Where Canada stands in the world crisis
faces Maclean’s Ottawa editor Blair Fraser and Maclean’s European correspondent Lionel Shapiro
LESTER B. PEARSON
IN AN EXCLUSIVE TAPE-RECORDED INTERVIEW
In a remarkably candid and searching interview Maclean’s recently questioned and was answered by Lester B. Pearson on Canada's place in the world.
For some two hours Mr. Pearson, then Secretary of State for External Affairs, sat in his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and talked with two of Canada’s best-informed reporters on our foreign relations: with Blair Fraser, the Ottawa editor of Maclean’s Magazine, and with Lionel Shapiro, Maclean’s European correspondent through most of the last war and since.
Both interviewers were in a specially qualified position. Mr. Fraser had just come home from a
long trip that took him far inside the Iron Curtain, to Moscow, Peking, Warsaw, New Delhi and the centres of gravity of nearly all the Communist and uncommitted world, to the fearful tangle of Egypt, Israel, Syria, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Mr. Shapiro too is not long back from the Mediterranean countries. While there, he, like Mr. Fraser, accumulated some thoughts and reservations about Canada’s position among the nations, which can only be illuminated, if at all, by the responsible minister of our government.
On the next page there begin, as transcribed by a tape recorder, the questions of Mr. Fraser and Mr. Shapiro and the answers of Mr. Pearson.
FRASER: Mr. Pearson, the commonest thing we hear said about Canadian foreign policy in political debates, either private or public, is that there isn't any . . . that Canada hasn’t got a foreign policy, that we’re just a tail to the American kite. What is your answer to this?
PEARSON: Well, my short answer would be that it is not true. The results over the last ten years would show. I think, that we did have a foreign policy as much as any middle power or smaller power can have a foreign policy where events are dominated by the giants, and that in the application of that foreign policy we have had some influence on international developments.
A MACLEAN’S PANEL
HAVE WE COOLED TOWARD BRITAIN? ARE WE TOO EAGER TO PLEASE THE U. S.? WHY DON’T WE RECOGNIZE RED CHINA?
Here are direct answers from the man who helped shape Canada’s policy
FRASER: The charge came up most particularly of recent months over the Suez, crises of last fall. Formerly it was a perfectly good answer to say that wc follow the Anglo-American line; but events knocked the hyphen out of Anglo-American last October and November and the Americans went one way and the British went another. Some people in Canada say that we deserted the British by failing to support them as Australia and New Zealand did. but those who take the opposite view feel that we could have been a little stronger on the other sitie. Actually, since the chips were down, since our friends and exemplars were differing, we were unable to do anything — we abstained.
PEARSON: No. That I don't accept. If we had automatically followed British policy in the Middle East — and it would have had to be pretty automatic because we didn't have much time to learn about it——then we certainly would be open to the accusation we had no foreign policy. The fact that we did not follow the British policy did not mean that wc weren't anxious to work with the British. Nor did it mean that we just swung over to the other extreme and automatically followed the American policy. When the British and the Americans disagree we're in a dilemma; it's a great dilemma in Canadian foreign policy. But, if. when they do disagree and break and wc follow one or the other, that doesn’t mean, surely, that we have no foreign policy of our own. If we agree with a greater power arc wc to refuse to follow it just because it is a greater power? ERASER: I, personally, was one of those who agreed with what the government thought at the time of Suez but felt that it would have been better if the government had said more openly exactly what it did think.
PEARSON: Why did we abstain? Incidentally, we weren't the only people who abstained and, in other votes, both the British and Americans abstained when we voted for or against. But on this occasion, on the big vote, whether there would be a cease-fire or not, we abstained. Three Commonwealth countries voted for. three voted against; Canada and South Africa abstained. Wc explained our abstention in the following terms: that the vote had been rushed; it was too impor-
tant to take so quickly; while wc were, in principle, in favor of a cease-fire and would not vote against the United Nations’ cease-fire, at the same time wc thought that a cease-fire should be accompanied by other measures which would secure the cease-fire and also provide for a settlement of disputes which brought about the fighting in the first place. We had no opportunity to plead that case and try to amend the resolution which we supported in principle. Therefore, if we couldn’t vote against, we didn’t want to vote for it because it was inadequate, wc thought. So wc had to abstain. Now, does that mean that wc had no policy on that occasion?
SHAPIRO: May I change the line of questioning? In view of what I call the revolution that took place last fall in our values, what are the problems in conducting Canada’s foreign policy that now arise?
PEARSON: There is no change so far as I can see in kind, but there is a change in degree. The United States for the last ten years, by the compulsion of force and events, has been the leader of the Western coalition, and we have had to adjust our policies to that development. So have the British and so have other people. All this came to a head in a very dramatic way last autumn. It didn’t begin last autumn, but it came to a head when it became quite clear that no longer could the British or the French—and if they couldn’t nobody else could on our side—take independent action in a part of the world where power, economic and military, was essential to bring that action to a success without, at least, the tacit support of the United States. Now, that has underlined the development you have mentioned, and hasn’t caused it. I think you have to take that into account in Canadian policy, probably to an even greater extent than we did in the past —and so must the British and the French. We have to readjust ourselves to this new situation where the United States is even more dominant in the free world than it ever was before. SHAPIRO: But doesn't this give Canadian policy a little more independence and latitude? Before last November the Western world had a more or less common policy, especially on the great issues. The United States, continued on page 47
continued on page 47
As the late Herbert Norman’s superior in the Department of External Affairs, Pearson answered Maclean’s questions about the Norman case with frankness and undisguised feeling. This is what was said:
ERASER: There’s a question affecting our relations with the United States, and that is our treatment of the security problem—of which we’ve had tragic experience lately. Like a number of other people who feel that you did the right thing in protecting and defending Herbert Norman, 1 feel that you didn’t do it in the right way. If the facts now before the public had been made known in 1951, it would have been easier to defend the attitude the government took. Some of the government’s defenders feel that they have been let down. They were trapped into defending an indefensible position because they assumed that the government statements, which read like denials at a quick reading, were in fact denials.
