Lester B. Pearson

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Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.

Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson (23 April 189727 December 1972) was a Canadian statesman, diplomat and politician who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. He was also the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from April 22, 1963, until April 20, 1968, as the head of two back-to-back minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965.


  • Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
    • As quoted in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tribute (1972), and in Chambers Dictionary of Political Biography‎ (1991) by John Ransley, p. 345

Nobel Prize acceptance (1957)[edit]

Address on accepting the Nobel Peace Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway (10 December 1957)
  • Alfred Nobel decreed that this award should be conferred on someone who, in the opinion of the Committee, should have done the most or the best work to promote fraternity between nations for the abolition and reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
    As to the first, I do not know that I have done very much myself to promote fraternity between nations but I do know that there can be no more important purpose for any man's activity or interests.
    So far as abolishing arms are concerned, those of Nobel's day are now out of date, but I used they will destroy us all. So they must be themselves destroyed.
    As for the promotion of peace congresses we have had our meetings and assemblies, but the promotion through them of the determined and effective will to peace displaying itself in action and policy remains to be achieved.
  • Of all our dreams today there is none more important — or so hard to realise — than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.

The Four Faces of Peace (1957)[edit]

Nobel Lecture (11 December 1957)
  • True there has been more talk of peace since 1945 than, I should think, at any other time in history. At least we hear more and read more about it because man's words, for good or ill, can now so easily reach the millions.
    Very often the words are good and even inspiring, the embodiment of our hopes and our prayers for peace. But while we all pray for peace, we do not always, as free citizens, support the policies that make for peace or reject those which do not. We want our own kind of peace, brought about in our own way.
    The choice, however, is as clear now for nations as it was once for the individual: peace or extinction. The life of states cannot, any more than the life of individuals, be conditioned by the force and the will of a unit, however powerful, but by the consensus of a group, which must one day include all states. Today the predatory state, or the predatory group of states, with power of total destruction, is no more to be tolerated than the predatory individual.
  • Until the last great war, a general expectation of material improvement was an idea peculiar to Western man. Now war and its aftermath have made economic and social progress a political imperative in every quarter of the globe. If we ignore this, there will be no peace. There has been a widening of horizons to which in the West we have been perhaps too insensitive. Yet it is as important as the extension of our vision into outer space.
    Today continuing poverty and distress are a deeper and more important cause of international tensions, of the conditions that can produce war, than previously.

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