Volume #20 - 435.|
PRIME MINISTER'S TOUR
Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Deputy Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs
February 2nd, 1954|
Dear Mr. [C.S.A.] Ritchie,
The Minister has talked to the Prime Minister about the general line he will follow in conversations during his tour. As you know, Mr. St. Laurent's purpose is to see for himself something of the countries he will visit, especially those in Asia, to meet and talk with leaders in these countries, and to demonstrate to the people of these countries the friendly interest of the Canadian people. His trip is, in the best and largest sense of the term, a "goodwill tour." I enclose a copy of his statement on the tour to the House of Commons on January 29th.
The Prime Minister will, of course, be very much interested in whatever the leaders he talks to are prepared to tell him about their policies and points of view, and he will naturally, where appropriate, explain our policies and points of view. While there are no policy questions which he wishes to raise, there are what might be called general effects which we hope his visit will create in the various countries; and it is probable that leaders in some countries will raise policy questions with him.
France, Germany and Italy
In the papers which we have submitted for inclusion in the Prime Minister's Brief,? you will find references to matters which may be mentioned in discussions in the European countries which you will visit. We have also provided documents which will provide you with background material on some of the main items. You will, of course, find yourself on familiar territory during the European part of the tour both because of your previous experience in that area and because of your responsibilities in the Department which kept you closely in touch with European affairs until a recent date. It seems hardly necessary, therefore, to include in this letter any detailed information about the European countries which you will visit.
We have attempted to cover in the Prime Minister's Brief and the collection of background papers the main items of concern in France, Germany and Italy, but there are a few pieces of unfinished business for which the Missions in those countries will be responsible for providing up-to-date information. In view of the fluid political situations in France and Italy, we have asked the Embassies there to have ready on your arrival up-to-date lists of Government members. We have also asked the Embassy in Bonn to bring up to date a section of the Prime Minister's Brief which reports on developments at the Berlin Conference only up to January 31. We are forwarding to the Embassies in France, Germany and Italy copies of the Briefs for those countries, and it is our hope that the Missions will be able to inform you of any last minute developments which might necessitate revision or amendment of any parts of the Brief prepared here.
As you so well know, one of the most delicate problems of French foreign policy at the moment is the question of ratification of the European Defence Community Treaty. At the recent meeting of the North Atlantic Council, in a subsequent press conference, and in the discussion of external affairs which took place in the House of Commons on January 29, the Minister states quite clearly Canadian support for the EDC while at the same time he expressed understanding for the concern felt by France regarding the new strength of Germany. As you know, the French have reacted sensitively to statements of Sir Winston Churchill and Mr. Dulles which were interpreted as threats directed towards France, in order to prod that country into ratification of the EDC Treaty. Mr. Pearson, however, has been commended in the French press and by political leaders in France because of his understanding attitude and his moderate language. If the question of EDC ratification arises during discussions in France, I should think that the line already laid down with such success by the Minister might well form the basis for the expression of any views on this subject which might be called for during your visit.
In Germany, there is likely to be considerable pre-occupation with developments arising out of the Four-Power Conference now taking place in Berlin. It is obviously not possible for us to provide much guidance either in the Prime Minister's Brief or in this letter for discussions in Germany concerning the Conference. However, the Embassy in Bonn has arranged for regular attendance in Berlin of officers from Bonn and Mr. Davis himself will spend some time in Berlin so long as the Conference is in session. You will have no difficulty, therefore, in learning in detail from the Embassy what happened at the Berlin Conference.
We would hope that during your visit to Rome, your Italian hosts will refrain from putting before you their case on Trieste. We have included a note on Trieste in the Prime Minister's Brief, but, of course, we have not been directly concerned with the delicate negotiations on this subject, and, as you will realize, we wish to avoid any statement which, if it were made public, might prejudice negotiations which are still proceeding. It may be that the Italians will still be pre-occupied with a political crisis when you arrive in that country; the Embassy will be able to report to you on the political situation at that time.
I do not consider that we need to include in this letter any further points of detail regarding France, Germany or Italy. But of course, if it occurs to you that we have omitted in all the material assembled for the tour reference to other matters which you believe to be of importance, do not hesitate to let us know and we shall endeavour by telegram to repair our omissions.
