Chapter V
Organization and Command

The several joint strategic defense plans whose preparation was undertaken pursuant to the Seventh Recommendation of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense necessarily concerned themselves with problems of co-ordination and command jurisdiction. Divergent U.S. and Canadian points of view regarding the solution of these problems were intensified after Pearl Harbor had brought the war to the threshold of the United States. This was due to U.S. unwillingness to leave in the hands of another power the defense of contiguous border areas whose adequate defense was vital to the security of the United States.

Other factors added to the complexity of the problem of U.S.-Canadian co-ordination after Pearl Harbor. Until then the joint relationship involved a common defense problem to be worked out on a mutual basis using newly developed patterns and precedents. After 7 December 1941 certain important continental defense requirements continued to exist, but the principal foci of U.S. military interest shifted from North America to Europe and North Africa, and to Alaska and the mid-Pacific islands. Canada thus became to the United States primarily a territory astride or bordering on essential ground, air, and sea lines of communications to the areas in which the major engagements with the Axis forces were to take place.

Within Canadian territory a vast complex of logistical facilities became necessary for the support of friendly forces in combat zones. The United States, with its preponderance of resources, undertook the development of the greater part of the logistical facilities required in Canada and in the North American areas. The development work took on, to a large extent, the appearance of a U.S.-directed unilateral operation on Canadian territory, with Canada providing rights of way, auxiliary facilities, and the like. Logistical tasks, although of joint interest, did not lend themselves to joint direction as did defense tasks, since they were undertaken primarily by the United States and principally with its own resources.

As more logistical tasks were undertaken, the movement into Canada of U.S. construction, communications, and other organizations mushroomed rapidly. The functioning of this quickly growing establishment presented many new problems of co-ordination, political and military, from the governmental level to the lowest operating echelons.


Unity of Operational Command

Disagreements between Canada and the United States over the command question had begun when the first joint defense plan, the 1940 Plan, was drafted. No direct command provisions were incorporated in it, although allocations of territorial responsibilities were made that presumably included command responsibility. The 1940 Plan set forth the following allocation of defense responsibilities:1

  1. All Canadian territory, to Canada

  2. All U.S. territory, including Alaska, to the United States.

  3. Newfoundland--to Canada, the "initial . . . defenses, except in so far as the United States . . . [might] be in a position to participate in such initial defense"; to the United States, the defense of U.S. bases.

  4. Control of shipping in the Atlantic approaches to North America, to Canada. (The Royal Canadian Navy was already handling the task.)

  5. Canadian coastal waters, to Canada.

  6. United States coastal waters and all North American offshore sea approaches, to the United States, except for air patrol of approaches to Newfoundland and eastern Canada by the Royal Canadian Air Force.

In U.S. and Canadian territorial waters and land areas, the assignment of responsibilities was strictly along lines of national sovereignty. In Newfoundland, governed by the United Kingdom through a Royal Commission and soon to be garrisoned by U.S. as well as Canadian forces, the responsibilities overlapped. In addition, the provision of the plan allocating initial overall defense responsibility for Newfoundland to Canada implied subsequent allocation of the responsibility to the United States.

The allocation of responsibilities in the North Atlantic approaches to North America reflected the close liaison that was developing among the naval services of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A big factor in the agreement on command arrangements based on military principles that U.S. officers considered soundest was the fact that arrangements on the high seas were not inhibited by considerations of national sovereignty or by historic U.S. and Canadian psychological attitudes.2

The U.S. service members of the Permanent Joint Board had foreseen the need for guidance on the command question immediately after the first Board meeting and before the drafting of the 1940 Plan. The Chief of Staff on 9 September agreed that the United States should propose to assume


primary responsibility for the defense of the Maritime Provinces through their inclusion in the New England Sector of the frontier coastal defense system. For the time being, no defense or command responsibility was to be sought in Newfoundland or British Columbia.3 Actually, as each of the drafts of the 1940 Plan was prepared, including the last (10 October 1940, no command provisions whatever were included.The War Department General Staff, in reviewing the plan in November 1940, felt that the lack of provisions as to organization and command should be corrected, since the task of co-ordinating the five separate forces involved (two armies, two navies, and one air force) by mutual co-operation would present "a most difficult problem." The War Plans Division proposed that the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, and British Columbia be included as sectors of the U.S. North Atlantic and Pacific Coastal Frontiers. The sectors would remain under Canadian tactical command except that the United States would assume command in the Maritime Provinces or Newfoundland sectors when its forces in either had reached certain levels that would make them preponderant.4

There were several other requirements for command and co-ordination arrangements for which the 1940 Plan failed to provide:

  1. Co-ordination of the U.S. and Canadian garrisons in Newfoundland and of their overlapping responsibilities.

  2. Establishment of a unified defense command in the Strait of Juan de Fuca area, where the boundary divided into two parts, and thereby weakened, a defense that was militarily a single entity.

  3. Co-ordinated direction of forces on adjacent sides of the boundaries in other border areas.

  4. Some means of over-all direction or co-ordination of the multiplicity of commands involved in the defense of northern North America.

With the establishment of the U.S. Army defense commands in 1941, the principal commanders whose co-operation and co-ordination were required were as follows:5

Canada   United States
  East Coast  
Commodore Commanding Newfoundland Force (Royal Canadian Navy)   Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet (U.S. Navy)
Commanding Officer, Atlantic Coast (Royal Canadian Navy)   Task Force Commander, United States Atlantic Fleet (U.S. Navy)


Canada   United States
  East Coast  
Air Officer Commanding, Eastern Air Command (Royal Canadian Air Force)   Commander, North Atlantic Naval Coastal Frontier (U.S. Navy)
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Atlantic Command (Canadian Army)   Commanding General, Northeast Defense Command (and the subordinate Newfoundland Base Command) (U.S. Army)
    Commanding General, General Headquarters (U.S. Army)
  West Coast  
Commanding Officer, Pacific Coast (Royal Canadian Navy)   Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet (U.S. Navy)
Air Officer Commanding, Western Air Command (Royal Canadian Air Force)   Task Force Commander, United States Pacific Fleet (U.S. Navy)
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Pacific Command (Canadian Army)   Commander, Pacific Northern Naval Coastal Frontier (U.S. Navy)
    Commanding General, Western Defense Command (and the subordinate Alaska Defense Command) (U.S. Army)

In the conversations between United Kingdom and U.S. service representatives in early 1941, it was agreed that in any given area unified direction of all forces should be exercised by whichever of the two countries was assigned responsibility for the area. This agreement was not intended to prejudice such arrangements as Canada and the United States might make in their joint plans, but it undoubtedly strengthened the U.S. resolve to press for what it considered a sound military solution of the command question.

When joint planning with Canada was resumed in March 1941, the U.S. service members of the Permanent Joint Board incorporated the U.S. views on command and organization in a draft U.S.-Canadian joint defense plan for ground and air operations.6 The provisions of the plan called for the addition to the U.S. Northeast and Western Defense Commands of three sectors, comprising the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, and British Columbia. United States officers were to control the defense commands and the U.S. sectors thereof. The three sectors to be added would be commanded by Canadian officers, and command of the Newfoundland sector would pass to the United States when prescribed levels had been reached by U.S. forces. Liaison between the two countries in regard to the strategic direction of the two defense commands would be effected through military missions to be exchanged between Ottawa and Washington.

In their first counterproposal, of 14 April, the Canadian planners proposed that instead of control by defense commanders, the strategic direction


of the sectors be vested jointly in the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and the Canadian Chiefs of the General and Air Staffs. This direction would be exercised through the missions to be exchanged.7 The following day, 15 April, the service planners of the two countries met and produced a "Montreal Revise" of the Canadian draft. The agreed revision contained the following changes:

  1. Responsibility for strategic direction of the three sectors was to be vested in the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, who would be required to consult with the Canadian chief of staff concerned before issuing a directive affecting the Canadian forces.

  2. Canada would retain command of the Newfoundland sector regardless of the strength of U.S. forces stationed there.8

The revised draft appeared to satisfy U.S. desires and to give the Canadians the military mission in Washington which they sought. Within a week of the planners' agreement on the draft, the Canadian Chiefs of the General and the Air Staffs approved it, subject to minor additions.9 But the command debate, to all appearances settled, was soon to become more active than ever.

