Volume #27 - 202.|
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council|
to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs
SECRET AND PERSONAL||
February 19th, 1960|
Dear Norman [Robertson]:
Last Saturday SACEUR's presentation of the MC 70 country study on Canada was made to Mr. Pearkes. I attach for your information a copy of a memorandum prepared in the Delegation covering that presentation in part. The "facts and figures" making up the presentation are contained in a bulky document which was given to us after the oral presentation. A copy will be coming to you under separate cover.? I believe that this letter and its attachment, as well as the SHAPE document, should be treated with a great deal of discretion in the Department. The presentation was solely for the benefit of the Minister of National Defence and it will be his responsibility to make a direct reply to the Supreme Commander. The only involvement of this Delegation in the presentation was that of an interested observer. We were not encouraged to take soundings before the event nor to report officially on the presentation.
Perhaps Charles has already spoken to you about the presentation. I felt, however, that I should send you this memorandum so that you would be aware of what transpired. I believe complete responsibility, however, rests with Mr. Pearkes to inform his colleagues of the presentation and that any intervention by our Department at this stage would be unwise.
I thought that the whole exercise was most unfortunate; neither of the parties to the presentation could have been satisfied. Mr. Pearkes and General Foulkes expressed their dissatisfaction in no uncertain terms. I am sure that General Norstad's purpose in making these presentations is to convince the individual countries concerned of the necessity for solid commitments to meet the planning objectives set in MC 70. I would say that he failed insofar as the Canadian presentation is concerned. He did explain a number of times during the presentation that it was based on a format used for all countries which was not particularly appropriate for Canada and the United States. It was not, however, only the format which was unfortunate. There was a lack of appreciation of the climate of political opinion in Canada and, even to a layman, the arithmetic of the presentation seemed shaky.
We were given to understand that the five other presentations which had been made prior to our own had been successful. I cannot confirm this appreciation from personal knowledge but I suspect that one of the successful features of the other presentations would be that section of the presentation setting out a need (and a hard figure) for external aid. Certain countries might well be willing to accept a certain amount of shaky arithmetic when the study contained an outsider's appraisal (i.e. the Supreme Commander's) of a need for foreign aid. Such a figure might well prove very useful in the dealings of individual countries concerned with Washington.
It is too early to estimate what effect these country studies when completed will have. Certainly they represent an attempt by the Supreme Commander to transform planning objectives into firmer commitments by governments. This in itself is a laudable objective viewed from here. Too vigorous an attempt in this direction however, without due regard to the political and economic realities in individual countries, may be self-defeating. Bearing in mind Mr. Pearkes' immediate reactions to the presentation, I hope the Canadian Government will not feel it necessary in the near future to make any public statements concerning its desire for a reduction in the brigade and the eventual withdrawal of four RCAF squadrons. An announcement of that kind in the near future would, I think, be most damaging to the general Western negotiating position at the summit and at the way-stations to the summit.
My understanding is that the Minister of National Defence will send his written comments on the country study to the Supreme Commander and that a paper including the Canadian comments will then go to the Standing Group and the Military Committee for study, followed finally by a paper prepared for the Council. Whatever procedure is followed there should be adequate opportunity for the expression of Canadian views. In the circumstances, therefore, I believe the document presented by the Supreme Commander is very much of a first effort and should not be thought of as having much status. It is for that reason that I believe it should be treated with a good deal of discretion within the Department. The final product, if it ever is presented, may well be very different.
I would be very much interested to know, in general terms at least, what Mr. Pearkes said to Cabinet about the presentation.59 I would hope too that in any further steps taken in this matter of a country study the Delegation could be kept fully informed. Such information along the way will be the more important if at some stage some version of the country study is to be used during the Annual Review exercise and possibly come before Council for its consideration. I have given a copy of the attached memorandum to Captain Dickinson for transmission to Charles Foulkes.
SECRET [Paris], February 15, 1960
MC 70 COUNTRY STUDY - PRESENTATION BY SACEUR, FEBRUARY 15
SACEUR's presentation of the MC 70 country study on Canada was made to the Minister of National Defence at SHAPE Headquarters on February 15. Complete documentation on the presentation was given to us after the meeting (Document AG-1240/M&R-11/60 PROG). There is no use in attempting to summarize what we have in such complete form. The purpose of this memorandum is therefore to summarize the important points made by Mr. Pearkes and General Foulkes in the course of the presentation.
2, It was explained that the purpose of the country study was twofold:
(a) To acquaint all concerned with the nature and magnitude of the problems involved in implementing the quantitative requirements of MC 70 and the qualitative requirements of MC 55/1;
(b) to provide a reasonable basis on which to develop practical methods and procedures for meeting MC 70 goals and standards and for ensuring the best use of resources which are or may become available.
3. General Norstad pointed out several times in the course of the briefing that the format of the presentation was not particularly applicable for a country like Canada. For example, one of the important features of the presentation with the majority of the NATO members was an examination of the amount of external aid required by the individual country to assist in meeting MC 70 force goals. He emphasized as well that the study was not intended to be regarded as recommendations for actions by the governments concerned. The study was intended merely to outline, on the basis of the information available to SHAPE, the size and nature of the gap which existed between country efforts and MC 70 force goals.
4. At the outset of the briefing General Foulkes emphasized Canadian dissatisfaction with developments arising out of MC 70. MC 70 had been approved for planning purposes only. Yet each year recommendations were made by SACEUR for forces to meet MC 70 requirements and failure by a government to meet these recommendations was then listed as a shortfall for that particular country. In the Canadian view a requirement was not a requirement until it was accepted by the Canadian Government. It made no sense to list as a shortfall something which had never been accepted as a requirement by a particular government.