Pakistan, India and Ceylon
In Pakistan, India and Ceylon we hope that the Prime Minister's visit will strengthen a feeling of friendliness toward Canada among leaders and on the part of the people. We also expect that his visit will reinforce the disposition of leaders to keep their countries within the Commonwealth. It should forcibly remind them that the Commonwealth benefits them as well as us, especially as it gives them an opportunity to make their views understood in several important western countries.
As you know, we feel it would do more harm than good to attempt to "sell" any of these leaders on the Commonwealth, or to suggest to the Pakistanis or the Ceylonese that they should retain the link with the Crown. Also, any discussion of ways in which the Commonwealth countries might improve their methods of cooperation is bound to raise a number of contentious issues which might better be left to the leaders of the other countries to raise, if they are raised at all. We nevertheless hope that a somewhat fuller impression of the attitude of these countries toward the Commonwealth may emerge from the tour.
We also hope that Mr. St. Laurent may find an opportunity to allay some of the more extreme fears of Western policy, and in particular of United States policy, which prey on the minds of Indian leaders, and to a lesser extent on the minds of the Ceylonese. This is very delicate ground, since anti-American feeling is strong in India now, at least among the public. The good effect of Mr. St. Laurent's visit could be substantially vitiated by too deliberate an effort to justify United States policy. The wisdom of trying to maintain consistency in what is said in Pakistan and India on Kashmir will be evident. While we fully supported the United Nations approach when we were on the Security Council, we have expressed no views to either side since we ceased to be directly concerned. It might be best to adopt the attitude of one who wishes to understand rather than of one who wishes to advise.
On broad questions of United States policy care is even more desirable, since we cannot, of course, speak for the United States. We can, however, try to help the Indians to understand that the United States' basic aims are essentially peaceful, that the American people are a fine and generous people, and that in any case the United States is only one member, if the leading member, of a group of states which believe in collective defence. Points of this kind can be made in the course of conversation as the general question of United States policy arises, without in any way suggesting that we feel India should alter her policy and, I think, without giving the Indians the impression that we blindly follow the United States line or are attempting to persuade them to agree with it.
We also hope that the Prime Minister's conversations will lead to a fuller understanding here of the policies of the Indians, Pakistanis and the Ceylonese, as well as to a fuller understanding of our policies on their part. The Prime Minister has no desire to attempt any sort of mediation on such contentious issues as Kashmir or United States military aid to Pakistan. Naturally, we would be glad if his private influence in the two capitals were such as to promote a constructive and reasonable attitude towards Indo-Pakistan problems, and we have no doubt that his general effort will be not only to understand the Pakistan and Indian points of view but also to encourage their leaders in an attitude of mutual trust and conciliation.
Initiative, from the Pakistan side will likely be mainly over Kashmir, and perhaps canal waters, and the Indian attitude on the question of United States aid to Pakistan. We do not yet know what lies behind the rather extraordinary Pakistan suggestion that Lieutenant General Simonds and Major-General MacQueen, of Canadian Arsenals Limited, should accompany the Prime Minister in Pakistan. We intend to do nothing about this unless we are approached officially by Pakistan, which now seems most unlikely.
Mr. Nehru will no doubt explain the Indian point of view on the question of United States aid to Pakistan. He will also, I am sure, put before the Prime Minister the Indian point of view on current Korean problems. A recent telegram from New Delhi suggests that the Berlin Conference and the "New Look" in United States Defence policy might be the subject of questions at the Press Conference. Mr. Nehru may also wish to discuss these questions. Indeed he is almost certain to roam over the broad field of Foreign Affairs.
In Ceylon Sir John Kotelawala may explain the Ceylon attitude toward the question of Ceylonese citizens of Indian origin.
In all three countries the question of Colombo Plan assistance will probably come up in a broad context.
Your visit to Indonesia will be brief and we do not expect significant policy questions to be raised there. As you know, southeast Asia is at the farthest corner of the broad Pacific Ocean from Canada and has not been an area of much direct Canadian interest. It is for us today a sort of transitional zone between the Commonwealth countries of South Asia and the nearer Far East countries of the Northwest Pacific. Southeast Asia assumes importance because of the wobbly legs on which the new born states there try to stand, the natural resources of the area, the threat of Chinese Communist imperialism, and the intimate concern of the majority of Commonwealth countries in the area.
