CANADIAN TRADE AND GOOD-WILL MISSION TO LATIN AMERICA
JANUARY 5 THROUGH FEBRUARY 10, 19531
The Mission was planned, headed, and skillfully directed in the field by the Rt. Hon. C.D. Howe, Minister of Trade and Commerce. The following businessmen, with their indicated association connections, made up the Mission:-
Mr. James S. Duncan, Chairman and President of the Massey-Harris Co. Ltd., Toronto, who also represented the Canadian Manufacturers' Association.
Mr. D.W. Ambridge, President and General Manager of the Abitibi Power & Paper Co. Ltd., Toronto, and representative of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. K.F. Wadsworth, President and General Manager of the Maple Leaf Milling Co. Ltd., Toronto.
Mr. Frank L. Marshall , Vice President in Charge of Export for the House of Seagram, Montreal, and representing the Canadian Inter-American Association, of which he is President.
Mr. Jean-Marie Bonin, General Manager of the La Cooperative Agricole de Granby, Granby. Mr. Bonin was also representing la Chambre de Commerce de la Province de Quebec.
Mr. Alex Gray, President of the Gray-Bonney Tool, Co. Ltd., Toronto, who represented the Canadian Exporters' Association.
Mr. Clive B. Davidson, Secretary of the Canadian Wheat Board, Winnipeg.
Government Members of the Mission
Mr. W. Fred Bull, Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce, ably assisted and directed, on all phases of the Mission.
The Department of External Affairs was ably represented by Mr. Jules Léger, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs.
Mr. Alfred Savard, Area Trade Officer for Latin America in the Department of Trade and Commerce, was secretary of the Mission.
Mr. Maurice Schwarzmann, of the Treaty Division of the Department of Trade and Commerce, who acted as Private Secretary to Mr. Howe.
Mission Itinerary and Departure
The Mission left Ottawa on Monday morning, January 5th, 1953, at 10 a.m.
A formal Dinner had been tendered the Mission by Dr. Heitor Lyra on Saturday night, January 3rd, in Ottawa at the Brazilian Embassy. Dr. Lyra, the Brazilian Ambassador, in a humorous vein, forecast some of the speech making that would be encountered on the Tour, and counselled that brevity be featured in our replying speeches.
Sunday, January 4 was devoted to final planning meetings of the Mission, held at the Chateau Laurier.
The Mission take-off on the morning of January 5 was smooth and the weather excellent. Cabinet Ministers Pearson, Abbott, Garson, and others, were at Rockcliffe Airport to bid the mission godspeed. The Prime Minister was not in Ottawa when the Mission departed, having spent the New Year week-end at his home.
The Mission travelled in the RCAF C-5 aircraft, which carried HRH Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on their Tour of Canada in 1951. The C-5 aircraft and its smart RCAF crew created real interest and admiration at the various points visited. On the occasion of departure from the various cities numerous Government officers and business men took occasion to inspect the plane. At one stop a lady visitor made the amusing request to see the powder room used by Princess Elizabeth on her Tour.
Fine Travelling Facilities
The Mission travelled on diplomatic passports throughout, and were thus cleared through customs and immigration with no technicalities whatsoever, and without opening and inspection of baggage. Flying weather was good to excellent throughout the journey. The RCAF boys handled the plane beautifully, over deserts, jungles and mountains, all in strange terrains.
The Mission members were formal guests of the State in Brazil and Uruguay, with the accompanying motorcycle police escorts throughout our stay. The Rt. Hon. C.D. Howe was guest of state in Argentina.
The Mission period ran exactly five weeks from the morning of departure from Ottawa, January 5, to the morning of return departure from Mexico City on February 10. Distance travelled < approximately 20,000 miles. 15 cities visited, in 10 countries.
The seven industrial and business men members of the Mission paid their own living and air travel expenses throughout the Tour. The Government people on the Mission performed prolonged and invaluable services pre-planning the Mission, and in coordinating it with local governments throughout the Tour.
Policy and Approach of the Mission
These were strictly informal. It was made clear from the start that the Mission as such, would not undertake to conclude treaties or sell goods. The Mission had complete and intimate contact with the heads of states, their cabinet ministers, the leading bankers and bankers' groups, Chambers of Commerce, and manufacturers' associations, throughout the various countries. The Mission was at times divided into two and three groups, and in between visits, the various business men representing leading Canadian industries had an opportunity for full discussions with their counterparts in Latin America. This approach was highly successful.
