Volume #21 - 789.|
POLITIQUE DE DÉFENSE ET POLITIQUE ÉTRANGÈRE À L'ÈRE NUCLÉAIRE
POLITIQUE DE DÉFENSE ET POLITIQUE ÉTRANGÈRE À L`ÈRE NUCLÉAIRE
le 2 août 1955|
THE INTERNATIONAL SETTING OF CANADIAN AND ALLIED DEFENCE POLICY|
AIMS IN THE LIGHT OF THE NUCLEAR DETERRENT
The development of nuclear weapons, jet aircraft and guided missiles has revolutionized warfare. The possession of these weapons, which have such terrible effects, and their means of delivery by both groups of major world powers, the Communist as well as the non-Communist, has produced a new strategy based upon the nuclear deterrent.
2. These revolutionary developments in weapons and strategy call for a re-thinking of our concepts of defence. The object of this departmental memorandum is to provide at least a preliminary analysis of the policy implications of these developments in the setting of the current international situation, as a contribution to the broader reassessment of Canadian national security and commitments which is to be conducted on an interdepartmental basis.
3. This analysis is divided into seven parts: the strategy of the nuclear deterrent, NATO, continental defence, limited or local wars, the cold war, disarmament and the desire for a détente. The analysis is introduced by a summarized statement of the aims of Canadian and allied defence policy in the light of the nuclear deterrent.
Aims of Canadian and Allied Defence Policy
4.(i) The main aim of Canada and its allies, as set out in the North Atlantic Treaty, is to preserve peace without sacrificing any vital interests. The chief means of doing this at the present time is by building and maintaining on a collective basis deterrent strength, particularly the capacity to retaliate instantly with nuclear weapons in the event of aggression; but in view of the Soviet nuclear capability and the devastating consequences of mutual retaliation, we cannot contemplate using the nuclear weapons except when the interests threatened are truly vital. (Paragraphs 1-12) [The strategy of the nuclear deterrent has been incorporated into NATO defence planning and preparations by the approval of M.C. 48 (Paras. 16-20)]
(ii) Considering the horrible consequences if nuclear and thermonuclear warfare were to occur, it is in the interest of all NATO governments to explore all possible means of limiting wars that cannot be avoided and to this end they must be in a position to distinguish aggressions of less directness and magnitude from all-out threats. Canada's aim should therefore be to seek through consultation with the allies which possess nuclear weapons an effective political control over the putting into effect of any plans and preparations for nuclear warfare. (Paras. 13-22)
(iii) Because of the vital importance of the nuclear deterrent to NATO defence planning, the defence of the deterrent power in North America should be treated as an integral part of the problem of defending the NATO area. (Paras. 23-25)
(iv) Similarly the air defence of Canada and the United States should be treated as one problem and the adequacy of the existing Canada-United States agreement governing defence cooperation and arrangements under it require examination in this light. (Paras. 26-37)
(v) An essential part of the policy of the nuclear deterrent should be to assess in each case of threat the importance of the interests of the free world involved in order that the Western Powers should not incur the risks of all-out war unless the threat to their interests justifies it; Canada should participate in such an assessment and be consulted by the United States before nuclear weapons are used anywhere in the world in view of the inescapable consequential effects on Canada if general war occurs. (Paras. 38-43)
(vi) If, in any given case, the risks of all-out or nuclear war are not justified, and yet important interests of the free world are involved, it is essential that the Western Powers should be prepared to deal with limited wars with limited means and within limited objectives. Canada itself would be unlikely to participate in such limited or local wars unless by a decision of the United Nations which it had accepted. (Paragraphs 44-47)
(vii) The Communist threat and methods vary from area to area according to available resources and the weaknesses and contradictions which they can exploit; allied strategy should therefore employ political and economic as well as military measures to deter the indirect threats which may be posed by the Communists in an effort to outflank the nuclear deterrent. These should include the maintenance of an expanding economy. (Paragraphs 48-52)
(viii) The risk of war through miscalculation remains despite the nuclear deterrent, since the Soviet Union might believe a threat of attack existed when in fact it did not; it is essential therefore that there should be no grounds for misunderstanding of allied defensive and peaceful intentions by the Communist bloc. Every opportunity should therefore be taken to bring about a détente through diplomatic negotiations, an essential feature of which should be the regulation and balanced reduction of armaments and armed forces and the control and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. (Paragraphs 53-69)
It has been necessary to make certain assumptions on which the reasoning in the supporting arguments are based.
1. The United States provides most of the nuclear capability on the allied side in the form of the Strategic Air Command which has nuclear and thermonuclear weapons and aircraft to carry them to Soviet targets. The United Kingdom capability in weapons and carriers is very small.
2. Although the United States capability in relation to the Soviet Union's capability is at present believed to be larger in magnitude and explosive power of stockpiles, more effective in means of delivery and superior in defence against Soviet retaliation, the Soviet Union's capability is growing and is believed to include: (a) a high priority large-scale atomic energy programme which is expanding; (b) a substantial stockpile of fissionable materials; (c) the capacity of producing explosives in the range from the equivalent of a few kilotons up to approximately 1,000 kilotons of TNT; and (d) a constantly improving and expanding aircraft production programme including long-range jet aircraft.
3. Megaton thermonuclear weapons have already been developed on both sides of the Iron Curtain of such devastating power that their effective use might imperil the ability of even the greatest nation to recover quickly and carry on the war effectively.
4. Within a few years the Soviet Union is expected to have a sufficient number of intercontinental bombers to deliver an attack of catastrophic force against this Continent, although at the grave risk of exposing itself to a retaliatory blow of equal or greater force, unless it develops a defensive capacity beyond the degree now foreseen.
5. Within ten years, as a result of the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is probable that neither side will be able reasonably to expect that by striking the first blow it could eliminate the power of the other to inflict mortal damage.
6. Canada and its NATO allies will remain united in the resolve to maintain an effective regional system of collective security, in the absence of an effective universal system of collective security; and that this regional security system will include the maintenance of a nuclear deterrent capability, until an effective international armaments control system becomes feasible.
