Appendix B
First Report of the Permanent
Joint Board on Defense,
Canada-United States1

1. The Board has met on three occasions, namely (a) at Ottawa on August 26th, and 27th; (b) at Washington on September 9th, 10th and 11th; and (c) at Boston and Halifax on the 2d, 3rd, and 4th of October 1940.2. At the first of these meetings the Board made recommendations as to--

  1. The exchange of information.

  2. The strengthening of the forces in Newfoundland.

  3. Certain steps to be taken in respect to the direct defense of the Maritime Provinces.

  4. The allotment of matériel.

  5. Communications.

  6. The collection of information as to facilities for production.

  7. The preparation of a detailed plan for the defense of North America.

Such of the foregoing recommendations as relate to dispositions for defense still to be made are incorporated in the appropriate place in this report.

3. In the interval between the first and second meeting of the Board, announcement was made of the arrangement between the Governments of Great Britain and the United States for the establishment by the United States of bases in Newfoundland, the Bermudas, the Caribbean Area. In the interval between the second and third, the tripartite arrangement between Germany, Italy, and Japan was announced.

4.The present report is directed to indicating the allotment of responsibility as between Canada and the United States for the direct defense of North America so far as that defense may require joint or concerted operations by the two countries and also the steps which should be taken by the two Governments in advance of such joint or concerted operations.

5. In order that joint or concerted operations may be promptly and effectively proceeded with when they become necessary and are ordered to be taken, the Board recommends that each Government should independently, and as soon as possible, take the following steps.




  1. Provide facilities in Newfoundland for the operation of United States aircraft in numbers as follows:

    1. A minimum of three squadrons of patrol planes (36 planes).

    2. A minimum of 73 land planes.

  2. Provide radio and other facilities at Sydney and Newfoundland Airports, for land plane staging.

  3. If physically possible, provide a fighter aerodrome near St. John's.

  4. Complete defenses for the port of St. John's and for Botwood.

  5. Complete the harbor defenses (including underwater defenses) at Halifax, Sydney, Gaspé, and Shelburne.

  6. Expand the aircraft operating facilities in the Maritime Provinces, so as to provide for the operation of United States aircraft in numbers as follows:

    1. Four squadrons of patrol planes (48 planes).

    2. One composite wing of approximately 200 planes.


  1. Select and complete a base or bases in Newfoundland sufficient to permit the operation of at least one squadron of patrol planes (12 planes).

  2. Provide staging facilities in Newfoundland for short-range aircraft between Sydney and the Newfoundland Airport, these to include radio facilities.

  3. Develop airways and other transportation facilities in New England so as to permit the rapid reinforcement of the Canadian Forces in the Maritime Provinces.

  4. Provide ground, anti-aircraft and harbor defenses of United States bases in Newfoundland.



  1. Develop air staging facilities for aircraft en route between Alaska and the Continental United States.

  2. Complete the highway from Terrace to Prince Rupert.

  3. Complete the harbor defenses at Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Esquimalt-Victoria, including underwater defenses at Esquimalt and Prince Rupert.

  4. If a suitable area can be found, provide an aerodrome at the north end of Vancouver Island so as to permit the operation of defending aircraft therefrom.


  1. Complete army bases at Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska.

  2. Complete land plane bases at Ketchikan, Yakutat, Cordova, Anchorage, Bethel, Nome, and Fairbanks.

  3. Complete the naval stations (including fixed defenses) at Sitka, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor.

  4. Complete airways between Ketchikan and Dutch Harbor and between Nome and Bethel.

  5. Provide coast defenses in the Juan de Fuca Straits so as to tie in with the Canadian fixed defenses at Esquimalt.


  1. Complete aircraft operating facilities at Seattle, Aberdeen, Bellingham, Everett, Olympia, Spokane County, Port Angeles, and Tongue Point.
6. In addition to the foregoing, the Board recommends that

  1. The appropriate civil and military authorities in the two countries make and put into immediate effect reciprocal arrangements from the prompt and continuous exchange of all necessary meteorological information collected by any of them.

  2. The aircraft detection organizations of the two countries on the east coast and on the west coast, respectively, make and put into immediate effect reciprocal arrangements for co-operation between them in their respective areas.

