Volume #13 - 23.|
CONDUCT OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR REPRESENTATION
Draft letter from Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to High Commissioner Designate in India
February 25, 1947|
Dear Mr. Kearney:
It is our practice to give a Chief of Mission proceeding to a post in the Canadian external service an informal letter outlining some of the questions which will be the special concern of the mission, and mentioning matters in which the Department of External Affairs has a particular interest.
9. Internal Policy:
(1) The study of political trends within India will be of major interest and value. From time to time we should be glad to have your appreciation of the character, policies, and influence of the main political parties.
(2) It would be useful to have information on Indian postwar plans for industrial reconstruction and agricultural development.
(3) Indian developments in the constitutional field will be of considerable interest to this and other departments of the Canadian government. I am sure that your reports on India's approach to certain problems, similar to our own, in civil, crimi¬nal, or constitutional law would be of special value.
(4) Notes on outstanding Indian political leaders and on Commonwealth or for¬eign representatives in New Delhi will always be welcome to the Departrnent. From time to time an appreciation of the Indian press might be useful.
(5) Other questions of internal affairs on which you may wish to report include plans for defence forces, strength and influence of the Communist party, dernands and activities of Indian trade unions.
10. Trade and Economic Questions:
(1) The table which follows indicates the development of trade between Canada and India during the past ten years:
(2) The tremendous increase in Canadian exports to India was, in part, war mate¬rial for the Allied forces. Thus over $125,000,000 of the Canadian exports of $307,000,000 to India in 1945 was spent for trucks, automobiles, and parts, loco¬motives and railway cars and parts. A large percentage of these exports was undoubtedly used for war purposes. Another $23,000,000 was spent for cartridges and $30,000,000 for wheat. The second main reason for this increase in Canadian exports is the inability of the United Kingdom to produce for export a sufficient quantity of automobiles and locomotives and their parts. The result has been that this trade has been diverted to Canada.
(3) Canada's Reciprocal Tariff of 1897 was extended to British India, as the Indian tariff of that time, 5% ad valorem on all goods, was regarded as reciprocal in character. In 1898, when the Canadian Reciprocal Tariff took the name of British Preferential Tariff, the preference to India was maintained, and has never been withdrawn. On the other hand, India has not accorded Canadian goods any tariff preference. Negotiations between Canada and India have been proceeding intermit¬tently since 1932 but so far have not resulted in a trade agreement. In 1927 India created preferences for United Kingdom steel products, in 1930 for cotton textiles, and in 1932, under a trade agreement, granted the United Kingdom a 10%. ad valorem advantage on many commodities and 71/2% on a few others. The trade agreement preferences to the United Kingdom were reduced in number in 1932. Indian tariff rates, most of them called "revenue" but some "protective", have saved imports from the old 5% ad valorem tariff.
(4) India adopted an import .license system which became effective on May 28, 1940. The system favours Canada and other Empire countries, except Hong Kong, as compared with foreign countries. The only goods of Canadian origin requiring import license are: canned or bottled jams, jellies, pickles, sauces, and condiments; patent medicines; motor vehicles and parts; tires and tubes and miscellaneous rub¬ber goods, but not footwear, or apparel; greeting cards, calendars, copy books and some other stationery. Concerning the preserved goods in the first group, it was announced that no licenses would be issued .for imports from non-sterling coun¬tries, but with regard to the others, licenses are to be issued on a percentage df prewar normal imports. In addition to the goods already mentioned, the following goods, (in all, a total of 60 tariff items) require import licence when imported from any foreign country: jewellery, silk, soup, toilet requisites, bicycles, gramophones, radios, lead pencils, beer, tobacco, confectionery, furs, some leathers, furniture, draperies, apparel, umbrellas, toys and games, hardware, enamelled ware, cutlery.
(5) A limited form of exchange control is in effect but involves no delay or uncertainty of payments for properly authorized imports from Canada. The opening of letters of credit in payment of imports from various countries into India requires the approval of the exchange authorities in London.