7. The United States and the United Kingdom Governments will be restrained by moral and spiritual conviction brought to bear by their public opinion from initiating a nuclear or any other kind of war, except in retaliation against an act of overt armed aggression; nevertheless, they will remain resolute to retaliate against all-out Soviet attack.
8. The United States will be prepared to use the threat of nuclear retaliation of less than total force to deter local or limited Communist military aggression and to use smaller nuclear weapons in local and limited wars if necessary.
9. The Soviet Union has every reason to avoid embarking on general war in the near future, both because it can have no prospect of escaping nuclear retaliation and because war is not essential to the pursuit of its basic aims. The most dangerous possibilities are (a) that the use of force in a local and limited conflict might lead to general war by accident or miscalculation, and (b) that the Soviets may miscalculate U.S. intentions by believing that the Soviet Union is about to be attacked. In the latter event, the Soviet Union might consider it vital to its interests to attack in an effort to forestall U.S. action. The fact that, under conditions of mounting international tension, it is more difficult to distinguish between real and apparent threats to vital national interests and security, suggests that the U.S.S.R. (as well as the Western Powers) have an interest in reducing international tensions, at least to the point where they are able to calculate more accurately the possibility or likelihood of all-out attack.
10. Even if it is assumed that the Soviet Union co-operates in the reduction of international tensions, there is as yet no evidence on which to base any expectation that they, or the other countries of the Communist bloc, will abandon in any essential way the pursuit of their political aims by subversive means.
THE SUPPORTING ARGUMENTS
The Strategy of the Nuclear Deterrent in Relation to the Aims of Allied Defence Policy
The United States and the Soviet Union now confront one another with the prospect of mutual devastation by thermonuclear and nuclear weapons. It is this prospect, and not the mere existence of weapons of such destructive power, which is one of the most important deterrents of war. With the capability of the Soviet Union to retaliate in kind growing both in terms of weapons and the means of delivering them, this deterrent works both ways; it is now a case of mutual deterrence.
2. It is also true that at present the United States enjoys superiority in numbers and types of weapons as well as in the means of delivering them, and even though the Soviet Union has built up deterrents of its own, it cannot be sure that if it were to make a surprise atomic attack upon the United States or any of its allies, it could prevent an immediate nuclear retaliation on a far larger scale. This, mainly in the form of the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force, is the deterrent power on the allied side.
3. Because of the scale of devastation that may be expected from thermonuclear or nuclear attacks, it is almost certain that a general war would be fought only against an actual or apparent threat to a nation's vital interests or those of its allies. As a corollary, it is probable that any nation would hesitate to start a war, even when further political or non-warlike action is not open to it for the pursuit of its aims, unless it apprehended a direct threat to its own security.
4. Thus if the strategy of the nuclear deterrent works, it is because it strikes fear and uncertainty in the calculations of a potential aggressor about the possible outcome and consequences of his aggression. Because of this fear, it provides a kind of psychological fence to reinforce other deterrents against the use of general war as an instrument of policy. The strategy of the nuclear deterrent, as its name implies, is a strategy for preventing a general war, not for fighting one. If the deterrent fails to prevent general war, the ensuing damage from nuclear and thermonuclear weapons is bound to be catastrophic.
5. While the prospect of devastation from thermonuclear or nuclear war may act in this way as a deterrent of general war, it may fail to act as a deterrent against the threat of other kinds of hostile action if the consequences apprehended do not include thermonuclear or nuclear devastation. On the other hand, the threat of the use of nuclear retaliation, where vital allied interests are not affected, runs the risk of precipitating war, since such a threat might be interpreted as an actual or an apparent threat to a country's vital interests. The use of such threats by one of the members of NATO, therefore, is a matter of lively concern to the other allies.
6. The United States, which possesses the principal nuclear retaliatory power on the side of the Western Powers, has so far reserved the right to determine by the authority of its President when and in what circumstances it may use or threaten to use its power of nuclear retaliation. This is of particular concern to Canada because of her special geographical location in relation both to the United States and the USSR.
7. The emphasis in considering the possible use of atomic weapons by the West is upon retaliation, for the Western Powers will not deliberately start a major war, which by its very nature cannot serve the aims proclaimed in the North Atlantic Treaty "to live in peace with all peoples and governments and to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples". But the allies have made it clear that they are maintaining preparations for instant nuclear retaliation against the event of Soviet all-out attack.
8. The fact that the United States has been prepared to use the threat of nuclear retaliation to deter the threat of Communist attacks, other than the threat of an outright attack against the security of the United States and its allies, has posed difficult questions affecting the relationship of the United States with its allies generally and with Canada in particular.
9. Mr. Dulles' speech on massive retaliation in January of last year is a case in point. The Secretary of State for External Affairs, in commenting on this speech in the House of Commons on March 25, did not question the proposition that the capacity to retaliate with nuclear weapons could be a valuable deterrent against aggression, but he sought clarification at the same time on the applicability of this strategy to various forms of Communist threat and on the manner in which decisions would be made, i.e., with or without prior consultation with the allies.
10. The danger of this doctrine was that it appeared to assume that the other side either could not or would not retaliate with nuclear weapons, an assumption which is invalid, at least in so far as the capability of the Soviet Union is concerned. Thus, in trying to restrain any form of military action on the Communist side by the threat of all-out attack, such threats of "massive" nuclear attack run the risk that if the Soviet Union intervenes, hostilities which begin as a local or limited war might turn into a thermonuclear one. There is also the danger that this type of threat risks becoming a boomerang as Soviet nuclear capability grows. For it cannot be overlooked that the Soviet Union (and Communist China) may likewise exploit the threat of nuclear retaliation in weakening the will of the Western Powers to risk war in the protection of their essential interests.
