Over the years one of the most common requests for information about the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has been to identify those who have served as heads of Canadian posts abroad and their dates of service. The Department's Historical Section has, therefore, created this database for use as a reference guide by employees and by those in the academic community who have an interest in Canada's international relations. It is hoped that this database will be a useful companion to the two major publications issued by the Historical Section: Documents on Canadian External Relations, a series started in 1967 with volumes published annually; and the official history of the Department: Canada's Department of External Affairs, Volume 1, The Early Years, 1909-1946, by John Hilliker (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990), and Volume 2, Coming of Age, 1946-1968, by John Hilliker and Donald Barry (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995).
The contents of this database are based primarily on information contained in "Canadian Heads of Post Abroad, 1880-1989" (Ottawa: External Affairs and International Trade Canada, 1991). Arthur Blanchette, the last Director of the Department's former Historical Division, decided that a list of heads of post should be prepared. In 1984, he asked J.E. Thibault, a retired diplomat who had served as Canada's Ambassador to Cameroon and Romania, to take on the task. Mr. Thibault prepared a list for the period 1880-1979 and gathered much of the information that would appear in the printed list as footnotes. Under the supervision of E.A. Kelly of the Historical Section, Cheryl Moreau and Neal Carter completed the list for the period 1979-1989. During the preparation of the list, R. Beauchamp of the Protocol Division and Lise Clément of the Personnel Branch were both very generous with their time and expert advice, and the list was prepared for printing by Janet Ritchie. In 2000, the decision was made to convert the contents of the printed list to a database that could be accessed through a search engine posted on the Department's historical web page. The database and search engine were designed by Jane Appleby of the Department's Information Management and Technology Bureau. The database is updated continuously as information is received from Canada's posts abroad.
Users of this database can search for information by name or by country. Seven potential information fields can be displayed and are described below. Blank entries or zeroes in date fields indicate the lack of complete records. Footnotes relating to a post are displayed at the bottom of the search results page.
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- The current full name of a country has been provided whenever possible.
- Head Of Post
- The full name of the representative has been provided whenever possible.
- Career officers (C) include not only those from Foreign Affairs and International Trade, but also other federal government departments which earlier had a foreign service component such as the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce and the Department of Employment and Immigration. Others, including political appointments, are listed as non-career (NC).
- See the list of the abbreviations.
- Appointment Date
- In most cases, the date of appointment refers to the date of issue of the Order-in-Council announcing the chosen representative. The Order-in-Council is issued only after the government of the country of accreditation has officially agreed to receive the nominee. If the post did not advise headquarters of the country's agrément, the date of the presentation of credentials may precede the formal date of appointment as indicated on the Order-in-Council.
- Presentation of credentials
- This indicates when the Head of Post submitted his or her Letters of Credence or, in the case of Commonwealth countries who regard Queen Elizabeth II as their sovereign, his or her Letter of Introduction to the official representative (normally the head of state) of the host country. Footnotes or columnar entries explain those cases where, according to the files, the credentials were not presented.
- Termination of mission
- This refers to the actual date that the representative left the post. Unfortunately, these records are incomplete. In the case of chargés d'affaires, this date is when the new ambassador officially assumed his or her duties or when another chargé took over. This is also true for acting high commissioners and others in a temporary capacity. Generally, only those who acted in this way for six months or longer were included.