During the Permanent Joint Board meeting on 16-17 April, immediately after the service members had reached agreement on the Montreal Revise, progress made in planning had been discussed. The command arrangements of the plan, even though they were to be approved a few days later by the Canadian Chiefs of the General and the Air Staffs, had been considered unsatisfactory by Mr. Biggar, the Canadian chairman. Subsequently, in a letter of 29 April to Mr. LaGuardia detailing his views, he objected to the uncertainty as to (a) the scope of the strategic direction to be exercised by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and (b) the character of the prior consultation. He transmitted at the same time a draft report embodying his views and proposed that, after it had been refined, the Permanent Joint Board submit it to the two governments for approval as its Second Report.10 From the U.S. point of view, his proposals represented a step backward, for they not only failed to provide some means of higher strategic co-ordination but also definitively assigned the defense responsibility for Newfoundland to Canada.

LaGuardia replied that he would have the proposals studied but that he feared, frankly, they were "getting dangerously apart." The War Department General Staff, after studying the proposals, found them unacceptable and recommended that the United States stand firm on the agreed Montreal


Revise. LaGuardia then addressed the President on 7 May, outlining the problem. He cited the command principle that had been accepted in ABC-1 and stated his "personal conviction that the situation . . . {had} been created for political reasons" as a result of discussions in the Cabinet War Committee. The U.S. chairman recommended that the President personally lay before Prime Minister King the need for vesting strategic direction in the United States.11 After an exchange of memorandums with the Secretaries of War and the Navy, the President advised LaGuardia that he agreed with his position and suggested that he outline the matter of responsibility to the Canadians along the following lines:

  1. Although not a belligerant, the United States was virtually ready to undertake the defense of eastern Canada and Newfoundland.

  2. Canada had neither the men or the matériel for this task except as a participant on a smaller scale than the United States.

  3. The Canadian war effort was designed primarily to send men and materials overseas.

  4. Since the defensive effort would fall nine-tenths to the United States, the strategic responsibility should be vested in that country.12

LaGuardia, in turn, informed the Canadian chairman that the U.S. Government completely supported the U.S. chairman's insistence on the need for U.S. strategic control and proposed an early Board meeting to resolve the issue.

At this point the air began to clear, and Mr. Biggar replied to Mr. LaGuardia by recounting a parable of how two good-natured superintendents employed by touchy owners of two farms of disproportionate sizes and resources worked out means of joint supervision of an attack on a common problem.13 At the 28-29 May Permanent Joint Board meeting the "goodnatured superintendents" and their assistants discussed, during three half-day sessions, the preparation of a new plan and command relationships under it. A terse twelve-line Journal of Discussions and Decisions covered all three sessions and merely reported that "as no mutually acceptable solution of the problem of command relationships was found after a full discussion of this subject, it was agreed that it would be desirable for the question of command


relationship under Plan No. 2 to be considered on the basis of command by co-operation.14 Although the action is not recorded in the journal, the Permanent Joint Board apparently approved, at least in part, a draft Second Report on the subject of command arrangements.15 This draft, as had Biggar's, differentiated between the command requirements for the 1940 Plan (premised on British collapse) and for Plan 2 (ABC-22, which assumed U.S. entry into the war alongside the United Kingdom).16 In regard to the 1940 Plan, the draft report provided for strategic direction by the United States, with full consultation between the two governments on matters of joint war policy and with Canadian representation on the agency that might be created for that purpose. Several drafts were proposed for the portion of the report that concerned Plan 2, as were amendments to the portion of the draft that had been tentatively approved. Although the report was never completed and command arrangements for Plan 2 (ABC-22) were eventually embodied in the plan itself, the agreed portion of the draft Second Report, which covered command arrangements for the 1940 Plan, apparently continued tacitly to be accepted by the Permanent Joint Board as a valid agreement.17 Soon after the 28-29 May 1941 Board meeting, a draft of ABC-22 was agreed upon at staff level. The plan, as subsequently approved, included the following command arrangements:

  1. Assignment to the forces of each country of tasks that lent themselves to execution by the forces of a single country.

  2. Co-ordination of military effort by mutual co-operation, with each country retaining strategic direction and command of its own forces.

  3. Establishment of unified commands where required, upon agreement by the chiefs of staff concerned or upon agreement by local commanders and confirmation by the chiefs of staff.

  4. Exchange of liaison officers between commanders at the various levels.

The War Department accepted these arrangements reluctantly, since it continued to believe that command by co-operation was inadequate and ineffective. In recommending approval to the Chief of Staff, the War Plans Division stated: "Considering the difficulties the United States representatives experienced in arriving at an agreement with the Canadian


representatives . . . {the plan is} the best that could be evolved . . . and} should be accepted."18

Local Command Arrangements

Although Washington and Ottawa during the latter half of 1941 were of necessity reconciled to the "co-ordination by mutual co-operation" concept of ABC-22, the question of unity of command continued to plague commanders in the field. The problem was probably most complicated in Newfoundland, where forces of both Canada and the United States were disposed. Plan ABC-22 had charged both garrisons with the same responsibility--to defend Newfoundland in co-operation with the other country's forces. But the United States, in line with the allocation of initial responsibility for Joint Task Two (the defense of Newfoundland) in the 1940 Plan, had yielded the over-all responsibility for Newfoundland defense to Canada. Five commands were involved in the local defense problem: the U.S. Newfoundland Base Command (Army and Air); U.S. Navy Task Force 4, Argentia; Royal Canadian Navy Newfoundland Force; Canadian Army Force, Newfoundland; and Royal Canadian Air Force No. 1 Group. The mission actually assigned to the U.S. Newfoundland base commander charged him with (a) the defense of only the U.S. military installations there, and (b) co-operating with Canadian forces in the defense of Newfoundland.19 Although this mission in theory separated defense responsibilities, an actual attack on the island would probably have found the five commands attempting, in the same general area, to counter the enemy through the same types of operations. Lack of co-ordinated direction would have produced confusion, dissipation of resources, and hazard to the un-co-ordinated defenders. As a basic measure, the exchange of liaison officers between commands as provided for under ABC-22 was readily arranged, but little success was achieved in effecting, pursuant to that plan, local arrangements for unity of command.

The harbor defense of St. John's was a narrowly local problem where divided responsibility existed as a result of U.S. installation of an 8-inch battery after Canada had installed a 10-inch battery supplied by the United States. On 5 September 1941, the Canadian Army commander advised the U.S. Newfoundland base commander that he considered "divided responsibility in this matter unsound." He suggested, as a more satisfactory arrangement, transfer of the manning responsibility for the U.S. battery to the Canadian force.20 When the United States did not respond to the suggestion, it was dropped.


Not long after Pearl Harbor, U.S. units stationed at Gander Airport complained about the unsatisfactory defense co-ordination there. Air units of both countries were stationed at the same base, yet no delineation of air defense responsibility had been possible, although urgently needed, particularly for the air warning services.21 The U.S. Section of the Board found it necessary to reply that the situation could not be altered by action through the Permanent Joint Board, for Gander was a Canadian base and the defense responsibility was therefore Canadian.

A new avenue for effecting co-ordination was opened shortly after Pearl Harbor when the Board agreed on its Twenty-second Recommendation.22 This recommendation, on the decentralization of functions to local commanders, authorized the commanders named in Paragraph 12 of ABC-22 to work out "by mutual agreements any arrangements they deem necessary for the perfection of preparations for the common defense." The wording gave broad scope to the measures that might be taken under the aegis of this recommendation subject to the requirement--and this from the U.S. point of view was the fly in the ointment--that the local commanders involved mutually agree to the measures.23

With the United States unwilling to press for more satisfactory co-ordination arrangements on higher levels, it remained for the operating echelons in Newfoundland to provide such co-ordination through co-operative measures insofar as application of the Twenty-second Recommendation would permit. Efforts were made through the drafting of joint defense plans, through establishment of local joint defense committees and joint operations centers, and through the exchange of liaison officers. Local joint planning had been initiated as early as November 1941, when the U.S. commander drafted a Joint Defense Plan 1, Newfoundland. He later reported success in getting the support of all the commands involved, except for the RCAF command.24 In December the three Canadian commanders and the U.S. Newfoundland base commander, all stationed at St. John's, joined to form the Local Joint Defense Committee to review all existing plans and recommend changes, and to function under its senior member. Initially the senior member was the U.S. commander, Maj. Gen. Gerald C. Brant.

