Volume #14 - 954.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTATS-UNIS
AUTRES QUESTIONS MILITAIRES
POLITIQUE RELATIVE À LA DÉFENSE COMMUNE DU CANADA ET DES ÉTATS-UNIS ET PLAN CENTRAL DE SÉCURITÉ
Extrait du procès-verbal de la réunion du Comité des chefs d'état-major et le ministre de la Défense nationale|
le 22 janvier 1948|
CANADA-U.S. JOINT DEFENCE ARRANGEMENTS|
1. The Minister of National Defence stated that, during his recent visit to Washington, in discussion with Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Symington and otherS, he had discovered that there was very little real understanding in the United States of the respective responsibilities in the formulation of defence policy of the various Canadian agencies; in fact, no two people in Washington seemed to have the same concept of the role and function of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence. He had therefore prepared, in memorandum form, a review of the roles and responsibilities of the Canadian agencies concerned, and felt that some statement of the Canadian position along these lines should be forwarded to the responsible U.S. authorities to eliminate any possible misunderstanding. At the same time, it would be desirable to carefully review the roles presently assigned to the Canadian agencies to ensure that these were in fact clear-cut and suitable. A third point which should be given serious thought at this time was the extent to which Canada was being involved with the United States in joint defence planning. Despite conditions already placed on acceptance of these plans to date, it was undoubtedly true that the U.S. authorities interpreted these acceptances as involving tacit, if not complete, approval on the part of the Canadian Government. It would be difficult, therefore, at a later stage to reject implementation programmes, even though they were greatly increased in scope, on the basis that the Plan itself had been approved, not by the Government but by the Chiefs of Staff and for planning purposes only.
On the United States side, it was evident that the Secretary for Defence and the Secretary for Air, to name two of the civilian defence authorities, were quite unfamiliar with the Canada-U.S. Basic Security Plan, and the implementation programmes which it involved. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff had apparently proceeded in this matter on their own authority without reference to the responsible Ministers. This situation, of course, had not arisen in Canada, but it made it all the more necessary that the U.S. authorities be made fully aware of the Canadian position. The increased measures of air preparedness recommended by the U.S. Finletto34 committee, if accepted by the U.S. Government, would seem certain to call for a much more extensive and rapid programme in Canada. This, of course, had important implications insofar as Canadian participation was concerned and made it essential from the Canadian point of view that we know how this fitted into the overall strategic plan. These enquiries could best be carried out on the military level.
Mr. Claxton, continuing, asked if the Canadian planning representatives on the Military Co-operation Committee did not in fact allow the U.S. Services, because of their greater resources, to initially prepare most of the Plan, Canadian participation thus being confined to acceptance or rejection and whatever modification seemed desirable from the Canadian point of view. Further, did the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff take a substantial interest in this Plan, or did they leave it mainly to their junior staffs? This would be understandable in view of the comparatively small part which this planning played in their overall responsibilities.
2. The Chief of the Air Staff observed that he had been very closely associated with this planning prior to his present appointment and that it was his experience that the Canadian Planners had, in most cases, contributed at least as much to the Plan as the U.S. Planners. It was therefore a joint plan in every respect. Also, he knew that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff did have a full knowledge of the planning taking place. This had been demonstrated in discussions on the Sea Lines of Communication Appendix when, during disagreement between the U.S. Service Planners, each had stated that he was bound by instructions from his own Chief of Staff on that particular aspect. In Canada, each of the Planners was also guided by the views of his own Chief of Staff.
The U.S. Services undoubtedly placed more emphasis on the importance of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence than did the Canadian Services. It had a particular value in the United States in that it provided a direct channel to the President which was not otherwise available.
3. The Secretary, Cabinet Defence Committee, reported that, though the U.S. members of the Military Co-operation Committee and the Permanent Joint Board on Defence were fully aware of the distinction made between plans and implementation programmes, they had. as far as he knew, taken no action to acquaint higher authorities with this distinction. It might therefore be desirable to now ensure that they did take it up with the responsible authorities.
