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Canada's Siberian policy 1918-1919 Murby, Robert Neil

Abstract

The aim of this essay was to add to the extremely limited fund of knowledge regarding Canada's relations with Siberia during the critical period of the Intervention. The result hopefully is a contribution both to Russian/Soviet and Canadian history. The scope of the subject includes both Canada's military participation in the inter-allied intervention and simultaneously the attempt on the part of Canada to economically penetrate Siberia. The principal research was carried out at the Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa during September and October, 1968. The vast majority of the documents utilized in this essay have never previously been published either in whole or in part. The only research difficulty experienced was in attempting to view the documents relating to the Canadian Economic Commission to Siberia. The documents in question were under the jurisdiction of the Department of Trade and Commerce rather than the Public Archives. In spite of persistent negotiations, it originally appeared dubious whether or not the Department would release the documents. The matter was finally satisfactorily resolved whereby the Department transferred the files of the Commission to the Public Archives on a permanent basis. These documents had never previously been available to researchers. Two basic assumptions about Canada's Siberian policy for the period under study predated the actual archival research. The first was that regardless of Canada's 'colonial status’ in 1918, she had been in fact largely independent of the United Kingdom and had agreed to join the military intervention in Siberia for reasons of strict national interest. The second was that one of the most important elements of Canada's agreement had been economic interest. The documents reviewed would suggest a substantial factual basis for these assumptions. Various aspects of Canada's Siberian intervention are new to this essay. The questions of Canada's economic interest in Siberia; the relationship of the British and Canadian troops in Siberia; and the problem of disaffection in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Siberia) have not previously been discussed.

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