CUBA - STATEMENT OF PRIME MIINISTER FOLLOWING TELEVISION
BROADCAST BY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition called me a few moments ago and suggested that it might be appropriate if something were said at this time with regard to the speech just delivered on television by the President of the United States. Naturally it is impossible to say much. The speech was a sombre and challenging one.

The president pointed out that on the island of Cuba preparations were being made, and had already been advanced, for the construction of bases for the launching of offensive weapons in the form of I.R.B.M.'s and that this constitutes a threat to most of the cities of North America .including our major cities in Canada. The reason that I agreed to the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition was to ask Canadians as well as free men everywhere in the world not to panic at this time. This is a time for calmness. It is a time for the banishment of those things that sometimes separate us. Above all, it is a time when each of us must endeavour to do his part to assure the preservation of peace not only in this hemisphere but everywhere in the world. The existence of these bases or launching pads is not defensive but offensive. The determination of Canadians will be that the United Nations should be charged at the earliest possible moment with this serious problem.

The president has stated that the matter will be brought before the security council at once and, whatever the reactions of the U.S.S.R. are to the statements made, by President Kennedy,

I think what people all over the world want tonight and will want is a full and complete understanding of what is taking place in Cuba. What can be done? Naturally, there has been little time to give consideration to positive action that might be taken. But I suggest that if there is a desire on the part of the U.S.S.R. to have the facts, if a group of nations, perhaps the eight nations comprising the unaligned members of the 18 nation disarmament committee, be given the opportunity of making an on-site inspection in Cuba to ascertain what the facts are, a major step forward would
be taken.

This is the only suggestion I have at this moment; but it would provide an objective answer to what is going on in Cuba. As late as a week ago, the U.S.S.R. contended that its activities in Cuba were entirely of a defensive nature, and that the hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens of the U.S.S.R., mechanics, technicians and the like, were simply in Cuba for defensive purposes. As to the presence of these offensive weapons, the only sure way that the world can secure the facts would be through an independent inspection.

I should like to hear the views of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) on this, and the leaders of the other parties, for in times like these the divisions between us always diminish. Any suggestion that can be made that will bring about an alleviation or a diminution of the obvious tensions that must grip men and women all over the world tonight, will be helpful.

Our duty, as I see it, is not to fan the flames of fear but to do our part to bring about relief from the tensions, the great tensions, of the hour.

Canada has taken a strong stand throughout the years on behalf of peace Canada knows the meaning of war. Canadians want peace as do all free men in all parts of the world. My prayer this evening is that those who have the responsibility of statesmanship will always have in mind the need for doing everything that can be done to assure peace.


John Diefenbaker and John F. Kennedy seated and chatting in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.
John Diefenbaker with John F. Kennedy

Media and Document Gallery

Images

John G. Diefenbaker and Olive Diefenbaker with the Kennedys
John Diefenbaker and John Kennedy
Formal photo of John G. Diefenbaker
John Diefenbaker talking with John Kennedy
John Diefenbaker with John Kennedy
John Diefenbaker with John Kennedy
John Diefenbaker with John Kennedy

Audio

Telephone conversation between John Diefenbaker and President John F. Kennedy, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | United States – Head of State | Communication Systems – Canada and the United States | Yukon Territory

Description: John Diefenbaker, from the ceremony opening the Whitehorse Microwave System, shares a telephone conversation with United States President John F. Kennedy, who is in the Eastern United States; both men praise the partnership between their two countries which made the Microwave System possible

Date Created: 22 July1961

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T58-JGD57

Speech by John Diefenbaker to open 1957 federal election campaign at Massey Hall, Toronto

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Parliamentarians | Canada – Personalities | Canada – Election Campaigning | Canada – Opposition to International Communism | Canada – Relationship with the United States

Description: John Diefenbaker explains the Progressive Conservative Party’s policies in regards to freedom from communism and the leadership the United States provides, internationally, in ensuring the survival of freedom

Date Created: 25 April1957

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T134-PAC6a

Documents

Confidential memo from the Prime Minister

Creator: Mr. Diefenbaker

Subject: Canada – Cold War

Description: Regarding statements made by Deane Finlayson, leader of Progressive Conservative Party of British Columbia, who made discouraging remarks about actions taken by the government.

