In 1949, the crucial event in Canada's national politics was the election which took place on June 27th. After a pre-election swing through Western Canada, in which he honed his political skills and acquired the nickname "Uncle Louis," Louis St. Laurent led the incumbent Liberal Party in what was only his second general election as a candidate and his first campaign as party leader and Prime Minister. His principal adversary was George Drew, the former Premier of Ontario, who had decisively won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in October 1948, but whose initial national electoral foray was a disastrous blend of shrill rhetoric and inept strategy. The result was a rout. The Liberals under St. Laurent won nearly half the popular vote and close to three-quarters of the seats in the House of Commons, a remarkable triumph which fell just short of William Lyon Mackenzie King's great victory of 1940.
For the most part, Canada's external relations were noncontroversial-before, during and after the 1949 election. The most significant post-war development to that point in Canada's foreign and defence policy, its participation in the North Atlantic Treaty, was confirmed almost unanimously by the House of Commons in a pre-dissolution rush of parliamentary business. St. Laurent decided not to attend the meeting of Prime Ministers in London in April 1949 which considered India's relationship with the rest of the Commonwealth. The Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester Pearson, who represented Canada at that gathering, kept his overseas itinerary to a minimum on the firm advice of his political associates and advisers. In early June, St. Laurent declared that there were "no outstanding issues in this election" and it soon became apparent that Canadians welcomed his assurance that a government which he led would "continue to work for peace and security, for complete recognition of Canadian nationhood and the development of all aspects of our national life." Drew's complaint that Canada had turned its back on the British market in favour of continental trade simply begged the question of what alternative course of action Drew could propose.' Certainly some decisions concerning Canada's policy in international relations were deferred until after the election, but this often had more to do with the inattention of politicians out on the hustings than with fear of officials that recommendations would be disputed or contradicted. In effect, the electoral outcome confirmed the partnership between St. Laurent and Pearson which had been so vital to the direction of Canada's external affairs since they were first associated as minister and deputy in September 1946. That personal association and rapport, which had facilitated Pearson's entry into politics in September 1948, was reinforced by a broad understanding and agreement on foreign policy questions. That gave Pearson an unusual degree of latitude as Secretary of State, which he was careful not to abuse by presumption, indifference or insensitivity. A further advantage for Pearson as minister was his familiarity with the Department of External Affairs. Pearson had been a member of the foreign service for two decades and Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs for two years. His mastery of his portfolio was unquestioned and unsurprising. This knowledge and experience was vital to the conduct of Canada's international relations and to the leadership of the Department.
In mid-March, Arnold Heeney finally succeeded Pearson as Under-Secretary. Heeney had been the first Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, and so was well versed in Ottawa politics, if less experienced in international affairs. As deputy minister, Heeney provided the administrative aptitude which the minister lacked. Pearson was "thus liberated to pursue the goals of policy he had long sought"2 Heeney's appointment necessitated other changes, with Norman Robertson returning to Ottawa to assume Heeney's former duties, while Dana Wilgress took over as High Commissioner in London. The other principal diplomatic positions remained unchanged, with Home Wrong continuing as Ambassador in Washington, Georges Vanier as Ambassador in Paris and A.G.L. McNaughton as Canada's Permanent Delegate to the United Nations. Escott Reid, who had served as Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs since Pearson's reincarnation as a politician, assumed a new position as Deputy Under-Secretary, which ensured that the flood of ideas and memoranda would not abate, though it might be diverted by Heeney 3
This continuity in the senior ranks of decision-making was matched by the perpetuation of other trends or circumstances which had been evident in previous years. There was still considerable pressure for increased representation of Canada abroad at conferences and in permanent missions. Pakistan and Ceylon had been "the only member nations of the Commonwealth in which Canada is not represented," but by year's end a High Commissioner to Pakistan had been appointed and the office opened one month later. What to do about Ceylon, however, was left unresolved until after the Colombo Conference in early 1950 (Documents 6 to 8). Latin American countries appealed for the exchange of Ambassadors, but the Canadian response, as well as a preoccupation with the legitimacy of governments there rather than with hemispheric issues, indicated Canada's relative neglect of that region (Document 10 and Chapter 14).
Undeniably, the rehabilitation of recently vanquished foes and other aspects of the aftermath of the Second World War, as well as the problems and interests of the North Atlantic community, were assigned a higher priority in Ottawa, one which was reflected in the attention of policy-makers as well as decisions about diplomatic assignments. The Department of External Affairs was able to argue that the demands of international conferences, as well as the implications of Canada's involvement in the North Atlantic Treaty, justified additional personnel, but Treasury Board displayed a greater disposition to challenge and query that expansion, "particularly at a time when efforts were being made to reduce the size of the Civil Service" (Document 4). With the exception of three immigration offices in Europe, the only new posts opened in 1949 were a Mission in Bonn and a Consulate General in Milan. As the Annual Report ruefully observed, "the past year has marked the close of a period of rapid expansion of Canadian representation abroad."^ In some contexts, such as the Council of Foreign Ministers, Canada remained highly dependent on its senior allies for information. As Georges Vanier observed (Document 30), that was often more readily available from Britain and France than from the United States.
