GENERAL ARTICLES

BACKSTAGE AT OTTAWA

THE MAN WITH A NOTEBOOK August 15 1943
GENERAL ARTICLES

BACKSTAGE AT OTTAWA

THE MAN WITH A NOTEBOOK August 15 1943

BACKSTAGE AT OTTAWA

THE MAN WITH A NOTEBOOK

THOUGH overshadowed by the climactic invasion operations in Sicily which developed a few hours later, and weakened by his own failure to rise to oratorical heights, the speech of Prime Minister King on Canadian foreign policy was a statement of first-rate importance.

Here, spelled out for the first time and from the Prime Minister himself, is to be found in black and white the principle which the Government believes must prevail if the United Nations are to hang together once they have hanged Hitler, Hirohito and their henchmen. Here is the principle in Mr. King’s own words: “The time is approaching when even before victory is won, the concept of the United Nations will have to be embodied in some form of international organization.

“On the one hand, authority in international affairs must not be concentrated exclusively in the largest powers. On the other, authority cannot be divided equally among all the 30 or more sovereign states that comprise the United Nations or all effective authority will disappear.

“A number of new international institutions are likely to be set up as a result of the war. In the view of the Government, effective representations on these bodies should neither be restricted to the largest states nor necessarily extended to all states. Representation should be determined on a functional basis which will admit to full membership those countries, large or small, which have the greatest contribution to make to the particular object in question.

“In the world there are over 60 sovereign states. If they all have a nominally equal voice in international decisions no effective decisions are likely to be taken. Some compromise must be found between the theoretical equality of states and the practical necessity of limiting representation on international bodies to a workable number.

“That compromise can be discovered, especially in economic matters, by the adoption of the functional principle of representation. That principle in turn is likely to find many new expressions in the gigantic task of liberation,

restoration and reconstruction.”

* * *

What Mr. King has now said publicly is what Canada has been saying behind closed doors to Britain, Russia, China and the United States for many months. The view, stated simply, is that a,n end must be found to the Big Power principle of having Britain and the U. S. or the Big Four making all the decisions and setting up all the United Nations machinery.

As reported previously in this correspondence, Canada raised the point particularly in regard to international organization for relief. We failed to gain our point, and the central committee announced in June includes only Britain, the United States, China and Russia. Already the Netherlands Government has taken violent objection to this bn much the same grounds as Canada. Other nations will, it is thought, take the same point of view. In the case of international relief, Canada is hopeful of being nominated chairman of the supplies committee—a key job which would compensate in some measure for the refusal to include Canada (and other nations which have a vital stake in the supply and distribution of relief supplies) on the governing body.

But that still begs the broad principle which Mr. King has now formally and publicly announced—a principle on which the Government is making a stand not only for Canada but on behalf of a score of smaller and like-minded nations.

Debate Empire Relationship

IT WAS in this same debate on foreign affairs that Howard Green, Vancouver South, and Brooke Claxton, Montreal, locked horns on Canada’s Empire relationship. Mr. Green accused the Prime Minister of having a foreign policy “too much wrapped up in a blanket of words” and then proceeded to lay down half a dozen principles which he and other Tories think should govern Canada’s relationships.

The particular principle to which Mr. Claxton took exception and which has raised anew the old controversy of Canada’s relationships to Britain and the Commonwealth, was the declaration by Mr. Green that “the British family of nations should speak with one voice in foreign affairs.” The Claxton view is that while “we should try by consultation to have a common policy we should not have a single policy which is quite a different thing.”

One Ottawa paper at once wanted to know if this meant Canada was to go to the peace table as a separate power. Other papers were equally quick to sense the makings of an issue which may yet shake the nation to its roots. The issue: as Canada emerges to postwar world power stature are we to act as one unit (perhaps the dominating unit) in a Commonwealth group, or are we to go our own way, associating ourselves with the Commonwealth only if, as and when the need and the occasion arise? IT WAS a stroke of genius to have Donald Nelson and a corps of U. S. production officials visit Ottawa for the purpose of holding a regular meeting of the Combined Production and Resources Board. This is the only top-flight United Nations committee on which Canada has direct representation. Mr. Howe, who forms one third of a three-man board, is flanked by Donald Nelson representing the United States and Oliver Lyttelton, U. K. Minister of Production who represents Britain. Since it was established in June of last year all its meetings have been in Washington.

Continued on page 42

Backstage at Ottawa

Continued from page 15—Starts on page 14

When the Board held its first meeting in Ottawa early in July, Mr. Howe was in the chair. A large number of U. S., British and Canadian officials were invited to “sit in” for most of the deliberations. That gave Canada an opportunity to put on a most impressive demonstration on the extent to which Canadian control and war production agencies were co-ordinated and organized.

Subsequently Mr. Nelson paid open tribute to the efficiency and excellence of the Canadian administrative machine.

One newspaperman asked Mr. Nelson if he thought his Board had postwar implications. Missouran Nelson countered with the reply:

“In Missouri we say you have to catch a rabbit before you decide how to cook it.”

* * *

Don’t expect that the betterment in the shipping situation will mean larger rations of tea, coffee or sugar for awhile at least.

In the case of sugar, our supply position, even if there were plenty of ships, is still not satisfactory. True there was a big carryover in Cuba last year but the advice of the British experts is that this is small compared to what may be needed in the next year or two as the war enters its final stages. While there is enough sugar to allow for “minor adjustments” both in Canada and the United States, any possibility of an increase in the general ration is said to be out of line with the realities.

And even in the case of tea and coffee, where supplies are adequate, the view taken by United Nations authorities is that while minimum rations for these commodities get very high priority, anything above a minimum ration gets little or no priority at all. The shipping authorities will do everything to get us our basic needs. Over and above that, they say there are a dozen or more priorities which rank first.

All of this doesn’t rule out “minor” Continued from page ff

If Your Maclean’s Is Late

Every effort is made to have your copy arrive on time — but wartime brings transportation difficulties which occasionally may cause your copy to be late. If so, we ask your indulgence.

Continued from page 1$ adjustments—such as more sugar for country folk to use in canning.

Mr. King’s Objection

THOUGH Ottawa lauds Prime Minister King for insisting that the Canadian forces get credit at Sicily, there is less certainty about the wisdom of his speech to Commons in which he disclosed that he had appealed directly to President Roosevelt.

What is feared here is that the P.M.’s speech to the Commons may have cast an unwarranted slur on the British.

Ottawa suspects that when the

truth is finally known it may be found to have been General Eisenhower himself and not the British who were responsible for the original ban.

Yes, Hector McKinnon’s absence from Ottawa (as reported in the last issue of Backstage) was clothed in utmost secrecy and went under the guise of holidays. But we were a few thousand miles out in his destination. The secret mission of McKinnon, Dr. W. A. Mackintosh and J. Scott Macdonald of External Affairs and Yves Lamontagne was to London not Washington. Its purpose as we mentioned before was to discuss a postwar trade pact.