Secretary’s Memoranda, Lot 53 D 444, “Memoranda for the President, 1951”

Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to the President

top secret

Memorandum for the President

Subject: Recommendation of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense concerning the extension and coordination of the aircraft control and warning nets of Canada and the United States.

The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff oh December 15, 1950 transmitted to the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada–United [Page 876] States, for consideration a plan for the extension and coordination of the Canadian and United States air defense systems. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense was requested to advise the Joint Chiefs of Staff whether the plan which had been developed by the Air Forces of the two countries was acceptable.

The Board carried on discussions at two meetings in January, 1951 with a view to determining various matters such as the division of costs and the operational control of the system. As a result of these discussions, the Board prepared a formal Recommendation to the two Governments for approval stating that a plan substantially as set forth by the two Air Forces for the extension and coordination of the air defense systems of the United States and Canada was feasible and acceptable and should be implemented forthwith as a matter of great urgency.1

As the Department of Defense was primarily concerned, the Recommendation of the Board was first transmitted to that Department, and there is attached a copy of a letter dated February 23, 1951 from the Secretary of Defense indicating his approval, as well as the concurrence of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff.2

I believe that the Recommendation of the Board represents an equitable and feasible basis for cooperation in this joint defense project by the United States and Canada and I recommend that you approve the action of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense for this Government. Following your approval, this Department will initiate action to put the Board’s Recommendation into effect through an exchange of notes with the Canadian Government.

There are enclosed copies of the pertinent documents, including a letter addressed to you from Major General Guy V. Henry, U.S. Army (Retired), Acting Chairman of the United States Section of the Board.3

James E. Webb
  1. Recommendation 51/1, February 16, 1951, not printed, was attached to the memorandum. It provided that Canada should acquire and retain title to the sites, that the costs of construction, equipment, and operation should be shared on a basis of approximately two-thirds by the United States and one-third by Canada, and that Canada and the United States should each initially have responsibility for manning and operating certain specified installations but that Canada might by agreement assume the manning and operation of additional stations.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed. Secretary of State Dean Acheson wrote to Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall on April 25 that the President had endorsed the recommendation on April 14, “Approved, subject to the availability of required funds.” This limitation. Acheson thought, was intended only to signify that the United States commitment would be dependent on the appropriation by Congress of the necessary funds (711.56342/4–2551).