Title Reviewed:
The Establishment of Canadian Diplomatic Status at Washington

Author Reviewed:
John S. Galbraith

W. L. Morton


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 94-95

Article Type:
Book Review

Download Source:

The Establishment of Canadian Diplomatic Status at Washington. By John S. Galbraith. Volume 41, University of CaliforniaPublications in History. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1951, pp. xi, 119. Bibliography and index. $1.25.)

Galbraith states that his study is "an attempt to examine in some detail one important aspect of Canadian national growth—the inauguration of diplomatic relations with the United States." Of five chapters, four are devoted to the history of the assumption by Canada of control over its external representation and the achievement of international status, the fifth to the actual establishment of diplomatic representation between Ottawa and Washington. The story recounted in the first four chapters is in general a familiar one. Galbraith tells it faithfully, with some freshness, and in particular makes worthwhile use of Canadian parliamentary debates on external representation.

It is, however, in the fifth chapter that both material and argument are most rewarding. Galbraith's account of the winning of the right to appoint a Canadian minister to Washington in 1920, and of the failure to do so until 1927, is, though obviously not the whole story, the most convincing yet published. George P. de T. Glazebrook in his History of Canadian External Relations (Toronto, 1950) is, on this theme, much less satisfactory.

Galbraith's work is to be commended for sound judgment and a high degree of accuracy. Errors noted are few and slight. One only deserves mention here; Clifford Sifton resigned from the Laurier cabinet in 1905 on the issue of the Autonomy Bills, not on reciprocity in 1911 (p. 63). And it may be worthwhile to note that the length of the Canadian-American frontier is 5,400 miles, not the conventional 3,000 p. 59).

The sources cited for the study bring to mind one question; why do students of Canadian external policy abstain from using State Department sources? The present reviewer does not know, but surely Washington Archives have something to contribute to the story of the establishment of Canadian diplomatic status at Washington.

University of Manitoba

W. L. Morton

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.