Immediately after the establishment of the joint committee at St. John's, the Canadian Army member was replaced by Maj. Gen. L. F. Page, who was senior to General Brant by two weeks. He thus displaced the latter as senior member of the committee. This, in the opinion of the Newfoundland base


commander, was the purpose of the Canadian move.25 To the U.S. consul general at St. John's, it appeared that the move was part of Canadian policy to keep its political and military representatives ahead of the Americans in relative rank. In support of his thesis the consul general cited the earlier appointment of a Canadian high commissioner to St. John's and the promotion of the naval commander to a rank senior to that of the U.S. Navy station commander at Argentia.26

An atmosphere reflecting such U.S. suspicions was not improved by reported differences among the Canadian commanders involved. According to the U.S. Army commander, the RCAF commander was "non-co-operative" and barely on speaking terms with the Canadian Army commander and British Air Ministry representatives at Gander Airport; very little co-operation between forces existed; bitter feeling was rampant; and the situation was far from satisfactory.27 These differences were complicated further by the fact that the Canadian Army and RCAF commanders could not act without consulting their superior authorities, located outside Newfoundland. This requirement, coupled with a communications system whose inadequacy was compounded by meteorological and other failures, presented a serious barrier to the attainment of a high degree of operational effectiveness.

Despite repeated urging from the U.S. Army commander that unity of command be arranged, the War Department declined to act, even after the Canadian chairman of the Permanent Joint Board had suggested that the United States renew its request for a unified command. Remembering the prolonged and unproductive discussions on the subject during the course of earlier U.S.-Canadian planning, the U.S. Section declined to raise the matter on the ground that such a U.S. proposal, in the absence of a substantially increased threat to Newfoundland, would be unsuccessful and only impair what co-operation existed.28

Some measure of unification of the Newfoundland commands was


achieved in March 1942, apparently as a result of initiative on the part of the Newfoundland Government. In February 1942 it submitted to the Canadian and U.S. commanders in Newfoundland a proposal for the formation of a joint defense council to include representation of the Newfoundland Government. At about the same time it expressed strong dissatisfaction to the Canadian Government with the existing method of co-ordinating command by co-operation and with the lack of unified command.29 On 18 March Prime Minister King advised the Canadian House of Commons that, upon the recommendation of the Chiefs of Staff, the Cabinet War Committee had approved establishment of unified Canadian commands on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and in Newfoundland.30 General Page was designated commander of the Canadian forces in Newfoundland and was charged with strategic direction of those forces. In each unified command, the operations rooms of the three services' were to be combined into a joint operations center.

Six days after this announcement, the Canadian Government transmitted to the United States, through the Board, extracts from the Newfoundland Government's demand for a unified command. The Canadian Government stated that it had invited Newfoundland authorities to attend the next Board meeting for a discussion of the problem.31 The journals of the next meeting and of the succeeding meetings do not indicate that such discussions took place. Short of unification of the U.S. and Canadian commands, which Canada had vigorously opposed, the Canadian action went as far in the direction of improving co-ordination as was possible. For reasons that are not clear, the Newfoundland Government apparently chose not to press for further action.

By the end of 1942 co-ordination between the forces of the two countries in Newfoundland had improved considerably. The U.S. Newfoundland Base Command joined the new Canadian operations center at St. John's. The appropriate military authorities of the two countries, including the Canadian Chiefs of Staff, prepared and approved a Canadian-U.S. Joint Defense Plan, Newfoundland. Joint field exercises involving all the forces were held, as were command post and communications exercises for the staffs. On 1 October 1942 the U.S. chairman of the Permanent Joint Board, Mr. LaGuardia, was able to report after a visit to Newfoundland that the command arrangements were satisfactory but that this was so only because of


the excellent co-operation between the individuals involved (Generals Page and Brant). Should they be replaced, he felt that there might be danger to U.S. defense interests in Newfoundland.32

Whereas the United States after it entered the war did not feel impelled to force the issue of unity of command in Newfoundland, consideration of possible developments on the Pacific coast as a result of Pearl Harbor motivated such action in the command arrangements for British Columbia. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the War Department urged President Roosevelt formally to propose to Prime Minister King that the defense of British Columbia be placed under U.S. strategic direction. The President preferred that initial overtures be made through other channels before he approached the Prime Minister.33 LaGuardia on 2 January 1942 then wrote to Mr. Biggar, Canadian chairman of the Permanent Joint Board, proposing that British Columbia come under U.S. strategic direction in the interests of greater security and better integration of forces, particularly since the U.S. Western Defense Command was already responsible for the defense of Alaska and the western United States.34 He proposed also that suitable limits be placed on the authority of the over-all commander in Canada.

Biggar replied that the Canadian Section of the Board deemed such a recommendation to the Canadian Government inadvisable since under ABC-22 questions of the kind were now in the province of the Canadian Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Biggar's reply also hinted at renewed Canadian dissatisfaction with U.S. unwillingness to accept a Canadian staff mission in Washington when he pointed out that lack of Canadian Chiefs of Staff representation in Washington had made it more difficult for the Canadian Chiefs to weigh the question.35 In subsequent correspondence the Canadians expressed the view that the co-operation provisions of ABC-22 were adequate, and asked if there had been any evidence of lack of co-operation. They drew attention to the fact that the Canadian Chiefs of Staff had just conferred with the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and had gained the impression that the latter were satisfied with the present organization. Finally, and apparently in response to intimations of a request on the President-Prime Minister level, the Canadians pointed out that in a parliamentary government the Prime Minister would not be able to ignore the contrary advice of his war ministers.36

The U.S. Section of the Permanent Joint Board made a last effort to


obtain the desired unity of command at the 20 January 1942 Board meeting. While it was willing to consider the U.S. proposal, the Canadian Section, being of the opinion that major land operations or invasion in British Columbia were unlikely, displayed no readiness to accept U.S. strategic direction there.37 No further efforts were made by the United States to obtain unity of command on the west coast.

The United States had hardly stilled its requests for unity of command on the Pacific coast when that area was subjected to enemy attack. On 23 February 1942 a Japanese submarine fired some twenty rounds at coastal targets near Santa Barbara, California. Two days later, on 25 February, the "Battle of Los Angeles" took place, in which some 1,440 rounds of antiaircraft ammunition were fired at apparently imaginary enemy aircraft. Alarm mounted among Pacific coast residents in both the United States and Canada.

The mounting feeling was a factor in a Canadian Cabinet War Committee decision to establish Canadian unity of command over coastal defense forces. The Canadian Chiefs of Staff reluctantly recommended such a plan on 10 March 1942, despite their belief that co-ordination through the existing Joint Service Committee was adequate. When Prime Minister King on 18 March announced the establishment of unified Canadian commands on both coasts, Maj. Gen. R. O. Alexander became the Commander in Chief, West Coast Defenses.

Throughout the war U.S.-Canadian operational co-ordination between the field commands on the Pacific coast was limited to the exchange of liaison officers. Such an exchange had been effected in April 1941, between the headquarters of the Canadian Army Pacific Command and the U.S. Army Ninth Corps Area, with officers serving on a Part-time basis. In early March 1942, on request of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Pacific Command, a permanent liaison officer was attached to his command from the headquarters of the U.S. Western Defense Command.38

Fortunately, the sporadic and insignificant Japanese attacks on the Pacific coast did not test the adequacy of either U.S.-Canadian co-ordination or intraCanadian co-operation. Canadian steps to establish the latter were for many months hardly more successful than the U.S. efforts to establish unity of command in the field. Despite the Canadian Prime Minister's announcement of 18 March 1942 that a unified Canadian command was to be set up on the Pacific coast, it was more than a year before the joint service


headquarters was actually established and even then its effectiveness seemed doubtful to U.S. observers because of un-co-operative service attitudes.39

During World War II only one unified command was established for Canadian and U.S. forces performing a joint task under ABC-22. This was for Joint Task One, the protection of overseas shipping. At the time ABC22 was drafted in the spring of 1941, units of the British and Canadian. Navies under the over-all direction of a United Kingdom Commander in Chief, Western Approaches, shared the convoy escort task in the North Atlantic. A few months later, in a reorganization effective on 13 June 1941, an independent Canadian command, Royal Canadian Navy Newfoundland Escort Force, was created with a semiautonomous responsibility for the escort task in the western North Atlantic, under the over-all strategic direction of the Royal Navy.40

In drafting ABC-1 early in 1941, the British and U.S. representatives had envisaged that the United States would, when that plan was placed in effect (presumably upon U.S. entry into the war), assume responsibility for control and protection of shipping in the western Atlantic except "the waters . . . in which Canada assumes responsibility for the strategic direction of Military forces, as may be defined in United States-Canada joint agreements."41

Subsequently the Canadian and U.S. planners in the joint plan ABC-22 assigned to the United States responsibility for routing and protecting shipping in all western Atlantic waters except within the coastal zones of Canada and Newfoundland. Besides furnishing the necessary vessels in the coastal zones, Canada was to allocate five destroyers and fifteen corvettes to the U.S. Navy escort forces when the plan was put into effect.

