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


Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, in view of the proximity of the meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow this debate is indeed very timely. The government, I think, should have some expression of the views of this house, both on the manner in which our representations should be made, and on the views to be expressed on behalf of the Canadian people.
One difficulty in discussing matters of this kind of course is found in the inflexibility of the rules of this house. Compared with the British house we have few opportunities of debating matters such as this which are of immediate concern.
There is, I am certain, unanimous dissatisfaction with the very minor role which has been assigned to us-particularly concerning the German settlement. It cannot be emphasized too often or too emphatically that in the waging of war against Hitler our nation contributed men and materials almost without question, and most certainly without stint. It is meet and proper then that we should demand recognition of Canada's right to full participation in the negotiations of the peace treaties, and insist that it should be in exact proportion to our contribution in the waging of war.
We therefore support fully, Mr. Speaker, the protests already made by the government against the limitations imposed upon Canada by the foreign ministers of the great powers. Experience at the Paris peace conference last July, as the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) has just remarked, warns us that the position to which we were relegated at that time restricted our freedom of action, limited the scope of our contribution, and minimized any influence we might have exerted upon the peace treaties then formulated.
The original proposal, to limit the role of the lesser powers to mere statements of views-and more particularly, may I add, the
subsequent proposal of the Soviet Union to modify this by allowing fuller participation of the twelve smaller powers overrun by Hitler- is in my opinion outrageous, particularly so when five of the twelve include White Russia, the Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Albania, and Poland. Albania is not yet recognized by either the British or the American authorities. This would exclude Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India, whose parliaments or governments all declared war and participated in it from the beginning; while the Soviet Union and some of the smaller nations were not only pursuing policies friendly to Hitler, but for almost two years were actually supplying him with vital war supplies.
We therefore wish to express our complete agreement with the government's demand for full participation in the German and Austrian settlements. As I said on January 30, an effort should have been made to secure a joint protest by nations treated similarly to ourselves, even to the extent of withholding the making of any written submission to the foreign ministers' deputies conference.
I feel this strongly also because I believe that nations removed from European and territorial squabbles, and which made substantial contributions in the war, could be of positive assistance in the discussions. This was demonstrated on several occasions at the general assembly of the united nations, last autumn when, for example, Canada broke the disarmament controversy deadlock by suggestions which for weeks the great powers had ignored. It cannot be argued that European settlements concern us little. As the hon. member for Peel indicated, twice in our generation Canada has been called upon to sacrifice her blood, her sweat and her tears, because of wars which originated in Europe and which were not of our making. Thus we have both a vital concern and a right to the fullest participation in the peaceful settlement of that sorely distressed continent.
Canada, I say, is vitally interested in every phase of the peace settlement. Politically and economically the world is one. We cannot be secure or prosperous if any part of the world is insecure or depressed. All Europe is in a shocking state. The devastation of war has created economic and social chaos, and unbelievable distress. In Great Britain the crisis is acute; the outlook in France is uncertain. Last week 50,000 veterans demonstrated in Brussels, and we heard news yesterday of more demonstrations in that city. Widespread famine and disorder in Italy are actually threatening the rise of new semi-fascist organizations. In Hungary,
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Bulgaria, Roumania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Greece, and at least in the western provinces of the Soviet Union, shortages and suffering exist, while starvation and disease are the potent cause of unrest in Poland.
In Germany and Austria the situation beggars description. I mention all this because plans for the economic rehabilitation of Europe are fundamental to improved political conditions. Unfortunately so far these considerations have not been emphasized in the statements already made, or at any rate not emphasized sufficiently.
The colossal reparations imposed upon Italy indicate that considerations of big-power compromises obscure consideration for European reconstruction. In my opinion the decision of the western democracies-United States, Great Britain and France-to forgo Italian reparations was a real contribution to the cause of peace. To the extent to which these huge reparations are not met, they will contribute to international friction; and if they are met they will make European recovery almost impossible.
Present distrust among the big powers prevents the tackling of the peace settlement on a conference basis. Canada is right when she says that Europe must be treated as a unit. Prosperity for the whole world depends upon the rehabilitation of that continent. Her resources, then, should be viewed as essential to all parts of it. Hence the peace settlement requires the adoption of a comprehensive plan to raise standards of living of the suffering peoples of the continent.