5. General Norstad admitted that MC 70 had been accepted only for planning purposes. For the first time, however, with the drawing up of MC 70, firm planning objectives for the Alliance had been established instead of the "blue skies" goals which had existed prior to MC 70. MC 70 therefore had some validity even if it was not accepted in detail by individual governments. It was essential to have some such yardstick. Every effort should be made to get from governments commitments to meet as many of the planning goals set in MC 70 as possible. Otherwise NATO planning would be chaotic, if not non-existent.
6. One section of the presentation was concerned with the required increase in Canadian military personnel for the period 1960-1964 to meet MC 70 requirements. An increase of 4710 army personnel was required of which some 3900 would be non-organic support personnel. Mr. Pearkes at this point said he was disappointed that such a presentation should be made by the Supreme Commander. In the light of the grave emergency which existed at the time of the formation of NATO, Canada had made a maximum contribution of ground troops to Europe. It was Canada's expectation that, in due course, their contribution could be reduced when the European members of the Alliance were able to shoulder their full responsibilities. Now, 10 years later, any thought of an increase in the Canadian brigade was impossible to contemplate. He had come to this presentation with the hope, and indeed, the expectation, that the Supreme Commander would be able to indicate that the Canadian brigade could be decreased in strength by as much as one-third. He wished there to be no misunderstanding on the part of the Supreme Commander; not one additional Canadian soldier would be coming to Europe to meet this so-called gap in support personnel. If support personnel were lacking in the division, surely the Supreme Commander should be seeking additional personnel from the United Kingdom, which bore responsibility for support personnel. Mr. Pearkes went on to say that the provision of the brigade seemed to the Canadian Government a most uneconomical and indeed, extravagant method by which Canada could make an effective contribution to the Alliance. Because of the fact that Canadian forces were recruited on a voluntary basis, it was essential to make provision in Europe for dependents, schools, etc., all of which added to their maintenance costs. Mr. Pearkes reiterated his argument on this latter point at another stage in the presentation when it was revealed that the per capita cost of maintaining Canadian military personnel were the highest in the Alliance.
7. At that point in the presentation dealing with the increase of personnel for the Air Force, Mr. Pearkes told the Supreme Commander that the Canadian Government had assumed that upon the completion of the re-equipment of the eight RCAF squadrons in Europe with F104 aircraft, the other four AWX squadrons would be withdrawn. He said as well that so far as the Canadian Government was concerned, SACEUR's recommendation for an additional aircraft carrier from Canada was a non-starter. On several occasions in that part of the presentation concerning the increase of personnel costs, General Foulkes challenged the basis of SHAPE calculations. Further, he expressed the belief that costing operations of this sort were not the proper function of a military headquarters. SHAPE's arithmetic was not impressive even to a layman.
8. The next major intervention in the discussion by Mr. Pearkes came when it was suggested that over the next five years Canadian national defence expenditures might increase by some $747 million over the 1959 level. The arithmetic of this is all set out in the brief which was provided to us. Mr. Pearkes emphasized that SHAPE could have no grounds for any expectation of an increase in Canadian national defence expenditures over the next few years. Indeed, drastic cuts in defence expenditures were foreseen by the Canadian Government. In addition to the fact that defence expenditures were likely to be cut, the balance of expenditures by the Canadian Government was likely to change. It was the Canadian Government's belief that there was a declining threat posed by the Russians to Western Europe but an increased threat to North America. The Russians could only win a global war in North America. In these circumstances, it was only common sense that the amounts spent for defence purposes (out of a reduced defence budget) would increase for forces in North America and decrease for forces in Western Europe.
9. General Foulkes raised another point of substance in connection with the recommended build-up to 60 days ammunition supply for Canadian forces. He argued that he had challenged this build-up in the Military Committee and asked whether or not views put forward in that Committee had any effect on planning at SHAPE. General Norstad said that although both the Canadian and UK Representatives had entered reservations on this point in the Military Committee, MC 55/1 had not been modified and this had to be his guiding document. He went on to say that he did not agree entirely with everything in MC 55/1 but felt that he must be guided by the letter and the spirit of that document until it was formally modified. General Foulkes commented that such a statement put him in an awkward position. Surely he could not be expected to recommend to the Canadian Government on military grounds requirements arising out of a document which the Supreme Commander himself was unwilling to support in every detail.
10. At the conclusion of the presentation Mr. Pearkes again emphasized the hope of the Canadian Government that it would be possible for SACEUR to recommend a reduction in both the Canadian brigade and the air division. The Canadian Government was clearly on the record in its support of NATO; there could be no doubt of this. Our brigade then was not required as a token of good faith. As a military unit it seemed to make little economic sense. This one brigade could not seriously affect the military posture of the Alliance and yet it was costing the Canadian Government a good deal more than a similar unit employed in Canada in the interests of the Alliance. General Norstad said that from the military standpoint it was most unlikely that the requirement for military forces in Europe could be reduced. Only if by a political means the free world could be given as much security as NATO forces had provided over the past ten years, could any reduction be contemplated. He had reduced forces substantially from the fuzzy standards which had been in vogue prior to the writing of MC 70. He could not reduce them further until the mission assigned to him had been changed as a result of achievements in the political field resulting in a decreased threat to the security of Western Europe. At this stage there was no such decrease nor did it seem likely that the threat would be decreased in the foreseeable future.
11. Finally, General Norstad said he wished the Minister to be in no doubt as to his, SACEUR's, real interest in maintaining the Canadian brigade and the Canadian air division in Europe.
12. It was agreed that further discussion between SACEUR and the Minister on the points raised in the course of the presentation would be continued in private.
59Il n'y a aucune trace de rapport détaillé sur cette réunion dans les Conclusions du Cabinet. La question n'a pas été abordée au Cabinet avant le 22 mars.