March 22, 1945 (19th Parliament, 6th Session)


Arthur Wentworth Roebuck


Mr. A. W. ROEBUCK (Trinity):

I have been impressed, Mr. Speaker, during the course of this debate with the unanimity of opinion expressed by hon. members with regard to the resolution before the house. The Prime Minister stated that he thought the resolution would be non-eontentious, with which view the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) seemed to agree. Since then there has been a sweet reasonableness in the speeches of hon. members that has been delightful and yet somewhat surprising, when one considers that in the debate on this resolution this house is approaching the most momentous question that has confronted this assembly since the declaration of war. And yet that is reasonable enough as well, because who among us at the close of this terrible war would refuse to join at least in the hope for international peace and security? The blood of the fallen millions ini two wars on the battlefields of both Europe and Asia call to us who still live to take such

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action as is within our power to see that there be not reenacted the tragedies of 1914 and 1939.
Were Canada to defeat this resolution, were she to refuse to send a delegation to San Francisco, she would forfeit the high position she has now secured in the councils of the world. That would be the result should she stand aside at this critical time and refuse to join in the struggle which must confront the delegation to San Francisco.
I submit that this resolution should carry unanimously, and I congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) upon his masterly presentation of the subject in opening the debate. I rejoice that the Canadian delegation to San Francisco will be led by a statesman of the knowledge and wisdom of the present Prime Minister of Canada.
I am also pleased that probably included in the delegation will be the amiable gentleman who leads the official opposition-although I must confess that so far he has contributed very little to the debate on the subject. But I would suggest that, if the delegation is to have a Progressive-Conservative wing, we place in the estimates the price of an alarm clock, so that when they are there they will have their speeches written on time. It might be worth while were we to pay the cost of some vitamins, to pep them up a bit, and enable them to recover from that inferiority complex in international affairs which has always afflicted members of that party.
The resolution provides, in the first instance, that we accept the invitation to San Francisco, and secondly that we approve the principles and purpose of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals
__in effect the maintenance of international
peace and security. Those proposals are put forward as a satisfactory general basis for discussion. The government's policy is expressed in the resolution. It is easy indeed for the house to approve in a general way any effort to maintain peace and security. The young lives and the treasure we have poured out in these last few years in the melting pot of war, and the horrors through which humanity has passed, are sufficient guarantee of our sincerity in that regard. We want no more of war with its loss and its bereavements.
It is easy to determine that Canada's delegates should go to the conference, but it is much more difficult to decide what our delegation should do when it gets there. Lest there be any misunderstanding in this regard, let me point out that the Dumbarton Oaks proposals are not a statement of Canadian government policy. Except as an observer, Canada was not even there, and Canadian representatives took no part in the discussion which preceded the statement of proposals. They are the proposals of the big four who were there and therefore Canada is free to express het welcome or her commendation of the proposals, if she feels that way-or to criticize them. She is free to improve them if possible. The proposals were drawn without the presence of the great body of the allied nations. I think it is fair, therefore, to assume that the proposals will be modified, perhaps materially modified, when the smaller nations are heard. I sincerely hope that they will be changed in the discussions to take place at San Francisco; for in my opinion the Prime Minister and his associates will need all the wisdom they possess if this conference is not to be wrecked on the tangled skeins of these practical proposals. It will take all the wisdom and good will of our delegation and other delegations to assure that the international house of cards which may be erected in San Francisco does not collapse in wrack and ruin as did the house of the league of nations.
There are many reasons advanced as to why the league failed in the crisis. But in my humble opinion, one of the primary reasons for the failure of the league of nations was that the big four assumed to boss the show. The next reason was that the nations, including the big four, failed to carry out in action the high principles they expressed in memoranda. It was because of the lack of effectiveness and will to hold together, and the set-up which in practice gave to the big four undue control in the councils of the nations. It was because the small and medium nations permitted themselves to be treated as inferiors. Had the set-up of the league of nations been more democratic; had it been in very truth a parliament of the world, the United States would probably have joined in the deliberations. Confidence would have developed among the nations, and in the time of testing they might have relied upon collective security instead of each trying to save his own hide, with a total disregard for the welfare of others.
