Volume #13 - 222.|
LE CANADA ET UN MONDE BIPOLAIRE
Note du chef de la Deuxième direction politique|
pour le sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 13 février 1947|
POLITICAL APPRECIATION OF THE PROSPECTS OF SOVIET AGGRESSION AGAINST NORTH AMERICA|
The J.I.C. is preparing for the Chiefs of Staff a memorandum on possible forms and scale of attack upon the North American Continent. The memorandum, which is being prepared by the J.I.C., starts with a description of the problems set by the J.I.C. for the Chiefs of Staff, goes on to demonstrate that the only likely aggressor is the U.S.S.R. and then summarizes the conclusions reached by the J.I.C.
2. Attached to the report will be a number of appendices on the following factors: political; economic; geographical; manpower; army, navy and airforce; defence research; and subversive activities. Of these appendices the first two are being prepared in this Department and the last one by the R.C.M.P.; the others are being prepared by National Defence.
3. Our representatives on the J.I.C. have taken as a basis for their paper on political factors the memorandum prepared by Mr. Ritchie in December [sic] for the Prime Minister, in view of the defence talks with the United States.' I attach my copy of this memorandum together with the summary prepared by Mr. Teakles of this Division.
4. A couple of days ago we had a discussion on Mr. Ritchie's paper. There were present Mr. Wilgress, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Crean, Mr. Teakles and myself. In the light of that discussion, Mr. Teakles is revising the paper.
5. Mr. Ritchie's paper was, of course, written not for the purpose for which we now intend to use it but for a different purpose. My feeling is, after our discussion a couple of days ago, that in its present form, even with revisions, it might mislead the Chiefs of Staff because it assumes a comprehension of the complexities of the problem which, because of their special training, they may not possess.
6. It has therefore occurred to me that it might be useful if we were to insert a general introduction to our paper on political appreciation. I have tried my hand at preparing such a general introduction and attach a draft, which is dated February 13.
7. In view of the importance of the problems dealt with in this political appreciation and because it, along with the other memoranda being prepared by the J.I.C., will influence the recommendations of the Chiefs of Staff on the nature and extent of Canadian defence activities, I hope that you may find it possible to read my memorandurn and let me have your suggestions for revision.
8. I am sending a copy of my note to you and of the attached memorandum to Mr. Wilgress, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Crean and Mr. Teakles, and am asking them for their suggestions for revision. I have spoken to Mr. Wilgress, who feels as I do that our role on the J.I.C. is to emphasize considerations that do not occur to the military mind.
Note du chef de la Deuxième direction politique
[Ottawa], February 13, 1947
POLITICAL APPRECIATION OF THE PROSPECTS OF SOVIET AGGRESSION AGAINST NORTH AMERICA
This memorandum is divided into four parts: a general introduction; a discussion of the prospects of Soviet aggression during the next decade; a discussion of the prospects of Soviet aggression ten to twenty-five years from now; and a conclusion.
2. What we are concerned with in this memorandum is the possibility of war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Such a war might be deliberately embarked on by either side or it might occur as the result of a succession of accidents. In this memorandum, the possibility of the United States taking the initiative in provoking such a war is disregarded, though the concept of a preventive war has been a subject of discussion in the United States. The question at issue so far as this memorandum is concerned is, therefore, the likelihood of the Soviet Union provoking a war with the United States or stumbling into such a war. For reasons which are developed later in this memorandum, it is believed that the chances of the Soviet Union stumbling into a war with the United States are remote. A war, if one comes, is likely to arise out of a deliberate decision on the part of the Soviet governing class.
3. Given the nature of that governing class, it is highly improbable that they would embark on a course which might lead to war with the United States unless, in their opinion, (a) the balance of forces in the world was such that their chances of winning the war were much greater than the chances of defeat or of a stalemate; or (b) even though their chances of victory were no more than even, the balance was constantly tipping more and more against them and they feared that unless they precipitated a preventive war, they would soon be at the mercy of the United States.
4. To try to assess the balance of forces at any given time is an extremely difficult task since on either side of the balance there are so many imponderables. It is not only a question of the possession of arms and armaments, strategic positions, and industrial potential; it is also a question of the willingness of the nations concerned to use their armed forces. Since modern war has to be waged with the total force of a country, it is also essential to take into consideration the unity or disunity of each country in the event of the outbreak of a first-class war and this unity, particularly in the kind of war under discussion, would depend in part on what people in each of the Western countries felt about the issues at stake and the incidents which had precipitated hostilities. Thus it is difficult to assess the nature of the balance today and impossible to assess, with any degree of precision, the nature of the balance at any given time within the next ten or twenty-five years.