Common justice demands that we should do everything possible to bring peace and hope to the millions who suffer because of Hitler's brutality and oppression. It should be clear, I think, too, that the possibilities of democratic development are threatened when disillusionment, starvation, disease and despair are universal. It is in just such an objective and realistic approach that Canada could make her greatest contribution.
Up to the present time the preparatory meetings have been bedeviled by exhibitions of national rivalries, of selfish considerations, of national security, of arguments over territories and boundaries, when national sovereignty is powerless without international security, and when boundaries are meaningless in an age of atomic energy and universal interdependence.
In the February issue of Harper's, Mr. Henry L. Stimson, former Secretary of State for War in the United States, concludes his article-one which I would recommend to all hon. members, and indeed to the people throughout the country-in which he explains

and defends his recommendation to the president for the use of the atomic bomb against Japan, in these words:
In this last great action of the second world war we were given final proof that war is death. War in the twentieth century has grown steadily more barbarous, more destructive, more debased in all its aspects. Now with the release of atomic energy man's ability to destroy himself is very nearly complete. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended a war; they also made it wholly clear that we must never have another war. This is the lesson men and leaders everywhere must learn, and I believe that when they learn it they will find a way to lasting peace. There is no other choice.
What then should be our attitude towards the peace settlement with Germany and Austria? In the main I find myself in agreement with the views communicated by Canada to the deputies of the foreign ministers, but I feel that in several respects our suggestions should be elucidated. Canada seems, for example, to support the French view that henceforth Germany should be organized as a very loose federation with the principal powers in the individual states and only strictly limited authority in the central government. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, favours a strong unitary state and centralized control. So far the attitude of the United States is far from clear, but an indication of the attitude of the United Kingdom may be found in the Foreign Secretary's speech in October last, when he said this:
Looking further ahead, we contemplate a German constitution which would avoid the two extremes of a loose confederation of autonomous states and a unitary centralized state.
It seems to me that our own experience as a confederation should incline Canada to support what seems to be the British view rather than that of too loose a federation or a highly centralized state. Recently, and particularly in a report carried in the New York Times of February 11, there seemed to be indications of a modification of the Soviet attitude in Mr. Molotov's suggestion that later on a plebiscite or referendum might be allowed to decide the issue. Meantime our government supports the idea that for the time being an international statute should be adopted and imposed on the German people and that the formal signing of any peace treaty should be left in abeyance until political development inside the country evolves a properly elected government. This seems to me, as it did to the hon. member for Peel, an intelligent approach, but it is one which the meeting of the deputies seems to have discarded. A treaty now could only be signed by a German government created for that purpose by the victorious powers. The lessons

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of Hitler's use of the treaty of Versailles as a potent propaganda weapon in the resurgence of German chauvinism should warn us of the dangers inherent in the deputies proposal. In any event it seems to me that the proposal for an interim statute has the advantage of preventing rigid decisions now which may cause trouble later on.
But political progress will depend upon a rapid improvement in economic conditions. Canadians, I am certain, desire their government to do everything possible to support those democratic political leaders who survived the concentration camps or who kept the idea of freedom alive in the underground. The success or failure of these democratic leaders will depend very largely on the solution of European economic problems. Section 22 of the government's submission to the meeting of deputies urges the early establishment of an economic commission for Europe. It notes that this has already been proposed in the united nations but has not been put into effect. Canada's submission suggests that it might be a useful agency for integrating German industry into the general European economy. While we can support that principle, the reference in the memorandum is vague and seems to suggest only limited functions for the commission. What is needed I think is something more comprehensive, an economic planning agency integrated with and responsible to the economic and social council of the united nations, the body which because of its obligations under the charter and its specialized agencies is most competent to undertake this essential task.
Concerned with economic and social conditions throughout the world, the council would be in the best position to make recommendations towards the achievement of that level of economy and standard of living which may be permitted to Germany in - order to prevent Germany from continuing to constitute a centre of economic depression-to prevent her, in other words, from remaining or becoming a European slum.
But consideration of German economic conditions raises the important question of the kind of economic activity to be permitted and encouraged. German industry before the war was highly organized and centralized in powerful private monopolies, trusts and cartels. The Potsdam agreement provided for their elimination. Since then the United States and the United Kingdom have declared their common intention to destroy these powerful and menacing consequences of private enterprise.
