Domesticating NATO: Canada and the North Atlantic Alliance, 1963-68

By Donaghy, Greg | International Journal, Summer 1997 | Go to article overview

Domesticating NATO: Canada and the North Atlantic Alliance, 1963-68


Donaghy, Greg, International Journal


FOR THE GENERATION OF POLITICIANS AND DIPLOMATS who shaped Canadian foreign policy in the early years of the cold war, membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was a source of pride and reassurance. Canada had played an important role in negotiating the North Atlantic Treaty in 1948-9 in response to the Soviet Union's aggressive posturing in postwar Europe. As the cold war intensified with the outbreak of war in Korea in 1950, Canada contributed materially to transforming what was still an insubstantial alliance into a formidable reality. Within a few years, a Canadian brigade group was stationed in Germany, and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadrons were sent to France. At the peak of the Canadian effort in 1953-4, Canada provided its European allies with $300 million in mutual aid. With the fourth largest defence budget among the allies, Canada wielded a disporportionate influence.(f.1)

However, the new alliance was not simply a military coalition. Underpinning the Canadian attachment to NATO was a belief that the economic and social co-operation promised in the treaty's second article - tagged the 'Canadian article' in view of Ottawa's strenuous efforts to include it in the final treaty - was both desirable and possible. The more idealistic members of the Department of External Affairs argued that NATO would bolster Canada's economic and political ties with Europe, in the process creating a north Atlantic solidarity that would help contain the worst excesses of American unilateralism and allow Canada to escape 'the solitary embrace of the United Stares.'(f.2)

Historian, Historical Section, Corporate Communications Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa.

I would like to thank John English and Norman Hillmer for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. The views expressed in it are mine alone.

The reality rarely matched the rhetoric, but by the late 1950s the discrepancy between the two was uncomfortably obvious to even the most sanguine observer. The revival of war-torn Europe, changes in nuclear strategy, and the relative decline in cold war tensions combined to create strains in the alliance and raise questions about its continued relevance. For the government in Ottawa, framing a response to these challenges was made more difficult by the changing nature of the policy-making environment in Canada during this period.(f.3) The Cuban missile crisis and the public debate in Canada over equipping Canadian forces with nuclear weapons suddenly transformed foreign policy into a subject too important to be left to the experts. As the decade progressed, the constraints placed on Canadian policy-makers by an engaged public grew more complicated. The war Washington waged in Vietnam provoked disturbing doubts about Canada's relationship with the United States and its military alliances. Canadian nationalists, anxious to differentiate their society from that of their southern neighbour, pressed the government to reduce defence expenditures and to spend greater sums on new social programmes. Nationalists in Quebec, whose aspirations had been unleashed by the province's move to modernize its economic and social life, assailed a foreign policy that had too often failed to reflect the bilingual and bicultural nature of Canadian federalism.

These competing international and domestic imperatives pushed Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and his secretary of state for external affairs, Paul Martin, in very different directions. While the two shared a common faith in NATO's continuing value as a deterrent to communist aggression and as a counterweight to the United States, they differed profoundly over how to ensure the alliance's future relevance. Alert to the possibilities implied by the relaxation of East-West tensions and in response to domestic pressures for change, Pearson saw the pursuit of detente as a new and politically invigorating role for the alliance. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Domesticating NATO: Canada and the North Atlantic Alliance, 1963-68
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.