“BEHAVING AS ADULTS”
AND NORTH AMERICAN
IN THE 1930S
Galen Roger Perras
As historians J.L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer argue elsewhere in this volume, it was abundantly clear by the 1930s that Canada’s national interest lay in increasingly closer defence relations with the United States. British political and military weakness, already apparent in the face of growing Japanese militarism and Nazi aggression in Europe, left Canada exposed and isolated on the North American continent with only the United States for company. Then, as it would in 1945 and again today, an uncertain and fearful Washington looked north towards its vulnerable border as a source of danger. While Canada itself was clearly no threat, American policy-makers fretted that its lacklustre defence efforts made it a potential launching pad for an attack on the American homeland. Already, by 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt was anxious to establish some form of bilateral continental security cooperation to address this threat.
This chapter explores the readiness of Canadian diplomats to recognize this changed reality and their capacity to deal with the consequences effectively. For O.D. Skelton, Canada’s influential under-secretary of state