Chapter II
The Permanent Joint Board on Defense

The day after President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King announced their agreement to form the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, the President directed the State, War, and Navy Departments to select members for the Board in order to permit the announcement of their designation on 22 August and an initial meeting early in the week of 25 August. On 20 August the Canadian Minister in Washington suggested to the Department of State that the Board meet initially in Ottawa on 22 August. He also suggested that the agenda for the meeting include discussions of the sea, air, and coastal defenses of Newfoundland and the eastern and western coastal areas of Canada and the United States, and of the problem of procuring armament and ammunition.1

The United States was unable to be ready by the early date the Canadian Prime Minister had proposed, and King arranged instead, by telephone conversation with President Roosevelt, for an initial meeting on the 26th. During the conversation King suggested that each section include a recording secretary and indicated he would name Hugh L. Keenleyside of the Department of External Affairs, his special emissary to Washington the preceding June, to that post. Roosevelt responded that he would fill the additional position with a State Department officer of Welles' selection.2 Later the same day, 22 August, the full membership of the new Board was announced.3

The Honorable Fiorello H. LaGuardia, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Mayor of New York City, was named chairman of the U.S. Section. Its senior Army member was Lt. Gen. Stanley D. Embick, who had been commanding the Third Army. Captain Harry W. Hill, assigned to the War Plans Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations,


was appointed as the Navy member. Two Air officers, Commander Forrest P. Sherman of the Navy and Lt. Col. Joseph T. McNarney of the Army Air Corps, were assigned to the U.S. Section, and John D. Hickerson, the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs, Department of State, was named secretary.

The Canadian Section was headed by O. M. Biggar, K.C., a distinguished Ottawa barrister and retired Army colonel, as chairman. The Army member was Brigadier Kenneth Stuart, D.S.O., M.C., Deputy Chief of the Canadian General Staff; Captain L. W. Murray, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff represented the Royal Canadian Navy; and Air Commodore A. A. L. Cuffe of the Air Staff, Royal Canadian Air Force, was appointed Air member. Hugh L. Keenleyside, Counselor of the Department of External Affairs, was named secretary of the Canadian Section.

Since the first meeting of the Permanent Joint Board came almost as precipitately as its establishment, there were few administrative preparations on the U.S. side beyond the formulation of an agenda. Pondering their mission and the broad terms of reference contained in the Ogdensburg Declaration, General Embick, Captain Hill, and Mr. Hickerson met on 23 August to discuss the forthcoming meeting. As preparation for the discussions of military matters, they had before them the record of the informal staff conversations that had already taken place. Puzzled as to the role and specific duties Mayor LaGuardia would have in the military discussions that were anticipated, they concluded that the mayor would probably handle the mutual requirements for materials and production output. Hickerson counseled the members of the U.S. Section to consider the problems before the Board always in terms of reciprocal and mutual measures. If they did so, even though in many instances the necessary resources might be contributed largely or entirely by the United States, such an approach would naturally produce a more favorable reaction on the part of the Canadian Section.4

A meeting of the U.S. Section took place the next day with President Roosevelt and Secretaries Stimson and Knox. The meeting, which Mayor LaGuardia joined after the discussions had begun, provided the President an opportunity to present his views on the duties of the Board and the question of defending Canada and the United States from attack. He discussed the action being taken to obtain bases in British territories in return for destroyers and the bearing of this action on the question of getting' bases in Canada. There really was no relation, he pointed out, since the problem of securing U.S. bases in Canada was one for discussion with Ottawa, not London.


Knowing eastern Canada well, the President had some specific ideas as to where U.S. bases should be located to defend the United States against attack through Canada, and he proceeded to outline his views. With this guidance, the U.S. Section proceeded to Ottawa to meet with its Canadian counterpart.5

The initial meetings of the Permanent Joint Board took place as scheduled in Ottawa on 26-27 August 1940 and were most fruitful in terms of formal recommendations. The Board adopted seven recommendations during these meetings, more than one-fifth of the thirty-three made between the time of the Board's establishment and V-J Day. This can be explained in part by the fact that many problems had been urgently awaiting solution and some preliminary work had already been done on them at the earlier military staff talks.

Organization and Composition

The Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States, was organized in two national sections, each with its own chairman and physically separate and independent administrative machinery.6 Only on the occasion of the Board's scheduled meetings did the two sections unite as a single corporate body with but a single purpose--the adequate joint defense of the two countries.7 At other times the members of the Board operated from the offices of the two sections, located in the respective capitals. At the Board meetings the two chairmen sat side by side, and when meetings were held in Canada the Canadian chairman presided, whereas at meetings in the United States the U.S. chairman did so.8

Supplementing the joint meetings of the two sections of the Permanent Joint Board was a continuous and substantial correspondence and telephonic liaison between the pairs of corresponding members of the Board. Through these means the Board followed up implementation of the conclusions and recommendations decided on at its meetings, paved the way for new proposals, and in a variety of ways facilitated the joint defense measures of the two countries.

Officially, the primary mission of the Board was to make recommendations, and its two sections had no executive authority or responsibility within


their governments. One of the Canadian chairmen has stated that the strength of the Board lay in this fact.9 Operating problems were, in theory, handled through the military attachés and, after its establishment in 1942, the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington. In practice, the Board did not limit itself to making policy recommendations, and in both Ottawa and Washington the sections of the Board, through their members drawn from the military departments and the Departments of State and of External Affairs, functioned informally and unofficially as executive agencies. Additionally, the substantial volume of correspondence between the two sections of the Board, and between the individual members and their counterparts, formed a major alternate channel between the military and political departments of the two countries.

The responsibility of the sections of the Permanent Joint Board was to the highest level of authority in each country. In the United States, formal recommendations were presented directly to the President, usually by the U.S. chairman or the secretary acting for him. Approval of a recommendation constituted the basis for the necessary implementing action by the appropriate executive departments. The Canadian Section of the Board reported directly to the Cabinet War Committee, over which he Prime Minister presided.10 Its approval of Board recommendations constituted a directive for their execution.

