February 15, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

With the permission of
the house, Mr. Speaker, I should like to call attention to something I said in the course of the debate yesterday, which might have created an entirely erroneous impression and which, if it were not corrected at the earliest possible moment, might also occasion some embarrassment in the relations of Canada with other countries.
Speaking on the question of the government's policy with respect to entering into reciprocal agreements with other countries, I stated that our policy was to enter into reciprocal agreements with any countries that were prepared to enter into similar agreements with Canada, and I made that position quite clear in the following words:
Canada, then, on both political and economic grounds, is committed to a policy of peace and good will, and of freer exchange with countries which will meet us half way.

Then I mentioned the countries to which we feel more especially committed, and I went on to say:
So far as greater freedom of trade is concerned, we are always willing to add to these countries, other countries prepared to trade with us on a reciprocal basis. . . .
And I continued:
. . . guided by the same democratic ideas, such as France, the Scandinavian countries, Holland and Belgium. . . .
I had intended after mentioning these countries also to say that we were prepared to enter into reciprocal agreements with other countries that did not necessarily have the same domestic policies as we have, but I omitted to do so. I thought the matter was so important that in looking over the transcription of the reporter's notes last night I immediately made the necessary revision so that my second statement would be in complete accord with the first and would read:
. . . we are always willing to add to these countries, other countries prepared to trade with us on a reciprocal basis, whether they be countries whose policies are guided by the same democratic ideas, such as France, the Scandinavian countries, Holland and Belgium, or countries with domestic policies differing from our own.
That was what I intended to say, but in the haste of speaking I omitted to make clear the fact that the policy of the government is, as first stated, to make reciprocal trade agreements with any country, but not to regard the domestic policies of particular countries as a bar to entering into these agreements.
I make this statement because Hansard had reported me correctly and the press has reported correctly what appeared in Hansard.
I felt however, that unless this change were made immediately it might occasion embarrassment in some other parts of the world as well as here. The house will appreciate why I felt it necessary to make the correction at the earliest possible moment.

Topic:   TRADE AGREEMENTS
Subtopic:   CAN ADA-TJ NITED STATES-POLICY RESPECTING RECIPROCAL AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES
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