May I put the question this way? What would happen if there was action in Formosa or off Formosa between the United States and the communist regime in China, and as a result of that action in the Far East there were steps taken by the communist regime in China which indicated an air threat to this continent and General Partridge interpreted it as such? Would he then have authority to put the continental air defences into operation, including the Canadian element of his command?
I am quite certain that would be a point which would have to be covered by political agreement beforehand. The idea of General Partridge's command is for the
Supply-National Defence defence of the North American continent. I suggest that if the North American continent is being attacked by anybody Canada is within that target area. We would have to have defensive measures taken in Canada as well as in the United States.
I quite agree that we have to have these defensive measures, and of course we should take them on a continental basis. All we on this side are seeking to establish is the authority for action of this kind, the political authority. I agree with what the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre has said. You have to have these political arrangements made in advance. In an emergency there will be no time for calling parliament, perhaps there will be no time for even making a telephone call, as was once suggested. But there are various ways of making these advance political arrangements. We did it one way in the case of NATO, not only by government decision but by parliamentary decision.
The political authority for the integration of the North American air command, it has been clearly established now, was a decision of the government which decision has not been approved or even discussed by parliament. We have nothing to discuss because the political arrangements covering that decision made by the government six months ago are still under negotiation. Until we have an opportunity to consider the results of the negotiation the action that has been taken has no parliamentary backing of any kind; that is obvious.
May I ask the minister, while I am on my feet, two questions. One is, when was the establishment of NORAD reported to NATO and, secondly, is it the intention of the government, when agreement has been reached with the United States on the political arrangements covering this defence organization, to submit that political agreement to the NATO council for discussion with the NATO partners in the hope perhaps that an agreement of this kind could be made an integral part of the NATO organization? Perhaps NORAD could be brought into closer relationship with NATO than seems at present to be the case.
No, it would not be prior to the decision made by the Canadian government but it would be prior to the statement
Supply-National Defence which was given. As to the second part of the question, that matter of course would have to be discussed with the United States. I could not make any firm commitment. I could only express a personal opinion which it would not be wise for me to express here. It would have to be discussed, as the hon. gentleman knows, with the United States.
two questions that I should like to ask. It seems to me that some of the important questions put by the hon. member for Algoma East have not yet been answered. It is true that the hon. member for Algoma East said that the putting of the interrogations themselves likely reveals the answers. He asked two questions in this context. One was this. Do the commanders in question, namely General Partridge and Air Marshal Slemon, derive their authority from a NATO agency? There has been no answer to that question. He also asked this question: does their authority derive only, in so far as Canada is concerned, from an oral expression given by the minister or by the government itself? I think the Minister of National Defence is confronted with the necessity of answering those questions, even though their replies may be self-evident.
There is another question that arises out of a statement made by the Minister of National Defence in answer to a question put by the hon. member for Algoma East. The hon. member for Algoma East asked this question: in the absence of General
Partridge, what authority will Air Marshal Slemon be capable of exercising? The Minister of National Defence at once rose and said, "Of course, in the absence of General Partridge, Air Marshal Slemon will have precisely the same authority that General Partridge himself would have".
The minister now says, "That is correct". That creates a very serious situation, it seems to me, because of what we are advised by General Partridge himself in the interview which he gave on September 6, and which is contained in the U.S. News and World Report. In that article, as I reminded the minister on another occasion in this house, General Partridge said in effect that he had an understanding with the President of the United States to the effect that there likely being no time available in the event of an emergency he was not obligated before acting to receive the informal or formal approval of the President or of the government of the United States. When asked as to the authority of General Partridge vis-a-vis the Canadian
government my hon. and gallant friend said that that kind of freedom of action in so far as Canada was concerned did not exist in so far as the NORAD commander was concerned, and that there would have to be consultation with Ottawa. We were never told who in Ottawa must be consulted. We were never told whether that was the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence or any combination of ministers of the crown. But in any event the point is that General Partridge, in so far as Canada is concerned, just could not on his own initiative and discretion push the button. 1 think I correctly state the situation as related by the Minister of National Defence to us some weeks ago.
