Confidential memo from the Prime Minister
I called Finlayson after receiving the attached and informed him that it meant that there was some kind of a condition of mind in British Columbia that was forever bellyaching.
October 26th, 1962
October 25th, 1962
Stamped: “Seen by John G. Diefenbaker”
Deane Finlayson phoned from Vancouver last night and asked me to give you the following message (as dictated by him): -
"In my opinion it is extremely important that in this crisis there be absolutely no doubt whatever that the Government of Canada will stand beside the President of the United States and the people of that country in their decision to resist the hostile penetration of Russian Communism in this hemisphere."
One hour after President Kennedy made his TV appearance on October 22nd I wired President Kennedy as follows:
"I feel sure that most Canadian citizens support you in your decision to challenge now (repeat now) the hostile penetration of this hemisphere.
Having done this may health and strength sustain you and all of us in our stand against the menace of Communism.”
“I feel that the people of British Columbia are overwhelmingly behind President Kennedy in the stand that he has taken in this matter, and that it would be disastrous for the Prime Minister personally and the Party generally to appear in any way to have reservations about supporting Kennedy.
“The question is peace and war, life and death. President Kennedy and his spokesmen in the leading nation of the Free World in the face of Russian aggression has challenged them on this and asked them to desist. The threat of the cold war is being extended to take in the whole world. Kennedy has taken the initiative. Khruschov [sic] says we have gone too far.
“A lot of nations will say – where were you in the moment of decision, Since the 22nd when Kennedy made his statement all the countries in the O.A.S. have supported him and offered to send aid to support them.
“Why haven’t we told the people where we stand? Pearson waited for two days and then made a decision sympathetic to the American decision. We should have done this and should do this, and should make this clear. If not, you can write off British Columbia. If the Government won’t stand up then somebody has to take the position in common with others.”