Chapter XV
The United States and Canada:
Elements of Wartime Collaboration

The cooperation that was built up with Canada during the war was an amalgam compounded of diverse elements of which the air and land routes to Alaska, the Canol project, and the CRYSTAL and CRIMSON activities were the most costly in point of effort and funds expended. There were other elements that were perhaps of greater intrinsic importance to the winning of the war. Such a one was the First Special Service Force, a unique international undertaking. Composed of Canadians and Americans distributed indiscriminately among the ranks, carrying the colors of both nations, taught a hybrid close-order drill, trained together as paratroopers and demolition experts, as ski troops, and then as an amphibious unit, the force won renown for its ruggedness and tough fighting in the Italian campaign, where a reputation of that kind was not lightly earned. It was a successful experiment, proof that, given the will to do it, men of different national armies could serve together without being kept in separate, distinct units. Another element was the epic-making air and naval collaboration in the North Atlantic, in which Britain also had a part. Still another was Canadian participation in the defense of Alaska. Royal Canadian Air Force planes joined in the attacks on the Japanese in the Aleutians, Canadian antiaircraft units defended the American airfield on Annette Island in southern Alaska, and more than five thousand Canadians took part in the anticlimactic assault on Kiska. The cooperation extended to the training of Canadian soldiers in American camps and schools, to the passage through Canada of American military vehicles by no other formality than "local notification," and to the interchange of scientific developments.

Collaboration in the economic field was broad in scope and of utmost importance, but in this field civilian agencies played the major role. Although Canada, as one of the leading industrial nations of the world, did not request direct lend-lease assistance during the war, a certain amount of war material and a much larger amount of industrial goods were sold to Canada through lend-lease channels as a matter of administrative convenience. To pay for


them, the Canadian Government maintained a dollar fund with the United States Treasury. The total of defense materials and services that Canada received through lend-lease channels amounted in value to approximately $419,500,000.1 Of this total, only $167,158,000 represented War Department shipments. Nearly 56 percent of the War Department shipments, in value, consisted of ground material including rifles, revolvers, antiaircraft and machine guns, ammunition of various types, and trucks. The remainder was aircraft and aeronautical material.2 By far the great bulk of goods and material that Canada purchased in the United States was obtained from American suppliers by direct negotiation with them. Army representatives of the War Production Board handled the allocation of controlled materials for these Canadian orders. The appropriate supply services of the United States Army cleared and scheduled the desired production. Some idea of the scope of economic collaboration can be had from the fact that from the beginning of 1942 through 1945 Canada, on her part, furnished the United States with $1,000,000,000 to $1,250,000,000 in defense materials and services. From September 1943 to September 1945, 14 percent of Canada's total war production went to the United States.3

The Air and Land Routes to Alaska

The idea of an overland highway to Alaska was nothing new. For years the people of that Territory and of Washington and Oregon and British Columbia had been its advocates. A number of commissions and committees, appointed to investigate the idea, had reported in its favor.4 The War Department, on the other hand, was consistently of the opinion that the military value of the proposed road would be negligible. As long as the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and western Europe were the critical sectors there was no basis for thinking differently, and as late as August 1940 Secretary Stimson informed Congress that a highway to Alaska could not be justified on military grounds. The subject was discussed at length by the Permanent Joint Board at its meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, in November. Although


urged by various organizations and by such prominent individuals as Premier T. D. Pattullo of British Columbia to take a stand in favor of the highway, the board unanimously concurred in the opinion long held by the War Department.5 Persuaded that the project lacked military utility and apparently detecting a whiff of political pork, Mayor La Guardia joined his Army and Navy colleagues and the Canadian members in opposing the road. It was considerably more urgent, according to the board, to bring the air staging route to a speedy completion. Then came the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, which muddied the already seething situation in the Far East and seemed to bring closer to Alaska the danger that Alaskans had been advertising for years. On the day after Hitler flung his armies across the Soviet frontier General Embick wrote, in a memorandum to the Chief of Staff,

. . . the progress of events has inclined me to the view that the construction of an Alaskan road is advisable as a long range military measure, provided its construction is controlled so as not to delay other more pressing military construction requirements, such as aviation fields.6

The next day, 24 June, the Chief of Staff directed the War Plans Division to rewrite its report on the latest Alaska Highway bill and to "interpose no objection" to its passage. The language was almost identical with that of General Embick's memorandum.7 When the War Department's past opinion is considered, this new point of view represented a definite shift, even though it was far from being an enthusiastic acceptance of the project.

What seems to have been a retreat toward the old position almost immediately took place. The War Department's statement of its views on the highway bill, requested as early as May, was not forthcoming until October. When it was presented at last to the Congressional committee considering the bill, it was only lukewarm, less favorable to a highway than the views of late June had been.

