345. Letter From the Secretary of State to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Hensel)1

Dear Mr. Hensel: In your letter of December 17, 1954,2 you brought to this Department’s attention certain comments on the Canadian draft of conditions to govern the construction of the Distant Early Warning element of the joint warning system in North America, this draft having resulted from our discussions with the Canadians in the Permanent Joint Board on Defense (PJBD). Your comments were closely studied and incorporated in discussions held both with Canadian representatives attending a meeting of the PJBD last January3 and with the Canadian Department of External Affairs since then. The [Page 853] result is the attached statement of conditions,4 which I am now forwarding for review and approval.

It is our opinion that this draft, as it now stands, will prove satisfactory. All its provisions have been explored thoroughly with the Canadians and most of them have appeared in substance in previous agreements on defense construction projects. Consequently, there are various traditional viewpoints, expressed in the present draft, which have been well known on both sides over a period of years and which have caused no difficulty when put into practice.

In the latter regard, I understand that basic procedures to be followed in DEW line construction have been substantially agreed upon at operating levels and some of them are already in effect. The present draft, therefore, represents in formal language conditions which have already been adopted as the most practical method of proceeding with the project.

[3 paragraph (28 lines of source text) not declassified]

In view of the fact that the Canadian Government agreed last November to permit the United States to proceed with the construction of the DEW line, pending the conclusion of a formal agreement, final arrangements concerning the conditions should be completed at an early date. We hope that the present draft and collateral conditions can be formalized as soon as possible by exchanges of notes and letters in Washington between the Canadian Embassy and the State Department. Accordingly, the text of a Canadian Note to accompany the DEW line conditions and the draft of a reply by the State Department are also attached for your consideration.5

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:

Robert Murphy6
Deputy Under Secretary
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 742.5/4–855. Secret. Drafted by Julian L. Nugent, cleared with L/EUR, and approved by Jacob D. Beam.
  2. In this letter, Hensel recommended revising the terms concerning the procurement of electronic equipment to favor Canadian suppliers. His recommendation was subsequently accepted. (Ibid., EUR/CAN Files: Lot 69 D 302, DEW Line: Conditions and Agreement)
  3. The minutes of the PJBD meeting, January 4–6, are ibid.,EUR/BNA Files: Lot 63 D 156.
  4. Not found attached.
  5. Not found. The exchange of notes took place in Washington on May 5. Canadian note No. 306, with an annex, and the U.S. reply, both dated May 5, constituted an agreement on the establishment and operation of a distant early warning (DEW) system between the two governments; it entered into force the same day. For text, see 6 UST 763. Canadian note No. 307, printed infra, remained classified and was not published at the time.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.