PEARSON: I think most Canadians
would expect the Canadian government to try to protect a Canadian from charges and insinuations leveled against him by a legislative committee of another country in a matter of security which should be handled as a security not a publicity matter. I think also all Canadians would agree that ¡t is intolerable and indefensible for a legislative committee of another country to interfere in our affairs in this way, because it was interference in our affairs. I can imagine what would have happened if we had done the same thing up here in regard to an American in reverse circumstances. 1 don’t agree with you that when the matter came up in 1951 we should have told the whole story. 1 think you are wrong when you say that we gave the impression that all charges were denied when, in fact, they weren't denied. The charge was—and this is the only one that matters—not that this man had gone to some Communist study groups, not that he had been a Communist associated with Communists as a student; the charge was that he was a Communist and therefore disloyal when he was an official of the government of Canada. We denied that charge and said we had complete confidence in him, and that surely should have been the end of it; and if it had not come up six years afterward, that would have been the end of it. Now, if we had made public at that time all the evidence which bore on his earlier associations with communism. we would have been doing that man an injustice. Some of the mud
The Norman case
would have stuck on him for years and made hi> position in the External Affairs Department as a foreign-service officer, very very difficult indeed. We wanted to protect him from that. Furthermore, it is our security practice in this government, based on British practices and traditions in this field, that we dismiss or reject charges against an official and we make public the decision when necessary, but that we do not make public the evidence on which the decision is based.
FRASER: I’m not suggesting that you should have made public the evidence, and I don't know whai the evidence was. I'm just suggesting that you should have made public as much as you have, in fact, made public. When you were re-
plying to the charges that were made in the United States, your reply should have been more specific than, in fact, it was. It was very carefully phrased, and it was accepted by most Canadians as a blanket denial. Since then various reservations have been stated in this blanket denial.
PEARSON: No reservation of any kind has been stated by me. My blanket denial, as you call it. was a denial of the charge that he was disloyal, untrustworthy and a Communist in the service of the government of Canada. I hat is the only thing that 1 have ever denied. And why should we then have gone on and said. "but. of course, in his earlier days he associated with Communists as a student"—why should we do that?
FRASER: Because you were opposing
one man's word to another's. It seems to me that when you invited people to choose, as implicitly you did. you may have invited trouble. Here was this man Wittfogel, who after all is a man of some standing in the academic circles in New York, testifying under oath. The first story to hit the newspapers was Wittfogel's testimony that he remembered this attractive young man as having been a member of a study group which he conducted in 1938. Now. I entirely agree with you that there was nothing wrong with that, and that you were perfectly justified and perfectly right in saying, in effect, “This is not a charge at all." But the rejoinder to this, even at that stage,
gave Canadian readers the impression Wittfogel was a liar.
PEARSON: Well, let me put it this way. In the atmosphere of that time—and the time we're talking about was the end of 1951—if we had said. "This official is loyal; we have confidence in him; but, nevertheless. Mr. Wittfogel is right: he was a member of a Communist study group; he w'as also interested in Marxism when he w'as at Harvard University," a great many people would have said. “Oh. there you are. He was a Communist a few years before and they're keeping him in the Department of External Affairs!" Would that have been a happy position for a man who was going to be asked by us to take on responsible duties in the department and whom we hoped would occupy responsible positions in the years to come? In the atmosphere of 1951 he would have been tarred for a long time in the estimation of a lot of people. I think his position would have been very difficult in the department. Knowing Herbert Norman very well, as I did. 1 think he would have been even more sensitive about that than he became later, and he would have felt he had to leave the service. Would that have been fair or just?
FRASER: But you say that the policy that was followed was followed because any other policy would have allowed some of this mud to stick. The tragedy is that some of it did stick.
PEARSON: Yes. of course, but now
you’re arguing backwards.
FRASER: But there was no need to admit that it was mud at all. That's my point.
PEARSON: It wasn't mud. but it would have been considered as mud in the eyes of a lot of people. And there were people in the United States — and some people in Canada — who were determined to make it stick. Now, in the light of what has happened—and looking back on this awful tragedy — I admit there is a case for saying this would have been a better thing to have done at that time. But that was 1951 and for six years we heard nothing more about the matter. Our policy of protecting a Canadian official in this way against slander, insinuations and guilt by association seemed to have been successful. We thought the incident was dead and that all these clouds had been removed from Mr. Norman's head. And I must say. in looking back, that that was the right
attitude to take, and the fact that it ended so tragically in 1957 doesn’t change my views that we were right in what we did in 1951.
FRASER: Student associations before
the war with a left wing then looked much more attractive to anybody who could read and write than they do now. They are not sufficient to ruin a man’s career, not in this country. Why didn't we say, "If you like it that way down there you can have it; we don’t do things that way”? Nobody said this.
PEARSON: Well, I can’t, myself, see that we would have accomplished anything of value in putting it that way at that time. I think we might have done harm to the man we were trying to protect. Our own justification in that view is that for between five and six years he was without trouble. And then those same people who were after him then got after him again last March.
FRASER: What are the security checks? What are they and what should they be as applied in Canada to decide who can be employed and who can’t, who is trustworthy and who isn't? What sort of standards do we set up?
PEARSON: There is a complete security check. I am talking about my own department now. A complete security check is made by the RCMP on every person who joins the department. It’s really quite exhaustive, quite full. That is referred, if there is anything derogatory. to the undersecretary and then there is a security panel of high officials, deputy ministers, and they can go into it if there is any doubt as to what action should be taken. After all these stages are gone through, and they are gone through confidentially, if there is a decision to be made it has to be made by the responsible minister.
FRASER: By the minister or by the
PEARSON: No, by the minister as an individual in charge of his department.
But, as a minister, he binds the government if there is an issue to be made. Most of these questions are decided before they get to the minister. It's only the tough ones that come to the minister. I have had a few and I've said to one man — now I am not talking about Mr. Norman—“Many persons have been interested at some time in Marxism as an intellectual exercise and as a social and economic system. Don’t worry about the past. We’re satisfied that you are a loyal official so just carry on." I’ve said to another: “It seems to me that
your background is such that if you work in the Department of External Affairs—this is a very sensitive and important department—you may subject yourself to embarrassment in the future because what you have done in the past is known to too many people and it is too recent and too capable of misunderstanding; so you had better not consider working in this government department.”
FRASER: You are talking about men applying for admission to the department?
PEARSON: That’s right.