In extension of the ABC-1 and ABC-22 planning, representatives of the United Kingdom and Canadian Navies were stationed in the U.S. Navy Department in Washington in June 1941 for further planning and discussions. These representatives participated in discussions of Navy Hemisphere Defense Plan 3 (WPL-50) as it was completed, and reviewed drafts and commented on Navy Hemisphere Defense Plan 4 (WPL-51), which was promulgated on 11 July.42 Other officers primarily concerned with convoy protection were exchanged between Ottawa and Washington, and they maintained close


contact with each other and with their British counterparts in an intimate and cordial relationship.

After the promulgation of WPL-51, discussions continued among the naval representatives as to its execution when it became effective. In con sequence of the urgings of Prime Minister Churchill and others and of the need for better protection for U.S. shipping, WPL-51 was placed in effect on 26 July 1941, but only with respect to U.S. and Icelandic flag vessels plying between North America and Iceland. United State Atlantic Fleet Task Force 1, established on 19 July, assumed this responsibility and was accorded the use of the Royal Canadian Navy bases at Shelburne and Halifax for service and repair.43

The Atlantic Conference between Roosevelt and Churchill and their staffs on 9-13 August 1941 led to a major change in the assignment of convoy responsibility in the western Atlantic. Churchill, Hopkins, and others impressed upon President Roosevelt the need for relieving the United Kingdom of part of the burden of its naval responsibility in the western Atlantic. As a result, the two leaders, apparently without further reference to the Canadian Government, agreed that the United States would assume the entire convoy task for vessels of any flag by placing WPL-51 fully in effect, and that the Canadian forces involved would pass to U.S. Navy command.44 Although Canadian Government representatives did not participate in the conference, the plans were the outgrowth of the earlier Washington discussions among U.S., British, and Canadian naval staff officers.45

On 13 September 1941 the U.S. Navy Hemisphere Defense Plan 4 (WPL-51) went into full effect. Before the end of September a broader plan, Navy Hemisphere Defense Plan 5 (WPL-52), had been promulgated, and under it the United States assumed command of North Atlantic convoy operations west of the 30° west meridian.46 Seventy-five ships of the Royal Canadian Navy Newfoundland Command came under U.S. direction. Bitter feeling could have existed in the situation. After two years of active participation as a belligerent in the Battle of the Atlantic, these Canadian units


passed to the command of an officer of a nominally nonbelligerent country. However, excellent relations existed and were further developed between the commanders and staffs of the commands involved--Task Force 1 of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Royal Canadian Navy Newfoundland Force.47

In the ensuing anomalous situation in which a commander of nonbelligerent forces had authority over a commander of belligerent forces in a war situation, the former exercised caution and restraint in administering his command functions. On 13 September 1941, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANT), who was also Commander, Task Force 1, forwarded a personal letter to Commodore L. W. Murray of the Royal Canadian Navy, who had already received a copy of plan WPL-51. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, thought it inappropriate to forward a formal instruction to the Newfoundland Force or to include it in his operating plan, and he hoped the draft instruction he had transmitted to Commodore Murray would be useful in effecting the necessary co-ordination between the two forces. Other operational matters were taken up in similar informal correspondence that followed.48

United States Navy Task Force 1 under Navy Hemisphere Defense Plan 5 (WPL-52) became Task Force 4, with its own commander, Rear Adm. A. L. Bristol, to whom CINCLANT delegated "co-ordinating supervision of the operations of Canadian escort units." Admiral Bristol continued the practice of carrying on informal correspondence on operational matters, but he included the Royal Canadian Navy units in his operational plans. His Op-Plan 14-41 of 29 October 1941 included, as Task Group 4.11, the Newfoundland Escort Force which, under Commodore Murray, provided escort services in the Canadian coastal zone, while Task Group 4.19 comprised the U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy escort units on the ocean leg to the longitude of Iceland.

The co-ordination of operations was facilitated by the exchange of liaison officers. A U.S. Navy observer was dispatched to Halifax in August 1941 as a result of prompt Canadian approval of the U.S. request for such an arrangement. Subsequently, as a result of world-wide U.S.-British Commonwealth naval liaison arrangements which were worked out, a U.S. Atlantic Fleet liaison officer was stationed at St. John's in October 1941, while a Royal Canadian Navy officer joined the staff of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Support Force in January 1942.

Although the unified direction of the naval forces of the two countries under the U.S. Navy materialized simply and directly as a result of the con-


ference at Argentia, the integration of the air forces available for the air patrol missions did not occur so easily. By November 1941 appropriate instructions had been issued directing the U.S. Army Air Forces in Newfoundland to operate under the U.S. Navy in the execution of Joint Task One.49 The U.S. Section of the Permanent joint Board requested that similar instructions be issued to the RCAF forces available for patrol duty.50 At the next Permanent Joint Board meeting, in December, the Board members concluded that the problem arose from the lack of independent command authority of the RCAF unit in Newfoundland, No. 1 Group, which could not independently and without reference to the Eastern Air Command headquarters at Halifax take immediate action to support the Atlantic Fleet task force when. requested to do so. The Board therefore concluded that a decentralization of command was needed to permit local operational control and full co-operation.51 The necessary decentralization was authorized by Canada, effective 20 January 1942, and the U.S. Navy task force commander at Argentia finally achieved the unified operational control of all the air and naval resources of the two countries available for his task.52

After U.S. entry into the war, U.S. Navy strategic direction of the Canadian and United Kingdom forces assigned to Task Force 4 for the execution of Joint Task One continued, despite the fact that all the U.S. ships involved in escorting the merchant convoys were withdrawn except for two Coast Guard cutters. The withdrawals were necessary in order to permit reinforcement of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and to make available escorts for the increasing number of U.S. troop convoys to the United Kingdom. A reorganization effected in February 1942 continued strategic direction of the western North Atlantic under the U.S. Navy but met the situation partially through organization of the British and Canadian ships involved into the Royal Canadian Navy-commanded Western Local Escort and the Newfoundland Escort Forces, which now provided the necessary escort forces for the trade convoys under the over-all command of U.S. Navy Task Force 4.53

United States strategic direction of an escort task being executed by forces predominantly Canadian and British continued until 1 March 1943, when the Atlantic Convoy Conference, meeting in Washington, reorganized the command system. The United States withdrew its authority, except for over-all strategic responsibility, from the area north of a line east from New York


City and west of the 47° west meridian, and Canada took over the operational responsibility for this area.54 At this time Canada was also assigned operational control of the air elements being employed by the United States from Newfoundland for convoy protection and antisubmarine operations, although apparently no similar assignment was made of U.S. air units in the New England states.55

Thus materialized the only instance of unified command under ABC-22. It might never have been realized had not Roosevelt and Churchill acted with characteristic vigor and without consulting the Canadian Government. Undoubtedly, the fact that questions of sovereignty were not present, as was the case in land areas, allowed the arrangement to be accepted without serious difficulty. That the task was executed efficiently is ample testimony to the excellent spirit of co-operation and good will that existed between the Canadian and U.S. Navies.