If that is the case, what is the situation that now flows from the replies of my hon. friend? Air Marshal Slemon, a Canadian officer, No. 2 in command, will have in the United States and over United States air forces authority which he does not possess in Canada over Canadian air force officers and over the particular operation in the event of an emergency. This surely reveals the difficult position in which the minister finds himself and with which I think we all have much sympathy but I think it is largely based upon the character and the nature of the replies which he gave. Surely the situation in Canada with respect to this matter cannot be any different from the situation that prevails in the United States. This must, I would think, be conceived of as the same operation. Any decision taken by General Partridge or, in his absence, by Air Marshal Slemon must in the very nature of things apply to both countries. But it cannot do so, in so far as Canada is concerned, if what the minister said is to be taken as the correct procedural situation. I think the minister owes it to the country, to himself and to parliament to indicate whether or not the functions of General Partridge or, in his absence, of Air Marshal Slemon, are any different as between one country and another.
It surely must mean that General Partridge has in Canada precisely the same authority that he has in the United States. I think the minister also owes it to us to say whether or not the situation is as General Partridge revealed in this interview, namely that there would in all probability be no time for consultation; and if there is not time for consultation, does the minister still take the position that General Partridge, or in his absence, Air Marshal Slemon, must first of all contact someone in Ottawa? Also, as I say, the minister must tell us what particular authority in Ottawa.
All of this adds up to what the hon. member for Algoma East said, namely that these are
matters that require precision of agreement. The minister said that Air Marshal Slemon had gone to the United States and was working out an interim arrangement. He has not yet indicated to us whether, as the result of that interim arrangement leading to some kind of formal agreement between the United States and Canada, that agreement will at some subsequent time be submitted to parliament for approval or ratification. I would think, however, in view of the discussion that has taken place here today and during the course of this present session of parliament this government would not make the mistake even at this date of failing to bring to parliament a treaty or a document which embodies the policy which the government is prepared to recommend to parliament.
The Minister of National Defence said that this was not a matter involving the dispatch of troops overseas. I suppose technically that is correct, although under certain conceivable circumstances it could be the case that men employed in the defence of the country in this particular arrangement might have to leave the shores of Canada. That may or may not be an academic question but that surely is not the issue. When in November of 1940 the then prime minister of Canada submitted the Ogdensburg agreement that set up a joint board for defence between the United States and Canada that was an instrument that had nothing at all to do with the dispatch of troops anywhere, either on this continent or in Europe. But the government of the day took the parliamentary step of submitting to parliament the policy of the government in asking for approval. That is what the hon. member for Algoma East, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and others during the course of this particular discussion have insisted was a necessary thing to do within our parliamentary tradition.
In fact, our parliamentary tradition in Canada goes beyond that. Since 1926 there has grown up the custom, respected by every government, that any matters involving relations of this country, except commercial treaties, whether they include the dispatch of troops overseas or whether they are in the nature of commitments entered into by this country with other nations, should be submitted to parliament. We had a discussion in 1935 as to whether or not, for instance, the imposition of sanctions under the covenant of the League of Nations, if supported by Canada, would require first of all the consent, or the approval rather, of the Canadian parliament. If it is our tradition that this should be done in the case of nonmilitary action such as the sanctions which were contemplated in the case of the Ethio-pian-Italian dispute, then surely a matter of 96698-182
Supply-National Defence the greatest importance such as this, which is perhaps an agreement more important than any other agreement outside the NATO agreement that we have ever had to deal with, should be submitted to the parliament of Canada.
I think one could successfully argue that once a decision has been taken even in interim form-a decision which the Prime Minister said was a decision of the government as a whole-it should have been submitted to parliament. But it was not submitted to parliament. Even to this very day there has been no formal submission of the step taken, and now that the defence forces of the two countries are negotiating an agreement which will later be embodied, presumably as the hon. member for Algoma East has said in a political agreement-and the minister ought, I think, to give us an assurance about that-this surely will be submitted to parliament. Not that parliament objects to the objectives which the government has in mind, because it is elementary to observe that in this thermonuclear age it is essential for our continental defence that there should be the fullest co-operation between Canada and the United States, as the hon. member for Algoma East said. But nevertheless because of all the implications- implications which all of us appreciate without spelling them out-I think it is a desirable safeguard that, first of all, the government should have taken parliament into its confidence. This not having been done, we should at least be given an assurance that once a political document, whether in the form of an exchange of notes or a treaty is prepared, it will be submitted to parliament. The government will have decided its policy and I have no doubt what the result will be, but we will then be in a position to make an examination of all the factors involved.