11. Considerations such as these have evidently been taken into account in Washington, for "massive" retaliation has given place to "measured" retaliation. The idea now seems to be that instead of threatening the use of the full force of nuclear destructive power to deter local Communist military threats where vital allied interests are not involved, the United States threatens the use of nuclear weapons of a limited destructive nuclear power and only in a tactical role against military targets. This change is based not only on considerations of policy, but also on the fact that the United States has developed a variety of nuclear weapons ranging from a destructive power of the equivalent of 500 tons of TNT, upwards to the equivalent of a million tons and more.
12. The possibility that this concept of "measured retaliation" might be applied in Asia was brought out by Mr. Dulles in reporting on the military arrangements of the Manila Treaty on March 8. He said that the allies now possess plenty of power in this treaty area and that this power includes sea and air forces equipped with "new and powerful weapons of precision which can utterly destroy military targets without endangering unrelated civilian centres". The President, in backing Mr. Dulles up, gave the impression that these smaller nuclear weapons could be used like conventional weapons. "On strictly military targets and for strictly military purposes, I see no reason why they shouldn't be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else", he said.
13. The question of whether a valid military distinction can be drawn between large and small nuclear weapons can probably be answered only be competent experts on the basis of full technical data. So far, the United States has not made available to its allies the necessary data and it is, therefore, difficult to offer a firm opinion on the validity of the distinction which the U.S. authorities have sought to draw. But whatever may be the difficulty of defining the military problem in the absence of the necessary facts, it can be assumed that our main aim is to seek an effective political control over the putting into effect of any plans or preparations for nuclear warfare.
14. As will be stated in greater detail in the succeeding section on NATO, this principle of consultation has already been initially established in the NATO context. Ways and means now are being worked out to make that principle effective both in the Atlantic Council, if circumstances permit such formal consultation, or on a more immediate basis through tripartite "alert" procedures agreed in advance between London, Washington and Ottawa.
15. The problem of reducing the possibility of unilateral action by the United States in relation to a local or limited war is much more complicated and will be discussed further under the succeeding section entitled "Limited or Local Wars". However, once satisfactory procedures of consultation are worked out in the NATO context, it should be possible to argue in Washington that since even the "measured" or "limited" use of nuclear weapons in local wars runs the risk of leading to world conflict, it would be highly desirable that there should be consultation with those allies which are likely to bear some at least of the consequences, before any use of nuclear weapons is authorized by the United States anywhere in the world. In trying to find a solution to this important problem of consultation, the critical question arises: how far is the United States really prepared to go or can be persuaded to go in taking its allies into its confidence in its military-political planning? The progress already made in recent years, provides the basis for hope that further advances in understanding on matters of such mutual concern to the security of both countries is possible.
16. At its Ministerial meeting in December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved a report of the Military Committee on the most effective pattern of NATO military strength (Document M.C. 48(Final) of November 22, 1954) over the next few years, which in effect incorporated the strategy of the nuclear deterrent in future NATO defence planning and preparation. The relevant conclusion in this report was as follows: "It is militarily essential that NATO forces should be able to use atomic and thermonuclear weapons in their defence and that the NATO military authorities should be authorized to plan and make preparations on the assumption that atomic and thermonuclear weapons will be used in defence from the outset."
17. The approval of the Council was for purposes of planning and preparations only, and reserved to governments the right of decision with respect to putting such plans and preparations into action. The relevant Council resolution read as follows: "The Council approves the report M.C. 48 as a basis for defence planning and preparations by the NATO military authorities, noting that this approval does not involve delegation of the responsibility of governments for putting plans into action in the event of hostilities."
18. In approving this resolution on behalf of the United States (which of course provides most of the nuclear capability on the allied side), Mr. Dulles explained what he understood to be the effect of this approval on the right of decision of governments. An examination of Mr. Dulles' remarks reveals that there are two particular ways in which, in his view, governments have retained the freedom of power and exercise of their political responsibilities:
(a) responsibility for deciding on belligerent action, and
(b) responsibility for evaluating the nature of the threat posed (i.e., determining whether it is a threat that should be dealt with by a "limited" or by an "all-out" defence).
General Gruenther, also, in the course of the discussion of the Military Committee's report, made an explanatory comment which is not out of line with Mr. Dulles' understanding. General Gruenther's comment was summarized in the record as follows: "It is unquestionably a political decision to decide whether or not there is an act of war, and there is no thought in our headquarters (SHAPE) that there should be a military decision - and certainly not one that our headquarters should make. But, it having been decided that there was an act of war and that it was an all-out act of war, and not simply a local war, he felt it was not feasible to go to this or that strategy."
19. The Council's approval of M.C. 48, which raises the stakes involved in the East-West conflict, would seem to have two main political implications for the NATO alliance. One is to impose a restriction on the freedom of Soviet action, and thus to strengthen the position of the West by issuing a clear warning that, if an armed attack does occur involving the commitments of member governments under Articles V and VI of the North Atlantic Treaty, the probability is that the ensuing war will be a nuclear war. Judging from the reactions of Soviet propaganda on the theme that NATO is preparing an atomic war, this implication has not been lost on the Soviet leaders. Indeed the risks, military and political, that nuclear warfare would involve for the Soviet Government may well exclude direct aggression in Europe as a likely measure of Soviet policy, particularly since in most cases war is probably not essential to the pursuit of basic Communist aims.
20. This in turn increases the probability that the Soviet Union will use other methods of pursuing their aims which will not provoke nuclear retaliation - well-known Communist methods of diplomatic manoeuvre and political warfare designed to weaken the unity and effectiveness of the Western Coalition. Against such methods reliance on nuclear weapons will not be of much avail, and it becomes all the more necessary to take other measures in NATO, particularly non-military measures such as various forms of political and economic cooperation under Article II, which will strengthen the unity and morale of the coalition.
21. The other political implication is to restrict our own freedom of action, or rather to place a devastating price on any miscalculation. It becomes of prime importance to Canada and the rest of the NATO countries to be able to judge quickly and accurately, in the event the deterrent is not effective, whether a given hostile action is such as to merit all-out defence, involving nuclear retaliation, or just limited defence, involving measures short of nuclear retaliation. This question is, of course, vital to Canada in particular, not only because we are a member of NATO but also because, in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack, Canada would probably be the scene of the air battle.
