Volume #26 - 301.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
FORT CHURCHILL RADIO TOWERS
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
September 11th, 1959|
ESTABLISHMENT IN THE FORT CHURCHILL AREA OF TWO RADIO TOWERS TO BE USED IN A STUDY OF RADIO PROPAGATION IN THE ARCTIC|
Attached is a copy of a Note dated July 22 from the United States Embassy, requesting the concurrence of the Canadian Government in a two year study of radio propagation in the Arctic, which the United States National Bureau of Standards wishes to undertake.
You will note that in part, the study would consist of recording the strength of radio signals received by antennae on towers which would be constructed in the Fort Churchill area. This receiving area, however, would only be one of eight; the others are to be constructed at various points in Alaska and the continental United States. These stations will record radio signals transmitted at high frequencies from Keflavik, Iceland, and a point in northern Norway, probably Bdo.
The Defence Research Board have for many years been engaged in the investigation of radio wave propagation in the Arctic and have maintained very close working liaison with the United States authorities and agencies concerned in this field. Much scientific data has been exchanged to the mutual advantage of both Governments. The Defence Research Board feels that the results of the study planned by the National Bureau of Standards will be of considerable interest to Canadian scientists, particularly if the data obtained at Fort Churchill are compared with that obtained at United States locations and the overall results are compared with other forms of radio data obtained at Canadian ionospheric stations. On the basis of scientific interest, potential value to Canadian efforts in allied researches, and the overall importance of radio to communications in the north both for our own and for joint Canadian-United States defence projects, Mr. Pearkes is prepared to give his approval.
We have consulted with all the Departments which might have an interest in this matter, and have drafted the attached reply? for your initials, if you agree. This reply incorporates the various comments we have received as well as those of this Department. For the most part the conditions spelled out in this Note are those which have become standard in recent agreements covering major joint defence projects. The entire cost of this study, the erection of towers and the equipment required will be borne by the United States Government, and the information obtained will be made available to Canada. The two National Bureau of Standards employees who will operate the facilities will be responsible to the appropriate Canadian authorities at Churchill.
With regard to the construction of the towers, we have been given to understand that they have been specially designed for this study by the National Bureau of Standards and are not of a type commercially manufactured in the United States or in Canada. They have been built to NBS specifications by a United States concern, but will be erected by a local Canadian contractor who will have the assistance of a technician of the National Bureau of Standards. The rock anchorage and foundation work will also be done by a Canadian contractor, as will the construction work related to the access road and the small power building. The Department of Defence Production have also agreed that we should not insert the usual electronic equipment clause, as all such equipment for this study has been specially designed and built by the National Bureau of Standards itself and is not manufactured commercially in either Canada or the United States.
I recommend that you approve this project for the following reasons:
(a) It will provide Canadian scientists with an opportunity to gain additional knowledge on radio propagation in the Arctic and thus supplement work they have done on some aspects of the problem. Such knowledge has obvious defence and civil implications.
(b) In view of the special nature of the equipment required for this study, it would not be practicable to attempt to duplicate it so as to enable Canadian scientists to carry out a similar study, and the Defence Research Board are not interested in allocating personnel to man the proposed facilities at Churchill.
(c) All the construction work in Canada will be done by a Canadian contractor.
(d) The facilities will be operated under overall Canadian supervision.608
Ottawa, July 22, 1959
The Ambassador of the United States of America presents his compliments to the Secretary of State for External Affairs and has the honor to request the authorization of the Canadian Government for an important study of radio propagation in the Arctic proposed by the United States National Bureau of Standards and sponsored by the United States Navy. It is understood that Dr. J.H. Meek, Deputy Director of Physical Research, Canadian Defence Research Board, has been informed in detail of this proposed study.
In part the desired study would consist in the recording over an estimated two-year period of the strength of radio signals received by antennas on towers which would be constructed in the Fort Churchill area on a site to be approved by the Royal Canadian Air Force and the National Harbours Board. The equipment planned for this project weighs approximately 35,000 pounds and would consist of:
1 280-ft. tower with receiving antennas
1 140-ft. tower with receiving antennas
1 trailer with radio receivers, recorders and calibration gear
1 jeep or jeep station wagon
2 15 KVA diesel generators.
The equipment would be operated by one or two United States citizens who would work either directly for the National Bureau of Standards or for a contractor employed by the National Bureau of Standards and who would be logistically supported by the local United States Navy Commander. It may also be necessary from time to time for other United States technicians to visit the site for calibration and repair purposes. Upon completion of the proposed study, the antennas would be dismantled and removed, unless the Canadian Govern-ment desires that they remain, in which case they would be turned over to the appropriate Canadian authorities. All other gear would be mobile.
Canadian participation in this project would be welcomed but in any case the information obtained would be made available to Canadian officials.
Should the Canadian Government approve this request for a study in the Arctic, the antennas would be shipped immediately in order that construction could be completed before the beginning of winter. The rest of the equipment would be ready to ship about the 15th of August.
The Ambassador would appreciate the consideration of the Canadian Government with a view to granting its permission for this study, including the shipment into Canada of the necessary equipment and the erection of the towers described above.
608Le Cabinet a approuvé la construction du pylône radio à Fort Churchill le 17 septembre 1959. Cabinet approved the radio tower construction at Fort Churchill on September 17, 1959.