Organization for the Logistical Tasks

Whereas the major operational command and coordination problems arose early in the war and were soon disposed of, those connected with logistical tasks mushroomed rapidly after Pearl Harbor and continued to increase in 1942 and 1943. Their solution, one by one, resulted in a complex U.S. military organization whose existence, in turn, gave rise to additional problems. The mission of this organizational machinery was, briefly, to construct, operate, maintain, and service the installations, bases, and facilities needed by the United States in the conduct of the war overseas. Canada constructed certain of these facilities for U.S. account, but the United States provided the greater part of the facilities from U.S. resources.56

Throughout Canada the post-Pearl Harbor task of the U.S. Army took the form of providing the necessary facilities on wartime standards for use only for the duration of the war. This was not the case in Newfoundland, where the status of the forces engaged in the logistical task differed as a result of the destroyer-bases agreement signed with the United Kingdom on 2 September 1940, long before Pearl Harbor, and the ninety-nine-year lease which made permanent-type construction desirable.

In Newfoundland, the U.S. Army organization for administration, except for construction and associated real estate matters, was parallel to that for operations. The Commanding General, Newfoundland Base Command,


appointed in December 1940, was initially directly subordinate to the War Department; after July 1941 he was subordinate to General Headquarters, U.S. Army, at Washington; and after December 1941 to Headquarters, Eastern Theater of Operations, in New York City. In Newfoundland, the base commander exercised command through his own staff at St. John's and through the commanders of the U.S. Army leased bases, Forts Pepperrell and McAndrew, and Harmon Field.

Since in the U.S. Army the Corps of Engineers had generally been responsible for construction activities overseas, the construction operations in Newfoundland were handled through a different chain of command. This passed from the War Department to the Chief of Engineers (through the Commanding General, Services of Supply, after the reorganization of the War Department in March 1942), to the North Atlantic Division Engineer at New York, and finally to the Newfoundland District Engineer at St. John's, who directed and supervised the contractors engaged for the construction projects. An additional subordinate district of the North Atlantic Division, the Hudson Engineer District, was established on 19 December 1942 to carry out CRIMSON program construction in eastern Canada.57

A roughly parallel situation existed in the U.S. Navy establishment at Argentia. The operational Navy air and sea forces based there were under the command of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The naval base itself operated under the Commander, North Atlantic Coastal Frontier, while the U.S. Navy Department Bureau of Yards and Docks directed the base construction activities.

The U.S. logistical organization in western Canada began with the establishment in March 1942 of a Headquarters, U.S. Army Construction Forces for the Alcan Highway, which operated through two subordinate headquarters at Fort St. John and Whitehorse established soon afterward. In the latter part of May these two headquarters were made independent and designated the Northern and Southern Sectors, with each commander reporting directly to the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers in Washington. Soon after, when work was begun on the Canol Project, its commander, who established the headquarters-of his Task Force 2600 at Edmonton on 26 May, became a third commander in Canada directly subordinate to the Chief of Engineers.

In March, shortly after initial steps were taken for the construction of the Alcan Highway (later designated the Alaska Highway), the Chief of Engineers enlisted the assistance of the U.S. Public Roads Administration, which undertook to handle the engineering, contracting, and supervision of parts of


the highway. The Public Roads Administration established a district office in Edmonton, which also reported to Washington.

As the approaching completion of the pioneer road in late 1942 foretold the need for expansion of the U.S. logistical establishment in northwest Canada, steps were taken to reorganize the commands. A Headquarters, Northwest Service Command, under Col. James A. O'Connor, was established on 10 September 1942 at Whitehorse, subordinate to Headquarters, Services of Supply, at Washington. This service command was made responsible for U.S. supply, service, and administrative operations, including support of the Army Air Forces, but excluding construction, maintenance, and repair, in that part of Canada comprising British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon Territory, and the Mackenzie District of the Northwest Territories, and in parts of Alaska. Construction, maintenance, and repair of facilities (including both the Alaska Highway and the Canol Project) remained the responsibility of the Chief of Engineers through a new Northwest Engineer Division under Col. Theodore Wyman, Jr., established on 14 November 1942 at Edmonton.58

These two major U.S. commands exercised their functions independently, but co-operatively, through separate organizations. Northwest Service Command operated through the posts of Edmonton, Dawson Creek, Whitehorse, and Skagway. The Northwest Division Engineer operated through the District Engineers of the Whitehorse, Fairbanks, Skagway, Dawson Creek, and Edmonton Districts.

On 18 February 1944 the two organizations were consolidated as the Northwest Service Command, with headquarters at Edmonton, under Brig. Gen. Ludson D. Worsham, who had been the Division Engineer. The post organization of the Northwest Service Command was dropped in favor of a district organization comprising the Fairbanks, Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson Creek, and Edmonton Districts. The logistical organization in northwest Canada retained this form until the end of hostilities. Its functions included the operations of U.S. supply, transportation, medical, communications, and other administrative facilities in the area, with the major tasks including several construction projects, and the operation of the Alaska Highway, the White Pass and Yukon Route railway, and the Canol Project.

In addition to the U.S. Army organizations established in Newfoundland and northwestern Canada, a third organizational structure was developed in Canada east of the 103(west meridian and in Labrador. This structure was created after the two governments approved the Permanent Joint Board's


BRIG. GEN. C. L. STURDEVANT (left) and Col. James A. O'Connor ready to board a plane for an inspection flight over the southern section of the Alaska Highway, 1942
BRIG. GEN. C. L. STURDEVANT (left) and Col. James A. O'Connor ready to board a plane for an inspection flight over the southern section of the Alaska Highway, 1942.


Twenty-sixth Recommendation, which called for the construction of air bases and auxiliary facilities to provide routes suitable for ferrying short-range aircraft from the United States across Canada to Greenland and thence to the United Kingdom. The Canadian Government approved the Twenty-sixth Recommendation on 12 June 1942, and five days later Brig. Gen. Harold L. George of the U.S. Air Corps Ferrying Command was appointed officer in general charge of the project, which was named the CRIMSON Project.59 General George's over-all responsibility, which was exercised from Washington, did not displace any part of the normal command structure that had gradually developed. The initial garrisons arrived at Churchill, Manitoba, between 15 and 26 July 1942, and as a result of a directive issued on 27 July a Headquarters, CRIMSON Project, was established subordinate to the War Department.60

In Canada the commander of the CRIMSON Project, Col. G. K. Hobbs, who was also the commander of the 330th Engineer Regiment which was to initiate the construction work, was made responsible, for construction operations, directly to the Chief of Engineers in the War Department. The initial organization was further complicated somewhat since the new command did not perform its own supply functions. For these functions, two U.S. Army field logistical agencies had occasion to operate in Canada and Labradorthe Sixth Service Command for the supply of the installations at The Pas, Churchill, and Southampton Island; and the Boston Port of Embarkation for the supply of those at Fort Chimo, Frobisher Bay, Padloping Island, and at Goose Bay in Labrador.61

As plans were developed for the displacement of the Engineer troops engaged in the construction of bases by civilian contractors and workers, the Division Engineer of the North Atlantic Division (with division offices located in New York City) of the Corps of Engineers was made responsible for all engineer and construction operations under the CRIMSON Project. This responsibility he exercised through a District Engineer, Hudson District. Under this assignment of responsibilities, the project commander retained responsibility for the administration and operation of the military garrisons at these stations.

The command of the bases in Labrador, Quebec, and on Baffin Island from the project headquarters at Churchill proved to be geographically unsuitable in terms of control and communications. The pattern of available


communications had already dictated a split of the supply responsibilities between the eastern and western halves of the project. On 9 March 1943 the CRIMSON Project was divided by the 80° west meridian into Western and Eastern Sectors, with headquarters for the latter at Goose Bay. The Easter Sector headquarters joined the Churchill headquarters in becoming directly responsible to the War Department. The engineer construction and the supply responsibilities remained as before.62

The organizational pattern in the Western Sector, CRIMSON Project, did not subsequently undergo significant change. On 1 July 1943 the command was redesignated the U.S. Army Forces in Central Canada, and soon afterward the headquarters location was moved to Winnipeg, where it remained until the command's inactivation on 1 October 1945.63

The 1 July 1943 reorganization, which reflected the general drastic cur, tailment of CRIMSON Project, included a disbandment of the Headquarters, Eastern Sector, CRIMSON Project, and the interim transfer of the responsibilities for the installations in that area to the Commanding General, North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command, with headquarters at Presque Isle, Maine. This commander, who was normally responsible, in turn, to the Commanding Generals, Air Transport Command, and Army Air Forces, for his air transport functions, became directly responsible to the War Department for the administration of these installations. A Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in Eastern Canada, was soon activated at Presque Isle and existed for a few months, until 15 October 1944. On that date its responsibilities were transferred back to what had now been redesignated the Headquarters, North Atlantic Division, Air Transport Command. This arrangement remained unchanged throughout the rest of World War II.64