The explanation undoubtedly lies in the crystallization of Japanese plans early in July, in the lack of agreement on a specific route, and in the opposition of the American Federal Works Agency and of the Canadian members of the Permanent Joint Board. The Japanese decision of 2 July to preserve, for the time being, the status quo with the Soviet Union and to advance southward into Indochina and the Malay Archipelago was known to the United States Government within a week at most.8 Unless something happened to divert Japan's intentions away from southern Asia and toward the


United States, the threat to Alaska was now eased. A factor of probably greater weight was the lack of agreement among all concerned as to the route the Alaska highway ought to take. There were at least four proposed routes, each with its own group of advocates. Pacific coast interests in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia were pressing strongly for a road west of the Stikine Mountains, and it was this route that General Marshall specified in his instructions of 24 June. The Canadian highway commission favored a route farther to the east, through the Rocky Mountain trench; the prairie sections of Canada and the United States favored a third route, east of the Rockies; and the well-known explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson advocated still another, by way of the Peace and Mackenzie Rivers. When General Embick and the War Department veered round to a cautious approval of the route indorsed by General Marshall, none of those advocating other routes followed along. Nor is there evidence that the United States Navy members and the Canadian section of the Permanent Joint Board shifted away from their opposition to any highway irrespective of the route. The Federal Works Agency, sensitive to any suspicion of "boondoggling," was likewise opposed to the project.

The question of defense preparations on the Pacific coast again became a matter of concern at the end of July, when the freezing of Japanese assets in the United States chilled relations between the two countries sharply and immediately.9 Noting the gravity of the situation in the Pacific and recognizing the possibility of having to rapidly reinforce the air strength in Alaska, the Permanent Joint Board made formal recommendation at its meeting in Montreal on 29 July that all other considerations give way to the completion as quickly as possible of the air staging route.10 Thus the question of an overland route would seem to have been disposed of. Although the War Plans Division several days later made note of the views set forth by the Chief of Staff at the end of June, the situation apparently called for no particular haste in reporting them to Congress as the considered opinion of the War Department. When the department officially stated its views, in October, its approval was qualified so heavily as to almost scuttle the pending bill. No objection would be interposed, wrote Secretary Stimson, provided the Federal Works Agency supervised the construction; but that agency, as Mr. Stimson pointed out, was opposed to the highway.11 There the question was resting when on 7 December the United States suddenly found itself at


war with Japan, and there the question continued to rest for another month or so.

New interest in an overland road as a guide path for fliers and as a means of more readily improving the facilities at the staging fields was precipitated in January 1942 when the first attempt to reinforce Alaska by air, over the Northwest Staging Route, ended in disaster. These fields and the airway to Alaska were being built by the Canadian Government, which was not convinced that either highway or additional landing strips along the route were needed.

Before the Permanent Joint Board reached an agreement and made its recommendation, the question of building a road along the air route had already been decided by a Cabinet committee on 2 February 1942 and approved by the President on 11 February.12 None of the routes previously proposed suited the purpose that the President and his Cabinet advisers currently had in mind for the road. For the first six hundred miles from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, the line of airfields that the road was designed to serve followed in general the so-called Prairie Route, the highway route just east of the Rockies; then the air route crossed the mountains to join, at Whitehorse, the westernmost highway route--advocated by coastal interests which was followed the rest of the way to Big Delta, Alaska. This route, which more or less combined two of those advocated earlier, was now decided upon for the Alaska highway.

When the subject was broached at the meeting of the Permanent Joint Board, two weeks later, it turned out to be no easy matter to obtain the concurrence of the Canadian members. The Canadian section expected a "terrific political backfire," to use the expression of Mayor La Guardia, who, with his American colleagues, employed every argument that any proponent of the road had ever conjured up, including the rather wishful point that it would be of great value for an offensive against Japan by way of Alaska. The American members assured the Canadians that the United States would bear the entire cost of construction, estimated at $75,000,000 or more, and take care of the upkeep of the road during the war, after which it would be turned over to Canada. The arguments failed to convince all the Canadian members that the road was a military necessity, but they agreed that it was perhaps desirable as a matter of general policy and they deferred on these grounds to the


views of the American section. Once the board had agreed on a formal recommendation, the delay that Mayor La Guardia had feared failed to materialize.13