FRASER: What about men who were in the department already when the events of 1945 and 1946 brought the security problem to the government’s attention and you started screening people retroactively, as it were — those who were in what I think are called sensitive positions? You don’t set up arbitrary standards?
PEARSON: The security panel has,
through experience, developed certain criteria. But there is no arbitrary standard. and ! don't think you can have one.
SHAPIRO: Is it true that no member of your department has ever been dismissed because of political affiliations?
PEARSON: You mean Communist affiliations?
PEARSON: Yes. I think that's true. But, as I just said, there were one or tw'o where we said. “Now' look, we have faith in you. but you leave yourself open to attack in the future if you stay here and don't you think you'd be happier doing something else." Now'. Herbert Norman was in a different position. He had been in our service for ten years when this began in 1950. He had proven himself to be a man of unusual ability in a certain field and he had given us convincing evidence of his trust and loyalty. He was a rare person, and he was a man whom we thought we should certainly keep once it had been confirmed that he was a loyal Canadian. His activities in the five years after 1950 merely reassured me about that decision and the reassurance was strengthened by his work in Cairo during the last six months.
FRASER: I hope that I haven't said anything to suggest that I don’t agree with that.
PEARSON: No, oh. no. You would even go further than I was able to do in protecting him. You think that such a course would have quieted the insinuations.
FRASER: That is exactly the difference of opinion between us.
PEARSON: Well, that’s an honest difference of opinion. It probably is easier for you to take that position than if you were the minister responsible. ★
continued from page 14
“We can’t keep in step with Britain and the U. S. if they don’t keep in step”
Great Britain and France voted more or less the same way at the United Nations. We had no large problem there, but we have a large problem now. We, at last, have got to have a certain independence. PEARSON: Yes, that is true—a certain independence. Unfortunately perhaps but inevitably, no country has independence in foreign policies these days, not even the United States. What I think you are suggesting is that, as the facts of American power become more obvious, we should be careful not to yield too easily to those facts and be very, very careful that American power is being used in the right way and try to influence it in the right direction. 1 think we tried to do that last autumn at the United Nations. We worked as hard as we possibly could with the Americans to get their support for a resolution which would lay down in detail specifically the arrangements we should follow for the withdrawal of foreign troops and Israeli troops from Egypt. We weren't successful. But we did our best to modify their attitude. We also told them, and in no uncertain terms, that if they supported a resolution ot sanctions against Israel, w'e would have to break with them because we would not support it in those circumstances. I think we modified their approach.
SHAPIRO: Our policy was described the other day as “schizophrenic"—and it was a natural description: it was not -said in derogation at all. We apparently agreed with the United States on the morality and the unwisdom of the Anglo-French action at Suez. We also agreed with France and Britain on the fact that there were great provocations. So out of this schizophrenia, we devised the United Nations’ Emergency Force. We were torn between both sides.
PEARSON: Yes. And when we are torn between both sides we instinctively try to find some kind of a solution on which the British and Americans can agree. As I have often put it. we have to keep in step even though we are standing on our own feet. We have to keep in step with these two people, and we can t do that it they don't keep in step with each other. FRASER: How far do we go in the Middle East? You said that we wouldn’t have supported the Americans if they had wanted to impose sanctions against Israel last fall. Would we support Americans in maintaining, by force if necessary, the freedom of innocent passage in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Strait ot Tiran? And how far do we go in supporting Israel s right to use the Suez Canal?
PEARSON: We have gone, I think, a little farther than most in our statements in support of innocent passage in the Gulf of Aqaba and in the Canal. But I wouldn't try to read any particular virtue in that, because it is a good illustration of the fact that a smaller power can sometimes make more virtuous statements than a great power, which has the greater responsibility in implementing its statements. You see. the United States has to keep in mind whenever it makes a statement, not only its world interest but its responsibilities before the world for carrying out its policy. We haven't that to the same extent because we are not a major determinant in the implementation of policy. Now. I am not going to depreciate our own sense of responsibility because I think Canada, by and
large over the years, has done its part, but its part is not a primary part. When I say that we have gone a little farther in emphasizing the freedom of passage in these two waterways, perhaps that may
be due. in part, to the fact that if it all goes wrong, it will be the United States which will have to bear the main burden of putting it right.
FRASER: Lionel and 1 have both been
in Israel since this trouble. We both came away with the feeling that the Israeli know they won’t really be able to use the Suez Canal. They won’t admit that they haven't got a perfect right to do so,
and they’ll demand the highest possible alternative concessions in return for even a de facto agreement not to do so. Nevertheless, they know perfectly well they are not going to be able to use Suez, and they won't fight on that issue . . . But, they gave us both to understand, very emphatically. that they would fight for the use of their southern port. They’ve simply got to burst out of that port. Now, if they fight, is it Canada's view that they would be justified in doing so?
PEARSON: We have said, as others have said, that there is a right of innocent pas-
sage through these straits. Now, what do you do when you assert a right and that right is challenged by somebody else? Do you go to war or do you try to get a judgment of an international tribunal or an international assembly? I would hope that if the Israelis’ right was challenged they would try to get a verdict of an appropriate international agency confirming their right. Then, they would have a far better case for defending that right by force.
FRASER: But, supposing they got an adverse ruling from a court which has not
quite the status of the Privy Council or the Supreme Court of Canada and is administering a body of law which is not really a body of law at all but a group of rather ill-defined precedents? PEARSON: Well, then we go back to the old days. When a nation considered its vital interests were affected and it couldn't get a legal redress, it resorted to force.
SHAPIRO: Don’t nations still do that? Isn’t that still the rule and the law? PEARSON: Yes, that is quite true. It is. FRASER: If there were a ruling against
the United States in the Panama Canal it would have no effect whatever. If there is a ruling against Israel in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Strait of Tiran, I doubt that the Israeli would accept it. PEARSON: I think you are right. I think if there was that kind of ruling in Panama the United States would never accept it. But there is not likely to be that dilemma. And can you use it as a reason why the Israeli should use force at once because in a similar situation somebody else would use force?
FRASER: I don't want to build this up into a pyramid of hypotheses. But the hypotheses are all pretty close and are not farfetched. We are assured the Israeli would fight to keep that gulf open. If they do, do you think this would be another case of aggression?
