision is made in that regard it is very difficult indeed to make a decision with regard to the build-up-and it is important that they should be built up-of the conventional forces which will relieve NATO's dependence to the maximum possible extent on the use of nuclear weapons.

The minister has mentioned with satisfaction that it was agreed at the NATO council that Canada has fulfilled all her commitments. It seems to me, though this may not be a NATO commitment at the moment in the narrower sense, we cannot discharge the role we have undertaken in the air defence division without equipment to carry out that role. That equipment, it is at present agreed, requires nuclear warheads for the strike reconnaissance role. This is a commitment which seems to me to be an important one and which should be carried out or altered.

The minister also said that the question of consultation was again raised. It is raised, I am sure, at every NATO council meeting. It is going to be studied again. I cannot myself see what additional study can add to the studies that have been made in the past with regard to the necessity for consultation. The machinery for consultation surely is there. It is the will to use that machinery in an emergency that is important. While I share with the minister and others who have spoken in the satisfaction the council must have felt over the way the Cuban crisis was resolved by strength and restraint on the part of the United States, it also exposed, as I am sure the minister will agree, this fundamental weakness in consultation before a crisis takes place.

The minister talked about the necessity for emergency planning, contingency planning he called it, in order to avoid a sudden unilateral decision-and I understand contingency planning has been going on for many months now-as to what the coalition should do in case of certain eventualities in Berlin. Surely we have some right to expect that as a result of this kind of discussion and consultation the alliance has agreed what to do in these circumstances. The minister talked, and quite rightly so, about the interrelationship of all problems that confront NATO, whether they cover the NATO area or otherwise. Cuba has certainly underlined the importance of that.

May I say in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, how glad we are that the NATO council has decided, because of the emergency of an election in the Netherlands, to meet in Ottawa in May. I hope the same sort of emergency here will not require a postponement on this occasion. May I remind the minister that of course the NATO council met in Ottawa before-I think

Report on NATO Meeting it was about ten years ago-when some very important decisions were made. I hope the meeting, if it takes place in Ottawa this May, will be as successful as the one that took place here ten years ago.

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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. R. N. Thompson (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, time hardly permits us to enter into a full scale debate on external affairs and defence policies at this time, even though it is regrettable that we in this house seemingly so studiously avoid discussion of these two topics. I often feel that we who are members of this house do not have sufficient concern for matters within the realm of external affairs, and the question of defence relates to that. I trust that before long we may be able to have a full scale debate on these topics.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the minister that it is good to have him back. I am sure that his role and his presence in NATO help to restore and re-establish the confidence of Canadians in regard to NATO. He has mentioned that the NATO council will be meeting in this country in the spring. I congratulate him for making this possible, as I am sure that he had a great deal to do with it. However, I remind the house that it would not be too good to have an election campaign during such a meeting, and I wonder whether we might be informed if we could have this election either before or afterward. Perhaps the leader of the official opposition could help on this. If there is any trouble about making a decision, perhaps some of us could consult together and make our leaders' recess meeting more effective than was the meeting to arrange some of our program before Christmas.

We have noted with much interest the remarks made by the minister. I believe they are constructive. To hear him speaking for Canada at large in this way gives us, particularly at this season, some hope that we can have peace in our world. Without going into any of the details of the matters he mentioned I note particularly his confidence, which I think is felt across the country, in what the United Nations has done. I also note his reference to disarmament, and I trust that Canada shall continue to play her important role in trying to lead to some settlement of this question. The objective that we had hoped might be reached before the end of the year has not been attained, nevertheless, as long as we are working constructively toward it and making some progress, there is hope. I was also interested in his remarks with regard to aid being given to Greece. I think this is an aspect of assistance that we in Canada have not yet fully exploited. Prevention is far better than cure, and here is one way in

which we can put the tremendous potential which we have in Canada to some constructive use in avoiding that which I am sure none of us want.

