Mr. A. B. Weselak (Springfield):
Mr. Speaker, when the message of the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) inquiring whether I would second the address in reply to the speech from the throne was relayed to me at the United Nations in New York, realizing the gravity of the present situation and the serious threat to world peace, I could not help but feel grateful that I could in Canada help initiate this debate and assist in the opening of this special session of the Canadian House of Commons which has been called for the purpose of carrying through and assisting in the work of the United Nations, work designed to avert war in the Middle East where world peace is seriously threatened; a session also called for the purpose of assisting refugees from a region in Europe from which my own ancestors came to Canada and from which many of my constituents and their parents also came to Canada. They came here to find opportunity and freedom which they have found and now value so highly.
I therefore thank the Prime Minister and his cabinet for the honour bestowed upon me, and, through me, on the people of the constituency of Springfield.
To the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. Legare) who has had the honour of moving this address I tender my heartiest congratulations upon his splendid presentation.
Having witnessed for the past two weeks the proceedings of the general assembly of the United Nations as a member of the Canadian delegation, I cannot refrain from attempting to impress upon this house the gravity and seriousness of the problems facing the assembly, and their complexity.
I feel satisfied that the United Nations has in the past month stopped a major conflict in the Middle East. This was not easily accomplished. Hon. members will recall that in the emergency sessions of the security council and the general assembly held late in October 81537-2
The Address-Mr. Weselak and early this month, England and France opposed resolutions of the security council calling for a cease fire and for prompt withdrawal of all troops, and subsequently in the general assembly, against a large majority of the members, voted against a similar resolution.
Obviously Britain and France felt that they could not leave the Suez area until some other solution was found to protect and assure the passage of ships through the canal, which is so vital to their economy. At this stage it appeared as though the United Nations, facing a supreme test, had failed.
Canada had abstained from voting on the resolution, but in explaining her reason for so doing, the chairman of the Canadian delegation, the Secretary of State for External Affairs, (Mr. Pearson), suggested that a United Nations emergency force be established and that this force be sent to the Middle East to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities in accordance with the instructions received by it from time to time from the United Nations.
This suggestion of the Secretary of State for External Affairs was immediately seized upon by members of the United Nations and he was urged to formulate and propose a resolution implementing his suggestion. This was done and the resolution received general acceptance and support and was supported by both England and France. The support given to this resolution is indicated by the fact that of a membership of 76, 57 voted in favour of the resolution, 19 abstained, and none were opposed.
This resolution was passed on November 4 and a cease fire went into effect on November 6. On November 7 the general assembly voted to set up immediately the international force to be known as the United Nations emergency force. An advisory committee of seven nations in which Canada was included was established to assist the secretary general in his efforts to solve the many problems which faced him in establishing this unique force, the first of its kind in world history. It is a tribute to Canada that Major General Burns has been appointed by the secretary general of the United Nations to assume command of this special force.
The matter of our contribution to the United Nations force as well as its functions and authority are solely matters for determination by the United Nations itself and are not matters for determination by any one country, group of countries or the recipient country. In our support of the United Nations we must accept its decisions in this respect. Our support of the United Nations must be such that we will in the interest of world
The Address-Mr. Weselak peace subordinate our own desires and willingly make such contributions as may be required of us by the secretary general of the United Nations.
The force being provided is not intended to be a fighting force but is intended to be a police force. It is being sent to the Middle East to create a favourable climate for negotiations which we hope will result in solution of the problems in the area and establish an enduring peace. The duration of the force's stay may well depend upon the progress made in this respect.
The force is now being assembled in Egypt. The British and French have agreed and are in the process of withdrawing their troops. Progress is being made toward clearing the canal, the opening of which to navigation is so important not only to the European countries but also to the Afro-Asian countries which, while the canal remains closed, are suffering great economic loss.
The United Nations, despite its appearance of power, is nevertheless a very fragile creature, still in its infancy. Its weapons have not been force, they have been those of world opinion dependent upon the good faith of its members and their national moral responsibility.
We in Canada who have been staunch supporters of the United Nations should be glad and thankful that in the crises which now exist, and which threaten world peace, the United Nations has been effective and we should with humility take pride in the role which Canada has played and the contribution she has made toward the solution of these difficult problems.
One cannot spend any length of time at the United Nations and not become consciously aware of the fact that there is general acceptance and recognition that Canada has played and is continuing to play a leading role in the solution of the Middle East problem. It is also accepted and recognized that a great deal of the progress made in this connection has been due to the untiring personal efforts of the chairman of the Canadian delegation, the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson), who time and time again when serious differences arose between the nations affected acted as adviser and mediator to and between the parties.
Through his efforts these nations were brought together and their differences were overcome by consultation, discussion and compromise. We are deeply grateful for the efforts put forth by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and by the Secretary of State for External Affairs directed toward obtaining a solution to these complex and difficult problems.
