A Stubble-Jumper in Striped Pants

A Stubble-Jumper in Striped Pants: Memoirs of a Prairie Diplomat

EARL G. DRAKE
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442670495
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  • Book Info
    A Stubble-Jumper in Striped Pants
    Book Description:

    Humorous, sharply written, and frank, the events recounted in these recollections include a first-hand account of the growing depth and complexity of Canada?s postwar relations with Asia.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7049-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Prologue
    (pp. xiii-2)

    It was June 1989 in Beijing.¹ For six weeks, Chinaʹs capital had been the centre of world attention as the international media sent hourly reports on the occupation of Tiananmen Square by students demanding reform and on their subsequent, bloody expulsion from it by the Chinese army. Emotions and hopes had swung wildly from euphoria to despair. At first, the student demonstrators had been supported by intellectuals, workers, ordinary citizens, the local media, and overseas Chinese in the millions. The Chinese government seemed split on how to react and paralysed by indecision. The watching world had been caught up in...

  5. 1 A Prairie Puritan from Saskatchewan
    (pp. 3-14)

    I felt my cheeks flush at these taunting words from the examiners who had come from Ottawa for my oral examination for entry into the Canadian Foreign Service. It was 1953, I was twenty-five years old, and had never lived outside Saskatchewan except for one year at the University of Toronto. I had completed my MA in history at the University of Saskatchewan, won a scholarship to Toronto, and was now back home working as an archivist cataloguing the personal papers of early provincial premiers. I planned to save enough money and find enough pertinent documents to complete my doctoral...

  6. 2 A Neophyte at External: Ottawa, 1955 and 1959–1961
    (pp. 15-24)

    During my first years in Ottawa I had two major cultural adjustments to make: to French Canadians, and to the Department of External Affairs. I assumed that the first would be difficult and the second easy. I was wrong on both counts.

    Because my knowledge of Quebec was limited to reading about ʹthe two solitudesʹ and because Protestant–Catholic differences had caused me such pain during my first romance, I was apprehensive about my ability to get on with these distant compatriots of a different culture and religion. I did not, however, approach the problem with a redneck, anti-Quebec attitude....

  7. 3 Getting Hooked on the Foreign Service: Pakistan, 1956–1958
    (pp. 25-47)

    It was 1956, a year of international high drama. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev denounced the crimes of the late Joseph Stalin. An anti-Russian uprising in Hungary was crushed by Soviet tanks. World opinion split after Colonel Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, and Israeli, British, and French forces subsequently occupied it. All Muslim and many Third World nations were outraged at the high-handed Anglo-French intervention, and even the United States was upset by it. Canadaʹs foreign minister, Lester B. Pearson, was the key figure in resolving the Suez crisis through a United Nations resolution calling for the withdrawal of...

  8. 4 A Dancing Leader: Prime Minister Suhrawardy of Pakistan
    (pp. 48-61)

    Within a week of our arrival in Karachi, my wife and I received a most unusual telephone call. A clipped, British-type voice with an Indian lilt said: ʹI am calling with an invitation from Prime Minister Suhrawardy. Would Mr and Mrs Drake of the Canadian High Commission please join him at his home for an evening of dancing?ʹ This was unheard of in normal diplomatic circles. Invitations from a prime minister are rare in the best of circumstances, but for the embassyʹs most junior diplomat who has just arrived in town, it seemed extraordinary. Moreover, this was an Islamic republic...

  9. 5 Confrontation and Partisanship: Malaysia, 1961–1964
    (pp. 62-76)

    At the end of 1961 I was sent on another overseas posting, this time as first secretary at the Canadian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya. Thus I was to be the number two officer at a very small and remote post, literally on the opposite side of the world from Ottawa. It was another Asian posting, but Malaya enjoyed a much more prosperous and modern economy and a healthier standard of living than Pakistan. That was welcome because I did not want my young family (now with the addition of one-year-old Catherine) to be exposed to as much illness...

  10. 6 An Avuncular Leader: Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia
    (pp. 77-91)

    It was a tense evening in Kuala Lumpur in 1963. The new country of Malaysia was about to be proclaimed but was reeling under threats from its giant neighbour to destroy it. Indonesian regular troops were fighting against the formation of Malaysia in the jungles of Borneo. We had just learned that President Sukarno had ordered the Indonesian navy to sink any Malaysian boats in the Straits of Malacca and had dispatched a raiding force of more than one hundred guerrillas to land at three separate places on the Malaysian mainland.

    I was attending a banquet for a young Malaysian...

  11. 7 International Development: Ottawa, 1965–1968 and 1972–1975
    (pp. 92-112)

    My postings in Pakistan and Malaysia whetted my appetite for more involvement in the field of international development. In both countries, my main job at the embassy had been political and economic reporting. But the work that seemed the most rewarding and tangible was administration of Canadaʹs aid program. It had a high priority in Canadaʹs postwar foreign policy formulation. It had a moral dimension; we were fulfilling the biblical injunction to ʹbe our brotherʹs keeper.ʹ We were helping the people of poor and underdeveloped countries to acquire the equipment and training to improve their standard of living. Moreover, we...

