ties, I cannot help but be conscious of the need to place these matters in their historical perspective. And since our own experience is brief, we Canadians have much to learn from the military history of other nations.
It is the custom of military men to analyse their operations in order to avoid repeating their mistakes. Since events never follow the same pattern twice we almost always make new mistakes in subsequent operations. Moreover, after a lapse of time new men who know too little of past events make old mistakes all over again. To that extent, I suppose history repeats itself. From a military point of view the theme of this conference, "Armed Forces and Colonial Develop- ment", certainly lends itself to such a conclusion. Events since the Second World War must make us all acutely conscious of the need for guidelines in trying to establish stability in those parts of the world where colonies have achieved inde- pendence. In Canada our own transition from colony to nation, as well as our profound involvement in many instances of international peace-keeping, give us a special interest in the subject.
Ottawa is an appropriate venue for your discussions because it was here that the military needs of a colony resulted in the establishment of the town that became the capital city of our nation. The waterway that runs past this confer- ence centre was one of the strategic solutions to the insecurity of Upper and Lower Canada's border with the United States during and after the War of 1812. Under the supervision of Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers the Rideau Canal cut its way through the wilderness in the 1830's and completed a secure line of communications to Lake Ontario from the sea. The town that grew up from the settlement where the canal met the Ottawa River received its original name of Bytown from Colonel By. Canadian historians, especially the distin- guished chairman of the Canadian National Commission, Professor Desmond Morton and his predecessor Colonel C.P. Stacey, have shown how the town con- tinued to reflect the military aspects of the Imperial connexion after 1867, when Bytown became Ottawa and the seat of Canada's federal government. These links with Britain are somewhat tenuous now owing to the great diversity of our international interests, but they continue to be maintained in various ways, and they are still unusually friendly and informal.
Our brief but startling expansion in two World Wars, our colonial past, and our present membership in the British Commonwealth of Nations have thus helped to influence Canada's military posture today. We have also enjoyed mu- tually profitable relations with our neighbours to the south, the United States, as well as with various European countries through our defence alliances, and with many others through our military activities under the aegis of the United Na- tions. Indeed, we consider ourselves fortunate in our international friendships. When the opportunity has arisen to help in stabilising a situation in an area of unrest we have found it possible, like some other nations in similar case, to send national contingents to join international peace-keeping forces, and observers to