The Cold War in Asia continued to demand the sustained attention of Canadian policy-makers throughout 1955. Early in the year, the simmering dispute between Communist China and the Republic of China over Formosa (Taiwan) and the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu threatened to escalate into a direct Sino-American confrontation. As the United States prepared to defend Chinese Nationalist forces in Formosa against Communist attack, Ottawa recoiled from the prospect of renewed conflict in Asia. The crisis raised fundamental questions about the nature and limitations of Canada's Cold War alliance with Washington. For that reason, the documentation in Chapter VII traces in some detail Canadian efforts to mediate between the two antagonists, to restrain the United States and, finally, to distance Canada from the American crusade.
The crisis led the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester B. Pearson, down interesting pathways -- some unusual, others more familiar. American nuclear posturing during the confrontation with Peking forced the minister and his department to confront the difficult issues associated with modern nuclear tactics (Documents 736 to 740), and reinforced the department's determination to come to terms with the constraints on Canadian foreign and defence policy in the nuclear age (Document 789). More immediately, the crisis encouraged Pearson to renew his search for some method to admit Communist China to the United Nations (Document 748).
Formosa dominated discussion at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' meeting in February, where Pearson accompanied Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent at the invitation of the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden. Pearson's entertaining account of the social, political and diplomatic intrigues of this international gathering (Document 241) belied its importance. In a reprise of their effort to end the Korean War during the 1953 Prime Minister's conference, Eden and Pearson joined the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in an unsuccessful search for a strategy to defuse the Formosan crisis.
Nehru's prominent role at the Prime Ministers' conference was noted in Ottawa, and prompted Canadian officials to conclude "that the Commonwealth ... is to a very considerable extent dependent on the importance the Indians attach to it" (Document 246). This view is reflected in the large number of documents on Canada's relations with India reprinted in the chapter on the Commonwealth. Although these pages cover the normal range of aid-related topics that has characterized Commonwealth relations in recent volumes of Documents on Canadian External Relations, it is dominated by documentation on Canada's decision to give India an experimental nuclear reactor. Intended in part to secure New Delhi's support in the Cold War, this gesture also represented an early effort to commercialize Canada's nuclear power industry (Documents 254 to 285). Indeed, economic considerations quickly came to drive Canadian policy in this field.
Despite Ottawa's efforts to reinforce its ties with New Delhi, Indo-Canadian relations deteriorated in 1955, strained by differences over the role of the three international control commissions established in 1954 to safeguard the fragile peace in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (Chapter VII). The commissions also complicated Canada's relations with its closest Western allies, the United Kingdom and the United States. In Laos, Canada came under strong pressure from Washington and London to bring the Pathet Lao to task for refusing to abide by the terms of the Geneva Agreement. In Vietnam, the American-sponsored President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, worked hard to undermine the international commission and foster an indefinite stalemate. As the prospect of a deadlock in Vietnam loomed, Canadian officials were forced to consider Canada's future role on the commissions. Their reassessment, which continued into 1956, was no easy task: "The unhappy dilemma in which we are placed is that there are abundant reasons for our seeking to get the Commissions out of Indochina as soon as possible but on the other hand it would be a terrible responsibility to break the delicate structure on which the peace of Asia might depend" (Document 640).
In contrast to the dangers that lurked in Asia, the prospects for peace and stability in Europe seemed more hopeful in 1955 than they had for a long time. The July summit meeting in Geneva, where American, French, British and Soviet leaders gathered for the first time since 1945, seemed to herald a period of reduced international tension. The respite was short-lived, and collapsed in the autumn of 1955 when the Foreign Ministers of the four Great Powers failed to agree on concrete measures to improve East-West relations. As the substantial collection of documents in the chapter on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) demonstrates, Canada paid close attention to these developments. The NATO consultations, which preceded both the summit and the disappointing Foreign Ministers' meeting, provided Ottawa with an opportunity to discuss and to influence (however slightly) Western strategy at an important point in the Cold War.
The NATO chapter also contains its share of material on more familiar subjects. Canada's determination to secure a voice in any United States decision to employ nuclear weapons reappears here in a new guise. The section on the Tripartite Alerts Agreement records the secret Anglo-American-Canadian search for an effective means of allied consultation in the event of a nuclear crisis. The chapter documents two other persistent Canadian preoccupations in the North Atlantic Alliance: non-military co-operation and mutual aid. In the spring of 1955, over the objections of his officials and fellow ministers, Pearson revived the question of non-military co-operation in an exercise that underlined the ambiguity surrounding Canada's attitude to the provisions of NATO's Article II, the so-called "Canadian article." Diminishing international tensions, a factor behind this initiative, also encouraged Ottawa to reduce its mutual aid contributions. But as the documents on the allocation of aircraft to Germany reveal, mutual aid was becoming a more complex business, involving an uneasy mixture of military, political, and commercial considerations.