The Canadian Government approved the recommendation on 5 March and on 7 March President Roosevelt followed suit, giving his approval for the second time. Ten days later the first contingent of Engineer troops arrived at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to begin work on the road. While they were still unloading their supplies and getting squared away for the job, the agreement was confirmed by the two governments through an exchange of notes in which the understanding arrived at by the Permanent Joint Board was incorporated and in accordance with which the United States pledged itself to: (1) make the necessary surveys and construct a pioneer road, using United States Army Engineer troops; (2) arrange for the highway to be completed by civilian contractors under the United States Public Roads Administration; (3) maintain the road for the duration of the war and six months afterward; and (4) transfer the highway to Canada at the end of the war for integration into the Dominion highway system. For its part, Canada agreed to: (1) provide the necessary rights of way; (2) waive import duties and transit charges on all through shipments between Alaska and the United States; (3) waive import duties, sales taxes, and license fees on all equipment and materials used on the road and on personal effects of the construction people; (4) remit income taxes of United States residents employed on the project; (5) facilitate the entry of United States citizens for employment on the road, it being understood that they would be repatriated at no expense to Canada; and (6) permit the use of local timber, gravel, and rock.14

As soon as the first moves to build a highway were taken, in February, the Air Corps Ferrying Command entered into a contract with Northwest Airlines, Inc., which undertook to operate an air service to Alaska and to make whatever improvements the route might require for handling the anticipated traffic. An application for authority to operate the service was presented by the American section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense at the meeting of 25 February, and the Canadian section of the board undertook to obtain the approval of its government; but haste on the part of the Air Corps led to an unfortunate contretemps. When, on 27 February, a Northwest Airlines survey plane landed at Edmonton, Alberta, before the project


had been formally approved, the Canadian Government as a matter of course ordered the plane taken into custody. Some of the misunderstanding can be traced to a procedural snarl, for Mr. C. D. Howe, Canada's United States-born Minister of Munitions and Supply, had expected the airline itself to make application through the United States Civil Aeronautics Board. There was, too, a conviction on Mr. Howe's part that either Pan American Airways or a Canadian airline was better prepared for the job. However, a day or two after the plane was grounded and after a telephone conversation between Mr. Howe and General Olds, head of the Ferrying Command, permission was given for the plane to proceed. After the incident had been smoothed over, an American newspaper columnist, who claimed he knew "the inside story," charged Mr. Howe with "haggling" for weeks in an attempt to block an American airline from getting what might be a foothold in the postwar carrying business. A rather heated letter that Mr. Howe immediately sent off to Under Secretary Robert P. Patterson was, in the circumstances, admirable for its restraint. The delay was negligible and does not seem to have postponed the start of actual operations to any great extent. The lack of a clearly defined channel for transmitting matters from the Permanent Joint Board to the appropriate civilian agencies for action and approval, which the incident revealed, was not remedied for another year and then only partially. By that time the period of expansion, of building up the defenses, was over. During most of 1943, and from then on, the problem was not how to get started but rather how to complete or cut down projects already under way.15 Meanwhile, the Japanese occupation of Attu and Kiska had pushed Alaska into the foreground of the strategic picture, into a position of greater prominence than it perhaps deserved.

As a result of the Japanese attack on the Aleutians in June 1942, traffic along the Northwest Staging Route increased suddenly and enormously, while at the same time plans were in the making to use the route for ferrying planes to the Soviet Union. Both situations pointed to the urgent need for additional facilities along the route. Tentative arrangements for meeting the new and higher American requirements at the five Canadian-built fields were made without delay, and on 29 July Brig. Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, urged the immediate construction of eight landing strips along the Alaska Highway to supplement the fields that constituted the staging route.16 The eight landing strips, finally approved early


in September 1942, were to be located at Dawson Creek, Sikanni Chief River, Prophet River, and Liard River in British Columbia, and at Pine Lake, Squanga Lake, Pon Lake, and Burwash in the Yukon Territory. At the same time five additional fields were planned for the staging route. They were to be built at Beatton River and Smith River, both in British Columbia, and at Teslin, Aishihik, and Snag in the Yukon Territory. This would provide a string of landing fields spaced at easy intervals, the longest hop being the 140 miles or so between Fort Nelson and the Liard River flight strip. The first of the fields to be completed was the one at Dawson Creek, which was finished in September 1943. By the end of January 1944 all the Alaska Highway strips had been finished and by the following July the last Northwest Staging field was completed.17