PEARSON: No, I don’t think it would be unprovoked aggression if they used force for that purpose. But I would hope that that wouldn't happen — and it needn't happen. If this right is established, why shouldn't the United Nations keep those straits open? We've got a UN Force on land — why shouldn't we have a UN Force on the water?
FRASER: But, if the UN Force can only remain on land with the consent of the sovereign power whose soil it is, presumably the same thing applies to territorial waters.
PEARSON: Not at all. We don't admit that any single state has jurisdiction over these territorial waters. If that were the case, the Israeli wouldn't have the right to use them.
FRASER: You don’t admit that the Strait of Tiran is the territorial water of either Egypt or Saudi Arabia?
PEARSON: Yes, I think they would be territorial waters, in the technical, international-law meaning. But there is also the right of innocent passage through territorial waters and, if it were necessary for the United Nations to enforce that right by United Nations forces, they wouldn't have to go to anybody for permission.
FRASER: So you feel that this is a right which could be enforced, if necessary, by the United Nations?
PEARSON: I think so. It is a little different on land because Egypt certainly has sovereign right over its territory. If an international body is going to operate on Egyptian territory, I think you have to get Egyptian consent.
FRASER: Do you think that a UN decision to uphold this admitted and generally accepted right could be got through a United Nations Assembly heavily dominated by the Afro-Asian Bloc? PEARSON: Perhaps not. But that is no reason why we shouldn't try, and if we tried and failed ... if we got, say, fiftyfive percent, not necessarily two thirds, wouldn't that put Israel in a much stronger position to exert force herself? SHAPIRO: On the night of November I you very specifically said, “What happens six months from now?" Well, the six months have practically passed now . . . the sense of urgency is gone in the United Nations . . . The same pressures are building up again. In view of your stand last November, which you confirmed last January, what do you propose to do about it?
PEARSON: We haven't been able to do very much about it yet. as you know. But, the situation in regard to two or three points is better than it was on the eve of the military explosion. The border is calmer than it was. The Gulf of Aqaba is open at the moment, and that is a change for the better. We are still haggling over Suez. As far as the rights of belligerency are concerned, there has been no development there that leads
one to any optimistic conclusion, but there has been far more talk, if talk is important, about the absolute necessity for abandoning belligerency on both sides. And then there is the final point ... we have done nothing about the refugees. There hasn't been any progress made there, and I've been wondering about that, whether the time hasn’t come when we should have a full-dress, formal international conference on one subject only . . . the liquidation of the refugee problem, not only in the Middle East, but in other parts of the world. That would just be another conference, and you know I’m not, after fifteen or twenty years of this sort of thing, liable to have too many illusions as to the immediate results from conferences. But we have never tackled this refugee problem as a whole at a special conference of this kind. I don't think even a conference, however, w'ould produce much in the way of immediate results as long as the political atmosphere is so poisoned and bitter as it is.
SHAPIRO: My point is that despite the fact that UNEF is there all these things are still building up in bitterness all the time. Em afraid there is going to be a larger explosion than ever unless we regain the same sense of urgency we had, and 1 am just wondering how you feel we can regain this sense of urgency. PEARSON: I am just as frightened as you are, and you will recall that we were really most insistent about this last autumn: if we didn't do something
w'hile we were frightened to death, once the fear was removed the urgency would also be removed. That is our danger. But 1 think some of us are still pretty frightened.
SHAPIRO: Have you thought of trying to rake up the sense of urgency again by at least the suggestion from Canada that unless the United Nations tries to do something, we will withdraw from the United Nations forces?
PEARSON: The only thing we have done in that respect is to make it very clear tu Egypt, and to Israel . . . no. particularly to Egypt . . . that if the United Nations Emergency Force doesn’t receive the constructive co-operation of the Egyptian government and is not permitted to operate as it should operate under the Assembly resolutions, we wouldn't continue to participate. And if we didn't participate it would be pretty hard for the force to operate, and if the force broke up it would leave the Egyptians and Israeli face to face again, and I don’t think they want that in Cairo. Now, we haven’t got beyond that. We haven’t said that if you don’t call an Assembly, if you don’t do something about these things, we'll pull out of the Force ... I don't think the time has come to take that stand. SHAPIRO: Do you think saying this to Egypt and to Israel is as effective as saying this to the United Nations? PEARSON: No. perhaps not. But immediately it was more important to say it to Egypt. The time is coming when we’ll be having a United Nations Assembly and this is going to be the numberone subject on the agenda; and we may have an emergency meeting long before September.
FRASER: We started out by talking about Canada's attitude toward AngloAmerican differences, and this is another Anglo-American difference, isn't it? 'Ehe British are saying now, and have been saying for the last six months, that the Americans are unrealistically and foolishly passing the buck to the United Nations. Ehe British say that when the Americans say this is a matter for the United Nations to settle, they are really just making an ineffectual attempt to ab-
dicate power which they alone can wield, or which at any rate the great powers alone can wield. They're saying that the United Nations, being in essence merely a debating society, is just too soft to be the cornerstone of anybody’s foreign policy. Without suggesting that I accept this view, could I ask for your comment on it?
PEARSON: I have heard a good deal about that, and we talked about it in Bermuda. It seems to me that both the British and the Americans are influenced in their attitude to this particular problem
by their experiences of the last six months. The United Kingdom didn't have a very happy experience with the United Nations Assembly, to say the least. You would expect them to have a certain feeling of disillusionment and disappointment about the United Nations because of that experience. The United States, on the other hand, found that the United Nations was a most valuable and important international agency to use for this emergency and perhaps as an escape from some of the urgency for immediate national decisions. They think the United
Nations, for that reason, is a most important and valuable organization. Now, being a Canadian. I naturally find myself halfway between these views. 1 think it is folly to use the United Nations as an escape for making national decisions. But I think it is equal folly to say that the United Nations Assembly is now under the control of a lot of Asians and Arabs with no sense of responsibility and we must extricate ourselves from it. What we need at the United Nations Assembly is a restoration of AngloAmerican leadership, and that means
unity between the two governments. Things broke down last autumn in the United Nations largely because the British and Americans weren’t working together. That division reflected itself in other delegations, too.
