February 19, 1932 (17th Parliament, 3rd Session)

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) moved:

That it is expedient that parliament do approve of the international convention for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field, Geneva, July 27, 1929, signed on behalf of Canada by the plenipotentiary named therein, on January 29, 1930, subject to the following reservation:-
"That the government of the Dominion of Canada will interpret article 28 of the convention in the sense that the legislative measures contemplated by that article may provide that private individuals, associations, firms or companies who have used the arms of the Swiss confederation, or marks constituting an imitation thereof, for any lawful purpose before the coming into force of the present convention shall not be prevented from continuing to use such arms or marks for the same purpose,"
and that this house do approve of the same, subject to the said reservation.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the resolution which
has been standing on the order paper for some few days asks this house to ratify and confirm, with the reservation indicated, the convention signed at Geneva on the 27th July, 1929, and finally executed as far as this country is concerned on the 29th January, 1930, by Doctor Riddell on behalf of Canada.
I suppose there are few instances in history of the influence of one man having such far-reaching consequences as is the case of Henri Dunant who, after the battle of Solferino, viewing the results of war close at hand, seeing wounded left to die in pain and under conditions almost indescribable, concluded that some action should be taken by which agreements would be arrived at by those at war to prevent a recurrence of conditions such as those he saw. The result was that on the 22nd day of August, 1864, at Geneva, a convention was signed whereby practically all the nations of the world agreed that in the event
of war the wounded would be cared for under conditions that to some extent at least would ensure the possibility of their recovery.
That convention was subsequently amended on July 6, 1906, but the experience of the great war made it desirable that further amendments should be made, and conferences of the International Red Cross Association and of the parent Red Cross organization established by Dunant made it essential that those changes should be considered by all the nations of the world who were signatories to the covenant of the League of Nations, and indeed those who were not. The result is the international convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field, which was laid upon the table of this house a few days ago. I may say that the convention has been signed by the following states: Germany; the United States of America; Australia; Belgium; Bolivia; Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and all parts of the British Empire which are not separate members of the League of Nations; France; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Luxemburg; Mexico; Nicaragua; Norway; Netherlands; Persia; Poland; Portugal; Roumania; the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; Siams; Switzerland; Czechoslovakia; Turkey; Uruguay and Venezuela. The order in which I have read the names of these countries is the order in which the convention was signed.
I do not think it desirable to take up the time of the house in referring to the particular provisions of the convention, for I assume that members of the house have availed themselves of their opportunity to read the convention as a whole. I may say shortly, however, that this convention provides for care and attention being given to the wounded and sick and their removal from the field of hostilities, under the protection of the Red Cross flag, and the establishment as far as may be possible of a neutral zone during the period in which those who are sick and wounded are being so removed, at least to some safe portion of the battlefield. I will not do further than read the heads of the chapters. After providing for the care of the wounded and sick officers and soldiers, it is provided that the occupant of the field of battle shall take measures to search for the wounded and dead and protect them against pillage and maltreatment and that wherever circumstances permit a local armistice or a suspension of fire shall be arranged to permit the removal of the wounded remaining between the lines. It provides for medical formations and establishments which are intended to ac-
358 COMMONS
International Conventions

Mr. Bennett
company armies in the field, and that the fixed establishments of the medical service shall be respected and protected by the belligerents. Then there are provisions as to personnel, as to buildings and materials, mobile medical formations, buildings of aid societies, which shall be regarded as private property; the provision of medical transport, and then this provision which gives to the operations of the Red Cross organization its peculiar effectiveness. Chapter 6, article 19, deals with the distinctive emblem:
As a compliment to Switzerland, the heraldic emblem of the red cross on a white ground, formed by reversing the federal colours, is retained as the emblem and distinctive sign of the medical service of armed forces.
Nevertheless, in the case of countries which already use, in place of the red cross, the red crescent or the red lion and sun on a white ground as a distinctive sign, these emblems are also recognized by the terms of the present convention.
Article 20
The emblem shall figure on the flags, armlets, and on all material belonging to the medical service, with the permission of the competent military authority.
The application and execution of the convention are provided for, as well as the suppression of abuses and infractions, to which I shall make reference. When Great Britain signed the convention a limitation or restriction was placed upon its operation, and' the same may be said with respect to the signature by Canada. I shall read article 28:
The governments of the high contracting parties whose legislation is not at present adequate for the purpose, shall adopt or propose to their legislatures the measures necessary to prevent at all times:-
(a) the use of the emblem or designation "Red Cross" or "Geneva Cross" by private individuals or associations, firms or companies, other than those entitled thereto under the present convention, as well as the use of any sign or designation constituting an imitation, for commercial or any other purposes;
(b) by reason of the compliment paid to Switzerland by the adoption of the reversed federal colours, the use by private individuals or associations, firms or companies of the arms of the Swiss confederation, or marks constituting an imitation, whether as trade marks or as parts of such marks, for a purpose contrary to commercial honesty, or in circumstances capable of wounding Swiss national sentiment.
The prohibition indicated in (a) of the use of marks or designations constituting an imitation of the emblem or designation of "Red Cross" or "Geneva Cross," as well as the prohibition in (b) of the use of the arms of the Swiss confederation or marks constituting an imitation, shall take effect as from the date fixed by each legislature, and not later than five years after the coming into force of the present convention. From the date of such coming into force, it shall no longer be lawful
to adopt a trade mark in contravention of these rules.
It will be observed that the signature of the British representative, Sir Horace Rumbold, at page IS of the convention, follows these words:
I declare that my signature of this convention in respect of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and all parts of the British Empire which are not separate members of the League of Nations is subject to the understanding that His Britannic Majesty will interpret article 28 of the convention in the sense that the legislative measures contemplated by that article may provide that private individuals, associations, firms or companies who have used the arms of the Swiss confederation, or marks constituting an imitation thereof, for any lawful purpose before the coming into force of the present convention shall not be prevented from continuing to use such arms or marks for the same purpose.
And when Canada signed, the following declaration was made by Doctor Riddell:
I declare that my signature of this convention in respect of Canada is subject to the understanding that the government of the Dominion of Canada will interpret article 28 of the convention in the sense that the legislative measures contemplated by that article may provide that private individuals, associations, firms or companies who have used the arms of the Swiss confederation, or marks constituting an imitation thereof, for any lawful purpose before the coming into force of the present convention shall not be prevented from continuing to use such arms or marks for the same purpose.
The same reservation was made for Australia, New Zealand, the Irish Free State and India. The legislative provision contemplated by article 28 is contained in the bill which was introduced a few days ago by the Secretary of State in connection with unfair competition. So that the use of the heraldic device, to which reference is made in the convention, and from which as a matter of fact it derives its ordinary name, Red Cross convention, will now be prohibited except with respect to those who have used it prior to the date of the convention.
I do not think it is necessary to make a more lengthy explanation with respect to this convention, for I take it that all those who contributed to the activities of the Red Cross during the great war realize the tremendous amount of work that was done in Canada for the sick and wounded; and there are many in this house, medical men, who participated in the medical services that are protected by the convention. Under the circumstances it is not necessary that I should do more than move the adoption of the resolution standing in my name.

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
Subtopic:   AMELIORATION OP THE CONDITION OF WOUNDED AND SICK IN ARMIES IN THE FIELD
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