According to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, the same general scheme is to be followed. The big five in matters of vital importance assume to be the whole thing. Frankly, I wonder how likely of permanent success is such an arrangement.
Let me pause to commend the men who at Dumbarton Oaks framed these proposals. They made a good beginning. One must realize that the Dumbarton Oaks proposals are an offer by the big five to all other allied nations of a scheme of association entirely satisfactory to themselves, something
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to form a basis of discussion and of bargaining when these delegations meet shortly in San Francisco.
The real purpose of the institutions to be set up in San Francisco is the establishment of an organization to maintain international peace and security, a consummation devoutly to be wished. To this end it is proposed that we constitute a security council of eleven nations and endow that council with the drastic and terrible responsibility of peace and war. If you will turn to page 16 of the pamphlet containing the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, published by the wartime information board, you will notice that the council in question is empowered to settle any dispute which constitutes in its judgment a threat to international security. To that end it may take such action by air, naval or land forces as may be necessary. Then if you will turn to page 17 of the pamphlet, you will note that all the members, not the eleven only who constitute the council for the time being, are expected to make available to the security council the armed forces, facilities and assistance which may be necessary. This is qualified only by the fact that the military assistance shall be in accordance with the agreements concluded among themselves. That is a powerful organization for concentrating in the hands of a few the military forces of the united nations.
But the fly in the ointment is in the constitution of the council, which you will find described on page 11 of the pamphlet. This reads:
The security council should consist of one representative of each of eleven members of the organization. Representatives of the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Republic of China, and, in due course, France, should have permanent seats.
The remaining six seats are to be competed for by the forty or fifty other united nations on a two year basis without the privilege of reelection. I do not wish to go through all the details of this constitution, with its voting privileges and so on. Sufficient it is for my purpose to say that the control of the armed forces which may be placed at the disposal of this council is to be in the hands of the permanent members of the board.
It has been urged in countless debates since these proposals were made that this control by the so-called great powers is made inevitable by the recognition of the facts of military might-as the Prime Minister phrased it, "the
fact of might in this imperfect world." One cannot be a realist and not recognize the logical consequence of the possession of power, but those who assume the right to make decisions should furnish the military might necessary to enforce them. There is an old saying that he who pays the piper calls the tune. I think the reverse statement should be equally true, that he who calls the tune should pay the piper.
The Canadian people, it will be found, are not prepared to be the tail of any one's kite- international ox otherwise. I notice that Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary, seemed to have recognized that fact in a statement which appeared in yesterday's paper; I read from the Toronto Star:
There can be no freedom in the world unless the smaller states can be joined with the great powers in the protection of their common interests. Their right to their own way of life must be respected.
Note this sentence:
They must have their due share in making great decisions.
Mr. Eden must have realized that unless the smaller nations have had their share in the making of decisions of prime importance, they will not long cooperate in carrying them out. If it is necessary that we have a number of permanent members on the security council, to the exclusion of and superior to the great body of the united nations, then I ask, why is it that Canada is not included? I have been surprised Mr. Speaker, in the course of this debate to observe the readiness with which members on all sides of the house have accepted on the part of our nation the role of a second class power. I submit to you that a nation that is able to enlist something slightly fewer than a million men in its armed forces, that has a hundred ships of war upon the sea and thousands of its airmen in the skies, that is able to pour out something in the order of twenty billion dollars for the war effort before this coming year is concluded-I submit that such a nation holds no inferior place among the nations of the world. When it comes to enforcing decisions of the security council, when militaiy action or economic sanctions are the order of the day, the concurrence of Canada will be essential to success.
