March 3, 1947 (20th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative


Mr. Speaker, in moving the adjournment of the house I do not approach this subject lightly or without due regard to the serious international situation not only as it affects this parliament and the government and every party in parliament but as it affects so substantially the very lives and homes and firesides of the people of Canada.
The house and the country I think will welcome this opportunity, the first that we have had since the San Francisco charter was debated in 1945, to have a full-dress debate on external affairs. It seemed to me, and this is my object in raising the question at this time, that here is the place to thresh out our difficulties and mobilize public opinion, the place to find common ground upon which we may work so that we may march with a united front and if at all possible speak with one voice in the councils of the world.
In 1946 Canada was represented at no fewer than ninety^eight international gatherings, including the all-important peace conference at Paris, while parliament spent in the meantime fewer than two days out of 119 in discussing foreign relations. That is not good enough. Parliament must keep abreast of the movements and developments in international affairs the same as it tries to do with domestic affairs.
It is true that the standing committee on external affairs met some twenty times last year and did an excellent job under the capable chairmanship of the hon. member for Cochrane (Mr. Bradette) ; but there was little if any discussion of general policy. The estimates of the department were brought before the committee and considered, but only a fraction of the membership of the house had an opportunity to participate in the discussions. The committee did however bring in a report, later

unanimously concurred in by the house, in which they recommended that time should be set aside each week for the discussion of international matters. I am of the opinion that it should not be necessary to bring in a motion such as the one I had to make at this particular time in order to discuss external affairs.
We should have the opportunity of dealing with external problems in a regular and orderly way. From now on parliament should make up its mind to give more time to discussion of foreign affairs.
First of all I wish to deal with the question
of our participation in the peace settlement. Maclean's magazine of March 1, 1947 put in a nutshell the argument between Canada and the special deputies of the big four who have been meeting in London. I wish to read a few words from an article headed "Peace Isn't Private Property", because I think it will expedite the proceedings and give to the ordinary citizen of Canada a fair picture of what happened in the meeting of the deputies. The article reads as follows:
Canada's argument with the big four deputies charged with drafting the German peace treaty was no mere matter of wounded vanity. Here's what happened:
Deputies met in London to prepare drafts for the real big four meeting in Moscow. They invited seventeen smaller combatants to _ send in written statements, with oral comment if desired, on the treaties with Germany and Austria.
Canada didn't think this good enough and suggested that smaller powers be given a share in the early committee work. _
That "suggestion was ignored. Our high commissioner, Norman Robertson, was then instructed to ask the deputies a question:
"If Canada does appear before you, how can you assure us that this will not be our last chance to say anything about the German
Still no reply. It became evident that at least one of the big four would prefer to answer "no." The German treaty was a matter for great powers who had "paid in blood;" small fry should be neither seen nor heard.
It was not for this that Canada put three-quarters of ia million men in arms, fought on every western European front, gave $3-5 billions in materials to allies, including Russia, who needed more than they could pay for.
It was not for this, either, that Greece starved and Poland suffered, that Yugoslavia pinned fifteen German divisions. Not to be told at the end of it: "Run along now, we shan't
need you again until next time. If you have any ideas about the peace, write a letter to our secretaries." ,
We fought for peace as an overriding national interest. We did not fight to maintain a balance of power, to serve any imperial interest anywhere in the world. We fought for our lives, which the international policies of great powers had put in jeopardy.
Now that the fighting is done, we must have a real voice in the shaping of that peace for which

Peace Treaties
we fought. We have an interest in it as well as the great powers-if we have not, we should have stayed home.
Canada, moreover, has one qualificatioin which is almost unique, to fit her for this task. We are one of the very few powers concerned in world war II who have no direct, immediate interest in any question of detail.
We don't care whether a boundary runs on this side or the other of a certain town or hill or river; we covet no colonies; we have next to no interest in reparations.
But we do have an overwhelming interest in the permanence of peace.
That is why we demand an effective share in the making of the postwar world. The Canadian government did well to make its position clear from the start.
With all but the last sentence perhaps there will be considerable agreement. But did the Canadian government make its position clear from the start? The Paris peace conference sat from July 29 to October 15 of last year. Canada was represented there for seventy-nine days. Twenty-one nations discussed the terms of peace for five defeated enemy countries. I am led to believe they were called in after the big four had discussed everything for an unusually long period of time. I am also led to believe that they could not touch the parts of the treaties which had received the unanimous approval of the big four. They could make only recommendations which the big four would guarantee or promise to consider privately afterwards.
In the British House of Commons last October, Right Hon. Winston Churchill, with all his experience and command of language, speaking on the question of procedure at the Paris peace conference, said:
The Paris peace conference is bad diplomacy, but it may be a valuable education.
At the end of the Paris sessions an unofficial poll of newspapermen from twenty-seven countries indicated that thirty-one regarded the conference as a success, fifty-six called it a failure and thirty-three called it a farce. I am not prepared to go that far, but it does show that there was dissatisfaction with the manner in which the procedure of the Paris peace conference was carried out, particularly so far as the smaller and the middle powers were concerned. Canada was there and in my opinion should have taken the attitude of "once bitten twice shy". I should like to have seen the statement with respect to participation, which was placed before the special deputies in January of this year, laid before the nations of the world and the big four while the Paris peace conference was in session; because January was too late for this country to put its arguments before them and have them properly considered. It was then and there that the government should have nipped
this plan in the bud. That would have been better than waiting for a similar situation to grow up in Paris, or waiting until similar plans for the Austrian and German settlement had been almost fully developed. In my opinion we missed the boat in Paris. January was too late. The plans of the great powers had taken shape before we grasped the opportunity of putting our case before them, and this has made our task immeasurably greater, though not I hope insurmountable.
Another factor which has weakened our position as far as full participation in the peace settlement is concerned, was the withdrawal a year ago of all our occupation forces in the German reich. It is now plain, I think, that this government ought to tell parliament and the people, for the first time, why at that particular time we ceased to play our part in policing naziland. True, our forces wanted to get home. I was over there and I know that they wanted to get back. But there were just as many in Canada who at that very time were prepared to take on the job of relieving and replacing those who felt that the work had become monotonous for them and that they ought to be home.
Was it because we could not have a greater say in administration and policies in Germany that we withdrew our troops at that time, or what was the reason? I would ask the government to give an answer, before the debate ends, to that simple but direct and pertinent question. Considerable weight must, I think, be attached, from the standpoint of the withdrawal of our occupying army, to the clear outspoken remarks of Right Hon. Vincent Massey, former High Commissioner for Canada in London, who, speaking only last Wednesday at Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, made the following statement as reported in the columns of the next day's Montreal Star:
"Our moral position is strong," Mr. Massey declared, adding: "It would, I think, be stronger if like other smaller countries we had continued to play even a modest part in the forces which at present police the German reich. Our withdrawal at so early a date did nothing to enhance our prestige or to give evidence of our readiness to assume responsibilities in peace as we had so willingly done in war."
These words cannot be dismissed lightly, for they fell from the lips of a senior Canadian diplomat who by virtue of his position was closer to the scene of that withdrawal than any other representative Canada had at that time.
I express my personal view only in this regard, but it has always seemed to me that the commonwealth members, and particularly Canada, missed a grand opportunity to lift
Peace Treaties

