Volume I and II of the The MacKenzie King Record presented they story of Mackenzie King as wartime Prime Minister of Canada. Volume III begins after the war has ended, and begins dramatically with a long account of the Gouzenko case. Its implications were felt in many areas, one of them being international relations in the difficult months after the end of hostilities when the western allies were endeavouring to find ways of working with the USSR to form peace treaties and organize the United Nations. The awesome shadow of the atomic bomb is cast over most of the many discussions which the Prime Minister and his advisers have with the United States: Attlee, Churchill (the famous Fulton address is reported fully), Eden, Lord Addison, Bevin, Truman, Acheson. In this volume the Prime Minister records meetings with Commonwealth ministers, the Victory Day celebrations in London, his visits to the battlefields, and towns and villages of France where Canadian soldiers had been in the conflict just ended, and the Paris peace conference of 1946.
At home, the aftermath of the long years of demanding effort during the war finds the Prime Minister and his senior colleagues weary, and yet faced with many domestic problems in the handling of price controls and foreign exchange, wheat policy, labour relations, social security, fiscal relations with the provinces, and national defence. Viscount Alexander arrives as Governor-General. At the end of the volume Mackenzie King has relinquished the portfolio of External Affairs to Louis St. Laurent and announced that he will not contest the next election: a major theme of volume IV is here introduced.
The authors have let the diary tell the story in greatest part, and have provided connecting passages for any necessary background. This volume, like volumes I and II, has had the benefit of Mr. Pickersgill's special knowledge of its events gained in his service at this time in the Prime Minister's office. The volume will be of the highest interest for both amateur and specialist students of Canadian government and history.
The Record, completed in one more volume taking the story to Mackenzie King's retirement, is to be distinguished from the official biography begun by R. MacGregor Dawson and being completed (up to the outbreak of the Second World War) by Blair Neatby. Its special importance lies in the fact that it makes accessible large uninterrupted sections of a diary unique in Canadian history.
About the authors
J.W. PICKERSGILL is now retired from a career in the civil service and politics that spans almost fifty years. He still lives in Ottawa.
D.F. FORSTER is Associate Professor of Political Economy, Vice-Provost and Executive Assistant to the President of the University of Toronto. Hei s a regular contributor to the Canadian Annual Review.