Canada's submission asks for the elimination of monopolies. But it is just at this
point that fundamental differences appear among the nations. The United States, and probably the present government of this country, approach the problem in the belief that the monopolies can be split up into small competing units. But neither in the United States nor in Canada have anti-monopoly laws such as our Combines Investigation Act or the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in the United States prevented the monopolization and cartelization of powerful industries.
It is indeed fantastic to think of splitting up effective mass production units anywhere, when conditions demand immediately the most efficient production possible. European economists agree that the only way of eliminating the huge combines which characterized pre-war Germany is to socialize them. Speaking in the United Kingdom House of Commons on October 23, the Foreign Secretary said:
We have also to consider -the ownership of basic German industries. They were previously in the hands of magnates who were closely allied to the German military machine, who financed Hitler, and who in two wars were part and parcel of Germany's aggressive policy.
We have no desire to see those gentlemen or their like return to a position which they have abused with such tragic results. As an interim measure we have taken over the possession and control of the coal and steel industries, and vested them in the commander-in-chief. We shall shortly take similar action in the case of the heavy chemical industry and the mechanical engineering industry. Our intention is that these industries should be owned and controlled in future by the public. The exact form of this public ownership and control is now being worked out. They should be owned and worked by the German people, but subject to such international control that they cannot again be a threat to their neighbours.
I submit that this is a realistic approach to the problem, and one which in spite of differences in economic theory is, under the conditions brought about by Hitler and the powerful industrialists who supported him, the only possible solution now.
The private owners of German industry, even when they are not actual war criminals, have surely forfeited all rights to their property, which should be transferred to public ownership and supervised and used to rebuild a devastated Europe, and in due course minister to the common needs of all mankind.
This I think is the kind of policy that Canada should support. It therefore follows that we should urge the immediate implementation of section 14 of the Potsdam agreement, which states:
During the period of occupation, Germany shall be treated as a single economic unit.
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And then goes on to provide for common policies on such matters as mining and production allocations, agriculture, forestry, fishing, wages, prices and1 rationing; currency and banking; central taxation and customs; transportation, communications and so forth. Not only has this section been completely ignored, but until the recent unification of the British and United States zones, there were four distinct and separate zones and policies. There seems to have been little contact between the British and the United States zones and the French zone, and no contact at all between any of them and the Soviet zone.
Section 19 states that-
Payment of reparations should leave enough resources to enable the German people to subsist without external assistance.
It adds that any German surpluses must be used to pay for necessary imports and so forth. This section has been completely ignored, and much of the distress and food difficulties of the United Kingdom herself stem from the fact that the food and raw material areas of Germany are in the Soviet zone, while the densely populated industrialized areas are a British responsibility.
Canada should1 insist on the carrying out of these sections of the Potsdam agreement, an agreement which, in so many particulars, has complicated the problem of the whole war settlement, and which was made by the great powers without the advice and consent of numerous other nations, including Canada.
This, of course, raises the problem of reparations. There can be no question that the Soviet union, France and other countries have the right to demand compensation for the terrific destruction and suffering caused by German aggression. As the government's brief to the deputies of the foreign ministers states, the German people bear responsibility, because they permitted Hitler to prepare for and1 make war against his neighbours. It is true that Hitler "openly proclaimed policies of shameless aggression." Again I quote from our government's representation. But it is also true that powerful interests, and yes, some political leaders in the allied countries, excused or financed his rise to power because they thought they saw in him a barrier against the spread of progressive ideas which they did not like, while, even after the aggressive war began, others continued to give him aid.
The principle governing reparations should be that of justice rather than of vengeance. To exact reparations which would not only cripple Germany but interfere with the recovery of her victims would be to repeat a mistake made at Versailles and1 destroy all
[Mr. Coldwell.l
hope of rebuilding a democratic Europe. Those who remember reading years ago a remarkable book published after the last war by John Maynard Keynes, "The Economic Consequences of the Peace," will I think take warning from the difficulties he foreshadowed, and which came about as a result of reparations exacted at Versailles.
The only neighbour which might conceivably survive the shock would be the Soviet Union, whose rigid political and economic controls might enable it to prevent the effect of a general European collapse from affecting its internal situation.