The two civilian chairmanships of the Permanent Joint Board were filled throughout the war by the men originally appointed. LaGuardia, who was selected as chairman of the U.S. Section by the President personally, retained his post until his death on 20 September 1947, at which time he was the last of the original members still serving on the Board. Less than two months before his designation, he had on 25 June 1940 addressed the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Ottawa. In this speech he had emphasized the importance to the United States of making secure all of the Western Hemisphere seaboard and had pointed out the need, for Canadian-U.S. co-operation for this security. Biggar's tenure as chairman of the Canadian Section continued until shortly after V-J Day, although a period of illness beginning about January 1944 forced his absence from subsequent Board meetings except for those held in April 1945. During his absence the Canadian secretary, Hugh Keenleyside, acted as chairman. (Table 1)

The Canadian Army, Navy, and Air Force representatives functioned in two capacities--as Board members, and as staff officers dealing with the same types of problems in their respective service staffs. When functioning in


staff capacities they were, of course, responsible individually to their respective chiefs of staff. Such an arrangement made for close co-ordination between the Canadian Section and National Defense Headquarters.

In the United States, where the Air components were not independent, the War and Navy Departments each furnished a senior non-Air officer. In addition, an Air officer of lesser rank was provided from the war planning staffs of each of the departments to permit inclusion of Air representation without allowing one or the other department a stronger position. (See Table 1.) As a general rule, the U.S. senior service representatives sat physically and organizationally outside the War Department General Staff and the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, although in close proximity thereto. The lack of responsibility to these staffs had some advantages, but it necessitated a continuing liaison effort to insure that staff views were taken fully into account.

The U.S. Section initially outnumbered the Canadian Section by one service member. This situation prevailed for only a few weeks. On 11 September 1940 Prime Minister King, who had intimated at the time of the original announcement of the membership of the Board that an additional Canadian member might be named later, sought and received the concurrence of the President and Secretary of State Hull in such a step. On 11 October the Canadian secretary accordingly advised the U.S. secretary that the Canadian Government had appointed Lt. Col. George P. Vanier as an additional member. When the new member took his place on the Board, the members of the U.S. Section conjectured that the step had also been taken to permit inclusion of a French-Canadian on the Board. When Vanier, then a brigadier, resigned about the end of 1942 to accept a diplomatic post overseas, he was not replaced.11

Both secretaries held additional positions in the Departments of State and External Affairs during World War II. The U.S. secretary was immediately responsible for Canadian affairs in the Department of State, and Keenleyside, the first Canadian secretary, was initially a counselor in his department and subsequently Assistant Under Secretary of State for External Affairs.

Appointments of members to the Canadian Section were made by the



United States Section
Date Chairman Army Navy Army (Air) Navy (Air) Secretary
22 Aug 1940 F. H. LaGuardia Lt. Gen. S. D. Embick Capt. H. W. Hill Lt. Col. J. T. McNarney Cdr. F. P. Sherman J. D. Hickerson
30 Sep 1940       Lt. Col. C. Bissell    
12 Feb 1942     Capt. F. P. Thomas Lt. Col. R. W. Douglass, Jr.    
30 May 1942         Capt. F. D. Wagner  
--Nov 1942   Maj. Gen. J. P. Smith        
--Dec 1942   Maj. Gen. G. V. Henry        
--Feb 1943     V. Adm. A. W. Johnson Lt. Col. E. W. Hockenberry Capt. J. P. Whitney  
--Nov 1943         Capt. R. W. Ruble  
--Dec 1944       Col. C. H. Deerwester    
18 May 1945         Capt. T. P. Jeter  
--Aug 1945     V. Adm. D. W. Bagley      


Canadian Section
Date Chairman Army Navy Air Additional Secretary
22 Aug 1940 O. M. Biggar Brig. K. Stuart Capt. L. W. Murray Air Com. A. A. L. Cuffe   H. L. Keenleysideb
10 Oct 1940         Lt. Col. G. P. Vaniera  
12 Dec 1940     Capt. H. E. Reid      
2 Apr 1941   Brig. M. Pope        
20 Jan 1942       G. Capt. F. V. Heakes    
1 Oct 1942     R. Adm. G. C. Jones      
15 Dec 1942       Air V. M. N. R. Anderson    
8 Feb 1944       Air V. M. W. A. Curtis    
23 Aug 1945 A. G. L. McNaughton          
1 Sep 1945           R. M. Macdonnellc
a The Canadian Section reported at the 14-15 December 1942 meeting that Brigadier Vanier was resigning in order to accept a diplomatic post abroad. He was not replaced.
b Acting chairman during the illness of Colonel Biggar from January 1944 to January 1945.
c Functioned as acting secretary beginning in April 1944.


Privy Council through the medium of its orders-in-council.12 On the U.S. side, the Secretaries of State, War, and the Navy submitted recommendations for changes involving their personnel to the President, who apparently routinely accepted and approved the nominations.

The office of the U.S. secretary was nominally the office of record for the U.S. Section. Actually, since the major part of the Board's work pertained to the War Department, the office of the Senior U.S. Army Member (SUSAM), who was also the senior U.S. service member, became the repository of the greater volume of records pertaining to the Board. Likewise, the U.S. Navy members, located in still a third office, maintained an independent set of records pertaining to naval matters.

Relationships between the members of the two sections were always frank and cordial. Although, particularly in the first eighteen months of the Board's existence, there were numerous occasions on which divergent views were forcefully and forthrightly presented, a spirit of understanding and friendliness was always in evidence. On the other hand, the Board in its correspondence never reflected the "Dear Henry" informality of which World War II officialdom was so fond. The chairmen addressed each other as "Dear Mr. Mayor" and "My dear Colonel." The same restrained informality marked exchanges between the senior Army members, who saluted each other as "My dear General so-and-so." The careful selection of Board members on both sides helped considerably in the development of the excellent spirit of co-operation and high mutual esteem that prevailed during the Board's wartime endeavors.