22. Under these circumstances the exercise of effective control by governments over all stages of "alerts procedures" is particularly important. The ability of governments to make an evaluation of the facts which give rise to apprehension of the imminence of war obviously depends on having access to intelligence reports on indications of enemy mobilization measures. This consideration would be relevant if the outbreak of war were preceded by a period of increasing international tension. In the event of a sudden all-out attack the problem of evaluating the facts would not, of course, arise; they would presumably be self-evident and would call for immediate action for survival.
23. There is also an important military implication. The nuclear deterrent has for a long time been implicit in the NATO strategic concept, but with the approval of M.C. 48 it has now been explicitly adopted as an integral part of NATO defence planning and preparations. Consequently it becomes all the more important that there should be effective co-ordination of defence planning in NATO as between North America and the rest of the NATO area and that the organization of the defence of the nuclear deterrent in North America should be related to NATO defence planning as a whole. This may mean some re-organization of the Canada-United States Regional Planning Group, although it must be recognized that U.S. sensitivity will make it necessary to retain actual control of planning for continental defence in North American hands.
24. In practice the only real co-ordination and balancing of priorities as between the defence of Europe and the defence of North America that is now being carried out is being done on a purely national basis, as for instance in Washington. As far as we can judge, present United States policy in this respect is to continue to develop their nuclear deterrent power, to maintain substantially their present forces in Europe, to scale down where possible commitments in other parts of the world (e.g. in Korea) and to build up in North America a strategic mobile reserve and continental air defences against the Soviet nuclear threat. The NATO sector of this policy was defined in a declaration by the United States President, in which he confirmed that, when the Paris Agreements came into force, it would be United States policy "to continue to maintain in Europe, including Germany, such units of its armed forces as may be necessary and appropriate to contribute its fair share of the forces needed for the joint defence of the North Atlantic area while a threat to that area exists, and to continue to deploy such forces in accordance with agreed North Atlantic strategy for the defence of this area".
25. Related to this question of co-ordination of defence planning is the question of measures to strengthen the unity of the coalition, to which reference was made earlier. If our allies are to appreciate the importance of North American defence as part of the defence of the NATO area, it is surely necessary that it should be a subject of multilateral concern and not exclusively of bilateral consultation. Moreover, the maintenance of Canadian and United States forces in Europe should be recognized as a question of concern to NATO as a whole and not merely of individual national concern. The presence of these forces in Europe has an important political effect, as a token of trans-Atlantic solidarity, in addition to its military effect, and any substantial withdrawal might seriously affect the unity of the alliance. Any withdrawals which might become necessary for the purpose of North American defence, therefore, must not only be in the interest of NATO as a whole but must be seen by our allies as such. This factor is likely to be of particular importance if, as may be expected, the Communist side puts increasing emphasis on measures short of military aggression to weaken the West and especially to isolate North America from its European allies.
26. The prevention of war, except in the defence of vital interests, is the main aim of Canadian national policy as it is of our allies. A strategy designed to achieve this objective therefore is of prime importance to Canadian national interests. Canada's geographical location, between the USA and USSR and athwart the trans-polar routes, puts Canada in a position to contribute to the nuclear deterrent power of the allies in two ways: by the provision of facilities on or over Canadian territory and through continental defence. For it must be assumed that in any future war, the Soviet Government would realize that their primary aim of defeating the Western Coalition could best be served by placing the emphasis on directing nuclear air strikes on North America in order to destroy SAC bases and the centres of war-making capacity, the weight of which, if left untouched, would be brought to bear against the Soviet Union with disastrous effect. Air nuclear attack against North America would probably be the most important element of Soviet strategy since the neglect of this element more than any other would clearly be disastrous to the Soviet Union.
27. Continental defence thus involves the protection of the population and other resources of North America, upon which the ability of Canada and the United States - and indeed of the Western Coalition - to sustain a war in the long run depends. It also includes in its broadest sense the defence of the nuclear retaliatory power of the United States, which is one of the principle NATO as well as North American defence objectives. Both require a common defence structure including the early warning system, interception, the dispersal of targets, and civil defence. Accordingly, for the purposes of planning and preparing these defences, it has been assumed that the air defences of Canada and the United States must be considered as one problem, and this has been agreed to at the Chiefs of Staff level. Planning may very well soon call for a substantial increase in the number of fighter squadrons based in Canada, particularly if the principle is accepted that efforts should be made to fight any air battles as far north of the settled areas of Canada as possible.
28. Coupled with the defence of North America and the defence of the nuclear deterrent power, so far as Canada is concerned, is the provision of facilities which may be sought by the United States on Canadian territory for the effective development of the deterrent power, that is, SAC operating bases. It may be expected that an increasingly significant proportion of the installations which are likely to be constructed in Canada in the next five to ten years will be for the Strategic Air Command and that an increasing number of United States personnel will be sent to Canada to man them.
29. In determining the share which Canada should bear in these defence activities, it is clear at least that Canada cannot assume exclusive responsibility for that portion which is operated directly by or for the Strategic Air Command. On the other hand, unless Canada assumes its share of responsibility for continental defence activities, which are more likely to involve combat operations over Canada than are SAC operations, there is a risk of losing effective control of these activities on Canadian territory. This risk would be particularly dangerous in view of the importance for Canadians of keeping any air battles which may be fought over Canadian territory as far north of the populated areas of Canada as possible. United States planners are not likely to feel the imperative of this consideration as acutely as Canadians, as an air battle fought over Canada's populated areas would be far enough north not to be a serious threat to U.S. targets. Present air defence plans do not adequately take account of this consideration; Canada's interceptor squadrons now operate mainly near settled areas, as evidenced by the presence of Air Defence Command at St. Hubert.
