The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Canada

No. 168

The Secretary of State transmits herewith a copy of a self-explanatory letter dated March 17, 1951 from the Secretary of Defense1 requesting the Department to initiate with the Canadian Government an exchange of notes by which certain areas of the Royal Canadian Air Force Station at Goose Bay, Labrador, would be leased to the United States for military purposes.

The letter from the Secretary of Defense attaches a copy of a proposed note2 which has been agreed upon by the Air Forces of the two countries. Also attached are copies of excerpts from the Journals of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense for its meetings of March, 1950 and February, 19513 containing the discussions in the Board on Goose Bay, the arrangements regarding jurisdiction and other matters at the Newfoundland Bases, and the form of the proposed Goose Bay lease.

At the February, 1951 meeting of the Board, the Canadian authorities indicated that they wished to make no reference in the proposed lease agreement to the subjects of jurisdiction, customs and excise privileges, and postal facilities. However, it was made clear that the Government of Canada had not changed its position on these points and that it was prepared to proceed with the arrangements agreed upon at the Board’s meeting of March, 1950.4 The Canadian Section offered, and the United States Section agreed to accept, a letter from the [Page 882] Canadian Government to accompany the exchange of notes expressing the Canadian Government’s intention to seek legislation which would give the United States the same privileges at Goose Bay as at the other bases in Newfoundland. The attached letter from the Department of Defense states that an exchange of notes substantially in the form enclosed will be satisfactory from the military point of view if accompanied by such a letter from the Government of Canada. However, the Department of Defense wishes to reserve final concurrence to the note and associated papers which will be submitted by the Government of Canada to the United States Government.

The Embassy’s attention is invited to Section IV, subparagraph 7 of the Board’s Journal of the March, 1950 meeting, which states that “all proposed United States service projects in Canada based on the United States area to have the prior approval of the Canadian Government”. It is noted that this provision is not included in the proposed exchange of notes regarding Goose Bay. The Department understands that representatives of the United States Air Force discussed this question informally with officials of the Royal Canadian Air Force and it was decided to omit this condition. However, to avoid any possibility of misunderstanding, it is suggested that the Officer in Charge discuss this point informally with officials of the Department of External Affairs, in order to confirm that the Canadian Government is willing to omit this provision.

The proposed note has been reviewed by interested officers of the Department and no objection is perceived to it.

The Officer in Charge is requested, therefore, to seek the agreement of the Canadian Government to the enclosed note for the lease of Goose Bay, and to obtain from the Canadian Government a draft of the proposed letter regarding privileges and immunities which is to accompany the lease agreement. The Embassy is requested to transmit the Canadian draft letter and other supporting papers, as well as the proposed Canadian note (if any changes are made in the attached draft) to the Department for final approval by this Government before the formal exchange takes place.

  1. The letter from Acting Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett to Secretary of State Acheson, March 17, 1951, is not printed (711.56342/3–1751).
  2. The draft note, dated February 19, 1951, stated that the Canadian Government was willing to grant the United States a 20-year lease, under specified terms, of portions of the Royal Canadian Air Force Station at Goose Bay (711.56342/3–1751). It was identical to a note from the Canadian Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs to the U.S. Ambassador, December 5, 1952, which was part of a formal exchange of notes on that date effecting an agreement. For the text of the agreement, see 3 UST (pt. 4), 5295–5299.
  3. Not printed.
  4. According to the excerpts from the PJBD Journal of the March 1950 meeting, the Board agreed that the arrangements which it recommended at the same meeting for the Leased Bases in Newfoundland should also apply to the leased areas, at Goose Bay (711.56342/3–1751). The Board’s recommendation concerning the Leased Bases was put into effect in an exchange of notes February 13 and March 19, 1952. For the text of this agreement, including the text of the PJBD recommendation of March 28–30, 1950, see 3 UST (pt. 3), 4271–4275.