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Description found in Archives
Sous-fonds consists of
Sous-fonds part of
1. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material]
2. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material]
3. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material]
4. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material]
5. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material]
6. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material]
7. Canada. Canadian High Commission (Great Britain) collection [graphic material] (118-080056-7)
8. Canada House - Office Diaries [textual records] (116-000002-X)
9. Canada House - Registry Files and Canadian Army Overseas Pay Department [textual records] (116-000099-2)
10. CANADA. CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION
11. CANADA. CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION
12. CANADA. CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION
13. CANADA. CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION
14. CANADA. CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSION
15. Canadian High Commission, London [textual record] (2000-00813-5)
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
53 audio cassettes (ca. 50 h)
1 audio reel (10 min, 30 s)
3 film reels
Language of material
Scope and content
Sous-fonds consists of the following series: Correspondence with Canadian and British Government Departments (1880-1903), Correspondence with Canadian and British Government Departments (1904-1945), Local correspondence, Commercial correspondence, High Commissioner's subject files, Miscellaneous subject files, Administration and miscellaneous files, Records of associated offices, Queen's Canadian Military Hospital, Address register of Canadians in London, Pay list books, "A" registry files, and Performances at the Canadian High Commission.
Conditions of access
Copyright belongs to the Crown.
Creator / Provenance
Biography / Administrative history
The Canadian High Commission to Britain was established on 10 June 1880.(Statutes of Canada, 43 Victoria.,C11, 1880) When Sir Alexander Galt assumed the position of High Commissioner in 1880, his role was quasi-diplomatic. His responsibility was to conduct the business of the Canadian government in Great Britain. This meant all manner of government activity which would concern Canada, including defence arrangements, trade, finance, immigration, justice, shipping, etc. He was assisted in this work by representatives of various Canadian Government departments. But from the very beginning the High Commissioner began to act in a generally representative capacity and to perform tasks which were comparable to a diplomatic officer. The powers of the High Commissioner grew and by the early years of the 20th century Lord Strathcona, High Commissioner from 1896-1914,had assumed responsibility for the overwhelming majority of the powers and responsibilities of the Canadian government in Great Britain.(Canada, House of Commons Debates,5 December 1912).
The outbreak of the First World War necessitated greater collaboration between Great Britain and Canada, additional responsibilities for the High Commission and the elevation of the status of the Canadian High Commissioner in Great Britain. Of all the Dominions, only the Canadian government maintained a resident Minister of the Crown, Sir George Perley, the High Commissioner, in London throughout the entire War.( Canada, House of Commons Debates, 24 Feb. 1915, p. 391). This greatly enhanced his position. Throughout the War the question of coordination between the two governments over a myriad of questions occupied the time of the High Commission. These included the conduct of the war, treatment of Canadians both civilian and military, army supplies, medical services, general supervision of the Red Cross and other civilian patriotic work. The question of trade and the buying of Canadian products by the British government also occupied Perley. Until October 1916 Perley performed many of the duties relating to military activities although actual responsibility for these rested with the Minister of Militia in Ottawa, Sir Sam Hughes. The absence of coordination between the branches of the armed services in Britain and Canada and the strained relationship between Prime Minister Borden and Sam Hughes led to a deteriorating situation. Greater administrative control was needed and this led to the creation of the Department of Overseas Military Forces (Order in Council p.c.2651, Sessional Papers, 1917, No. 41, pp. 3-5). At first, Perley was made Minister of Overseas Military Forces, holding that office in addition to being High Commissioner. In November 1917 Sir Edward Kemp was put in charge of the overseas department and Perley solely held the position of High Commissioner. Throughout the war the position of the High Commissioner attained greater political, diplomatic and social prominence. Perley's duties included participation in the Imperial War Cabinet, the Imperial Conference and the Paris Peace discussions.
In the period between the two world wars the powers and the position of the High Commissioner increased. By the 1920's the Governor General was no longer seen as the channel of communication between the British and Canadian governments. That position was increasingly assumed by the High Commission. The Report of the Imperial Conference of 1926 described the Governor General as the representative of the Crown, not of the British government and endorsed the principle of direct communications between all Commonwealth governments. (Canada, House of Commons Debates, 13 April 1927). Peter Larkin was appointed High Commissioner in 1922 and a definition of the High Commissioner's duties were enumerated. ( P,C. 330, 10 February 1922). The High Commissioner was made responsible for all Canadian interests in Great Britain including the responsibilities of provincial governments' dealings with the British government. The High Commissioner was to communicate directly with the Prime Minister. The purchase of Canada House on Trafalgar Square was made to ensure the coordination of all work in Great Britain under the auspices of the High Commissioner.
The onset of the Second World War witnessed once again an increase in responsibilities for the Canadian High Commissioner. The influence, organization and experience of the office had increased greatly since the First World War and the Canadian government did not see in need for in separate Ministry of War as had happened during the First World War. The High Commissioner was in daily contact with the Foreign Office and the Dominions Office in London and with the Prime Minister and his cabinet in Ottawa. The office remained the channel of communication throughout the war period. The war necessitated increased responsibilities in the areas of prisoners of war, interned Canadians, political warfare, assistance to Canadian missions visiting London and reports on the United Kingdom and the conduct of the war. As the war progressed greater time and effort was spent on post hostilities planning, the new United Nations, the return of Canadians home and the conduct of the new peace
The responsibilities of the High Commission in the post war years concentrated on the return of Canadian soldiers home, the exchange of prisoners of war, the new international organizations including NATO, the United Nations and its many components along with maintaining its position as in leading European post.It has maintained its leading role in the conduct of Canadian foreign policy.
Other system control no.
Related control no.
1. 1955-079 NPC
2. 1956-020 NPC
3. 1956-021 NPC
4. 1956-030 NPC
5. 1956-079 NPC
6. 1983-156 NPC
7. 1984-0476 MISA
8. 1985-0497 MISA
9. 1986-0842 MISA
10. 1987-0329 MISA
11. 1988-0464 MISA
12. 1988-89/002 GAD
13. 1988-89/099 GAD
14. 1990-217 DAP
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