Volume #15 - 880.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
Extract from Minutes of Meeting of Advisory Committee|
on Northern Development
December 20th, 1949|
1. CONTROL AND OPERATION OF REMOTE AIR BASES|
I. The Committee had for consideration a memorandum from the Department of Transport (Air Services Branch) suggesting certain principles which might be applied in determining responsibility for the control and operation of remote air bases.
(Secretary's memorandum‑Document ND 23)†
This memorandum represented a broad statement of policy which if recommended by the Committee might serve to govern future relationship between the Department of Transport, the R.C.A.F. and other government departments with regard to control and operation of these airfields.
2. During the general discussion which followed, the following points emerged:
(i) the principle outlined in para 14(a) was generally acceptable;
(ii) para 14(b) was acceptable to the Department of Mines and Resources;
(iii) para 14(c) was generally acceptable if amended to read as follows:
"Air bases intended for military purposes, or in which security is an overriding consideration, to be controlled or controlled and operated by the R.C.A.F. (R.C.N. where applicable)."
(iv) para 14(d) was acceptable as a broad statement of policy. However, in the case of the Northwest Staging Route the R.C.A.F. would prefer to discuss with the U.S.A.F. any major change which was proposed;
(v) In para 14(e), the reference was to the airfields in connection with the Joint Arctic Weather Stations. The R.C.A.F. was preparing plans for supplying these stations and until these were completed no firm statement of its policy could be made. (vi) The air strip at Baker Lake was being closed and in future landings could only be made by aircraft equipped with skis or floats.
3. The Committee, after further discussion:
(a) agreed that the principles outlined in para 14 of the Department of Transport's memorandum as amended in the light of the above discussion were acceptable; and
(b) noted that before any major changes were undertaken regarding the operation and control of the Northwest Staging route or Coral Harbour, the R.C.A.F. would consult with the U.S.A.F. in the former and the Department of Transport in the latter case.
9. The Chairman recalled that the Transportation Sub‑Committee had been set up to report on transportation requirements in the summer of 1948, and again in 1949, and to review the long‑range transportation arrangements in the North. Reports had been submitted on the 1949 requirements and on long‑term surface requirements. The more recently formed Air Supply Policy Sub‑Committee was reviewing the long‑term air requirements. It was now to be decided whether the sub‑committee should be continued‑with altered terms of reference and, possibly, membership‑or disbanded.
10. An explanatory note had been circulated.
(Secretary's memorandum dated November 30, 1949 Document ND‑25)
11. Air Marshal Curtis pointed out that in this period of rapid expansion of government activities in the North, it would seem advisable to keep the Transportation Sub‑Committee together. It might be that they could be joined with the Air Supply Policy Sub‑Committee to avoid having two committees in the same field.
12. Mr. Baldwin suggested that Trams‑Canada Air Lines, in view of the changed policy governing their activities, had little interest in the work of the subcommittee, and might be dropped from membership.
13. Group‑Captain [CL.] Annis said that National Health and Welfare had, through its nursing stations, a fairly large transportation requirement and consideration might be given to including them in the committee.
14. Mr. Robertson pointed out that, when set up, the successor departments to Mines and Resources should presumably be represented,
15. The Committee, after further discussion, agreed‑
(a) that the Transportation Sub‑Committee should continue in existence to consider and make recommendation on such problems as might from time to time be referred to it; and
(b) that its composition should be altered by the dropping of Trams‑Canada Air Lines, and the addition of National Health and Welfare and representatives of the successor departments to Mines and Resources.
(b) Commercial Flying and Strategic Interests in the Canadian North
16. The Committee had before them a memorandum to the Cabinet from the Minister of Transport which was subsequently referred to them for consideration and report.
The Air Supply Policy Sub‑Committee had commented on the three points of policy raised by Mr. Chevrier.
(Secretary's memorandum dated December 9, 1949‑Document ND‑28)†
17. Mr. Baldwin informed the Committee that the Air Transport Board lacked an overall directive on Government policy with respect to commercial flying in the North.
18. During the general discussion on the three queries3 raised in Mr. Chevrier's memorandum, the following points emerged:
(i) It was generally agreed that government policy should be deliberately aimed at maintaining the maximum degree of control over air lines of communication and supply in the Canadian north whether for Canadian or U.S. bases.
