93. Telegram From the Embassy in Canada to the Department of State1
566. Subject: Ottawa visit of General Lemnitzer.
1. We understand General Lemnitzer scheduled arrival Ottawa late Monday, April 28, for approximately 24-hour farewell visit. Tentative schedule includes calls morning April 29 on Foreign and Defense Ministers and possibly on PriMin Trudeau. We understand General Lemnitzer scheduled meet with press on afternoon April 29.
2. We are not clear to what extent General Lemnitzer briefed on current Canadian debate over Trudeau decision to reduce Canadian NATO forces in Europe, nor how knowledgeable he may be about 1963 Ottawa press conference experience of one of his predecessors, General Norstad. Department may wish ensure following and perhaps additional background is provided him before his arrival in Ottawa.2
3. When making his farewell visit to Ottawa on Jan. 3, 1963, General Norstad faced persistent questioning by Canadian newsmen about fact that while Canadian ground and air forces in Europe were then equipped with weapon systems which useless without nuclear warheads, nevertheless GOC had not concluded necessary stockpile agreements. Questioning led him to point out, albeit politely, that Canada was reneging on its commitments to Allies.
4. Norstad comments were significant factor in heating up nuclear weapons controversy in Canada, leading to US press statement of Jan. 30 and culminating in fall of Diefenbaker government.3
5. General Lemnitzer will arrive at time when Trudeau government, while it has comfortable majority unlike Diefenbaker government of 1963, is under opposition attack in Canada as consequence PriMin Trudeau’s April 3 announcement of intention to remain in NATO but to reduce Canadian forces in Europe.4 Government today is in fact in middle of two-day Parliamentary debate about that announcement.[Page 390]
6. Department should also be aware of article written in 1963 about General Norstad’s visit by then budding young political writer named Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Following is direct quote: Quote Do you think I dramatize it? How do you think politics work? Do you think General Norstad, former Supreme Commander Allied Forces in Europe, came to Ottawa on January 3 as a tourist to tell the Canadian Government publicly to respect its agreements? Do you think it’s by chance that Mr. Pearson was able to rely on the authority of General Norstad in his speech on January 12? Do you think the State Department inadvertently gave newspapers the press release on January 30 which reinforced Mr. Pearson’s position and called Mr. Diefenbaker a liar? Do you think it’s by accident that this communiqué gave the opposition leader the arguments with which he larded his speech to Parliament on January 31? You think it is coincidental that this led to events which ended in the fall of the government on February 5? Unquote.
7. It should also be borne in mind that at time of European visit last month of Canadian House of Commons Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs, Canadian newspapers carried reports of briefings given Canadian parliamentarians by SHAPE officials arguing for continued Canadian contribution to NATO forces in Europe.
8. In questioning General Lemnitzer Canadian newsmen will, of course, tend to regard him only as American General and not as international servant and may seek to elicit from him statements critical of Trudeau government and at seeming variance with recent public comment by Secretary Rogers.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 670, Country Files—Europe, Canada, Vol. I. Secret; Priority; Exdis.↩
- In telegram 64382 to Ottawa, April 25, the Department of State replied that it had forwarded telegram 566 from Ottawa to Lemnitzer. (Ibid.)↩
- For documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, volume XIII, Western Europe and Canada, Documents 443–446.↩
- Trudeau made the announcement in a press conference. A summary of the Canadian proposals was forwarded to Kissinger in a May 26 memorandum from the Department of State. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 670, Country Files—Europe, Canada, Vol. I)↩