Scholarly Publications and Papers
Help | Free Search | Search by Year | Search by Country | Search by Issue (Subject) | G8 Centre

Canadian Foreign Policy and the Seven Power Summits

Timothy Heeney

Country Study Number One
Centre for International Studies
University of Toronto
May 1988

[Previous] [Document Contents] [Next]

There were four new leaders at London (President Carter, Prime Minister Fukada, Prime Minister Andreotti, and Roy Jenkins, President of the Commission of the newly admitted EEC). The predicted stormy relationship between Carter and Schmidt in what would be their first meeting occupied most of the headlines as the summit approached. This clash did not turn out to be so severe but continued to distract the media.

The main tools of discussion at this summit and the next was macro-economic strategy for pulling the weaker four countries (France, Britain, Italy and Canada) out of relative recession, via the "locomotive" effect of expansion the USA, Germany and Japan. No specific agreements would be reached until Bonn in 1978, however. The sale of nuclear material and technology was also a item which was given significant attention at London, in addition to what were becoming the 'standard' summit issues of trade, energy, balance of payments and North-South relations.

This summit first witnessed the type of issues which Canada would pursue at most future summits. The background to London from a Canadian standpoint was dominated by the rise to power of the separatist Parti Quebecquois in Quebec and the growing speculation about a federal election. These domestic concerns preoccupied Trudeau to a large extent, but he was still able to make a significant contribution to the discussions.(27)

Canada had three areas of particular concern at the London summit in 1977. The first was the nuclear non-proliferation issue where Canada had stood strongly on the side of the Americans since the "peaceful" Indian nuclear explosion in 1974. Along with Carter, Trudeau urged more safeguards on the transfer of nuclear power technology and material to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The appeal was aimed primarily at the Germans who had agreed to sell Brazil a nuclear recycling facility.(28) On the second day of the summit Trudeau had a two and-a-half hour breakfast with West German Chancellor Schmidt to "clarify" the discussion of the previous day, with emphasis on the nuclear non-proliferation issue.(29)

Another issue of particular interest to Trudeau, as well as the French, was the problem of the underdeveloped world and the progress of the Conference on International Economic Cooperation (CIEC) In session in Paris under Canadian co-chairmanship. Before the summit, Ivan Head, a senior policy advisor to Trudeau and his Personal representative for the summit, claimed that a principal goal for Canada in London was to ensure the communiqué was "so worded as to provide an appropriately constructive atmosphere for the CIEC session. (30) In the final communiqué, despite the strong reservations of the Americans and the Germans, the powers pledged to ado all in our power" to successfully conclude the CIEC. This was seen as a success by Trudeau, although his exact role in the discussions remains unknown. (31)

The last issue of particular importance to Canada was trade. A central Canadian participant recalled that the need for the successful conclusion of the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations (MTN) was of the utmost importance to Canada at this summit.(32) The communiqué gave strong support to the Tokyo negotiations and listed specific areas in Welch results were imperative and expected. In the trade area Canada came away from London "reasonably well-satisfied. (33)

Source: Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto.

[Previous] [Document Contents] [Next]

G8 Centre
This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
Please send comments to:
This page was last updated .

All contents copyright © 1995-99. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.