Volume #17 - 124.|
COMITÉ DE MESURES ADDITIONNELLES
Extrait du procès-verbal d'une réunion
du Comité du Cabinet sur la défense|
le 20 février 1951|
VII. CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE UNITED NATIONS FORCES IN KOREA AND THE INTEGRATED FORCE IN EUROPE|
28. The Minister of National Defence, referring to the discussions in Cabinet on December 28, 1950, January 24, 1951 and February 1, 1951, said that, when the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee had been in Washington on February 19th, he had conferred with General Bradley, Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Collins, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, regarding Canadian Army contributions to the United Nations forces in Korea and to the Integrated Force in Western Europe.43
29. The Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee recalled that, originally, a brigade group had been offered to the United Nations, subject to completion of training, and that the offer had been accepted. In November, when it appeared that the action in Korea would end shortly, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff had indicated that one battalion for occupation duties would be the total Canadian Army requirement in Korea. While the State Department was considering confirmation of this view to the Canadian Government, the situation in Korea had deteriorated as a result of the Chinese assault and it had taken no further action. The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, had then been despatched to Korea and the rest of the Canadian Brigade Group had remained at Fort Lewis, Washington, to complete its training.
During his discussions with General Bradley on February 19th, the latter had indicated that the Chinese had recently had a serious set-back in Korea. The line had been stabilized, although it was not an unbroken line and allowed for considerable manoeuvring by both sides. Chinese casualties had been very heavy. The position of the U.N. forces was quite good. Their morale and training had greatly improved under General Ridgway, although the South Korean divisions were still not dependable. The U.S. troops had been reorganized into two corps and were now much better soldiers. Because of the gaps in the front and the instability of the South Korean troops, Chinese infiltration behind U.N. formations was now quite normal but a technique had been developed for relieving surrounded U.N. troops after a considerable toll had been taken of the Chinese. Chinese equipment was still primitive.
The Unified Command intended to fight a war of attrition roughly in the present position and, although amphibious attacks and thrusts through the enemy land front might be made continuously, no general advance was planned. The aim was to demonstrate to the Communists that their superiority in numbers was to no avail against determined troops with first-class equipment. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff hoped that, as a result, the Communists might think twice before initiating any other operations in Asia. While realizing that these tactics might create a stalemate in Korea, they felt that, if they could take a sufficient toll of the Communists, the latter might be more ready to negotiate a settlement. General Bradley did not anticipate any major campaigns by the Communists before June, when movement of the heavy equipment of the U.N. forces would be difficult.
General Bradley considered that, while General Ridgway was able to hold the Communists, he still had no troops to spare and was running considerable risks with the South Koreans. It was not possible for his troops to be relieved from the line to rest. The Americans were sending to Korea eight additional artillery regiments, as well as 25,000 reinforcements. They had no intention of sending further formations but would keep their units up to strength. For the last month U.N. casualties had been light, but the divisions had never been built up since the disastrous withdrawal from North Korea.
General Bradley had expressed to him the view that the Canadians should fulfil their offer to send a full brigade group to Korea in spite of the desirability of despatching forces immediately to the Integrated Force. He had pointed out that the other nations concerned had made good their offers and had suggested that it would be misunderstood in both military and political circles if the U.N. troops engaged in Korea had to continue to fight without rest and the Canadian offer remained unfulfilled.
As regards plans for U.S. contributions to the Integrated Force, one division would be sent in April, one in the latter part of June, one in September, and possibly one in November. These would be only half-trained and would have to complete their training in Europe. General Bradley thought that any Canadian contribution would be very acceptable. He had suggested that it might be despatched to Europe in one of the periods between the sailings of the U.S. divisions, and that August might be soon enough for this movement.
He had emphasized to General Bradley Canada's difficulty in both meeting the commitment in Korea and providing one-third of a division for Europe, with the reinforcement problem in Korea and the problem of rotation in Europe after eighteen months. General Bradley had commented that he could not visualize the present Korean situation continuing that long.
General Bradley had mentioned to him that, while General MacArthur was confident that the Communists in Japan would not make much headway, there was anxiety over reports that Japanese prisoners in Russian hands had been formed into divisions in northeast Manchuria. As these troops might make a move against Japan, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff were considering sending two half-trained divisions to bolster Japan while the Korean situation lasted. If the Korean war were brought to an end, it was intended to post four divisions to Japan.
