The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Canada

No. 134

The Secretary of State refers to the Department’s instruction No. 89, dated December 15, 1950, and to the Embassy’s despatch No. 970 of February 1, 1951,2 concerning surveys by the United States Air Force of communications sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. As stated in its note No. D–41 of January 30, 1951,3 the Canadian Government’s approval related only to the carrying out of surveys and the Canadian Government was awaiting a further request from the United States for permission to carry out the communications project.

The Department transmits herewith a copy of a letter dated February 9, 1951 from the Secretary of Defense3 explaining in detail the communications facilities which the United States Air Force desires to construct in Newfoundland, and requesting the Department to seek the approval of the Canadian Government. The attached letter also requests that authority be obtained to permit the Northeast Command, together with the Chief of the United States Army Engineers, to assist the Canadian Government in acquiring the privately-owned lands involved, which in turn would be incorporated in a supplementary lease from the Canadian Government to the United States.

It is proposed that the conditions of the 1941 Leased Bases Agreement4 be made applicable to the additional areas to be acquired near [Page 871] Ernest Harmon Air Force Base and Pepperrell Air Force Base, and that tenure run for the balance of the existing 99-year lease. If the Canadian Government is agreeable, this procedure could be followed by authority of Article XXVII of the 1941 Leased Bases Agreement, which provides that the United States may acquire supplementary leases.

For documentation on economic and military cooperation between the United States and Canada during 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. ii, pp. 583 ff.

In the letter of February 9, 1951 from the Secretary of Defense, it is further stated that it is understood that the lease of this property and all construction connected therewith will be without expense to the Canadian Government, and that the United States will re-imburse the Canadian Government for any expenses which Canada may incur in connection with the acquisition of property.

There are attached two charts showing the location of the areas which the United States Air Force would like to acquire near Ernest Harmon Air Force Base and Pepperrell Air Force Base.

For the Embassy’s information, the question of additional communications facilities at Goose Bay will be taken up in connection with the broader problem of an over-all lease in that area.5

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  4. Reference is to the Leased Bases Agreement of March 27, 1941, between the United States and the United Kingdom, in which the United Kingdom leased certain bases in Newfoundland to the United States for a period of 99 years. When Newfoundland became a part of Canada in 1949, Canada assumed the commitments made by the United Kingdom in this agreement. In 1950, the United States and Canada negotiated some revisions in the agreement, which were formalized in an exchange of notes in 1952. For text of the 1941 Agreement, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series (EAS) No. 235, or 55 Stat. 1560. For documentation on the revision of the agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1949. vol ii, pp. 393 ff. and ibid., 1950, vol. ii, pp. 583 ff.; for the exchange of notes in 1952, see United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST), vol. 3, (pt 3), pp. 4271–4275.
  5. Negotiations for a 20-year lease of portions of the Royal Canadian Air Force Station at Goose Bay, Labrador, were in progress. See the Department’s instruction 168 to Ottawa, April 3, 1951, p. 881. An agreement was effected by an exchange of notes on December 5, 1952. For text, see 3 UST (pt. 4), 5295–5299.