Sir ROBERT BORDEN:
I hope my hon. friend will be good enough to restrain his curiosity until I have finished my speech. I shall then be prepared to give him what information I can.
I have spoken, of the debate in 1892. I shall go on step by step and show the various events of later date which bear upbn this question. In 1892 Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, concluded in conjunction with Sir Julian Pauncefote, the negotiations which resulted in the Behring sea treaty. He also acted as the British agent, in the arbitration at Paris, in 1893. In 1893 Sir Charles Tupper negotiated an arrangement respecting commercial relations between France and Canada.
At the Colonial Conference of 1894, the following resolutions were passed:
That provision should be made by Imperial legislation enabling the dependencies of the Empire to enter into agreements of commercial reciprocity, including power of making differential tariffs, with Great Britain or with one another.
That any provision in existing treaties between Great Britain and any foreign Power which prevent the self-governing dependencies of the Empire from entering into agreements of commercial reciprocity with each other or with Great Britain should be removed.
This apparently led to an important despatch of June 28, 1895, from the Colonial Secretary, Lord Ripon, to Canada and to
the Australian colonies. Lord Ripon expressed the view that the power of negotiating treaties by colonies without reference to the British Government would give them an international status as separate and sovereign states, and would result in breaking up the Empire. Therefore such negotiations must be conducted by Her Majesty's representatives at the court of the foreign power. He agreed that such representative should have the assistance of a colonial representative either as a second plenipotentiary or in a subordinate capacity. He declared, inter alia, that any tariff concessions by a colony to a foreign country must be extended to Great Britain and the rest of the Empire.
In 1898 Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Richard Cartwright and Sir Louis Davies were members of a Joint High Commission with Lord Herschell to negotiate a treaty or treaties covering several outstanding questions between the British Empire and the United States, some of which specially related to Canadian interests.
In 1903 the Alaska Boundary Treaty was negotiated under the direction of Canada, although the British ambassador at Washington acted as plenipotentiary. Sir Clifford Sifton, then Minister of the Interior, was appointed British agent in the subsequent arbitration.
In 1907 Mr. Fielding and Mr. Brodeur negotiated a commercial convention between Canada and France, and in 1909 a supplementary convention. There is a rather interesting phase in connection with that to which I might allude. Sir Edward Grey, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on July 4, 1907, addressed a letter to His Majesty's charge d'affaires at Paris. He spoke of the desire of Sir Wilfrid Laurier to open negotiations for a new commercial convention with the French Government and requested the charge d'affaires to endeavour to assist Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the attainment of his object. Then he used this language:
You are doubtless cognizant of the Marquis of Ripon's despatch of June 28, 1895, to the Governors of the principal British colonies, in which it was laid down that commercial negotiations of this nature being between His Majesty and the Sovereign of the foreign State should be conducted by His Majesty's Representative at the Court of the foreign Power. A copy of this despatch is enclosed herewith.
I do not, however, think it necessary to adhere in the present case to the strict letter of this regulation, the object of which was to secure that negotiations should not be entered into and carried through by a Colony unknown to and independently of His Majesty's Government.
The selection of the negotiator is principally a matter of convenience, and, in the present cir-
cumstances, it will obviously be more practical that the negotiations should be left to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and to the Canadian Minister of Finance, who will doubtless keep you informed -of their progress.
I may say that subsequent events showed that this particular feature of Lord Ripon's despatch of 1895 has been honoured more in the breach than in the observance. My hon. friend at my left (Mr. Rowell) tells me he is under the impression that it was modified by a subsequent despatch. I have made inquiry as to that, but up to the present I have not been able to trace any such despatch.
In the same year, 1907, Mr. Lemieux, then Minister of Labour, if I remember correctly, went on a mission to Japan with respect to immigration from that country to Canada.
In 1909 there was a rather notable paragraph in the Speech from the Throne delivered by His Majesty to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It reads as follows :
Satisfactory progress has been made in the negotiating of outstanding questions with the United States of America. A treaty to regulate the use of the waterways adjacent to the international boundary between Canada and the United States has been arranged. The question being one of special Canadian interest the advice of the Dominion Government was sought and followed upon it.