That question of information, and particularly the dependence of Canada on sympathetic countries to supplement its own limited sources, arose most acutely during Canada's term on the Security Council of the United Nations. The documentation printed in this volume on questions which arose at the United Nations merely suggests the importance assigned and the attention devoted to these subjects by Canadian diplomats and ministers. However, it does convey the remarkable range of disputes which came before the international organization and upon which Canada was expected to define and articulate a position. In some instances, such as Palestine and Kashmir, Canada's membership in the Commonwealth complicated its response as it endeavoured, with others, to seek solutions to seemingly intractable problems and to avoid open conflicts between countries with whom Canada was anxious to promote good relations.
More commonly, Canada's alignment in the Cold War, formalized by its participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, determined or tempered its reaction to events. That factor is especially important to understanding Canada's efforts to help an ally, the Netherlands, to extricate itself from an impossible position in Indonesia, without alienating opinion in Asia, particularly the government of India (Documents 110, 150 and 151). That dilemma, as well as the need to develop Canadian policy in an unfamiliar part of Asia, accounts for the extensive documentation on this question in this volume. In fact, Canada viewed most issues which came before the Security Council through the prism of the Cold War. That perspective strongly influenced its support for India's candidacy for the "Commonwealth seat" as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, which Canada would vacate at the end of the year, as well as its preference for Yugoslavia over Czechoslovakia as the representative of Eastern Europe (Documents 53 to 55). This emphasis should not be surprising, as the biases of the Cold War permeated Canada's international relations.
Though the division of the world along ideological and strategic lines certainly limited Canada's options in external affairs, Canada's unambiguous position in the bi-polar world was undoubtedly the most important factor in the exceptional domestic consensus on foreign and defence policy which characterized the early years of the Cold War. In marked contrast to the pre-war situation, international questions tended to unite rather than divide Canadians. That exceptional degree of public support for the broad outlines of government policy enabled policy-makers to take initiatives and to make commitments which would have been politically impossible before the Second World War.
Perhaps no single involvement illustrates that point more vividly than Canada's role in the negotiation and implementation of the North Atlantic Treaty. A mere decade earlier, participation by Canada in a formal military alliance in peacetime would have been unthinkable, whatever the rationale. For the government which proposed such a radical departure from Canada's traditional stance, the political consequences then would have been disastrous. Even when the post-war negotiations were well advanced, there was some reluctance in Ottawa to focus too narrowly on collective security and some lingering nervousness about public attitudes. Those considerations, not always fully understood or accepted by Canada's principal negotiator, Wrong, or his counterparts in Washington, were factors in Ottawa's determination to secure Article U, which dealt with "economic collaboration." But the fundamental commitment implied by the signature of the treaty on April 4, 1949, was unmistakable and the public support for it unequivocal.
Seen in that light, the failure of Canada to assist in the Berlin airlift is especially remarkable. When Reid suggested reconsideration of this policy in mid-March, Heeney rejected the proposal with the lofty advice that the government "would not wish to raise this question now" (Document 428). But when the Cabinet next met, the Minister of National Defence, Brooke Claxton, raised precisely the prospect that Heeney had discounted (Document 430). With support from St. Laurent and Pearson, a review was initiated one week later. Before it was completed, however, the blockade was lifted. Curiously, one diplomat who was unimpressed by the practical impact of that breakthrough was Canada's senior representative in Berlin, Maurice Pope (Document 441).
Meanwhile, senior officials responsible for immigration in Ottawa were considering "a gradual pulling down of the barriers which keep Germans out" as part of the rehabilitation of Western Germany (Document 739). More generally, the Department of External Affairs reassessed Canada's "policy regarding the West German State" in late July (Document 1007). As another study commented in December, "the [Canadian] Government has supported efforts to bring the Federal Republic [of Germany] into the democratic community and has encouraged relations which would further our commercial interests in Germany." That also prompted a precise distinction between Canadian policy and that of the western occupying powers on the connection between "termination of the state of war" and "conclusion of a peace" (Enclosure to Document 1008).
