Volume #12 - 8.|
CONDUCT OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
Deputy Minister of National Defence (Army)
May 14th, 1946|
1. I am very glad to learn from your letter of May 2nd† that your department has been considering a readjustment of the arrangements concerning the appointment, training, duties and administration of Canadian Military Attachés in order to bring our procedures in line with British and United States practice and to ensure that your department obtains full value from the appointments. We have also in this Department been giving some thought to the matter and I agree that the present is a suitable time to clarify the position of Military Attachés. It would also be useful if, at the same time, we could clarify the position of Naval and Air attachés.
2. It would perhaps be convenient if I were to comment in turn on the various points raised in your letter. Appointment
3. I agree that it is for the Minister of National Defence, on recommendation of the Chief of the General Staff, to take responsibility for nominating Military Attachés from among officers with suitable qualifications and training. A continuance of the present practice under which this Department has an opportunity to comment informally on the proposed nominee before the name is put forward formally for approval by the Secretary of State for External Affairs would be agreeable to us.
4. I understand that United Kingdom practice is to appoint as Military Attachés young officers with Staff College training chosen for their abilities and possessing wide battle experience in the recent war and to promote them on a local basis to whatever rank may be desirable.
5. I am glad that you intend to ensure that each Military Attaché, before proceeding to his post, is given appropriate training including language training. We should be glad to make some arrangement whereby Service Attachés could be attached to this Department for instruction and for the purpose of getting background information.
Terms of Reference
6. During the war it was almost inevitable that the Service Attachés at our Missions should find themselves involved in certain tasks which are normally performed by the diplomatic staff of a Mission. We are very grateful for the assistance which the Service Attachés have, during the war, rendered to our Missions but we agree that the time has now come to define more precisely than hitherto the functions of Service Attachés.
7. As I understand it the purpose in sending a Military Attaché to one of our Missions is to give the Canadian Government a direct source of information concerning the organization, progress and value of the military forces and military resources of the country to which the Military Attaché is accredited. Any other duties of a social or ceremonial character which a Military Attaché might perform are of secondary importance.
8. Up to the present a Military Attaché on appointment has received a letter of appointment from this Department. He has not, so far as 1 know received a detailed set of general instructions from your department. While I think that a number of changes might usefully be made in the letter of appointment from this Department, what is essential, it seems to me, is that the letter of appointment be supplemented by a detailed set of instructions similar to the United Kingdom's "War Office Instructions for Military Attachés" and the similar United Kingdom instructions for Air and Naval Attachés.
9. Our experience in dealing with political and economic reports from our Missions abroad is that one essential factor in securing first-class reports is guidance and direction from Ottawa on the nature of the reports which are desired. Letters of appointment and printed "instructions" are useful but they require to be supplemented by requests for reports on specific subjects and by comments on reports received. We have found that the standard of work of an external affairs officer stationed abroad improves when he sees evidence that his work is being given careful, even critical, evaluation by the Department in Ottawa. My impression is that the success of the United Kingdom system depends in very large part on the efficiency and organization of the three Intelligence Directorates in London.
10. In the letter of appointment and in the supplementary "instructions", I think we would be wise to follow closely the United Kingdom practice under which the Service Attaché submits formal reports to his Ambassador on all subjects which are important and writes memoranda on less important matters. (The United Kingdom practice is to call these formal reports "dispatches" but this term is somewhat confusing and we might perhaps agree to use the term, "report"). Under the United Kingdom system the Military Attaché's reports would be sent by the Ambassador, possibly with comment, to us and would be transmitted by us to the Chief of the General Staff with any comments which seem to us called for. To save time a copy of the report could also go direct from the Military Attaché to the Chief of the General Staff. The formal reports of a Service Attaché would be supplemented by memoranda which he would send direct to the Chief of the General Staff. Under United Kingdom rules the memoranda are written on "less important matters such as minor changes in the organization, tactics, equipment and training of the army as well as on technical and topographical matter;" and on "all questions of pay, allowances, administration and interior economy of the appointment". 11. It is, as you say, essential that a Military Attaché should keep himself fully informed on economic conditions and political happenings in the country where he is stationed. Without such knowledge he cannot properly carry out his duty of interpreting the military efficiency and readiness for war of the country, its preparation for industrial mobilization and the trend of its military thought. It is therefore important that a Military Attaché should keep in close touch with the political and economic officers of the Mission in order that there should be the maximum exchange of information and opinion on these subjects. But I suggest that there would be danger in giving Military Attachés a broad instruction to report to the Chief of the General Staff on economic conditions and political happenings even if this were limited to reports written from the military point of view. Isn't it rather that in his reports on military matters the Military Attaché should take into account the relevant economic and political factors?
12. I believe that the general practice is for Service Attachés to rank immediately after the diplomatic Counsellor where there is one or after the First Secretary in Missions where there is no Counsellor. Communications
13. The United Kingdom distinction which I mentioned above between reports and memoranda would seem to cover this point.
Accommodation and Staff
14. This is a matter for National Defence to decide. I would, however, point out that the only diplomatic officer who is provided with a car is the Ambassador or Minister. Counsellors, who rank before Service Attachés, have to provide their own cars. Perhaps also as long as there is a Military Mission in Washington, the Attaché there will not need a car.
15. I suggest that it would be useful if the whole question of the future organization of the work of Military, Naval and Air Attachés were discussed at an early meeting of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. I would be happy to take part in that discussion. In addition to discussing the questions raised in your letter of May 2nd I would be interested in having an indication of the posts to which the various Chiefs of Staff think that Attachés from their respective services might be sent. Perhaps the Chiefs of Staff Committee, following this discussion, might ask the Joint Intelligence Committee to draw up a revised letter of appointment and a detailed set of instructions for Service Attachés. It might prove possible to draw up a set of instructions which would be uniform for military, naval and air attachés.
16. I am informed by Canada House that the entire question of instructions and pay and allowances for United Kingdom naval, military and air attachés is under review at the present moment, and that the members of the inter-service committee dealing with this matter, anticipate that revised regulations will be issued within three months.