The wartime experience indicated, too, that the pattern of membership embodying a civilian chairman over a predominantly military membership was particularly well adapted to the situation. The properly selected civilian chairman was able to consider the military requirements recommended by his section and the practical realities of the domestic political and economic situation in the other country, and to bring the two into balance where necessary. In situations where those realities constituted a hurdle, the prospects of favorable action on U.S. requirements were the greater because the Canadian Section was aware that the requirements had been screened and validated and were supported by a U.S. chairman fully aware of the significance of those realities.

Modus Operandi

Meetings of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense were the principal medium of carrying out its primary purpose, that of making



Month 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
Date Place Date Place Date Place Date Place Date Place Date Place
January     20-21 Montreal 20 Montreal 13 New York 13-14 New York 22-23 Montreal
February     27 Buffalo 25-26 New York 24-25 Montreal        
April     16-17 Montreal 7-8
New York
1-2 New York 12-13 Montreal 10-11 Ottawa
May     28-29 Washington 26-27 Quebec 6-7 Montreal        
June         9 Montreal     28-29 New York 14-15 New York
July       29-30 Montreal 6 New York 3
August 26-27 Ottawa         24-25 New York        
September 9-11 Washington 9-10 New York 1
St. John's
    6-7 Montreal 4-5 Montreal
October 2
November 13
San Francisco
10-11 Montreal 3-4 New York 8-9 Montreal 7-8 New York 7-8 New York
December 16-17 New York 20 New York 14-15 Montreal            

a Aboard SS Princess Norah en route to Alaska.
b Aboard airplane between Winnipeg and Ottawa.


MEMBERS OF THE PERMANENT JOINT BOARD ARRIVING IN NEWFOUNDLAND, September 1942. Front row from left: Hon. L. E. Emerson, Mr. J. D. Hickerson, Capt. H. DeWolfe, Commodore E. R. Mainguy, Captain Bidwell, Mr. O. M. Biggar, Mr. H. L. Keenleyside (in second row), Brigadier G. P. Vanier, Colonel Jenkins, Group Captain R. S. Grandy, Air Commodore E V. Heakes, Hon. C. J. Burchell, and Mayor F. H. LaGuardia.

recommendations based on studies of the joint defense needs of the two countries. Joint meetings of the two sections of the Board took place at irregular intervals, as frequently as the Board considered them necessary to handle its work. Thus the Board met monthly in 1940, but only eight times in 1941. (Table 2) United States entry into the war increased the number of meetings in 1942 to eleven. Thereafter, as the war moved farther from the Western Hemisphere and as fewer hemisphere defense measures were needed, the intervals became greater. Seven meetings took place in 1943, five in 1944, and three in 1945 up until 1 September.

Customarily meetings were held alternately in Canada and in the United States. Except for the initial meetings in Ottawa and Washington, at which there were official entertainment and publicity, Board meetings were not publicized. Efforts to avoid publicity were usually successful except when meetings were held in locations where the presence of the Board drew attention. On such occasions, press reports and speculation resulted from the meetings. Especially during its first year, the Board held meetings at the


sites of proposed defense projects so that the members could study problems at close hand. Such meetings were held in Boston, Halifax, San Francisco, Victoria, Vancouver, Buffalo, St. John's, and while en route to and from Alaska. At these and other meetings of the Board, participation by officials concerned in the defense projects gave the Board full opportunity to explore all the ramifications of the problems.13 In the later World War II years, the Board usually met alternately in Montreal and New York, the latter location apparently as a matter of convenience to Mayor LaGuardia. The meetings themselves were held at a military establishment where one was available, or in a commercial facility, as for example the Hotel Windsor in Montreal and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Meetings were conducted informally. Ordinarily the Board preceded its discussions of new problems by a review of the progress reports (six in all) submitted by each of the services of the two countries. These reports reviewed the progress made on previously approved recommendations of the Board and on other projects of joint defense interest. The Board would then proceed to discuss problems remaining before it for consideration. No voting procedure was used, and each problem was discussed until general agreement was reached. When disagreements did develop, they were more frequently along service lines than along national lines.14 All formal recommendations made by the Board were unanimously approved.15

Problems came up for discussion in a variety of ways. The Board might take up a problem on its own initiative, perhaps as a result of its observation of the need for new action or for changes in a previously approved project. Alternately, an agency of either government might request one of the Board members to present a problem to the Board for its consideration. The request might be in the form of a rudimentary idea requiring detailed study, or in the form of a complete staff study with a specific course of action recommended. One item, the proposed highway to Alaska, had already been approved by the President himself and in part by the Department of External Affairs before it was considered and acted upon by the Permanent Joint Board on Defense.


In considering a problem or a recommendation, the Board members in theory acted as free agents responsible only to the President and the Prime Minister. Board approval of a recommendation gave it no status except assurance that the governments would consider it. As a practical matter, the members all realized that adoption of the Board's recommendations was usually continguent upon favorable reactions within the Departments of External Affairs and National Defense in Ottawa, and the State, War, and Navy Departments in Washington. To the extent practicable, the members maintained such liaison as would insure their acting in accordance with the views of those departments. However, such concurrence of views was not an essential condition of Board approval of a recommendation.16 Likewise, the Board members themselves might have doubts about the merits of a particular proposal but would recommend in its favor "for reasons of general policy."17

The Canadian defense establishment and cabinet system probably lent themselves to a more methodical processing of the recommendations of the Board than did the U.S. machinery. Before recommendations were considered by the government, the views of the Canadian Chiefs of Staff were obtained.18 Action by the Cabinet War Committee provided for integration of the views of all the ministers whose departments were concerned.