Organizational Chaos

The main elements of the U.S. logistical and administrative organization in Canada and Newfoundland as of 1 April 1943 are shown in Chart 1. This chart reveals the considerable number of separate agencies in Washington and elsewhere in the United States to which the numerous U.S. headquarters in Canada and Newfoundland reported for various purposes. The lack of any focal point through which all communications, or perhaps even all responsibility, might have been channeled inevitably made it more difficult for the host governments to effect co-ordination with the United States on matters of common interest. Many problems concerning channels of



Chart 1


communications and field co-ordination of activities arose and required solution. The situation would have been sufficiently complex if the organization presented in Chart 1 told the entire story. This is far from so. In addition to the main agencies shown thereon, many other command and staff agencies had occasion to operate in Canada and Newfoundland and/or to maintain offices there. In northwest Canada, some of these were the Alaskan Wing, Air Transport Command, U.S. Army Air Forces; Naval Air Transport Service, U.S. Navy; U.S. Army Air Forces contract carriers for Air Transport Command, which included United Airlines, Pan American Airlines, and Western Airlines; Army Air Forces aerial photography mission; Army Air Forces 16th Weather Region (meteorological services); Army Airways Communications Service; Alaska Communications System; Prince Rupert Subport of Embarkation; Quartermaster Market Center and Transportation Corps Regulating Station at Edmonton; and a large number of U.S. civilian contractors on U.S. projects, some of whom established substantial offices in Canada.65

Most of these agencies had additional channels of command and communication to other headquarters in the United States. The situation was most complex in northwest Canada, where the major U.S. projects were undertaken. Here, too, American personnel, civilian and military, were introduced in far greater numbers and were necessarily stationed in many instances in populated localities. The situation also existed on a smaller scale in the rest of Canada and in Newfoundland. The North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command, operated at air-base facilities in those areas in providing air transport services independently of the Newfoundland Base Command, and was supported by appropriate elements of the AAF communications and meteorological services. In central and eastern Canada, facilities at Montreal and Quebec were used as subports, by the Boston Port of Embarkation, and an ordnance testing center was established at Camp Shilo by the U.S. Army Ordnance Department.

Chart 1 and the foregoing additional listings of operating agencies still do not present the full complexity of the American organizational structure in Newfoundland and Canada, or of the patterns of its command and communications channels. Many other agencies of the War Department, although not having a directly subordinate operating agency in those areas, had a responsibility for the technical staff supervision of certain operations there. For example, the Chief Signal Officer of the War Department had


responsibility for the technical supervision of the Alaska Communications System. The execution of this type of staff responsibility necessitated some supervisory and operating activity in Canada and Newfoundland by personnel of his staff, and likewise by numerous other U.S. staff agencies on similar grounds.The problems of co-ordination and of channels of communications took several forms:

  1. Clearing U.S. requests for construction permits and real estate.

  2. Co-ordinating Canadian construction on U.S. account to meet U.S. requirements and standards.

  3. Co-ordinating U.S. construction on U.S. account to meet conditions and criteria established by Canadian authorities.

  4. Co-ordinating competing requirements for the use of construction and transportation facilities, and for labor and materials resources.

  5. Co-ordinating disciplinary and other administrative problems arising from the large numbers of American military and civilian personnel stationed in Canada.

On the Canadian side, arrangements for channels of communications and co-ordination were less complex but still involved. A half dozen or more departments of the government in Ottawa, and their field agencies, were concerned with the execution of the construction projects, with their use or arrangements therefor, or with the auxiliary administrative problems that arose. The last category of problems, on matters such as taxes, jurisdiction over and discipline of American personnel, and labor competition and conditions, also concerned in many instances the provincial and local governments.

The situation was not improved by the considerable number of parallel channels of communication that existed between Washington and Ottawa. A reasonable system of mutual co-ordination operated for certain of these channels, particularly those involving the Nevertheless, this multiplicity of channels could not help but make more difficult the co-ordination of matters involving Canada and the United States.66 Many ad hoc channels were established, principally between the War Department and the departments in Ottawa, which supplemented the more normal and routine channels that existed throughout the war. The principal routine channels were between:


  1. Washington War and Navy Department agencies and Ottawa service agencies through the service attachés in Ottawa.

  2. The same agencies through the service attachés in Washington.

  3. The same agencies through the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington.

  4. The pairs of opposite numbers of the sections, that is, the chairmen, the secretaries, and the Army, Navy, and Air members.

  5. The Department of State and the Department of External Affairs through the Canadian Legation (later Embassy) in Washington.

  6. The same agencies through the U.S. Legation in Ottawa.
The questions of co-ordination and command channels first came up for discussion immediately after the initiation of work on the Alaska Highway and as a consequence of the resulting increase of U.S. agencies in Canada. At the beginning of April 1942, J. A. Wilson of the Canadian Department of Transport discussed with U.S. Minister Moffat the need for centralized control of U.S. operations. Wilson felt that "the utmost good will was being shown, but difficulties . . . were bound to crop up and multiply." He suggested that one of the U.S. service attachés in Ottawa "act as co-coordinator and contact man with the Canadians."67 Two months later the situation was still unsatisfactory, and the Canadian Government apepointed C. D. LeCapelain of the Department of Mines and Resources as liaison officer with the U.S. Army forces constructing the Alaska Highway.68 By the spring of 1943 the Canadian Government had expanded this liaison arrangement to include four officers:69

  1. C. D. LeCapelain at Whitehorse, for the Alaska Highway and other projects in the vicinity.

  2. J. S. Stewart, for the Canol Project.

  3. Mr. Urquhart, the district agent at Fort Smith, for projects in that vicinity.

  4. L. E. Drummond, with the Northwest Division Engineer at Edmonton.

In the meantime, the Canadian Government complemented this field liaison arrangement by establishing in Ottawa a panel charged with collecting and presenting to the Cabinet War Committee periodic progress reports on the projects under construction. Mr. J. Baldwin of the Privy Council office acted as secretary and as a center for distributing information within


Canadian Government circles in Ottawa. At that time Canadian responsibilities for the various projects were assigned as follows:70

Project       Canadian Agency
North Atlantic Ferry Routes   Department of National Defense for Air
Alcan Highway   Department of Mines and Resources
Canol Project   Northwest Territories Council
Alaska railway survey   Department of Transport
Aerial mapping project   Department of Mines and Resources
Weather and communications stations   Department of Transport

By the spring of 1943 the Canadian liaison system was not fulfilling its purpose because the "frequent changes in . . .personnel and fields of responsibility . . . of the four or five United States authorities . . . operating in the Northwest . . .made it increasingly difficult to distinguish the actual sources of authority in the United States organizational setup." The Department of External Affairs requested that it be furnished a chart showing the organization and the various responsibilities and lines of authority for U.S. activities in Canada.711

The request, its handling by the United States, and the data furnished the Canadians in reply involved a confusion within the U.S. Government that illustrates the over-all complexity and lack of understanding of the situation. Mr. Hickerson, secretary of the U.S. Section,, referred the request to the Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army construction agency. This agency was concerned with only part of the U.S. activities in northwestern Canada and was two staff levels below the War Department General Staff, which should have been called upon for an over-all presentation of the U.S. organization. As a result, the reply to the Canadian request constituted an exposition, during meetings in Ottawa 17-18 May, of authorization and construction procedures for "Corps of Engineers Construction Division Activities in Canada." Only indirectly during the exposition did the Canadians learn anything of the responsibilities and organization of the Air Transport Command, Northwest Service Command, and other U.S. agencies operating in the area.

