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«THE RHODESIAN CRISIS IN BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, 1964-1965 by CARL PETER WATTS A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham For the ...»

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Winning friends and influencing people Aid and technical assistance In the preceding chapter it was noted that Canada adopted a much more positive attitude than Australia and New Zealand towards Commonwealth relations in general and the Rhodesian problem in particular. The following discussion will explain why the Commonwealth was a significant element in Canadian foreign policy and examine the reasons for a massive increase in the level of Canadian foreign aid during the mid-1960s, which included greater levels of assistance for Commonwealth states in Africa. Although Rhodesia was not an independent member of the Commonwealth, the Canadian Government nevertheless put forward practical proposals for aid and technical assistance programmes for Rhodesia, which were intended to improve the socio-economic status of Africans and prepare them for majority rule. With greater enthusiasm on the part of Australia and New Zealand, these programmes might have encouraged greater cooperation between Africans and Europeans in Rhodesia, and could have changed attitudes towards the Commonwealth among European Rhodesians (though it must be admitted that it would have been difficult to overcome intransigence among many African nationalists and extremist Europeans).

In a 1966 assessment, British officials recognised that although the Commonwealth was not the only or even the most important factor in Canadian foreign policy, ‘there can be no doubt that the present Canadian Government attach a good deal of importance to it, in word and deed.’ 1 Canadian politicians emphasised the multi-racial nature of the Commonwealth, as noted in the preceding chapter, but the principle of racial equality was not the only reason why Canada valued the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth was an association through which Canada could exert influence, a forum that suited the principles of Canadian foreign policy and character of Canadian diplomacy. During the post-War period Canada obviously lacked the formidable capabilities of the great powers, but in the words of one historian it acquired a distinguished reputation as ‘the industrious tailor of the international system, stitching together workable compromises out of rather

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international system as a problem-solver, a system maintainer rather than a system reformer. In other words, Canadian politicians and officials did not seek to make changes to the international system, but attempted to deal with the difficulties relating to the workings of the system as it stood. 3 Canadian foreign policy was characterised by functionalist principles, particularly the idea that ‘responsibility in selected areas of international organization should be commensurate with specialized interests and taskThe National Archives [hereafter TNA]: Public Records Office, Kew [hereafter PRO], DO 193/79, Eleanor J. Emery, Counsellor, British High Commission, Canada, to R. Walker, Commonwealth Relations Office [hereafter CRO], London, 1 December 1966, para. 2; in S. R. Ashton and Wm. Roger Louis (eds.), British Documents on the End of Empire Project [hereafter BDEEP] Series A Volume 5, East of Suez and the Commonwealth, Part II: Europe, Rhodesia, Commonwealth (London: The Stationery Office, 2004), p.


Andrew F. Cooper, Canadian Foreign Policy: Old Habits and New Directions (Scarborough, Ontario:

Prentice-Hall, 1997), p. 36.

Ibid. For a discussion of national roles see K. J. Holsti, ‘National roles conceptions in the study of foreign policy’, International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3 (September 1970), pp. 233-309.

related experience.’ 4 Canada maintained its credibility by not over-extending itself, instead choosing to focus on specific issues that it felt competent to deal with. This meant concentrating on trying to mediate intra-bloc tensions (such as those that occurred during the 1956 Suez Crisis) rather than inter-bloc tensions (that is to say, East-West relations during the Cold War). 5 A notable attribute of Canadian diplomacy was its associational activity, through which a habit of consultation and collaboration were thoroughly inculcated in the Canadian diplomatic service. Canada concentrated on

working with others, as the Canadian diplomat and academic John Holmes put it:

‘Diplomacy … is a game of skill in which countries without adequate weight to be decisive in world politics and economics play whatever hands they can muster. To do so they need more friends than enemies.’ 6 The Commonwealth was (at least in theory) an association of friends, in which Canada enjoyed a prestigious position, as British officials observed: ‘Canada (unlike Britain) has no imperialist past to inhibit her relations with the new Commonwealth countries. She sees herself, therefore, and the African countries in particular see her, as having a leading role to play in Commonwealth affairs.’ 7 A further Cooper, Canadian Foreign Policy, p. 36. For a discussion of functionalism see John W. Holmes, The Shaping of Peace: Canada and the Search for World Order (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), Vol. 1, pp. 29-73. Holmes was President of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and had previously served in the Canadian Foreign Service.

