U.S. Embassy, Ottawa, reports that Canadian press will let Norman case rest
US Embassy Ottawa, 28 August 1957
Section 5b: Persistent Controversy
Embassy Telegram 126, August 16, 1957.
CANADIAN PRESS REACTION TO UNITED STATES REPLY TO CANADIAN NOTE REGARDING NORMAN CASE.
The Embassy’s telegram reported initial press coverage of the United States reply to the Canadian Note of April 10, 1957, regarding the exchange of security information in connection with the suicide of Canadian Ambassador of Egypt, E. Herbert NORMAN.
Later press reports from elsewhere in Canada bore out the Embassy’s initial impression that the United States note in reply was given prominent attention. Some papers printed the full text of the note, which had not been done in the first reports. Editorial reaction to the note was mixed. Some accepted it with a marked lack of enthusiasm while others were quite critical of the reply. Both groups, however, agreed in asserting that the reply was a long time coming and that its wording was evasive. [...]
The reaction of the press was probably milder than would otherwise have been the case because of the Prime Minister’s public acceptance of the note as adequate and the fact that many editors apparently came to be unsure whether the original Canadian protest was completely justified in the light of the admissions of the former Liberal Government at the close of the last Parliamentary session to the effect that Norman had had communist associations. [...]
Comment. At best luke-warm acceptance of the United States note by the Canadian press must be viewed in the light of the violent outburst in Canadian papers at the time of Norman’s death. Mr. Diefenbaker’s mild comments on the note were undoubtedly taken by the press as a cue for their own response. It is also evident from the comment in a number of editorials that the press might have taken a harsher line except for the uncertainty which exists as to the actual truth of the allegations against Norman and a suspicion on the part of editors that their original outburst of indignation at the time of Norman’s suicide may not have been completely justified. It is interesting to note in this connection that coupled wither their criticism of the United States note Canadian papers have taken occasion again to criticize the handling of the case by their own government.
There is no indication thus far that the press will re-open the Norman case. Undoubtedly reference will be made to it from time to time, especially if the Canadian Government undertakes a comprehensive review of security measures or security cases. Otherwise most papers seem willing to let the matter rest.
FOR THE AMBASSADOR:
P. Wesley Kriebel
Second Secretary of Embassy