Chapter IV
Joint Defense Planning

The Permanent Joint Board on Defense, Canada-United States, made its initial studies on 26-27 August 1940 and submitted seven formal recommendations based thereon. These recommendations, which set forth the action needed to meet the most urgent joint defense problems facing Canada and the United States, were sufficiently comprehensive so that, by and large, additional recommendations were needed thereafter principally to solve "spot" defense problems that arose.1 The first called for a full and complete exchange of information. Other recommendations provided for certain troop deployments and defensive installations needed to insure adequate defense of Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces. As slightly longer-range measures, the Board recommended steps to assure adequate allocations of matériel, to improve transportation and communication facilities in the more threatened areas, and to stimulate materiel production. The last recommendation of the seven provided that the "Service Members of the Board should proceed at once with the preparation of a detailed plan for the joint defense of Canada and the United States and keep the Board informed of the progress of the work."

The Board's adoption of the first six recommendations in effect prejudged the content of such a plan, since the requirements set forth in those recommendations for operational and logistical facilities should, in theory at least, have emerged from the forces and operations that the plan set forth as needed to carry out the assumed defense tasks. But awaiting the completion of an approved plan would have delayed work in the field at least several weeks, and the urgency of the situation induced the Permanent Joint Board to recommend appropriate measures on the basis of informed estimates of the situation.

Initial Defense Plans

At the request of the Board, the service members undertook the drafting of the defense plan, working closely with the Board as a whole. Work was advanced considerably during the 9-11 September 1940 Board meeting. At


the session on 9 September the Canadian members presented a paper entitled "Defense of the Northern Half of the Western Hemisphere." The study, whose geographic scope conformed to that of the terms of reference of the Board, concluded that the defense of the area must provide, inter alia, for "important strategic areas such as the Panama Canal Zone." The Board referred the Canadian paper to its service members for use in connection with their planning.2

By the time the Board met on 11 September, a joint draft based on an initial U.S. draft was ready.3 The Board considered the draft and concluded that further revision was necessary. The service members completed a second joint draft on 25 September 1940, and the final joint draft on 10 October 1940.4 There was no significant difference in the basic assumptions, general concept, or defense tasks set out in each of the three drafts. In the successive drafts, however, more detailed aspects of the plan were augmented and refined. They pertained to the allocation, by country and service, of the responsibilities connected with each task, and to the logistic, garrison, and defense facilities to be provided by each country.

The Joint Canadian-United States Basic Defense Plan--1940, dated 10 October 1940 and frequently called the 1940 Plan, proposed to "provide for the most effective use of Canadian and U.S. Naval, Military and Air Forces for the joint direct defense of Canada, Newfoundland and the United States (including Alaska)." The plan was what U.S. planners called a "capabilities" plan (as opposed to a "requirements" plan), since it was based on the use only of forces actually available. The joint mission of those forces was "to defend Canada and the United States against direct attack by European and/or Asiatic Powers." In the situation assumed, British forces had been either destroyed or neutralized, thus permitting German and Italian offensive operations in the western Atlantic. Alternately or concurrently, Japan was assumed to have initiated hostilities in the Pacific.5 The plan was designed for a war in which enemy capabilities were conceived as including seizure of a base in northeastern North America; hit-and-run submarine, surface, or air attacks; feints or minor attacks anywhere from Greenland to eastern Brazil; fomenting of internal disturbances in Latin American countries; sabotage and subversion; surface or submarine attacks on shipping in the Pacific; and raids on Pacific coastal objectives.6


The joint mission was to be carried out through execution of the following joint tasks:

  1. Insure the safety of Canadian, United States, and friendly shipping on the high seas.

  2. Defend Newfoundland and protect its vital sea communications.

  3. Defend the east coast of Canada and the northeastern United States and protect vital sea communications.

  4. Defend Alaska and protect its vital sea communications.

  5. Defend British Columbia and the northwestern United States and protect vital sea communications.7

For the execution of each of these tasks, certain responsibilities were allocated to the Army, Navy, and Air arms of each country. The plan, in addition, set forth the base and defense facilities that were to be provided by each country.8

From the statement of joint defense tasks, it is readily apparent that the geographic scope of the 1940 Plan was narrower than either the terms of the Ogdensburg Declaration or the approach of the Canadians in the initial planning paper they presented at the Board meeting on 9 September 1940. Even the statement of the over-all joint mission, "to defend Canada and the United States," was overambitious. As one adviser to the U.S. Army Chief of Staff pointed out, although the joint mission was so written "out of deference to the feelings of the Canadian members of the Board, actually, there can be no serious acceptance of the idea that the defense of other portions of the United States than the areas immediately contiguous to Canada can be considered a joint mission in the execution of which Canada could be expected to afford material contribution."9 The plan as finally drafted provided for the defense of Newfoundland, Canada, adjacent portions of the United States, and Alaska. Greenland, which had already been the subject of U.S.-Canadian discussions at the political level, was, at the request of the U.S. planners, excluded from the plan.10

The last (10 October) draft of the 1940 Plan contained a number of glaring planning gaps. No statement of availability of forces or allocation of detailed tasks was provided. The plan thus failed to show the correlation, if any, between the tasks to be carried out and the forces available for the


purpose. A second omission presaged a major planning difficulty that was to plague the joint planners many times in the future. This was the question of organization and command, which went completely unmentioned. In reviewing the plan in the War Department General Staff, the War Plans Division viewed the absence of such provisions as its greatest weakness. It proposed the addition of specific provisions, one of which would have vested over-all direction of forces in Newfoundland and Canadian areas in the United States. Another would have vested local military command of troops in Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces initially in Canada but subsequently in the United States when its forces became preponderant.11

Neither the service members of the Permanent Joint Board nor the Board itself seems to have been particularly concerned with the proposed additions, or with further revision of the 1940 Plan. During early 1941 the planners did draft an operational plan based on the concepts of the 1940 Plan, but as a consequence of the British-U.S. staff talks they soon devoted themselves to the preparation of a new plan based on new assumptions. The 1940 Plan was apparently not formally acted upon by the service departments of the two governments, and it remained neither approved nor disapproved. However, the 1940 Plan did retain a recognized status in the Permanent Joint Board on Defense as the initial joint plan and the plan designed for the contingency of British collapse. As time passed this contingency became more remote, and the planners occupied themselves with plans designed to meet new situations.

