“A Difficult Dinner Companion”: Canadian-American Relations During the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, 1954-1955

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Title: “A Difficult Dinner Companion”: Canadian-American Relations During the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, 1954-1955
Authors: Walker, Fraser Cameron
Date: 2019-07-25
Abstract: During the opening decade of the Cold War, Canada, under the leadership of Liberal Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester B. Pearson, experienced a heightened sense of influence on global affairs, often described as the “Golden Age of Canadian Diplomacy.” This state of affairs led Canada to believe that it could punch above its weight and subsequently influence the United States of America’s foreign policy. Using the First Taiwan Strait Crisis as a microcosm of this “Golden Age”, understanding America’s behaviour during the crisis, and Canada’s involvement throughout, brings into question the validity of Canada’s grand influence and tempers the idea that Canada could significantly influence America’s policies. Beginning with the memoirs and biographies of the diplomats of the 1950s and then juxtaposing sources from the Canadian Department of External Affairs and American State Department, this thesis demonstrates that Canada did not play a significant part in the First Taiwan Strait Crisis. This is an odd result, considering that this crisis, which could have had devastating consequences for Canada if it had expanded from just the Offshore Islands, was a perfect opportunity for a country that was supposedly experiencing a Golden Age to flex its diplomatic clout. This thesis suggests that perhaps Canada’s inflated sense of self, which has persisted in the national conscience, can be attributed to the exaggerated importance the 1950s diplomats gave to themselves.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/39471
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-23715
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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