Volume #21 - 309.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTATS-UNIS
QUESTIONS DE DÉFENSE
DÉFENSE AÉRIENNE CONTINENTALE
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
TOP SECRET. EXTERNAL AFFAIRS EYES ONLY||
le 11 février 1955|
AIR DEFENCE OF NORTH AMERICA|
I attach two papers on the air defence of North America. The first, which you have already seen but have expressed a wish to see again, outlines the plans of the USAF with respect to the continental air defence programme for the period 1955-60.23
2. The second paper reports on the current thinking of the USAF and RCAF Air Defence Commands on a possible combined command structure and the development of installations and communications for continental defence as outlined in discussions which took place at the meeting of the Canada-United States Military Study Group at the United States Continental Air Defence Command Headquarters, Colorado Springs, on February 7 and 8. I suggest that it might be useful for you to re-read the first paper before going on to the second.
3. As you know, officers of this Department have been aware for some time of the far-reaching implications of these plans, including the adequacy of the existing 1947 joint Canada-United States declaration on defence cooperation, as a framework for future continental defence arrangements.24 It was our intention that these matters should be a subject for consideration in the proposed study of national security policy.25
External Affairs Eyes Only
THE AIR DEFENCE OF NORTH AMERICA - II
In the preceding paper on the air defence of North America an account was given of the air defence plans and programme which the United States proposes for the period 1955-60. The purpose of this paper is to report on the most recent developments, as evidenced in the discussions which took place at the meeting of the Canada-United States Military Study Group (MSG) on February 7 and 8, 1955, at the U.S. Continental Air Defence Command Headquarters, Colorado Springs, and to comment on the implications for Canada arising therefrom. General Chidlaw, the Commanding General of Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), and his senior staff officers, participated in most of the discussions.
2. The proceedings opened with a briefing by Major General Bergquist, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, CONAD. He outlined the U.S. air defence concept and programme for the next five years in almost exactly the same terms as were used in the External Affairs paper which preceded this one. In particular he drew attention to the plan to extend the interceptor control area (by the installation of 27 heavy radars) until it reaches the tactical early warning line, thus extending the combat zone by about 400 miles to the North and from 400 to 600 miles off both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States. The capacity of the interceptor control system is to be increased by the installation of expensive semi-automatic electronic "tracking" equipment. Mention was also made of the intention to utilize long-range interceptor aircraft and guided missiles to take advantage of the increased depth of the combat zone and to engage hostile aircraft at the greatest possible distance from their targets. (See Charts Nos. 1 and 2 attached.?) General Bergquist emphasized that the RCAF Air Defence Command had been consulted in the development of the plan, and that both the United States and Canadian ADCs were in general agreement as to the military necessity for the measures proposed. The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff were in agreement with the concept, and funds for part of the programme (21 heavy radars) had been included in the 1956-57 budget.
3. Before proceeding to an account of the next phase of the MSG discussions it is necessary to recount a bit of past history. About 8 months ago the Canadian Chiefs of Staff, aware that the United States was likely to propose a major expansion of the North American air defence programme, authorized the RCAF ADC to enter into planning discussions with the USAF ADC, it being understood that no commitment was involved on either side.26 It was only at this time that the RCAF learned the full details of the USAF programme. The position of the RCAF was made more difficult by the fact that for some time the USAF ADC, assuming that Canada would not likely be willing or able to increase its commitments, had been developing plans in the expectation that the United States would have to provide and man all air defence installations required south of the Mid-Canada line (55th parallel) between the east end of Lake Superior and the western ranges of the Rocky Mountains.
4. The RCAF ADC, in approaching the problem, recognized the case for the establishment of large military installations and the development of elaborate and costly communications facilities in Canada in order to meet the threat of jet bombers armed with thermo-nuclear weapons. The ADC considered however that if this were done in accordance with the United States assumptions regarding the level of Canadian participation, the resulting position would be intolerable for Canada. It would make a fiction of the existing command arrangements, based as they are on the concept that each country maintains command and control over all forces operating within its own territory. If the existing arrangements were continued they would nominally give control to the Canadian air defence commander over operations in Canada, but the absence of any Canadian air defence machinery in large areas of the country would make it impossible to exercise control effectively. Moreover the philosophy expressed in these arrangements does not provide for the situation which will develop when, in the course of the next four or five years, guided missile installations are established in the United States which will be aimed at potential targets over Canada.
5. As a consequence of the RCAF analysis of the situation from the Canadian point of view, the two ADCs launched a new command study, ignoring the existing arrangements and basing their work on two fundamental military percepts; the first, that the air defence of North America is an indivisible responsibility and that operational control should therefore be vested in a single commander; and second, that the forces assigned to the task must face in the probable directions of enemy approach and hold positions in sufficient depth to fight effectively.
6. The second phase of the MSG discussions consisted of a presentation by Air Commodore Annis, of RCAF ADC, of the plan which had been jointly developed by the two ADCs to reflect the concepts described above, it being understood that the proposals it incorporated represented the planners' views only, and had not as yet been "bought" even by the Air Defence Commanders, let alone by any higher authority.
