344. Memorandum of a Conversation, Ottawa, March 18, 19551



  • Canada
    • The Honorable Lester B. Pearson, Secretary of State for External Affairs
    • His Excellency Arnold D. P. Heeney, Ambassador to United States
    • Mr. Jules Léger, Under Secretary for External Affairs
    • One other Canadian from External Affairs
  • United States
    • The Honorable John Foster Dulles Secretary of State
    • The Honorable R. Douglas Stuart, U.S. Ambassador to Canada
    • Mr. Douglas MacArthur II, Counselor, Department of State


  • Continental Defense

In the course of a meeting between the Secretary and Mr. Lester B. Pearson, Secretary of State for External Affairs, the latter brought up the question of continental defense. He mentioned three radar warning and control lines being built in Canada, one of which (Pinetree) is a joint U.S.-Canadian effort; the second (Mid-Canada Line) being built and financed by Canada; and the third (the DEW Line) being built and financed by the U.S. He said the cooperation between the two countries was very satisfactory. However, with respect to the DEW Line, Canada wished to help man it when it had technical people adequately trained and able to do so. Furthermore, as these and related continental defense projects were developed, it was quite clear that further logistical and personnel support would be required,

Mr. Pearson mentioned that the U.S. and Canadian military people were developing a requirement for SAC for some airstrips with refueling facilities which would require personnel from 200 to 400 people to man each station. Additional personnel requirements of this nature if they were to be supplied solely by the U.S. raised some political and psychological problems in Canada. Therefore, the Canadians in the future wished to do as much as possible to supplying the personnel to meet such requirements. He felt an additional effort by Canada in this respect was important and necessary. Furthermore, he wished to start re-orienting Canadian thinking so that they would no longer look upon such cooperative defense arrangements in a nationalistic way but would think of northern Canada and the Polar region in terms of a NATO sector where it was normal to have foreign [Page 852] personnel stationed in view of our common defense. For example, in addition to U.S. and Canadian personnel, it might be useful to get 200 to 300 Dutchmen stationed in Canada to fill some of the personnel requirements. This would make the Canadian people see the whole exercise in more collective terms. He said the Canadian Government was expecting that the U.S. and Canadian military would develop further requirements, and he emphasized that his own efforts would be designed to re-orient Canadian thinking in terms of collective defense.

He also spoke very highly of the conduct of American forces stationed on Canadian territory and the great contribution they made to many welfare and community enterprises. In the more northern points no problems presented themselves because of the isolation of the area. In more populous Newfoundland the situation was somewhat different but he did not know what the Newfoundlanders would do without the great contribution to their economy which the American forces made.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 440. Secret. Drafted on March 21 by MacArthur.