But I think the minister will want to take this opportunity of acknowledging that the answers which General Partridge made are inconsistent with the replies he himself made a few weeks ago. Either General Partridge is right or the minister is wrong. Both cannot be right. I am sure the minister-and I say this to him knowing his heavy responsibility -must agree that this is the case. I understand that that interview between General Partridge and the interviewer was submitted after the end of June to either the minister, or if not to him, then to the Department of National Defence-I do not know whether I should say for approval. But I think that under the article there is a footnote-an asterisk on the first page-which says that the article, in so far as the Canadian references are concerned, was submitted to the
Supply-National Defence Department of National Defence in Canada. If this is the case I think the minister owes it to the house and to himself to explain what is obviously, I think, an inconsistency between the two positions.
Mr. Chairman, I will take this opportunity to reassure the hon. member immediately that when the formal note is ready it will be submitted to parliament. I have made that statement at least twice in this house, as has the Prime Minister, who has also given that assurance.
Regarding this interview to which reference has been made, let me say in the first place that I understand General Partridge was interviewed before he took over the command, before the integrated command was ever established. The second point is that the article was submitted to the R.C.A.F. for security clearance, because there was some references made in it to equipment which was then held by the R.C.A.F., and the United States authorities did not want to publish any information about Canadian equipment without getting clearance. But there was no question of the article being submitted to me; I never saw it until it appeared in print. There was no question of it being submitted to the department for a report on the general statements contained in it. It was submitted only with regard to the classified nature of the equipment of the R.C.A.F.
Mr. Chairman, I am sure the minister noted the welcome the committee gave to his statement that any note finally agreed upon would be submitted to the house. He then said that he had made such a statement before. It was my recollection that he did not go that far, and perhaps it was for that reason that the committee was so glad to hear his categorical statement today. As a matter of fact, on a previous occasion when the estimates of the minister's department were being considered, on December 5, as recorded on page 1940 of Hansard, I put this question to the minister:
Is it fair to assume then, in view of the importance of that formal note between the two governments that it will be drawn in such terms- in other words, leaving out the elements of security -so that the note may be tabled here and also tabled in the appropriate place in the United States?
To which the minister replied:
I would hope that would be the case. I say I would hope, because naturally we are dealing with another government and we would have to get the consent of that government before tabling it. So I say I would hope it would be drawn up in such terms that there would be no doubt that it could be tabled.
Well, the minister has gone one step further today. If I understood him aright he said it would be tabled and that this house would
(Mr. Martin (Essex East).]
have it. I am sure we welcome that and I hope it will be in such a form that an appropriate motion will be presented to parliament and parliament will have the opportunity to decide for or against this joint defence arrangement. May I say to the minister that in making these arrangements we hope he will bear in mind that there is a difference between an arrangement which provides merely for reports to a body such as NATO and a command which draws its authority from a civilian authority such as NATO.
While I am on my feet may I just spell out briefly what I referred to earlier today by directing the minister's attention to sections 32 and 33 of the National Defence Act. These are the sections I had in mind when I was speaking earlier, under which the governor in council does have authority at any time to place any component, unit or person in the forces on active service. This can be done in Canada or abroad. It can be done by reason of an emergency for the defence of Canada or in consequence of any action undertaken by Canada under the United Nations charter, the North Atlantic treaty or any other similar instrument for collective defence that may be entered into by Canada. However, Mr. Chairman, the point of section 33 of the National Defence Act is that if the government does exercise this authority which it has of putting any Canadian personnel on active service, if parliament is not in session at the time parliament must be called within ten days of that action having been taken. I suppose it is a question of whether or not these personnel at Colorado Springs today are on active service. Does the minister want to comment on that?
But, Mr. Chairman, when they were placed on active service for the purpose of the Korean war, if my memory serves me right, the order in council specifically referred to the operations in Korea. From time to time as our service personnel have been placed on active service in Europe under NATO there have been orders in council directly relating to that service. My question is the obvious one. Has there been any order in council providing for these personnel to be on active service at Colorado Springs? If they are not on what is active service now, what would happen if under the direction of General Partridge or Air Marshal Slemon they were put on active service?
These things are routine. We all agree that these are things that may have to be done on the basis of a split-second decision but we urge the minister not to think of them as such routine military measures that he or the government forgets the parliamentary requirements as spelled out in the act under which the minister's department operates.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a few words on this at the present time. I believe this is one of the most important acts that has taken place within our Department of National Defence since the time of Korea. From the interest shown by the speakers thus far I think the importance of this subject has been demonstrated to the house and the concern which most of us feel is over the possible surrendering of our sovereign rights or of the civil authority becoming secondary to military authority.
