Volume #14 - 987.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
OTHER DEFENCE ISSUES
CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION
April 1st, 1948|
POLICY WITH RESPECT TO PUBLICITY ON CANADA-UNITED STATES DEFENCE ARRANGEMENTS|
(Note: As the Department of Reconstruction & Supply is at present responsible for the Arctic Weather Station Programme, the references in this memorandum to the Department of Transport should be construed as applying to the firSt.mentioned Department until further notice.)
The following policy for handling publicity on plans, training and operations jointly conducted by Canada and the United States, or conducted by either country in the territory of the other, has been approved by the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Transport and the Secretary of State for External Affairs, and is in line with a directive which was issued in the United States, on November 28th, 1947, by the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of State.
1. As undue secrecy has led in the past to highly speculative and sensational stories in the press which have been embarrassing to the two Governments and harmful to the defence programme, it is considered a fundamental principle that Canada-United States defence arrangements should always be publicized in so far as the requirements of Government policy, military security and the international political situation permit. Moreover, secrecy is counter to the traditions of the United States and of Canada and the desired objective is to reach the position where the press and public alike recognize that joint undertakings in Canada, and particularly in northern Canada, are normal and sensible developments.
2. Each project must therefore be examined on its own merits in so far as press publicity is concerned, and a brief statement of a factual nature will he issued at an early stage in the development of each project to the extent that military security, the international political situation and Government policy permit. Every opportu - nity will be taken to emphasize to the press the importance of their quoting releases verbatim rather than publishing stories based on these statements.
3. The primary responsibility for such public announcements rests with the country whose territory is utilized in connection with the projects in question- Such announcements must always have the approval of the United States Government, as well as that of the Canadian authorities referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 below.
4. To implement the foregoing policy and procedure, the Departments of National Defence and External Affairs will work closely together in matters concerning the defence projects and exercises of the two countries. Except as provided in paragraph 5 below, the Department of National Defence is responsible for drafting press releases and its drafts will be submitted to the Department of External Affairs through the Public Relations Staffs of the two Departments. If the Department of External Affairs is satisfied that a release should be issued in connection with a project, and agrees with the terms of the relevant draft statement, the latter will be passed by the Canadian Embassy in Washington to the Department of State through the Secretary of the United States Section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence. The appropriate United States authorities will then come to a decision both on the policy involved and the text of the statement. When a final text is agreed upon by both Governments, the release will be issued in Canada by the Minister of National Defence or the Secretary of State for External Affairs, as may be desired.
5. As the Department of Transport bears the principal responsibility for the Arctic Weather Station Programme, it will prepare and issue the press releases relating to that programme- The Department of Transport will, of course, issue them only after clearances have been obtained from the Departments of National Defence and External Affairs and after the latter Department has obtained the approval of the United States authorities-
6. Whenever publicity is contemplated in connection with Canada-United Stales defence projects in the Northwest Territories or the Yukon, the Department of Mines and Resources will be kept advised, by the drafting Department, of the nature of the statements under preparation
7. Any other publicity matters concerning Canada-United States defence arrangements (e-g. visits of newspaper men to the Far North, the furnishing of "background" information to the press, etc-) will also be handled in accordance with the procedure outlined in paragraphs 4 to 6 above. This procedure will, of course, not be followed when there is only a question of giving the press or other enquirers details already officially released by the competent Canadian or United States authorities
8. The only personnel of the Departments of National Defence, Transport and External Affairs who, without special authority from their respective Minister or Deputy Minister, as the case may be, may deal directly with the representatives of the press in connection with any matters of publicity relating to Canada-United States defence arrangements, are the Public Relations Staffs of those Departments.
9. Up to the present time, the releases and statements made by the Canadian and United States authorities on Canada-United States defence matters have, for security reasons, contained a minimum of detail. At the same time, extensive and accurate reports on these joint developments have appeared in the Canadian and foreign press from tirne to time. A wide range of details have thus been made public without either Government acknowledging their accuracy. In the circumstances, and in order to avoid all possible confusion, the procedure outlined in paragraphs 4 and 5 above, for obtaining approval for the release of information, must be followed with respect to all details of defence projects that it may be desired to release in any manner but which have not already been made public in official releases or statements of the competent Canadian and United States authorities. Arrangements will be made with the Canadian Ernbassy in Washington to ensure that, as in the past, the Canadian and United States authorities receive the texts of official releases and statements made in the United States and Canada.
10. The foregoing paragraphs look, primarily, to the preparation and ultimate issue of unilateral releases or statements by the Canadian authorities mentioned. Steps will be taken to ensure that, in cases where it is desirable for the Canadian and United States authorities to issue simultaneous releases or statements on the matters referred to, the publicity will be issued in both countries at exactly the same hour on all such occasions. In each instance of this kind the Department of External Affairs will work out with the appropriate United States authorities the arrangements necessary to ensure appropriate timing of simultaneous releases
11. Whenever the United States authorities submit proposed publicity on Canada-United States defence activities to the Department of External Affairs for the consideration of the competent authorities in Ottawa, the Department of External Affairs will transmit the propoSed publicity to the Department of National Defence for approval. The United States authorities will be advised that their draft statements are acceptable only after they have been approved by the Departments of National Defence and External Affairs- If, however, the proposed United States publicity relates to the Arctic Weather Station Programme, the Department of External Affairs will submit the draft statements to the Department of Transport (in addition to the Department of National Defence) for approval. The Department of External Affairs will also be responsible for keeping the Department of Mines and Resources informed of the character of proposed United States publicity on Canada-United States defence activities in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.