(ii) Cases of the U.S. Services contracting with U.S. commercial firms for work in Canada were few and the situation could not be considered as serious. It was pointed out that the existing regulations prohibited American commercial operators from undertaking such activities as air photography, etc., in Canada and it was suggested that the regulations should be strictly enforced.
(iii) The R.C.A.F., while anxious to maintain jurisdiction over Department of National Defence air operations, only undertakes flying for other government departments and agencies when they are unable to obtain the services of commercial operators, and balances its own requirements for northern flying with the resources of its Air Transport Command. Thus, the general policy suggested in point (3) is in effect and is implemented from time to time as the occasion arises. 19. The Committee, after further discussion, agreed that a memorandum for Cabinet reporting on Mr. Chevrier's memorandum of the 28th of September, 1949, be prepared by the Air Transport Board in consultation with the Department of Transport (Air Services Branch) in the light of the above discussions.
(c) Transpotlation‑Canadian Government Ice‑Breakers
20. The Committee had for consideration memoranda from Transport and from the Chief of the Naval Staff concerning the progress made to date on the Canadian government ice‑breakers.
(Secretary's memorandum, Document ND‑27)†
21. Mr. Lessard stated that the Department of Transport ice‑breaker would be completed in 1951.
22. Lieutenant‑Commander (W.D.F.) Johnston stated that the R.C.N. ice‑breaker would be completed in the summer of 1952.
23. The Committee noted the reports from the R.C.N. and the Department of Transport with regard to the progress being made on construction of these ships.
IV. NORTHEASTERN AIR FIELDS AND WEATHER STATIONS
24. The Committee had for consideration memoranda from the Air Force and Transport outlining the present position and future plans for the Northeastern weather stations and associated air fields. It was proposed that all of the Northeastern weather stations should be taken over from the United States and operated by Transport by the late summer of 1950, with the possible exception of the station at Padloping. The airfields at Chimo and Mingan were to be taken over by the R.C.A.F. in 1949 and reduced to caretaker status. That at Frobisher is to be taken over on September 1, 1950 and will continue to serve as a main staging point between Goose Bay and Resolute Bay until such time as other arrangements are made for the re‑supply of the far northern weather stations.
(Secretary's memorandum, dated Nov. 30‑Document ND‑28)†
25. Air Vice Marshal Cowley raised the question of the likelihood of reopening the bases at Mingan and Chimo once they were closed down.
26. Air Marshal Curtis said that the Air Force was now studying this subject and would consult with Transport on the standard of maintenance required and related topics.
27. Dr. Solandt inquired regarding the future organization at Chimo, pointing out that the ionosphere station had been located at some distance from the airfield, in order to avoid interference with the operation of the radio range. If the air station was to be permanently closed down, it might prove possible to move the ionosphere station to a more accessible location.
28. The Committee, after further discussion‑
(a) noted with approval the plans of Transport and the R.C.A.F. for taking over from United States authorities the Northeastern weather stations and associated airfields; and
(b) noted that Transport would consult with the Air Force regarding the maintenance of Chimo and Mingan.
V. PROPOSED ITINERARY; "C.D. HOWE"
29. The Chairman informed the Committee that the "C.D. HOWE", the Department of Transport vessel which was to replace the "NASCOPIE" and carry out the Eastern Arctic patrol would sail on her maiden voyage to the Arctic in the summer of 1950.
The question now arose as to whether or not Resolute Bay should be included in her itinerary.
The Northwest Territories Administration were of the opinion that in the interests of Canadian sovereignty, a token visit to Resolute Bay should be included in the proposed itinerary. Transport, however, considered that this would be impractical in that only a small amount of cargo could be carried which the Americans, as in the past, were prepared to handle. Transport went on to point out that there were serious difficulties which might be encountered in attempting to land this small cargo.
30. Air Marshal Curtis said that it would seem to be preferable to wait until the Transport ice‑breaker would be able to accompany the "C.D. HOWE" before attempting to visit Resolute.
31. The Committee, after further discussion, agreed that in 1950 no attempt should be made to have the "C.D. HOWE" visit Resolute Bay but that, in view of the national importance of maintaining all evidences and acts of Canadian sovereignty, the question should again be considered as soon as the Transport icebreaker is available to accompany the "C.D. HOWE".
3Lionel Chevrier. le ministre des Transports, posa les questions suivanles: