Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, a few days ago the hon. member for Algoma East (Mr. Pearson) asked for a statement in connection with the subject of defence co-operation between Canada and the United States, and I propose on this occasion to make such a statement. I do not think the present is the occasion for a more lengthy statement than I am about to give, but the opportunity will come later on during the estimates to discuss this question at length. I am prepared, however, to sketch in general terms the basic framework of our defence co-operation with the United States.
As the house is aware, the machinery of defence co-operation between Canada and the United States had its origin in what is known as the Ogdensburg declaration of August, 1940, by the president of the United States and the then prime minister of Canada, Mr. Mackenzie King, foreshadowing the development of the closest defence collaboration between the United States and Canada. Arrangements arising out of this declaration were effective during the last war in the political, military and supply fields.
In November, 1945, the United States government forwarded a request to the Canadian government urging that the collaboration in defence which had been so effective during the days of war should be maintained; that Canada and the United States should agree to the continuance of the permanent joint board on defence which had been established in August, 1940, and set up military arrangements to ensure the continuance of close cooperation of the defence forces of both countries in the defence of Canada and the United States. It was agreed that the permanent joint board on defence would be continued and a military co-operation committee would be set up, directly responsible to the chiefs of staff in each country, to discuss and process joint measures for the defence of Canada and the United States.
Following negotiations in the permanent joint board of defence, there emerged a joint statement of principles approved by the two 96698-68
governments laying down in broad terms the conditions governing the continuing partnership in defence of the two countries. These conditions and principles were announced in the House of Commons on February 12, 1957. Defence co-operation and collaboration between Canada and the United States has therefore continued without a break and with continuing impetus since 1940.
When Canada and the United States signed the North Atlantic treaty, the arrangements and procedures for defence collaboration were continued under the Canada-United States regional planning group as one of the regional groupings of NATO.
I would emphasize that the only restrictions which exist in defence collaboration are those imposed by law and not by desire. This limitation is only in the field of thermonuclear weapons, and is mainly concerned with the composition, construction and manufacturing techniques of nuclear weapons. The house will realize that the manufacture of nuclear weapons is not an urgent defence requirement for Canada. On June 15, 1955, by means of an exchange of notes, agreement was reached between the government of Canada and the government of the United States for co-operation in the atomic field for mutual defence purposes. At that time agreement was reached that each government would make available to the other government atomic information deemed necessary to:
(a) the development of defence plans;
(b) the training of personnel in the employment of defence against atomic weapons; and
(c) the evaluation of the capabilities of potential enemies in the employment of atomic weapons.
The finalizing of this agreement in this very important field was followed by the participation of Canadian military personnel in United States exercises involving thermonuclear explosions, so Canadian troops could be trained in the procedures for decontamination of personnel and vehicles and the detection of radiation resulting from these kinds of explosions. In short, there exists today the fullest co-operation in all aspects of military operations in areas where atomic weapons may be used.
In President Eisenhower's statement of November 7, to which the hon. member for
Algoma East made reference, the President made particular reference to Canada-United States partnership in the construction of our continental defence system. Collaboration in air defence was undertaken soon after the close of the last war, and a joint effort was made to develop a comprehensive air defence system for the common defence of North America. This system, concerning which the house has been fully informed, comprises an aircraft control and warning radar installation in the southern part of Canada, known as the "Pinetree" system, which was jointly built and is jointly operated by Canada and the United States. This was followed by the joint arrangement for the construction of the mid-Canada line and the distant early warning line, and a common communications system. For administrative convenience these projects were constructed separately by each government, but they are operated along with the "Pinetree" chain as a complete early warning and interceptor system. In order to work out these intricate air defence problems of an operational and scientific nature, a joint Canadian-United States military study group consisting of service officers and scientists was set up.
One result of studies conducted by this group was a recommendation made to the chiefs of staff of both countries in December, 1956, for the establishment of a joint headquarters to provide for the operational control of the air defence of Canada and the United States. These recommendations of the joint study group were approved by the chiefs of staff of both countries and the United States Secretary of Defence approved these measures early in April.
This bilateral arrangement within the Canada-United States regional planning group of NATO is a further step in achieving the agreed NATO objectives for the Canada-United States regional planning group, which are as follows:
(a) to provide an effective base for and effective protection of the strategic nuclear counter-offensive capability;
(b) maintenance of an effective early warning and air defensive system.
This arrangement within the Canada-United States regional planning group was reported by both countries to the NATO council before it was made public.
It is realized that this comprehensive air defence system is a defence against the manned bomber, and it was recognized some time ago that steps should be taken to provide for defence against the further threat of the intercontinental ballistic missile. As early as July, 1956, negotiations were commenced for joint collaboration in the study
of methods and procedures for dealing with defence against the ICBM. The defence research board, in collaboration with the United States air force, has undertaken a substantial research program which will aid in solving the problems of producing a warning system and defence against the ICBM. Research studies, including field and laboratory studies, of the factors which will make feasible the radar detection of an ICBM warhead and the interception of this warhead by a destructive missile are now being thoroughly and jointly investigated.
The radar to be installed in Saskatchewan is part of this activity. It is worthy of note that this radar has been loaned by the United States to be operated by the research workers of the defence research board as part of our contribution to the research against this new and serious threat. It is our intention to follow up very closely this joint development and to give this project of creating a defence against the ballistic missile high priority in our defence program.
Other joint efforts of considerable significance are the projects for the development of defensive measures against the missilecarrying submarine, including new long-range submarine detection techniques and improved methods of destroying submarines. These measures are being developed by the two navies, in an effort to combat the threat of missile attacks against North American ports and installations.
There is consultation and co-operation on defence on all levels. Officers of all services are integrated into the major schools and training establishments of all services in the United States. The cold weather testing of United States and Canadian weapons, including missiles, is carried out at the Canadian test station at Churchill, Manitoba. While co-operation in these fields is indeed very extensive, there are other areas where more joint work can be done, and we intend to fully explore further co-operation and consultation in these important fields of defence and particularly research and development.
I think that generally summarizes the situation, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of National Defence will deal more fully with the question of collaboration with the United States, as I said at the beginning, when the estimates are before the house.
Subtopic: U.S.-CANADA STATEMENT ON DEFENCE CO-OPERATION