HL Deb 16 March 1911 vol 7 cc526-8

My Lords, I rise to ask His Majesty's Government whether the White Paper I [Cd. 55231] recently published in regard to the proposed reciprocal tariff arrangement between Canada and the United States contains all the communications on that subject which have passed between His Majesty's Government, the Governor-General of Canada, and the British Ambassador at Washington, and if so, why His Majesty's Government neither asked for information nor gave any instructions during the period which intervened between May, 1910, and the signature of the Agreement on January 21, 1911; and whether since the signature of the Agreement His Majesty's Government have received any communication either from the Governor-General of Canada or from the British Ambassador at Washington as to the bearing of the Agreement upon British "most-favoured-nation Treaties" to which Canada is a party.


My Lords, in answer to the noble Lord's first question, I have to say that every despatch and telegram from His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington relating to what passed at the negotiations between Mr. Knox, Mr. Fielding, and Mr. Paterson, has been presented to Parliament in full, or with certain necessary omissions. Of these omissions I have to say that they are observations upon the United States and Canadian interests involved which in the opinion of His Majesty's Government it is not desirable to publish. The telegram from the Governor-General of Canada is published as a separate Paper [Cd. 55121]. His Majesty's Government do not propose to publish any further correspondence with the Governor-General of Canada.

As regards the second part of the noble Lord's Question. I would point out that in formal negotiations begun only on January 10, 1911, there was nothing for Mr. Bryce to report upon until after that date. As negotiations with the United States Ministers arc within the competence of the Canadian Ministers—which is not denied—it would be most undesirable for His Majesty's Government to send separate instructions to Mr. Bryce. Between May, 1910, and January of the present year the Colonial Office received despatches from the Governor-General at Ottawa, but they are not considered suitable for publication for the obvious reason that they may be presumed to be, and are, in the nature of confidential reports from the Governor-General upon various actions of his own Ministers and are not of the nature of official documents.

As to the last of the three Questions in reference to "most-favoured-nation Treaties." the Governor-General has forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies copies of Resolutions moved by Mr. Fielding in the Canadian Parliament providing inter alia that the advantages to be granted by the Reciprocity Agreement to the United States should be extended to any foreign Power which may be entitled thereto under the provisions of any Treaty or Convention with His Majesty.

House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.