Volume #13 - 816.|
July 14, 1947|
CANADA'S RELATIONS WITH THE CARIBBEAN COMMISSION|
On October 31, 1946, the Canadian Ambassador in Washington was instructed to inform Mr. Lawrence Cramer, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Commission, that Mr. T. Grant Major, Canadian Trade Commissioner at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, had been designated to serve as Liaison Officer for Canada with the Caribbean Commission. Mr. Cramer agreed to the arrangement, and some weeks after the Commission had moved its headquarters from Washington to Trinidad Mr. Major was officially notified of his appointment in a letter dated February 21, 1947. He was told that his duties would consist mainly in keeping the Canadian Government informed of the activities and plans of the Commission and the views of its members, and in transmitting documents and reports to the Canadian Government. Since Canada was not a member of the Commission and had not appointed an observer to attend its sessions in an official capacity, his function would be to serve as a convenient channel through which the Caribbean Commission might transmit information regularly to a Government watching its work with friendly interest. The appointment, however, would not preclude the use of regular diplomatic channels of communication whenever desired by members of the Commission.
2. On May 17, 1947, Mr. Major discussed with Mr. Cramer:
(a) the future organization and activities of the Caribbean Commission;
As a result of this conversation Mr. Major has asked for "at least a broad statement of policy as to the extent to which cooperation can be offered to the Commission Secretariat." He adds that "some measure of positive co-operation obviously will make it easier for the Canadian Liaison Officer to obtain information useful to Canada."
Proposals for Canadian Cooperation with the Caribbean Commission
3. Mr. Major's own suggestion is that the Canadian Liaison Officer should keep the Secretary-General supplied with the following material:
(a) monthly and annual Canadian import and export trade reports published by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics;
(b) data on Canadian relations with dependent territories in the Caribbean area. If he is to perform the latter service efficiently Mr. Major feels that he should maintain closer direct relations with the Canadian offices in Havana, Caracas and Kingston. He has already given Mr. Cramer a general summary of Canadian trade with the dependent territories in question but he would apparently like to be in a position to provide more precise information.
4. Mr. Major suggests that in the field of publicity Canadian co-operation might take the form of:
(a) including news of the activities of the Caribbean Commission in CBC broadcasts to the Caribbean area;
(b) preparing special films by the National Film Board for showing in the Caribbean area;
(c) making topographical films available for use by the Caribbean Commission. The Commission's own plans for publicity are not fully developed yet, but Mr. Major wishes to have guidance from Ottawa on the extent to which Canada will cooperate in this field, since he expects to have another conversation with Mr. Cramer on the subject in the near future.
Preparations for Participating in the Conference on Industrial Development, Trade within the Caribbean Area and Transportation
5. The holding of this conference was recommended by the West Indian Conference at its second session, held at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, February 21 — March 13; 1946. The projected conference was to have been convened before February 1947, but it has had to be postponed to give time for general international economic policies to be more clearly defined and to enable the Caribbean Commission to complete certain economic surveys which the St. Thomas conference asked it to undertake.
6. The first and second sessions of the West Indian Conference, standing in an advisory relation to the Caribbean Commission, were the first international gatherings for long-term planning in the Caribbean in which there was direct participation by official representatives of non-self-governing areas. Canada was represented at both sessions by an observer only. It, was recommended at the St. Thomas conference, however, that Canada should be invited to attend the forthcoming conference on industry, trade and transportation, presumably on a basis of equality with other delegations. The authorities were asked at the same time to consider the possibility of inviting to the conference those Caribbean territories which are not at present associated with the work of the Commission, including the.countries on the South and Central American seaboards of the Caribbean.
7. Attached is the full text of the recommendations concerning the forthcoming conference which were adopted at the close of the St. Thomas discussions.† It will be noticed that there was a second reference to Canada in the section on transportation policy (item 24, page 3). The Commission was reminded in this passage that there is a strong feeling that one of the principal shipping needs of the area is to establish more direct links by sea between the smaller islands of the Caribbean and the metropolitan countries and Canada.
8. It is suggested that at the preliminary interdepartmental meeting called for July 16th there might be an exchange of views to determine which of the subjects listed for discussion at the forthcoming conference the Canadian delegation should interest itself in particularly. Mr. Major has drawn special attention to the fact that agricultural questions are likely to have an important place in the discussions of trade within the Caribbean area. He thinks the Canadian delegation should also be prepared for a discussion of preferences and of the Canadian trade position in the British colonies. In March 1946, when plans for the conference were first announced, Mr. Major wrote that the United States delegates would be almost certain to raise this question because of their desire to sec Puerto Rico become the industrial centre of the Caribbean. The Netherlands delegates, he added, might also show an interest in the matter because of their hope of developing the Curaao-Aruba shipping industry. Mr. Major was of the opinion that in this connection Canada might be manoeuvred into a difficult position unless it were to become in some way more closely associated with the work of the Caribbean Commission. The method and extent of the association he had in mind were not at that time as clear to Mr. Major as the likelihood that a helpful association in the solution of Caribbean problems would strengthen Canada's position in the area.
9. For the convenience of those who will attend the interdepartmental meeting a copy is attached of a memorandum reporting Mr. Major's conversation with Mr. Cramer on May 17, 1947.† This deals in detail with questions of (a) Canadian cooperation with the Secretariat of the Caribbean Commission and (b) plans for the conference on industry, trade and transportation which the interdepartmental meeting is called to discuss.