I have been told that the reason we are not included among the permanent members of this board is that it is economic and military power that counts. If that is so, Mr. Speaker, how can it be said that France and China have anything comparable to the military and economic power of the Dominion of Canada?
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At all events, we are not fighting among ourselves as are the people of China-due, I grant you, to the statesmanship of the Prime Minister that we are not fighting among ourselves!
It may be answered that it is not present power that counts but rather potential power. If that be so, Mr. Speaker, who, I ask you, will look into the future and will limit the potential power of this great Dominion of Canada?
Perhaps the real answer to this question why Canada is not placed in the upper class lies in the fact that Canada is a part of the British empire, and it has been assumed1 by those who know less of our constitution than, do we that Great Britain speaks for the rest of the selfgoverning dominions, including this country of Canada. If Great Britain is to speak for Canada, let me point out that it involves both advantages and dangers. If the British delegation speaks on behalf of Canada, the question at once arises as to how the British delegation is to be selected. Does Canada have a voice in the selection and instruction of that delegation? If not, is Canada to revert in foreign affairs to the colonial status from which we have so slowly and painfully emerged during the century that has passed? And what, Mr. Speaker, becomes of the imperial conference resolution of 1926 in which it was declared that Great Britain and the self-governing dominions are equal in status, and not inferior one to the other in any aspect of their domestic or foreign affairs?
The old-time view of Canada's position within the empire as expressed by Kipling has long passed-"Daughter am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own." That was a broadminded statement when Kipling penned those famous words, because it conceded to Canada autonomy in local affairs, but impliedly it asserted, as the facts then were, that Canada did not have control of her foreign affairs. Kipling would not write those words to-day did he know the changes that have taken place. Canada now is daughter in no man's house though still mistress in her own. She is the equal of any member of the British commonwealth and occupies no different relation to any other member from that which that member occupies to her.
It is important, in my view that these fundamentals of Canada's status be borne in mind by the delegates who attend the San Francisco conference. Let it not be forgotten by those delegates that Canada is a north American nation and that she has interests and problems which are essentially different from those of the nations of Europe and Asia. She is a north American nation and all that
this implies. With the United States on the south, with the great Soviet republic on our west, and with Great Britain on our east, Canada is strategically placed. In such a midway position no one can speak for Canada but Canada herself, and no one can act for Canada except with Canada's consent. I think this is thoroughly realized, though so far unexpressed, by the Prime Minister who will lead this delegation. I should like to read you a word from his speech:
It is the view of the government that the constitutional position within the organization of important secondary countries should be clarified-
That is, our position should be clarified.
-and that the delegation from Canada should exert the utmost effort to secure due recognition of their relative standing among the nations of the world.
No doubt the Prime Minister had Canada ini mind when he spoke these words. I hope that the members of this delegation will go to San Francisco bearing vividly in their minds the fact that they are there to further the cause of peace and security, to protect the interests and the future of the dominion which they represent, and to promote the future of mankind.
The Prime Minister, in the remarkable and capable speech with which he opened this debate, has said that our contribution to the fashioning of victory is far beyond what we could have expected six years ago, and that our contribution to the maintenance of peace and security may be even greater. That is true. The Prime Minister also said, as reported on page 30 of Hansard,'.
It is important that our representatives should speak with a clear, strong and united voice.
With that statement I heartily agree. I wish that I could imbue every member of this delegation with the militant and aggressive Canadianism which I myself possess. I would add to that excellent statement: speak not only with a strong voice but with a bold and confident voice, fully realizing and maintaining the dignity and importance of the brave country which it is their privilege to represent. The ancient leader Joshua, speaking in Israel, used these words, "Be thou strong and very courageous", and I repeat his words to the members of this momentous delegation, "Be thou strong and very courageous", and let them bear in mind throughout their most important deliberations that any human institution which they may set up for the exercise of military and economic power which they hope will endure must be based upon a foundation of democracy, of equality, and of respect for every member represented. If the security
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council is to endure, it must be subject to democratic control by all members who participate in the dangers and the costs of its decisions.

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