Cooper, Canadian Foreign Policy, pp. 37-39.

John W. Holmes, ‘The changing role of the diplomatic function in the making of foreign policy’, Occasional Paper, Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University (January 1975), p. 10. Quoted in Cooper, Canadian Foreign Policy, p. 37.

TNA: PRO, DO 193/79, Emery to Walker, 1 December 1966, para.6; in Ashton and Louis (eds.), BDEEP Series A, Vol. 5, Part II, p. 356. Bruce Miller suggests that there was ‘something synthetic about Canada’s role in the 1950s and 1960s.’ Canada could and did capitalise on the fact that it had no imperialist association with Africa but ‘this was to a large extent an operation at the edges of national concern.’ It did notable characteristic of Canadian diplomacy was its tenacity, which was evident in ‘both an entrepreneurial and technical dimension’. In an entrepreneurial role Canadian diplomats were responsible for ‘triggering initiatives; the planning and convening of meetings, setting priorities, and drawing up and fleshing out proposals’, and on the technical side they were involved with ‘a wide range of more routine activity surrounding liaison efforts, shuttle diplomacy, the use of formal and informal forums, working the corridors, and other means to push a given process forward.’ 8 The United Nations General Assembly and Security Council were obviously important arenas for pursuing entrepreneurial initiatives and routine diplomatic work, but Canada valued the Commonwealth as a channel of communication because its meetings were held in camera and as they were less subject to scrutiny it encouraged greater candour. 9 As this chapter will demonstrate, Canadian politicians and officials used different diplomatic techniques

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initiative, which was routine but nevertheless potentially significant, was the Canadian attempt to mobilise the support of the Old Commonwealth for aid and technical assistance programmes in Rhodesia, which reflected growing Canadian expertise in and commitment to overseas aid.

–  –  –

Commonwealth Affairs: Problems of Expansion and Attrition 1953-1969 (London: Oxford University Press for The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1974), pp. 371-72.

Cooper, Canadian Foreign Policy, p. 38.

K. A. MacKirdy, ‘The Commonwealth: Does it Exist?’, in J. L. Granatstein (ed.), Canadian Foreign Policy Since 1945: Middle Power or Satellite? (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1970), p. 167. However, many African Commonwealth states were inclined to use Prime Ministers’ Meetings as a forum for public diplomacy, which irritated the Prime Ministers of Britain and Australia. See the next chapter for further discussion of this point.

In his March 1964 statement to the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Canadian Foreign Minister, Paul Martin, stated his Government’s view that the economic and social life of developing countries ‘is strengthened by the function which outside assistance performs and by the evidence which it brings of widespread interests, sympathy and support.’ Martin explained that was why the Canadian Government actively encouraged UN assistance programmes and had decided to increase its economic aid in the year ahead by more than 50 per cent, to between $180 and $190 million.10 Speaking to an audience in Quebec in February 1965, Martin explained the motives behind foreign aid, highlighting humanitarianism in


For my own part, I have no hesitation in saying that I regard humanitarian considerations to be foremost in the minds of those who have supported and sustained the principle of Canadian aid to the developing countries … In essence I would say [the humanitarian approach] rests upon the recognition that, as flagrant disparities in human wealth and human welfare are no longer morally acceptable within a single community, whether it be local or national, the same principle is applicable to the larger world community. 11 Costas Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism: Canadian Foreign Policy 1945-1995 (Montreal: McGillQueen’s University Press, 1998), p. 77. UNCTAD set a target for developed countries to donate one per cent of their GNP to developing countries annually by 1972. In 1966 Canadian aid was around 0.45 per cent of GNP. TNA: PRO, DO 193/79, Emery to Walker, 1 December 1966, paras. 5, 10 (f) and (g); in Ashton and Louis (eds.), BDEEP Series A, Vol. 5, Part II, pp. 356 and 358-59.