30. To judge the extent of Canadian participation which is necessary or desirable, it is necessary to strike a balance between the demands on Canadian resources of Western European defence and North American defence. Both are vulnerable to Soviet nuclear retaliation, but both come under the umbrella of United States nuclear deterrent power. This balance depends upon political and military considerations. The military considerations involve an assessment of the comparative degree of threat against North America and Western Europe; but since it must be assumed that one of the aims of the Soviet Union is to isolate North America from its Western European partners and thus disrupt NATO, the military threat cannot be divorced from the important political consideration of maintaining the unity of the Alliance which is itself an important element of the deterrent. It is presumably because of considerations such as these that the present United States policy envisages the maintenance of United States forces substantially at present levels in Europe, while building up the deterrent and means of defending it in North America.
31. Moreover, the degree of control exercised over continental defence by Canada depends not only on the extent of its participation in these activities, but also upon the form of the air defence command structure. The current concept of a coordinated rather than an integrated air defence system for North America stems from the joint declaration of 1947 on the principles of defence cooperation between the two countries, and in particular on the statement that "as an underlying principle all cooperative arrangements will be without impairment of the control of either country over all activities in its own territory".
32. The adequacy of these existing arrangements as a framework for continental air defence is open to serious question. In the first place, the policy of imposing a "command boundary" along the border between the two countries may have been politically justifiable thus far, but may not be for much longer. It is militarily unsound and makes necessary the disposition of forces on the basis of national rather than military factors; it invites the USAF air defence commanders to treat the populated parts of Canada as the scene of the air battle, rather than as an integral part of the region to be defended. This situation will become increasingly serious with the advent in the near future of air-to-air and ground-to-air missiles armed with atomic warheads, which would do fearful damage if intercepted and exploded over populated areas.
33. Secondly, enough information is now available about United States plans for air defence installations to be established in Canada between now and 1960 to make it clear that the numbers of air defence personnel in the populated part of Canada will be greatly increased, including sections of the country where the Canadian air defence organization is at present, to all intents and purposes, non-existent.
34. Thirdly, the deficiencies in the existing command arrangements, organization, and plans for the deployment of forces and weapons will have an adverse effect on air operations primarily over Canada, rather than the United States. The system is probably sufficiently effective for the protection of the United States alone that, because of a reluctance to appear to be forcing Canada into an integrated organization and because of internal inter-service differences, the United States authorities are not likely to take the initiative in trying to change it. In other words, if Canada considers that the situation is developing in a manner detrimental to its interests, then the Canadian Government should take the lead in pressing for a change.
35. The implications of the situation now developing are of the greatest importance to Canada and require urgent study. Consideration should be given to the possible necessity of negotiating a new comprehensive bilateral agreement between the two countries to provide for the establishment of an integrated North American Air Defence Command, and the possible relationship of such a command to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
36. Quite apart from the planning and preparation for the contingencies of general war, including defences against the possibility of nuclear attack on North America, the strategy of the deterrent has important political and military implications in a period of international tension characteristic of the cold war. Even in anticipation of the possible imminence of general war, the United States may wish to carry out certain precautionary deployments of their strategic aircraft and weapons and to alert continental air defence. This may involve requests for permission for aircraft to overfly Canadian territory to the bases used by the Strategic Air Command in order to be prepared for instant action, and requests to make precautionary alerts of the continental air defence system. If war were to seem imminent, the United States Government could be expected to approach the Canadian Government with the request for permission not only to deploy the Strategic Air Command, but also to carry out air strikes from bases in Canadian territory and to mobilize fully the continental air defence system.
37. Thus the interdependence of Canada and the United States in Air Defence and the inter-related continental defence arrangements which stem from this, make any United States policy which may lead to general war a matter of special concern to Canada, whether or not that policy involves a Canadian commitment.
Limited or Local Wars
38. Proceeding further with the examination of the main assumptions of this paper that under the conditions of mutual nuclear deterrence, the aim of Canada and its allies should be to avoid war except in defence of vital interests, it is particularly important to consider the problem of preventing local and limited wars becoming global and nuclear ones. Against minor aggressions by the Soviet Union, Communist China or another Communist proxy, the free world would be faced with the choice of: (a) prompt and united collective action on the Korean model using conventional methods of warfare only; (b) reaction led initially by the U.S. involving the probable use of nuclear weapons at least locally and tactically; and (c) inaction to minimize the risk of hostilities spreading.
39. There is evidence that the United States is prepared to use nuclear weapons in local and limited wars, both to deter local Communist military aggression and as an alternative to committing United States ground forces to shore up the various weak spots of strategic importance in the defences of the free world. The position taken by the United States Government in regard to the fulfilment of its commitments under the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty presents an important current illustration of this strategy.
40. Mr. Dulles, in his speech on the results of the Bangkok meeting of the Manila Treaty Powers on March 8, included a warning that the nuclear retaliatory power of the United States may be used to deter Communist China from further military encroachments in Asia. He said: "For military defence we shall rely largely upon mobile allied power which can strike an aggressor wherever the case may demand. That capacity will, we believe, deter aggression. We shall not need to build up large static forces at all points and the United States contribution will be primarily in terms of sea and air power." Then he went on to say: "The Allied nations possess together plenty of power in the area. The United States in particular has sea and air forces now equipped with new and powerful weapons of precision, which can utterly destroy military targets without endangering unrelated civilian centers."
41. Mr. Dulles' warning to Communist China implied not only the threat of the use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent; it also implied the risk of spreading the war. On this aspect of the deterrent, Mr. Dulles said: "I pointed out at Bangkok that, for military purposes, the Chinese Communist front should be regarded as an entirety because if the Chinese Communists engage in open armed aggression, this would probably mean that they have decided on general war in Asia. They would then have to take into account the mutual defence treaties of the United States with the Republic of Korea and the Republic of China and the forces maintained under them. Thus, general war would confront the Chinese Communists with tasks at the south, centre and north; tasks which would strain their inadequate means of transportation."