When the expanded program was first getting under way early in 1943 the Air Forces had urged that the United States carry out all unfinished work on the staging route fields as well as on the Alaska Highway landing strips, but even a compromise proposal along these lines failed to receive the approval of the Canadian Government. Except for six or eight months after the completion of the basic program, in late 1943 and early 1944 practically all the construction work on the Northwest Staging Route was in Canadian hands.18 When the Canadian Government in June 1944 decided to assume the expense of all permanent airfield construction in Canada and Newfoundland undertaken in accordance with either American or Canadian requirements, the War Department viewed the new financial arrangement with concern. The possibility that the new agreement would hamper and delay the additional construction proposed at this time by the United States Air Force was apprehended. But the possibility failed to materialize. While the War Department was viewing with alarm the reluctance of Canadian agencies to officially adopt American technical specifications (although both the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Department of Transport had informally expressed the desire to provide facilities satisfactory to the United States), and while the War Department was predicting the dire consequences that would follow from the new policy, planes were arriving at Fairbanks at a rate of sixty to eighty a week. In June 1944 more than 340 planes arrived at Ladd Field from the United States, and in the following six months the total arrivals


amounted to more than 1,600.19 Most of the aircraft were for delivery to the Soviet Union.

The painful experience of January 1942, when only half the planes in the first wave of reinforcements managed to reach Alaska, was never repeated. In the next three years the total of plane crashes along the route was less than half that of the first harrowing month. This record is a tribute partly to the rapid technical advances made by the aviation industry and partly to the more thorough training and greater skill of the pilots who came later, but mostly it was made possible by the engineering genius and by the sweat and toil of the men, both Canadians and Americans, who built the Alaska Highway and the string of airfields that the highway served. This, and not the insignificant amount of freight delivered by road to the Alaska Defense Command, should be the measure of the highway's wartime usefulness; for the Alaska Highway was designed for one primary purpose, and that was to facilitate the building of the airfields and serve as a guide path for flyers. Whether that purpose was essential to the defense of the continent is another question, one that should not obscure the fact that the highway and the staging route amply fulfilled their principal role.20

The Canol project stood in much the same relation to the staging route as the Alaska Highway. The Norman Wells oil field in the valley of the Mackenzie River was first suggested as a source of petroleum supply for Alaska by the War Department's special adviser, Dr. Stefansson, but no serious consideration was given to developing the field until after the President approved the Alaska Highway. Resurrected then in connection with the supply of the staging fields and highway, the project quickly became one of the more controversial enterprises of the war. It was objected to by the War Production Board, questioned by Mr. Harold L. Ickes, the petroleum coordinator, and investigated by a Senate committee. The Canadian Government discounted the scheme in the beginning and had nothing to do with it in its later stages.21 Nevertheless, the pipelines that lay unused and rusting after the war and the capped wells along the Mackenzie River stood as monuments to wartime collaboration, for the Canadian Government in spite of its objections and serious doubts about the project, promptly gave the United


States permission to proceed and placed no obstacles in the way of progress. Doubtless because of the Canadian Government's views, the Canol project never appeared on the agenda of the Permanent Joint Board; the arrangements were handled by the Department of State and the Canadian Department of External Affairs and never ran afoul of the board's rule of unanimity.


Stupendous, spectacular, and controversial as they were, the projects in western Canada by no means eclipsed what was simultaneously taking place in the east. By virtue of the head start that had been made, the Atlantic defenses were further along than those on the western side of the continent. During 1941 Newfoundland had been built up as a strong Canadian-United States base; an American garrison had landed in Iceland; American troops and civilian workers were building airfields in Greenland, Labrador, and northern Quebec, while the Navies of Canada, Britain, and the United States were jointly guarding the Atlantic sea lanes. By the time the attack on Pearl Harbor took place, the defenses of the northeastern half of the hemisphere were being projected out toward Europe and preparations had been started to link the bases into an air staging route three thousand miles long from Presque Isle, Maine, to Prestwick, Scotland.

A direct ferry route from Newfoundland to Scotland, with no way stations, had been pioneered by Canada and Britain in 1940 but, under the best of conditions, was passable only for medium and heavy bombers, and the best of conditions seldom obtained.22 As soon as the April 1941 agreement with the Danish Minister in Washington made possible the building of American air bases in Greenland, the War Department, under instructions from the President and pressure from the British, undertook to study the delivery of short-range aircraft, pursuit planes, and attack bombers to Britain by way of Labrador and northern Canada and Greenland.23 Two good base sites, one of them at Narsarssuak (BLUIE WEST 1) near the southern tip of Greenland and the other at the head of Sondre Stromfjord (BLUIE WEST 8) about four hundred and fifty miles farther up the western coast, had been discovered, and by the middle of July construction work was under way at BLUIE WEST 1. Meanwhile, traffic congestion at Gander airport in Newfoundland had become a source of concern and led to a search for an alternate jumping-off


spot in southern Labrador. The choice narrowed down to Cartwright, at the mouth of Sandwich Bay, and the village of North West River on the shore of Lake Melville. Either would in fact be somewhat nearer Prestwick than Gander airport was. In recommending the North West River site on 29 July, the Permanent Joint Board made no mention of Air Forces plans for a short-range staging route via Greenland, but it was doubtless no coincidence that the preferred location lay exactly on a line with Presque Isle, Maine, and BLUIE WEST 1 and almost midway between them. A site was staked out some thirty miles up Lake Melville from North West River, at Goose Bay settlement, and by the end of September the Canadian Government had started work on the airfield.