While the 1940 Plan as such was not approved or otherwise acted upon, the substance thereof was approved by both governments through a separate action. The heart of the 1940 Plan was its statement, for each of the five joint tasks, of the allocation of specific defense responsibilities to each country. The specific defense responsibilities, such as those of the Canadian Army to "provide ground, anti-aircraft and coastal defenses in the Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula," were to become effective when the joint plan was placed in effect "by joint direction by the responsible heads of the Canadian and United States Governments."12

In order for the 1940 Plan to be put into effect when required, the plan pointed out, it would "be necessary to initiate at once the preparation and provision of the various facilities and resources as set forth."13 These facilities involved construction of air bases, installation of harbor defenses, and similar measures. When the Board met on 2-4 October 1940, it found that


its service members had already produced two joint drafts during the preceding month but had yet to reach full agreement on the plan. When the service members could produce an agreed joint draft of the plan, there still remained the need for its approval by the service departments and then by the two governments before the recommendations could be acted upon. Review and examination of controversial questions, such as the command problem, could be prolonged.

At the October meeting of the Permanent Joint Board the Canadian Section proposed, as a means of shortening this procedure, that the Board draft a report to the two governments embodying the recommendations of the plan under consideration by the service members of the Board. This proposal was adopted, and on 9 October Mr. LaGuardia presented the First Report of the Board to President Roosevelt, while Mr. Biggar took similar action in Ottawa. At the Board meeting of 14 November 1940, the Canadian Section was able to report approval by the Canadian Government.14 President Roosevelt approved the report on 19 November.15 These actions in effect approved the provisions of the 1940 Plan for implementation by the two countries, since the report had incorporated them practically verbatim.

The U.S. action on the First Report pointed up a situation fraught with potential difficulties for the War and Navy Departments. The report was submitted to the President by the U.S. chairman without reference to the two departments. Fortunately, through their review of the drafts of the 1940 Plan, it was apparent that the War and Navy Departments were substantially in accord with the contents of the First Report. Direct access by the U.S. chairman to the President permitted a quick cutting of red tape. On the other hand, unless such actions were first fully explored by the service members within their departments, unsound recommendations lacking the support of the departments could go forward to the President. Approval of recommendations made them binding on the departments and would necessitate the awkwardness and complication of an appeal if the departments deemed them unworkable. Continuing close co-ordination by the service members with the War and Navy Department staffs minimized the dangers of this situation.

Early Supply Assistance

Shortly after Dunkerque and the fall of France, and even as the United States was in the midst of denuding itself of military equipment drawn from reserve stocks to aid the United Kingdom, Canada turned to the United


States for help in meeting its greatly increased matériel requirements. The initial Canadian approach, made through diplomatic channels in June 1940, was followed up by the presentation on 12 July in Washington by the visiting Canadian staff officers of a list of requirements. This list included the following items:16

Later the same month a request was made for over a thousand naval guns of calibers up to four inch. At the Ogdensburg meeting on 18 August Prime Minister King presented President Roosevelt with another "List of Urgent Requirements Which It Is Understood May Be Available," on which appeared these items:17

At the first meeting of the Permanent Joint Board on 26-27 August 1940, a restatement of the more urgent Canadian needs was also discussed. Priorities were listed in the following order: antiaircraft artillery, coast and harbor defense matériel, and mobile artillery for the Canadian Army, and patrol and fighter planes for the Royal Canadian Air Force. New requirements, added to the previous lists, included sixty-six searchlights and sixty-six sound locators.

The Canadian Section of the Board was informed at the next meeting, 9 September, of the nature of the available matériel. Thirty-six 3-inch antiaircraft guns were reported to be available, but the Canadian request for these guns was withdrawn later when it was found they were so obsolete as to be virtually useless and had no ammunition. By November the only transfers the United States had been able to make from its depleted stocks totaled


80,000 Enfield rifles, 250 obsolete 6-ton M 1917 light tanks, and a few aircraft. Also, Canada had received from the United Kingdom six of the fifty destroyers transferred by the United States under the destroyer-bases agreement. A few other items, notably naval and coast defense guns, were under discussion. But most of the items requested by Canada bore the notation on the consolidated request that had been compiled in the War Department: "no surplus" or "none available."18 In the light of the limited assistance received from the United States, Prime Minister King was generous in his appreciation when he told the House of Commons, on 12 November 1940, "how much . . . the Canadian war effort owes to the co-operation of the United States. Aircraft and tanks for training purposes, and destroyers for active service, are outstanding among the many essentials of warfare."19

The meagerness of U.S. assistance was due, in some measure, to legislative obstacles. An act of Congress of 2 July 1940 had authorized the Secretary of War to dispose of deteriorated, unserviceable, obsolescent, or surplus matériel in a manner that would permit its replacement by other needed matériel.20 However, an act of 28 June 1940 required that, before any matériel could be disposed of in any manner, the Chief of Staff of the Army or the Chief of Naval Operations must "first certify that such matériel is not essential to the defense of the United States."21

The manner in which the United States overcame these barriers was evidenced during the augmentation of the defenses of Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces. On 28 November 1940 the Canadian Government presented, through the British Purchasing Commission, a request for eight 10-inch disappearing-mount coast defense guns that had been reported at the September Board meeting as being surplus and available. These guns were to be mounted in pairs as part of the defenses at St. John's, Botwood, Shelburne, and Gaspé.22 Since these guns were considered surplus, the necessary certificate was readily made by Chief of Staff Marshall, and a directive was issued on 14 January 1941 authorizing the transfer.23