SHAPIRO: The reason why the British and the Americans didn’t work together —isn’t this as a result of a change in power relationships? Didn't the British feel, during the last summer, especially since the seizure of the Suez Canal, that America was now taking a new tack in international relationships, that its British and French allies had become regional allies rather than world partners in the old sense?
PEARSON: 1 think that that had something to do with it. 1 think there was a growing feeling in London and Paris last autumn that United States policy was wavering and inconsistent and wasn't taking enough into consideration the needs and the interests of the Western European countries. But the immediate cause of the breakdown was the action that the United Kingdom and France took and which got very little support at the United Nations. It was British and French action in that sense that brought about the immediate collapse of co-operation. But, that had been building up, as you say, over the months.
FRASER: Getting back to the Middle E'ast for one question, though. What is your view of the status of UNEF in Egypt right now? Must it get out whenever Nasser wants it to?
PEARSON: I would say no. And we’ve made this position of ours as clear as we could in parliament here, to the Committee of Seven of which I am a member —sort of the Executive Committee of UNEF—and to the Assembly itself. We feel that Egypt had the right to be consulted and to agree to the entry of an international force, but having given that consent as she did, she has no right to control the Force, to order it about, to tell the Force when it shall leave. If Egypt is dissatisfied with the operation of the Force, or if anybody else is dissatisfied, or if Egypt wants the Force to withdraw, feels its work is completed, Egypt should make its views known to the Secretary-General who would take it lip with the Committee of Seven and then it would go to the full Assembly, and until the Assembly had decided the Force would carry on.
FRASER: Do I understand you correctly to say that if President Nasser tomorrow decided he didn't want the Force in Egypt any longer that the Force would not leave within a reasonable period? PEARSON: You put the question in very difficult practical terms. The position 1 stated is, I think, theoretically sound. But there are several governments participating in the Force . . . who don’t accept our position and say that anytime Nasser wants them to leave they’ll go . . . India particularly. So it’s a difficult question. FRASER: The practical answer then is that the Force must get out when Nasser decides it must.
PEARSON: I’m afraid that having regard to the views of some of the members ot the Force and having regard for the practical difficulty of the position, the Force couldn’t operate constructively on Egyptian territory with the active opposition of the government of Egypt. But, it is one thing to say that, and another to admit the right of Egypt to take that position.
FRASER: On the other hand, you do feel that right now President Nasser would not like to see the Force go. PEARSON: Oh. I don’t think so. FRASER: Well, doesrr't that give us a bargaining position?
PEARSON: Yes, it does.
FRASER: On that point, isn’t it a fact that a few weeks ago Nasser was calmed down a good deal in his soundings-off by the Canadian hint, which I think came from you . . . that if . . .
PEARSON: It wasn’t a hint ... it was a very forthright statement!
FRASER: . . . that we jolly well would get out if he didn’t behave himself? PEARSON: We made that statement the day Hammarskjöld arrived in Cairo. FRASER: And that made him behave himself.
SHAPIRO: Doesn’t it remain, then, the fact that time is running out on us? I mean, our bargaining position, which is probably the last one we will have, is running out?
PEARSON: Yes. Our bargaining position will decrease as time goes on, perhaps. But. look ... let me ask you a question. You are asking me all these questions about Canadian policy and what we think about these things and whether we can do this and whether we can do that . . . can we influence Nasser and influence somebody else . . . You said a few mo-
ments ago that we didn’t have a policy . . . that Canada had no policy in the world . . . How is it that you’re so interested in all these things that we’re doing so far away from Canada in a part of the world where we have no immediate and direct material interests?
ERASER: I didn’t say Canada didn't have a policy. I know very well Canada has got a policy, but I did say correctly that this is the thing that is thrown up in political debates on the subject. PEARSON: But this is a very good illustration that we do accept international responsibilities as part of Canadian foreign policy.
FRASER: Before we leave this question of the UN, I’d like to have your answer to the question a little more broadly. Do you think it was the United Nations’ vote, and not just the American pressure and the Russian threat, that brought the cease-fire in Egypt?
PEARSON: There may have been other considerations. Perhaps the things you have mentioned were very important, but they couldn't have been worked out if the United Nations hadn't been there, an international organization, to step in. FRASER: You mean as a system ot communications.
PEARSON: As a system of international political communication, as machinery for the solution of disputes and as a forum for the expression of world opinions.
FRASER: What about the previous record of United Nations? Can you think of some other example in which the United Nations has performed a real as distinct from a verbal role?
PEARSON: Yes, indeed I can. 1 am now talking only about the political side of it. On the technical and social . . . that's something else. On the political side, in the very first year of the United Nations, if it had not been there it might have been far more difficult to get the Russians out of Azerbaijan (Iran); it might have been much more difficult to bring about Indonesian independence, in circumstances which would not have resulted in a long-drawn-out conflict. They had something to do with the armistice in Kashmir — stopping the fighting and observing the armistice—and also in Palestine and Korea, if you like to talk about that...
FRASER: Yes, very much so. as a matter of fact. The absence of Russia from the Security Council was the accidental circumstance that made the Korean exercise possible as the United Nations. PEARSON: Quite. But there was an international agency there to take advantage of that accident.
SHAPIRO: Last November 1 and 2. the United Nations General Assembly extended debate on the issue. Suppose the Anglo-French action had gone through to a military success. It would be interesting to hear you speculate on what the results would have been.
PEARSON: Well. Ell be glad to speculate on that because speculation is an interesting intellectual pastime, sometimes an interesting political pastime. My view— and historians will be arguing about this a hundred years from now, if there are any people left on the planet—my view is that if the fighting had gone on. if the British and the French military intervention had continued, they would have had no difficulty, of course, in bringing about military victory. That would have been simple, but they would not have been able to keep control of the Canal without controlling and occupying the whole of Egypt. Earlier the U. K. found it well nigh impossible to control and operate the Canal from their military base on the Canal when the local population were bitterly hostile to them. This would have meant that Great Britain, which is having a pretty hard time economically and financially discharging its present responsibilities, would have had the occupation of Egypt on its hands. That is one result. Another result would have been, I think, the deep and bitter and prolonged hostility of the whole Arab-Asian world. They wouldn’t have fought, but they would never have accepted that position. They would have been so bitter and hostile that some of the Arab states would have been tempted to call in Russian help. As Sir Winston Churchill once said: when you are
really up against it you’ll accept help from the devil; and the Arab world would have been up against it then. Now, that's two results. I will give you the others. I think the strains and stresses on Asian members of the Commonwealth would have been so great that they would not have been able to withstand them. That's the third result. And then, the fourth result would have been an even greater breach between Washington and London than that which actually existed. FRASER: If the Israeli had been left alone to beat Nasser singlehanded, as they could easily have done, then what would have been the effect?
