Volume #15 - 874.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
Memorandum to Advisory Committee on Northern Development
March 2nd, 1949|
RE‑CANADIANIZATION OF NORTHERN CANADA|
1. The object of this paper is to show briefly how, and to what extent, the various departments are succeeding in the government's policy of keeping the Canadian Arctic Canadian.
2. This section of the report deals with two categories of Arctic weather stations: those in the Northeastern Arctic which were continued in operation by the United States following World War II (now in the process of being taken over by the Department of Transport); and those which have been established and operated as joint Canada‑U.S. projects. These two classes are discussed below under separate headings.
(a) Northeastern Weather Stations
3. The continued operation of a number of weather stations in Northeastern Canada by the United States was approved by Cabinet Defence Committee in September, 1946. In January, 1947, however, the Cabinet approved the taking over of these stations by the Meteorological Division, Department of Transport, over a period of three years, ending in 1950.
4. During 1948, two of these stations (Mecatina, Que. and Clyde River, Baffin Island) were taken over from the United States and are now operated by Canadian personnel. The United States are still operating the remaining stations in this group, which are located at Padloping, Cape Harrison, Indianhouse Lake, Mingan, probisher and Chimo.
5. The Department of Transport intend to take over Indianhouse Lake during 1949‑50, but plans for Padloping and Cape Harrison are indefinite. The remaining three stations (Frobisher, Chiron and Mingan) are airfields as well as weather stations and are dealt with in Para. 12 below.
6. The operation of the weather station at Goose Bay is under the control of the Canadian Meteorological Division, although the United States are responsible for upper air observations.
(b) Joint Canada‑U.S. Arctic Weather Stations
7. In January, 1947, the Cabinet approved a Canada‑U.S. Arctic weather station programme which called for the establishment of a number of joint weather stations over a three‑year period, ending in 1950. Under this arrangement, the officer in charge, half the personnel (together with their pay and subsistence) and, generally speaking, all permanent installations are provided by Canada. The Canadian operating agency is the Meteorological Division, Department of Transport. The United States provides transport and other equipment and supplies.
8. Four of the nine stations approved by the Cabinet in 1947 have now been established, with a main station at Resolute on Cornwallis Island and satellite stations at Eureka, Ellesmere Island; Isachsen on ]Sachsen Peninsula and Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island. It was planned to establish two further stations in the network during 1949‑50; one on North Ellesmere Island in the vicinity of Dumbell Lakes and the second on Melville Island near Bridport Inlet. It was later agreed, however, at a meeting of officials of the two countries in January, 1949, that the establishment of the latter station (Melville Island) would be deferred one or two years because of the limitations imposed on the U.S. Weather Bureau appropriation for 1949‑50.
9. An additional station in this group which was originally planned for Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, has been established al Coppermine, Mackenzie District, and is operated by the Meteorological Division as a purely Canadian project.
Air Fields and Air Strips
(a) Air Strips
10. When the Arctic weather station programme was approved by Cabinet, it was recognized that adjacent air strips would be required for supply purposes. Accordingly, air strips were constructed at each of the joint weather stations as they were established. Improvement in the air strip at Resolute Bay was undertaken during the summer of 1948, by agreement between Canada and the United States, to render it suitable for winter operations. With respect to division of responsibility between Canada and the United States in this regard, the guiding principle is similar to that accepted generally for the joint weather station programme.
(b) Air Fields
I I. In October, 1945, the Cabinet directed that, as an interim measure, the R.C.A.F. take over U.S. facilities on the airfields of the Northwest Staging Route, and this decision was confirmed in February, 1946. Accordingly, the RCAF is operating the airfields and their associated facilities on the Northwest Staging Route. However, the USAF are still maintaining establishments at Edmonton, Alta., and Fort Nelson, B.C. for the purpose of assisting in the support of their air transport operations between Alaska and the United States.
12. The wartime airfields at Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island; Fort Chimo and Mingan, Que., are still operated by the United States, though the costs of construction and all permanent installations have been paid for by the Canadian government. It is understood that the RCAF will take over operation of these airfields by the end of 1950 and that when this is accomplished the Department of Transport will assume responsibility for the associated weather stations. RCAF liaison officers are now attached to these stations.
13. At certain of these aerodromes permission has been given by Cabinet for the United States to construct a limited number of married quarters on the understanding that all permanent installations would become the property of the Canadian government.