42. This kind of warning is undoubtedly calculated to make the undertaking of a local or limited attack by the Communists a risky business. But it also carries a risk for the side that issues such a warning, in the event the deterrent fails to work. For even with the threat of "measured retaliation", there is the danger of a local or limited war becoming general and total. For while a distinction can be drawn between the tactical and strategic uses of nuclear weapons at the commencement of hostilities, there are justifiable doubts as to whether this distinction would be maintained once the dictates of military necessity came into play. Military commanders are likely to use the amount of force necessary to accomplish their objective, and once they are permitted to use nuclear weapons of a lower range of power it would be difficult to know exactly where to draw the line in the upper ranges, especially if their use was thought to make the difference between victory or defeat. Anyway, this "measured retaliation" has not yet been put to the test, except as a threat. The threat, however, because of Soviet nuclear retaliatory power, at least opens up possibilities among which Soviet intervention, if it judged its vital interests threatened, cannot be excluded.
43. Considering the prospects of nuclear devastation which the Allies would risk to a larger or lesser degree should this kind of deterrent fail, and the war spread to global and nuclear proportions, it would be highly desirable that consultation between the United States and Canada should precede the use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. If hostilities cannot be avoided, every effort should be made to fight limited wars with limited means and limited objectives on the Korean model. This involves not only the choice of weapons and the choice of objectives, but also giving the other side adequate opportunities to understand the intentions of the governments which have undertaken to resist aggression, and an adequate opportunity for negotiations on reasonable terms to bring hostilities to an end.
44. The choice of weapons has an important bearing on whether hostilities, if they cannot be avoided, can at least be limited; the choice of weapons also may be a determining factor in deciding whether the resistance is effective or not. It may be just impracticable, for instance, to atomize the "free Thais" or the "Pathet Lao", even if there may be some Communist Chinese behind them. This is, of course, realized by some observers in the United States. For instance, William Kaufmann of Princeton University, in his book The Requirements of Deterrence says: "It is probably hopeless to expect that a single deterrent will cover the entire range of contingencies and still satisfy the criteria of credibility. The attempt to devise such a deterrent is likely to result in either a sparrow hunt with a cannon or an elephant shoot with a popgun." This points to the desirability of maintaining conventional armed forces and conventional weapons as a supplementary means of deterrence, as well as for the purpose of fighting local or limited wars if hostilities cannot be avoided. At the same time, it must be recognized that, at least as far as the United States is concerned, the day is not far off when it will be difficult, if not impossible, to fight a limited war with conventional weapons. United States defence policy is now predicated on the use of small atomic weapons and before long, whenever U.S. forces go into action, they are likely to use nuclear weapons. The possibilities need to be explored of extending the principle of consultation, being developed initially in the NATO context, to other areas, so that nuclear weapons should not be used without some accord with the other countries likely to be affected by the consequences of U.S. action.
45. The possibilities of unilateral action by the United States involving the use of nuclear retaliatory power in limited and local wars may be reduced by the development of the collective approach to defence or local security. A sharing of responsibility for security may be organized through the United Nations, through regional defence organizations, or through the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth, as a special political association with world-wide links of loyalty and tradition rather than common security interests, does not offer a suitable framework for the organization of regional defence. Where Britain, however, has assumed responsibility for resistance to Communist encroachments in a colonial territory which is adjacent to another Commonwealth member whose national security interests are directly involved, special arrangements for defence cooperation may follow as in Anzam.
46. However, responsibilities for building up local defensive strength must obviously devolve primarily on the governments and peoples of each region; organizations which may be built upon the initiative of outsiders will lack firm foundations. For the foundations of any defence structure must be the recognition of mutual security interests, the determination to join together in self-defence and an adequate measure of political stability. To the extent that these factors have been lacking, for a variety of reasons, in the areas of South-East Asia and the Middle East, progress towards regional organizations, despite the existence of a Communist threat, has been slow. However, the South-East Asian Defence Pact and the new Turkish-Iraqi Treaty, which the United Kingdom and the United States are expected to join, may provide the framework for the build-up of regional defence to counter the Communist threat in South-East Asia and the Middle East respectively. The contributions of countries from outside the region threatened must of necessity be limited, for if the military resources of the free world are scattered all over the place, they risk being too thinly scattered and ineffectively applied in any given place. The mobile sea and air forces of the United States, and to a lesser extent those of the United Kingdom, are notable exceptions.
47. With considerations such as these in mind, it is in Canada's interest to see that effective regional defence organizations are built up, but not necessarily with Canada's direct participation. Canada's own security interests lie primarily in North America and the North Atlantic Treaty area, where its commitments are already heavy. Canada's interests would not be involved directly in the holding of any particular area around the Soviet periphery in the Far East or the Middle East, except in so far as Canada may share with other members of the free world the general interest of resisting Communist expansion. But even though Canada may not be directly involved in such peripheral and local wars, she cannot escape certain consequences if the United States were involved, especially because of the interdependence of the two countries in air defence. Such local and limited wars are, therefore, of concern to Canada. Canada, naturally, has an interest in upholding the universal principle of resistance to the use of force and the other objectives of the United Nations. It is reasonable to deduce, therefore, that Canada would not participate in local or limited wars, unless by a decision of the United Nations which it had accepted.
The Cold War
48. It is a truism to say that the Communist threat by no means poses a straight military problem. A characteristic of Communist strategy has been its opportunism. The Communists have employed a variety of ways of extending their control, adapting their methods according to the resources, psychological as well as material, available to them in any particular area. In places where political instability and economic discontent provide opportunities for seizing the control of governments by subversion, political rather than military methods have been employed. Assuming that current efforts to improve East-West relations do not bring about a change in the basic Communist aims of extending their control over the rest of the world, the cold war may be expected to go on.
