Ambassadors of Note

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National Film Board of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, PA-128995.

Humphrey Hume Wrong


“He has style in everything from the way he wears his coat to the prose of his memoranda. He is a realist who understands political forces better, unfortunately, than he does politicians themselves.”

Hugh Keenleyside
Canadian Ambassador to Mexico (1940-1945


Hume Wrong believed Canada should play to its strengths. Posted to Washington during the Second World War, he grew frustrated that Canada was losing its voice in an Allied war effort dominated by British and American statesmen. To gain its footing, Wrong argued that Canada should be given a place on Allied committees that oversaw matters where Canada made significant contributions to the Allied war effort, such as the Combined Production and Resources Board, and the Combined Food Board. Though Britain opposed Canadian representation, Wrong’s determined negotiations and willingness to leverage Canadian financial aid won Canada a place on these committees. Wrong’s strategy of establishing an international presence in areas that matched Canadian strengths demonstrated an early application of functionalism in international relations. With this innovation, Wrong charted a course for an independent Canadian foreign policy in the postwar years.

Hume Wrong signs the North Atlantic Treaty. Harris & Ewing, Library and Archives Canada, PA-124427.

Wrong joined the Foreign Service in 1927, when he was appointed First Minister to the Canadian Embassy in Washington. He gained experience in international negotiations at the League of Nations and other international conferences. Wrong returned to Washington as war broke out in Europe and oversaw the implementation of the Ogdensburg Agreement and Hyde Park Declaration, which set terms for Canadian-American cooperation in defence and wartime manufacturing. He was appointed Ambassador to Washington in 1946 and negotiated Canada’s part in the North Atlantic Treaty.

Wrong was born in Toronto in 1894. He studied history at the University of Toronto, then at the University of Oxford, before returning to teach at the University of Toronto.

Further Reading:

Granatstein, Jack L. The Ottawa Men: The Civil Service Mandarins, 1935-1957. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1982.

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