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CIC Victoria: The International Control Commissions: Our Early Diplomatic Experience in Southeast Asia

March 5 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm PST

When: Tuesday, 5 March
Where: The Sticky Wicket Pub, Maple Room, the Strathcona Hotel, 919 Douglas Street
Time: 5 – 7:00 pm (doors open at 5 pm)
Our Speakers: Phil Calvert and Nick Etheridge

Long before our Indo-Pacific strategy was published, Canada had a significant diplomatic presence in Southeast Asia. Indeed, looking back in time, Canadian diplomats were an important part of the tripartite International Control Commissions (ICC), established by the 1954 Geneva Accords to monitor the truce in the region following France’s departure from Indochina – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Unexpected, unwelcome, but unavoidable was how the Canadian government viewed the invitation forwarded in July 1954 from then British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, co-chair of the Geneva Conference on the aftermath of the Korean War and the situation in Indochina, for Canada to serve on the ICC. And while the work itself was often frustrating, the participation of Canadian diplomats in the various ICC offices around the region, including Saigon, Hanoi, Vientiane and Phnom Penh, had a profound impact on Canada’s diplomatic corps and, in the long term, on the implementation of Canadian policy in Asia.

For this PiP, we are delighted to welcome Phil Calvert and Nick Etheridge (Nick served in the ICC office in Hanoi) as they discuss this often forgotten, but very important piece of Canada’s diplomatic history based on their new edited collection ‘Supervising a Peace that Never Was: Recollections of Canadian Diplomatic Personnel in Indochina, 1954-1973’ (co-edited by Helen Lansdowne, Nick Etheridge & Phil Calvert).

Phil Calvert joined the Department of External Affairs in 1982. Subsequently he had three postings in Beijing, in 1984-7, 1994-7 and 2004-8. He also served as Director of the Technical Barriers to Trade Division at Ottawa headquarters, and was Deputy Chief Negotiator for Canada during China’s accession to the World Trade Organization. From 2021-2016 he was Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Today, Phil is a Senior Fellow with the China Institute of the University of Alberta and a Senior Research Associate with the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria.

Nick Etheridge joined the Department of External Affairs in 1967. He was posted to Canberra Australia in 1968-70, to ICSC Vietnam in 1972 and to ICCS South Vietnam in 1973. Subsequently he had a number of European assignments related to Canada’s participation in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, was Canada’s representative in Cambodia in 1993, Chargé d’ Affaires in the Baltic Countries 1993-5 and High Commissioner to Bangladesh 1996-9. He retired in 2002 after serving as the Director of Defence Relations Division at headquarters.

To attend this event please email Roger Love at

The event is open to CIC members only. The cost to attend is $22.50, which will cover a first drink and a round of appetizers. Attendance is limited so please don’t wait to register.

Confirmation of your registration along with payment instructions will be provided. If you are not able to attend after registering, and there is a waiting list, your registration fee will be reimbursed. If we have no waiting list, unfortunately refunds cannot be given.


March 5
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm PST


CIC Victoria Branch