Mr. ROSS (Moose Jaw):
The San Francisco conference is of great importance to Canada, as it is to all other countries. After the last war many men of good will endeavoured to set up an organization to outlaw war. As we all know, they did not altogether succeed. They partly succeeded. Although the last war was called a great world war, few countries were really harmed to any great extent
San Francisco Conference
because the fighting was in a fairly small area. One of the great nations which made an important contribution in that war and whose leader endeavoured to set up that organization let him down when he came back and would not take the place it should have taken in that organization. After the last war the great nations were not as sincere as they are to-day. I remember I had the privilege of going to Europe shortly after the last war and attending the disarmament conference held in Geneva in 1932, although not as an official delegate. Some sixty nations were represented. I spent some ten days listening to the deliberations and I was struck with the similarity of the people who were there. I could see little difference between any of the nationalities on the floor of that great conference hall. There was some little difficulty at the start of the conference when the delegates of Japan pulled out. Trouble started between Japan and China, but when the conference got under way it looked as though some real progress would be made. Things seemed to be going quite well, but finally one gentleman rose and made a fiery speech, and the conference was ended.
That conference was held in Europe in the midst of prejudices and suspicions where wars had been carried on for generation after generation, where every nation seemed to have something against some other nation. This coming conference is to be held in a new world where people are more friendly, where I think they are more advanced in their ideas. The world has had a terrible lesson in this war. Practically every country that has taken part has been devastated except our own and the United States of America.
The great powers to-day are different from the great powers of the last war. They are sincere in what they intend to do from now on. I think the world has learned the lesson it needed in order to set up an organization to outlaw war for all time. Russia is a new nation without the prejudices of the old nations of Europe. The United States is a new nation, and Great Britain has always had advanced opinions if she could only get others to do what she wished to do. Last but not least, the contribution of this new country of Canada to the conference in San Francisco will be great.
' Then there are the pan-American countries which are looking to Canada for partial leadership and to hear expounded some erf the ideas in which they believe. Canada has made a remarkable contribution in this war, a contribution recognized by everyone, especially outside Canada. She is at present the third
trading nation in the world. She has, I believe, the fourth air force in the world, and when the war is over she will have the third navy in the world. She is second in mutual aid and assistance, and she is the only country outside of the United States of America that has paid her whole way in this war and has helped her allies to get along with their own part of the war as well. For her population she has been able to supply more food, munitions, supplies, ships and the wherewithal to fight the war than any other country. Therefore she should have a prominent place in the conference at San Francisco and in the peace conference that will come later.
This afternoon the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) referred to trade as one of the subjects that will have to be discussed in the conference. He was followed by the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (Mr. Coldwell), who also spoke of trade as being an important issue. I was glad to hear that, because there 'have been times when my friends of that party have not taken the same view as I have in regard to trade. We all know that trade can be carried on properly only in a peaceful world. There can be no peace in the world if trade is to be directed by the nations to their own advantage by restrictions imposed at the expense of other countries. It is generally agreed now throughout the world that harmony and progress can be achieved only if trade barriers, quotas and exchange restrictions are eliminated in order that the commerce of the world may flow freely from one part to another. It is a great consolation to me as a humble individual to hear so many people speaking along this line and to know that they have finally come to see the light in regard to world trade. I have seldom made a speech in this House of Commons without advocating free trade for Canada and for the world.
History has taught us that the preparations for war start with a policy of self-sufficiency. Every time a country wants to prepare for war it starts to make itself self-sufficient in order not to have to import while the war is on. If this conference is able to steer the world to a place where nations will not be allowed to put trade barriers against each other, then it will be doing a great deal to keep us out of future wars.
On the way home from attending the disarmament conference I visited Milan. Being a foreigner and having to take a train I thought it would be best to get to the train a little ahead of time. I bought a copy of the London Daily Mail which was printed on the continent and got into a compartment designed to hold
San Francisco Conference
eight people. I started to read my newspaper. Shortly before the train pulled out, seven men came into the compartment. The train started, and these men began talking in Italian, so I could not understand anything they said. Finally I noticed particularly one man across from me. He spoke to the man next to me and they exchanged places; and this gentleman said to me in very good English, "You are an American?" I said, "No, I am a Canadian." "What part of Canada do you come from?" I said, "Saskatchewan." He said, "Out where the wheat grows?" I said, "Yes." "Well", he said, "that is a peculiar coincidence. These seven men who are with me here in the car are all wheat merchants from Genoa. We have been in Milan for a conference." Then he said to me, "Don't you think we are all a little crazy?" I said, "I don't know, maybe we are; but why do you say so?" "Well," he said, "you come from a wheat country and I understand 3'ou grow wheat?" I said, "Yes." He said, "We are all wheat merchants here. We used to import from your country twenty-five million bushels of wheat through the port of Genoa. To-day we import nothing. We are unable to buy your wheat and you are unable to sell your wheat. We over here feel that you are the same as Americans." And he said, "The United States placed tariffs against our country on many of the things we used to sell them, and therefore our country placed tariffs against the thipgs which you used to sell us. Now you find yourself unable to sell any of your grain and we cannot buy any of it, and you know what our bread is like in Italy now." There is an example of the consequences of one country placing a tariff against another.