Concurrently, the Canadian Government took several steps designed to resolve certain of the problems of co-ordination that existed. The first of these was the establishment on 19 February 1943 of a crown company, North West Purchasing Limited, whose object was to facilitate the acquisition of supplies in Canada by the various U.S. agencies there in such a manner as


to minimize interference with Canadian price controls and controlled materials measures. Initially, U.S. Army procurement officers and contractors avoided the use of the new crown company because of their conviction, to some extent fostered by local merchants, that the company was merely a profit-making organization for the Canadian Government.72 With the realization that the failure fully to utilize the company was costing the United States considerable sums of money, and, after other demonstrations of the value of the company's services, the antagonism to it disappeared. By August 1943 U.S. procurement regulations required that all supply contracts be made with the company.73

During the early weeks of the company's life, when its services were being used hesitantly if at all, the Canadian Government considered another mechanism for co-ordinating the use not only of materials but also of labor resources. The Canadian Section of the proposed for discussion at the 1-2 April 1943 meeting a "Joint Authority in the Northwest Area on Labor and Supplies." Before the meeting took place, this agenda item was withdrawn, the Canadian Government apparently having decided to accomplish the same ends by means other than a Joint authority.74

In an effort harmoniously to satisfy the competing U.S. and Canadian demands for labor resources, the government appointed a Western Labor Board at Edmonton and gave it "jurisdiction over wage and employment conditions on defense projects (Canadian and U.S.) in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories."75

A third Canadian action was the establishment of the office of Special Commissioner for Defense Projects in Northwestern Canada, within the Privy Council office.76 To head the office, which was located at Edmonton, the Canadian Government appointed Brigadier (later Major General) W. W. Foster, who was made responsible to the Cabinet War Committee. The creation of a Special Commissioner was intended to provide a focal point and single channel for Canadian co-operation and co-ordination with U.S.


MAJ. GEN. W. W. FOSTER (left) with Col. J. P. Glandon at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, January 1944
MAJ. GEN. W. W. FOSTER (left) with Col. J. P. Glandon at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, January 1944.

authorities in northwest Canada, to centralize the authority of Canadian field agencies, and to decentralize certain authority from Ottawa through its delegation to that office.77 This action apparently helped satisfy the Canadian requirement for closer co-ordination with U.S. activities in northwest Canada. By this time the situation was also improved by the increased stability of the U.S. organizational structure. Delegation by the Canadian Government to General Foster, whom U.S. commanders found to be most co-operative, of certain authority was also responsive to the U.S. desire for such an arrangement, which had found expression some weeks earlier in a Permanent Joint Board recommendation. The office of the Special Commissioner was to prove particularly useful in prosecuting the expanded program of construction on the Northwest Staging Route that the United States initiated in July 1943.78

No further deficiencies were noted or adjustments of significance


occasioned in this over-all co-ordination machinery in northwestern Canada. One development of interest did occur in March 1944. By that time a number of precedents had established a pattern for consideration of problems concerning U.S.-Canadian co-operation through Joint committees. At a meeting held on 20 March, under the chairmanship of General Foster, to consider co-ordination of the services operating along the Northwest Staging Route and Mackenzie River air route, Joint committees of representatives of the agencies concerned were set up for construction and engineering, communications, security of communications, weather, transportation, supply, and flying control. These U.S.-Canadian committees met from time to time to discuss and agree on solution of problems within their spheres of interest.79

Not only were the organizational structures complicated, but the procedures by which projects were reviewed within those structures were often equally or more complicated. The procedures followed for authorization and construction of U.S. projects in Canada are an excellent example. Until the beginning of 1943, all projects were approved on the governmental level. The felt that it should review such projects before governmental action was taken. But approvals were in fact being granted as a result of recommendations based on Board reviews of the projects, direct arrangements on the service level, direct arrangements on the diplomatic level usually involving an exchange of notes, or a combination of these actions.80 By early 1943 it became apparent that a requirement for Permanent Joint Board review of all projects was impractical, and the Board concluded that decisions on minor projects, particularly those related to approved projects, could be effected between local commanders.81

On 17-18 May 1943 meetings were held in Ottawa in response to a Canadian request for clarification of the U.S. organization and responsibilities in Canada. At the meeting the procedures for authorizing and constructing major U.S. projects were outlined in detail and accepted. The meeting was attended by the members, Canadian Government representatives, including General Foster, the Special Commissioner, and by Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Robins, Assistant Chief of U.S. Army Engineers for construction, and Brig. Gen. L. D. Worsham and Brig. Gen. Beverly C. Dunn, Division Engineers. respectively, of the Northwest Engineer Division and the North Atlantic Engineer Division.82


To illustrate the complexity of the procedures, the agencies that needed to act in connection with the authorization and initiation of construction of a U.S. Army Air Forces project in Canada were as follows:83

For other projects in Canada, the procedures were slightly modified. It should be noted that the procedure included none of the steps involved in the formulation of a project, or in its co-ordination during construction. Additionally, the simple one-line entry shown only for the Canadian Government as a whole undoubtedly involved review by the Special Commissioner for projects in his area and by one or more departments or other agencies.

The development of the U.S. logistical and administrative organization in Canada and the problems of co-ordination that confronted Canada suggest that the early establishment of a unified U.S.-Canadian logistical and administrative command would have been to the advantage of Canada. In such a command, the fact of Canadian sovereignty would have justified an adequate Canadian role. But a unified command might have been objectionable to the United States in that it could have meant less freedom of action.


It is not apparent that Canada took any direct action along this line, perhaps because it would have been inconsistent with the earlier stand on unity of operational command. In fact, in the step-by-step effort to produce order from the organizational chaos, Canada moved, insofar as it could unilaterally, in the direction of unified co-ordination and direction. The Joint committees established by the Special Commissioner give support to this hypothesis as do other Joint control and staff agencies that were established, as for example the Joint Travel Control Board and the JAN-CAN Committee.84 The early establishment of a unified logistical command would have paid additional dividends in eliminating some of the duplicate services the two countries developed within Canada such as communications, weather, and airway control facilities.

An alternate solution might have obviated Canadian difficulties with organizations, responsibilities, and channels. This solution would have required the United States to establish a single communications zone type logistical headquarters similar to those the U.S. Army set up overseas to support combat commanders. Such a headquarters could have been charged with the responsibility for all U.S. military activity in Newfoundland and Canada. An integral Canadian office comparable to that of the Special Commissioner would have provided a focal point for contacts with Canadian agencies. A command of such scope might have been inherently unacceptable to the Canadians because of their sensitivity to anything remotely resembling encroachment on Canadian sovereignty. In any event, apparently neither government ever broached such a scheme. Instead, the patterns of U.S. administrative organization developed largely in geographic extension of those already existing within the adjacent establishments in the continental United States. From simple origins the organizations grew "like Topsy" and soon became a Hydra-headed monster.


Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (4) * Next Chapter (6)


1. The 1940 Plan is filed at PDB 133-5.

2. For a brief account of the joint naval operations in the North Atlantic, see Chapter IX, below.

3. Memo, SUSAM for CofS, 7 Sep 40, approved by the Chief of Staff 9 Sep 40, WPD 4330-4.

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

5. The commanders are listed in ABC-22, reproduced in Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, p. 1588.

6. Prepared in WPD and forwarded to SUSAM by Memo, 20 Mar 41), PDB 133.

7. Draft Plan, PDB 133.

8. Montreal Revise, PDB 133.

9. Ltr, Pope to Bissell, 21 Apr 41, WPD 4330-24.

10. Ltr, 29 Apr 41, WPD 4330-25.

11. Ltr, 2 May 41; Memo, WPD for SUSAM, 7 May 41; Ltr, 7 May 41; all at PDB 135-3. The last letter does not state the basis of LaGuardia's conviction.

12. Memos, 14, 15, and 16 May 41, PDB 135-3. The memorandum dated 14 May to the Secretaries of War and the Navy is reproduced in Elliott Roosevelt (ed.), F.D.R., His Personal Letters, 1928-1945 (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950), II, 1155-56. The four-point answer had been suggested by the President to the Secretaries of War and the Navy and was endorsed verbatim by them in their reply.

13. Ltr, 21 May 41, PDB 135-3.

14. Journal, PDB 124.

15. Ltr, Pope to Keenleyside, 9 Jun 41, PDB 135-3, refers to "that portion of the draft 2nd Report of the Board which was agreed to at its meeting in Washington on the 29th May."

16. See Ch. IV, above. Copy of draft is filed at PDB 135-3.

17. Memo, SUSAM for CofS, 1 Jun 42, PDB 135-2, reports that, if the 1940 Plan became effective, unity of command would be exercised by the United States.

18. Memo, WPD for CofS, 14 Aug 41, PDB 135-2.

19. 1st Ind, TAG to GHQ, 13 Nov 41, PDB 111-6.

