Volume #17 - 759.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
DEFENCE AND SECURITY ISSUES
GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES
Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Cabinet Defence Committee
CABINET DOCUMENT NO. D-309 |
October 24th, 1951|
PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF U.S. GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES IN NEWFOUNDLAND|
On July 27th, the U.S. Embassy presented a Note,' a copy of which is attached, in which Canadian approval was sought for the establishment by the U.S.A.F. of global communications facilities near Harmon Air Force Base and Pepperrell Air Force Base in Newfoundland. Because of its technical characteristics, the new equipment cannot be placed on the present U.S.-leased bases near the two areas in question; hence, small additional parcels of land are required.
At Harmon base the U.S.A.F. wishes to acquire approximately 210 acres of privately-owned land 12 miles west of the present base, as well as 209 acres of Crown land approximately 22 miles west. On each of these plots buildings would be erected. There is a further requirement for 180 acres of land 9 miles north of the Pepperrell base, as well as 3 acres of land for right of way. A building would be erected on this site.
The U.S. Government has asked that Canada make available the lands noted above to the United States "for its exclusive use for 20 years". The United States also asked that an extension of time should be considered at the end of 20 years. The land would be acquired by Canada and be made available without charge to the United States. The United States has asked that U.S. personnel stationed in the areas to be acquired should be given the same privileges and immunities as members of the U.S. forces stationed within the leased bases.
Neither the Department of National Defence nor the Department of Transport has any objection to the establishment of the facilities. The Department of National Defence has noted that "long-term leases such as the 20-year lease proposed should not be granted if other means could be found to make the land available and provide for the security of the buildings and property".
The United States has been informed, through the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, that the Canadian Government does not wish to grant any further longterm leases to the United States. U.S. officials have sometimes said that certainty of tenure for capital construction of facilities in Canada is necessary in order to obtain appropriations from Congress; the validity of this argument is now open to question. The United States has a defence agreement with Iceland which, in effect, gives to the United States tenure which may be terminated at any time by either side on eighteen months' notice. In France, U.S. tenure may be terminated on one year's notice, after which all immovable property reverts to the French Government. In the United Kingdom, no leases or assured rights of occupancy have been granted to U.S. forces, although capital charges for construction of facilities are shared. In view of the close relationships between Canada and the United States, there seems to be no reason why the United States should acquire in Canada fixed forms of tenure which it does not require of other North Atlantic Treaty countries.
On the question of privileges and immunities, it is suggested that this question should stand over for the present in view of the doubt which now exists on the exact status of the NATO Forces Agreement and relation of the Leased Bases Agreement to it.
It is, therefore, recommended that a reply should be sent to the U.S. Embassy along the following lines:
(1) The Canadian Government agrees in principle to the extension of U.S. global communications facilities within the areas in Newfoundland as defined in the U.S. Embassy Note.
(2) The land necessary for the facilities will be acquired by the Canadian Government, which will retain title to it.
(3) This land will be available without charge to the United States for its exclusive use for as long as, in the opinion of both Governments, there is a continuing need for the facilities.
(4) If, at any time in the future, it is decided by either Government that the facilities are no longer necessary for joint defence or for NATO purposes, the land, together with any immovable facilities on it, will, on twelve months' notice, revert to the use of the Canadian Government.
(5) Any movable property placed on the land by the United States may be removed by the United States at any time prior to the evacuation of the property by U.S. forces, or within a reasonable time thereafter.
(6) The Canadian Government does not wish at this time to make any commitments on the question of privileges and immunities until the position of the NATO Forces Agreement has been clarified. The Canadian Government nevertheless agrees that U.S. forces stationed on the land in question will be granted privileges and immunities on a standard no lower than those set forth in the NATO Forces Agreement, conditional on the approval of that Agreement by the Parliament of Canada.83
par le Comité du Cabinet sur la défense, le 8 novembre 1951; décision notée par
le Cabinet, le 12 novembre 1951, et transmise à 1'ambassade des États-Unis
dans la note 322 du 9 novembre 1951.