As the Indonesian Government looks at many of the broad international questions from a point of view substantially similar to India - and, indeed, looks to Mr. Nehru for leadership - many of the observations made above concerning discussions with Indian leaders will be applicable to discussions in Indonesia. You will be aware of the special Australian interest in Indonesia because the archipelago lies across the route of any invasion from Asia. You will also know that the Australians have made common cause with the Dutch in resisting Indonesian efforts to take over Western New Guinea which was formerly a part of the Netherlands East Indies. These are local issues in which we need not become involved.
Netherlands-Indonesian relations are strained. You will recall that during all our efforts in the Security Council in 1948-49 to resolve the Netherlands-Indonesian dispute we sought to balance our recognition of the legitimate aspirations of the Indonesians for self-government with our recognition that the Netherlands could continue to make an important contribution to the development of Indonesia if a satisfactory partnership could be worked out. We regret that the Netherlands-Indonesian Union has not worked out.
The Canadian interest in Indonesia is to see the development of a democratic nation capable of maintaining its military and economic independence and desirous of cooperating with us and our friends in the international community. To this end we are prepared to extend technical assistance to Indonesia under the Colombo Plan and, of course, welcome all forms of cooperation under the aegis of the United Nations. We think that other nearer neighbours have a more direct interest in defence coordination and for that reason turned down an Indonesian request for a Canadian military training mission. We are, of course, keen on the promotion of commercial relations.
It is difficult to give you advice at this stage regarding the discussion of Korean questions. Events in the coming weeks may outdate current advice. We have tried to bring the brief up to date to the end of January and I think that you will find in it an adequate summary of the positions we have taken on the various issues. We will try to keep Escott Reid in New Delhi up to date on developments likely to come up for discussion in India. Morley Scott will be joining the party in Korea and we will try to ensure that he is brought up to date before he goes over.
We do not anticipate that any difficult policy questions will be brought up for discussion by the Japanese. We now expect that the Commercial Agreement will be signed before the end of February and we hope that the present misunderstanding concerning the sale of 500,000 tons of U.S. surplus wheat to Japan under Section 550 of the MSA Act will be dealt with before your arrival in Japan. 72 The only other possible difficult questions that might be raised concern Japanese emigration to Canada 73 and clemency for major Japanese war criminals. Both of these matters are adequately covered in the brief.
You are no doubt au fait with current developments as they are known in London, and you will be able to keep abreast of further developments in certain fields by consulting with Heads of Missions as the tour proceeds. We will make suitable arrangements to inform you of other developments on important fields in the course of the tour. We will ask Heads of Missions to inform us particularly of any developments of particular significance to the tour, which occur before you arrive at their posts.
The Minister may wish further instructions sent to you from time to time to supplement this letter. To assist us in keeping our finger on the pulse of the tour, we would be glad if you would send us a summary telegraphic report on leaving each capital and we hope you will not hesitate to raise with us any questions on which you would like our advice.
There are a number of points which you will have to play somewhat by ear. For example, the present draft of the Prime Minister's speech in New Delhi contains two paragraphs referring to the United States. If anti-American feeling is high in India when you arrive, it might be advisable to omit these paragraphs.
Notes for the Prime Minister's guidance on meeting the press on arrival and at press conferences have been prepared, but these can only be informed guesses this far in advance, and you, with the assistance of Heads of Missions, should modify or amplify these as necessary.
You will be supplied with a "political" brief in two copies, with some background material compiled separately. You will also have sets of the programmes by countries with as much detail as we now have regarding arrangements. A copy of the brief and of the programme should be available to the Prime Minister at all times when you are in flight. A copy of the Minister's Handbook will be on the plane, along with some suitable books. The Department of National Defence are providing a separate brief. You will also have, for your own use, a brief on administrative questions which missions might raise with you.
We will suggest to Heads of Missions that they endeavour to arrange conversations with officials whenever your time will allow and the Head of Mission feels this would be appropriate and useful. As you know, however, your first duty is to be available to the Prime Minister and to see that, so far as is humanly possible a continuous record of the substance of his conversations is kept in some way. When the Prime Minister is not inclined to dictate to his secretary we hope that he might, when time allows, chat with you after an interview. You will simply have to use your own judgment in deciding how far you yourself can go in arranging matters this way.
You might wish to keep in mind that when he returns, the Prime Minister will report to Parliament and will probably meet the press. It would assist him and us if material for these purposes were progressively prepared. 74
In spite of the many responsibilities which this letter suggests you are to carry we hope that the interest of the trip will have its compensations for you. 75