Attempts at about the same time to augment antiaircraft artillery defenses in Newfoundland did not as easily clear the legal hurdles. Having found it necessary to cancel its request for the thirty-six available 3-inch M1918


antiaircraft guns because of their obsoleteness and lack of ammunition, Canada sought modern guns of the same type. Such guns were in short supply in the United States, and their transfer would have been in clear violation of Public Law 671. Fortunately, the U.S. Army was concurrently sending its initial garrison of troops to defend the new base at St. John's, and this garrison was to include a battery of antiaircraft artillery. On 6 December 1940 the Chief of Staff approved the recommendation that the equipment of this battery be augmented by the balance of the equipment for an antiaircraft artillery regiment. The additional equipment, which included eight guns, twenty .50-caliber machine guns, ten searchlights, ammunition, directors, and other auxiliary equipment, was loaned to the Canadian Army "for training" and only technically remained in the custody of the handful of U.S. soldiers that accompanied it.24

This precedent proved useful, for soon afterward, on 8 January 1941, the Canadian Army member of the Board made an "unofficial suggestion" that the equipment going to Newfoundland also include "a couple of . . . 155mm. guns and a spot of ammunition" to fill the gap at St. John's while the 10-inch coast defense guns were being installed.25 Two days later, on 10 January 1941, he was informed that the equipment would include four 155mm. guns and the ammunition. Such incidents indicate how, within the limits of severe shortages and legislative restrictions, the United States made sincere efforts to accede to Canadian requests.

A similar procedure was effective in providing U.S. matériel to augment Canadian defenses at the Juan de Fuca Strait in the Puget Sound boundary waters area, but in this case an additional problem required solution. On 22 November 1940 Canada informally requested the transfer of four 8-inch railway guns. General Marshall considered this request in conjunction with the one for antiaircraft matériel for Newfoundland. Since no American troops were to be sent to the Canadian west coast, the dispatch of an armed detachment by the neutral United States to a belligerent Canada as custodian for the guns presented complications that did not exist in the Newfoundland situation. Marshall's advisers recommended a declaration of obsolescence. But the Chief of Staff felt that, for the guns in question, such a certificate would be dishonest and asked instead if legal transfer could not be made on the basis of a certificate that such transfer was "in the interest of National Defense of the United States."26 Since his legal advisers declared this would


not be legal, the only feasible solution appeared to be the dispatch of U.S. soldiers as custodians. On 18 December 1940 General Marshall and Secretary Stimson approved this solution, which Canada after some discussion accepted. Meanwhile, as a result of U.S. planning for installation of a 16inch battery whose field of fire would cover part of the Canadian waters, Canada formally requested only two guns.27 They were shipped soon afterward, accompanied by a few U.S. soldiers acting ostensibly as instructors but actually as custodians.After Pearl Harbor, when Canada desired further to improve its west coast defenses, a second pair of 8-inch railway guns was loaned for the defense of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The urgency of the new situation, with the United States now a belligerent and the war expanded into the Pacific, had made for speedy action on the request with a minimum of red tape. On 15 March 1942, two days after the request, the guns were en route.28 The scale of U.S. assistance in the pre-Pearl Harbor period and immediately thereafter would appear small unless one considers that the United States was trying to fill tremendous deficiencies in its own rapidly mobilizing Army. At the same time it was trying to meet some of the urgent priority needs of the United Kingdom in order to help the British survive the Battle of Britain. Among additional items supplied to Canada during 1941 were the following:

Within the limits of a more stringent supply position, Canada reciprocated with assistance where possible. After Pearl Harbor the U.S. Army found serious deficiencies in its radar installations at the vital Panama Canal. At the suggestion of Mr. Watson-Watt, a visiting British scientist, Secretary of War Stimson requested of Canadian Minister of National Defense Ralston four early-warning and ground-controlled interception radar sets from Canadian production as a matter of the greatest urgency.29 The four sets were supplied and installed soon afterward.


Strengthening the Garrisons

After the fall of France had brought the Axis threat appreciably closer to North America, Canada in the summer of 1940 initiated the steps it could, consistent with its commitments and involvement in the European war, to improve defenses in North America. As an early step an infantry battalion, the Black Watch of Montreal, was deployed to Newfoundland Airport (later redesignated Gander Airport) in June 1940 to protect that operational transatlantic ferry base. This measure was the first significant overt expression of the natural Canadian vital concern in the defense of Newfoundland, an interest that before the first Permanent Joint Board meeting was to mature into a general agreement with the Newfoundland Government on questions of defense co-ordination.

Part of the initial Canadian garrison at Newfoundland Airport was a flight of five Digby reconnaissance aircraft. By August a pair of 4.7-inch guns was en route to Bell Island for manning by Newfoundland personnel, and plans were in hand for the establishment of an advanced naval operating base at St. John's. At its 27 August 1940 meeting the Permanent Joint Board on Defense reviewed these dispositions and concluded that they were inadequate. To correct the situation, the Board agreed on its Second Recommendation calling for an increase in the strength of the Newfoundland garrison, an augmentation of its patrol and fighter aircraft forces, the preparation of air bases for garrison by U.S. air units "when and if circumstances require," and such additional measures as examination showed to be necessary.30 It is significant that the Board did not recommend immediate reinforcement by U.S. forces. The next day the Canadian Government, pursuant to the Board's recommendation for augmentation of the Newfoundland garrison, decided to send an additional infantry battalion and to install 4.7-inch batteries at St. John's and Botwood.31

From its inception the Permanent Joint Board was aware that negotiations were in hand for the leasing of bases in Newfoundland to the United States. It took no official notice of them other than in the Second Recommendation until the 11 September meeting, after the signing of the destroyerbases agreement. The Eighth Recommendation, approved at that meeting, asked the United States expeditiously to initiate such measures under the Second Recommendation as fell "within the limits of the bases . . . being acquired by the United States."32


At the 2 October 1940 Board meeting the decision of the United States to send a regiment, less one battalion of infantry, with supporting troops to Newfoundland was made known to the Canadian Section. Winter weather handicapped construction of quarters, and the initial force of 58 officers and 919 enlisted men that arrived at St. John's on 29 January 1941 was quartered aboard the USAT Edmund B. Alexander (formerly the America) until May or June. By that time tent camps had been completed, barracks construction was under way, and the Fort Pepperrell garrison, consisting of the 3d Battalion, 3d Infantry, a battery of the 57th Coast Artillery (Harbor Defense), and a battery of the 62d Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft), came ashore to stay.