a little bit of the white man's burden which has been borne by Britain so well and honourably and at such expense, and to join with Great Britain in attempting to carry part of that load with her. It would have, for one thing, meant that we would have had closer contact with the problems of Germany. It would have meant, too, that our hand would have been strengthened in pressing our claim to a rightful position at the peace table and in making our representations there. Since we have gone out of Germany it makes it harder for us to get in again and to come to grips with the problem.
Moreover, I think that those who have been through the situation in relation to the military government in Germany realize as well that it is common knowledge over there that the Canadian government gave little or no encouragement to Canadian personnel who wanted to have a part in the military government structure of Germany under the allied control council. Added to that is the fact that, having withdrawn our troops, our position has been weakened.
I do not wish to emphasize unduly this latter point, because after all I want our position to be as strong as it possibly can be, but I wish to point out the weaknesses which parliament and the country have to consider. In making our representations now, we must of course avoid the appearance of being long on talk and short on works. That is one of the things that we must keep before us; it must be one of Canada's policies, to make sure that we do not fall into that temptation. I stand, and this party stands, with the government in this matter as solidly as parliamentarians can, recognizing that inasmuch as Canada went into the war through the front door, we do not relish being merely a keyhole-peeker when the peace is discussed over there.
This is a matter upon which all political parties, and people regardless of their political views, can join. It is about time the big four discarded this new international slogan of theirs, which seems to be that "four is company and five is a crowd". That appears to me to size it up in commonplace terms and to indicate what we are up against in the circumstances. This nation must not take this thing lying down, and at the foreign ministers' meeting at Moscow in a few days' time the Canadian government will, I hope, vigorously press our claim to adequate participation in the peace that we helped to win.
In this position this party will give the government its active, unqualified support and help, because we must show to the world

that we mean business as a nation, and in such a stand we are prepared to throw our political differences aside and to speak with a united and powerful voice in every council of the world.
I come next to the question of the German peace settlements. One has to see the battered, and blitzed and beaten Germany to have a real conception of the problems of reconstruction, there. It will be a long time before prostrate Germany even gets up on her knees, let alone on her feet, economically, financially and perhaps politically. Canada does well, I believe, in her submission to recognize that Germany is not just a European problem. She is everybody's problem, and we may as well face it; she is a highly inflammable pile of international kindling. Therefore it is important to every person in Canada that the government's stand for a stronger and more powerful participation in the peace treaties should be supported.
Germany is the international trouble spot No. 1, because over this fallen German frame powers could and might clash in the days that lie ahead. Shall defeated Germany be a part of the western conception of democracy or part of eastern totalitarianism? Which way she leans will make a substantial difference to the future of the world and the prospects of permanent peace. Germany is not simply at the parting of the ways. Germany is actually in the parting of the ways in the matter of geography and in every other respect. Therein lies the danger for this country. Germany is no longer a nation. Germany is just a people. That, I believe, makes Canada's argument even stronger against following the precedent of 1919, against putting Germany too early into a ready-made straitjacket of peace, because if Germany is put into a straitjacket now two things are likely to happen: either she will become dwarfed in that straitjacket or she will expand beyond its capacity. Either will be bad, and I think the international statute idea of the government is a good one. It is one that gives an opportunity for Germany to come out of the convalescent stage. Germany today has not even the legal capacity, even if a shadow government is put up for that purpose, to make a bargain with the victor nations. Because of that, this government's policy in connection with the international statute deserves every possible commendation.
I should have liked to mention in the discussion of these matters what those of us saw who had an opportunity of going across Germany a year ago-and I am told there has

Peace Treaties
not been much change since then. Everybody's attention was riveted on fuel and food. There was destruction which it is impossible to describe-great twisted bridges over the Elbe, the Weser and other rivers; the great city of Hanover with seven, out of every ten buildings levelled flat as the prairie, only two out of ten capable of being repaired, and one out of ten that had not been touched at all. We saw the buildings in Berlin looking almost like a material corpse which somehow had not lain down. Yes, it was a depressing sight to see the Reichstag, the great parliament buildings of Germany, in such a state.

Full View