Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. The question of privilege relates to the publication in the Ottawa Evening Citizen of yesterday, March 1, 1948, of what purports to be a series of quotations from a letter which Mr. George A. Drew addressed to me on July 11, 1942, respecting the Hong Kong inquiry.
The press report, apart from other allegations, contains certain statements respecting myself as Prime Minister which are not in accord with the facts. With respect to Hong Kong, it is in effect alleged that after the government of Japan changed on October 16, 1941, and before the expedition sailed on October 27, I received messages from the United Kingdom government in the nature of the most complete warning of the probability of early hostilities. Not only is such a statement not correct, but the fact is that both before and after the expedition sailed and, indeed, until the very eve of the Japanese attack, such information as I received from the British authorities was to the effect that an early attack upon Hong Kong was not anticipated.
In my opinion, such information as the Canadian government received, at the time, from the British authorities is in complete accord with the finding of the commissioner, Chief Justice Duff, in his report, namely, that "the best informed opinion available to the Canadian authorities was that hostilities would not arise in the near future."
Subtopic: LETTER FROM MR. DREW TO PRIME MINISTER- REFERENCE TO PRESS REPORT OF MARCH 1