With Reykjavik airport in Iceland already available, all the links of the staging route would be forged as soon as the Goose Bay and BLUIE WEST 1 bases were completed. Distances between the fields would be short: approximately 570 miles from Presque Isle to Goose Bay; 775 miles to BLUIE WEST 1 and the same distance to Reykjavik; and then about 840 miles from Reykjavik to Prestwick. They were just within the range of light bombers and pursuit planes fitted with extra fuel tanks.24

Space could be conquered, but the weather could only be coped with. No amount of human ingenuity could still the hurricanes, dissipate the impenetrable fogs, or moderate the extreme cold that made Arctic weather the enemy it was. It was possible only to avoid and cover up against it, and then only provided there was sufficient warning. Three small detachments were therefore sent north late in September 1941 to set up meteorological stations at Fort Chimo (CRYSTAL 1), Frobisher Bay (CRYSTAL 2), and Padloping Island (CRYSTAL 3), from which the movement of weather could be observed and reported. As outposts against the most formidable enemy in the north, they were essential adjuncts to the flying fields. When operations over the staging route began in the summer of 1942, the maintenance of fully dependable weather and communications services demanded constant attention.25

In the spring of 1942, after the decision had been made to move the Eighth Air Force overseas, the Army Air Forces conceived a much more grandiose project than the original, still not completed, staging route, and presented it to the Canadian Government by way of the Permanent Joint Board. Tapping the centers of aircraft production on the Pacific coast and in


the Midwest, two new ferrying routes were to converge in the neighborhood of Frobisher Bay, where they could meet an extension of the already established eastern route, and then pass through BLUIE WEST 8 in the direction of Iceland. BLUIE WEST 8, CRYSTAL 1, and CRYSTAL 2, Southampton Island, Churchill, and The Pas were to be important air bases, with two five-thousand-foot runways at each place, housing for a garrison of four hundred or five hundred men and almost as many transients, and storage for ten times the amount of gasoline originally planned for. Instead of only three, there were to be twenty-five or so weather stations placed in a great arc around Hudson Bay. This grand design was soon known as the CRIMSON project. It was intended to provide for the movement of as many as one thousand combat aircraft a month.26

The plan was outlined, discussed, and approved by the Permanent Joint Board at its meeting of 9 June 1942. The board agreed that Canada would either build the necessary airfields or authorize the United States to build them, and a formal recommendation to this effect followed. Existing facilities, expanded whenever necessary, were to be incorporated into the project. The costs would be shouldered by the government that carried out the construction work. Although the Canadian Government approved the recommendation, it found itself prevented by existing conditions of manpower, materials, and finance from accepting at this time any new commitments of such magnitude as the CRIMSON project. It was prepared to carry out the responsibilities already accepted and the construction at Goose Bay that was already started, but as for the rest of the project the Canadian Government could only offer its permission for the United States to tackle the job.27

Meanwhile, the CRIMSON project had been taken under consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, who were particularly concerned about the shipping it would require. On 12 June, the same day the Canadian Government approved the project, the Combined Chiefs directed that it be restudied with a view to reducing the requirements. The result was a major revision. The airfields at Fort Chimo, Frobisher Bay, and in East Greenland (BLUIE EAST 2) were now to be winter fields instead of all-weather ones; the central route through Moose Factory and Richmond Gulf, on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay, was to be eliminated; and one of the proposed stations on Baffin Island was to be dropped. Priority was to be given to expanding the


existing bases at Goose Bay, BLUIE WEST 1, and BLUIE WEST 8, then to improving the facilities along the western route--at The Pas, where the airfield was to be built by Canada, and at Churchill, Southampton Island, and Frobisher Bay. Thus curtailed, the project received the approval of the Combined Chiefs on 2 July. The next day President Roosevelt approved the Permanent Joint Board's recommendation of 9 June.28

While the CRIMSON plans were undergoing these revisions, the Eighth Air Force had begun its move to England. During the next six months nearly nine hundred aircraft traveled the North Atlantic route before it was closed down because of the weather in mid-December. Of all the planes that set out, only thirty-eight failed to reach Prestwick, and eleven of the losses occurred during the first three weeks. The significance of this surprisingly good record lay in the fact that, except for a few B-17's that went nonstop from Gander to Prestwick, all the planes flew from Goose Bay direct to Greenland, most of them to BLUIE WEST 8, without going by way of Fort Chimo and Frobisher Bay.29

