Volume #12 - 605.|
UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
Memorandum from Head, Information Division,|
to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs
January 30th, 1946|
At Mr. Claxton's request, I am sending him the attached memorandum on UNESCO and expect to supply him with at least one more.1 He is giving some consideration to the possibility of raising the matter of the National Commission, as called for under the UNESCO Constitution,1 at some stage of the Dominion-Provincial Conference, because if such a body is decided upon by the Federal Government it would presumably have to be set up in conjunction with the provincial governments so far as its educational aspect was concerned. The idea of a continuing Dominion-Provincial committee, serving the national purpose in this way, might appeal to the provinces now.
T. W. L. M[ACDERMOT]
[Ottawa,] February 2; 1946 [sic]
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO
A National Commission, broadly representative of the educational, scientific and cultural interests of the nation, is an integral part of the UNESCO machinery in each country member. It would speak for these interests and advise the government from this point of view. Through its head office and secretary, the work of UNESCO could be transmitted to all parts of Canada by the government.
Such a body, however, has other useful possibilities.1 At present, the Department of External Affairs, alone, receives a consider-able number of inquiries and requests through its diplomatic offices abroad, and from other quarters, concerning cultural, scientific, and educational matters. These include:
a) offers of scholarships to Canadians by foreign governments
Increasing stress is laid by our representatives on the potential value to Canada, in cultural and in commercial terms, of developing these aspects of our national life. A particular example is the exchange of scholarships which bring foreigners to our shores under the most favourable conditions for studying the country and returning home with an understanding of its institutions, and with numerous personal friends and acquaintances for future contact. There are few more lasting ways of laying foundations for the development of Canadian trade, industry and applied science, and the extension of Canadian influence abroad.
The growth, in variety and volume, of this interest in Canadian intellectual and cultural possibilities is, of course, a direct outcome of the growth of Canada itself as a nation among nations. The fighting power, the industrial expansion, the financial initiative, the political contribution in international affairs, and the now considerable diplomatic service developed during the war, have created a world-wide interest in Canada. On most lines we are nationally equipped to respond to that interest and to satisfy it. On the intellectual and cultural side we are not.
There is no central office, far less a Government Department, through which our educational institutions, and our scientific and cultural organizations, can be collectively informed of the international interest in them, or through which they can reach other nations and governments. Independent effort, and private undertakings, are endeavouring to do something. But they have neither the resources nor the administrative means to deal with the matter on the scale it has now reached.
The Office of the National Commission could serve a most useful purpose, therefore. To it enquiries could be referred, and from it suggestions and projects approved by the universities, or the artists, or the adult educationalists, etc. of the country could be obtained for transmission abroad. It could facilitate special arrangements, conduct correspondence, compile information.
Apart from these immediately practical needs for a central office, there is also need for a medium through which the rather scattered intellectual and cultural life of Canada might be brought together. Its members, French and English speaking, provincially divided, and often too independent to be financially strong, would, by meeting and discussing common problems in the Commission, gradually acquire a national outlook shared by all, and could develop a technique for co-operation. In the early stages many problems would arise, for example, in the appointment of members of the Com-mission. But if the main purpose was made clear, and a tentative, experimental approach to creating a national body was followed, beneficial results might be expected to follow.
1Seulement un des Mémorandums est reproduit ici,
2 See Canada, Treaty Series, 1945, No. 18.