Ability to meet reparation payments and contribute to the rehabilitation of world economy are dependent upon the level and kind of production permitted in Germany. The United Kingdom is supporting a higher level of production than has been agreed upon. It seems to me that the important thing is not only to encourage production, but to establish the means of supervising and controlling the nature and the allocation of production. Reparation payments will depend upon the development of German resources to a level sufficient to contribute to the welfare of all Europe, as well as the future welfare of its own people.
This would be a policy of enlightened selfinterest. Prolongation of the terrible conditions existing in Germany, and elsewhere, is bound to lead to secret subversive activities. Recently many arrests were made in the British-United States zone of people connected with the continuing nazi underground organization. Press reports indicate a rebirth of extreme nationalism in Germany. These, if not due to despair, will be fostered by it. To offset it we should assist and encourage the rise of democratic leadership, the trade unions, the cooperatives, and present the opportunities for the common people to develop their own economic security as time passes.
It is obvious that for some time allied occupation will be necessary, if only to carry out policies in the general interest. How and by whom this shall be done will be a matter of controversy. One hopes that the old-fashioned concept of an occupying army will be replaced, as soon as conditions permit, by a body more in keeping with modern ideas and needs. If a German administration and a German police organization are carefully established to exclude rigidly any remnant of militarism or nazism, the actual military occupation force could be reduced to a minimum. And this is

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essential to the occupying powers, who are deprived of absolutely necessary man-power because of the military occupation. It seems to me that more important than the presence of large bodies of foreign troops in Germany is the organization of carefully selected civilians from allied countries capable of assisting in the planning of the German economy and of the educational and social rehabilitation of the German people.
But above all it is important that civilian inspection and control by thoroughly competent persons and scientists should be established to ensure that no part of German science and industry will lend itself to the rebuilding of a new war-potential. Such occupation forces- the kind which I visualize-would achieve the objects of security, would assist European recovery, and would be preferable to a purely military occupation. May I repeat that the occupying nations, particularly Great Britain and France because of shortages of manpower, cannot afford to keep large armies in Germany if it can possibly be avoided.
My time does not permit to me to discuss the Austrian treaty. I agree with the hon. member for Peel that we might have had more to say about it, and perhaps said it sooner, but after all our primary interest is indeed in the German settlement; for it was in the war against the German Reich that we were ourselves most involved. We support the idea of an independent Austria whose boundaries should be established on the basis of the country as it was before the anschluss of 1938.
I have tried to emphasize the points which seem to need greater emphasis in Canada's representations at the peace conference. We believe that this continent, indeed this whole western hemisphere, including Canada, must be prepared to play a major role in the reconstruction of Europe as a whole. It is in this context that the German and Austrian treaties must be viewed. To my mind the abandonment of the policies underlying UNRRA may be a calamity. This is not our fault; for the Canadian delegation pressed strenuously at the recent assembly of the united nations for at least its replacement by an organization to handle relief which would be international in form and scope. We should continue to press this view. Worse still perhaps has been the failure so far to implement Sir John Boyd Orr's proposal for the establishment of a world food council. As the world's greatest exporter of wheat, we have an entirely proper if selfish interest in world food control to ensure proper returns to producers in times of surplus production as well as reasonable prices to consumers in hardly less frequent periods of
scarcity, and in the feeding of mankind as a whole. But so far, in spite of great hopes, the failure of the nations to organize effective international agencies for the exchange of goods, and the provision of capital equipment to the devastated areas, is not only disappointing but harmful to human welfare.
In short, Canada must not be satisfied merely to express its views on current issues and controversies. I repeat, we can, because of the unique position among the lesser powers which we achieved during the war, take a lead, by declaring again our readiness to play in full our part in assisting the starving displaced millions in Europe to rebuild their own lives and the economy in which their lots may be cast. What all this means, of course, is that we must recognize that peace and prosperity, like modern war and universal suffering, are indivisible.
As section 32 of Canada's submission to the deputies meeting has so well said:
In the long run, to settle the German problem and other world problems, we must build the united nations into an effective instrument for the preservation of peace. This cannot be accomplished without some surrender of national sovereignty and the institution ultimately of some form of world government.
With this conclusion we whole-heartedly agree.
