Documents on European Recovery and Defence, March 1947-April 1949

By Royal Institute Of International Affairs | Go to book overview

SPEECH BY THE RT HON. LOUIS ST LAURENT
(extract)
1
29 April 19481

What of . . . Canada's relations to the developments towards western European economic unity and western union? The development and rehabilitation of a sound system of international trade, a matter of first importance for Canada, is inseparably linked with European recovery. It must not be forgotten that the United Kingdom and the western European countries have in the past provided valuable markets for Canadian exports. Should the economies of these countries collapse, our own economy would suffer a severe blow. In addition, such a collapse would provide a favourable environment for Communism which feeds on insecurity, unrest, and political instability. For these reasons we welcome any development towards European economic unity, which will in the long run be of great advantage to Canada by increasing political security and by widening the area of freer trade.

In so far as widening the area of political security is concerned, the Prime Minister (Mr Mackenzie King) has already outlined in this house on 17 March the Government's attitude to the Brussels five-Power treaty. I think I might repeat here what he then said, to place it in the context of the world picture. Speaking of the Brussels five-Power treaty the Prime Minister said:

This pact is far more than an alliance of the old kind. It is a partial realization of the idea of collective security by an arrangement made under the Charter of the United Nations. As such it is a step towards peace, which may well be followed by other similar steps until there is built up an association of all free States which are willing to accept responsibilities of mutual assistance to prevent aggression and preserve peace. . . .

The Canadian Government has been closely following recent developments in the international sphere. The peoples of all free countries may be assured that Canada will play her full part in every movement to give substance to the conception of an effective system of collective security by the development of regional pacts under the Charter of the United Nations.

The time has not yet come when it would be wise or useful for

____________________
1
Debates of the House of Commons, Dominion of Canada, Session, 1948, Vol. 4, p. 3448

-93-

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