Approach of other Missions
Over recent years commercial missions have visited these Latin American countries, from several European and Far Eastern countries. These missions tended to over-stress somewhat the direct selling and commercial approach. Our approach created a much more favourable reaction, and a decidedly warm reception. Independent banking and business authorities in several of the countries indicated that our Mission had received by far the greatest governmental, commercial and press recognition of any overseas mission that had visited the country concerned, since the war.
Mr. Howe's Leadership
Great credit for the Mission approach followed, and the results achieved go to the Rt. Hon. C.D. Howe. He set a very friendly yet dignified standard in our contacts throughout the Mission's travels. His reputation as a great builder in Canada had preceded him to practically all countries, and his pleasing smile and friendly manner clinched an outstanding recognition for himself, and for the Mission throughout our trip.
Points stressed on the Mission
Mr. Howe and the Mission members stressed the following points:-
1. Canada, now the third largest trading nation in the world, second only to the US and the UK, is keenly interested in developing greater trade with each country on a long-term basis
2. Canada is interested not only in selling but equally interested in buying, realizing that trade has to be a two-way operation
3. That the economy of Canada is to a large degree, or almost wholly, complementary to most of the countries visited. We require constantly increasing quantities of such products as:-
c) Nuts of various varieties
d) Citrus and Tropical Fruits
and despite our own increasing production in those fields, substantial quantities of petroleum for our eastern seaboard, and iron ore for our rapidly increasing steel industry
4. That Canada is in a position to supply not only newsprint, aluminum, grains, potatoes, apples, cod-fish, lumber and similar basic commodities, but also capable of shipping large quantities of heavy and light manufactured goods, definitely competitive in quality and price, as indicated by growing percentage of the latter type products in our total exports
5. Canada's organized interest in buying as well as selling was described and also specifically stressed in the form of invitations to various countries to send their own trade missions to Canada.
The above fundamentals were stressed in virtually all speeches. The very notable growth in production and consumption of Canada was explained, and their importance stressed as an indication of the great purchasing and supplying power that Canada represents for the producers and importers of the various countries visited.
Reactions to the foregoing specific approaches were most favourable. (See attached comments by countries.)
Practically every country visited expressed a keen interest in developing direct shipments of their coffee, sugar or other products to Canada, rather than indirect shipping as prevails in some cases at present. The Mission concurred heartily in this.
These are very substantial in some of the countries, particularly Brazil through the Brazilian Traction, Venezuela; and to a degree, in Colombia and Mexico. The Latin American countries would all welcome more Canadian capital investment. Profit returns have been excellent in several of the Republics, and some members of the Mission took occasion to check investment possibilities for their own industries, and possibly for their counterparts in Canada.
Canadian Embassies and Trade Commissioners
The high standard of efficiency, good taste and energy displayed by our Embassies and Trade Commissioners was most impressive. The young men in the Trade Commissioner Service, many of them veterans of the army, navy or airforce, were outstanding in their assistance and cooperation with the Mission. And more important, they displayed outstanding qualities of character, energy and capability in their activities within the various markets. Each of them spoke the language of his posted country, some with exceptional skill. They displayed also a good grasp of the psychology and basic character of the peoples in the different countries visited.
The Mission's effort was an exceptionally strenuous one but at the same time, interesting and inspiring. Each member of the Mission returned to Canada feeling that very worthwhile over-all results had been achieved by the Mission, highly pleased with the leadership and fine example of the Mission head, Minister Howe, and likewise pleased with the genial good nature, perseverance and adaptability displayed by each member of the Mission toward his fellow members, and to the contacts made at each city the Mission visited.
It is felt that strong and valuable impetus has been given to trade and cultural intercourse between Canada and Latin American. The scores of fellow business men of the Mission members in Canada, should now see to it that the present excellent background for substantially increased trade with the Latin American countries is fully realized upon. Intelligent new or expanded effort on the ground is the means to this required follow through.
Commentaires du président de l'Association canadienne interaméricaine
Comments by President, Canadian Inter-American Association
CANADIAN TRADE AND GOOD-WILL MISSION, COMMENTS BY COUNTRIES
IN THE ORDER VISITED
Was the first stop on our itinerary. The visit was informal and unofficial. However, a fine buffet dinner was given the Mission by The Royal Bank in San Juan. The Mission members met leading Puerto Rican business men. Moving pictures were shown of the great developments in Puerto Rico since the war, and the keen interest in greater two-way trade was clearly indicated. The Mission made a short tour by automobile of central San Juan.
