Direct Intervention: Canada-France Relations, 1967-1974 by Eldon Black

By Eldon Black

Direct Intervention recounts the political and diplomatic courting among Canada and France at a severe juncture in Canada's background. As a Minister within the Canadian Embassy in Paris, Eldon Black witnessed quite a number fateful occasions - from visits (successful and unsuccessful) of ministers and top ministers among Ottawa, Quebec urban and Paris, to conferences on the Elysee palace, and exchanges of a myriad of telegrams, notes and different diplomatic correspondence. This well-researched account of French interference in Canadian constitutional and federal-provincial affairs contains feedback of Quebec's involvement, and of ways Embassy employees in Paris and the Canadian govt in Ottawa strove to manage and normalize kinfolk one of the contending events. imperative to the nationwide team spirit debate of the day, the resultant diplomatic wrangles and political conflicts have a apparently modern ring, even reverberating into Canada's destiny.

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Direct Intervention: Canada-France Relations, 1967-1974

Direct Intervention recounts the political and diplomatic courting among Canada and France at a serious juncture in Canada's historical past. As a Minister within the Canadian Embassy in Paris, Eldon Black witnessed a variety of fateful occasions - from visits (successful and unsuccessful) of ministers and best ministers among Ottawa, Quebec urban and Paris, to conferences on the Elysee palace, and exchanges of a myriad of telegrams, notes and different diplomatic correspondence.

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Embassy cars stood ready to be commandeered, and large supplies of gasoline were stored in the Embassy compound in 42 THE EVENTS OF MAY case it became necessary to evacuate dependants and non-essential staff to Belgium. Many weeks before, my wife and I had arranged a dinner party that would include a senior member of the Foreign Ministry, De Gaulle's press spokesperson and Saint-Legier. We decided to go ahead and see who would turn up, and whether we could learn what was going on. It was a dramatic evening.

On the other hand, the General was still in power and would not change his policy toward Canada or Quebec. That De Gaulle had been slow to accept the fact that his regime was in danger was demonstrated by his agreement, in the middle of the May Events, that the often-postponed visit of Premier Johnson would take place in July. Ambassador Leger was instructed by Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure a Canadian presence at the main ceremonies and was asked to invite the Premier to a reception at the Embassy, as he had done on the previous visit in 1966.

Our reaction at the Embassy was more sober. While the visit had gone well, and it was right that the Mission had come to Paris, the fact remained that our fundamental differences with France over Quebec's international personality remained. Indeed, the next crisis was only weeks away. MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF EDUCATION IN PARIS The Education Ministers' meeting followed automatically from the Gabon Conference, so the French took the line that no new invitations were necessary. Quebec should attend automatically because it had participated in the previous conference.

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