Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Dominion Affairs (Haselton)


Subject: Exchange of Notes on Radar Screen

Participants: Hume Wrong, Canadian Ambassador
EUR—Mr. Perkins
BNA—mr. Raynor
BNA—Mr. Haselton

Ambassador Wrong handed Assistant Secretary Perkins at 4:30 today the Canadian Embassy’s note No. 454, dated August 1, 1951,1 setting forth the Canadian Government’s understanding of the agreement, based on the recommendations of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, on the extension and coordination of the continental radar defense system. The Ambassador told Mr. Perkins that Canada had decided to exchange notes and enter into a formal inter-governmental agreement on this project only with reluctance and chiefly because the situation of the Canadian Defense Production Minister, who had been advancing funds for U.S. account without formal authorization from the U.S., had become “intolerable”. These advances now total something over $6 million, the Ambassador said. Canada’s attitude with respect to exchanging notes with the U.S. is due largely to its reluctance to agree to registration of the inter-governmental agreement with the U.N. The Ambassador stated frankly that his Government; [Page 896] feared some adverse public reaction when the terms of the agreement were published, and for this reason asks that the Department not proceed to register these notes with the U.N. “in the near future”, and that the United States consult with Canada before registering the agreement. The Ambassador added that he understood the phrase “near future” to mean at least a year. Mr. Perkins said the Department is willing to agree not to press for early registration of the agreement and will consult with Canada before registration takes place. On the other hand, the Department could not commit itself to any specific period in this connection.

The Ambassador asked that in view of the delay in finalizing the agreement and the advances which have been made by the Canadian Government for U.S. account, that the Air Force proceed as soon as possible to finalize the contracts with Defense Construction, Ltd., covering construction of the radar stations. Mr. Perkins told the Ambassador that the Department had been assured by responsible officials of the USAF that this matter would be taken care of as soon as possible.

The Ambassador then read and handed to Mr. Perkins a letter dated August 1 (copy attached),2 requesting assurances that nothing in connection with the radar project would be interpreted as constituting U.S. aid to Canada. Mr. Perkins told the Ambassador that a reply to this effect would be forthcoming in the very near future.

Mr. Perkins then handed to the Ambassador the Department’s note dated August 1 agreeing to the terms of the Canadian note on the radar project and constituting a formal agreement between the two countries.3

  1. Not printed.
  2. Infra.
  3. For text, see 5 UST (pt. 2), 1721–1724.