Graphical version

Commonwealth Secretariat

SMITH, Arnold (1915-1994)


Reference code(s): GB 3172 SMITH

Held at: Commonwealth Secretariat

Title: SMITH, Arnold (1915-1994)

Date(s): 1965 -1976

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 211 files

Name of creator(s): Smith | Arnold Cantwell | 1915-1994 | first Commonwealth Secretary-General


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born 1915 in Toronto, 1915; educated at University of Toronto, gained BA (Juris) and BCL degrees from Oxford where he was a Rhodes scholar; editor The Baltic Times and Associate Professor of Political Economy, University of Tartu, 1939-1940; Press Attaché British Embassy, Cairo and lecturer in political science and economics, Egyptian State University 1940-1943; joined the Canadian Diplomatic service working in Moscow 1943-1945; after Ottawa; Associate Director National Defence College of Canada 1947- Alternate Permanent Delegate of Canada on UN Security Council and UN Atomic Energy Commission, 1949-1950; Counsellor, Canadian Embassy, Brussels 1950-1953; also Head of Canadian Delegation to Inter-Allied Reparations Agency, 1950-1953; Special Assistant to Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa 1953-1955; International Truce Commissioner, Cambodia 1955-1956; Canadian Minister, London 1956-1958; Canadian Ambassador to United Arab Republic, 1958-1961 and to USSR 1961-1963; Assistant Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa 1963-1965; elected First Secretary-General of Commonwealth 1965, re elected 1970 serving until1975; awarded membership to the order of the Companions of Honour, 1975; Lester B. Pearson Professor of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa 1976-1981; Life Vice-President, Royal Commonwealth Society; Officer of the Order of Canada,1984; additionally involved in numerous international organization; died 1994.

Publications: Stitches in Time: The Commonwealth in World Politics (Andre Deutsch, London,1981); The We-They Frontier: From International Relations to World Politics (Leeds University, Leeds,1983); Multilateral Negotiations and Mediations: Instruments and Methods (ed. Arthur Lall) (International Peace Academy [by] Pergamon Press, New York, 1985).


Scope and content/abstract:

Created during Smith's time in office, 1965-1975, the collection comprises of papers arranged under the following sections: International Affairs 1965-1975, contains material on the Heads of Government and the Senior Officials Meetings, additionally there are Country Files and the records of the Secretary-General's Visits which detail specific issues such as Rhodesia and Southern African or the Anguilla dispute with St Kitts. These records also contain informative country briefs prepared by the Secretariats divisions. There are a small number of files on the issue of sanctions and on liaison with other organization. Economic Affairs 1964-1976, material comprises of the Finance Ministers Meetings, work on Commodities plus a significant number relating to liaison with EEC as well as other organisations. The Education 1969-1976, Legal Activities 1970-1975, and the Health 1969-1975, sections mainly concern the relevant Commonwealth conferences. Files in Science and Technology 1968-1973, address specific issues such as metrication, mining and metallurgy. Food Production and Rural Technology 1975, comprises of conference material and Youth 1972-1975, mainly details youth awards. Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC) 1968-1976, comprises of records relating to the governance of the CFTC as well as to specific projects undertaken. Smith's speeches and other public addresses are located in the Information 1966-1975, section. The Secretary-General's files in Secretariat Administration 1965-1976, cover internal meetings of the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, some aspects relating to individual divisions as well as preparation for the Annual Reports. Commonwealth and International Organisations 1965-1975, details co-operation and liaison with institutions such as Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; Commonwealth Broadcasting Association; Commonwealth Foundation; La Francophonie; Commonwealth Institute; International Planned Parenthood Federation and United Nations.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

As outlined above in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

All records listed are in the public domain.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Arnold Smith Papers, Commonwealth Secretariat, Library and Archives. Also available at


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The Commonwealth Secretariat.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Library and Archives Canada, holds records covering Arnold Smith's public career as a diplomat and educator and aspects of his personal life. Papers from his time as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, include copies of papers written or received by him, Commonwealth reports, his speeches, appointment books and press clippings. (Archival Reference R527-0-X-E).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Source: Who's Who; Arnold Cantwell Smith Fonds, Library and Archives Canada, (Archival Reference R527-0-X-E). Compiled by Hilary McEwan.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 14 December 2007

African history | National history
Commonwealth countries | Political systems
Diplomacy | Foreign relations | International relations
International cooperation | International politics

Personal names
Smith | Arnold Cantwell | 1915-1994 | first Commonwealth Secretary-General

Corporate names
Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
Commonwealth Foundation
Commonwealth Institute
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
EEC | European Economic Community x European Economic Community
International Planned Parenthood Federation
La Francophonie
United Nations