Memorandum by the Director of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs ( Raynor ) to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs ( Perkins )


Subject: Exchange of notes with Canada providing for construction of Continental Radar Defense System


The Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States, some months ago agreed on the details of a continental radar defense system to consist of 31 stations located in Canada, to be built jointly by the U.S. and Canadian Governments, with the U.S. paying two-thirds ($100 million) of the cost, Canada paying the balance. The recommendations of the P.J.B.D. have been approved by the Secretaries of Defense and State and by the President.1 The Canadian Cabinet has likewise approved the recommendation.

The texts of the notes to be exchanged formalizing the understanding2 were agreed upon some weeks ago. At the last moment, however, Canada told us that although the text of the notes was still acceptable to the Canadian Government, it was unwilling to agree that the exchange of notes should be registered with the U.N. This position was apparently based on fear of adverse public opinion in Canada. The U.S. Air Force, which is the action agency on our side, continued to maintain very strongly, however, that it must have something more than the P.J.B.D. recommendation in writing to justify to Congress the expenditure of the funds. The Department of State has maintained throughout that, if notes were exchanged, they would have to be registered with the U.N. In view of Canada’s unwillingness to agree to registration it became necessary to find some acceptable compromise, which was achieved when the Canadians indicated that they would agree to our suggestion that registration of the notes need not necessarily take place in the immediate future and that before registration is accomplished we would consult with the Government of Canada. This position is acceptable to L.

In connection with the exchange of notes, the Canadians also desire assurances on two points: (1) that the U.S., as previously agreed, will sign, as promptly as possible, contracts for the construction of our part of the project; and (2) that we will assure the Government of Canada (in reply to a letter which the Canadian Ambassador will presumably hand you today) that the U.S. Government does not consider that this project in any way constitutes U.S. aid to Canada. BNA is assured by [Page 895] the Air Force that there should be no undue delay as regards the first of these two points, and has cleared with L the matter of assuring Canada that no implication of aid is involved.


(1) That you sign the attached note in reply to the note which will be handed to you today by the Canadian Ambassador, the exchange constituting an inter-governmental agreement; (2) that you tell the Ambassador that the Department will not press for registration in the immediate future, and that it will consult with Canada before registering the notes; (3) that you inform the Ambassador that the Department has been assured by a responsible official of the U.S. Department of Air Force that there should be no undue delay in finalizing the various construction contracts; and (4) that, if the Canadian Ambassador hands you a letter requesting a statement that the project involves no U.S. aid to Canada, you reply that a communication to this effect will be forthcoming in due course.

  1. See the memorandum for the President, March 2, p. 875.
  2. The texts of the notes exchanged in Washington on August 1 are printed in 5 UST (pt. 2), 1721–1724.