As a matter of fact the negotiations were carried on, if I am correctly informed, through the British ambassador at Washington it may be, but also directly by Sir George Gibbons, who acted under the instructions of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then Prime Minister.
I pause to say that I think the negotiating of that treaty and the establishment of the International Joint Commission was a very notable achievement of the government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and I api not at all sure that either the people of this country or the members of this House realize adequately the immense advantages which have resulted from the establishment of that commission.
Now, I have under my hand a number of very apt and cogent utterances of Sir Wilfrid Laurier with regard to the development of the powers of self-government in respect to external affiairs. I shall not quote more than one or two of them. Speaking on March 4, 1909, on the proposal to create a department of External affairs, he said:
We have now reached a standard as a nation which necessitates the establishment of a department of External Affairs.* * * Why have
another department? I have simply to answer that such experience of Government as I have had leads me to believe that we have attained such development as a nation that in order to deal with these matters, we must have a department for the purpose.
He also spoke in 1910 of the important part taken by consuls of foreign countries resident at Ottawa in matters which ordinarily would be transacted through diplomatic channels. He regarded this as a natural development, and thought that it did not in any way operate to the prejudice of the unity of the Empire, but that it was of great advantage to the government and people of this country.
Continuing the chronological survey, 1 might say that the North Atlantic Fisheries treaty of 1910, the Behring Sea Inter national Convention of 1911, and the Sock eye Salmon treaty of 1920 were all nego tiated by representatives of the Canadian Government in conjunction with the British ambassador at Washington, although insome cases he himself may have signed as plenipotentiary.
During the war, and particularly after the United States had entered the war, it became apparent that Canadian interests at Washington required special attention and consideration. Accordingly, in January, 1918, a Canadian War Mission was established under the chairmanship of Mr. Lloyd Harris. The organization has only recently been discontinued, although during the past two years the personnel has been greatly reduced. The mission had access to the departments of the United States Government so far as our interests were immediately concerned. It was not a formal diplomatic mission. It was created by Order in Council, and I may say that the terms of the Order in Council indicated a somewhat advanced status on the part of this country. I shall trouble the committee with some extracts from the Order in Council, as it is worth having of record with the other events and utterances to which I have referred.
It set out, in the first place, that many important matters affecting Canada's participation in the war were directly and continuously concerned with conditions and the course of events in the United States. It went on to assert:
That out of such considerations there has arisen the inevitable necessity for frequent and prompt communication and negotiation between the authorities of the Canadian and the United States Governments. In view however of the extent and complexity of the war organization which has necessarily been developed by both, such negotiations are subject to serious delay if conducted through the usual diplomatic
channel ; for His Majesty's Embassy in Washington are obliged in the prevailing conditions to deal with an ever increasing multitude of important affairs not directly concerning Canada, and indeed the negotiations in question are not diplomatic in their nature but rather are largely of a business and commercial character requiring different, more direct and prompt treatment. As a consequence the custom, which had already arisen before the war, of arranging conferences from time to time between Canadian and United States officials for specific purposes of common concern, has since been greatly developed with marked benefit.
The Prime Minister further observes that the development in all these respects, however, has been such that some more direct, less casual, less transient arrangement for securing the object indicated should be devised.
Then it recommended the appointment of a Canadian representative at Washington and expressed the opinion that the ends in view might be attained by the institution of a Canadian War Mission in the United States under the chairmanship of a man of high business qualifications and wide knowledge, experience and energy who should be directly responsible to the Cabinet. The Order in Council goes on to declare:
2. The chairman shall be empowered to represent the Cabinet and the heads of the various departments and other administrative branches of the Government of Canada in respect to negotiations relating to purely Canadian affairs which it may he necessary to conduct-
(a) With the heads of the departments or other administrative branches, committees or commissions, or other officials, of the Government of the United States ; or
(b) With the other British or Allied Missions operating in the United States in connection with the war.
