Volume #16 - 571.|
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
RTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL MEETING, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 15 26, 1950
DEFENCE COMMITTEE PREPARATORY MEETINGS, OCTOBER 18-19, 1950
Extract ,from Minutes of Meeting|
of Cabinet Defence Committee
October 12th, 1950|
I. DEFENCE PLANNING; CANADIAN REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE MEDIUM TERM DEFENCE PLAN OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
1. The Minister of National Defence said that the Defence Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would meet on October 28th, preceded by a meeting of the Military Committee on the 24th. In addition, at the initiative of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, a meeting of representatives of the Defence Ministers had been called for October 18th. It was proposed that Canada should be represented at the latter by the Deputy Minister of National Defence and an official from the Department of External Affairs.
There were a number of extremely important and difficult questions which would be under discussion and it would be useful if some general guidance as well as instructions on specific points could be given by the. Committee on the attitude that should be taken by Canadian representatives on the various questions which would arise during the course of the meetings.
2. Mr. Claxton recalled that with the development of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the nature of planning had changed. Previously, plans based on military requirements and agreed to by the planners of the countries concerned had not bound the Chiefs of Staff or the government. Cabinet had. only to consider plans when it became necessary to take steps to implement them. Now, however, it was considered that when a country, planning with other countries, agreed.on requirements, it was making at least a moral commitment to assume responsibility for its share of filling such requirements.
Last August, the Standing Group had circulated a questionnaire asking the N.A.T.O. countries to provide lists of requirements and deficiencies involved in making good the Medium Term Defence Plan shown by the years 1951, 52, 53 and 54, together with an indication of the cost involved.
The North Atlantic Council, last September, at its session in New York, had passed a resolution concerning the revision of the major force levels of the Medium Term Defence Plan in order to determine exactly what were the force levels required for the defence of the West, based on military considerations alone. The Council had recommended: "that member governments upon being advised by the Council of the provisions of the revised Medium Term Defence Plan and the respective contributions required thereby, consider as a matter of urgency the acceptance of the Plan and the taking of such measures as may be necessary as rapidly as possible to meet the contributions required of them, on the assumption that the necessary complementary action in the fields of production and finance will be taken to provide the equipment required." This resolution in effect placed integrated force requirements in the category of moral commitments. Accordingly, force requirements to all intents and purposes had become statements of approved Armed Forces development programmes.
This would be particularly true in the case of Canada, as our position was unique. Alone among N.A.T.O. countries, we would not be looking to the U.S. for assistance. Those N.A.T.O countries which would be receiving assistance from the United States were indeed, under the terms of the Council's resolution, required to put forward plans without any regard for their capacity to meet them financially. Fulfilment of these plans would be considered as dependent to a great extent on U.S. aid. However, as Canada was not accepting financial or other aid from the U.S., any planning requirements which are shown in the N.A.T.O. Medium Term Defence Plan as Canadian responsibilities would have to be discharged entirely from Canadian resources. If we put forward anything now, we must be prepared to carry it out.
Under the approved arrangements for N.A.T.O. defence planning, Canada, as a member of two regional groups, had participated in the preparation of short-term and medium-term plans for the North Atlantic Ocean Regional Planning Group and the Canada-U.S. Regional Planning Group. In conformity with approved N.A.T.O. policy, Canadian participation in the former involved the provision of forces to control the sea and air lines of communication in the Atlantic and northern North Sea. Plans had been produced under which Canada would assurne 10% of the responsibility for defensive operations in terms of manpower and .ships; the U.S. 50% and the U.K. 40%. The U.K. and the U.S. would of course be responsible for offensive Naval operations both in the North Atlantic and elsewhere. In actual fact, under present plans Canada would only be able to assume 4% of the responsibility in the North Atlantic at the outbreak of hostilities.
In order for Canada to assume the 10% agreed on, an effort would be involved which, if looked at as an isolated contribution, appeared reasonable and appropriate both from a strategic point of view and in terms of the financial and manpower contribution that would be necessary. However, when this effort was taken in conjunction with all other defence requirements the total involved something much larger than had been contemplated up to the present as a fitting one.
With respect to the Canada-U.S. Regional Planning Group, Canadian participation involved:
(a) the defence of home territory against air or airborne attacks and the defence of coastal waters; and
(b) the expeditious provision of land and air reinforcements for other regional groups.