49. Communist strategy in the cold war has already had a large measure of success. The Soviet orbit has been growing apace, (particularly by the inclusion of China) without general war and without the Soviet Union being itself openly involved in hostilities. The free world as a result of gradual Communist peripheral advances may be confronted with the peril of about eight hundred million Communists now within the Soviet orbit consolidating the Eurasian land mass into one economic and politico-military power system. It cannot be assumed that this bloc is solid yet. Indeed it is to be hoped that Russian and Chinese policies and interests may diverge, and it is obviously in the interests of Canada and its allies to encourage any such fissile tendencies. The consolidation of this bloc under monolithic control would represent a concentration of power - political, military and economic - that would obviously affect the world balance of power.
50. On the other hand, if the Western powers enjoy a comparatively strong bargaining power vis-à-vis the Communist bloc, it is in large part due to the buoyancy and expansion of their economies. Since the margin of advantage would disappear if there were a severe economic dislocation, large-scale unemployment, social discontent or any marked decline in living standards, the maintenance of an expanding economy should have a high priority in the planning of national security policy, whatever may be the outcome of current East-West negotiations. In short, the way of life offered by the free world must be shown to be superior to that offered by the totalitarians, as well as defensible. It must be shown to be superior not only by example and performance but also by measures of political cooperation and economic assistance to the nations of Asia and Africa which are striving to have their share of the benefits of material civilization.
51. Canada has already assumed responsibilities in terms of increased diplomatic effort and economic assistance in cooperating in measures against Communist indirect aggression. Considering the heavy burdens already borne by Canada in the defence of the free world through its responsibilities for continental defence and in NATO, it could be argued that Canada should not be expected to increase its contribution in this field. And yet, if under the condition of "mutual deterrence" the use of military force becomes increasingly risky and if the cold war is continued, the Communist threat increasingly may assume the form of covert activities to gain Communist control of territory by subversion, economic competition to win over converts, and diplomacy to split up the opposition in the free world.
52. This may justify a further reconsideration of the proportion of Canadian resources which should be devoted to such non-military efforts in the cold war as increased diplomatic representation in threatened areas, increased contributions to United Nations activities in the non-military sphere as well as to Commonwealth cooperative enterprises such as the Colombo Plan, particularly if as a result of a détente between East and West some reductions in defence expenditures are found possible.
A New Look at Disarmament
53. The recent Stassen appointment in Washington probably reflects a deepening realization, not only among officials but increasingly among the public, that the present positions of the Western Powers on disarmament represent an inadequate response to the new weapons and the challenge of the risk of mutual annihilation, particularly when the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, against which there is no defence, may have been perfected. Even now, before the advent of push-button warfare, many of the premises on which our present disarmament proposals are based, have been overtaken by events and have become obsolete.
54. Among the array of uncomfortable facts that must now be taken into account are the following:
(a) the prospect of the possibility of reciprocal nuclear destruction;
(b) nuclear armaments have been integrated with the conventional armaments of the United States (and possibly Soviet) forces;
(c) the United States atomic monopoly (on which the United Nations Majority Plan was premised) has long since ceased to exist and the stockpiles of thermonuclear weapons in both the United States and the USSR are now so large that it would be technically impossible to back check on past production under the most favourable conditions of complete inspection within more than 90% accuracy at best;
(d) the advent of the hydrogen bomb makes an undisclosed and virtually undiscoverable atomic molehill into a thermonuclear mountain in terms of destructive power;
(e) some authorities now believe that it may be possible to dispense with the uranium-plutonium detonator of an "H-bomb" - and, as the lighter elements are relatively plentiful and require less elaborate processing, the control problem may be made still more difficult;
(f) a certain amount of mutual trust is a prerequisite of disarmament - and it does not exist;
(g) not only its concept of national sovereignty but the very foundations of the Soviet State would be so deeply undermined by the acceptance of the type of international control organization proposed by the Western Powers that it is hardly conceivable their leaders would ever agree to it.
55. Without attempting to provide answers to questions that are perhaps unanswerable, it may be useful to attempt to clear some of the ground in preparation for any serious "new look" at disarmament that may be undertaken, either in conjunction with Mr. Stassen's re-examination of the problem, or separately.
56. Disarmament negotiations during the past nine years have invariably come to a standstill on the question of control. If, as some experts say, there is no way of ensuring the complete elimination of existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons by any method of control, a way around the control problem may be sought in three directions:
(a) in place of a comprehensive disarmament programme embracing all aspects of the question, certain fields might be isolated. As a short-cut of this type, the USSR has been harping for years on a series of propaganda themes isolating the atomic side of the problem ("ban the bomb", "ban the use of the bomb", and now "destroy atomic stockpiles");
(b) on our side, for logical strategic reasons the inverse of this proposition might be suggested; that an attempt be made to control conventional armed forces and armaments, and in particular all means of delivering atomic weapons, while accepting the continuation of nuclear and thermonuclear stockpiles on both sides at or near the point of saturation;
(c) both sides have also proposed, in connection with large programmes, a freeze of armed forces and armaments as a first step on the road towards disarmament.
57. Of these three propositions, only the third may be feasible. The first has been repeatedly rejected by the Western Powers for the same strategic reasons as the second is not likely to interest the Soviet Union. The atomic and conventional sides of the problem are now inseparable. A freeze might have real attractions for the USSR, particularly if, as they have proposed in London, it were subject to more or less nominal control. But unless such a scheme were implemented as part of a comprehensive programme, it could lull Western public opinion into a quite unreal sense of security that could be more dangerous than the present stalemate.
58. While it might be desirable to examine possible short-cuts from a technical standpoint, it might be more fruitful to consider what reduction might be acceptable in the safeguards to be applied to the whole field of disarmament. If control is the barrier, and we cannot get around it by reducing the categories to be controlled, we might examine once again whether we must insist on such stringent control measures as in the past. For we can now bring to the re-examination the realization that since we do not have, and cannot hope to have, absolute security, or anything approaching it, we are compelled to consider whether relatively greater security might be attainable through disarmament. Could we, in short, have less control rather than less to control? And could adjustments be made in the timetable for the establishment and gradual build-up of the control organization in such a way as to provide a better balance of risks and safeguards on both sides at each stage?
