This Document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty’s Government.
231 – War Cabinet, Whitehall Gardens – GT 4466
I CIRCULATE for information a copy of a despatch from the Governor-General of Canada regarding the future of the French islands of St. Pierre, Miquelon, and Langley, together with a copy of a reply which has been sent after consultation with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
W. H. L.
May 7, 1918.
Printed for the War Cabinet. May 1918. SECRET
The Governor-General of Canada to the Secretary of State.
Government House, Ottawa. February 21, 1918.
I HAVE the honour to enclose a copy of an approved minute of the Privy Council for Canada on the subject of a telegraphic despatch from Paris appearing in the newspapers in which a Professor of the Faculty of the University of Paris is represented as suggesting that, in the general adjustment which will take place after the war, France should cede its colonies in America to the United States.
My Ministers desire to renew the suggestion made by the Canadian Ministers before the Imperial War Cabinet in April last that, in the event of any subsequent territorial arrangement with France, the islands of St. Pierre, Miquelon, and Langley, together with her fishing rights on the coast of Newfoundland should be acquired by Great Britain for the Dominion of Canada.
My Ministers further point out that, for several reasons, the passing of these islands to the United States would be to Canada a matter of grave concern, and they desire that in the event of any question as to the relinquishment by France of these islands arising in the future, that full consideration, should be given to the representations setforth in the Minute of Council.
I have, &c.
P.C. 363. Enclosure.
Certified Copy of a Report of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor-General on February 18, 1918.
THE Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a memorandum, dated 11th February, 1918, from the Secretary of State for External Affairs, inviting the attention of your Excellency to the accompanying copy of a telegraphic despatch from Paris appearing in the newspapers, in which Professor Charles Gide, of the Faculty of the University of Paris, is represented as suggesting that, in the general adjustment which will take place after the war, France should cede its colonies in America to the United States.
The Minister submits that, while too much importance should not be attached to a newspaper report of this nature, it is desirable to renew the suggestion made by the Canadian Ministers before the Imperial War Cabinet in April of last )rear that, in the event of any subsequent territorial arrangement with France, the islands of St. Pierre, Miquelon, and Langley, together with hi-r fishing rights on the coast of Newfoundland, should be acquired by Great Britain for Canada.
The Minister observes that the suggestion that, in any subsequent rearrangement, these islands might pass to the United States is one which, if seriously contemplated, would be to this country a matter of grave concern. In addition to their strategic value, owing to proximity to the coast of Newfoundland, and also to their position at the principal entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, their acquisition by the United States would prove, from a commercial point of view, a constant source of irritation to Newfoundland and, in a lesser degree, to Canada. The value of these islands as a fishing base and a port of call would be very considerable to the United States, who, should a favourable opportunity present itself, may not improbably endeavour to acquire them.
In the event of any question as to the relinquishment by France of these islands arising in the future, the Canadian Government desire that this representation of their views should be in the possession of His Majesty’s Government.
The Committee, therefore, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for External Affairs, advise that your Excellency may be pleased to transmit a copy hereof, if approved, to the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for the information of His Majesty’s Government.
All which is respectfully submitted for approval.
Clerk of the Privy Council.
From the » Toronto Globe, » January 19, 1918.
COMMON PURSE FOR THE ALLIES.
(Special Cable Despatch to the » Globe.' »‘)
Paris, January 18.—Charles Gide, of the Faculty of the University of Paris, and one of the foremost authorities on finance and economics in Europe, outlined yesterday a plan for the finance-unity of the Allies, which, judging from the source from which it emanates, may receive a careful hearing at the next Allied Conference.
In making the proposal he says that financial unity is just as essential as unity of the front command or unity of aims. He proposes a common purse for the Allies out of which to pay the expenses of the war. Basing his calculations on another year of war.
He says the combined cost will total about a hundred and forty billions of dollars, which amount capitalised equals 10 per cent, of the general income of all the Allies. Each nation, therefore, would contribute 10 per cent, of its entire income.
Professor Gide adds :— » In this hypothesis the share of America will be too great in proportion to the effort and length of time in action, so that France cannot agree to such a proposition. I suggest that in fairness to America France, should abandon its colonies in America to the United States as compensation. France already has too many colonies, and such an arrangement would be appropriate in view of the logical redistribution of colonies which will follow after the war. »
The Secretary of State to the Governor-General of Canada.
My Lord Duke, Downing Street, May 3, 1918.
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency’s confidential despatch of the 21st February forwarding a copy of an approved minute of the Privy Council of Canada regarding the future of the French islands of St. Pierre, Miquelon, and Langley.
2. His Majesty’s Government have noted the views of your Government on the subject, and agree with them as to the undesirability of these islands passing into the possession of the United States.
I have, &c.
WALTER H. LONG.