Gerda Munsinger -- the beautiful German courtesan who brought a touch of Mata Hari to Canadian politics.
Gerda Munsinger -- the beautiful German courtesan who brought a touch of Mata Hari to Canadian politics. A judicial report published tonight in Ottawa found her a security risk and condemned a distinguished former Prime Minister of Canada for failing to dismiss a Cabinet colleague who had admitted to sleeping with her, The Prime Minister was The Right Honourable John Diefenbaker, leader of the Canadian Conservative Party -- Premier for six years. His Number Two, Mr. George Hees -- once Trade Minister -- is also criticised and called "indiscreet" for his associations with Frau Munsinger. Supreme Court. Justice Wishart Spence said it might have been worse than the Profumo case, since Frau Munsinger had security contacts which Christine Keeler had not. Mr. Lucien Cardin -- the Justice Minister -- had mentioned Profumo when he first made allegations that Gerda Munsinger had been a Communist agent in Germany and had only got into Canada after being shut out the first time as a security risk. Appearing with his wife and daughter, Diefenbaker's Defence Minister Pierre Sevigny at first denied anything improper. He said he had lunched with Miss Munsinger. In the end he confessed having been "as close as a man could be." The report says he was not disloyal to Canada.
Prime Minister Lester Pearson was accused by Conservatives of mud-slinging in the worst traditions of Canadian politics. Frau Munsinger -- now back in Germany -- claimed the Russians had dishonoured her as a girl and she was no friend of Communism. The Canadian Mounties found otherwise. Mr. Diefenbaker -- at seventy-one, his Party leadership questioned by many - stands condemned of carelessness, or at least of being too trusting. But perhaps the worst casualty will be the already tarnished reputation of Canadian politics.
In Ottawa tonight Mr. Diefenbaker called the Judge's report "a political hatchet job". In Montreal, Mr.
Sevigny called it "ridiculous foolishness" and refused further comment. Interviewed tonight on 24-Hours, Mrs. Munsinger denied everything -- the very suggestion of a security risk....