The U.S. Navy had meanwhile begun construction of the naval air station at Argentia in December 1940, and, on 25 January 1941, a detachment comprising 3 officers and 108 men of the 3d Provisional Marine Company landed there. The Argentia facility, which was presently expanded to include a naval operating base, was commissioned on 15 July 1941. As early as two months before that date, two seaplane tenders and four destroyers were based at Argentia.

The U.S. Army had also desired to establish an air garrison in Newfoundland, but was faced with the difficulty of doing so before the construction of an airfield could be completed on one of the leased sites. Although the President had earlier rejected the Air Corps' plea to include Gander Airport as one of the leased areas, the War Department with the support of Mayor LaGuardia renewed its request on 28 November 1940, this time for the lease of land adjacent to the airport so that it could be used for urgently needed training of a composite group of U.S. Army aircraft. At the urging of the President the War And Navy Departments restudied the problem and, on 30 January 1941, recommended that a lease not be sought but that an informal basis for stationing an air unit at Gander be worked out with Canada through the Permanent Joint Board. The President approved this recommendation and the suggestion that appropriate language be included in the leased-bases agreement to provide for the status of forces stationed outside the areas of the leased bases. This action was apparently the genesis. of Article XIX of the leased-bases agreement.33

Although the informal arrangements worked out provided that Canada would make available facilities for two U.S. squadrons by 1 May 1941 and


the balance of the facilities by early autumn, it soon became evident that these facilities would not materialize on schedule. The delay appeared to be connected with the unanswered question of responsibility for the defense of Newfoundland.

The first joint effort to resolve the question of defense responsibilities in Newfoundland had been in the First Report of the Permanent Joint Board, approved at the 2-4 October 1940 meeting. In the report, Canada had been assigned the responsibility for the "initial" defense of Newfoundland "except insofar as the United States . . . [might] be in a position to participate in such initial defense."34 Subsequent discussions of the command question revealed that U.S. willingness to accept the assignment of the "initial" defense responsibility to Canada was based on the expectation that, as soon as U.S. forces outnumbered Canadian forces, the responsibility would pass to the United States.

On 27 March 1941, the same day that the detailed leased-bases agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States was signed, a protocol was signed at Canadian instance by these two governments and Canada delineating the Canadian role in the defense of Newfoundland. According to the protocol, the signatories (a) recognized that Newfoundland defense was an integral part of the Canadian defense scheme, (b) agreed that Canadian defense interests would be respected, (c) continued in effect existing arrangements made through the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, and (d) provided for inclusion of Canada in certain consultations under the leased-bases agreement.35 Canada in requesting that the protocol be signed signified its unwillingness to have the defense of Newfoundland become a U.S. responsibility or to allow the United States to assume the leading role in that defense.36

The United States, on the other hand, was apparently not entirely satisfied with the defensive scheme and with the progress of the Gander Airport arrangements. Immediately after the leased-bases agreement was signed, the United States under the authority of Article XIX asked the United Kingdom to approve the dispatch of U.S. air forces to Gander Airport on a temporary basis until such time as U.S. air-base construction was completed. The United Kingdom gave its approval on 8 April 1941 and undertook to inform the governments of Canada and Newfoundland.37


The arrangement came as a surprise to Canada, and at the 16-17 April 1941 meeting of the Permanent Joint Board the U.S. Section explained the "sequence of events which led to the decision," pointing out that the arrangement made by Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt envisaged that the action would be taken in consultation with the Board.38 The arrival in Newfoundland on 1 May 1941 of the reinforcements, the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron of six B-18 medium bombardment aircraft, two 8-inch guns, and miscellaneous small units, raised the garrison by 646 to a total of 1,666 officers and enlisted men.39

In keeping with the tripartite protocol, the mission and responsibility of the U.S. garrison (designated the Newfoundland Base Command) was defined to include the defense of the U.S. bases, co-operation with Canadian and British forces in defending Newfoundland and adjacent Canada, the support of U.S. Navy forces, and the destruction of any German or Italian forces encountered.40 Although the assigned missions of U.S. and Canadian forces technically did not overlap, had enemy attack on Newfoundland actually occurred, operations by the two sets of forces would have been substantially the same in nature and scope. A critical need for co-ordinated command would have existed. The need was recognized and was long a preoccupation of the commanders in Newfoundland and of higher-level staffs.41

The United States continued to reinforce its ground and air garrison in Newfoundland, which had reached a strength of 2,383 by 1 December 1941. In August the 41st Reconnaissance Squadron of eight B-17B Flying Fortress aircraft had replaced the 21st Squadron, and on the eve of Pearl Harbor another squadron of B-17B aircraft was preparing to move to Newfoundland. The first attack by these units on Axis submarines had occurred on 27 October 1941, two days after the initial RCAF attack. With the intensification of submarine warfare in the western Atlantic after 7 December, air attacks on submarines became more numerous.42

The Canadian Army defense garrison in Newfoundland by mid-July 1941 had increased to 2,389, and included two infantry battalions and antiaircraft and coast defense artillery units. Additional deployments totaling 1,298


were planned by 1 September 1941 in order to increase the Canadian infantry garrison to three battalions--Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke at St. John's, the Lincoln and Welland Regiment at Gander Airport, and the Prince Edward Island Highlanders at Botwood. The Royal Canadian Air Force concurrently operated a bomber reconnaissance squadron of B-18 aircraft from Gander Airport.