5. One factor which is clearly important in trying to assess the nature of the balance in the future is the ability of either of the main combatant states to secure, either by force or persuasion, allies or friendly neutrals. The Soviet Union is today posing as the principal defender of the rights of coloured and colonial peoples. It would seem probable that, if the Western powers are unable to remove racial discriminations rapidly and to satisfy the demands of colonial peoples for self-government, the Western powers may have the great majority of the colonial and coloured peoples hostile or unfriendly to them in the event of war with the Soviet Union. In this context the term "colonial peoples" may well include a considerable section of Latin America, as well as the whole of Asia and Africa and the South West Pacific.
6. The sympathies of the peoples of Western Europe would undoubtedly be divided in the event of a Soviet-American war and, moreover, it is possible that, by the time such a war occurred, Soviet-dominated governments might have succeeded in securing power in such countries as Greece, Italy and France.
7. Even within the hard core of the present Western alliance which exists in fact, though not on paper, (the United States, the Commonwealth, the Netherlands, and Belgium), there would be differences of opinion within each country in the event of a Soviet-American war and it is impossible to forecast how large and influential a group in each country would either be pro-Soviet or neutral. This depends, in part, on whether during the next ten years or so the governments of the Western powers, and particularly the United States, are able to take measures to prevent serious economic depressions and whether they can convince their peoples that they are in the right should war occur. A dissident minority in a Soviet-American war would not for the most part be pacifists; they would be saboteurs and even rebels. Already Soviet sympathizers have secured a large measure of control of the trade unions in certain communications industries which are vital for war.
8. Thus, what we are dealing with in any discussion of the balance of forces between the Soviet world and the Western world are not for the most part "hard facts" but the imponderable things which go on in the minds of men.
9. Moreover, a decision to go to war or to embark on a course knowing that it may lead to war is a decision which is made in the minds of men. The reality with which we arc concerned is not the imponderable balance of power but the picture of that imponderable balance in the minds of the members of the governing class of the Soviet Union. What matters is not the actual balance but what people in authority think is the balance.
10. In order to avoid the grave dangers of over-simplification, it is also necessary to keep constantly in mind that an armed attack against North America is scarcely likely to occur until after North America has been subjected to a softening-up process and a nibbling-away at its outer ring of defences. If the Soviet Union is resolved on aggression against the United States, it will most certainly pursue its orthodox policy of constantly probing for the weak spots in the outer ring of defences of the United States. When it finds a weak spot, that is to say a spot which it has decided it can secure control of without running the danger of precipitating a war, it will secure that control. Thus if it were to discover that it could secure control of Spitsbergen, it would in due course probe to find out whether it could safely advance its area of control farther west across the North Atlantic bridge. Similarly, it will continue to probe in the Middle East, in China, in Europe, Africa and Latin America. At the same time, it will try through its many propaganda agencies to soften up opinion in the United States and other countries. On the assumption that the Soviet Union is out to secure domination of the world, it is clear that the Soviet Union's ambition would be to secure that domination without recourse to a first-class war. The Soviet Union does not want to inherit a desert but a going concern. The Soviet Union would therefore hope to secure domination as the result of a gradual extension of power - an extension of political power over adjoining territory, an extension of economic power, an extension of power over the minds of men - until the balance was so weighted in its favour that the governments of the remaining Western powers would become more and more under its influence, and would finally become subservient.
11. No attempt is made in this memorandum even to guess at a future more remote than twenty-five years from now. The chances of the maintenance of peace between the Soviet Union and the United States during the whole of that twenty-five year period are not bright. It is, however, not unreasonable to hope that, if we can maintain peace for twenty-five years - even though it is an uneasy peace full of friction and crises - the situation at the end of that twenty-five year period will be much better than it is today, provided that the balance of power has not by then tipped too far in favour of the Soviet Union. After a certain time - we do not know how long, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years - the chances of a Soviet-American war will probably lessen with every year that passes.
1Cette note, qui porte la date du 30 novembre 1946, est reproduite dans le volume 12, le document 994.