Date Created: 26 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038976 – 038978)

Secret Memo from E. Davie Fulton to John Diefenbaker

Creator: E. Davie Fulton

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – RCMP | Canada – International Relations | International Situation – Cuba | Soviet Union – Nuclear Weapons

Description: Extracts from a Communist Convention infiltrated by RCMP in October 1960.

Date Created: 12 December1960

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038859 – 038861)

“Certain General Views of the Government” regarding Cuba

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – International Relations | Canada – Relations with United States |

Description: Outlines policy of Canadian government regarding the threat of Cuba.

Date Created: 12 December1960

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038867 – 038869)

Message from Harold MacMillan to John Diefenbaker

Creator: Rt. Hon. Harold MacMillan

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – International Relations | International Situation – Cuba | International Relations – United Kingdom

Description: Message in which MacMillan supports Canadian stance of utilizing the United Nations as a forum for solving problems in Cuba.

Date Created: 30 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038996)

Message from Khrushchev to Kennedy

Creator: Nikita Khrushchev

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – International Relations | International Situation – Cuba | Soviet Union – Nuclear Weapons

Description: Outlining the reasons for assisting Cuba in attaining defensive weapons

Date Created: 21 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038985 – 038987)

Letter from John Diefenbaker to J.W. Murphy

Creator: John Diefenbaker

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – International Relations | Canada – Relations with United States | United States – Senate | International Situation – Cuba

Description: Statements by American Senator Kenneth Keating on 07 February CBC Broadcast.

Date Created: 8 February1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038870 – 038871)

Printed transcript from Parliamentary debate

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of State | International Situation – Cuba | Canada - Parliamentary Debate | Canada – Relations with United States | United States – Head of State

Description: John Diefenbaker makes official statement on Cuban issue, following the television broadcast by the President of the United States.

Date Created: 22 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038902 – 038903)

Statement by Diefenbaker

Creator: John Diefenbaker

Subject: Canada – Head of State | Canada – Cold War | Canada – International Relations | International Situation – Cuba

Description: Diefenbaker announces an end to the potential conflict with Cuba.

Date Created: 28 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038993)

Transcript of Parliamentary Debate

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Cold War | International Situation – Cuba | Soviet Union – Nuclear Weapons | Canada – Parliamentary Debate | Canada – House of Commons

Description: Debate in which Mr. Diefenbaker makes official statement on “Cuban Situation”.

Date Created: 25 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038971 – 038973)

Secret Memo

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – International Relations | International Situation – Cuba | Soviet Union – Nuclear Weapons

Description: Secret memo outlining Soviet intentions and reactions during Cuban situation.

Date Created: 26 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038979 – 038982)

Document outlining Canadian trade with Cuba

Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – Trade with Cuba | Canada – International Relations | Canada – Relations with United States | International Situation – Cuba

Description: Brief document outlining stance on international trade with Cuba regarding American trade sanctions.

Date Created: 23 December1960

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038862 – 038865)

Letter from Ivan B. White to Howard Green

Creator: Ivan B. White

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – Relations with United States | United States – Head of State | International Situation – Cuba | Soviet Union – Nuclear Weapons

Description: Text of President Kennedy’s Proclamation on “Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba” made on 23 October 1962.

Date Created: 24 October1962

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (038925 – 038929)

“Your Emergency Pack”

Creator: Civil Defence, Department of National Health and Welfare

Subject: Canada – Cold War | Canada – Civil Defence

Description: Instructions for creating proper emergency preparedness and survival kit.

Date Created:1959

Identifier:MG01/XII/C/120 Volume 56 (042309 – 042316)