It appeared, further, that the U.S. Services were making more direct use of the Plan for budgetary purposes, whereas in Canada budgetary requirements resulted only from implementation programmes. It had also been proposed by the U.S. authorities that they circulate the Plan to Area Commanders in order that detailed area plans might be worked out with their `opposite numbers" in Canada. This did not seem reasonable from the Canadian point of view since the Plan was prepared without any relation to existing resources. If detailed area plans were desirable al this stage, they should presumably be based on an interim plan, utilizing resources currently available.
4. The Secretary to the Cabinet observed that it appeared that the U.S. was attempting to make use of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence for purposes other than those for which it was intended. Certainly, in respect of joint defence planning, the Canadian Government had assigned the responsibility, directly and exclusively, to the Chiefs of Staff and it was not therefore within the responsibilities of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence. It seemed, however, as though the U.S. authorities had not fully recognized this fact and were attempting to use the Permanent Joint Board on Defence as an alternative direct channel to the Government. The direct channels of communication between the U.S. and Canadian military members of the Board seemed also to be the cause of some confusion. Probably the holding of Board meetings less frequently would be a step in the right direction.
5. The Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs pointed out that the Board had a very positive political value. It seemed, however, that its practical value was diminishing. As far as the respective functions and responsibilities of the various agencies in planning were concerned, it would probably be impossible to devise perfect machinery which would meet equally well the requirements of the constituted authorities on both sides of the border. Probably it would be possible only to make sure that our representatives in these joint groups fully understood the Canadian position, the particular Canadian problems and the position to be taken. It was evident that they would spend a good deal of time on the defensive, resisting U.S. pressures, but this was unavoidable. The distinction made between planning and implementation and approval thereof, though perfectly valid from the Canadian point of view, might not appear valid in the United States, and it would be difficult to convince the U.S. authorities that the Canadian Government was not committed by the acceptance of these joint plans by the Chiefs of Staff.
6. The Chief of the General Staff observed that the chief value of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence seemed to be in providing another direct channel to the two Governments. Certainly the Permanent Joint Board on Defence had no responsibility for planning. In order to avoid any action on the part of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence (in particular its military members) which would conflict with recognized policy, it was suggested that two courses of action be followed:
(a) the military members of the Board be carefully briefed by the Chiefs of Staff before their meetings; and
(b) discussion at the Board be restricted to those items which had been previously circulated on the agenda (this would prevent discussion and decision on items for which the military members had received no briefmg).
Insofar as present responsibilities were concerned, it seemed perfectly reasonable for the Chiefs of Staff to be directly responsible for plans. This was normal in that it had always been the practice in the Services to prepare a number of plans which were not normally submitted to the Government for approval unless and until they required implementation. A similar situation existed in respect of the Canada-U.S. defence planning and this was the basis on which the Chiefs of Staff had been directed to proceed. Nevertheless, the Chiefs of Staff had advised the Government of the principles which were being applied in preparing the implementation programmes, including the conditions placed on acceptance of the planned period of implementation to provide flexibility in accelerating or decelerating implementation programmes. Since the Canadian responsibilities seemed clear it should be necessary only to reiterate these for the benefit of the U.S. authorities.
7. The Chairman, Defence Research Board, pointed out that it would be important, in delineating responsibilities of the various agencies, to ensure that the Military Co-operation Committee and the Permanent Joint Board on Defence fully appreciated that they did not have any executive responsibilities or authority in respect of the implementation of the Plan. Any executive action required to implement the Plan should be taken through normal staff channels. It did not appear that this restriction on their responsibilities was at all times clearly understood.
8. During discussion on the third point raised by the Minister (namely, the extent to which Canada was being involved with the United States in joint defence planning, which necessarily involved the part which this plan played in the overall U.S. strategic plan, the implications of the Finletter report, etc.), the following comments were made.