The Maritime Provinces, according to the Permanent Joint Board's Third Recommendation, had a strategic importance "similar to that of Newfoundland."43 Here, too, the defenses were designed to meet enemy capabilities which, until such time as Britain might fall, were estimated to include bombardment by one or two naval vessels, minor submarine or surface raids, and occasional nuisance air attacks. The Maritime Provinces were more heavily defended than Newfoundland. The garrisons there, unlike those in Newfoundland, included not only the operational defensive deployments of the Canadian Army Atlantic Command and the Royal Canadian Air Force Eastern Air Command but also additional units in various states of mobilization and training. The Royal Canadian Navy Atlantic Coast command was also based on ports in the Maritime Provinces. As the Second Recommendation indicates, the required additions to the Maritime Provinces defenses were not infantry or artillery ground defense forces but special harbor defense and similar measures.

In February 1941 Canadian Army Atlantic Command forces in the Maritime Provinces included the 3d Infantry Division and four infantry and two machine gun battalions, while substantial additions to the coastal defense establishments were under way. The Eastern Air Command concurrently based approximately three bomber reconnaissance squadrons in the Provinces, plus. a number of other units in varying states of formation and equipment. Ten months later, on 17 December 1941, the Canadian Army Atlantic Command garrisons included the following numbers and units:44

  Total 27,628
Maritime Provinces 10,839
5 infantry battalions
2 machine gun battalions
14 coast and antiaircraft artillery batteries
4 searchlight batteries
Newfoundland 3,975
3 infantry battalions
3 artillery batteries
General reserve 12,814
1 infantry division (less certain units)


The United States provided no part of the garrisons in the Maritime Provinces, but it had been given the responsibility of reinforcing them in the event of a major attack.45

On the North Pacific littoral, the defense of Alaska was primarily the concern of the United States. For more than a year Permanent Joint Board recommendations with regard to Alaska were limited to two relating to the air staging route. This is probably a reflection of the state of affairs up until Pearl Harbor. During this period Canada, which was using the recommendations made in the Board as a means of achieving its immediate military objectives, had only a secondary interest in Alaska. However, the 1940 Plan and the First Report based thereon both included provisions for Alaskan defense. These provisions were probably the result of the necessarily over-all approach of the strategic planning studies. Through the medium of the Board, Canada maintained an active interest in U.S. defensive preparations in Alaska, and these preparations were reported on regularly at Board meetings. Naturally, interest was intensified after the beginning of the war with Japan.

The fall of France had given impetus to the development of U.S. defensive installations in Alaska, but considerable time was required before appropriations could be converted into facilities and garrisons. At the time of the establishment of the Permanent Joint Board, U.S. Army forces in Alaska numbered about 1,200 officers and enlisted men.46

The First Report of the Board charged Canada with the development of air staging facilities between Alaska and the United States and the United States with the completion of Army bases at Anchorage and Fairbanks, Navy bases at Sitka, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor, and air bases at Ketchikan, Yakutat, Cordova, Anchorage, Bethel, Nome, and Fairbanks. The United States was assigned the responsibility of providing the necessary defense forces, while Canada was to support these forces if required. Unlike the Permanent Joint Board recommendations for the east coast, those for the west coast did not specify the strength of the Alaska garrisons. But the Board did monitor regularly the reports submitted at Board meetings on the progress of construction and the reinforcement of the garrisons. By the end of 1940, reinforcements had increased the strength of U.S. Army units in Alaska to over 4,000.

During 1941 a build-up of the garrisons at the U.S. bases in Alaska occurred as rapidly as the construction of facilities permitted. By 30


November 1941 an Army and Air Forces strength of 21,945 was reached, of which the major elements were two infantry regiments, four infantry battalions, one pursuit squadron, and two bomber squadrons. 47 The pre-Pearl Harbor story was generally the same for the Canadian Pacific coast and the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The formal recommendations of the Permanent Joint Board virtually ignored the defensive requirements of these areas. The broader approach of the 1940 Plan, and of the First Report framed thereon, had made some provision for these areas:

  1. On the Atlantic coast, the United States was to reinforce the Maritime Provinces in case of major attack and to develop the transportation facilities necessary to permit such action.

  2. On its Pacific coast, the United States was to provide coast defense and air bases in the boundary waters area, to control and protect shipping, and to provide a one-division mobile reserve for employment in the boundary area.

  3. Canada, on its Pacific coast, was to provide coast and air defense facilities, naval and coastal defense in selected areas, and the initial ground, antiaircraft, coast, and air defense of British Columbia. 48

The U.S. drafters apparently attached the same significance to the word "initial" in the requirements for British Columbia as they did in the case of Newfoundland.

Ten days after Pearl Harbor the strength of the Canadian Army Pacific Command garrisons on the west coast totaled 9,473 and included three infantry battalions, eight artillery battalions, and a general reserve of one infantry brigade, one field artillery regiment, and one reconnaissance battalion. Although the United States nominally established Northeast and Western Defense Commands for its east and west coasts on 17 March 1941, the defense requirements of the western portions of both countries remained in a lower priority than the eastern portions until after the Japanese attack on 7 December.

ABC-1 and ABC-22

When the service members of the Permanent Joint Board prepared the first Joint draft of the 1940 Plan on 11 September 1940, they based it on "strength actually existing" and indicated a need for subsequent plans, including a 1941 plan based on the estimated strength as of 1 May 1941. 49 By the time of the 20 January 1941 meeting, the Board noted that the 1940 Plan


was obsolete and that a 1941 plan was already being discussed by the service members. But the planning process was complicated by events that were taking place. The first of the British-U.S. staff meetings was held a few days after the January Board meeting, and these meetings continued during the next two months.50 During this period work on a new U.S.-Canadian plan marked time, and on 27 February the Board was informed at its meeting in Buffalo that preparatory work on the 1941 plan had not progressed sufficiently far for a meeting of the service members to be useful. Nevertheless, the Board, in the absence of General Embick who was the senior U.S. Army representative in the British-U.S. conversations, discussed at length the need for further plans. It recognized that in addition to planning for the contingency of a British collapse, a plan was needed that would provide for the contingency of U.S. entry into the European war.51 This recognition was probably the initial impact on the views of the Board of the U.S.-British conference, whose entire effort was devoted to planning for that contingency.Between 27 February and 27 March the British-U.S. planners drafted their report at informal sessions on the basis of the exchange of views during the preceding plenary sessions. The report stated that Canadian military representatives were associated with the United Kingdom delegation throughout the course of these conversations but were not present at joint meetings.52 Neither the minutes of the joint meetings nor pertinent U.S. working papers cast any light on the character of the association.53 Whatever the nature of the United Kingdom-Canadian association during the conversations, the report thereon had several significant effects on the development of U.S.-Canadian planning:

  1. The conference agreed that the "High Command of the United States and United Kingdom . . . [would] collaborate continuously in the formulation and execution of strategical policies and plans which . . . [should] govern the conduct of the war." The fuller significance of this assumption of supreme direction is apparent in the word "Command," whose singular form was a change from the plural of an earlier draft.54

  2. The strategic concept and the principal policies for achieving the objective of "the defeat of Germany and her Allies" were offensive in nature, although the detailed war plan provided for the many defensive tasks that


    would also need to be performed. United States-Canadian planning had been entirely defensive in its approach.

  1. Upon entering the war, the United States was to assume responsibility for the strategic direction of U.S., British, and other associated military forces in the Western Hemisphere except "the waters and territories in which Canada assumes responsibility for the strategic direction of military forces, as may be defined in the United States-Canada joint agreements."55

  2. The report agreed on "principles of command" that envisaged a superior commander of one country commanding troops of other countries through their own national commanders.

The final editing of the report took place on 27 March 1941, although the minutes of the fourteenth and last meeting on 29 March record formal approval as of 29 March. At this meeting the short title "ABC-1" was assigned to the document, whose full title was "United States-British Staff Conversations, Report." There appears to be no evidence to support a theory that Canada alone among the other associated powers was singled out for inclusion in the short title, in which the letters A and B stood for American and British, despite the fact that the ABC usage was soon adopted by the United States and Canada, which gave the short title ABC-22 to their next defense plan.56

By the time the British-U.S. meetings ended, the service members of the Permanent Joint Board had prepared two distinct joint draft plans. Plan 1, which had already passed through several joint drafts, was an implementation of the 1940 Plan and was based on the concept of a joint U.S.-Canadian war effort without outside aid. Plan 2 was based on a different concept and different assumptions and envisaged the contingency of U.S. entry into the war alongside Great Britain, as contemplated in ABC-1.57

The Senior U.S. Army Member of the Permanent Joint Board submitted the draft of Plan 1, which was in the more advanced state, to the War Plans Division of the War Department General Staff. In commenting on this draft the War Plans Division, by that time apparently confident of British success in the Battle of Britain, expressed the principal criticism that a greater


need existed for a plan based on the hypothesis that the United States might find it necessary to enter the war and fight with Great Britain. The War Plans Division also felt that matters of strategic direction and command were not adequately covered.58

As a result of lack of War Department support for further planning based on Plan 1, no more work was done on it. A few days after War Plans Division criticized Plan 1, the Senior U.S. Army Member of the Permanent Joint Board was able to respond by submitting a new draft of Joint CanadianUnited States Basic. Defense Plan 2, dated 10 April 1941 and bearing the short title "ABC-22."59 Although this draft was based on the pertinent assumptions in ABC-1, War Plans Division also took exception to Plan 2, again because of the provisions on strategic direction and command.60

By this time the questions of command and strategic direction had become a major issue in the Board, the service departments, and to some extent, the political departments of the two countries.61 United States service proposals for vesting in the United States the strategic direction of forces in Newfoundland and certain Canadian areas were not acceptable but were argued for over a month while planning ceased. Agreement in principle was reached in the Board at the 28-29 May 1941 meeting. This agreement permitted the service members on 4 June to agree on a revised joint draft of ABC-22. The War Plans Division still considered the command arrangements defective but was willing to interpose no objection to the acceptance of the new draft.62 On 11 June the Senior Canadian Army Member of the Board submitted a number of amendments to Plan 2, one of which called for the establishment of a Canadian military mission in Washington. This new proposal was followed on 1 July by a formal Canadian request for a mission, and, from that time until the United States replied on 25 July, ABC-22 planning languished.63 Thereafter, although Canada failed to get its military mission in Washington and the United States failed to get the arrangement it desired for strategic direction of forces in Newfoundland and certain Canadian areas, the questions were resolved, at least for the time being, and at the 29-30 July 1941 Board meeting the service members could report agreement on Plan 2.


ABC-22 was formally reviewed in the U.S. War and Navy Departments and was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on 16 August and by the Secretary of War on 18 August 1941. The two Secretaries transmitted the plan to President Roosevelt on 20 August 1941 recommending that he approve it, and he did so on 29 August. The President's action on ABC-22 contrasted sharply with that on ABC-1, which he saw fit only to note and to instruct that it be returned for approval if the United States should enter the war.64 Review of the plan proceeded more slowly in Canada, where "supplementary questions" were still being asked in early October. On 15 October 1941 the Cabinet War Committee finally gave the government's approval to ABC-22.65

In its broad outlines ABC-22 differed only slightly from the aborted Plan I and its predecessor, the 1940 Plan. The ABC-22 tasks were those required for the defense of northern North America (less Greenland) in an offensive war against Germany. Whereas the 1940 Plan called for protection of only such overseas shipping as was on the high seas when the plan was put into effect, ABC-22 included as a major task the continuing protection of overseas shipping throughout the western Atlantic and the Pacific areas. The defensive tasks were otherwise substantially the same. Naturally, under the different assumptions of the two plans, different estimates of enemy capabilities called for different defensive deployments and strengths. Both plans were capabilities plans, rather than requirements plans, and set forth only the forces actually available for execution of the necessary tasks.

