Historical background

Governors general began travelling internationally in 1927, when Lord Willingdon was invited by President Calvin Coolidge to visit the United States. The first full State visit occurred 10 years later, in 1937, when John Buchan, the Lord Tweedsmuir, was received at the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, where he addressed the United States Senate.

In 1948, Viscount Alexander made the first Canadian State visit to Latin America when he visited Brazil. After visiting a number of Caribbean countries in 1969, Roland Michener travelled outside of the Americas. He was the first Governor General of Canada to be received on State visits to Europe, specifically the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, in 1971.