In the U.S. Government no routine procedure or pattern was followed, and, especially during the initial months of the Board's existence, the recommendations were processed rather haphazardly. A number of them were apparently not submitted to the President at all. LaGuardia forwarded some of them directly to the President without reference to the departments concerned, leaving it to the President to determine the views of those departments if he saw fit. Later, and more generally, the practice was for the members of the Board first to get the concurrence of the interested departments, after which the recommendation was I submitted to the President with those concurrences indicated. Approval of a recommendation by both governments in effect constituted the necessary directive to the agencies involved.

Of the thirty-three recommendations adopted by the Permanent Joint


Board before V-J Day, twelve dated from 1940, eleven from 1941, four from 1942, five from 1943, and one from 1944.19 In addition, on 4 October 1940 the Board approved a First Report and submitted it to the two governments. This report, later approved by both governments, included such portions of the first eight recommendations as related to defensive deployments not yet made. It included also extensive new recommendations for additional deployments to be made, facilities to be provided, and operational responsbilities to be undertaken.20

At least within the U.S. Section, procedures for obtaining and recording governmental approval of the formal recommendations were apparently rather loose during the early part of the Board's existence.21 The incorporation of portions of the first eight recommendations in the First Report tends to confirm that those recommendations had not earlier been acted upon by the governments. This omission is probably accounted for at least in part by the fact that many of the actions recommended could be executed by the services within existing authority and without reference to the governments, and that, in instances where action was required by only one country, officials in the other country probably considered reference to their government for approval unnecessary.

In any event, almost all of the recommendations made by the Permanent Joint Board were approved either tacitly or expressly.22 The Canadian Government did not approve the Twenty-ninth Recommendation, whereupon the United States, which had actually completed its approving action, withheld report of its approval.23 Canada also did not approve the Thirtieth Recommendation as such, but it accepted the proposals in part so that the Board was able to agree that the qualified action was a satisfactory response to the original proposal.24

When most of these recommendations were made, they naturally


contained secret or restricted data and received no publicity, as was true of most of the Board's work. A partial exception was the Twenty-fourth Recommendation concerning the highway to Alaska. Not only had there been much interest in such a highway over a period of years but also, by its very nature, information about this project could not remain restricted. The two governments publicized their agreement concerning the construction of the highway in an exchange of notes that quoted about two-thirds of the brief recommendation.25 The only real exceptions were the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-third Recommendations.26 Both of these pertained to the terms for the disposition of United States property and installations in Canada, about which there would inevitably be a great public interest, and there was no need for security restrictions.

The policy of maintaining an official silence as to the work of the Permanent Joint Board received a strong impetus within the first few months of its existence. When the First Report of the Board had been approved by both governments in November 1940, President Roosevelt proposed that the action be announced by simultaneous press statements in the two capitals. Prime Minister King demurred on the basis that such an announcement would give rise in Parliament to innumerable questions that he would be unable to answer because of their military nature. The President deferred to this view, and the public remained unaware that such a broad program of joint defense measures had been co-ordinated.27

In its five years of life up to the end of hostilities, the Board probably established a record for self-restraint in accumulating files. The total file of records representing agreed documents of the Board as a whole aggregate less than a cubic foot. These records comprise only the Journals of Discussions and Decisions prepared after each meeting, and, appended to the journals, the progress reports rendered to the Board by its members.

The journals are merely brief summary accounts of the discussions and decisions at the meetings. They do not record the various positions taken nor the arguments pro and con, but only the principal considerations involved and the decisions reached.28 Initially, the journal was drafted at the end of a meeting and circulated and amended thereafter through correspondence. To shorten this procedure, the Board began to draft its journals during the course of a meeting and to agree on its text in detail before adjournment. In a number of instances the substance of the action of meetings lasting many


hours over a two-day period was recorded on only two or three doublespaced legal-sized sheets of paper. To each journal was appended a series of progress reports, usually six in number, for the Army, Navy, and Air Force of each country. These were prepared before the meeting and submitted to and edited by the Board as a whole. They, too, recorded an agreed understanding of action being taken or scheduled to be taken.

After each meeting the journal and progress reports were circulated within the appropriate agencies of each government. They served the dual purpose of providing information and of pointing the way for further planning. In addition to those records of the Board as a whole, each national section amassed a many times greater volume of intersectional and intracountry correspondence. Some of this was in execution of the Board's primary function, that of study of and recommendation on broad defense problems. Problems under consideration might be the subject of correspondence between the secretaries, or between other pairs of "opposite numbers" who would circulate copies of the exchanges to the rest of the members to keep them advised.

The bulk of such additional correspondence was occasioned by the Board's performing a wide range of operating functions, which apparently had not been intended by its founders. Nevertheless, the channels available through the Board seemed to fill a need and were used extensively for such purposes as handling minor administrative matters not brought before the Board and following up in detail the execution of approved recommendations.

The U.S. Section had no authority as an executive or operating agency within the executive departments of the U.S. Government. Yet in efforts to facilitate joint action the members of this section dealt with agencies of the military departments on the operating and administrative level and, in some cases, arrogated to themselves authority belonging to those departments.29 Irregular as these procedures might have been, they were tacitly accepted by the War Department and undoubtedly greatly aided the execution of actions of joint interest.

The U.S. Section did not, during World War II, establish any regularized working relationship of note with the Joint Board or the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the joint organizations of the U.S. services. A few of the matters considered by the Permanent Joint Board were also acted upon by the two U.S. joint agencies, but such instances were by far exceptions rather than


the rule. A notable exception before Pearl Harbor was the Joint CanadianUnited States Basic Defense Plan 2 (ABC-22), on which action followed the same pattern as had the earlier action on the related United Kingdom-United States plan, ABC-1. The ABC-22 plan was reviewed and approved by the Joint Board, by the Secretaries of War and the Navy, and then submitted to the President for his approval. In June 1942 the Joint Chiefs of Staff reviewed the U.S. plan for the North Atlantic Ferry Route CRIMSON bases, which became the Twenty-sixth Recommendation of the Permanent Joint Board. This review, however, was principally incident to Combined Chiefs of Staff examination of the shipping requirements for the plan.30

The limited relationship before Pearl Harbor is explained in part by the fact that the Joint Board considered only strategic and operational problems requiring employment of U.S. military resources. The contemporary recommendations of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense often required action only by Canada or were matters within the purview of the service departments. Additionally, the normal procedure of obtaining War and Navy Department approval of the recommendations constituted, in effect, all but formal approval by the Joint Board.