PEARSON: The answer given to me by top people in London to that question was that if the Israeli had been allowed to fight alone the bitterness of the Arab
“Without the United States we’re vulnerable before Communist imperialism”
world toward Israel would have been so much greater than the bitterness which was aimed against Britain and France that there would have been no question that other Arab states would have invited the Russians in quickly.
FRASER: I would like to get back to our starting point—the extent to which Canada needlessly follows the example of the United States of America. There is an outstanding example, one which has been outstanding for eight years or nearly, where the Canadian government adopts a policy which it does not pretend to agree with, which it doesn’t defend intellectually, holds for one reason and one reason only, that is to abandon it would displease certain American senators and voters — and that is the recognition of China.
PEARSON: Well, I don’t accept that clear-cut and simple interpretation. I accept a certain amount of it.
FRASER: Seriously speaking, though, this is a position we wouldn’t take if it were not for the United States’ position. PEARSON: All right, if you accept that. But it is also true that the Far East reflects the Canadian anxiety in foreign policy to work along with both the British and the Americans. And here again we found ourselves halfway between, and by being halfway between we may have done something to bring the two wings closer together . . . We play centre on this line.
FRASER: There’s an awful hole in the centre, then!
PEARSON: And it’s the first line, too. Let me try to explain that. We have not recognized Red China and the British have. Perhaps they wouldn't have if they had waited another six months, because they would have been in the Korean War; but they did and we didn't. So the Korean War had something to do with the determination of policy and dogged that situation for many years afterward. While we have not recognized Communist China, we have not gone along with American policy in the Far East in many of its manifestations, especially over the off-shore islands. We have told the Americans openly that if they get into trouble out there by coming to the assistance of Chiang Kai-shek, if his off-shore islands are attacked, they can’t count on us because that’s a civil war and we take no part in it. So that isn’t following American policy. We have also said that if the Reds attack Formosa that’s a matter to go before the United Nations. And that isn’t American policy. We haven't recognized Communist China and therefore that isn't following the British line. We have been sort of halfway between. One reason why we have not recognized Communist China comes from a calculated weighing of advantages and disadvantages from recognition. I am not talking about the moral aspect, but about the practical aspect — the advantages from recognition against the disadvantages of having a first-class row with the United States over a matter on which public opinion in our own country is strongly divided. And don't you think opinion in Canada isn t. You should see my mail!
FRASER: How seriously divided? PEARSON: I don't know, but a large section of opinion in some parts of Canada is strongly opposed to the recognition of Red China.
FRASER: On what grounds? PEARSON: That we shouldn't do anything to encourage Communist rule in Asia and that recognition of Red China
would be a blow to the free Asian countries who are trying to stand up to communism. It would be a desertion of those countries by giving further encouragement to the Red regime in Peking. FRASER: But the free Asian nations that are trying to stand up to communism have recognized Red China — the only ones that amount to anything. PEARSON: That’s right, substantially. FRASER: The only ones that haven’t
recognized Red China are American pensioners who are recognizing Chiang Kaishek for the same reason that we are: that they don’t want to annoy the Americans.
PEARSON: No. That’s not the only reason.
FRASER: Well, it’s the biggest. PEARSON: You forget that there are some people who feel very strongly about the iniquities and the moral evil of this government in Peking. They don't want to have anything to do with it.
FRASER: Well, there are iniquities and moral evils in several governments, including those in Madrid, Buenos Aires . . . Yemen, and quite a number of others that we recognize. This is not a valid reason for ignoring six hundred million people.
PEARSON: I’ll not carry the argument any further.
SHAPIRO: Then let me take it on a slightly different tack. When it comes to American policy we can’t afford, obviously, to go diametrically opposite. How vulnerable are we in Canada to insistence by the United States on a certain amount of collaboration? To give you a very practical example: if we don’t get a satisfactory reply to our note on Mr. Norman, what can we do about it? PEARSON: Well, we’re vulnerable in more ways than one. We’re vulnerable because we want to co-operate with them, and we’re willing to make some sacrifices to co-operate with them, even some sacrifice of national interest, and so should other countries, because without the United States we’re vulnerable before Communist imperialism in a military sense. So we have to take that into consideration when we differ with the United States. The price of disunity is high. Any weakening of the coalition is serious. The Russians fear our unity more, almost, than they do our strength.
SHAPIRO: We’re vulnerable economical-
ly. Isn't that so?
PEARSON: We're vulnerable economically, we're vulnerable geographically, we’re vulnerable strategically because our defenses are interlocked, and we're vulnerable in other ways because we're so close together in so many ways. SHAPIRO: Are we absolutely helpless? PEARSON: No, we're not helpless. And I would expect any Canadian government. if an important question of principle were involved or one of strong national interest, on which we differed with the United States, to stick to its Canadian guns.
FRASER: Actually, can it not be argued just as plausibly that Canada is not only no more vulnerable than any other member of the North Atlantic community, but is the least vulnerable of the fourteen? PEARSON: No, I wouldn't agree with that.
FRASER: We are the only country that is not on the American payroll. PEARSON: No. True, we’re not on the American payroll. But we’re vulnerable geographically. Our relationship is much closer and it would be very hard indeed for us to cut these relations if we wished to. I have been getting communications recently, saying why don’t we break away from the Americans and have nothing further to do with them. How could we do that without exposing ourselves? FRASER: To what?
PEARSON: Either to a complete withdrawal of the United States from Canada strategically and economically, or exposing ourselves to American pressures which wouldn't be as friendly as they certainly have been in the past. FRASER: Well, now. I am not suggesting that anything has come up between the two countries to warrant such action, but isn’t it true that Mexico did exactly that in the 1930s?
PEARSON: Mexico is not so important to the United States or the United States to Mexico as Canada and the United States are to each other.
