In a note, dated 6th February 1947, prepared in the Department for your use in connection with a resolution in the name of Mr. Tremblay25 on the subject of expansion of the Canadian Consular Service the following statement appears at paragraph 10:
"It may well be that before long we shall be able to begin relieving the British Consuls, especially in the United States, of the work they do so admirably on our behalf."
2. Successive Canadian Ministers and Ambassadors at Washington have on many occasions urged upon the Department the necessity of increased Canadian consular representation in the United States. The present Ambassador has recently added his voice to this demand. However at this time with the exception of Washington and New York practically all our consular work in the United States is done by British Consuls.
3. It has for years been anomalous that our own Canadian problems should he the responsibility, in the territory of our nearest neighbour, of United Kingdom officials. It has been argued, tint without cogency, that from the standpoint of practical utility and service to Canada and Canadians extension of consular representation in the United States might well have taken precedence over the despatch of new diplomatie missions to some other parts of The world. In any event, until the present there has been little opportunity to deal with the question except in the realm of general discussion.
4. It will be recalled however that at the beginning of this year a new Division was set up in the Department charged expressly with the responsibility for dealing with consular affairs. The organization of the Consular Division has now reached a point at which it is possible to make a thorough examination of the whole position in the United States, with a view to a programme of expansion there. Moreover an element of urgency has been injected by a decision of the Department of Trade and Commerce to close certain of its offices in the United States on the ground that while necessity exists for consular representation at the points concerned, viz, Chicago and Los Angeles, there is no need for trade officers at those places. The Department of Trade and Commerce naturally enquires what action in the premises the Department of External Affairs may wish to take.
5. Another element in these considerations arises from the fact that there has been some loose chatter in the United States about Canada taking over its own consular representation from the British. Exaggerated reports have given rise of sonic uneasiness, on the part of the British Consuls, which it is desirable to allay.
6. It is the practice of the United Kingdom service to hold semi-annual conferences of Consuls, the next of which is to take place at Washington from April 29th to May 3rd next. The Canadian Ambassador at Washington has been able to arrange with the British Ambassador there for the Chief of our Consular Division to attend the conference and sit in with the British Consuls in their discussions. By no other means could we get a better opportunity of explaining to the British Consuls what is in our mind, getting to know the persons concerned and obtaining a picture of the problem in general terms. It is the ideal platform from which to launch a detailed investigation.
7. It is therefore proposed that at the conclusion of the conference the Chief of the Consular Division should undertake a tour of those cities of the United States which, from our general knowledge and from more detailed information gathered from the British Consuls, seem to be the most likely sites for Canadian Consulates. At each of these he will spend a few days with the British Consul and/or the Canadian Trade Commissioner making a detailed appraisal of the situation. As at present contemplated this tour embraces New York, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and possibly, New Orleans and Miami.
8. It is expected that on his return to Ottawa towards the middle of June the Department will be able with some accuracy to assess the needs, estimate the costs, establish an order of priority for opening of Consulates and otherwise proceed on firm ground in accordance with an orderly plan.
9. It is tentatively estimated that adequate Canadian consular representation in the United States might ultimately require a total of eight Consulates including the existing post at New York. An immediate practical programme might contemplate four new offices by the end of this year.
10. W. On the assumption that a programme of four new offices this year will be achieved, preliminary staffing discussions are proceeding between the Department and the Civil Service Commission.
11. In view of the importance of the matter, it is requested that general approval may be given to the plans outlined above.26
25Peut-étre L- DS. Tremblay, député libéral à la Chambre des communes (Dorchester, Québec). Possibly L- D.S. Tremblay, Liberal Member of Parliament (Dorchester, P.Q.).
26Note marginale:/Marginal note:
I fully agree. L.S. St. L[aurent]