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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Difficult art of Canadian foreign policy, 1957-1963 Munro, John A.

Abstract

The question is, why did Canada's international stature experience a seemingly spectacular decline during the Diefenbaker era, 1957-1963. The problem lies not in a documentation of this decline, but rather in determining the reasons for it. There are basically four avenues of research. Firstly, Canada's actual position in terms of international prestige and influence at the end of the Liberal era in 1957, must be realistically appraised. Secondly, the changing pattern of domestic restrictions on external policy must be analysed. Thirdly, the relationship of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs must be examined, and their capabilities as policy formulators determined. Finally, the appropriateness of the major aspects of their external policy must be assessed. Research on such a contemporary problem is necessarily limited due to a paucity of official documents and further, due to the fact that the chief protagonists are still alive and politically active. Thus, the writer finds himself relying on official debates and publications, interviews (where possible), the variety of periodical sources and a limited number of books (apart from the specialized subjects involved, many of the writings available are far from satisfactory because they lack perspective). This thesis would contend that Canadian international stature was far from secure in 1957; that the domestic requirements of external policy success were absent from the Conservative scene, 1957-1963; that Messrs. Diefenbaker and Green were ill-equipped to formulate Canadian foreign policy; and that their foreign policy, formulated in defiance of Canadian reality, resulted in disaster.

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