I travelled from there to England, a eountry which for eighty-five years had had free trade and had become under free trade the greatest trading nation in the world. Largely the cause of its prosperity was free trade. Great Britain exported the greatest amount of products per head of population of any country in the world. Yet she produced very few raw materials; she had to import them from all over the world, process them and then export them. She was selling to the protected countries of the world. The wage scale in England was higher than in any of the neighbouring European countries, while she had free trade and they had protection. Her social services were much greater than those of any other country in that part of the world, while she maintained much more of her own market than did any protected country in Europe at that time. She was the great carrier of the trade of other countries, receiving tremendous returns from the carrying trade of her ships, from the insurance she
placed upon cargoes, and from the financing of her trade with other countries. At that time an election had been held in England, and the Conservative party had come into power and were bringing in a tariff for the first time in eighty-five years. Their story was that England had more men unemployed than previously, that business was not as good as it had been, and they blamed these conditions on her free trade policy. But that was not the reason; for the protected countries had suffered far more from trade depression than England had, and the fact that they had ceased to trade with one another deprived England of many millions of pounds because she could not carry their imports and exports; she could not finance cargoes or get insurance on their trade.
I had the great privilege while in England of going to the House of Lords and hearing the late Viscount Snowden speak on the tariff bill. The report of his speech is in the parliamentary debates of the House of Lords, September 8, 1931 to March 24, 1932, which will be found in the library, and I would commend to every hon. member a reading of it. It is too bad that hon. members could not have heard him. He was a little man, and crippled; when he rose to speak he had to walk with the aid of two canes to the clerk's desk in the centre of the chamber and put both hands on it. He made one of the finest speeches I have ever heard. It was not interrupted by anyone. I happened to remark to a British member of parliament who was standing alongside of me at the bar of the house that I did not notice anybody interrupting Viscount Snowden. He said to me, "A man does not generally stir up a beehive"; and I guess that was the explanation. He was a great speaker; he had all his facts and figures-and they are in the report.-which absolutely prove the case for free trade so far as Great Britain is concerned. .
Canada is vitally interested in trade, and it will be more interested after this war than ever before in her history. During the war we have developed our agricultural production over fifty per cent; we have also, developed our lumbering, our mining, our fishing and our manufacturing to the point where we must have outside markets or we cannot carry on. As a matter of fact we shall be very much interested in every conference which takes place in order that during the short period after the war, when rehabilitation is taking place in other countries, we can make arrangements, if necessary giving credits, for the promotion of our trade so that this great production may be maintained and the resultant wages amongst our people kept
San Francisco Conference
flowing. In this matter we cannot be represented by other parts of the British commonwealth of nations because when this war is over we shall not see eye to eye with them in trade matters. Take for instance Australia, one of the countries which the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and I had an opportunity of visiting last summer. I am afraid that Australia will be putting up tariffs instead of taking them off when this war is over. There are in every country special interests that always want tariffs and try to find good excuses for having them imposed. While I was over there I heard certain industrialists say: "We were not prepared for war with Japan, and we had to build up certain industries so as to be able to fight this war; therefore, in order to be in a position to fight another war if it ever comes, we are going to have to build, by protection, industry in this country." That is a story that has been heard in many countries for many years. In Canada we have found during this war that in order to produce for war it was better for us to lower our tariffs than to raise them. We have found that it was better for us to allow products of one kind or another to flow freely across the boundary between the United States and Canada, because thereby both countries were able to produce more, and more economically, than they could have done without that free flow of goods.
Canada is to send a delegation to San Francisco. As the member for Swift Current (Mr. Graham) said a few moments ago, we are extremely fortunate in this country in having the Prime Minister we have to head that delegation. For many years, long before the President of the United States assumed that office, the Prime Minister was a personal friend of that man, and that personal friendship has allowed Canada and the United States, the Prime Minister and the President, to sit down together time after time during this war, and indeed before it, and work out things to the great advantage of both countries.
We must send to that conference in San Francisco men from all parties, if you will, but men of good will all of them, men prepared to go there and sit down with the representatives of other nations and discuss matters for the benefit of all nations and not just for our own little needs as we see them ourselves.
We have become a great nation during this war. We have become the leader of the secondary nations and we must be ready and willing to take our place in that conference. When that time comes the Prime Minister will select the men to go with him on that delegation, and the contribution that will be
\Mr. -T. G. Ross.]
made by him and by the delegation from Canada will have an effect on the world for many -years to come.
Topic: SAN FRANCISCO CONFERENCE
Subtopic: PROPOSED GENERAL INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY