Natural Allies?: Canadian and Mexican Perspectives on International Security


208 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88629-277-8
DDC 327.71072




Edited by H.P. Klepak
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University, the
author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom,
and the co-author of The Border at Sault Ste. Marie.


In March 1956, delegations headed by Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent
and Mexican President Ruiz Cortines met U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower
at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The conference quickly became
two sets of bilateral talks—U.S.–Canadian and U.S.–Mexican.
Commentators joked that Canadians and Mexicans had little in common
except the United States as a neighbor.

The editors of this book emphasize the importance of Canadian–Mexican
relations in the post–Cold War era. H.P. Klepak argues that Canada and
Mexico should cooperate in such security matters as the nonproliferation
of nuclear weapons, Cuban policy as the Castro era ends, and the fight
against drugs. Since 1993, says Klepak, Canada has had a military
attaché in Mexico City—Canada’s first anywhere in Latin America.
Senior officers of Mexico’s army and navy hold positions in Ottawa,
and there is an RCMP liaison in the Mexican capital.

Klepak and Mexican scholar Raul Benitez Manaut provide succinct reviews
of national-security matters in their respective countries. One can
quarrel with some of what they say and what they omitted. Klepak sees
the end of the Cold War as “the first time since the destruction of
Carthage in 146 B.C.” that the loser disappeared. He ignores Nazi
Germany in 1945. Benitez Manaut fails to mention General Santa Anna, who
was responsible for the loss of Texas in 1837 and the Gadsden Purchase
in the 1850s; Pancho Villa, who raided Columbus, New Mexico, in March
1916; or General John Pershing, who led the U.S. army into Mexico in
search of Villa. Nevertheless, Klepak and Benitez Manaut have provided
useful summaries, especially in connection with Mexico’s role during
World War II.

Papers on Canadian and Mexican security interests, present and future,
follow. Of particular value is that by Brian J.R. Stevenson, who notes
that although Canada joined the OAS in 1990, it has refused to sign the
Rio Treaty (regarding hemispheric defence) or to participate on the
Inter-American Defence Board or the Inter-American Defence College.


“Natural Allies?: Canadian and Mexican Perspectives on International Security,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,