Honorary Degree Citation - Eedson Louis Millard Burns*

by J.R. Ufford, June 1970

Mr. Chancellor:

I have the honour to present to you Lieutenant-General Eedson Louis Millard Burns, D.S.0., O.B.E., M.C., C.D., soldier, author, scientist and distinguished Canadian in order that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

General Burns was born in Westmount and received his early education in St. Thomas, Ontario, and at Lower Canada College. He continued his education at the Royal Military College and in 1915 he was granted a "war commission" in the Royal Canadian Engineers. He served with distinction in France and was awarded the Military Cross for his services on the Somme.

After his return to Canada he held various appointments in Military Districts and at National Defence Headquarters. From 1924 to 1926 General Burns was instructor in military engineering at the Royal Military College. He was then appointed a general staff officer at National Defence Headquarters where he was convenor of the sub-committee on the methods of plotting aerial photography. For his outstanding work in this field of science, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

General Burns is a graduate of the School of Mechanical Engineering, Chatham, and the Staff College, Quetta, India. In 1939 he had just completed a course at the Imperial War College in London when war broke out. He remained in Britain as General Staff Officer to Major General Crerar. n 940 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and was appointed Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff at National Defence Headquarters. In 1941 he returned overseas as Brigadier, General Staff of the Canadian Corps.

In 1941 General Burns returned to Canada to administer the Canadian Armoured Corps until he was appointed to command the Fourth Canadian Armoured Brigade. In 1943 he was promoted to the rank of Major General and assumed command of the Second Canadian Infantry Division. He went to Italy in 1944 to command the First Canadian Corps as acting Lieutenant General and at the end of the war he was with the First Canadian Army in Northwest Europe.

General Burns became director general of rehabilitation in the Department of Veteran's Affairs in 1945, assistant deputy minister in 1946 and deputy minister in 1950. He held this position until 1955. In 1949 he served as alternate representative on the Canadian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. During the years 1952 and 1953 he was national president of the United Nations Association in Canada.

He became Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine in 1955 and became the first commander of the United Nations Emergency Force when it was created in October 1956.

In announcing his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1958, the Hon. George Pearkes, Minister of National Defence said that the promotion "recognizes the outstanding work and leadership given by General Burns while Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization and as commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East".

Upon his resignation as commander of the Middle East emergency force in 1959 General Burns was appointed Adviser on Disarmament to the Government of Canada. He represented Canada at the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Conference from 1962 to 1968 where he deplored the American and Soviet development of antiballistic missile systems. He retired from his position as disarmament adviser in 1969. General Burns is the author of "Manpower in the Canadian Army" published in 1956 and "Between Arab and Israeli" published in 1962.

Mr. Chancellor - Lieutenant General Eedson Louis Millard Burns.

* deceased