Volume #21 - 303.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
November 30th, 1955|
MEETING OF CONSULTATION - DECEMBER 5, 1955|
As you know, a meeting of consultation is to be held in Washington next Monday, December 5. Hoover, Radford, Grey (Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs), Robertson, Elbrick and Miner will be taking part on the United States side. Bryce, Foulkes and I, with Heeney, will be the Canadian participants.
2. The Americans have agreed to our suggestion that the main topics for discussion should be (a) continental defence, (b) Soviet intentions and the effect of the Geneva conferences on Western defence programmes, and (c) the situation in the Far East. We may also refer to the disarmament problem, principally in order to elicit, if we can, some information about the conclusions of the task forces set up under Mr. Stassen.
3. On topics (b) and (c) we shall, of course, try to get some further indication of United States thinking and intentions and I would propose that we should comment along lines which you have already approved. It is topic (a), however, which I expect to occupy most of our attention, and I should like to outline briefly, for your approval, the approach which we propose to take on this subject.
4. We had thought that we should begin by emphasizing our desire to discuss the general trends in North American defence and to take a long-term view. We would then focus attention on three particular aspects of the problem.
5. First, we would raise the question of anticipated developments and programmes for the North American early warning system during the next five years in the light of the probable budgetary situation. We would seek to get their views on the magnitude and nature of continental defence, and would probably hope to get some light on whether any budgetary reductions would affect the United States contribution to it.
6. Second, we would refer to developments in the weapons system in the next five years. This follows directly from our initiative at the last meeting of consultation in September 1954.10 You may remember that at that meeting General Foulkes suggested that the stage was rapidly being reached where the development of a suitable weapons system for the defence of North America must be a joint operation in almost every respect. He proposed a series of joint studies with a view to finding a joint approach to the implementation of a revised weapons system. Radford later assured Foulkes that as soon as the legal difficulties had been overcome (by the conclusion of an Agreement for Co-operation in the Field of Atomic Defence)11 such studies could be included in the regular joint machinery for continental defence planning, or could be carried out as a separate operation. I understand that General Foulkes will press at this meeting for an understanding that there will be no restrictions of any kind on the exchange of this sort of information between the forces of the two countries.
7. Third, we intend to discuss the problem of alerts procedures in relation to North American defence arrangements. The general problem, of course, is how to reconcile the necessities of military planning with the ultimate responsibility of governments for decision; specifically, it is how to ensure that the Canadian Government has the information it would need to arrive at independent conclusions in an emergency regarding the operation of the continental air defence system and the deployment into or over Canada of the Strategic Air Command. The meetings of consultation themselves were instituted in 1951 in order to discuss developments in the international situation which might give rise to the necessity for the use of atomic weapons.12 Though we should certainly continue to make use of this good informal channel whenever occasion demands, the meetings of consultation were not designed and would not be suitable to deal with the specific and urgent problems which would arise in an emergency. The technical arrangements which were worked out in 1952, to ensure prompt consideration by the Canadian Ministers concerned of United States requests for overflight of Canada by certain types of military aircraft, also have a limited usefulness but are clearly inadequate to meet Canadian requirements especially in the light of our growing interdependence on air defence. What is needed is an arrangement for the exchange and evaluation of strategic information of a kind which might lead to a decision to take emergency measures or even to go to war, and a firm understanding on the necessity for consultation at the highest political levels of the two governments on the action to be taken as a result of that information.
8. We believe that the time is propitious for raising this matter in Washington. The United States Government has just agreed in principle, after six months consideration, to the procedure which was proposed by the United Kingdom authorities, after consultation with us, for dealing on a tripartite basis with indications of Soviet aggression in the NATO area.13 The essence of this procedure was, you will recall, that such information would be exchanged automatically, and that the heads of government or foreign ministers of the three countries would then consult as to their assessments of the situation, and discuss possible action, before proposals for action were put to other friendly governments. It was the intention of the United Kingdom authorities, if the United States Government agreed to the principle, to propose working out an urgent or telescoped procedure between the three parties to deal with surprise attacks, and also to propose elaborating later a parallel procedure for other areas of the world such as the Middle East and Far East. The United States reply, however, says that "no decision should be taken at the present time about the possible adaptation of these procedures to other areas of the world", and proposes that there be further exploration between the State Department and the two Embassies in Washington of "the procedures for political consultation".
9. We would not wish to get involved at the meeting of consultation in a discussion of the tripartite procedure, or to prejudice in any way the talks which we will no doubt wish to have later with both parties on this procedure. It might help to avoid any possible unfortunate impression if we were to explain frankly to the British after the meeting that the question of alerts was discussed in our consultations with U.S. officials in relation solely to our joint continental air defence arrangements.
10. On the other hand, the growing interdependence of Canada and the United States in the air defence field makes it essential, in my view, that we seek to obtain now a firm understanding on the procedures to be adopted in this context, not related (as the tripartite procedure is) to the NATO system of alerts or to any particular set of circumstances. We propose, therefore, if you agree, to put to the Americans for their consideration a formula in the terms set out in the annex to this memorandum.14
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
Memorandum by Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs
[Ottawa, November 30, 1955]
The general problem is how to reconcile the necessities of military planning with an ultimate responsibility of governments for decision. From our point of view specifically a formula must be found to ensure that the Canadian Government has the information it would need to arrive at independent conclusions in an emergency regarding the operation of the continental air defence system and the deployment into or over Canada of the Strategic Air Command.
2. The technical arrangements now in operation were worked out in 1952; these are related to United States requests for overflight of Canada by certain types of military aircraft. In this field they are useful but are clearly inadequate to meet Canadian requirements especially in the light of our growing interdependence on air defence.
3. With the setting up of our radar lines in northern Canada, we will eventually obtain most valuable tactical information; what is needed now is an arrangement for the exchange and evaluation of strategic information, information of a kind which might lead to a decision to take emergency measures.
4. We welcome the acceptance by the United States of the procedures for tripartite discussions on indications of Soviet aggression in the NATO area. We are not concerned, however, with this aspect of the problem of alerts but solely on the more restricted aspect of the question related to the problem of alerts on continental defence.
5. We believe that the growing interdependence of Canada and the United States in the air defence field makes it essential in the interest of both countries that we obtain a firm understanding on the procedures to be adopted in this context, it being understood that they are in no way related to the NATO system of alerts or to no particular set of circumstances.
6. Attached is a formula which might be considered in this respect.
[T]o be left as a working paper.15
[pièce jointe 2/enclosure 2]
[November 30, 1955]
1. The United States and Canadian Governments agree that they will invariably and immediately inform each other when they receive information of a kind which, if examined, might cause either to conclude that there was a possibility of hostilities occurring.
2. The criterion for passing information of this kind between the two Governments might be defined as the receipt of information which could call for rapid action on the part of the intelligence authorities in Canada or the United States,17 this could, although not necessarily, coincide with the calling of a "crash" meeting of the United States Watch Committee or Intelligence Advisory Committee, or the Canadian Joint Intelligence Committee.
3. Under such a criterion, the Governments agree that, for the duration of the incident calling for such action, the United States and Canadian authorities, particularly the intelligence authorities, will automatically pass to one another all the relevant information, including the background necessary to understand the problem and their respective assessments of the problem.
4. Where consultation at a higher level, including Ministers, also became necessary, such an arrangement should ensure that Ministers would be fully in possession of the necessary facts upon which to base their consultations.