Such subtle shadings and fine points of drafting were also vital aspects of the most important Commonwealth question in 1949, whether India should be allowed to remain in that organization after it adopted a republican constitution. As Canada's representative at the meeting of Commonwealth leaders in April, Pearson favoured accomodation of India and participated in the redefinition of the Commonwealth relationship that was essential to secure that objective. The constitutional issues were considered carefully in Ottawa as in London, though in both capitals policy-makers were at least as concerned with the political and strategic implications of the decision for the Commonwealth and the western alliance (Documents 772 to 821). The evaluation in Ottawa of the significance of India, as a vital link to Asia and a possible bulwark of sympathetic policies in that region, contributed as well to the contemplation of concessions on immigration from India (Documents 754 and 755) and to the importance assigned to the visit to Ottawa of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (Documents 858 to 865). Although no equivalent gesture was made to the Republic of Ireland in time to affect its relationship with the rest of the Commonwealth, Canada and the other members did contrive to maintain preferential treatment of Irish citizens and goods (Documents 831 to 843). In other respects, however, Canada's relationship with the Commonwealth followed familiar lines, particularly with an expressed aversion to definite commitments to Commonwealth consultation as well as to public indications of the differences between it and other members (Documents 766 to 771).
As in the past, Canada's bilateral relations with Commonwealth countries other than the United Kingdom were conspicuously less important than the attention to that multilateral association would imply. Moreover, the Anglo-Canadian agenda was dominated by questions of finance and trade, which were inextricably linked to Canada's other principal bilateral relationship, that with the United States. The interdependence of the North Atlantic Triangle in this realm was underlined by the tri-partite talks in Washington involving the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Finance (Documents 593 and 594), as well as by the crises which preceded and the devaluations which followed those meetings. Neither the elusive prospect of Canadian-American free trade nor the eventual advantages of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade nor even the implications of the North Atlantic Treaty for European integration and transAtlantic trade could distract Canadian policy-makers from the more immediate benefits of off-shore purchases under the Marshall Plan and the necessity for a fundamental understanding between the sterling and dollar economies. The differences in outlook and consequent tensions between Britain and Canada in matters of finance and trade became even more acute near the end of the year (Documents 633 to 651), but the more typical response in Ottawa was reluctant acknowledgement, often acceptance, that the two partners were drifting apart.
Of course, a contrary trend had been evident for many years in Canadian-American relations, one that was reinforced by developments in Canada's post-war economy and by the pervasive influence of the Cold War. The reasons why Canada should align itself with its southern neighbour in the global confrontation were as myriad as the inter-connections between the two countries. St. Laurent's visit to Washington in February simply confirmed the obvious importance of continental co-operation, while the varied agenda for his talk with President Harry Truman gave only a hint of the range of questions which arose regularly. One perennial topic was the St. Lawrence seaway and power project, for which the American administration was unable to dredge a passage through Congress. With hindsight one can claim that progress on that scheme was made in 1949, but it was hardly evident at the time.
In other regions, notably the North and Newfoundland, Canadian policy-makers were more anxious to restrain than to inspire their American counterparts. The military implications of Soviet-American conflict, as well as Canada's unfortunate location between the two superpowers, enhanced the importance of the Arctic and consequently the potential for disagreement over questions of sovereignty. But the documentation prepared for the visit to Ottawa of the American Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson, as well as the discussions which took place then, also demonstrated the unique rapport between two countries whose fates were so completely entwined. When the Cabinet Defence Committee examined Canada's defence requirements (Documents 918 and 919), this country's strategic position, as well as the connection between continental and North Atlantic defence, was underlined.
Most other bilateral relationships tended to be marginal interests for Canada, which attracted attention as a consequence of the arrival of a visitor or the revival of an irritant. By its normal standards, Ottawa was nearly inundated by a tidal wave of foreign ministers in the autumn of 1949. While the visits of Ernest Bevin (Documents 868 and 869) and Robert Schuman (Documents 1004 and 1005) were certainly welcome, the reception for Count Sforza (Document 1009) was less enthusiastic and that for Sir Zafrulla Khan (Document 867) was carefully measured against the treatment of the Indian Prime Minister. The vexatious struggle over custody of the Polish Art Treasures still complicated relations between Canada and Poland as well as the federal government's dealings with Quebec (Documents 1010-1017). Exchanges, whether of information or of propaganda, dominated the bleak landscape of Soviet-Canadian relations. The outcome of the civil war in China, with its implications for Canadian residents and for international relations generally, prompted an exceptional review of "Policy Towards Communist China" in early November (Document 1050), but it was still expected that Canada would recognize the new regime sometime in 1950 (Document 1055). That question too would ultimately be decided by the ebb and flow of the Cold War.
