Canadian Desk files, lot 69 D 302, “Canada—Labrador and Newfoundland, Globecom

No. 943
The Secretary of the United States Section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense (Wight) to the Steering Member of the Board (Walsh)


Dear General Walsh: Reference is made to your letter dated May 12, 1952 and to our meeting of June 9, 19521 in regard to proposed arrangements with the Canadian Government for the construction by the U.S.A.F. of global communications facilities.

This letter is to confirm the understanding which we reported at that meeting as having been worked out by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and the Canadian Department of External Affairs:

The Canadian Government is agreeable to having the global communications facilities at Northwest River incorporated under [Page 2033] the Goose Bay Lease. The Canadian proposal is that the two governments exchange letters at the time of signing the Goose Bay Agreement.2 The Canadian letter would refer to paragraph 10(e) of the Goose Bay Agreement3 and would provide the U.S. with assurances of occupation and use of the land for communications facilities for the period of the lease. All terms and conditions of the Goose Bay Agreement would apply.
You will recall our understanding that the R.C.A.F. also might wish to construct facilities adjacent to the Northwest River site and that the U.S.A.F. had signified its willingness to make this a joint use area. It is also understood that the U.S.A.F. will construct the roads, power, heat and other facilities and arrange for their common use with the R.C.A.F. on a service-to-service basis. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa has informed the Canadian Department of External Affairs that this understanding is correct, but I shall appreciate a further confirmation from you on this point.
It will be necessary to have a separate arrangement for the establishment of the global communications site in the vicinity of Harmon Field. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and the Department of External Affairs have therefore agreed on the following language which has now been approved by the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs:

“This land shall be available without charge to the U.S. for its exclusive use while there is a continuing need for the facilities for defense communications in the mutual interests of both countries. In the event that either government wishes to discontinue the arrangement, the question of the continuing need will be referred to the P.J.B.D. In considering the question of need the P.J.B.D. will take into account the relationship of the communications facilities erected on this land with those established at or in the vicinity of Goose Bay.

“If it is decided by either government at any time in the future, following consideration by the P.J.B.D. as provided above, that the facilities are no longer necessary for defense purposes, the land, together with any immovable facilities on it, will on 12 months’ notice revert to the use of the Canadian Government.”

It is understood informally that the U.S.A.F. also desires to establish at Goose Bay a VOR radio range as an aid to air navigation, and a similar installation may be established in the vicinity of Harmon Field. No agreement has been reached between the R.C.A.F. and the U.S.A.F. as to the location of these radio ranges. Provision will therefore be made in the Agreement between the [Page 2034] U.S. and Canada so that projects of this nature may be added at a later date.

As you know, negotiations have been carried on with the Canadian Government regarding the global communications installations since February, 1951, both through the P.J.B.D. and through diplomatic channels. The understanding which has now been reached represents a great improvement from the standpoint of the U.S. over the original Canadian conditions. As you know also, the negotiations have been carried on recently at a high level and have received the personal attention of both the Secretary of State and the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs. The U.S.A.F. is most anxious to take advantage of the present construction season and has requested the right of entry and the right to begin construction, which the Canadian Government has now granted. It is believed that the arrangements for the global communications are the best which can be gained in view of the above considerations and in the interests of our relations with Canada. I believe that the proposed agreement represents an equitable and practicable solution and that it would be in the interests of the U.S.A.F. to accept the proposal.4

Sincerely yours,

William L. Wight, Jr.
  1. Neither the letter nor a record of this meeting has been found in Department of State files.
  2. This agreement respecting lease to the United States of areas at Goose Bay, Newfoundland, was effected by exchange of notes signed at Ottawa Dec. 5, 1952. For the text of these notes, see 3 UST (pt. 4) 5295.
  3. The paragraph states that the lessee may, jointly with the lessor, have use of such other areas and facilities at Goose Bay as may be agreed upon from time to time, subject to compensation for certain types of damage or injury caused by the lessee.
  4. The above arrangements for the duration of availability of land in Canada for exclusive use of the United States in its defense communications system were approved by the USAF and formalized in the defense agreement with Canada effected by exchange of notes signed at Ottawa Nov. 4 and 8, 1952. For the texts, see 3 UST (pt. 3) 3741.