  3. The Governments of Canada and the United States bring about an arrangement to simplify the procedure in connection with the travel of public vessels and service aircraft of the two countries, to include provision for the following:

    1. Passage, upon local notification, of United States public vessels through Canadian Waters and United States service aircraft over Canadian territory while en route between United States ports and Alaska or United States bases in Newfoundland.

    2. Visits of public vessels and service aircraft of either of the two countries to ports of the other country, upon local notification, when engaged on matters connected with the joint defense of Canada and the United States.

    3. Upon local notification, flights of Canadian service aircraft over that part of the State of Maine which lies upon the route between Quebec and the Maritime Provinces when such flights are on matters pertaining to the joint defense of Canada and the United States.

    4. Upon local notification, flights of U.S. service aircraft between points in the United States over the Ontario peninsula, including the prohibited area.

7. The Board recommends that, when joint or concerted operations are directed by the two governments to be undertaken, the responsibilities to be allocated to each country and to be discharged by each through its appropriate land, sea, and air forces, should be as follows:



  1. To exercise initial control of Canadian, British and friendly shipping on the Atlantic and to inform the United States immediately of the location and routes of all important units.

  2. To undertake the initial ground, anti-aircraft, coast and air defense of Newfoundland and its harbors, except insofar as the United States may be in a position to participate in such initial defense.

  3. To provide for the surface and air patrol of Belle Isle Strait and the initial security of the sea communications between the mainland and Newfoundland.

  4. To provide initial air patrol over other sea approaches to Newfoundland.

  5. To provide for the ground, anti-aircraft, and coast defenses of the Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula and the initial air defense of these areas.

  6. To provide for the naval air defense of:

    1. Gaspé and Maritime Provinces harbors;

    2. The Gulf of St. Lawrence to the line Sydney-Port aux Basques;


    1. The Bay of Fundy to the line United States-Canadian Border to Yarmouth; and

    2. The sea area within a thirty-five mile radius from the entrance to Sydney, Halifax, Shelburne, St. John's, Botwood, and any other naval bases operated by Canada.

  1. Provide facilities in aid of the movement, by water, of United States forces from the Maritime Provinces to Newfoundland.


  1. To augment its forces in Newfoundland to one reinforced division and a composite air group (73 planes).

  2. To establish off-shore surface and air patrols to seaward of waters to be patrolled by Canada, also in-shore patrols of Placentia Bay.

  3. To control shipping in areas patrolled by the United States.

  4. To augment the mobile ground and air defense of the Maritime Provinces in the event of a major attack.



  1. Top provide for the initial ground, anti-aircraft, coast and air defense of British Columbia.

  2. To provide for the naval defense of Esquimalt-Victoria, Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

  3. To provide naval and air defense for British Columbia coastal waters and naval patrols for such parts of these waters as are enclosed by a line drawn from the Canada-Alaska boundary to Cape Muzon--thence to 3 miles west of Langara-thence 3 miles off the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands to Cape St. James--thence to Cape Scott--thence 3 miles off the west coast of Vancouver Island to the meridian of Race Rocks--thence to a position 40°20' north 123° west--and thence north along the meridian of 123° west to the shore line in Boundary Bay.

  4. To control shipping in the area in which Canada provides surface patrols.

  5. To concentrate land forces in British Columbia for the initial support of United States garrisons in Alaska, including air support for these, if required.

  6. To provide facilities in aid of the movement by water and air of United States forces to Alaska, including the provision of staging facilities for seaplanes.


  1. To provide forces necessary for the defense of Alaska.

  2. To provide for off-shore surface and air patrols to cover the sea approaches south-eastern Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, and for protection of shipping in the Gulf of Alaska.

  3. To control shipping in the area patrolled by United States forces.

  4. To provide a mobile reserve of at least one division, with necessary aircraft, for cooperation with Canadian and United States coast defense forces in the British Columbia-Puget Sound region.


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1. This report was approved by the Board on 4 October 1940. It was approved by President Roosevelt on 19 November, and its approval by the Canadian Government was reported at the 14 November 1940 Board meeting. (Journal, PDB 124; Ltr, Acting Secy State Welles to SW, 20 Nov 40, PDB 127.)

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