Canada's perspective on the Soviet bloc's efforts to normalize relations with the West was unique. In May, a high-level Polish delegation arrived in Ottawa for bilateral trade discussions, a step leading to negotiations on a broad range of issues (Chapter V). More important, Pearson travelled to Moscow in October, becoming the first NATO Foreign Minister to visit the Soviet Union. The Canadian clearly enjoyed his encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, whom he described "as blunt and volatile as only a Ukrainian peasant, turned one of the most powerful men in the world, can be" (Document 537). Even so, as the documentation on wheat sales to the Soviet Union and official visits from Communist countries demonstrate, Ottawa treated Moscow's advances with a great deal of caution and suspicion.
Canada's reserve was prudent. Moscow's overtures to the West were offset by the establishment of the Warsaw Pact (Document 545) and by Communist meddling in the Middle East, where Czechoslovakian arms sales to Egypt threatened the region's precarious stability (Document 552). By the end of the year, as the "spirit of Geneva" evaporated, NATO grimly concluded that the "balance of capabilities [...was] tilting against the Atlantic community as the milder tactics of the Soviet leaders ... produced a relaxation of effort on the part of the NATO countries" (Document 231).
Defence questions continued to be an important aspect of Canada's relationship with the United States. Canada's approach to bilateral defence issues was characterized by a careful regard for its sovereign prerogatives. However, it was becoming increasingly clear that Ottawa was finding it difficult to bear its full share of the financial burden resulting from North America's expanding defence activities. This theme runs through the material documenting the debate between the Departments of National Defence and External Affairs over Canadian participation in the operation of the Distant Early Warning Line (Documents 324 to 337). It also informs the lengthy narrative on continental air defence. This selection weaves together material on nascent bilateral military plans for a joint North American air command with Canada's struggle to develop its own modern jet fighter - the CF-105 or Avro Arrow (Documents 309 to 323). The tension between national and continental approaches to North American air defence, already reflected in these documents, would define this question for the rest of the decade.
For the present, however, the principal bilateral issues were agricultural and economic. Canadian farmers and their politicians were increasingly angry with Washington's aggressive marketing of American wheat. The Administration's willingness to use subsidies under the notorious Public Law 480 to sell American wheat in Canada's traditional markets worried ministers and officials alike. Their distress was compounded by mounting Congressional demands for new import restrictions on a host of Canadian exports to the United States. Targeted commodities included oil, lead and zinc, and rye. Although the Administration often took account of Canadian interests when responding to Congress, the restrictive direction of American trade policy was unsettling and left Canadian officials in Washington and Ottawa uncertain how to proceed (Document 399).
As always, transboundary issues had a prominent place on the Canadian-American agenda in 1955. Growing public and Congressional dissatisfaction with the provisions of the 1954 St. Lawrence Seaway agreement governing navigational facilities in the Cornwall area prompted the White House to reopen negotiations in January. The selection of documents on the St. Lawrence Seaway also reflects the Cabinet's interest in ensuring that customs and immigration regulations would allow Canadian companies to bid on Seaway work. The Cabinet was equally interested in the problems associated with Lake Ontario water levels, an awkward technical issue described by Pearson as "controversial and explosive" (Document 466).
The complicated exercise of dividing the continent's natural resources between Canada and the United States continued to worry both countries as the pace of development quickened in the Western regions of North America. The House of Representatives raised alarm bells in Ottawa when it again proposed diverting water from Lake Michigan to meet Chicago's growing needs, threatening Canada's navigation and power interests in the lower Great Lakes (Document 483). In the International Joint Commission, whose engineering teams were busy surveying the Columbia River basin, the two countries jostled for position, aware that negotiations on the future of this international river lay just over the horizon (Documents 475 to 482). Further west and north, the questions were more fundamental and sensitive, involving the border itself. These, however, are not covered in this volume as four documents on Dixon Entrance and Hecate Strait and one document on Arctic Sovereignty, selected for publication, were withheld under the provisions of the Access to Information legislation.
Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent played only a minor foreign policy role during the year, leaving most questions in Pearson's experienced hands. When absent, the Secretary of State for External Affairs was normally replaced by Paul Martin, the Minister of National Health and Welfare. Martin's growing confidence in this role and the political sensibilities he brought to the portfolio are evident in his handling of American underwater nuclear tests (Documents 346 to 349). More important, as head of the Canadian Delegation to the 10th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Martin was the primary mover in the successful campaign to resolve the long stalemate among the major powers over the admission of new members (Documents 4 to 40). Other Cabinet ministers with significant foreign policy responsibilities included Ralph Campney, the Minister of National Defence, and Walter Harris, the Minister of Finance. C.D. Howe retained his considerable influence over foreign economic policy as Minister of Trade and Commerce and Minister of Defence Production.
