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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Murder by slander? : a re-examination of the E.H. Norman case Rogers, Ann C. M.


On 4 April, 1957 Egerton Herbert Norman, Canada's Ambassador to Egypt, committed suicide in Cairo. Norman's death was a direct result of sustained American allegations that he was threat to western security. The controversy surrounding his suicide was rekindled in 1986 with the publication of two biographies of Norman. James Barros contends in No Sense of Evil that Norman should have been removed from his high position in Canada's Department of External Affairs because he constituted a security risk. Barros hypothesises about the possibility of a DEA cover-up of Norman's Marxist past (Norman had briefly been a member of the British Communist Party when he was a student at Cambridge) and indeed suggests that Minister of External Affairs, Lester B. Pearson might have been Moscow's ultimate 'mole' who, by defending Norman, was protecting his espionage ring. In Innocence is Not Enough, author Roger Bowen takes issue with such interpretations of Norman's life, scholarship and career. Although Norman had been a Communist, Bowen concludes that no evidence exists to suggest that he was disloyal to Canada. Norman was caught up in a maelstrom of anti-communist hysteria which caused him to be unjustifiably vilified and harassed by the agents of McCarthyism in an era of Cold War paranoia. Instead of choosing a side in the current debate, I have sought to widen it by approaching the story of Norman as a case study in Canadian foreign policy. An examination of Canadian internal security policies in the postwar era, Canada's relationship with the United States and Great Britain, and of Norman himself reveals that the issue at hand is far too complex to be amenable to easy analysis. This thesis was written with the achievement of a more objective analysis as its primary goal.

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