The lesson was apparently lost, however, until operations over the North Atlantic were resumed the following April. During the winter the curtailed program was reinflated almost to its original proportions. Although little could be done then in the way of actual construction, plans were drawn up early in December giving priority to the three bases that in the previous revision had been relegated to winter landing fields. Now, under the new program, Fort Chimo and Frobisher Bay were to have hard-surfaced runways, more hangar space, and additional housing and storage. Similar plans and the same priority were set up for BLUIE EAST 2. But before the new program received the Operations Division's stamp of approval the Air Forces had decided on another general modification.30 The revision, in April 1943, reflected the experience of the Eighth Air Force, technological advances in aircraft design, and improved shipping methods, all of which lessened the need of intermediate bases and of an alternate route. A radically reduced program was therefore presented to the Permanent Joint Board at its meeting of 6-7 May. It was immediately approved by the board and by the Canadian Government, but the approval of the latter had scarcely reached Washington before the War Department again revised the CRIMSON program.31 One's sympathy


goes out to the author of the monograph on engineering activities at Fort Chimo, who had this to say:

Not the least of the factors which affected the work and retarded progress especially in preparation of plans was the fluctuation of the requirements of the War Department as reflected in directives. It was very difficult to plan ahead and to have the proper labor, materials, and equipment on hand at the proper time.32

These revisions in the spring and summer of 1943 were a clear indication that the days of the CRIMSON project were numbered, that for ferrying planes to England the eastern route through Goose Bay and Greenland would suffice as an alternative to the direct Gander-Prestwick route. There was no intention however of abandoning the air bases under construction at Fort Chimo, Southampton Island, Frobisher Bay, and Churchill, even though the original need for them no longer existed, for it was considered "gross waste" not to finish what had been started. A directive to this effect was accordingly issued. No new construction was to be started unless specifically authorized by the War Department, but whatever was in progress was to be completed.33 Although work was later started (and carried to completion on weather stations in Labrador and northern Quebec) the time of expansion, of new projects, was over. Except for some small jobs at Frobisher Bay, the construction work was completed and the contractors' men had departed by the end of 1943.

The Cost, Control, and Permanent Disposition
of Facilities in Canada

Although most of the actual construction of joint defense facilities, except the Alaska Highway and the Canol project, had been carried out by Canada, most of the original cost was borne by the United States. The agreement was that all temporary construction for the use of American forces and all permanent construction required by the United States forces beyond Canadian requirements would be paid for by the United States, and that the cost of all other construction of permanent value would be met by Canada. Although it was not entirely reasonable that Canada should pay for any construction that the Canadian Government considered unnecessary or that did not conform to Canadian requirements, nevertheless considerations of self-respect and national sovereignty led the Canadian Government to suggest a new financial agreement.


Under the new arrangement in June 1944, Canada agreed to purchase all airfields and aviation facilities of permanent character, whether or not they were considered to be of permanent value, and to assume the construction costs of further fixed improvements. Of the $37,320,000 that the United States had expended on the Northwest Staging Route, all but about $6,000,000 was to be repaid by Canada, and the entire cost of the flight strips along the Alaska Highway as well as those that were part of the Canol project, amounting to some $4,526,800, was to be refunded also. In exchange for the CRIMSON bases, on which the United States had spent approximately $39,500,000, Canada agreed to pay a little more than $31,630,000. There was, however, some doubt in Ottawa as to the wisdom of this particular transaction. The total amount that Canada agreed to pay under the new arrangement came to about $76,800,000, which was some $13,870,000 less than the United States had spent on the facilities.34

The financial settlement of June 1944 reflected the view, to quote a Canadian historian of considerable eminence, that "it was important to ensure that arrangements entered into for a specific purpose in time of war were not allowed to drift on when their immediate object had been fulfilled and when they might begin to cause embarrassment." 35 The arrangements for disposing of the facilities after the war were shaped by the same point of view and hinged upon the arrangements for financing the facilities. Discussions by the Permanent Joint Board on Defense, beginning in November 1942, produced a formula adopted by the board on 13 January 1943 as its Twenty-eighth Recommendation. It provided that all immovable facilities should pass to the Crown within one year after the cessation of hostilities, that all movable facilities should, within the same time limit, be removed to the United States or be offered for sale to either the Dominion or the provincial government concerned, and that all other movable facilities, not removed or bought by Canada, be offered for sale on the open market.36 Although the formula was without prejudice to any agreement concerning the postwar use, as distinct from the physical disposition and ownership, of the joint projects and facilities in Canada, the two subjects were nevertheless related. Discussion of postwar use rarely found its way into the journals of the Permanent Joint Board, but it was during one of these infrequent discussions, dealing with the airport at Goose Bay, that the subject of disposition was reopened. This


was in November 1943, and the Canadian Government was beginning to make known its desire to obtain clear title to the permanent facilities by right of purchase. The board agreed that further study should be given to the question.37

