Military cooperation and political relations of the United States and Canada 1

1. For previous documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. v, pp. 53 ff.

Press Release Issued by the Department of State, February 12, 1947

Announcement was made in Ottawa and Washington today of the results of discussions which have taken place in the Permanent Joint Board on Defense on the extent to which the wartime cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries should be maintained in this postwar period. In the interest of efficiency and economy, each Government has decided that its national defense establishment shall, to the extent authorized by law, continue to collaborate for peacetime joint security purposes. The collaboration will necessarily be limited and will be based on the following principles:

Interchange of selected individuals so as to increase the familiarity of each country’s defense establishment with that of the other country.
General cooperation and exchange of observers in connection with exercises and with the development and tests of material of common interest.
Encouragement of common designs and standards in arms, equipment, organization, methods of training and new developments. As certain United Kingdom standards have long been in use in Canada, no radical change is contemplated or practicable and the application of this principle will be gradual.
Mutual and reciprocal availability of military, naval and air facilities in each country; this principle to be applied as may be agreed in specific instances. Reciprocally each country will continue to provide with a minimum of formality for the transit through its territory and its territorial waters of military aircraft and public vessels of the other country.
As an underlying principle all cooperative arrangements will be without impairment of the control of either country over all activities in its territory.

While in this, as in many other matters of mutual concern, there is an identity of view and interest between the two countries, the decision of each has been taken independently in continuation of the practice developed since the establishment of the Joint Defense Board in 1940. No treaty, executive agreement or contractual obligation has been entered into. Each country will determine the extent of its practical [Page 105] collaboration in respect of each and all of the foregoing principles. Either country may at any time discontinue collaboration on any or all of them. Neither country will take any action inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter remains the cornerstone of the foreign policy of each.

An important element in the decision of each government to authorize continued collaboration was the conviction on the part of each that in this way their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security could be fulfilled more effectively. Both Governments believe that this decision is a contribution to the stability of the world and to the establishment through the United Nations of an effective system of world wide security. With this in mind, each Government has sent a copy of this statement to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for circulation to all its members.

In August 1940, when the creation of the Board was jointly announced by the late President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King, it was stated that the Board “shall commence immediate studies relating to sea, land and air problems, including personnel and material. It will consider in the broad sense the defense of the north half of the Western Hemisphere”.2 In discharging this continuing responsibility the Board’s work led to the building up of a pattern of close defense cooperation. The principles announced today are in continuance of this cooperation. It has been the task of the governments to assure that the close security relationship between Canada and the United States in North America will in no way impair but on the contrary will strengthen the cooperation of each country within the broader framework of the United Nations.3

[67] Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of Protocol (Woodward)


[68] Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman


[69] The Ambassador in Canada (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

811.203/6–747: Airgram

[70] Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman

842.20 Defense/6–947

  1. For text of this statement of August 18, 1940, and related documentation concerning the establishment of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iii, pp. 144145.
  2. For related information, see Stanley W. Dziuban, Military Relations between the United States and Canada 1939–1945, in the official Army history United States Army in World War II: Special Studies (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1959), pp. 334–339.