FRASER: It was then. It was Mexico, not Canada, that was supposed to contain the big oil reserves.
PEARSON: I wasn’t thinking about that. That had something to do with it, the depletion of resources in the United States and the development of resources in Canada for export to the United States, but there are other considerations. Especially
“Far from stabbing the British in the back last autumn . . „ we really tried to get closer to them”
the strategic considerations.
ERASER: The economic considerations are absolutely tremendous. The United States may depend on us a good deal for raw materials, but . . .
PEARSON: We depend on them for sixtytwo percent of our exports.
ERASER: Yes, but they are sixty-two percent of our exports which, in the main at least, they need very badly. 1 will admit there are alternative sources of supply, but this is the thing on which six of one equals half a dozen of the other most of the time. 1 don’t see why this should put Canada in a position of chronic deference.
PEARSON: Who wants to be in a position of chronic deference? Have you talked to the people in the State Department? Have you talked to the members of the National Press Club in Washington? Will they agree with you that Canada is chronically deferential to them down there? They think we cause them more trouble than almost any other friend, and they respect us in spite of or even because of that. What makes you think that the Americans feel that we are deferential to them?
ERASER: I don’t know whether the Americans feel that we are or not, but 1 feel that we are. I must confess that it is largely over this business of recognizing or not recognizing Red China. PEARSON: if there was a great question of principle involved we would not refrain from recognizing Red China because the Americans didn't want us to do it, or if there was a great question of national interest and national advantage —but is there?
ERASER: Yes. And the reason l think there is is that the American policy toward China is doing exactly the opposite of what its protagonists say it is doing in Asia. It is far from cementing—it is fraying—the ties between the West and the uncommitted nations of Asia. I am not talking about little places like Siam, but India and Pakistan. All the major nations of Asia regard it as a just grievance, not only on the part of China but on the part of Asia, that the United States should be preventing the other Western nations from doing what common sense tells them to do. This is not an unimportant matter at all in Asia. It is having a very serious effect.
PEARSON: I will agree that the matter is considerably important, but I don’t think it’s a question of major principle or national interest.
ERASER: It is always.
SHAPIRO: We’ve covered some ground on the Canadian relations with the United States as far as foreign policy is concerned. I wondered whether you would comment on our relations with Great Britain, especially since the events of last November. I was referring particularly to two remarks made in the debate in the Commons on the Suez question. One was by the Prime Minister—the “superman” remark: the other one was by you —the “colonial choreboy” remark. I was just wondering whether this reflected a new attitude on our part toward very close collaboration with Great Britain? PEARSON: My view on what our relationship with Great Britain should be hasn't changed at all since the events of last autumn. You mentioned the “colonial choreboy” remark, but you must recall that I wasn’t suggesting that we were a colonial choreboy: this expression was thrown at me by somebody else as de-
rogatory about our relations with the United States, suggesting that we were a choreboy of the United States. I said it is wrong to be a choreboy of the United States or the United Kingdom, or anybody else. But we're not, of course, and our relations with the United Kingdom remained close and friendly throughout all the difficult days and hours of last autumn. Our delegations were in close touch and even when we disagreed we talked things over. I have spent hours with them trying to see how we could work things out together. Sometimes we couldn't, but that seems to me to be the kind of relationship that makes the Commonwealth worthwhile. It is easy to be on good terms with somebody when you always agree with them, hut to work out your disagreements in a friendly way so you won't disagree again in the future—that’s the test of good relationship. I think we met that test last autumn, and far from stabbing the British in the hack we took the opposite course; we really tried to get closer to them.
SHAPIRO: I agree that you certainly tried to be very constructive, to build a bridge between the United States and Great Britain, and you were very friendly toward Great Britain. But what I mean is a subtle change in relationship, l.et me give you a specific example. When the Prime Minister came back from Bermuda he was asked whether a common policy on the Suez had heen agreed upon and he gave a very equivocal answer. The answer, I believe, was that if a satisfactory agreement is reached it will be fine for everybody who is satisfied — some very equivocal answer.
PEARSON: It is not fair to base too many important conclusions on an observation that a man may make after a long plane trip.
SHAPIRO: No, the point I was trying to make was that before last November a Canadian prime minister coming back from a conference with a British prime minister over a question as far away from Canada as Suez and as close to Britain, as important to Britain as Suez is, there would have been no equivocation at all about it.
PEARSON: I think there has been a change, but not in the manner that you indicate. At Bermuda we talked a great deal about the Middle East, hut we did talk about it from the point of view of two governments trying to get together on a policy. There is no doubt that that was the approach, that was the atmosphere. But a difference in our relations seems to me to have developed in twenty years. In the Twenties and Thirties we were very preoccupied about our relations with the United Kingdom, partly because of economic considerations. Most of our trade was going there, but we were also developing our constitutional status. To some sensitive people it seemed that the British were getting in the way of Canadian national political development. It also seemed to some—and there was some basis for this—that our independence of action was being prejudiced by British policy in Europe where the danger centres were. If anything happened in Europe we thought we would be dragged in again as we were in 1914. We weren’t dragged in, of course, but we did come in. We were very worried lest British policy should bring us into a conflict in a way which would disturb the unity of this country.
Now all those worries have gone. We don't have to w'orry about our constitutional condition. Nobody is sensitive about that any longer. Downing Street is a place where we go and have dinner now', not a place where they are trying to decide what the Canadians will do. Moreover the British do not primarily determine now the great forces of politici which lead to peace and war: they influence those forces importantly. They have wisdom and experience, which perhaps we should use more. But they don’t themselves determine events as much as the Americans do. Just as soon as we realized in this country that the Americans were now the people who might drag us into trouble again — again I use that word “drag” very loosely—we bcaan to worry more about our political relations with the United States and less about our political relations with the United Kingdom. The latter country changed from a rather formidable father to a kindly big brother to whom we could go for comfort and encouragement! FRASER: Do you think the UN ET. the United Nations police force, or something like it. should become a permanent thing?