I would now like to turn to another matter which has been referred to in the speech from the throne, namely the matter of assistance to Hungarian refugees. Five centuries ago the Hungarian hero, John Hunyadi, won freedom for his people by defeating the Turkish forces. The freedom so won and. the hope for its continuance has never died in the hearts of the Hungarian people. Since that time the people of Hungary and her neighbours have repeatedly risen against tyranny, and once again we see them rise in protest against Moscow-dominated communist oppression.
Russia and her satellites would have us believe that this uprising is a fascist resurgence of the old ruling class, a rebellion instigated from outside the country without the support of the common people of Hungary. This, however, is not the case. In the United Nations spokesmen for Austria, Belgium, France and other neighbouring countries who are well aware of what is going on in Hungary denied the Russian allegations, stated that the revolt is from within and is a revolt of the common worker, of the student and of other ordinary people.
The revolt began on October 23; it started as a peaceful demonstration of students and workers, demanding redress of their grievances. It became a revolution when bullets from men in the uniforms of the secret police and of the Soviet army indiscriminately slaughtered unarmed men, women and children. It appeared for a while as though the rebels had succeeded in their fight for freedom and self-determination. A provisional government was set up under Imre Nagy and plans were announced for free democratic elections.
Then what happened? Overwhelming Soviet forces with tanks and planes, with a ruthlessness repugnant to even the most hardened, crushed, killed and smashed the Hungarian patriots and brought forward a small clique of traitors headed by Janos Kadar as its puppet government of the people of Hungary.
The result of the savagery with which the Soviet forces quelled the revolt has been the flight for their lives of over 70,000 people to Austria and to other parts of the free world. Cardinal Mindszenty, primate of Austria, who was released from imprisonment by the short Nagy regime has once again had to flee and now finds refuge in the United States embassy in Budapest.
Irrefutable evidence obtained by Canada, the United States and other countries discloses that Hungarians by the thousands are being shipped east to Siberia in sealed box
cars in trains with Soviet crews. The displacement of a nation and its replanting by Soviet communist indoctrinated nationals once again becomes the order of the day.
Russia and her satellites categorically deny such deportations. Yet in spite of two resolutions of the general assembly passed by overwhelming majorities the present Hungarian government and the Soviet refuse to permit the secretary general of the United Nations or his representatives entry into Hungary to verify the facts. If what Russia says is true, what has she to fear by the entry of a United Nations observer?
Even the Polish and Yugoslav governments have refused to support the Soviet opposition to United Nations observers in Hungary. The failure of Poland to vote for the Russian stand is particularly significant in view of the fact that this is the first time in the history of the United Nations that Poland has failed to support Russia with her vote.
World opinion was expressed in the United Nations when the assembly by a vote of 55 members out of 79 with abstentions called for a withdrawal of Russian troops from Hungary, for a stop to deportations and for the furnishing of aid and relief to refugees. Russia not only refused to accept the resolution but moved an amendment which would have required all nations to return refugees to Hungary where no doubt swift Soviet justice would have been their lot.
The heroic people of Hungary have paid and are paying a terrible price in their fight for freedom. They have however shown the free world what the Soviet interpretation of the words "peaceful coexistence", so freely used by them in recent months, actually mean in the Soviet mind. Obviously one can only coexist peacefully if one accepts the dictates of the Soviet from Moscow and accepts Soviet dictatorship. Hungary has found this out to her sorrow.
We of the free world who have the priceless freedom for which so many Hungarian patriots have so recently died because of their courage and their struggle for the principle we value so highly owe a debt to these people which we must acknowledge by pressing in every forum of world opinion the battle for Hungarian freedom, by using every political and economic weapon against the Soviet oppressor, and by providing relief and asylum to the tens of thousands of refugees who have escaped.
I am sure the hon. members of this house will agree with me when I say that Austria deserves the warm-hearted commendation of the people of Canada for the charitable manner in which she has taken to her these unfortunate refugees. Austria was indeed
The Address-Mr. Rowe fortunate when at the termination of hostilities following the last world war she was occupied by the four powers. As a result of this occupation democratic free elections were held in Austria, she gained her independence and has since fortunately been able to maintain her neutrality. Austria has become the haven for refugees from almost all parts of central Europe, particularly of peoples fleeing Soviet oppression. She is not a large or over-wealthy country, yet she has not closed her borders to anyone and in the flight from Hungary alone, as I have said before, she has accepted over 70,000 refugees. In addition to these recent refugees she has within her borders roughly 120,000 other refugees. The situation in Austria is becoming very critical. I am pleased to see that in the speech from the throne this matter is also to be considered by this House of Commons.
In conclusion I have the honour and take pleasure in seconding the motion of the hon. member for Rimouski (Mr. Legare).