Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I desire to lay on the table copies of the final report of the royal commission appointed under order in council P.C. 441 on February 5 to "investigate the facts relating to and the circumstances surrounding the communication by public officials and other persons in positions of trust of secret and confidential information to the agents of a foreign power."
There have thus far been three interim reports by the commission, all of which have been tabled in the house. These are as follow: first interim report, March 2, 1946, tabled March 14, 1946; second interim report, March 14, 1946, tabled March 15, 1946; third interim report, March 29, 1946, tabled March 29, 1946.
The final report, which I am now tabling, as hon. members will observe is dated June 27. I think I should make it clear that the physical work of printing the first copy of the report for presentation was not completed until July 12. It has been received only to-day by the governor in council to whom it is addressed.
I have gone through the report rather hurriedly and have noted some of the outstanding features. I have thought that the house would wish to have something in the nature of a resume, but the report is a very lengthy one, with its quotations, appendices and the like, so what I am giving is not intended to be in any way all-embracing, but simply essential features.
The circumstances in which it was decided to appoint the royal commission of inquiry are well known. It is not necessary to review them to-day. The investigation has been completed; it confirms the seriousness of the situation which the government asked the commission to investigate.
Official Secrets Act
In this connection, however, I should like to quote a paragraph from the report, page 87, which relates to the position of the Soviet ambassador. It is as follows:
The evidence before us is that those members of the embassy who were engaged in improper and inadmissible activities operated in special sections of the embassy the operations of which were quite distinct from the official and legitimate activities of the Soviet embassy, and that the Soviet ambassador, representing in Canada the government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, had no part in them.
As a result of findings contained in its interim reports, proceedings have been instituted in a number of cases and four persons have been convicted and sentenced. Other cases are awaiting trial, and I shall not refer to them.
When the inquiry was undertaken, I said that prosecutions would be instituted where the evidence warranted it. This has been done, but prosecutions and punishments are essentially secondary matters. Publicity, education and full understanding are better preventives of any recurrence of any such state of affairs as that disclosed by the report of the royal commission. In that process of education and understanding, the report itself is a very important instrument. It deserves the thoughtful study of all Canadians who feel that there is no place for espionage and underhand activities in the public life of our country.
I shall not on this occasion attempt to comment on the contents of the report. With appendices it runs to over 700 pages. It requires and will repay careful study. I desire however to place upon the record a summary of the findings of the royal commission and the statement of their recommendations as set forth in sections XII and XIII of the report.
I. We report that the following public officials and other persons in positions of trust or otherwise have communicated, directly or indirectly, secret and confidential information, the disclosure of which might be inimical to the safety and interests of Canada, to the agents of a foreign power:
1. Eric Adams
2. J. Scotland Benning
3. Raymond Boyer
4. H. S. Gerson
5. Israel Halperin
6. David Gordon Lunan
7. Allan Nunn May
8. Edward W. Mazerall
9. Matt. S. Nightingale
10. P. W. Poland
II. David Shugar
12. Durnford P. Smith
13. Kathleen Mary Willsher
14. Emma Woikin
II. We report that we have been unable to identify the following persons named under "cover names" in the documents and there definitely stated, to have been members of Zabotin's ring:
III. We also report the following facts relating to and the circumstances surrounding such communication:
1. There exists in Canada a fifth column organized and directed by Russian agents in Canada and in Russia.
2. Within the fifth column there are several spy rings.
3. We have been able to identify many of the members of one of these rings, namely, that of which Colonel Zabotin was the head in Canada.
4. Membership in Communist organizations or a sympathy towards Communist ideologies was the primary force which caused these agents to agree to do the acts referred to in their individual cases.
5. The persons named in paragraph I were members of Colonel Zabotin's organization.
6. Without documents such as Gouzenko placed before us we cannot identify any nonRussian members of the other rings.
7. There was an organization whose duty it was to procure false Canadian passports and other citizenship documents for the use of agents engaged in fifth column activities, in Canada or elsewhere.