By the time the Joint Chiefs of Staff began to function, joint U.S.-Canadian defense plans had been completed and placed in effect. Similarly, twothirds of the World War II recommendations of the Permanent Joint Board had already been made, while the remainder pertained mainly to administrative or other problems within the purview of the War and Navy Department staffs. Despite the lack of any formal or regularized link between the U.S. Section of the Permanent Joint Board and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, no serious problem of co-ordination existed. Since the service members of the Board also functioned on, or in close liaison with the planning staffs of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they were able to assure that their several planning projects were adequately co-ordinated and integrated.

Scope of Responsibilities

In establishing the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King stated its mission and responsibilities in only the most general terms. The Board was to "consider in the broad sense the defense of the north half of the Western Hemisphere" and to make "studies relating to sea, land and air problems including personnel and material."

Undoubtedly the Canadian Section received from higher Canadian authority some guidance as to what it should seek to accomplish, much as President


Roosevelt had oriented the U.S. Section. But the broad charter in the Ogdensburg Declaration was never jointly amplified either by the founders of the Board or on the initiative of the Board itself. When proposing the first meeting of the Board, Canada suggested that initial discussions should bear on the defense of Newfoundland and the Pacific coast and on questions of reciprocal maneuvers and procurement of matériel. At the second meeting of the Board, the Canadian Section made an attempt to clarify the over-all terms of reference. The Canadian Section envisaged the scope of responsibilities of the Board as follows:

  1. Disposition of Canadian forces and U.S. matériel needed in Canada and Newfoundland to meet the threat of Axis attack.

  2. Preparations needed in Canada and the United States to meet the contingency of U.S. participation in defense against the threat, including (1) physical facilities, (2) troop and matériel dispositions, and (3) plans for co-ordinated action.

  3. Long-term plans for the permanent security of North America including (1) military defenses, (2) raw materials stockpiles, (3) integration of the production effort, (4) continuous revision of plans, and (5) research and development co-operation.31

The Permanent Joint Board discussed this outline of its major duties but did not consider it necessary to adopt it. Nevertheless, the Board recorded, that it "understood that the Canadian Section would use the outline for its own guidance and for submission to the Canadian Government."32 The Board's views on the outline were not recorded. Points a and b are reasonable statements of urgent joint defense problems that faced the two countries. Point c is somewhat puzzling, and unfortunately the journal for the meeting records no clarifying discussion. It appears unlikely, in the light of the gravity of the Allied situation, that the Canadian Section contemplated that any resources could in fact have become surplus to the requirements of the war against the Axis and available for long-term planning for post-World War II permanent North American security. An alternate possible interpretation is that the offensive phase of World War II and the defeat of the Axis were envisaged as bringing about the permanent security of North America. But the word defenses would belie this interpretation. Another alternate perhaps envisaged long-term planning for projects to be undertaken only after World War II was won. Still another possible thesis, in the light of the fall of France and of Dunkerque and of the raging Battle of Britain, is that


point c was intended to cover the long-term defense requirements that would have to be met if the United Kingdom were occupied. Fortunately, the passing months made this contingency more remote, and the Board was able to address itself to limited scales of Axis capabilities and to the needs of supporting the war overseas.

The President and Prime Minister gave the Board considerable scope geographically. The northern half of the Western Hemisphere to the geographer conventionally includes the area between meridians 20' west and 160 east, north of the equator. This area includes almost all of Greenland, parts of Iceland and Siberia, all of North America, and all or parts of Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and other adjacent South American lands. Significant variations on the geographer's Western Hemisphere can, however, be found. President Monroe in the message to Congress in 1823 that enunciated the Monroe Doctrine referred to "this hemisphere" and "the American continents," apparently synonymously. The Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance drafted by the Inter-American Conference in 1947 delineated an area embracing the two continents and Greenland. President Roosevelt, when weighing the need for U.S. Navy patrolling and convoying in the Atlantic in July 1941, delineated for Harry Hopkins a hemisphere that included all of Iceland.33

The Permanent Joint Board followed a fairly narrow interpretation of the general geographical bounds enunciated at Ogdensburg. Its first approved over-all review of the defense problems facing it was the First Report of October 1940.34 This report set forth the preparatory steps and allocation of responsibilities recommended to provide for the defense of what might be described as northern North America. The area embraced Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alaska, and coasts of the United States adjacent to the Canadian border. Greenland and Iceland were excluded, as were the Caribbean islands, Central America, and the United States with the exception of the coastal regions mentioned.

This narrower concept of the geographic scope of the Board's responsibility was also reflected in the Joint Canadian-United States Basic Defense Plan--1940, which was prepared by the service members of the Board, and again in the Joint Canadian-United States Basic Defense Plan 2 (ABC-22), prepared in 1941.35 This cannot be attributed to the lack of defense tasks


in the areas not included. The United States-British Commonwealth Joint Basic War Plan prepared during January-March 1941 set forth Army, Navy, and Air Force tasks in other parts of the "north half of the Western Hemisphere" and recommended substantial deployments for the execution of those tasks.36 In fact, the British Commonwealth forces then deployed in those areas included a Canadian infantry battalion at Jamaica.

