Courtesy Reuters

Canada in the Western Hemisphere

AMINISTER from Brazil has just reached Canada. Opening the new legation, he will also formally open a new chapter in the Dominion's short diplomatic history. In the fourteen years since Mr. Vincent Massey went as first Canadian Minister to Washington, the Dominion has exchanged representatives with France, Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands. But in the Latin American field it has done nothing more than maintain a few scattered trade commissioners. Until late in 1940, the Government was politely but firmly negative to representations from inside and from outside the country suggesting closer ties with the Latin nations of the hemisphere. Then, suddenly, things began to happen. The Prime Minister announced that invitations to establish legations in Brazil and Argentina had been accepted. Almost immediately those two countries appointed their ministers to Canada; and similar overtures were received from Peru, Chile and Mexico.

These developments have been hastened, if not caused, by the war. Normally the actual or potential volume of trade with a country has been a major consideration in determining the establishment of a legation, and this factor has played some part in the present instance. For though there still is relatively little trade to lead Canadian diplomacy southward beyond Washington, war conditions have cut off or restricted overseas sources of supply and overseas markets both for Canada and for Latin America; and the hope of increased exchanges within the hemisphere is at least a gleam of light in a fairly grim prospect. It was to follow this gleam that a mission set out from Ottawa in November 1940, under the Minister of Trade and Commerce. The intention was a grand tour of the Americas; but unhappily the Minister fell ill at Cristobal and the whole expedition returned to its base, leaving only the correspondent of a financial journal to blaze the new commercial trail. At a favorable moment, we are told, the exploration is to be resumed. Meanwhile the Government has been exhorting exporters to apply to the Department of Commerce

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