The United States and Canada had produced intelligence appreciations indicating the forms and scales of attack contemplated on the region for the short-term plan and the medium-term plan. Based on those intelligence appreciations, approved by the Chiefs of Staff of both countries, Canadian planners in cooperation with U.S. planners, developed plans indicating the forms and scales of attack. Word had been received today that, for reasons as yet unknown, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff had not approved the plan. The Canadian Chiefs of Staff had had it under consideration and were anxious for instructions and guidance from the Committee on the attitude they should take.
An explanatory memorandum has been circulated.
(Minister's memorandum, Oct. 12, 1950 -- Cabinet Document D-263)†
3. Mr. Claxton said that the requirements for the three forces under the Medium Term Defence Plan, taken together, would require large additional sums of money to implement them. Further, while in preparing plans an endeavour had been made to restrict manpower requirements to the numbers that we were likely to be able to secure from voluntary recruiting, at the present .rate it was unlikely that in the case of officers the required number could be raised to suitable standards.
While it had not yet been possible to work out the cost for 1951-52 of the programme already approved, it appeared that this might amount to considerably more than originally anticipated requiring additional expenditures without the assumption of any further commitments under the Medium Term Defence Plan:
In the circumstances, if we were not prepared to assume substantially greater obligations it might be necessary to level off the recruiting programme and, at the forthcoming meetings in Washington, indicate quite clearly that Canada was not prepared to go beyond the defence programmes for 1951-52-53 that had already been approved by the government. It might, however, be further indicated that, if in 1953 the international situation warranted it, the defence programmes might be greatly accelerated by calling out reserves so as to meet the figures shown in the Medium Term Defence Plan for July 1, 1954, by that date.
4. The Prime Minister said that it was difficult to approve second steps when it was not yet known what was involved in the taking of the first step. At present, the question of what Canada would be required to provide towards the proposed integrated force in Europe was still unanswered. Before we were in a position to determine what should be done in 1952 or 1953, it was necessary to know what our immediate contribution to the integrated force should be. Canada would have to do her part in making the Europeans realize that the plan was a genuine one intended to prevent their countries from being over-run. If we could do this, then they would be encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves.5. The Minister of Finance suggested that it was putting, the cart before the horse to indicate a further Canadian contribution before we were aware of the requirements. He suggested that we should say at the present time that we were committed to programmes which had already been approved by the government and that at the moment there was no intention to go beyond these. It was difficult to evaluate the potential contribution that might be made by this country, as this depended directly on the state of mind of the people which changed according to the international climate .
6. Mr. St-Laurent said that as we were not a recipient of American military assistance but rather a contributor in our own right, we must be given some clear indication of the way in which we could best contribute to joint strength. Then it would be the responsibility of the government to say what could best be done from the remaining available resources and manpower. Before additional commitments could be made, a more concrete approach to the way in which the joint strength was going to be built up was necessary.
7. The Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs suggested that there was a distinction between the stage in reality that had been reached in planning for the integrated force and in the general Medium Term Defence Plan. It appeared that a more precise policy with regard to a Canadian contribution to the integrated force was necessary at present than was the case with the Medium Term Defence Plan generally.
8.. The Chief of the General Staff observed that plans for an integrated force were part of the Medium Term Defence Plan. Formerly there had been no planning requirements for Canadian or American forces stationed in Europe until after DDay. Now it was considered that if the force was to be an adequate deterrent, North America must contribute towards its strength.
In this plan, General Foulkes said, we were bound to some extent to be influenced by the opinions of all our North Atlantic partners. With regard to planning for the defence of Canada and the U.S., this was solely the joint responsibility of the two countries and we were bound only by our own views. It was suggested that it was not necessary to have 100% of the requirements indicated for 1954 unless the international situation changed in the meantime. The date was arbitrary - not based solely on considerations of intelligence. It might be possible to assume rather greater risks than contemplated in the plan. The situation could be reviewed again in 1953 and, if the government felt that it was warranted, by using a nucleus of regular troops filled out with well-trained reservists, within a few months we could have the force required for 1954 under the Medium Term Defence Plan.
9. Mr. St-Laurent thought that if we were going to put a much greater effort into a deterrent force in Europe this should be because we expect that force to be effective, thus reducing the strength to some extent of the defensive force required in Canada.
With respect to the Canadian contribution to the integrated force, at present it appeared that there were no requirements for it other than in Korea or Europe and we might indicate our intention to make it available for one or the other, subject of course to the approval of Parliament in the case of Europe.
