• Short Summary

    In Canada, the findings are expected shortly of the judicial enquiry into the Munsinger affair: the alleged sex and security scandal in which the central figure is German-born Mrs.

  • Description

    Mrs. Munsinger: Mr. Justice Wishart Spence; The Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Lester Pearson, taking part in the most recent General Election campaign, in November 1965, and student demonstrators; the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa; the present Minister of Justice, Mr. Cardin; the former Associate Defence Minister, Mr. Pierre Sevigny, with his wife and daughter; Mr. Patrick Nowlan, son of the George Nowlan, former Conservative Minister of Finance; the former Conservative Prime Minister, Mr. Diefenbaker; reporters being turned away from the Munich flat where Mrs. Munsinger now lives; and Mrs. Munsinger, interviewed by a correspondent of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    INTERVIEWER: "How closely did you become acquainted with Mr. Sevigny, and how often did you see him?"

    MUNSINGER: "Well, I saw him off and on, ad e were very good friends."

    INTERVIEWER: "Well, where did you see him?"

    MUNSINGER: "Where did I see him? Having dinner.... Well, let me think.... We went out to dinner, we met at a dancing place and went dancing. And I guess that answers most questions."

    INTERVIEWER: "Were you also acquainted with other members of the Conservative Cabinet?"

    MUNSINGER: "Yes, I met one other member that was also at that time a friend of Pierre Sevigny and his name was George Hees."

    INTERVIEWER: "In view of the things that have been published in the Canadian newspapers, how would you describe these friendships, were they just social or were they something closer?"

    MUNSINGER: "Sociable."

    INTERVIEWER: "Purely social?"

    MUNSINGER: "Purely."

    INTERVIEWER: "Did you discuss political or other Government matters with members of the Canadian Cabinet?"

    MUNSINGER: "Never, At no place and no time."

    INTERVIEWER: "What did you talk about?"

    MUNSINGER: "What can you talk about. If you go out with someone, you don't talk about political matters because first of all they never interest me, and secondly we talked about other things, there were so many things to talk about."

    INTERVIEWER: "Well, all right, would you like to name some of the lies that have been reported? A) that you went with Mr. Sevigny to places like Boston, Mexico City."

    MUNSINGER: "I never went with Mr. Sevigny to Mexico City or any place else."

    INTERVIEWER: "Or any place at all. It's been reported that you were a sort of double agent who perhaps has worked for the Soviet zone or perhaps has worked for other agencies. Is that a lie also?"

    MUNSINGER: "That is a lie, an let me say why. Those people have harmed me so much in my young life that I would never even more a finger for ??? one of them."

    Initials MJH/C-VISLIB/EML/BB

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Canada, the findings are expected shortly of the judicial enquiry into the Munsinger affair: the alleged sex and security scandal in which the central figure is German-born Mrs. Gerda Munsinger, who spent six years in Canada between 1955 and 1961, but is now living in Munich.

    The enquiry was conducted by a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Justice Wishart Spence. It was held partly in public and partly in private. The court was told that Canadian police files showed that Mrs. Munsinger had an illicit sex relationship with the former Associate Defence Minister, Mr. Pierre Sevigny, and that she was on first-name terms with the former Minister of Trade and Commerce, Mr. George Hees. The lawyer producing the evidence also alleged that Mrs. Munsinger had been arrested in West Germany in 1949 and had admitted spying activities; and that she had once been refused entry to Canada on security grounds.

    Mr. Justice Spence has already ruled that there is no evidence that Mrs. Munsinger engaged in spying while she was in Canada. Mr. Sevigny has repeatedly stated that he knew Mrs. Munsinger only socially. Mr. Hees has said he had only a few casual social meetings with her.

    The name of a third former Canadian Minister, Mr. George Nowlan, who has since died, was mentioned in a debate in the Canadian Parliament. His son, Mr. Patrick Nowlan, also a Member of Parliament, has called on the Canadian Government to clear his father's name, and has said that otherwise he wold consider giving up his Parliament seat.

    The whole matter has become closely enmeshed with Canadian party politics. The ministers named were members of Mr. John Diefenbaker's Conservative Government, which was defeated in the General Election of 1963, and succeeded by the Liberal Government of Mr. Lester Pearson. Last March, Mr. Pearson's government was accused by the Conservatives of mishandling another security matter. The present Minister of Justice, Mr. Lucien Cardin, counter-attacked by charging Mr. Diefenbaker's government with not taking proper action in the Munsinger affair. There were stormy scenes in the Canadian House of Commons, and the Prime Minister announced that a judicial enquiry would be held.

    Since then, Mr. Pearson's government has survived a censure motion arising out of the affair, and Mr. Diefenbaker has criticised the way in which the judge has conducted the enquiry. He said the tribunal was set up for the political assassination of the Government's opponents, and both he and the former Conservative Minister of Justice Mr. Davie Fulton, withdrew from any further part in the hearings.

    When Mr. Cardin first reopened the matter in March, he said that Mrs. Munsinger had returned to East Germany and had since died. However, she was soon found, by a Canadian newspaper, living in Munich in West Germany. She claims that some of the reports about her are lies.

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