(6) There is in India a disposition to favour a protectionist policy in order to proceed with a programme for raising the standard of living of the Indian masses by progressive industrialisation as well as by agrarian development. This growth of protectionist sentiment is by no means peculiar to India, and is perhaps inevitable there until India's competitive position in world markets improves. It appears, how¬ever, to be in the interest of Canada, and in the long-range interest of all countries, including India, to encourage the promotion of multilateral trade, on the basis of equality, through international agreements, and maximum collaboration between nations in their domestic economic policies. If, therefore, without appearing to intervene in the determination by India of its own tariff policies, it seems possible at any time to assist discreetly in ensuring that this aspect of the situation is not overlooked, advantage might be taken of the opportunity.
(7) The Department will be glad to be kept informed of any tendencies in India towards multilateralism, or alternately, of any tendencies towards bilateral methods and more restrictive devices.
(8) While the Canadian Government Trade Commissioner Service, in India as elsewhere, forwards detailed reports on trade matters to the Department of Trade and Commerce, it will be of advantage for the Department of External Affairs to have your personal appreciation of general developments affecting Canadian trade with India.
(9) It would be useful also, both for this Departrnent and for the Department of Finance, to have reports on India's financial position, on its budgeting, and on its balance of payments position.
(10) Information would be welcome, too, on exchange controls, price controls, and any arrangements for rationing.
11. You may wish to send us an interpretative despatch now and then on general political and economic developments in India. Such a despatch would review the main internal and external policies and developments of the period and analyse the trends in public opinion. These reports would summarise and supplement despatches on particular questions. It is hoped that in your despatches, in addition to including factual material, you will give us the benefit of your own opinions and your appreciation of a situation.
12. (a) It might be useful occasionally to examine the extent and effect of Cana¬dian publicity in India, and the value of developing closer cultural relations. By encouraging the use by Indian newspapers and periodicals of Canadian informa¬tion, both news and background material, much can be done to strengthen common interests and to increase the knowledge and understanding of Canadian affairs in India.
(b) The usual information material, including Canadian Information Service pub¬lications and government reports as well as miscellaneous items, will be sent to the Canadian mission in India, but special material for special purposes can always be prepared at your request. It is sometimes possible for missions to obtain Canadian films, paintings, and other graphic publicity material for display.
13. British East Indians in Canada:
It may be useful for you to have some observations on the position of British East Indians in Canada. Clarification seems desirable on three distinct points: (1) immigration rules; (2) national status rules; (3) civic rights.
(1) The immigration regulations still place restrictions on any Asiatics, including Indians. Order in Council P.C. 2115 of Sept. 16, 1930, prohibits the entry into Can¬ada as immigrants of Asiatics, except the wives and unmarried children under 18 years of age of Canadian citizens legally resident in Canada and in a position to care for their dependents. This provision applies to British Indians among other Asiatics. It is a form of discrirninatory legislation which Indians resent. It may be observed that a general reaction against specific discriminatory immigration legislation on racial grounds appears to be taking shape in Canada; the repeal of the present Chinese Immigration Act will remove a conspicuous example of discrimi¬nation against Asiatics from a single country.
(2) (a) After legal entry into Canada under the immigration regulations, there is no discrimination against Indians as to nationality or citizenship. It may be useful to outline the status in Canada, under the recent Canadian Citizenship Act, of Brit¬ish East Indians. The Act contains no discrimination of any sort on a racial basis. Indians who have the status of British subject continue, under the new Act, to be regarded as British subjects for purposes of Canadian law. Any Indian in Canada who entered the country legally, who had the status of British subject, and who had been domiciled in Canada for at least 5 years prior to January 1, 1947, became a Canadian citizen automatically on that date. For Indians who entered Canada prior to January 1 but had not acquired domicile here on that date, or who have entered or may enter since January I, formal acquisition of a certificate is necessary before they become Canadian citizens. The requirements are the same as for any other British subject and include residence of 5 years in Canada, except in the case of wives of Canadian citizens, where one year of residence is sufficient.