Paul Martin, Paul Martin Speaks for Canada: A Selection of Speeches on Foreign Policy, 1964-1967 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1967), p. 132. Also quoted in Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism, p. 77.

Of course, this moral dimension was not the only motive behind foreign aid. Martin observed that Canada also benefited in several ways: first, Canadian economic growth was stimulated ‘by contributing to the level of production, exports and employment’;

second, ‘Canadian producers, engineers and educators’ could ‘gain valuable experience’ whilst promoting Canadian products and skills; third, it enlarged Canadian horizons and Canada’s image abroad was ‘more clearly projected’; and fourth, the use of Canadian goods and services gave Canadians a stake in foreign aid, which ‘helped to enlist and maintain public support in Canada for an expanding aid programme.’ 12 Between 1964 and 1967 the level of Canadian aid rose by 280 per cent, reaching a total of $307 million in 1966-67. 13 Canadian aid was distributed in a variety of ways and to many different regions including South East Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Bilateral aid accounted for over 70 per cent of Canada’s total effort, such as disbursements to Francophone states in Africa, which amounted to $11 million in 1966-67. 14 However, Canada was keen to coordinate her aid with other donors, which was effected through several multilateral schemes, including the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Development Association, the UN Development Programme, the Colombo Plan, the Commonwealth Caribbean Aid Programme, and the Special Commonwealth Martin, Paul Martin Speaks for Canada, pp. 134-35. Also quoted in Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism, p. 78.

Department of External Affairs [hereafter DEA], External Aid Office, Annual Review 1966-67, p. 3.

Figures cited in Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism, pp. 78 and 80.

DEA, External Aid Office, Annual Review 1966-67, p. 9. Figures cited in Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism, p. 78; and TNA: PRO, DO 193/79, Emery to Walker, 1 December 1966, paras. 10 (f) and (g); in Ashton and Louis (eds.), BDEEP Series A, Vol. 5, Part II, pp. 358-59.

African Assistance Plan (SCAAP). 15 Canadian aid to Commonwealth states in Africa increased dramatically, from $3.5 million in 1961-62 to $11 million in 1964-65 and $18.5 million in 1966-67, of which the major recipients were Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. 16 Of course, these figures were a mere fraction of Britain’s aid efforts in Africa, 17 but as an imperial power Britain’s commitments and responsibility in the region were far greater than those of Canada, whose role was seen as complementary to the part played by Britain. 18 It may be argued that the level of Canadian aid in Africa was sufficient to demonstrate that Canada’s stated humanitarian concerns were not mere rhetoric. Similarly, Canadian proposals for aid and technical assistance in Rhodesia, which were quietly pursued through regular diplomatic channels, indicated that Canada had a genuine concern about the situation there and a positive approach to tackling the problem.

Rhodesia was not under-developed by comparison with most states in Africa, but its pattern of development had obviously favoured the European minority in terms of distribution of wealth, education, and professional training. Consequently, the African majority lacked the level of education and skills that were necessary to assume responsibility for self-government. Educated African Rhodesians were of course mindful Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism, pp. 78-80; and TNA: PRO, DO 193/79, Emery to Walker, 1 December 1966, paras. 8 (f) and (g); in Ashton and Louis (eds.), BDEEP Series A, Vol. 5, Part II, pp. 358-59.

External Aid Office, Ottawa, Annual Review 1966-67, pp. 7 and 24. Figures cited in Melakopides, Pragmatic Idealism, p. 80.

See Ashton and Louis (eds.), BDEEP Series A, Vol. 5, Part III: Dependent Territories, Africa, Economics, Race, Ch. 13, ‘Aid and Trade’, pp. 431-546.

TNA: PRO, DO 193/79, Emery to Walker, 1 December 1966, para. 10 (a); in Ashton and Louis (eds.), BDEEP Series A, Vol. 5, Part II, p. 357.

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