Command, which had not been specifically touched upon in the 1940 Plan, was in ABC-22 to be co-ordinated through mutual co-operation, except where special agreements were made for unified commands. With one exception, the defense responsibility, in each land area, and presumably the command responsibility as well, was assigned to the sovereign country. In Newfoundland, where neither Canada nor the United States was sovereign, the defense was made a common task of the U.S. and Canadian Armies and the Royal Canadian Air Force. In the only other area where the two countries had equal juridical status, the defense responsibility was assigned, in consonance with the status quo, to the United States. This was on the high seas, in the northern portions of the Pacific and western Atlantic Ocean areas, where the United States was made responsible for the protection of shipping. One clause in the plan provided that, if circumstances warranted,


the forces of one country might temporarily extend their operations into the other country.

The plan was to go into effect when directed by the two governments. As a war plan, most of its provisions would be acted upon only when it was placed in effect. Like the 1940 Plan, ABC-22 included a statement of the facilities to be provided by each country. In the Annex to ABC-22, the planners had found it necessary only to list these facilities, since arrangements for their provision had already been agreed upon in the First Report of the Permanent Joint Board or in subsequent recommendations. ABC-22 was the last joint U.S.-Canadian defense plan prepared by the service members of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense during World War II.

Putting Plans Into Action

Even before ABC-22 was completed the preparation of the subordinate plans necessary to translate its broad allocations of missions into detailed operating plans for field commands had already been begun. In the United States, the joint Army-Navy RAINBOW plans provided the approved basis for detailed service planning. While ABC-22 was being drafted, the U.S. Joint Planning Committee was given new direction in its work on Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan--RAINBOW 5, which was now to be based on ABC-1 and ABC-22.66 As a matter of fact, when ABC-22 was completed, it was appended as Annex II to RAINBOW 5, which had been approved by the Secretaries of War and the Navy on 2 June and 28 May 1941, respectively. The joint Army-Navy plan RAINBOW 5 became the basis of the more detailed War Department Operations Plan--RAINBOW 5, and the Navy Basic War Plan--RAINBOW 5. These in turn were the basis for plans of the defense commands, departments, naval coastal frontiers, and other subordinate Army and Navy commands. All of these plans therefore reflected the basic allocations and provisions of ABC-22. In a few instances implementation of ABC-22 took the form of preparation of local joint U.S.-Canadian plans in boundary areas of mutual interest. But in the area in most urgent need of such a plan, Newfoundland, no co-ordinated planning took place until after Pearl Harbor.

The first local plan had been drafted for the Puget Sound-Juan de Fuca Strait area in Washington State and British Columbia many months before the drafting of ABC-22. The problem of co-ordination of defenses there occasioned an inspection trip to the area in September 1940 by Brigadier


Stuart, the Canadian Army Board member, and Colonel McNarney, the U.S. Army Air Corps officer on the Permanent Joint Board. After conferring with the harbor defense commanders of the two countries in the area, Stuart and McNarney recommended to their departments that a joint plan for the area be prepared. Accordingly, the War Department on 28 September 1940 directed the Commanding General, Fourth Army, to initiate the planning.67 On 21-22 October a joint board of five U.S. and Canadian officers made a complete study of the problem on the ground, discussed it with the local commanding officers, and drafted an International Joint Defense Plan for Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound Area.68 The conclusions and recommendations of this plan called for installation of certain additional armament, improvement of communications, preparation of joint codes, exchange of liaison officers, and other measures. Most of the recommendations, modified in some instances after review in Washington and Ottawa, were placed in effect and became the first co-operative measures between commands of the two countries on tactical levels.

Subsequent to the U.S. approval of ABC-22, a joint area plan based thereon was prepared for all of the U.S.-Canadian west coast, including Alaska, as a result of War Department instructions issued on 29 September 1941.69 A defensive plan, with short title "ABC (Pacific)-22," was completed and approved as of 22 January 1942 (for the United States) by the Commanding General, Western Defense Command, and the Commander, Pacific Northern Naval Coastal Frontier, and (for Canada) by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Pacific Command; Commanding Officer, Pacific Coast (Royal Canadian Navy); and the Air Officer Commanding, Western Air Command.

The real and more important implementation of ABC-22 was the action on the measures it set forth as necessary to permit the carrying out of the plan. These measures called for construction or installation of certain defensive works, operational bases, and logistical facilities. Although ABC-22 was presumably not in effect until so ordered, work on these essential measures listed in the plan was put under way at once, long before the plan was officially placed in effect.

Once the Canadian Government had, on 15 October 1941, matched the earlier action of the U.S. Government in approving ABC-22, this plan had not long to remain on the shelf of war plans before it was put into effect. The Japanese struck Pearl Harbor at 1:25 P.M. (Washington time) on 7 December 1941. At 10:25 A.M. the next morning, General Embick, the


Senior U.S. Army Member of the Permanent Joint Board, telephoned Brigadier Pope, his opposite number in Ottawa, that the United States had placed ABC-22 in effect "as it applies to Japan," and requested similar action by the Canadian Government. A telephone call the same afternoon between these two officers reported that the same action had been ordered by the Canadian Minister of National Defense.70 At 4:10 P.M. that afternoon President Roosevelt approved the joint resolution of Congress declaring the existence of a state of war between the United States and Japan. Canada, already at war with two of the Axis Powers, formalized the existence of a state of war with Japan by an order-in-council of 7 December.71

On 11 December Congress passed, and the President approved at 3:05 P.M., similar joint resolutions regarding Germany and Italy.72 Four hours earlier the Chief of Staff had issued orders to his subordinate field commanders placing Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan--RAINBOW 5, and the corresponding War Department Operations Plan, in effect. The ABC-22 plan, as Annex II to RAINBOW 5, went into general effect at that time. The comparable Canadian action was reported on 22 December, when the U.S. Section of the Board was advised that the Canadian Government had instructed the Canadian Chiefs of Staff "to place ABC-22 in effect without qualification.73


Table of Contents
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1. For texts of all the wartime recommendations of the Permanent Joint Board, see Appendix A, below.

2. PDB 133-1.

3. Copies filed at WPD 4330-5 and PDB 133-3.

4. Copies at PDB 133-5 and-7, respectively.

5. PDB 133-7.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid. These responsibilities and base requirements appear in the First Report of the Permanent Joint Board (reproduced below at Appendix B) substantially as they were stated in the 1940 Plan.