8. Zabotin and his assistants were helping to supervise and finance the work of an organization of agents operating in certain European countries. At least one person temporarily in Canada as an employee of the international labour office was a member of this organization, namely, Germina (Hermina) Rabinovitch.
9. Members of the. staff of the Russian embassy at Ottawa who were actively engaged in inadmissible espionage activities are named in Section II.7.
IV. The following persons who may not come within the category of "public officials and other persons in positions of trust or otherwise" were members of Zabotin's organization and took an active part in recruiting agents, acting as contacts and securing and transmitting such secret and confidential information:
Sam Carr Fred Rose.
V. Many of the persons named in paragraph I hereof _ were also actively engaged in the organization of "colls " from which agents were recruited, and in addition the following persons were organizers of such cells, or media of communication between espionage agents, or both:
Agatha Chapman Freda Linton S. S. Burman Henry Harris.
VI. The following were active in procuring a false Canadian passport for a Russian agent who was operating in the United States:
Sam Carr Henry Harris John Soboloff, M.D,
W. M. Pappin.
Official Secrets Act
VII. Tlie following persons named in the documents did not so far as the evidence discloses take any active part in the subversive activities, but would have done so if required;
Jack Isidor Gottheil.
VIII. The names of certain other persons are mentioned in the documents merely because Moscow desired the names of all members of certain government staffs. Outside of those specifically named elsewhere in this report, there is no necessity for these names to be mentioned.
IN. The names of certain other persons were mentioned in such a context that it was considered advisable to examine them and to investigate their activities. In each case we were satisfied that their conduct has been entirely proper and that, while the Russians designed to draw some of them into the net in future, having in anticipation of doing so actually given them cover-names, such hopes were in our opinion completely without foundation and the objects of those hopes were unaware that they were being considered. Among these we refer to Colonel Jenkins by name, because he has been mentioned by name in the public press.
X. The names of a number of persons, in government service and otherwise, who were members of secret Communist cells have been disclosed by this inquiry. These names appear in the volume of evidence. As there is no evidence that these persons were implicated in, or aware of, the espionage networks, we do not consider it necessary to mention these names in this report.
Section XIII Recommendations
We respectfully recommend:
1. That, because of the introduction into the evidence, necessarily and unavoidably of secret technical data, the publication of which, according to the witnesses most concerned, would not be in the public interest at this time, none of the evidence or exhibits relating to any top secret, secret, restricted or confidential matters be published except with the approval of the government in consultation with the heads of the services, departments or organizations concerned.
2. That the proper authorities in each service, department and organization take such steps as may be considered desirable and effective, in the light of this report and of the evidence and exhibits, to prevent further unauthorized transmission of information and to set up further safeguards.
3. That all security measures should be coordinated and rendered as uniform as possible.
4. That the evidence and exhibits accompanying this report be placed before the proper persons in the various services, departments and organizations affected, for study so that a complete evaluation of the information and material handed over can be made in each case to ascertain in detail what has, and what has not, been compromised. That consideration be given to whether the findings so made should be communicated to the proper authorities in the United Kingdom and the United States.
5. That the Official Secrets Act, 1939, be studied in the light of the information contained in this report and in the evidence and exhibits
and, if it is thought advisable, that it be amended to provide additional safeguards.
6. That consideration be given to any additional security measures which would be practical to prevent the infiltration into positions of trust under the government of persons likely to commit acts such as those described in tbis report.
7. That the practice and procedure in connection with the issue of Canadian passports be revised. While not elsewhere referred to in this report, we have had evidence indicating that naturalization and birth certificates have also been improperly obtained. We therefore suggest that the conditions surrounding the issue of these documents might be the subject of consideration by the proper authority.
In conclusion I should like to say a word of appreciation of the service to the state which has been rendered by the members of the royal commission, by the counsel associated with them and by the officers of the public service who have assisted them in their investigations. Their task has been long and arduous. They have worked at it unremittingly and with a high sense of public duty.
Subtopic: TABLING OF FINAL RETORT OF COMMISSION OF INQUIRY