Sir Robert Borden

Martin Thornton

Sir Robert Borden was Plenipotentiary of Canada at the Peace Conference. The House of Lords Archives carry correspondence between Prime Minister Lloyd George (Plenipotentiary of United Kingdom at the Peace Conference) and Borden. As Documents on Canadian External Relations, Volume 2, The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 point out : ‘Since Canada’s role was played largely within the British Empire Delegation, much of the material consists of correspondence between the two Prime Ministers, Borden and Lloyd George, and extracts from Minutes of the Imperial War Cabinet and of its successor at Paris, the British Empire Delegation.’ Canada had very specific interests in reparations, the League of Nations and the International Labour Organisation. In particular Borden has been widely applauded for advancing the status of the Dominions at Versailles. President Woodrow Wilson of the United States may have been ‘other worldly’, but Borden did not lose sight of Canadian national interests. With the Versailles Treaty ratified by the Canadian Parliament, Borden largely believed his work was done.

DR MARTIN THORNTON is a senior lecturer in International History and Politics at the University of Leeds, where he is affiliated to the Centre for Canadian Studies there. He researches early Cold War history and 20th century Canadian and American foreign policy. His published work has covered: Canada and the early Cold War; American foreign policy; Aboriginal People in Canada; and Nancy Astor. He teaches on Canadian foreign policy since 1939 and international history since 1919.

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