This country was one of the high points of the Mission, which is understandable, as our two-way trade with Brazil is the largest of any country visited < close to $100 million in 1952. The Mission spent 3 1/2 days in Rio, and three days in Sao Paulo. Contacts were complete and animated, with government, financial, industrial and commercial leaders of the country. The Mission was presented to President Getulio Vargas. An exceptionally fine press was had in Brazil. Mr. Chateaubriand, who has been termed the "Lord Beaverbrook of Brazil", and who is the owner of several leading newspapers and radio and television stations, took the Mission to his heart, as it were. He and Mr. Howe became great friends. He was also very close to Messrs. Duncan and Ambridge. Mr. Chateaubriand rode on the Mission plane on its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo. Every phase of the Mission's activities, and statements of purpose, were widely publicized. One of Mr. Chateaubriand's papers photographed Mr. Howe with the subject title "The Churchill of Canada".
Very fruitful discussions by individual business men were held in Brazil, and the Secretary of the Wheat Board concluded substantial sales of wheat to the Brazilian Republic.
Careful discussions were held with the Brazilians on the matter of possible future purchase by Canada of Brazilian cotton. Questions of the grading of peanuts and other similar commodities were also reviewed. In a word, a foundation was laid, which if properly followed through upon by Canadian industry, should result in larger two-way trade with Brazil.
A cordial reception was given the Mission by the Argentine Government. An interesting visit was had with President Juan Perón, and full meetings were held with leaders of government, banking, industrial and commercial circles in Argentina.
After two difficult crop years, the present year promises a bountiful crop for Argentina, which will go far to re-establish her international purchasing power.
The economy of Canada is somewhat more competitive with Argentina's than with those of the more tropically situated republics. Nevertheless, a large field for trade exists, and there are reasonable opportunities for building back Canadian-Argentine interchange to a considerably larger figure than that prevailing today. Argentina is keenly interested in expanding its commercial and cultural relations with Canada.
Here again there is some competition between the animal husbandry and agricultural production of Uruguay with that of Canada, but there are many fields in which two-way trade can be developed, and these were explored in interesting meetings with various sections of business and industry in Uruguay. The Mission had the pleasure of meeting the President of the Governing Commission of Uruguay. The two day and one night stay in Uruguay was busy, interesting and productive.
From Uruguay the plane flew all afternoon, with a one hour refuelling stop at Rio de Janeiro, and thence all night to Belem, Brazil, where a five-hour operational stop was had.
A take-off was then made for Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
The Mission spent two days and one night here on an unofficial call. Fruitful discussions were held with Mr. Gomes, the head of the elected government, and with the alert and well-informed Sir Hubert Rance, Governor of Trinidad. Interesting discussions were held on further liberalization of two-way trade, and in the inspection of the industry and commerce of Trinidad.
The Mission flew directly from Port-of-Spain to Caracas, and spent five busy days in this capital city of the thriving Venezuelan republic. Venezuela enjoys a very heavy export trade balance with Canada, due to our large imports of petroleum for the eastern seaboard. The republic is quite disposed to purchase more from Canada, and some of the business men of the Mission laid the foundations for rather substantial increases in their shipments to this country, particularly in the fields of powdered milk, pulp and paper, and perhaps spirituous beverages.
Two nights and one day were spent in this thriving centre of the petroleum industry in Venezuela. A rather full inspection of Shell Oil camps and installations was made. The Mission members were guests at a joint meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, and International Rotary. Individual members laid plans for expanded sales to this booming city and its environs.
The Mission flew from Maracaibo to Bogotá, Colombia, where a visit of three days and four nights was made. Colombians were outstanding in their hospitality. The Mission was received by the President of the Republic, and by the Secretary of Foreign Relations, who tendered a delightful Luncheon, attended by leading commercial, industrial and financial groups. Of outstanding interest in Colombia was our visit to the salt mines just outside Bogotá, on January 30, 1953. We were the luncheon guests of the President and Board of Directors of the Bank of the Republic. On this occasion, Mr. Frank L. Marshall presented a speech in Spanish on behalf of the Rt. Hon. C.D. Howe. This presentation gave a complete picture of industrial Canada today, and outlined the great market Canada constitutes for Colombian products, and its equal importance as a source of supply for Colombia. The mention of a recent initial purchase of 1500 tons of rice by Canada on this occasion, drew a warm response of appreciation from Colombian financial and business interests. A mimeographed copy of this speech is attached, together with copy of the Montreal Star comments of January 31, 1953.?