General Collins, whom he had seen next, had expressed the same views as General Bradley with regard to Korea, and had said that he could not recommend to the Unified Command that the remainder of the Canadian brigade group was not required there.
General Collins had mentioned that the situation in Yugoslavia was giving considerable concern, there being some possibility of a move against that country this spring. General Collins had enquired whether any surplus Canadian equipment could be supplied to Yugoslavia and had been informed that it was all committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Tito, with whose staff the Americans had had talks, had indicated that any equipment provided from Western sources should be supplied as quietly as possible. As the Yugoslavs preferred Soviet equipment, such equipment of that type as was being captured in Korea was being passed on to the Yugoslavs.44
After his discussions with Generals Bradley and Collins, he had talked with the Standing Group and warned it that Canada would have to re-examine the timing of its contribution to the Integrated Force in the light of the request for more troops for Korea.
30. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said that, on February 19th, the State Department had confirmed the report given to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, that the Unified Command had been considering the force requirements for Korea in the light of the strategy of stabilizing the front and carrying on a campaign of attrition in the hope that this would induce the Chinese Communist Government to negotiate a satisfactory settlement. In so doing, the State Department had conveyed to the Embassy in Washington an official request from the Unified Command that the Canadian Government consider (a) announcing at an early date an intention to send to Korea further contingents of the Special Force, which was expected to complete its training at Fort Lewis by April 1st, and (b) having these contingents leave for Korea prior to completion of their training. Further, it had been explained to the Embassy that the Unified Command desired additional force contributions by other U.N. members in view of the importance of maintaining the U.N. character of the operation. It was therefore making similar approaches to several other members, including Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico.
In view of Canada's offer of a brigade group, it appeared desirable to comply with the request of the Unified Command. He thought the Unified Command might be unduly optimistic about the possibilities of an aggressive war of attrition bringing Communist China to terms in the near future.
31. General Foulkes did not think the Chinese were likely to make an early withdrawal from Korea. To permit this, however, they might re-equip the North Koreans who would then be able to maintain a stiff opposition. The Americans were anxious to reduce their commitments in Korea as soon as possible, with a view to concentrating their efforts in Western Europe. To this end they might possibly build up the South Korean forces with heavy equipment.
32. Mr. Claxton said that the Canadian troops at Fort Lewis were in an advanced state of training. Their Commanding Officer would be in Ottawa on February 28th, when he could be consulted as to their readiness for despatch to Korea.
33. General Foulkes suggested that, since this request was bound to leak out in Washington, and as the U.S. authorities knew that the Canadians at Fort Lewis were far better trained than the U.S. troops that had been sent to Korea, it would be advantageous to announce, as soon as possible, the despatch of further elements of the Special Force.
34. The Prime Minister said that, as Canada had offered a full brigade group and the Unified Command had now officially requested the despatch of the remainder of it to Korea, it appeared very desirable to agree to the request promptly. While the Unified Command was perhaps somewhat optimistic about the prospects in Korea, it appeared to have adopted the only strategy open to it in present circumstances. Its request for additional troops from Canada and a number of other U.N. members was apparently being made not only because reinforcements were needed but, also, in the not unreasonable hope that, if the Chinese Communists saw that an impressive proportion of the United Nations were determined to prevent their aggression from succeeding, they would be more inclined to recognize the futility of their campaign and agree to negotiate a reasonable settlement.
35. The Committee, after further discussion, noted the reports of the Secretary of State for External Affairs and the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, regarding the request of the Unified Command for an early announcement that additional contingents of the Canadian Army Special Force be sent to Korea and that they be despatched before completion of their training at Fort Lewis on April 1st, and agreed to recommend to Cabinet the despatch to Korea, as soon as possible, of the remainder of the 25th Brigade Group originally offered to the United Nations; the early announcement of this plan; and notification of it to the Unified Command, through the State Department45
43 Voir le document 505./See Document 505.
44 Voir le document 505./See Document 505.
45 Approuvee par le Cabinet, le 21 et 22 f6vrier 1951./Approved by Cabinet on February 21 and 22, 1951.