Volume #18 - 743.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTATS UNIS
QUESTIONS DE DÉFENSE
RELATIONS EN MATIÈRE DE DÉFENSE DANS LE NORD
Note du Bureau du Conseil privé pour le greffier du Conseil privé|
le 29 décembre 1952|
A few days ago I mentioned to you that we hoped to use the occasion of the presence in Ottawa of most officials interested in the Arctic to discuss some Arctic problems which did not appear on the agenda of our Canada-U.S. conference. It seems opportune that we should do so now since we have recently had an indication of the emergence of new Arctic problems as a result of increased U.S. activity in this area.
I have been in close touch with officials of other departments concerned with the Arctic, particularly Defence Research Board and External Affairs. We are to have an informal meeting on December 30 to discuss the ground which we might most usefully cover at the Canadian meetings in the first week of January. Officials in External Affairs are considering a memorandum to their Minister suggesting a general approach to the Deputy Minister of Resources and Development.
I should much appreciate an opportunity of a conversation with you on this subject in order to obtain guidance on the line we should take in the discussions on January 6I have therefore prepared a memorandum which outlines some of the problems and which lists some of the possible steps which Canada might take to develop the Arctic. Few of the possible solutions may be practicable in the coming year, but I think that it would be useful as a starting point to consider A theoretically possible avenues of activity.
The attachment to the memorandum refers to a few unfortunate incidents which have taken place in the Arctic. I have checked the authenticity of these as carefully as possible, but I have been asked to use them with caution in order to avoid embarrassment to those who were kind enough to make some of the information available to me. One or two of the incidents have come very close to being made public. The first listed, for instance, appeared in a manuscript written by Peter Inglis, which he agreed to suppress at the request of Mr. Claxton.
The memorandum draws no conclusions and makes no recommendations. Perhaps you would be good enough to let me know when it would be convenient for us to have a word about this subject.
Extract from Attachment to Memorandum
1. On 5 March 1952 an RCAF Lancaster aircraft carrying out photography of the coast of Baffin Island was in touch with Thule air base. When the nature of the mission was mentioned as a photography exercise, Thule Operations inquired on whose authority the flight was being carried out. They were advised that it was on the authority of the Canadian Government. Thule then passed instructions from base operations that photography was to cease immediately and the aircraft was to proceed and land at Thule and remain there until authority to proceed was granted. The instructions were not carried out.
2. In the spring of 1952 the USAF approached Canada through service channels for permission to use Alert for the support of a party to be landed on one of the ice islands. The USAF was informed that the request would have to go through State Department/External Affairs channels. A message was received by Tac Air Group from Alaska Air Command that the operation would nevertheless proceed. The USAF party was established on the ice island, Alert being used for refuelling on the return journey. This all took place before the official U.S. request had reached the Canadian Government.
3. In giving permission for the use of Alert in the spring of 1950 to support the station on the ice island T3, the Canadian Government explicitly stated that it would expect to be informed, prior to the event, if landings were to be made on any other ice island. In fact landings were made, not only on the ice island itself, but also on Ellesmere Island and on the Ellesmere shelf ice. No request for permission for these landings was sent to Canada.
4. Permission was given in 1952 for the establishment of a temporary shore station on Banks Island by the USN icebreaker Burton Island. The station was established. Unfortunately the personnel at the station largely destroyed an Eskimo archaeological site by digging for curios. The site was close to a native camp where the regulations protecting such sites were known and have been respected for many years.
5. During the time that Frobisher was still operated by the USAF, immediately prior to the RCAF taking over its operation in 1950, at least one RCAF aircraft was refused permission to land as it was a USAF base.
6. At Padloping in 1951 the USAF weather station was reluctant to let the C.D. Howe anchor, intimating that it was a U.S. base.
7. In 1950, while the establishment at Thule was beginning, a beacon was established by the USAF at Clyde Inlet. So far as can be determined this was done without reference in any way to any Canadian authority, and it was a complete surprise when the beacon was found to be operating.
8. Scandinavian Airlines has carried out its pioneer flights on the polar route from Edmonton to Thule to Copenhagen. The major part of this route lies over north Canada. It is understood that Scandinavian Airlines were taking USAF personnel on these flights to advise on facilities and navigation. Certainly USAF charts were being used for areas where superior Canadian aeronautical charts exist. It should be noted that in much of this area Canada is responsible for search and rescue.
9. Many of the meteorological summaries on the joint weather stations are published by the U.S. Weather Bureau. It seems unfortunate that the publication of such data as the meteorological conditions at Eureka Sound is not done by Canada.
10. Although air traffic control in northeast Canada is officially an RCAF responsibility, it has become the practice at Goose Bay for Northeast Air Command, USAF, to request flights north from Goose to be cleared through Northeast Air Command Operations. Under present conditions it can only be a matter of time before this practice is extended to Frobisher and in fact for the whole Northeastern Arctic.