7. The plan envisages a Combined Air Defence Command Headquarters, headed by a U.S. officer. In peacetime he would be responsible for the operational standards of the air defence forces, and for planning of training exercises. Disposition of national forces and forward planning would continue to be under the control of U.S. or Canadian authorities as appropriate, and would be carried out in consultation with one another as at present. The RCAF describes this by the phrase "planning in unison" as contrasted with "integrated planning".
8. Under the Combined Air Defence command there would be three Combined Air Defence Forces, North, East and West (see Chart No. 3?). The Combined Northern Air Defence Force would be under command of a Canadian with an American deputy commander, and the area for which it would be responsible would embrace all of the settled parts of Canada with the exception of the British Columbia coastal area and the Eastern Townships-Maritime Provinces area. These areas would of course be parts of the Combined Western and Eastern Air Defence Forces respectively. The Northern Air Defence Force would consist of from 40,000 to 60,000 men, of which from 10,000 to 30,000 would be stationed in Canada. It would incorporate most of Canada's existing air defence forces, the balance being made up either of Canadians obtained from some other source, or of U.S.A.F. personnel. The numbers of personnel to be stationed in Canada would hinge on the question of whether fighters can operate effectively from south of the international boundary or whether additional bases are required in Canada. In the opinion of the RCAF planners there should be ten additional fighter bases in Canada in order to ensure that the air battle would be fought north of, rather than over, the heavily populated parts of the country. This would mean that the number of forces in Canada would be nearer the upper limit of 30,000 than the lower limit of 10,000 mentioned above.
9. The Western and Eastern Air Defence Forces would be commanded by United States officers with Canadian representation appropriate to the extent of participation by Canadian forces in these areas. The general principle that when an officer of one nation was in command, his deputy would be from the other nation, would extend throughout that part of the command structure in which Canada would have an interest.
10. A number of significant points emerged from the discussion which followed this presentation. First, and possibly the most important, was the conviction of the American representatives that, irrespective of the organization to be adopted, the physical programme must be carried through substantially as planned. Their text was the recent statement by President Eisenhower that maintenance of the deterrent effect of Strategic Air Command and the development of an effective continental air defence were the two highest priority items in the United States military programme today,27 and they made it clear their views on air defence requirements were those of their Government.
11. A second point was that the Americans made no secret of the fact that the [United States] Continental Air Defence Command, which was created only last autumn, is a shaky edifice, and that there were strong differences of opinion between General Chidlaw and his army and navy deputies on the air defence tasks of the three services, and their coordination. This became particularly evident to the Canadians in the course of the discussion on the role of short range guided missiles such as Nike, and their deployment around heavily populated industrial areas, including such border cities as Detroit, Niagara Falls and Buffalo.
12. It was clear that although the U.S. ADC recognized the military logic of the proposed combined command structure it anticipated that it might have considerable difficulty in convincing its Government that it should accept the necessity for vesting responsibility for the protection of a large area of that country in a Canadian air defence commander. The Canadians pointed out that this was a kind of difficulty with which they were not unfamiliar. General Chidlaw expressed the personal opinion that sooner or later some form of integration was inevitable, although he hoped that before it came he would have some time to put his own house in order. He added that in any event he thought that the initiative for any such move should come from Canada. This view was reiterated by a number of the other U.S. officers present.
13. There was considerable discussion of the time-relationship between the adoption of a combined command structure and the development of the installations and communications in the two countries over the next few years. The planners argued with conviction that a decision to establish a combined command structure, or at least to work in that direction, should be taken at once. They asserted that if this were not done the communications, combat direction centres, and other items of "infrastructure" would not be able to be adjusted at a later date except at very large expense and dislocation. In other words the communications and related facilities required for the semi-automatic operation of the air defence system which are now in the early stages of installation would have to be drastically re-arranged if the system of command were to be changed, and the longer the delay the greater the difficulty (and the greater the opposition). As the RCAF ADC sees the situation the existing command arrangements, organization, and plans for the deployment of weapons would not be the best for the air defence of the United States and Canada, although it is probably sufficiently effective that in the face of internal difficulties, the United States authorities will not, of themselves, seek to change them. If Canada considers that the situation is developing in a manner detrimental to her interests (and the RCAF ADC believes that it is) then she must take the lead in pressing for a change.
14. It should be understood that at the present time the above views are held by RCAF ADC only. RCAF Headquarters has not yet made up its mind as to the position it should take. The ADC plans, if adopted, would require additional resources which presumably could be supplied only at the expense of some other commitment, e.g. the Air Division in Europe. RCAF HQ, in making recommendations to the Chiefs of Staff and the Government must therefore seek to balance the importance of its various operational responsibilities. Its judgment is bound to be affected by its reluctance to put itself in a position where its primary, if not its sole operational role is one of home defence.
15. Now that the subject has been raised in the MSG, the Chairman of the Canadian Section, who is the Vice Chief of the Air Staff, proposes to tell the story to the Air Staff and then to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. If the Chiefs of Staff give no indication of acting, or if, as they have sometimes done in the past, they take the position that unless or until the ADC plan is put forward as a formal requirement there is nothing for them to consider, then perhaps the Department of External Affairs should consider what it might do to have the matter considered by Ministers.