The senior ranks of the Department of External Affairs were largely unchanged. Jules Léger remained Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, assisted for much of the year by R.A. MacKay. MacKay carried out the duties of Associate Under-Secretary until August 1955, when he replaced David M. Johnson as Permanent Representative to the United Nations. At about the same time, R.M. Macdonnell was promoted to Deputy Under-Secretary. Also supporting Léger were three experienced Assistant Under-Secretaries: John Holmes, Jean A. Chapdelaine and Max Wershof, who was also the Department's Legal Advisor.
There was no change in representation at Canada's key posts abroad. Dana Wilgress remained Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council and Representative to the Organization for European Economic Co-operation, and Norman A. Robertson stayed in London as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Arnold Heeney and Georges Vanier continued as Ambassadors to the United States and France, respectively.
Like other recent volumes in this series, Volume 21 is based primarily on the records of the Department of External Affairs and the Privy Council Office. These records were supplemented where necessary by the private papers of Cabinet ministers and senior officials, and the files of the Departments of National Defence, Finance, and Trade and Commerce. In preparing this volume, I was given complete access to the files of the Department of External Affairs and generous access to other collections. A complete list of the archival sources examined in the preparation of this volume may be found on page xxv.
The selection of documents continues to be guided by the general principles outlined in the Introduction to Volume 7 (pp. ix-xi), as amended in the Introduction to Volume 20 (p. xxiii). In short, the series tries to provide a "self-contained record of the major foreign policy decisions taken by the Government of Canada," by focussing intensively on Canada's most important bilateral and multilateral relationships and on the major international issues that directly involved the members of the Cabinet in substantive policy decisions.
The editorial devices used in this volume are similar to those described in the Introduction to Volume 9 (p. xix). A dagger indicates a document that has not been printed. Editorial excisions are shown by an ellipsis (...). The phrase "group corrupt" indicates decryption problems in the transmission of the original telegram. Words and passages that were struck out by the author, marginal notes and distribution lists are reproduced as footnotes only when important. Unless otherwise indicated, it is assumed that documents have been read by the addressee. Proper and place names are standardized. The editor has silently corrected spelling, punctuation and capitalization, as well as transcription errors whose meaning is clear from their context. All other editorial additions to the body of the text are indicated by the use of square brackets. Documents are reprinted in either English or French, depending on their language of origin.
The preparation of this volume was a collective effort. The Historical Section continues to depend on the expertise of the staff at the National Archives of Canada for help in locating relevant records. Paulete Dozois, Paul Marsden and Dave Smith of the Government Archives Division responded generously and efficiently to requests for assistance. Ciuineas Boyle, Access to Information Co-ordinator at the Privy Council Office, facilitated access to classified Cabinet records for the period. The Honourable Paul Martin Jr. graciously granted me access to his father's personal papers. My overseas colleagues, Heather Yasamee and Dr. Keith Hamilton of Records and Historical Services, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, helped arrange for the declassification of several important British documents. William Burr of the National Security Archive, Washington D.C., was also helpful in this respect.
Ted Kelly edited the chapter on the United Nations and prepared a preliminary selection of material for the chapter on Europe. With customary thoroughness, he guided the volume through production. Christopher Cook remained my principal research assistant, joined for short periods of time by Joseph McHattie, Nelson Joannette, Michael Stevenson and Paul Anderson. Boris Stipernitz aided with the research, compiled the index, and provided thoughtful and cogent advice. A better team would be hard to find.
Isabel Campbell of the Department of National Defence's Directorate of History and Heritage provided guidance on Canadian defence policy in the mid-1950s. Her colleague, Gabrielle Nishiguchi, cleared up my confusion over Japanese immigration. John English, the author of an excellent biography of Pearson, responded graciously to my many and varied queries. Norman Hillmer, who edited an earlier volume in this series, was the source of practical advice and encouragement. My colleague (and another veteran editor), Hector Mackenzie, read and commented on parts of my selection. The general editor of Documents on Canadian External Relations, and head of the Historical Section, John Hilliker, offered sound advice leavened with patient good humour. The series would not be possible without the administrative support of the director of the Communications Programs and Outreach Division, Gaston Barban. I remain solely responsible for the final selection of documents in this volume.
The Historical Section provides the supplementary text and coordinates the technical preparation of the volume. The manuscript was typed and formatted by Aline Gélineau. Mr. Yvon Litalien of the Translation Bureau provided the French for most of the footnotes, the captions and the ancillary text. My colleagues in the Communications Services Division, Francine Fournier and Julia Gualtieri, provided editorial guidance. Gail Kirkpatrick Devlin proofread the manuscript, composed the list of persons and refined the layout.
This volume was prepared under some unusual circumstances, and its completion owes much to the vital support of Mary and Katherine Donaghy.