Low‑Frequency Loran Stations
14. On February 25th, 1947, Cabinet approved Canadian participation in the establishment of a chain of six low‑frequency Loran stations, to be operated by Canada and the United States. Three of these were to be in Canada, one in Alaska and two in Greenland. Canadian participation is confined to the stations established in Canada. Canada assumed responsibility for construction and supply, and the United States provided Loran towers and sets and some mechanical transport. The Canadian stations are now manned entirely by RCAF personnel.
15. Previously, in May, 1946, Cabinet authorized the establishment of experimental transmitting stations at Hamlin, Sask., Gimli, Man., and Dawson Creek, B.C. This chain was to be maintained until the Northern chain became operational, but circumstances necessitated that its operation be continued for training purposes. Although the station at Dawson Creek has been closed down, the other two units will continue in operation until September, 1949. US participation consists of technical supervision, including the provision of a majority of technical personnel at the transmitting stations.
16. The United States also provides a detachment of B‑29 aircraft which have been based at Edmonton for Loran experimental and test flights. RCAF liaison officers are attached to this operation.
17. Results of tests of the Northern Loran chain have been unsatisfactory and it appears that additional engineering and development work must be undertaken before the chain can be considered a successful aid to navigation.
Air Photography and Mapping
18. Cabinet Defence Committee, on April 15, 1948, approved a United States programme of aerial photographic surveys in certain areas of the Arctic, Newfoundland, Labrador and Eastern Quebec, for mapping purposes.
19. Under this authority, a considerable amount of aerial photographic work was carried out in these areas by the United States during the summer of 1948. Duplicate negatives of all photographs taken are being forwarded to the Department of National Defence. RCAF liaison officers are attached to the US photographic units based at Ladd Field, Alaska, in connection with US photographic operations in the Arctic Islands area.
Transportation and Communitications
(a) Air Supply
20. The USAF provides air transport to the three airfields in Northeastern Canada (Frobisher, Chimo and Mingan) which they still operate. It is assumed that the air supply of these stations will become a Canadian responsibility by 1950 when they are taken over by the RCAF and Department of Transport, as previously mentioned.
21. The USAF is also responsible for the air supply of the joint Canada‑US weather stations. The RCAF, in consultation with other interested departments, is at present studying the implications of taking over this responsibility from the USAF.
22. The scheduled flight from Andover Field, Massachusetts to Churchill by the USAF has recently been discontinued owing to the need for aircraft in the Berlin Airlift. U.S. personnel travelling to Churchill now proceed by Canadian means of transportation.
23. Scheduled flights are maintained by the USAF to Alaska along the Northwest Staging Route, on a daily basis. These, of course, are transit flights, with the bulk of passengers and freight being destined for Alaska.
24. On February 1 st, 1949, the RCAF assumed responsibility for the air supply of the Northern Loran stations. Prior to that date the United States had provided substantial assistance.
(b) Sea Supply
25. With Cabinet approval (January, 1947) the United States provides transportation, both by air and sea, to the joint Canada‑US weather stations. The sea supply mission in the past has consisted of two icebreakers and one or more cargo vessels. The Transportation Sub‑Committee had prepared recommendations which, if implemented, would provide Canada with the means of taking over the sea supply of these stations in 1952.
26. Direct communication channels between the US and Canadian territory exist at the US‑operated weather stations and airfields, and al Churchill. When, as mentioned above, the weather stations and associated airfields are taken over by Cana‑ dian agencies, the need for these channels will disappear. The channel to Churchill is an experimental one and is not used for routine and administrative communications.
27. At the joint weather stations, the radio operators are Canadian, and weather information is disseminated over a Canadian network.
28. Well defined channels exist for the clearance of United States scientists wishing to visit Northern Canada for the purpose of carrying out scientific investigations. These procedures are becoming more widely known and were recently reaffirmed at the Joint Canada‑US meeting in January, 1949, when a procedure suitable to Canada for the clearance of scientists visiting the joint weather stations was agreed to by the United States.
29. US activities in the scientific field, apart from experimental work at Churchill and that carried out in connection with service operations, such as the sea supply mission, are largely sponsored by the Arctic Institute of North America, which had about twelve scientific parties in Northern Canada during the summer of 1948.