In effect then, the Permanent Joint Board limited itself to planning the measures and the troop and material resources needed to defend northern North America. It is probable that an approach of this scope was tacitly accepted by both sections of the Board because it best met the needs of the situation. The Canadian Section was able to assure itself that Canada and Newfoundland would be reasonably well protected. It probably had no particular desire to participate in planning concerned with more remote portions of the United States and North America. The United States Section was able likewise to look after U.S. security interests in Canada without having to give the Canadians full access to all the continental and hemisphere defense plans of the United States, which it probably could not have done anyway.

In August 1940 President Roosevelt had made clear to Prime Minister King, and to the U.S. Section of the Board, his desire to obtain a naval base and an air base in the Maritimes, yet the U.S. Section seems to have made no strong effort to carry out his desire. Some measures in that direction were taken, but they fell far short of providing United States bases comparable to those obtained under the destroyer-bases agreement with the United Kingdom. Under the Third Recommendation and the First Report, Canada undertook to develop facilities to permit operation of four squadrons of U.S. patrol aircraft and a composite wing of some 200 additional aircraft. Similarly, Canada undertook to complete the steps necessary to provide defended harbors and "docking, repair and supply facilities capable of accommodating the major portion of the United States or British fleets." Although Canada did proceed to develop the necessary facilities, the United States was to utilize them only when necessary and agreed, and it acquired no legal status thereat. The United States made no use of the air facilities, but it was permitted the use of Shelburne and Halifax as naval operating bases and of Sydney as an emergency base after July 1941, when the U.S. Navy began active convoying between the United States and Iceland.

The explanation of why the United States did not try to obtain more may lie in the fact that the service members of the U.S. Section, reflecting


the views of their services, probably had no real desire to obtain bases in the Maritimes, which might have required commitment of forces that later would have been badly needed elsewhere. In any event, the President on 19 Nobember 1940 approved the more modest arrangements provided in the First Report. By then, British stamina in the Battle of Britain had indicated that the threat to North America was not as great as the prospect may have appeared in August. Viewed in the light of the subsequent discussions in the Permanent Joint Board, it appears to be a reasonable thesis that U.S. effort to obtain lease-type bases in Canada might have met strong resistance and imposed a considerable strain on the collaborative efforts of the Board.

Conspicuously absent from the list of defense problems considered by the Board were those pertaining to Greenland. The islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon also were discussed only briefly in November 1941, just before the minor crisis precipitated by Free French occupation of the islands on Christmas Day, 1941. After this action, the journals were silent concerning any discussion that may have taken place about the islands. Apparently the significant political problems involved in both cases made them patently problems for discussion on the political level. The occupation of Iceland by British Commonwealth forces before the establishment of the Board eliminated the need for consideration of the defense problems of that island. Another notable, but not too surprising, omission was the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence seaway project. President Roosevelt's enthusiasm for the project understandably received no endorsement in the Permanent Joint Board, for Canada did not consider the diversion of the necessary construction resources justified during the war, and the War and Navy Departments had not yet been attracted by the military advantages of the project. Too, it was unlikely that Mr. LaGuardia, mayor of the east coast's largest seaport, would press an undertaking that was opposed by powerful railroad, port, and other interests in his constituency.37

As the war progressed and the threat to North America receded farther from it shores, the geographic scope of the work of the Permanent Joint Board narrowed even further. The journals and progress reports indicate that activities in Alaska gradually ceased to be considered. Throughout the later war years, Board consideration was generally limited to projects or activities of mutual concern or interest in Canada and Newfoundland.

Another principle that established bounds for the problems of which the Board took cognizance was the charge to consider only the defense of the


northern half of the Western Hemisphere. The Board by and large succeeded in avoiding projects that did not have some relation to joint defense. It is probably this fact that accounts, in part at least, for the absence from the Board agenda of, for example, the First Special Service Force and the Canadian Army Pacific Force, which were organized to fight in Europe and the Pacific, respectively.38

On the other hand, several of the Board's recommendations did concern themselves with projects whose primary role pertained to the war overseas, although in each instance there was usually a secondary or partial role relating to joint continental defense. Examples are the Seventeenth and the Twenty-sixth, concerning ferrying operations; the Twenty-third, relating to the meeting of world-wide pilot training requirements; and the Twentyseventh, which was designed to facilitate the intercountry flow of all war materials whether needed for the continental or world-wide war effort.

This situation became more general as the war receded from North American shores and a short-term defense requirement virtually ceased to exist. Some projects that had been viewed by the Permanent Joint Board as purely defensive measures, as for example the Northwest Staging Route, later played a new and important role in the support of the general global war effort. Toward the end of the war, practically all the joint projects and activities that had been sponsored by the Board were in fact supporting the Allied war effort either in Europe or in the Pacific.

In the area of operating functions the Board's work was necessarily circumscribed by virtue of the existence of service attachés and their staffs in both capitals, and the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington. With three operating channels between the Canadian services in Ottawa and those of the United States in Washington, there was understandably an overlapping of effort and confusion as to responsibilities. Several efforts were made to clarify these responsibilities and to delineate the types of matters which each of the agencies should handle. For instance, an advice to the U.S. Section of the Permanent Joint Board, intended to define the areas of responsibility of the Canadian air attaché and the Air member of the Canadian Joint Staff, stated those of the former to include matters concerning U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) organization, Royal Canadian Air Force personnel in the United States, visits, and American personnel in the RCAF.39 Those of the latter included plans and operations, intelligence, communications, and aircraft and other equipment.


