I have the honour to refer to your despatch No. 107, dated December 23rd, 1946† in which you report your conversation with the Secretary General of the Portugal Ministry of Foreign Affairs who intimated to you that Portugal was anxious to establish a diplomatic mission in Canada.
2. I understand from the tenor of your despatch that Dr. Matias may expect that you will give him an indication of the Canadian Government's reaction to his statement to you.
3. For the present at least, it will be in order for you to answer informally on the lines indicated below any inquiries from the Portuguese authorities on our views.
4. The present position is as follows:
a) We have in the past refrained from accepting a diplomatic mission from a country unless we were prepared to reciprocate, in due course, by appointing a Canadian diplomatic mission in the country concerned;
b) The Canadian diplomatic service, despite the number of men from the Armed Forces who have entered the Department during the last two years is still short of trained staff, and this has limited our ability to increase our diplomatic representation abroad;
c) A number of countries which were our allies during the war, as well as a number of neutral countries, have had diplomatic missions in Ottawa for some time; in creating diplomatic establishments abroad, we are under an obligation to give preference to those countries.
d) Although we appreciate the desire of the Portuguese authorities to establish a diplomatic mission here, we note that Portugal has at present no career consular representatives in Canada, while Canada has a Consulate General staffed with career men in Lisbon; it would seem to us that before considering the establishment of a diplomatic mission in Ottawa, the Portuguese authorities might find it appropriate or advantageous to reciprocate on a parallel basis by appointing a career Consul General, either at Ottawa or Montreal. (I attach hereto a list of the honorary Consular representatives of Portugal in Canada).†
5. It will be some time before we can establish our diplomatic representation in all the countries mentioned in paragraph 4(c) above and it seems at present to be unlikely that Canada will be able to exchange diplomatic missions with Portugal in the near future.
I have etc.
for Secretary of State for External Affairs