59. The main argument in support of such an approach arises from the control problem itself. To control conventional weapons or to control atomic weapons would require such wide powers, at least of inspection, that interference in national affairs and the opportunities for uncovering state secrets in uncontrolled fields would be approximately as great as if the whole range of armaments and armed forces were subject to control. The inspectors would still have to have power to go wherever they chose in order to discover activities in violation of the agreement. For this reason the control might as well be comprehensive in its coverages of war-making potential. The only room left for manoeuver would, therefore, appear to be as regards the timing of control and the rights, functions and powers of the control organ itself.
60. Yet for years the Western Powers have maintained that no dilution of safeguards could be acceptable. This position has tended to harden, at least in the United States, with the new complications presented by Soviet stockpiling and by thermonuclear weapons which, in logic, must require more effective, rather than less effective, forms of international control. But a new approach might begin by examining what specific safeguards are necessary to ensure that nations would have adequate warning against a surprise attack, which is the greatest risk in the presence of nuclear weapons so long as there is no system for the international control of armaments.
61. From this tentative assessment of the problem, it may be that we are thrown back in our conclusions upon reliance on mutual deterrence as the only realistic policy. The capacity - present or future - of each side to destroy the other is unquestionably of the greatest importance in preventing war. If it makes war too horrible to contemplate, the deterrent may even lead to disarmament, or at least to serious negotiations. But the risks and limitations of relying on mutual deterrence have already been examined in this paper; at best it can only be a policy faute de mieux.
62. If our policy may be described as "deterrence if necessary but disarmament if possible", the search for a new approach to disarmament might embrace not only an effort to rethink the control problem but some consideration of the following factors which may be listed on the more hopeful side of the ledger:
(a) the problems posed by the new weapons are unprecedented; we must, therefore, not discard, on the basis of past performance alone, solutions which seem to be required by the facts; for example, we should not abandon altogether our attempts to negotiate a control system because any real control appears contrary to the Soviet system - their leaders face an unprecedented situation too;
(b) we have at present reached an approximate balance of military forces and this balance is likely to be maintained at least until the saturation point is reached when each side would have the capacity to deal the other a mortal blow at any time and no surprise attack would succeed in warding off retaliation in kind;
(c) there are some who believe that when the saturation point is reached, thermonuclear weapons will, in all probability, never be used, at least against centres of mass population, even in the event of a major war; this expectation is not officially shared in NATO and could not be entertained without greatly weakening the value of the deterrent; this does not mean, however, that some tacit self-denying ordinance of this kind is out of the question, now or in the future;
(d) although a completely effective back checking of past nuclear production is no longer possible, and we must assume that any control system would fail to discover significant quantities of fissile material and weapons, it should be possible to control the means of delivery; as part of a comprehensive system of disarmament, forces on both sides would be so far reduced as to minimize the temptation to make use of hidden stocks for a surprise attack; moreover, each side would suspect that the other would have retained secretly at least some capacity to retaliate in kind, so that the deterrent would continue to operate, with far less international tension to induce an explosion;
(e) looking at the record of disarmament negotiations since 1946 as impartially as possible, there seems to have been some progress, at least in words, and probably in substance. The gap, though still immense, has been narrowed, no doubt because neither side could afford to ignore the strength of public opinion on this issue.
63. Looking to the probable resumption of talks on disarmament in the United Nations, it would help to regain some momentum if other powers were to join the United States in trying to work out a genuine new approach to disarmament in the light of the new assumptions of the nuclear age. Among possible directions which such a re-examination might explore are:
(a) lowering our safeguards as part of a comprehensive disarmament programme, since "security" these days is a highly relative term, with or without disarmament, with the emphasis on the need for warning of a surprise attack and preparations for aggression;
(b) the possibility of banning further test explosions of thermonuclear weapons;
(c) the possibility of relating disarmament to the other main roots of international tension, such as the rearming of Germany and Japan, on the principle that it would be unnecessary to proceed very far along this road if, by means of a disarmament agreement, some reduction in the levels of forces of all major countries could actually be achieved.
Desire for a Détente
64. From the arguments in the foregoing sections, it may be deduced, that so long as the Western Alliance remains united and maintains its nuclear and other military capabilities, the risks involved in starting a war and the probable devastating consequences should a nuclear war develop, would probably discourage the Soviet Union, or any other power, undertaking war as a deliberate act of policy.
65. The circumstances in which the Soviet Union would be the most likely to decide to go to war, would be if it became convinced beyond a reasonable possibility of doubt that the Western Powers intended to attack it. It might then decide to strike first as a forestalling or preventative measure.
66. The risk of war through such miscalculation, therefore, remains despite the nuclear deterrent, because the Soviet Union might believe that a threat existed, when in fact it did not. For this reason it is essential that allied peaceful and defensive intentions should not only be apparent at all times, but should be communicated to the Soviet Union and its ally, Communist China, in such a way as there should be no possible grounds for misunderstanding allied intentions.
67. It is in these circumstances, therefore, that efforts to reach a détente, or a cessation of strained relations between the Communist and non-Communist groups of powers, assume such importance in allied policy. The establishment of normal diplomatic negotiations for the settlement of outstanding issues and the cessation of political and economic warfare is an essential means of avoiding the kind of misunderstanding which could conceivably lead to war despite the nuclear deterrent.
68. Consideration might, therefore, be given to the establishment of some form of continuing Four Power diplomatic machinery arising out of the Geneva talks, so that regular diplomatic contact between Foreign Ministers to deal primarily with security problems between the Big Powers should not again be broken off.
69. If a détente could in turn lead to agreement on a comprehensive system of disarmament, including the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which would leave no powers more armaments and armed forces than are necessary for strictly defensive purposes, and if such disarmament arrangements could be supervised and enforced by a system of international control which would give all nations the assurance of adequate warning of any aggressive intent and preparations, the foundations would have then been laid for the preservation of peace on a more lasting basis than that of the fear of mutual nuclear devastation, if all-out war begins.