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


Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative


One saw the great Reichstag, in ruins and two Russian soldiers conducting a black market in all kinds of materials with some ten or fifteen German women at the door of that great chamber. One could not help realizing that if Hitler could look up from where he is now he would see that things have changed; that the days when he used to thunder his challenges across the world have gone forever and that of him it could be said, in the words of Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, "The paths of glory lead but to the grave".
I apologize to the house for mentioning these personal impressions, but one thing which struck me particularly, and which I am sure I shall never forget, was the comment, after we had come through all this indescribable devastation, of a little English corporal whose house had been blitzed out in 1940 and again in 1941. Somebody in the party said, "What a distressing sight this is in Berlin!" The little corporal said, in his best English, which I could not possibly imitate, "These blighters asked for it, and they bloody well got it, didn't they?" It was, I think, an indication of the feeling of revenge which was then in the hearts of people who had suffered so greatly at the hands of those who are now suffering the pangs of defeat. If one can go by the feeling and the sense of the people who know something of the German problem over there-and I am not speaking of the Germans themselves-one of the things which stood out in what we learned from the people we had contact with from time to time was the fact that if you are going to make a new Germany, if you are going to make a nation which will not be a menace to the peoples of the world in the days which lie ahead, you
must do something more than is proposed in the Canadian submissions; you must educate the children of Germany into a new mode of life and a new conception of what democracy and peace really mean.
I think that one of the greatest omissions in the submissions of Canada is the lack of mention of the educational aspect of the treatment of the German people. In the Potsdam declaration we find these words, put in not by Germans or Canadians, but by the representatives of the big four themselves. This- reading directly from the Potsdam declaration -is their avowed objective:
It is not the intention of the allies to destroy or enslave the German people, but that they shall be given the opportunity to prepare for the eventual reconstruction of their life on a democratic and peaceful basis. If their efforts are steadily directed to this end, it will be possible for them in due course to take their place among the free and peaceful peoples of the world.
This leads me, Mr. Speaker, to suggest the most conspicuous omission in the Canadian submissions. In any settlement education along democratic lines must be included; because as I see it-and as those who know much better than I do seem to see it-it is the key to permanent peace. That is the view of those 'who are closest to the picture and who know.
I just wish to make one further observation with respect to the German peace submissions. I think this nation was again too late in presenting her submissions on Germany. It seems to me also that if our German submissions have merit-and I believe they have -particularly with respect to the international statute, they should have been presented before the big four had made their elaborate preparations for a peace treaty discussion in Moscow. The whole question had, in my opinion, jelled at that time; and by the time our submissions came to the special deputies on January 30 of this year, Canada was too late to have them properly considered. That, I think, indicates part of our position with respect to the German submissions themselves.
I now wish to come to our submissions with respect to the Austrian peace settlement. I do not want to be offensive with respect to this, and I hope the government will not feel that I am, but I am really speaking with some restraint when I say that the Austrian submissions, as I see them, are not much more than a nice harmless little essay on international affairs. As a positive, active, vigorous and constructive brief it is not in the same class at all with our German submissions. May I, through you, Mr. Speaker, put this question to the government: Why did twenty-six days elapse between the time we put in our submissions on Germany and the time we put in
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our brief on Austria, in view of the fact that the special deputies in London were not dealing with Germany first and Austria afterwards, but were dealing with Austria and Germany concurrently during their session there?
What actually happened, and I am sorry this was so because to some extent I believe it affected Canada's prestige, was that when the special deputies were clearing out their desks and packing their bags to go home, our submission with respect to Austria arrived for consideration. That was just one day before the special deputies concluded' their work in London. I believe the thing can be put in simple terms. Either we are interested in the Austrian settlement or we are not. I believe we are; and if we are, I am dead sure we should have made our submissions concurrently with those we made in respect to Germany. If we were not interested, no submission at all should have gone in. That, I think, is clearly the position in which the government finds itself.
I want to make one further observation in regard to our submission on Austria. In that country two considerations-in the opinion of the foreign minister of Austria, in any event- stand out above everything else. One is the internal reorganization of Austria on a democratic basis. We cannot have a free Austria without the withdrawal of the occupation forces from that country at the very earliest appropriate time. But of equal and perhaps even greater importance is the question of the definition of the German assets in Austria, and what the Russians are entitled to do in the way of taking Austrian resources for their own purposes. That is one of the major difficulties facing Austrian rehabilitation; and until there is a clarification of the terms of the Potsdam agreement with respect to the title to Austrian resources there can be no real reconstruction of Austria's economy or her political structure. I believe our government missed an important point when, in the submission Canada made, that important matter was left out of our brief.
In the moment or so remaining at my disposal I want to say that no single nation has a greater stake in what happens in Moscow than has Canada. Our position, geographically, politically, militarily and every other way makes it impossible for this country ever again to be an optional participant in a world conflict. Making up our minds with respect to that perhaps we should be prepared to go a step farther and say that in another war this country itself might well be the battle area. Just as we rush to fight a fire in our neighbour's house in order to save our own, and at the same time save the town or city,

so must we see that no smouldering embers are left unextinguished which might start anywhere in the world an international blaze that could result in the destruction of humanity. The refusal of Canada in the past to make international affairs our own immediate personal concern has been a disastrous experience for us. Twice in about a quarter of a century we have been led down the pathway of war. A hundred thousand of the very flower of our Canadian manhood lie in alien countries, mute and powerful testimony to what our country was prepared to do in war. Whatever may be the cost of peace, it can never approach the cost of war. Whatever this country has to pay with respect to permanent peace I think must be considered in the light of what I have said.
Between the two great wars there were statesmen in this country-and this is not at all by way of criticism, because I suppose they reflected public opinion at the time-one of whom said that as far as war was concerned Canada was a fireproof house, and the other that nothing then happening in Abyssinia was worth the life of a single Canadian soldier. Add to that the spectacle one saw in the House of Commons the year before the war, when an hon. member asked the house to adopt a resolution of neutrality in case of armed conflict. These were all straws showing the way the wind blew.
So I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that we must do something to see to it that the world's casualty lists shall never again be published, that the savage dogs of war never again shall be unleashed. At international conferences I have listened to men who were skilful in employing their own language to make it meet various situations arising from time to time, but it remained for a little boy thirteen years of age, who I am told came up to London to be present at the first general assembly of -the united nations which a number of us attended, to put into words the thought so many of us have in mind as to the objectives of the united nations. While I cannot vouch for the authenticity of every word, I am told that this is what happened. The little lad came to London under his own steam and stood1 for a long time one dark, cold, foggy morning, and on into the afternoon, waiting to get into the visitors' gallery at that assembly. As he was going up the stairs someone asked him, "Why are you here"? The little lad stopped and said-, "I don't quite know why I am here, but I am going to tell my story and perhaps then you will know." This is the story he told. "I am only thirteen," he said, "but I lost my mother two

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and a half years ago in the blitz at Plymouth. She was a good mother. I lost my oldest brother on the Normandy beachhead. My second brother left a leg in Belgium. My father is in a mental institution as a result of the ravages of the German bombings of a year or two ago." Then he went on, "I just came here because I heard there was a meeting about peace; and, mister, I just hoped that somehow, somewhere, sometime, somebody will do something to see to it that what happened to our little home could never happen to anybody else's little home any place else in the world."
That is our challenge, Mr. Speaker; I suggest we accept it.

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