For this documentary record of Canada's international relations in 1949, I have drawn principally on the files of the Department of External Affairs (now the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade), the Privy Council Office and the Department of Finance, supplemented by other departmental records as necessary as well as by collections of private papers in the National Archives of Canada, including those of Louis S. St. Laurent, Lester B. Pearson, Hume Wrong and Escott Reid. The guidelines for the selection of documents in this volume remain those quoted in the introduction to Volume 7 in this series. The editorial devices are described in the introduction to Volume 9. A dagger (t) indicates that a document has not been printed in this volume; an ellipsis (...) represents an editorial omission. I had full access to the records of the Department of External Affairs in the preparation of this volume.
That task was made considerably easier by the assistance of many people. As always, the staff of the National Archives of Canada were courteous and helpful. Historians of Canada's international relations owe a particular debt of gratitude to the personnel of the Military and International Records Unit of the Government Archives Division. The specialized knowledge and helpful disposition of Paul Marsden, Paulette Dozois and David Smith were especially welcome. The staff of the Jules L€ger Library of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade also generously shared their time and knowledge. Several research assistants were employed at various times during this project: Michel Beauregard, Neal Carter, Christopher Cook, Lisa Dillon, Brian Hearnden, Ted Kelly, Steven Lee, Leigh Sarty and Jacqueline Shaw have all helped to make an unwieldy mass of paper more manageable. My fellow editor, Greg Donaghy, and I were able to divide responsibility for overlapping subjects between the 1949 and 1950 volume in a manner which made sense to us. I have also appreciated the advice and forbearance of the general editor of the series, John Hilliker, particularly when my other responsibilities distracted me from this volume. The publication of this book owes much to the commitment and confidence of several managers, most recently and notably Mary Jane Starr, Alan Darisse and Peter Lloyd, to whom I express my thanks. Jordan, Nesbitt and Associates Ltd. of Ottawa prepared the manuscript for publication. I would like to express my profound appreciation for the remarkably high standard of their work as well as for the good grace and efficiency with which they responded to the sometimes peculiar demands of this project. The company's editorial team, led by Norman Hillmer and Bruce Nesbitt, included Ann Gregory, David MacKenzie, R.L. Gabrielle Nishiguchi, Jean Pariseau, Boris Stipernitz, Marie Trudeau and Susan Villeneuve. Within the Historical Section, they were aided by Ted Kelly and Janet Ritchie. As with the previous volume in this series, my editorial work was facilitated by assistance from Maria Horner and the late hare Horner, as well as by vital support from Kathy Giles-Mackenzie, Anna Mackenzie and Sarah Mackenzie.
I have also benefited in this project, as in previous work, from the exceptional insight, intelligence, wit and understanding, as well as the generous friendship, of the late Ian Drummond. Ian taught me to see the various bilateral and multilateral themes in Canada's international economic relations as aspects of a complete and comprehensible picture. The seventh chapters in volumes 14 and 15 of this series are attempts to apply that lesson.
All of those mentioned above have assisted me in some way with the preparation of this volume, but I am responsible as editor for the selection of documents.
December 12, 1994
2J. Murray Beck, Pendulum of Power: Canada's Federal Elections (Scarborough, 1968), pp. 259-75.
2Geoffrey A.H. Pearson, Seize the Day: Lester B. Pearson and Crisis Diplomacy (Ottawa, 1993), p. 10. John English, in The Worldly Years: The Life of Lester Pearson, It: 1949-1972 (Toronto. 1992), comments that Pearson's "own administrative skills were not much admired" (p. 9). In his memoirs The Things That Are Caesar's (Toronto, 1972), Heeney observed that "Pearson had little time, indeed little taste, for administrative problems. His flair was for developing and negotiating avenues of solution, for action at the policy level. It has often been said and written of him that he disliked the business of running a department and that, in consequence, he was no good at it, and that he left to his officials, ultimately his deputy minister, the unpleasant decisions of personnel management and housekeeping" (p. 98). With their distinct talents and interests, as J.L. Granatstein has noted, Pearson and Heeney complemented one another well. See A Man of Influence: Norman A. Robertson and Canadian Statecraft, 1929-1968 (Toronto, 1981), p. 241.
3Pearson, Seize the Day, chapter I: Report of the Department of External Affairs, Canada, 1949 (Ottawa, 1950), pp. 8. 11-12. On administrative developments, sec also the official history by John Billiker and Donald Barry, Canada's Department of External Affairs, II: Coming of Age, 1946-1968 (Montreal and Kingston, 1995), chapter 2.
4Report, 1949, p. 77; Royal Commission on Conditions of Foreign Service (Ottawa, 1981), pp. 100.101. Even so, the number of officers grew by over 10%, while the overall size of the Department grew by under 4%n. One consequence of Newfoundland's entry into Confederation was that it eliminated the need for diplomatic representation in St. John's.