9. The Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs remarked that he had heard references made to a "master plan" and that, in his opinion, the United Kingdom had some knowledge of and perhaps some part in this plan..
10.The Chief of the General Staff stated that, so far as he knew, there was no allied strategic plan as yet. In fact, the only joint strategic concept so far evolved had been developed in standardization discussions in Washington between United Kingdom, United States and Canadian Service representatives. Undoubtedly, however, our present joint plan with the United States was unrealistic in that it was concerned only with defensive measures, These would need to be related to possible offensive measures and a broad strategic concept.
11. The Chairman, Defence Research Board, observed that planning seemed to be proceeding along two separate lines, based on two distinct assumptions. These assumptions were:
(a) that the use of forces outside Canada would, in general, follow the pattern of the last war; and
(b) that the peacetime defensive/offensive arrangements in Canadian territory alone would be beyond Canada's capacities to provide by herself, even if she diverted all her efforts and resources to this one task.
It would, of course, be for the Government to decide whether Canada should confine her efforts to defensive preparations on Canadian soil, towards which she could probably make a substantial contribution, or divide her efforts, in which case it appeared unlikely that she could make a substantial contribution in either field.
Regardless of the Government decision made on the course of action to be followed, it would appear that a meeting between the Canadian Chiefs of Staff Committee and the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff would be useful. It would not only ensure that the United States understood the Canadian position, but would provide a means for the Chiefs of Staff to have knowledge of the overall U.S. strategic plan.
12.The Chief of the Air Staff stated that the Air Force had consistently held the view that it would be beyond Canadian resources to make an effective contribution in peacetime to a strategic bombing force in view of the tremendous cost now represented by strategic bomber aircraft, both in respect of initial outlay and continued maintenance. Furthermore, the defensive/offensive installations required in Canada would undoubtedly be of such a scope that they would require the full efforts of the Canadian Services and economy to maintain. It was nevertheless important that Canada be fully aware of and a participant in the overall strategic plan.
In his opinion, the war would not be fought on the same basis as the First and Second World Wars. It would be impossible for the United States and Britain initially to conduct effective land operations in a European theatre. The war would therefore be won or lost in its very early stages by direct air attacks on the vital centres of the countries concerned.
13. The Chief of the General Staff stated that, in his view, the air attack would undoubtedly be important in the early stages, but that there was nothing to indicate that the war otherwise would not follow much the same course as all wars had previously. The teachings of military history confirmed the view that wars were eventually won or lost on the ground.
14. The Chairman, Defence Research Board, stated that he was in general agreement with the views expressed by the Chief of the Air Staff and was firmly of the opinion that the war would be won or lost in the early stages by direct attacks on the vital centres of the countries concerned. These attacks might be with atomic bombs, biological weapons or sorne other weapon, but the tremendously increased destructiveness of these weapons made it virtually certain that, unless war occurred within the next two or three years, they would be determining factors and the war would be either won or lost before any substantial conflict on the ground developed.
15. The Chief of the Naval Staff indicated agreement with the concept that the war in the air would be important in the early stages, but that this would be followed by naval and land action in a similar way to previous wars.
16. The Secretary to the Cabinet observed that, despite any views which were held in Canada on the subject, our relatively small size in comparison to the United States might result in our conforming in general to whatever overall strategic plan the United States wished to follow.
17. It was agreed, after further discussion:
(a) that, in general, the respective responsibilities of the Canadian agencies concerned in defence planning, as presently assigned, were satisfactory, though care should be taken to ensure that the Military Co-operation Committee and the Permanent Joint Board on Defence did not undertake functions outside their present terms of reference; but
(b) that these arrangements, together with any proposals for their improvement, be reported on by the Chiefs of Staff to the Cabinet Defence Committee and at that time consideration be given to further steps which might be taken to ensure that the United States authorities are fully aware of and in agreement with the procedures being followed.
34Air Policy Commission.