10. Mr. Claxton suggested that at the forthcoming meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Washington, Canada should support the inclusion of West German forces in the integrated force as essential to its success. A practical beginning was the raising of para-military formations at first from volunteers, gradually worked up into formations below divisional levels. It had been reported that there was a chance of the French Government accepting a scheme along these lines.
11. Mr. St-Laurent said that it would be unrealistic to plan to defend Western Europe against Western Germany. If there were to be a war, the West Germans could not remain neutral and it was essential that they should be on our side. Participation of German units in an integrated European force was a difficult principle for some of the continental European countries to accept. Canada should support the attainment of this objective in as rapid and effective a manner as was consistent with the unanimity of the members of the North Atlantic Treaty .Organization.
12. Mr. Claxton said that Canada might find herself the only country not answering the questionnaire of the Standing Group with regard to requirements and costs for the Medium Term Defence Plan. It was suggested that the Chief of the General Staff might discuss the question with senior American officers in Washington in order to determine what they proposed to do and to put forward our view that we could not undertake future commitments until we knew what was required for the present. If an answer was still required, then it might be made in terms of plans already approved for 1951, 52 and 53, but for 1954 it could be indicated that by a big acceleration of the defence programme and by calling out part of our reserves, we could if necessary meet the 1954 requirements. While the approach made by the Standing Group was unrealistic, it would be undesirable to put Canada in the position of not responding to the questionnaire, even though, because of our position, it would have a greater significance than in the case of the other, countries.
13. The Committee, after further discussion, agreed:
(a) that in the forthcoming meetings in Washington of representatives of the Defence Ministers, the Military Committee and the Defence Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Canadian representatives should indicate that no further defence commitments could now be made for 1951, 1952 or 1953 beyond those already approved by the government, subject of course to revision in the light of changing circumstances;
(b) that for 1954 it be indicated that, should international conditions in 1953 warrant it, the Canadian government would. consider, by accelerating the defence effort and calling out reservists, meeting the Canadian contribution indicated for the Medium Term Defence Plan;
(c) that it be indicated that the Canadian Special Force had been raised to meet Canadian obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the United Nations and that as it appeared that the only requirements existing for it in the present circumstances were either as part of the U.N. force in-Kor Ô or the planned integrated force for Western Europe, the government would be prepared to make it available, should the circumstances remain the same, for whichever purpose seemed. most desirable, subject to the approval of Parliament in the case of the integrated force;.
(d) that Canada should support the inclusion of West German units in an integrated force for Europe in as rapid and effective a manner as was consistent with unanimity among the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization;
(e) that it also be indicated that Canada was planning to send a squadron of fighter aircraft to the United Kingdom for operational training in 1951, to be followed possibly by two more in the same year - these to be relieved by others on a rotational basis;
(f) that the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, meet at an early date with the American Chiefs of Staff in Washington, in order to point out to the latter the difficulties involved in Canada answering the Standing Group questionnaire concerning requirements and costs to meet the Medium Term Defence Plan;
(g) that if, nevertheless, it still appeared desirable to make an answer, this should be done in terms of the programmes already approved by the government for 1951, extended into 1952 and 1953, while for 1954 it be indicated that the figures might be met by calling up reserves, etc., if, later, this appeared desirable.
11. SIMPLIFICATION OF NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
14. The Minister of National Defence made certain specific proposals regarding instructions to the Canadian representatives to the forthcoming meetings of representatives of the Defence Ministers, the Military Committee and the Defence Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Washington.
15. The Committee, after discussion, agreed: (a) that Canadian representatives to the forthcoming meetings in Washington of representatives of the Defence Ministers, the Military Committee and the Defence Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should support the following changes in the organization:
(i) One Council of Ministers should take the place of the three already in existence, where ministers might represent their countries either singly or collectively, as appropriate.
(ii) As a result of such a move, the Deputies, as the Continuing Executive for the new Council, would have increased status and responsibilities, and would assume responsibility for the Working Staffs dealing with financial supply and economic matters;
(iii) The Standing Group should assume the functions of a Combined Chiefs of Staff with however, the accredited representation having real access to information and plans and opportunities for consultation and discussion;
(iv) A Supreme Commander, responsible to the Standing Group, should be ultimately appointed for the integrated forces in Western Europe;
(v) The status of the Military Committee would be changed in conformity with the new arrangements; and
(b) that the Deputy Minister of National Defence and an official from External Affairs represent Canada at the meeting of the representatives of Defence Ministers to be held on October 18.