9. Memo, WPD for CofS, 17 Sep 40, WPD 4330-5.

10. See Ch. VI, below.

11. Memo, WPD for SUSAM, 9 Nov 40, WPD 4330-5.

12. PDB 133-7.

13. Ibid.

14. Journal, PDB 124.

15. WPD 4330-12. For text of the First Report, see Appendix B, below.

16. PDB 103-3.

17. D/S 842.24/72A.

18. Journals, PDB 124 and 103-3.

19. H. C. Debates, 12 Nov 40, p. 53. Another United States measure, the sale of machine tools to Canada, has been credited by one Canadian authority as alone making possible the rapid expansion of Canadian defense production during 1940. (Dawson, Canada in World Affairs: 1939-1941, p. 61.)

20. PL 703, 76th Congress.

21. PL 671, 76th Congress.

22. Memo, for President's Liaison Committee, WPD 4323-15.

23. Memo, SW for USW, WPD 4323-15.

24. WPD 4323-9. This matériel was returned near the end of 1942, by which time it had been replaced by Canadian equipment.

25. Ltr, to SUSAM, 8 Jan 41, PDB 104-4.

26. Longhand Note, on Memo, ACofS WPD for CofS, 27 Nov 40, WPD 4323-8.

27. Memo, SUSAM for ACofS WPD, 16 May 41, WPD 4323-9.

28. Ibid.

29. Ltr, 13 Feb 42, PDB 123-1.

30. Text at Appendix A, below.

31. Journal, 9-11 Sep 40 PJBD meeting, PDB 124.

32. See Appendix A, below.

33. Ltr, SW to President, 28 Nov 40, WPD 4351-9; Ltr, LaGuardia to President, 29 Nov 40, and Memos, President for SW and Secy Navy, 30 Nov 40, all in Roosevelt Papers, Official File 4101; Ltr, SW and Secy Navy to President, 30 Jan 41, Roosevelt Papers, Secy's File, Box 78; JPC Rpt, 8 Jan 41, WPD 4404-2; Ch. VII, below.

34. Appendix B, below.

35. EAS, 235; CTS, 1941, No. 2.

36. D/S Telg 973, to London, 22 Mar 41, PDB 107-9; H. C. Debates, 27 Mar 41, p. 1904; Dawson, Canada in World Affairs; 1939-1941, p. 217.

37. WPD Memo/Conv, Col Crawford and Hickerson, 11 Apr 41, which cites telegram of 9 April from London, PDB 107-9. The United States request also sought authority for similar emergency deployments to Bermuda and Trinidad.

38. Memo/Conv, Robertson and Moffat, 10 Apr 41, Moffat Diary; Journal, PDB 124.

39. The Canadian Government had itself increased the RCAF garrison by moving to Newfoundland on 11 April, apparently as a countermove upon learning of the U.S. plan, No. 10 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron, which had had a flight of five aircraft in Newfoundland since June 1940.

40. Craven and Cate (eds.) Plans and Early Operations, p. 156.

41. See Ch. V, below.

42. Craven and Cate (eds.), Plans and Early Operations, p. 157; Memo, E. M. Watson for President, 27 Oct. 41, Roosevelt Papers, Secy's File Box 78.

43. Appendix A, below.

44. Memo, SUSAM for ACofS WPD, 27 Jan 42, PDB 135-2.

45. First Report, Appendix B, below.

46. For accounts of the pre-Pearl Harbor development of Alaskan defenses, see Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 454-58; Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic, pp. 163-65; and Craven and Cate (eds.), Plans and Early Operations, pp. 166-70.

47. Western Defense Command, History of the Western Defense Command, Vol. I, Annex D, OCMH.

48. See Appendix B, below.

49. First Joint Draft of 1940 Plan, WPD 4330-5.

50. See Ch. III, above.

51. Journal, PDB 124.

52. Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, p. 1485.

53. These minutes and papers are filed in several folders in WPD 4402-89.

54. BUS(J) (41) 22, OPD Exec 4, Item 11.

55. Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, p. 1485 et passim.

56. The "C" in ABC stood for conversations or conference (or possibly Commonwealth). The statement of General of the Army H. H. Arnold, wartime commander of the Army Air Forces, in Global Mission (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949), p. 255, that the ABC plan referred to America-British-China is inaccurate. Besides ABC-22, another offspring of ABC-1 was the ADB report of the American-Dutch-British conversations in Singapore in April 1941. This detailed plan for the conduct of Far East operations is reproduced in Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, pp. 1551-84.

57. Memo, SUSAM for CofS, 31 Mar 41), PDB 135-2.

58. Memo, for SUSAM, 7 Apr 41), WPD 4330-21.

59. This was the first use of the designation ABC-22. The meaning of the number "22" and its relation, if any, to the numbers assigned to the two reports of the ABC conversations, ABC-1 and ABC-2, are not recorded in U.S. files.

60. Memo, for SUSAM, 2 May 41, WPD 4330-22.

61. A full account is contained in Chapter V, below.

62. 1st Ind, to SUSAM, 17 Jun 42), PDB 135-2.

63. See Chapter III, above, for an account of the negotiations and their bearing on the question of command.

64. Memo, Secy GS for CofS, 29 Aug 41), PDB 135-2; Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, p. 46. The memorandum is contained in Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 3, p. 997; see also pp. 993-96.

65. Ltr, Pope to Embick, 16 Oct 41), PDB 135-2.

66. Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, pp. 40-46. For an account of RAINBOW planning, see Cline, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, pp. 55-59, and Matloff and Snell, Ch. 1.

67. WPD 4330-9.

68. Copy filed at WPD 4330-9.

69. History of the Western Defense Command, I, 10.

70. Confirming Memos, 8 Dec 41), PDB 135-2.

71. PL 328, 77th Congress; Privy Council 9592.

72. PL 331, and 332, 77th Congress.

73. Ltr Pope to U.S. Section, PDB 135-2.

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