It further provided that the commission should endeavour to act in the closest conjunction with the British War Mission at Washington and avoid duplication of effort; further, that the chairman should keep His Majesty's High Commissioner and Special Ambassador at Washington generally informed of the main lines of his actions and should request the ambassador's advice or assistance whenever these might be required. The Order in Council also provided that the chairman should be entitled to be informed on all negotiations between His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States in so far as they affected Canada. The mission was obviously, as I have said, not a formal diplomatic mission, but in fact its duties did extend even to questions usually classed undqp that head. There can be no doubt whatever that the mission, the members of which acted without remuneration, was of the highest possible advantage to both countries.
Then, Mr. Chairman, I shall refer to the resolution of the Imperial War Conference in 1917 in order that its terms may be before the members of this committee; perhaps we may occasionally be inclined to forget them. The relations between the British Dominions and the Mother Country were under consideration at that conference. After much informal discussion between the representatives of the dominions they finally agreed upon the resolution which I am about to read. That resolution was submitted to and approved by the government of the United Kingdom and was finally passed unanimously by the Imperial War Conference in these terms: The Imperial War Conference are of opinion that the re-adjustment of the constitutional relations of the component parts of the Empire is too important andi intricate a subject to be dealt with during the war, and that it should form the subject of a special Imperial Conference to be summoned as soon as possible after the cessation of hostilities.
They deem it their duty, however, to place on record their view that any such re-adjustment, while thoroughly preserving all existing power of self-government and complete control of domestic 'affairs, should1 be based upon a full recognition of the Dominions as autonomous nations of an Imperial Commonwealth, and of India as an important portion of the same, should recognize the right of the Dominions and India to an adequate voice in foreign policy and in foreign relations, and should provide effective arrangements for continuous consultation in all important matters of common Imperial concern, and for such necessary concerted action, founded on consultation, as the several Governments mg,y determine.
Now, coming more particularly to the practical side of the question I venture to believe that the appointment of a minister with the power that I have mentioned will be attended with the greatest possible benefit to this country and will assist the supreme purpose of maintaining good relations between the British commonwealth and the commonwealth of the United States. Before the war Lord Bryce said that between two-thirds and three-quarters of the work of the British Embassy in the United States was taken up with Canadian affairs. It is possible that the proportion may not hold good to-day; nevertheless it must still be very large. Among the questions dealt with in recent years between Canada and the United States there have been the following:
The Chicago drainage canal.
Supplies of coal for Canada.
Levels of the Lake of the Woods.
The United States Merchant Marine Act.
Levels of Lake Memphremagog.
Exportation of pulpwood from Canadian Crown Lands.
Interchange of cars between Canadian and American railways, especially between the Canadian national system of railways and the railways of the United States.
Panama canal tolls.
Fishery questions on both seaboards and on the Great Lakes.
I cannot help believing that the presence of a Canadian minister at Washington armed with the powers foreshadowed in the statement made by Sir George Foster last year-a Canadian minister thoroughly familiar with the conditions of this country and its needs-would be of the greatest possible assistance, not only in settling difficulties and differences if they should arise, but in preventing the occurrence of any such difficulties. That is one of the main features of diplomatic action: by constant conference and association and also by the help of the personal touch which conference and consultation bring about, to have explanations made, to have points of view accepted, and to bring about amicable arrangements which otherwise would not be possible. I feel that it is highly important, as has been said by the right hon. Prime Minister, that the appointment should be made at as early a day as possible. Such representation will be thoroughly justified by and entirely consistent with the status of Canada under the resolution of the Imperial War Conference, but which she has acquired chiefly from the part she has taken in the war and at the Peace Conference. General Smuts, some months ago, spoke of the British Empire as an inner league within the League of Nations. That very well expresses the status of the nations of the British Empire at the Peace Conference, and it is upon that status that we rest our right of distinctive representation at the Capital of the great neighbouring nation with which our own affairs are so constantly and urgently associated from time to time.
Topic: QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURN
Subtopic: CANADIAN REPRESENTATION IN THE UNITED STATES