On several occasions the question of the role of the Board in operational planning and in the direction of operations under the joint defense plan was raised. In one case the head of the War Plans Division of the U.S. General Staff indicated his belief that the Permanent Joint Board was exceeding its competence in attempting to prepare strategic plans. On another occasion the Senior Canadian Army Member pointed out to the Board that its service members, and not the Board itself, had prepared plan ABC-22. Furthermore, the Board had not reviewed the plan, since this review, as well as the execution of the plan, was a responsibility of the chiefs of staff of the two countries.40 In regard to planning responsibility, it is apparent that, after the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington was established, the Board had no role beyond that of recommending preparation of plans or their revision when necessary. Nevertheless, in its first year the Board clearly functioned in the planning area--witness its First Report, which in effect constituted, in part, a plan for the assignment of operating responsibilities.41

Functionally, the principal area in which the Permanent Joint Board operated was in connection with construction of Army, air, and naval bases, and of the auxiliary road, communication, weather, radar, and similar facilities required by the United States in Canada and Newfoundland. Collateral subjects were the supply of materials and construction equipment, utilization of air transport services, the operation of airways for such air traffic, the responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the bases and facilities, and finally their disposition.

The most notable problem of this type not considered by the Board was the Canol Project. The omission was apparently by design on the part of the U.S. secretary, whose initial doubts as to the soundness of the project were later shared by the U.S. Senate's Special Committee Investigating the National Defense Program.42

Collaboration Through the Board

The important part played by the Permanent Joint Board on Defense in U.S.-Canadian military co-operation before and after U.S. entry into World War II is indicated by the scope and nature of its formal recommendations. By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, twenty-one such recommendations


had been made that formed the basis for U.S.-Canadian military co-operation throughout the war. Seven December 1941 found, as a result of the Board's work, the requisite force dispositions already made, construction of the necessary bases, installations, and facilities under way, and defense plans complete. Significantly, the Twenty-first Recommendation, the last approved before the Pearl Harbor attack, was concerned with the establishment of arrangements for maintaining facilities provided by one government for forces of the other, as if to mark the ending of the preliminary phase of the joint relationship.The more important subjects of the pre-Pearl Harbor recommendations were as follows:

  1. Exchange of information.

  2. Forces and responsibilities for the defense of Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces.

  3. Development of airfields in northwestern Canada for staging purposes.

  4. Improvement of communications in the northeastern area, particularly the Newfoundland railroad and road systems.

  5. Preparation of joint defense plans.

The entry of the United States into the war occasioned virtually no change in the functioning of the machinery already in motion. It was necessary only for the military chiefs of the two countries to place the previously prepared plans in effect. The volume and tempo of the detailed work of the two sections of the Board increased, but the number of recommendations and new projects diminished.

No real thought had been given to changes in the status of the Permanent joint Board after the United States became a belligerent. Less than three months before that event, the Canadian view was expressed "that if the United States became a full belligerent the PJBD would go into abeyance, to be resurrected at the end of the war."43 Such a turn of events never materialized, and the Board continued to have a vigorous and useful wartime life.

After Pearl Harbor a few new projects were needed to meet additional requirements, and recommendations were made accordingly. By and large, however, the pattern of co-operation was well established and the Board's principal effort was devoted to overseeing, expediting, and facilitating in many detailed ways the execution of projects already in hand. The major construction projects occasioned by entry of the United States into the war and recommended by the Board were (a) the highway to Alaska, (b) the northeast ferry routes across the Atlantic, and (c) the expansion of the air


staging route to Alaska. The Thirtieth Recommendation, approved by the Board in April 1943, was the last to propose a new operational or logistical project. The remaining three recommendations of the World War II period related to the administration and disposition of facilities.

The Thirty-third and last wartime recommendation (in September 1944) set forth the arrangements for the disposition of U.S. facilities and property in Canada. Questions regarding termination of U.S. activities had arisen as early as 1942 and had occasioned the adoption of the Twenty-eighth Recommendation in January 1943. The arrangements provided for by the modifying Thirty-third Recommendation proved adequate to cover the disposition problem without further revision. But the execution of the disposition arrangements proved to be a substantial and administratively complex task which fully absorbed the capacities of the U.S. Section of the Permanent Joint Board throughout the remainder of the war and for some months afterward.

Even in the spring of 1945, when victory was imminent in Europe and only a matter of time in the Pacific, and throughout the balance of the World War II period, the Board continued to limit its discussions and actions to problems connected with the war. Problems of co-operation for postwar defense were not raised in the Board, which apparently felt impelled to let the pattern of postwar developments point the way to further collaboration. The usefulness of the Board had been proven, however, and, when the two governments began their discussions of postwar security needs, it became apparent that a role for the Permanent Joint Board in meeting those needs would be assured.


Table of Contents
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1. Ltr, Acting Secy State to SW, 20 Aug 40, PDB 100; The New York Times, August 20, 1940.

2. Keenleyside MS; Memo/Conv, King and Moffat, 22 Aug 40, Moffat Diary.

3. White House Press Release, 22 Aug 40. Although President Roosevelt during the Ogdensburg meeting had tentatively mentioned James Forrestal of the Navy Department for the chairmanship of the U.S. Section, the designation went to Mayor LaGuardia, who had met with the President on the eve of his departure for Ogdensburg. The three Canadian service designees were those who had participated in the informal staff talks in July. (Memo/Conv, King and Moffat, 18 Aug 40, Moffat Diary.)

4. Summary of Preparatory Conference, PDB 100.

5. Stimson Diary, 24 Aug 40.

6. Although the past tense is used throughout this description of the Board, the organization and functioning described remained substantially unchanged at the time of this writing.

7. Address by Gen A. G. L. McNaughton, 12 Apr 48, Department of External Affairs, Statements and Speeches, No. 48/18.

8. Keenleyside MS. Keenleyside was the Canadian secretary from the time of the Board's establishment until 1 September 1945. However, General McNaughton, who assumed Canadian chairmanship in August 1945, has indicated that during his tenure the chairmen had been presiding jointly. (McNaughton address cited above, n. 7.)