  12. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  13. 8 The Temptations of Paris: The OECD, 1968–1972
    (pp. 113-130)

    I should have known that Paris would be different from my other postings. My relationship with Paris started off unevenly from the first time I visited the City of Light, four years before I was sent there to live.

    On my first visit to Paris in late 1964, I was the most junior member of a large delegation headed by Mitchell Sharp, the secretary of state for external affairs, who was accompanied by his invalid wife. We flew on a Canadian government aircraft. On the flight, I sat beside the ministerʹs private secretary, Jeannette Dugal. I told her how excited...

  14. 9 The Mighty World Bank: Washington, 1975–1982
    (pp. 131-149)

    In 1975 I was sent to Washington, DC to be Canadaʹs resident representative at the World Bank. Technically, I was to be one of twenty executive directors who represented the shareholder governments which contributed the financial backing that enabled the Bank to conduct its vast activities. As executive directors, we were responsible for examining and approving, in weekly meetings with President Robert McNamara and his senior staff, all Bank transactions. These included borrowings on the world bond markets, loans to developing countries, oversight of affiliated organizations (notably the International Development Association, a low-interest loan program for the poorest countries), and...

  15. 10 A Controversial Leader: McNamara of the World Bank
    (pp. 150-163)

    No one was neutral about the character of the president of the World Bank. Robert Strange McNamara was one of the best-known and most controversial figures in the United States because of his role as secretary of defense during the first seven years of the tragic Vietnam War. Many liberals portrayed him as largely responsible for the deaths of countless Americans and Vietnamese, even though the heaviest casualties occurred during the last five years of the war after he left his office in February 1968. He was equally reviled by most of the hard-line military for being too soft in...

  16. 11 The Poetic in the Midst of Reality: Indonesia, 1982–1983
    (pp. 164-180)

    In 1982 I completed my long assignment at the World Bank and was recalled to the Department of External Affairs. It was decided to send me directly out to the field and make me an ambassador for the first time. I was pleased that they sent me to Indonesia, a fascinating country. Nevertheless, I returned to Southeast Asia with mixed feelings. When I had been in Kuala Lumpur in the early 1960s, I had been a strong supporter of the new Federation of Malaysia in its struggle to survive against armed confrontation by Indonesia, its huge bullying neighbour. Then Indonesia...

  17. 12 An Iconoclast in China: Beijing, 1987–1989
    (pp. 181-198)

    After my tour as ambassador in Indonesia, I had returned to Ottawa for four years to serve at External Affairsʹ headquarters as assistant deputy minister for Asia and the Pacific. This gave me the pleasure of serving as a senior advisor to Joe Clark, who was one of Canadaʹs ablest and most conscientious foreign ministers. I also accompanied him on several trips to Asia. He was unfairly underrated by the media but not by professional diplomats in Canada and abroad who admired his clear mind, hard work, and ability to get the most out of his staff. We also liked...

  18. 13 Tiananmen Crisis: China, 1989–1990
    (pp. 199-214)

    This book of memoirs was inspired by my experiences during the Tiananmen crisis and it is fitting that I should devote a chapter to it. It was the most dramatic event of my career. I was in the eye of a storm while all the world was watching it, first in fascination and then in horror.

    Rather than retell in detail the widely reported main story of the interaction among students, the people of Beijing, the Chinese leaders, and the various units of the armed forces, I shall concentrate on the role of three groups: the Canadians, the media, and...

  19. 14 An Unloved Leader: Premier Li Peng of China
    (pp. 215-228)

    In all my years of meeting political leaders, there is only one premier about whom I have never heard a kindly word – Li Peng of China. Moreover, I have only rarely seen him display any human warmth or feeling. His face seems permanently set in an icy smile conveying arrogance, boredom, and unhappiness. He seems devoid of any people skills, a curious deficiency for a politician. It is true that I have heard him referred to as a competent engineer and electric power expert and as someone sympathetic to environmental concerns, but that hardly balances the widespread disdain in...

  20. Epilogue
    (pp. 229-238)

    When I joined External Affairs, I was worried that I would have to do things which would make me look silly back in Saskatchewan, like kissing womenʹs hands and wearing tails and striped pants. In my first year in Ottawa I was invited to my first diplomatic reception by the French ambassador and his wife. I asked my office mates what was expected. A colleague from Quebec advised me with a straight face that I would have to rent striped pants and a long-tailed coat from some head waiter and learn to bow deeply and kiss the hand of the...

  21. Notes
    (pp. 239-242)
  22. Index
    (pp. 243-246)