I do not believe that any of us is opposed to co-operation or integration if you want to call it that but we are fearful that co-operation may mean a surrender of our sovereign rights. However I was glad to hear the minister inform us that nothing like this will take place. He assures us that the chiefs of the general staff are reporting directly to him. On the basis of that statement I would assume that he has some knowledge of the progress that is being made. If such is the case I am wondering why a little more of that knowledge is not given to the house.
I must say I have listened to this discussion quite carefully and I do not know a great deal more about this question than I did on December 5 when it was first raised in this house. Surely the minister must have knowledge of some progress that has been made. He must know something about what is going on. I believe it is up to him to report to this parliament whatever accomplishments have occurred.
There was one other statement made by the minister and I do not know if I correctly understood him. I am under the impression he said that a draft note had been prepared by the military authority and had been submitted to Washington. If that is the case I would like to know why a similar action has not taken place so far as Canada is concerned. If this has transpired I think it is a serious matter and something of which we should be made aware.
One other question I have concerns finance. I should like to know what arrangements have been made or are being contemplated for the sharing of the costs of the operation of NORAD?
Mr. Chairman, I have a question I should like to ask the minister. So far the discussion has been about what could be done in the event of enemy bombers coming over but I am interested in knowing what is the situation regarding enemy submarines. How near could they come to the coast of North America before we would be in a position to take action against those submarines? We have been informed that Russia has 500 submarines and in a short space of time will have 1,200. We have also been informed that they are armed with rocket-launching devices so I think most of us would believe that in the event of war Russia would probably use them for the purpose of launching atomic missiles against towns in the United States. At what distance could they be attacked by our planes if they were spotted?
There is nothing to prevent any vessel coming through the territorial waters which area in general is three miles out. They could not possibly be attacked unless they committed some overt act of war. If a Russian submarine attacked a Canadian vessel then appropriate action could be taken by any Canadian naval vessel or any Canadian aircraft which was in the vicinity but as for merely cruising up to the territorial waters of Canada there is nothing to prevent a vessel of another country doing so.
That is the point that concerns me. The leader of the C.C.F. mentioned the other day that he thought there was reason for Russia to be concerned due to the fact that she had been ringed around by bases of the western allies. Personally I think we are in a far more vulnerable position because we can be ringed around by a series of moving bases, looking upon these submarines as moving bases. I believe General Gruenther suggested that these submarines are equipped with rocket-launching devices and if this is so what is to prevent them at a certain specified time launching an attack on towns all around the American continent?
The minister says we could not take any action against them as long as they were cruising. Does that mean to say that if Russia did decide to make an attack upon this country she could send her submarine fleet out, put them at strategically located points around the continent, and at a given moment fire these rockets at targets on this continent and that we would not be in a position to take action against them until the rockets had been launched? It seems to me that we are in an extremely vulnerable position.
I will admit that we are in a vulnerable position and that is a threat which
National Defence we have to face but as long as there are naval craft of another country cruising off our shores in a peaceful way we certainly cannot take any hostile action against those craft. We are not going to start a war. If they start launching rockets against us then of course we will take immediate action against the submarines. Let me stress the fact that it is the fear of retaliation which we hope will stop the foolhardiness of any country in attacking this continent by any means whatever.
Can the minister tell us a little more about the status of the United States forces under General Partridge's command? As I recall it, he said a short while ago that General Partridge would have no authority whatever to commit the forces under his command to any action except that of defensive action of North America. Does that imply that the forces which the United States are placing under General Partridge and under Air Vice Marshal Slemon are to be under the complete control of a joint political group composed of the United States and Canada in the same way that the forces of NATO are under the NATO political organization, or would it be possible for the United States authority to decide that the forces under General Partridge were to be deployed in some such way as the hon. member for Algoma East suggested a few moments ago? Would that be possible because of the threat of an attack from the Chinese mainland forces on the communist government owing to some action they might have taken on Formosa? The point I want to get clear in my mind is this. Are the forces under this joint command going to be relinquished from purely national control and placed under the control of a political organization set up by Canada and the United States in the same way that NATO forces are under the NATO council?