9. McNaughton address cited above, n. 7.

10. Organization Chart, H. C. Debates, 21 Jun 48, p. 5828.

11. Ltr, Cdn Secy to U.S. Secy, 11 Oct 40, PDB 100; Ltr, Christie to Secy State, 14 Oct 40, D/S 842.20 Def/35. At about the time of Brigadier Vanier's resignation, however, the Canadian Army member began to be accompanied by an assistant, who, although not formally designated a member, kept the Canadian Section numerically equal to the U.S. Section. Numerical equality was formally achieved in 1947 when, as a result of the establishment in Washington of a Department of the Air Force, U.S. service representation on the Permanent Joint Board on Defense was limited to three officers, one Army, one Navy, and one Air Force.

12. For example, a letter of 11 February 1942 from the U.S. secretary to Mr. LaGuardia reported receipt of an order-in-council dated 3 February 1942, making a change in the Canadian membership. (PDB 100.)

13. On 4 October 1940, Messrs. Emerson and Penson, Commissioners of Justice and Defense, and of Finance, respectively, of the Newfoundlan Government, took part in discussions in Halifax; on 13 November 1940, the Board meeting in San Francisco, heard Lt. Gen. J. L. DeWitt and Rear Adm. A. J. Hepburn, the senior U.S. Army and Navy commanders in that area.

14. Keenleyside MS.

15. The Board did not quite achieve the record claimed by General McNaughton in his address of 12 April 1948 (cited above, n. 7) of having reached every conclusion unanimously. At its 10-11 November 1941 meeting, the Board informally agreed "with the exception of the Canadian Air Force member" that certain measures were needed to hasten construction in Labrador of the North West River air base. (Journal, PDB124.)

16. For example, whereas the Twenty-third Recommendation, which envisaged the use of surplus Canadian air training capacity for training Americans, was approved by the Board and the two governments, the War Department opposed any such arrangement. (Ltr, SW to Secy State, 13 May 42, PDB 119-6.)

17. The Keenleyside manuscript cites this basis for Canadian approval of the Twenty-fourth Recommendation, even though the Canadian Section questioned the strategic value of the proposed Alaska Highway. See also Lingard and Trotter, Canada in World Affairs, III, 67.

18. Statement in "Canadian-United States Defense Collaboration," transmitted on 5 April 1948 by the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. secretary of the Board, on file in the U.S. secretary's office.

19. Texts of the recommendations are reproduced below, Appendix A.

20. Text of First Report is reproduced below, Appendix B. There were no further similar reports approved by the Board, although a Second Report was drafted. (See Chapter V, below.)

21. Until a review of the situation was initiated in 1951, files in the Departments of State and the Army indicated no record of action by either government on the first eleven and certain other recommendations except insofar as parts of the first eight were duplicated in the First Report. Careful search of these files and those of the late President Roosevelt and of the U.S. Section of the Permanent Joint Board revealed no evidence of submission to the President for his approval of the Board's first twenty formal recommendations, except the Sixteenth, which required his consideration of a Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan.

22. Where express approval does not appear in the U.S. files examined, tacit approval is indicated by the subsequent correspondence concerning the implementation of the recommendations and by the progress reports rendered thereafter on each recommendation and appended to the journals of the Board meetings.

23. PDB 105-13. See also Appendix A, below.

24. RCAF Progress Report, at meeting 8-9 Nov 43, PDB 124. See also Appendix A, below.

25. EAS, 246; CTS, 1942, No. 13. See Chapter VIII, below, for the significance of the omission.

26. Reproduced in their entirety in EAS, 391, and 444, and in CTS, 1943, No. 2, and 1944, No. 35, respectively.

27. Ltr, Welles to Roosevelt, 25 Nov 40, Roosevelt Papers, Official File, Box 4090.

28. A sample journal extract is reproduced below, Appendix C.

29. An example of such an action is the SUSAM indorsement, dated 23 June 1945, of a basic letter to the Commanding Officer, U.S. Army Forces in Central Canada, at Winnipeg. Such an action was properly the responsibility of the War Department. Another example is an acknowledgment, dated 2 June 1944, from Office, Chief of Engineers, to SUSAM which stated: "Your instructions to this office require that the transfer of any improvement be cleared through your office."

30. See below, Chs. IV and VII.

31. Ltr, Cdn Minister to Welles, 20 Aug 40, Roosevelt Papers, Secy's File, Box 77; Journal, 10 Sep 40 meeting, PDB 124.

32. Journal, PDB 124.

33. TIAS, 1838; Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 308-11.

34. See Appendix B, below.

35. The 1940 Plan is in PDB 122. Actually the First Report was based on drafts of the 1940 Plan prepared in September and discussed by the Board then. Large parts of the text were common to both. ABC-22 is reproduced in its entirety in Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79th Congress, 1st Session, Hearings on Senate Concurrent Resolution 27, Pearl Harbor Attack (hereafter cited as Pearl Harbor Attack), Pt. 15, pp. 1586-93.

36. The plan is Annex III to ABC-1, which is reproduced in Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, pp. 1485-1541.

37. See Chapter X, below. In the post-World War II period, the Permanent Joint Board and the U.S. War and Defense Departments actively supported the seaway project on the basis of its military advantages.

38. See Chapter IX, below, for accounts of these organizations.

39. Ltr, Air Member, Canadian Joint Staff, to SUSAM, 12 Oct 42, PDB 100-2. The division of duties for the other services was probably comparable.

40. Memo/Conv, Brig Gen G. V. Strong and P. Moffat during latter's Washington visit 6-10 October 1940, Moffat Diary; Note, by Maj Gen M. Pope, CJS, 10 Aug 42, sub: ABC-22 and the PJBD, PDB 135-3. See Chapter IV, below, for an account of the planning under discussion.

41. See Appendix B, below.

42. After this committee initiated its searching investigation, the U.S. secretary recalled to Mayor LaGuardia that their hands-off position had been due to his foresight. (Ltr, 29 Dec 43, U.S. Secy's file, PJBD 1943.) See Chapter VIII, below.

43. Memo/Conv, Moffat and Norman Robertson, 25 Sep 41, D/S 842.20/204.

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