Mr. SOLON E. LOW (Peace River): I do not intend to take very long, Mr. Speaker, to contribute in my small way to this debate. I do not intend, either, to multiply words on matters which have already been discussed quite effectively, I believe, by the two preceding speakers. With most of what both speakers said I could agree. More particularly I feel that the submission made by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) was well made. I appreciate, sir, this opportunity for the House of Commons to discuss the matter of external relations and the part that Canada should play in the formulation of treaties of peace for Germany and Austria.
I believe that parliament should have an opportunity at frequent intervals-just how frequent I am not at this moment prepared to say

to discuss external affairs, and on such occasions the members should be given by the government as much information as can possibly be given on the various world problems and developments, particularly as they might effect Canada and her place in the world, or be affected by Canada or Canadian influence. At any rate, members of parliament ought to know what Canada's foreign policy is. We should know the details
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of the submissions to the council of foreign ministers, or to the united nations, on almost any grave world problem.
Moreover, the government should not expect the members of this house to be ready to take the responsibility of ratifying treaties or international agreements without having had some responsibility, and I think a fair measure of it, in laying down the policy upon which these treaties or these international agreements have been formulated. The government has never yet, it seems to me, issued a frank forthright and definite policy on foreign affairs.
I supported the government in their protest against the attitude of the council of foreign ministers towards Canada's participation in the German and Austrian peace conferences that open next Monday in Moscow. The people of Canada generally feel, and quite rightly so, that Canada should have a part in drafting the treaties with Germany and Austria which shall bear a reasonable relationship to the contribution which Canada did make in winning the victory over the German military machine.
I supported the government in their protest and in their claim, not simply because I wanted to see Canada intrude herself into the affairs of other nations, but because I feel that Canada has a contribution, and a real contribution, to make to world peace and international good will. I quite realize that by material standards, by comparison with other countries, Canada may not be a great power, but I contend that by moral standards Canada ranks with the greatest in the world. And just as we fought in the war to preserve the ideals of freedom and democracy, and in no sense because we wanted power or territory or material gain, so I claim we are prepared m the making of peace to exert our influence and our efforts into moral channels in an endeavour to establish justice and not power politics or selfish manoeuvring as the foundation upon which treaties are to be drafted and upon which world peace will be so dependent in the years to come.
By ignoring Canada the council of foreign ministers is certainly in no sense showing international good will and cooperation. They all want to see Canada contribute generously of her material gifts to feed a hungry world. They all acknowledge the sacrifices which we made in manpower, in machinery, in food, materials and in our scientific skill during the war. And every member of the council of foreign ministers, I feel sure, admires the further sacrifices Canada has made since the war to prevent suffering among the peoples of the
world. They all admit Canada's great sacrifices, but they seem to want us to do nothing but continue to make sacrifices.
No people ever took kindly to an expectation of that kind. I say that is akin to taxation without representation, a thing which is repugnant to freedom-loving people, no matter where they happen to live in the world. Surely the big four must realize that Canada cannot soon forget the brushing off she has suffered at their hands, and thinking people everywhere will remember too that Canada's position has been weakened to some extent at least by the failure of the government to adopt and adhere to a well-defined foreign policy.
It has long been my conviction, Mr. Speaker, that Canada should have a strong, non-partisan foreign policy. I believe the members of this group have always expressed their determination to cooperate with the government in laying down such a policy and to take their full responsibility in its formulation and application. I believe, moreover-and I have expressed this on various occasions

that the very essence of strong, independent, and sovereign nations within the British commonwealth rests in complete understanding and the fullest possible cooperation with each other on foreign policy. This is a truth which it is quite evident that Britain seems to have forgotten. Has she given any indication, since this matter became an issue, that she supports Canada's claim to a part in the making of the peace with Germany and Austria? That I do not know, of course, Mr. Speaker, perhaps when the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) speaks in this debate he will make that matter clear to the members of the house. But I do know that Britain failed to back up Canada when Russia appointed as ambassador to Britain, Zaroubin, a man who had violated the recognized code of diplomatic relations while he was here enjoying his privileges in Canada. Canada in her turn certainly did fail to register a protest against this slap in the face by Russia; at least I have never known of any action which Canada took to register such a protest. The government of this country also failed to back up Britain in her policy in Palestine and as a result has weakened Britain very considerably.

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