842.20/196

The Secretary of the Navy ( Knox ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: The Navy Department has given careful consideration to the procedure to be followed in effecting cooperation between the military authorities of Canada and the United States, both in the preparation of plans and in the conduct of operations in which military cooperation is involved.

As the result of the Ogdensburg Declaration of 17 August 19404 there now exists the Permanent Joint Board on Defense which is the established agency for consideration of matters pertaining to the joint defense of the two nations. Matters of a purely military nature are handled through the military, naval and air attachés in Ottawa and Washington. In addition to the foregoing, it may be desirable at times to arrange conferences between special representatives of the Chief of Naval Operations and of the Canadian Chiefs of Staff concerned on military matters of sufficient importance to require special representation. The ease of travel between Ottawa and Washington facilitates the holding of such conferences.

In the opinion of the Navy Department the foregoing methods of military consultation are adequate to present needs, and the establishment of a Military Mission is unnecessary. Moreover, its establishment would offer a precedent for the establishment of similar Military Missions by certain other British Dominions and by the American Republics. For the last named reason the establishment of a Canadian Military Mission is not desirable.

The presence of the appropriate Canadian representatives at conferences between the Navy Department and the British Joint Staff Mission in which Canadian interests are involved is agreeable to the Navy Department.

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The Navy Department intends to be represented in Canada only by its Naval Attaché,5 plus Despatch Officers who may be charged with liaison duties with respect to shipping. However, if the Canadian Government should insist on a stronger military representation in Washington, the Navy Department will offer no objection to the establishment, in Washington, of permanent offices for the Canadian military members of the Canadian–United States Permanent Joint Board on Defense. Under this plan, military cooperation between the United States Chief of Naval Operations6 and the Chief of Staff,7 and the Canadian Chiefs of Staff, would be effected through the medium of this Board.

The Canadian Government can be assured that it will be consulted before the United States takes any action on matters which may affect Canadian responsibilities with respect to the defense of Newfoundland.

Respectfully,

Frank Knox
  1. The Canadian Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, and President Roosevelt, meeting at Ogdensburg, New York, on August 17, 1940, issued a joint statement, released to the press the following day, of their agreement to set up a Permanent Joint Board on Defense. For text of the statement, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iii, p. 146.
  2. Capt. Oliver M. Read.
  3. Adm. Harold R. Stark.
  4. Gen. George C. Marshall.