PEARSON: 1 don't think of a UN police force in the terms that were in the minds of the people who drew up the charter. They thought of the UN preserving the peace, policing the peace by overwhelming force. If anybody wanted to start trouble the UN force would move in. That postulated the working together of the great powers and was provided for in the charter through the Security Council, and the Security Council w'as given certain powers to enforce the peace. Now that’s all gone and there is no point in talking about it as long as the world is divided. But a UN police force in the sense of an organization created with a headquarters in New York and with governments pledged to contribute up to a certain amount to that police force, which would be ready to go into action at a moment's notice to put an end to brush fires, or to get between the combatants and stay there until the danger of new' fighting was over — that kind of police force, it seems to me, makes sense. It really would be a sort of extension and a perpetuation of the present police force we have in Egypt and in Gaza.
ERASER: How could it be permanent when the personnel of the force has to be adapted to each particular situation? PEARSON: It wouldn't be very difficult if the will to do it were there. Take our own position. We would earmark, as we were willing to earmark in 1950 under the Uniting for Peace resolution, a certain number and kind of troops, available for United Nations service to carry out United Nations resolutions, subject, of course, always to the consent ot our parliament. Other countries would make the same kind of offer and there would be a headquarters in New York which would know at any one time what it could call on. If we needed, say. three thousand men now to go out to Jordan under a UN resolution, the military director in the secretary-general’s stall in New York would know that so-and-so had offered in advance to send a thousand infantrymen and that other governments had done the same. It would ail be organized in advance. The troops would have been trained for this kind of work. The staff would have been created and the force w'ould be on the way in a few days.
FRASER: But the operative point is: will the consent of the country to which it is sent be necessary?
PEARSON: In theory it would have to
be. But let's take Jordan again. Supposing the situation collapsed there and various countries knew that Jordan was collapsing. But there was great rivalry as to who would move in. It might be possible by a large vote of the United Nations, although it wouldn't perhaps be strictly speaking legal under the charter, for the United Nations to take action even against the wishes of a state which was disappearing in order to prevent confusion and trouble.
FRASER: You are taking an extreme case now.
PEARSON: Normally you would have to have the consent of the state in which the UN force was operating. If the force was to go to a frontier between two conflicting states and get between the forces, you'd have to have agreement from both those countries. In other words, you would have an armistice between the conflicting forces and you would also have an agency to police the armistice. FRASER: To come back to something you were saying earlier about the British no longer determining the major questions: there are now two determining
forces and one of the questions that keeps cropping up in discussions of international affairs is whether or not any good is served by direct negotiations with the Soviet Union—the so-called summit meetings, on the one hand, or indeed direct negotiations between smaller countries and Russia such as. for example, West Germany. What are the Canadian government's views on that?
PEARSON: We have, of course, been greatly influenced in this matter of direct negotiations at the summit by the powers that have to take part in the summit
negotiations. We may teil them that we think it is a good time to have a Geneva conference: you ought to meet the Russians. We can advise perhaps, and influence them, but not determine. I don't believe that too many of these summit conferences are normally of much value except on rare occasions for specific purposes and after very careful preparation. But I think we ought to be doing more than we do to use the ordinary channels of diplomacy for getting in touch with the Russians more. I think we should never treat our differences with them as
though they are untouchable or untalkable. That’s one of the ways in which the United Nations is most valuable; the contacts that we can establish and maintain with the various delegations, including the Communist delegation. And that’s how we’re working out disarmament talks now through a small committee of the United Nations.
FRASER: Do you feel, then, that there is no reason why any member of NATO, for example, if it has something to discuss with the Russians, shouldn’t just take it up with the Russians?
PEARSON: 1 see no reason why not.
But every member of NATO has an obligation as a member of that collective organization to discuss such a proposal with the other members before it's taken up with the Russians.
FRASER: Notify them but not necessarily be ruled by their views.
PEARSON: Not necessarily, but cer-
tainly to consult with them. That's one of the things we complain about so much. We, for instance, would have no right to talk with the Russians with a view to making some kind of an agreement over
the Arctic without first having discussed the question with our partners in NATO, because that is what NATO means. SHAPIRO: One last question on NATO. Do you think that in view of the recent cleavages among NATO nations NATO now has as strong a future as you envisaged, say, two or three years ago? PEARSON: That's a very hard question to answer. But I don’t think we ought to be too discouraged by what has happened to NATO in recent years. They are building up the habit of consultation in Paris. Things take time. It is becoming understood that no one member of NATO should make an important change in defense or foreign policy without the others being consulted. They don’t always carry this out in practice, but that’s the principle. You have a good example in the new British defense policy. The British made up their minds what they were going to do, but they did go to both the Western European Council and to NATO and argued it out with their NATO colleagues before they came to a final decision, and they modified their plans as a result of that discussion. All that sort of thing is encouraging, and the fact that we have trouble inside NATO doesn't mean that the organization ceases to be of value, ft is when you have trouble that the organization might be of most value. Cyprus is a good example. Perhaps NATO can help there. If the British Commonwealth of Nations consisted only of governments whose policies were always similar and who were very friendly to each other it would take on some different aspects from those which it has at present. Indeed, one of the values of the Commonwealth today is that it is a place where one or two of the members can sit around a table and talk to each other about their disputes. Even when they disagree strongly there they do so in a way that gives you the impression they are still trying to find agreement. You feel this at Commonwealth meetings. You are beginning to feel it at NATO council meetings, which are acquiring the atmosphere of cabinet discussions within a government.
FRASER: Right through this discussion it has become clear, I think, in all our minds that you feel the United States is having a more and more profound effect on the politics of the Western world. Its power relationship has increased tremendously. Would you care to say where you feel the United States is going, in foreign policy on a long range? PEARSON: I’m not sure where it’s go ing. I know where I hope it is going.
I hope it will be going in the direction of greater Atlantic unity, which means more and more consideration must be given by the United States to the Western European countries and to Canada in the determination of policy. I hope it is also going to take advantage of every possible and practicable opportunity to negotiate differences with the Russians. This may seem to be a counsel of perfection at the present moment, but the thing that discourages me most is the possibility that we may give up the struggle to find solutions and fall back into the mood: “Oh, let’s just keep strong and wait for the catastrophe. We can’t do anything about these problems with Moscow, leave them alone.” It would be relatively easy merely to keep building up our military strength and let our diplomacy become rigid and based on fear alone. Surely it is important, both for the United States and the Western coalition, and equally important for the Soviet Union, to keep in touch with each other and never to abandon any hope or possibility of practical negotiations. ★