Volume #18 - 23.|
CONDUITE DES RELATIONS EXTÉRIEURES
REPRÉSENTATION DIPLOMATIQUE ET CONSULAIRE
Note de la Direction du Commonwealth|
pour le sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures 13
le 19 septembre 1952|
OPENING OF CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE IN CEYLON|
As a result of a conversation today with Mr. MacKay, this
memorandum has been prepared covering, in brief, the past history
of Canadian representation in Ceylon and giving reasons why this
Division considers the appointment of a High Commissioner
2. At various times in the past, notably in February, 1948, and August, 1950, the Government of Ceylon enquired concerning the possibility of exchanges of representatives between Ceylon and Canada, and stated that the appointment of a Canadian High Commissioner or other representative of the Canadian Government would be welcomed.
3. In the various discussions which have taken place, the following points have been considered:
A. (i) Appointment of a resident High Commissioner to Ceylon.
(ii) Either our High Commissioner to India or our High Commissioner to Pakistan to also be accredited to Ceylon.
B. (i) Either their High Commissioner in London or their Ambassador in Washington should also be accredited to Canada.
4. The Cabinet on May 6, 1948, decided against an extension of representation to Ceylon. In June, 1950, it was decided to appoint a Canadian Trade Commissioner to Colombo, who, in addition to his normal trade duties, would undertake duties for this Department under the Technical Assistance Programme of the Colombo Plan as well as certain consular duties. At a Cabinet meeting on June 19, 1952, the Minister mentioned that when changes in posting were considered, it was most desirable that the representative of Trade and Commerce in Ceylon should be a person who might adequately represent us in the Council of the Colombo Plan and, possibly be designated as Acting High Commissioner. The Cabinet noted with approval the Minister's remarks, consideration to be given at a later date to specific proposals.14
5. Arguments in Favour of Diplomatic Representation in Colombo
(i) Ceylon is the only member of the Commonwealth in which Canada is not represented by a High Commissioner. In addition, it might be mentioned that the United Kingdom, Australia, India and Pakistan all have High Commissioners in Colombo. The Ceylonese may not relish being treated as a second-class member of the Commonwealth.
(ii) We should support in every way the friendly attitude which the present Government takes towards a continuance of the Commonwealth connection.
(iii) The value of Ceylon's strategic position in the event of a general war is of interest to us.
(iv) The great increase in our trade with Ceylon during the past decade and the work arising out of the Bureau for Technical Co-operation in Colombo make it impossible for the Trade Commissioner to devote time to the preparation of political reports which we require from time to time. In addition, he has no cypher facilities and provisions for adequate security of documents are poor.
(v) If the Trade Commissioner is to attend to his Trade duties, and also wrestle with increasing work in connection with the Colombo Bureau, one or the other is bound to suffer.
(vi) From the point of view of prestige, the Trade Commissioner's rank in the order of precedence is naturally not very high, and aside from the normal difficulties attendant on such rank, it is an indirect reflection on Canada's world position.
6. Arguments Against Diplomatic Representation in Colombo
(i) Ceylon is a small country and is of little political importance. She is, however, one of our closest friends in Asia.
(ii) Our Trade Commissioner has reported that he receives full co-operation and support from the Government of Ceylon.
(iii) It appears that as recently as August, 1950, the Government of Ceylon did not think it possible to appoint a resident High Commissioner in Ottawa, but thought it necessary for their Ambassador in Washington to be also accredited to Ottawa.
This Division considers that the arguments in favour of the appointment of a Canadian High Commissioner to Ceylon are stronger than those against. The Ceylonese would welcome the appointment, although they may not be able to reciprocate in kind at this juncture. Our Trade Commissioner in Ceylon is obviously not able to cope with duties in the political field and appears to find the load of technical assistance and other duties under the Colombo Plan and his limited consular duties, superimposed as they are on his trade duties, to be a heavy one. We therefore recommend that consideration be given to the appointment of a resident High Commissioner in Colombo in the next fiscal year.15