The Mission departed from Bogotá at 8 o'clock on Sunday morning, February 1st, reaching Barranquilla at 11 o'clock, where the Mission remained for a luncheon tendered by The Royal Bank, at the beautiful Hotel del Prado. Departure from Barranquilla was made at 3 o'clock for Ciudad Trujillo.
This country has progressed very substantially in its production, imports and exports, over the past decade. Canada established a Trade Commissioner's office in the Dominican Republic about a year ago, and two-way trade is developing rapidly with the Dominican Republic. The Mission arrived in Ciudad Trujillo at 5.45 and was entertained at three receptions from 6.15 until midnight. The first two by the cabinet officers of the Republic, and the third, a buffet dinner at the home of the Trade Commissioner. At 7.45 a.m. the next day, the Mission drove out into the country to inspect the Government operated sugar mill, which with additions now being completed, will be the largest sugar refinery in the world. The mill is modern, clean and efficient throughout, and is a great credit to the country.
Returning to Ciudad Trujillo at 9.30 a.m. the Mission placed a wreath at the tomb of the Liberator of the Republic, visited the President of the Republic, and then departed for Haiti at 10.30 a.m.
Arrival 12 noon. After visiting the President of the Republic, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Minister of Foreign Relations, the Mission was tendered a delightful and most ample Luncheon at the Sans Souci Hotel, by the business and financial community of Haiti. A speech in French was made on this occasion by Mr. Jean-Marie Bonin. Mr. Bonin's presentation was received with interest and warmly applauded. After the luncheon the Mission was shown one of the attractive new mountain-side hotels, and visited the mountain-side residence of the Minister of Foreign Relations, and departed at 5 p.m. for Havana, Cuba.
This particular 24 hr. itinerary (5.45 arrival Ciudad Trujillo < 5 p.m. departure Haiti) was perhaps a little more strenuous than the general run of itineraries of the Mission, but not a great deal more so.
The Mission was received at a most pleasant interview by President Batista of Cuba, who spoke to us in English. He was keenly interested in the development of closer relations between Cuba and Canada, as were the various ministers, commercial and industrial groups with whom we conferred over the next three days. Our two-way trade with Cuba is substantial. The Royal Bank of Canada gave a Luncheon at the Havana Tennis Club, attended by over 150 guests. From Cuba the Mission flew to Mexico, arriving on the afternoon of February 5, which was a legal holiday.
The Mission was conducted by motor cycle escort to its headquarters in the Reforma Hotel, which incidentally is managed by a former Montrealer, Mr. Ray Frappier, who headed the LaSalle Hotel in Montreal for many years. Needless to say, Mr. Frappier gave the utmost attention and consideration to the Mission.
Our programme in Mexico was particularly active and effective. Interesting meetings and discussions were held with the Bank of Mexico, the Chamber of Commerce (which wishes a special liaison committee with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce), the Association of Importers and Exporters, and with leading Government ministries and other business groups. President Ruiz Cortines received the Mission and showed the same keen interest in its visit and activities as displayed by business and industry. Most Mission business men found new or continued active interest in their lines in Mexico, and made arrangements for expanded effort. Means to a direct west coast shipping service between Canada and Mexico were discussed. Mexico is also much interested in direct air connections with Canada.
Through Canadian Pacific Airlines service between Mexico City and Vancouver will soon be inaugurated.2
The Mission was delightfully entertained in Mexico by the Ambassador, First Secretary and Trade Commissioner, and by Sr. Salvador Ugarte, dean of Bankers in Mexico. Also by the Distributors for products of some of the Mission members.
The Mission departed from Mexico City on the morning of February 10 on a bright sunny day, with a feeling of genuine accomplishment from its 5 day visit to Mexico, and the five week tour of Latin America. Many important Government and business people saw the Mission off to Canada.
Il s'agit ici du seul rapport détaillé de la mission commerciale de bonne entente dans les dossiers du ministère du Commerce. Pour le rapport du très honorable C.D. Howe sur cette mission, voir Canada, Débats de la Chambre des communes, 1952-1953, volume III, 26 février, pp. 2555-2563. This is the only comprehensive account of the Goodwill Trade Mission located in Department of Trade and Commerce files. For Rt. Hon. C.D. Howe's report on the mission, see Canada, House of Commons, Debates, 1952-1953, Volume III, February 26, pp. 2419-25.
Les documents 556-581./Documents 556-81.