20. PDB 103-12.

21. Memo, GHQ for WPD, 26 Jan 42, WPD 4330-35.

22. Memo, for WPD, 7 Feb 42, WPD 4330-35.

23. Text at Appendix A, below.

24. Informal Rpt, NBC, 1 Dec 41, PDB 104-5.

25. Third Informal Rpt, CG NBC, 28 Dec 41, PDB 104-5.

26. Rpt, 28 Feb 42, PDB 104-5. Dawson expresses a somewhat similar view in Canada in World Affairs: 1939-1941, p. 279.

27. Ltr, CG NBC to DCofS Eastern Theater of Operations, 29 Oct 41, PDB 104-5. In his dealings with the Newfoundland Government, the U.S. commander found its members generally most co-operative and anxious to assist in the defense of the island. (Ltr, Maj Gen G. C. Brant (Ret.) to author, 12 Aug 52.)

28. Memo, SUSAM for WPD, 28 Feb 42, PDB 135-2. This reluctance may have been motivated, in part, by the fact that the U.S. armed services' own house was not entirely in order. Although Army-Navy antisubmarine air operations from Newfoundland had earlier been unified under the U.S. Navy commander, the over-all Army-Navy wrangle on the subject of unity of command throughout the North American coastal frontiers with respect to operations for protection of shipping was resolved for the time being on 26 March 1942 after several months of deadlock.

29. Extracts quoted in Ltr, Cdn Secy PJBD to U.S. Secy, 24 Mar 42, PDB 135-2. The date of the communication from the Newfoundland Government was not given.

30. H. C. Debates, 18 Mar 42, p. 1411.

31. Ltr, 24 Mar 42, PDB 135-2.

32. Memo, LaGuardia for CG EDC, PDB 135-2/.

33. Undated Memo, Hopkins for Marshall, PDB 135-2.

34. Ltr, LaGuardia to Biggar, 2 Jan 42, PDB 135-2.

35. Ltr, Biggar to LaGuardia, 3 Jan 42, PDB 135-2. For the Canadian efforts to establish a military mission in Washington, see Chapter III, above.

36. Correspondence in PDB 135-2.

37. Journal, PDB 124.

38. Ltr, CG WDC to Maj Gen R. O. Alexander, 11 Mar 42, cited in History of the Western Defense Command, I, Ch. 7, 1.

39. Intelligence Rpt, U.S. Navy Liaison Officer, Vancouver, 4 Aug 43, ONI Serial 8-43. The only World War II attack on the Canadian Pacific coast took place on 20 June 1942, when a Japanese submarine fired some twenty shells on Vancouver island. The next night a submarine shelled Fort Stevens in Oregon.

40. Schull, The Far Distant Ships, p. 65.

41. For text of ABC-1, see Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, pp. 1485-1541. Annex V of ABC-1 set forth the details of the arrangements for control and protection of shipping.

42. Kittredge Monograph, I, Sec. V, 538-45.

43. Ibid., 547-51; Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 5, p. 2294; U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet, Administrative History of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in World War II, II, 60, 64. For a fuller narrative account of U.S.-British collaboration in the Battle of the Atlantic in the western Atlantic, see below, Chapter IX. This section is addressed primarily to the joint organizational and command aspects.

44. Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War: The Grand Alliance (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), p. 441.

45. Kittredge Monograph, I, Sec. V, 538-42. Canadian participation at the Atlantic Conference was supplied by HMCS destroyers Restigouche and Assiniboine. These Canadian ships together with a United Kingdom destroyer escorted the Prince of Wales, which carried the United Kingdom party.

46. Kittredge Monograph, I, Sec. V, 553.

47. Schull, The Far Distant Ships, pp. 96-97.

48. Administrative History of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in World War II, II, 78-82.

49. U.S. Navy Progress Rpt, at 10-11 Nov 41 PJBD meeting, PDB 124.

50. Ltr, U.S. Section to Biggar, 11 Nov 41, PDB 135-2.

51. Journal, PDB 124. It was at this meeting that the Board made its Twenty-second Recommendation.

52. Journal 20 Jan 42 meeting, PDB 124.

53. Schull, The Far Distant Ships, pp. 100-101.

54. Ibid., pp. 166-67. An account of the Atlantic Convoy Conference is given in Chapter IX, below.

55. Canada at War, No. 24 (May 43), pp. 3-4.

56. See below, pp. 000-00 [sic], for discussion of Canada's method of co-ordinating the construction of facilities for use by the United States.

57. OCE GO 52, 19 Dec 42.

58. WD GO 44, 4 Sep 42; OCE GO 42, 14 Nov 42.

59. Ott Leg Desp 3198, 22 Jun 42, PDB 149-1.

60. TAG Ltr 320.2, 27 Jul 42, sub: Command, Supply and Administration, CRIMSON Project.

61. TAG Ltr 320.2, 2 Aug 42, sub: Amendment No. 1 to Command, Supply and Administration, CRIMSON Project.

62. TAG Ltr 320.2, 9 Nov 43, sub: Command, Supply and Administrative Order, NAF Projects.

63. TAG Ltrs 322, 25 Jun 43 and 5 Jul 43, sub: Modification of the CRIMSON Project.

64. Air Transport Command, The CRIMSON Route, p. 56.

65. The references in Air Transport Command historical monographs to the lack of co-ordination among the extremely numerous agencies in northwest Canada include the following: Alaskan Division, Historical Record Report, II, 198; History of the Northwest Air Route to Alaska: 1942-1945, p. 83; The Northwest Route Under the Ferrying Division: 16 June 1942-1 November 1942, p 49.

66. Of the wartime members, of the U.S. Section of the Permanent Joint Board who received this study, two commented on this point, agreeing that such a problem existed. One felt its magnitude had been overdrawn, while the other averred that it was "one of the most vexatious problems" of U.S.-Canadian collaboration. (Ltr, Maj Gen G. V. Henry (Ret.) to author, 2 Jan 52; Ltr, Rear, Adm J. P. Whitney to author, 10 Nov 52.)

67. Ltr, U.S. Secy PJBD to SUSAM, 3 Apr 42, PDB 105-3.

68. Ltr, U.S. Leg Ott to Hickerson, 2 Jun 42, D/S 842.154 Seattle-Fairbanks Highway/409.

69. Ltr, Moffat to Hickerson, 22 Jan 43, D/S 811.24542/B.

70. Ott Leg, Desp 3198, 22 Jun 42, PDB 149-1.

71. Ltr, Hickerson to Maj Gen Thomas M. Robins, OCE, 21 Apr 43, PDB 111-12.

72. Privy Council 2082, 16 Mar 43; John de Navarry Kennedy, History of the Department of Munitions and Supply: Canada in the Second World War (Ottawa: E. Cloutier, King's Printer, 1950), I, 380.

73. Ltr, U.S. Chargé Lewis Clark to Hickerson, 23 Jun 43; Kennedy, History of the Department of Munitions and Supply, I, 381-82; Chapter XXXI contains a full account of the work of the company. Food purchases during 1943 averaged $750,000 monthly, while other purchases added $500,000 to that amount.

74. Ltr, Hickerson to SUSAM, 9 Apr 43, PDB 108-6.

75. Progress Rpt, 1-14 Jul 43 PJDB meeting, PDB 124. The report cites the establishment as under the authority of Privy Council 3870, 17 May 43.

76. Privy Council 3758, 6 May 43. Other orders-in-council relating to the staff of this office are Privy Council 4224, 21 May 43, and 5465, 7 Aug 45.

77. Progress Rpt, 1-14 Jul 43 PJBD meeting, PDB 124. Lingard and Trotter, Canada in World Affairs, III, 71, call General Foster's office a "Canadian military command." However, he apparently neither reported through military channels nor exercised such command over any Canadian military field agencies except in regard to certain administrative and logistical measures.

78. Par. 10, Twenty-ninth Recommendation, text at Appendix A, below. See Ch. VIII, below.

79. Progress Rpt, 12-13 Apr 44 PJBD meeting, PDB 124.

80. Journal, 3 Nov 42 PJBD meeting, PDB 124.

81. Journals, 24-25 Feb and 6-7 May 43 meetings, PDB 124.

82. Minutes, PDB 111-12.

83. Minutes, 17-18 May 43 meeting, PDB 111-12.

84. See below, pp. 224, 302-03.

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