November 13, 1957

HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATES

OFFICIAL REPORT


Wednesday, November 13, 1957


NATIONAL DEFENCE

U.S.-CANADA STATEMENT ON DEFENCE CO-OPERATION

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

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

National Defence

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.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   U.S.-CANADA STATEMENT ON DEFENCE CO-OPERATION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Algoma East):

Mr. Speaker, I realize, of course, that this is not the occasion on which to discuss the statement the Prime Minister has just made. However, I should like to thank him for that review of the situation and to express

the hope that the detailed consideration of the extremely important matter to which he referred will take place before long.

Interesting as his statement has been, Mr. Speaker, it certainly has not answered a great many of the questions in our minds concerning particularly the North American command, or NORAD, as it is called, and the implications of the action that has been taken by the government in regard to continental defence under that command. I refer to military implications and indeed political implications.

We on this side of the house realize that on a question of this kind which is of such great importance to Canada, to the United States and to NATO, we should act with a maximum degree of unanimity. But before we can secure that unanimity, Mr. Speaker, we must have all the available information and particularly the information with regard to the alteration, if there is any alteration, in the responsibility of the Canadian government for the actions of Canadian troops, and also the relationship of this command to NATO.

I notice that reference has been made to that relationship but not, if I may say so, in a form which gives me any clear indication that this command has any direction relationship to NATO whatever, or not in the sense that that relationship was established after debate and discussion in this house, as was done in so far as sending Canadian troops to Europe was concerned. The information we have received up to the present time has been inadequate, so far as I am concerned. After more complete information has been received I hope all the doubts we have will be removed, and that we on this side of the house will be able to support any move for continental defence in the interests of both countries and therefore in the interests of peace.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, if I may say a further word, my hon. friend says there was not sufficiently full information placed before the house, and I feel I should answer that immediately so there will be no misunderstanding.

I would like to point out that those who served in the cabinet of the present the right hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. St. Laurent) had full information on this matter. Indeed as far back as May 11, 1956, there was an agreement between the chiefs of staff to refer to the joint study group the integration of operational control of the continental air defence of the United States and Canada in peacetime. They supported the principle of a single commander under collective security arrangements which had been well 96698-68i

National Defence

established by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with the examples of the supreme allied commander in Europe and the supreme allied commander for the Atlantic having operational control over all assigned forces.

I would also like to point this out in answer to my hon. friend. He may not have had the information, but these things occurred during the time the government of which he was a member was in power. On the 18th day of February, 1957, after full consideration of the matter, the then minister of national defence recommended the establishment of an integrated operational control system for the air defence of Canada, the United States and Alaska under a single commander, with a reminder that the United States should recognize "the need for adequate consultation with the Canadian authorities on matters which might lead to the alerting of the air defence system". He spoke for the cabinet on that occasion.

On February 28, 1957, the minister asked that the deputy commander should be a Canadian, and he stated at that time that he anticipated government approval would be given to the arrangement, which "we" brought into effect, on the 15th day of March, 1957.

However, on that date the matter was withdrawn and on March 24, on instructions from the then minister of national defence, officers proceeded to Washington to advise the United States chiefs of staff that there was no disagreement on the part of the then government regarding the plan but that it would not be possible to give formal approval, for it was intimated that the matter might become a political issue and it was not considered advisable to have the formal approval until such time as it was not a political issue. So on the 26th day of April the then minister of national defence cleared a dispatch to the United States pointing out that a decision, while there was no probability of any change, could not be expected until June 15.

I thought my hon. friend must have forgotten those facts-

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   U.S.-CANADA STATEMENT ON DEFENCE CO-OPERATION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, no.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   U.S.-CANADA STATEMENT ON DEFENCE CO-OPERATION
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

-because they deal comprehensively with the arrangements which were entered into.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, perhaps in

view of the importance of this matter and in view of the facts or the details put on the record by the Prime Minister in the statement he has just now made, I might be permitted to add a word.

I think if the Prime Minister will do a little more research into the proceedings of the cabinet defence committee and the cabinet

Inquiries of the Ministry he will discover that while all these matters about which he has spoken were considered and, I think, approved by the officers of the Department of National Defence and perhaps, though I have not all the details, by the minister of national defence, that is not the same as to say that they were approved or even considered by either the cabinet defence committee or even by the cabinet. If the Prime Minister will look up the records of the cabinet he will find out,

I think, that this particular matter which was approved so quickly after the election by the government of the right hon. gentleman was not considered in any way, shape or form by the cabinet defence committee or by the cabinet, and no decision can therefore have been taken with regard to it.

Topic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Subtopic:   U.S.-CANADA STATEMENT ON DEFENCE CO-OPERATION
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INQUIRY AS TO REDUCTION IN EXPENDITURES


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the reported statement of Lieutenant General Simonds that if the $300 million wasted on that dead duck the CF-105 had been used to stockpile Canadian wheat in Europe it would have been spent to much greater advantage? Has the Prime Minister considered a substantial reduction in current military expenditures, and would he consider using any moneys thus saved to stockpile wheat in Europe, or otherwise to give economic assistance to the free nations?

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO REDUCTION IN EXPENDITURES
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

I have not seen the report of

the speech by Lieutenant General Simonds or the opinions allegedly expressed by him. After all, it is a matter of opinion. If he did express what has been stated by my hon. friend it is a matter that would have to be considered in all its implications before any answer could be given to it.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO REDUCTION IN EXPENDITURES
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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

I wonder whether the Prime Minister might answer that part of my question which asked if a reduction in current military expenditures had been considered, and whether such a reduction would be used for economic assistance by way of wheat stockpiling or otherwise.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I think hon. members will agree that if they receive an answer to their question, whether or not it is a satisfactory answer, they should not attempt to improve the situation by asking the question again; because there is no right on the part of hon. members to insist upon an answer.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Argue:

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to you that I was merely repeating my question to the minister, which I submit he had

not answered. If he considers it answered, that is perfectly all right by me.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I understood that it is part of the question that the hon. member is repeating. I was suggesting that this is not a regular procedure, and I ask the hon. member not to push the matter further.

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UNITED NATIONS

November 13, 1957