So, Mr. Speaker, we would just say that we are pleased to hear the report of the minister about the progress which has been made. Again, I trust that we in this house will not shirk our own responsibilities in relation to defence, which we think of as being related to NATO; because certainly we cannot continue with the indefiniteness and ambiguity which so many Canadians feel we have toward this very important matter.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquitlam):

Mr. Speaker, we in this group would like to join all members of the house in saying how glad we are that the Secretary of State for External Affairs has returned safely from his visit to the NATO conference, and to say how interested we were in the statement he has just made. I was somewhat surprised when the minister said there were no complaints regarding the lack of consultation during the Cuban crisis, because I am sure that most people in Canada and throughout the western world were disturbed that unilateral action was taken without consulting the other members of NATO. When we realize that in a world situation such as ours no conflict could be limited to one area but would, in all probability, spread throughout the world, it seems to us imperative that there be consultation. It also seems idle to talk about improving the techniques of consultation. The techniques have been well established, and surely they are there. What is lacking is the will to use those techniques. When one considers the very serious situation in Berlin, which may flare up at any time, it seems to us imperative that there be some definite understanding that the fullest possible consultation will be held before any action is taken by any of the powers.

I should like to express our agreement with the statement of the minister regarding seizing the initiative at this time. It seems to us in this group that this is an excellent opportunity for the western powers to seize the initiative, not in a military sense but in a diplomatic sense, to promote the chances of extending disarmament and mutual understanding. This might be an excellent time to advance once again the idea of military disengagement in central Europe, and to do in Berlin and in central Europe what has already been done in Austria; that it might be possible to get both the east and the west to withdraw from certain areas and thus lessen the possibilities of tension.

Mr. Speaker, I would have been pleased if the minister had been able to tell us more

about this question of making NATO a nuclear power. The minister made some reference to the desirability of medium range missiles and the problems of control. I would have hoped that the Canadian government would have made some fairly positive statement in this regard. Before the minister left to attend the conference I asked him whether he could give an assurance that Canada would resist any attempt to make NATO a nuclear power, because I agree with the minister's statement that the deterrent on both sides is now so massive that the likelihood of a nuclear war has diminished. Canada can probably play its most effective role by supplying conventional weapons, and in our opinion we would lessen our moral authority by agreeing to NATO becoming a nuclear power.

Mr. Speaker, I think the statement made by the minister and the statements made by the leaders of the other political parties simply help us to point out the need for a debate on external affairs, or for a meeting of the external affairs committee, or for the setting up of a defence committee, so we can have an opportunity to debate and discuss some of the very important problems facing the human race and having to do with the survival of mankind.

On the orders of the day:

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LIB

Donald Stovel Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. D. S. Macdonald (Rosedale):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to address a question to the Secretary of State for External Affairs arising out of the statement he made at the beginning of this afternoon's sitting. Were the actions of Portugal in her west African colonies discussed at the NATO meeting, and particularly the use there of equipment supplied under NATO?

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PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Secretary of Stale for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, the foreign minister of Portugal made a statement dealing with the situation in Angola, but I think that was the extent of the discussion.

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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Lewis (York South):

Will the Secretary of State for External Affairs inform the house whether the resolution which was passed at the plenary session of the United Nations last Friday, in respect of Portugal's behaviour in its colonies, was discussed at the NATO council meeting? If so, were any plans made to implement the request that the sale and supply of arms and military equipment to the Portuguese government be stopped?

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PC

Howard Charles Green (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Mr. Speaker, I happened to be sitting next to the foreign minister of Portugal

Private Bills

at one of the dinners and we had quite a long discussion on this Angola subject. I might add that it is not as one sided as it sometimes looks from here.

In so far as the resolution is concerned, it contained a provision that would have meant none of the NATO countries could supply any arms to Portugal. Of course Portugal is a member of NATO. Canada, as a matter of fact, has not supplied any arms to Portugal for approximately two years but we could not support a resolution containing a provision of that kind in fairness to our other NATO partners, so Canada abstained on that resolution.

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PRIVATE BILLS

REFERENCE OF DIVORCE BILLS TO STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

PC

Gordon Harvey Aiken

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. H. Aiken (Parry Sound-Muskoka):

Mr. Speaker, by unanimous consent I move:

That divorce Bills SD-28, an act for the relief of Marie Claire Roland Dubois, SD-36, an act for the relief of Hale Calvin Reid, SD-446, an act for the relief of Daisy Emily Dorothy Pearl Ryan, and SD-447, an act for the relief of Elizabeth Peck, be referred to the standing committee on standing orders, together with the reports of the examiner of petitions for private bills thereon tabled on Friday, November 16, and Friday, December 14, for any recommendation the committee deems advisable.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, was unanimous consent given for this procedure?

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LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraiih:

It was not asked for.

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December 17, 1962