(b) It may be noted that the Canadian Citizenship Act, in listing the countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations, omits in Schedule I the name of India. Attention should be drawn to the phrase "for purposes of this Act"; and also to Article 28, which refers to British subjects "under the laws of any country of the British Commonwealth." India has no separate nationality laws (those of the United Kingdom apply), and consequently has not been listed in the Schedule. As soon as India prescribes nationality laws of its own, India will be included in Schedule I, not by an amendment to the Act, but "by proclamation under the Act."
(3) (a) In the matter of civil rights, there is discrimination in only one province,' British Columbia; and there is some prospect that the British Columbia Legislature rnay shortly take steps towards removing this.
(b) There are about 1,800 British East Indians in Canada; approximately 92% of them live in the province of British Columbia. Legally, they have certain political rights in common with other Canadian citizens: they are eligible for appointment to the Senate, and may be candidates for election to the House of Commons; they may be members of the Cabinet, and are eligible for any office or appointment in the public service of Canada. The Dominion Elections Act provides, however, that per¬sons disqualified from the provincial franchise on grounds of race in the province in which they reside cannot vote in federal elections. Persons of Asiatic race are so disfranchised in British Columbia by provincial law; consequently, in that province Indians can vote in a federal election only if they served in the armed forces of Canada. .
(c) During the past 25 years them have been numerous representations to the Canadian Government from Indian societies in Canada, and prominent Indians con¬nected with the Government of India, for the removal of those political discrimina¬tions. In December, 1946, the Government of India brought the matter officially to our attention, "urging upon the Canadian Government the desirability of persuad¬ing the British Columbia Government to avail of the present opportunity and take steps to confer franchise on the small Indian community in that province and thus rectify the present anomalous position which is a source of humiliation to Indians" The Prirne Minister of Canada has brought the views of the Indian Government to the attention of the Premier of British Colurnbia. A special committee of the British Columbia Legislature, which has been studying the provincial Elections Act with a view to rnodifying its provisions, has recommended extension of the franchise to Canadian-born East Indians and Chinese. It is expected that a bill based on the committee's report will shortly be introduced into the provincial Legislature.
(d) In British Columbia Asiatics, including Indians, may not be candidates at a provincial election. They may not vote at municipal or school elections, though it is thought they could legally be candidates. They may not serve as jurors, nor be admitted to the professions of law and pharmacy; they are excluded (in practice) from the provincial civil service; they may not participate in public works con¬tracts, obtain a license for hand-logging, nor be employed in the sale of Crown timber.
14. Miscellaneous Administrative Items:
(1) In addition to the annual report of a mission, which is forwarded each year to reach Ottawa before the end of December, an annual Post Report on living condi¬tions should also be furnished. This matter will be the subject of a special despatch at a later date.
(2) In the past some missions have sent many newspaper clippings. These are of limited value and should be sent only rarely. They should not take tne place of a despatch, and a despatch accompanied by clippings should read intelligibly without reference to them.
(3) When missions abroad wish a matter to he taken up with any particular department or agency in Ottawa, they should communicate with the Department of External Affairs. Similarly, if offices abroad receive communications from other Departments or agencies in Ottawa they should, generally speaking, either reply through the Department of External Affairs or forward copies of the correspon¬dence and inform the Department of any action taken. Tnere may be exceptions to the above rule. In the past, certain routine matters have been handled by correspon¬dence which does not pass through the Department. In such cases it is desired that missions should inform this Department of the existence of this correspondence and of its general character.
(4) A separate set of instructions and regulations will be prepared covering that part of the work of the rnission which has to do with immigration matters and duties similar to those performed in foreign countries by consular officers.
15. In conclusion, I should repeat that this letter is intended to be only a general indication of some of the issues and topics in which we are interested. If there are any points which you would like to have expanded, we shall he glad to go into them with you at any time.