Negotiations between the two governments during the following months led to the financial settlement of June 1944 and made necessary a new arrangement covering the postwar disposition of the facilities. A new formula, amending the Twenty-eighth Recommendation, was accordingly adopted at the meeting of the board on 6-7 September 1944, and it proved to be the board's last recommendation of the war. It provided that:

Within three months of the date on which the recommendation was approved, the United States Government would draw up a list of immovable facilities to be sold to the Canadian Government at a price decided upon by two appraisers, one appointed by each government.

Any existing immovable facility not recorded on the list should, within a year after the end of the hostilities, pass to the Crown, either to the Canadian Government or to the provincial government concerned, without cost.

The United States Government should remove from Canada all movable items it desired.

All remaining movable items should be purchased by the Canadian Government or transferred to an agency of that government to be sold, for the account of the United States Government.

Any movable items remaining unsold after two years of their being transferred to the Canadian Government, should at the option of the United States Government, either be declared of no value and the account closed or be removed by the United States authorities.38

By the end of 1944 the detailed procedures by which, in accordance with this general formula, specific facilities could be disposed of were being satisfactorily worked out.

During the two years and more in which the board had been dealing with the postwar disposition of facilities the problem of postwar use had been generally postponed in favor of the more pressing problems of allocating responsibilities for the immediate defense, maintenance, and control of the facilities. As early as November 1941 the Permanent Joint Board adopted a statement of policy applying to the care and upkeep of facilities provided by one government for the forces of the other. The board assumed that responsibility


for maintenance would rest with the occupying forces, an assumption that was called in question later on, and in general it provided only for the particular services and maintenance for which the occupying forces would be responsible. Actual experience and further study led to a more definitive recommendation at the meeting of 6-7 May 1943. Applicable to the principal type of project — airfields — this recommendation provided that the government whose forces chiefly used the facilities would be responsible for their defense, maintenance, and control. In all cases, however, defense measures would be of a standard acceptable to the Canadian Chiefs of Staff. In accordance with this recommendation a schedule was worked out that assigned to Canada the airfields of the Northwest Staging Route, and the fields at Moncton, New Brunswick, and Dorval, Quebec; and to the United States the flight strips along the Alaska Highway and of the Canol project, and all the airfields of the CRIMSON project except Goose Bay, which had been covered by a special arrangement.39 The schedule could be changed only by mutual agreement. The financial settlement of 1944 had no effect upon it.

Completing the Machinery of Collaboration

An extra gear had been added to the machinery of collaboration after the United States entered the war. In the ABC staff conferences early in 1941, the United States and Britain agreed to exchange "duly accredited representatives of their respective Chiefs of Staff vis-a-vis the Chiefs of Staff of the other Power. . . ." 40 Canada, it was agreed by the ABC conferees, would be represented on the staff of the British mission by the Canadian attaches in Washington. This was apparently intended as nothing more than a liaison arrangement between the Canadians and the British mission, for at the same time the service members of the Permanent Joint Board made provision, in the ABC-22 plan, for the United States and Canada to exchange staff representatives through a separate organization from that of the British. The final draft of the ABC-22 plan, dated 28 July 1941, stipulated that "to facilitate common decision and action, Canada and the United States will establish in Washington and Ottawa, respectively, officers of all Services who will be charged with the duty of representing their own Chief of Staff, vis-a-vis the appropriate Chief of Staff of the other nation."41 Although it was the expressed purpose not to put the ABC-1 report or the ABC-22 plan into effect until


the United States entered the war, certain of the responsibilities were undertaken almost immediately. Plans for exchanging staff representatives with the British were carried to completion in May, and in June the British mission arrived in Washington. Shortly on its heels came a proposal from Ottawa that, in view of these developments, the exchange of similar missions between the United States and Canada would not be untimely.42 The arrangement recommended in the ABC-1 report, that Canada be represented on the British mission, was unacceptable to the Canadian Government, which took the position that the British Military Mission could not properly speak for the Dominions and that the arrangement was inadequate for handling the common Canadian-United States problems of defense. But in spite of precedent and the Canadian argument and the commitment that was even then being incorporated in the joint basic defense plan, both the War Department and the Navy Department agreed that the moment for establishing a Canadian staff mission had not arrived. A counterproposal that the Canadian section of the Permanent Joint Board be permanently installed in Washington was rejected by the Canadian Government on the ground that membership on the board was a part-time job and the other important duties of the Canadian members would keep them in Ottawa.43 The possibility of designating the Canadian military attachés in Washington as alternate members of the board seems to have been considered, but the entrance of the United States into the war soon afterward changed the situation.

Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor the joint basic defense plan, ABC-22, which provided for the exchange of staff representatives, came into effect. Nevertheless, it was not until the beginning of March 1942 that Maj. Gen. M. A. Pope, recently Vice Chief of the Canadian General Staff, arrived in Washington as representative of the War Committee of the Canadian Cabinet. The arrangement was placed on a more formal basis in July, after the negotiations for an exchange of military missions between the United States and Brazil had been concluded. Under the new arrangement, as announced by the Canadian Government on 3 July 1942, General Pope and the senior Canadian air and naval officers in Washington became the Canadian Joint Staff representing the Canadian Chiefs of Staff. Individually, the members of the Canadian Joint Staff acted as representatives in Washington of their respective Chiefs of Staff, while General Pope, as head of the staff, represented


Canada before the Combined Chiefs of Staff, of which Canada was not a member. Since responsibility for the coordination of the war effort in the North American area had been assumed by the Canadian and United States Chiefs of Staff, the establishment of the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington made it possible to relegate the Permanent Joint Board on Defense to the role for which it had apparently been intended, the preparation and revision of long-range defense plans and projects.

Preface to the Present

There was little of the dramatic in the story of the wartime relations of the United States with Canada. There had been no great challenge met and overcome in concert, only a latent threat. There had been no great conflict of interest faced and successfully resolved, only differences of opinion. The drama, such as it was, had ended when cooperation began. Once started, the course of collaboration took the two countries along a pathway of roses whose occasional thorns seem only to have quickened their progress.

In 1945, with the end of the war approaching, the Permanent Joint Board began considering the matter of peacetime collaboration. The discussions lacked urgency, but the success of the wartime relationship had established a pattern. Throughout the discussions there was never the slightest doubt of the permanence of the board. It was taken for granted that the collaboration of the preceding five years would continue. To American defense planners, the success of the wartime alliance with Canada seemed to vindicate the old suspicions of multilateral action and to confirm the preference for bilateral arrangements. While other wartime associations were breaking up with the end of hostilities, the United States and Canada were an example to the rest of the world. Their relationship was indisputable evidence that two partners could work together amicably in time of peace as well as war, and that two nations could each relinquish a measure of independence of action without losing self-respect or national dignity.

Collaboration with Canada, like the leasing of bases from the British and the general policy of hemisphere defense, had been accepted in the summer of 1940 with some degree of popular enthusiasm primarily because it accorded with the atavistic impulse of every individual to find safety in numbers, to huddle together behind a ring of shields. Army planners, less governed by impulse, were more restrained, and even reluctant to accept it. Tied to relatively fixed lines of operation and relying on weapons whose effect was generally limited to the range of the pieces themselves, the Army by its very


nature was committed to an area defense, and the bigger the area the larger were the forces required to defend it. From this point of view the obligations of hemisphere defense might appear to be a dangerously thin dispersion of American forces. On the other hand, the traditional role of the Navy and to a certain extent the new, still developing role of airpower were facilitated. By making it easier to bring air and naval power into contact with the forces from which attack was to be expected, by providing the bases from which the counterassault against the enemy could be launched, the arrangements with Canada made their most valuable contribution. It was not mere coincidence that the defensive strongpoints in the north fitted equally well this other structure, whose significance was not entirely that of hemisphere defense, which was slowly being built up into a second front against the Axis.44 But whether as the cornerstone of hemisphere defense or as one of the piers from which the arch of victory was projected, the collaboration of the United States and Canada was essential.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (14) * Next Chapter (16)


1. H. Doc. 263, 81st Cong., 1st Sess., Twenty-Eighth Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Operations, pp. 2, 36.

2. Tod and Croft, Statistics section of Lend-Lease, Table LL-11, p. 20, and Table LL-14, pp. 23-34.

3. H. Doc. 263, 81st Cong., 1st Sess., Twenty-Eighth Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Operations, p. 2; Robert Warren James, Wartime Economic Cooperation (Toronto: Ryerson, 1949), p. 35; Dziuban, U.S.-Canadian Relations, Ch. X, p. 295.

4. The Alaska Highway-Control Div Report 175, ASF and, particularly valuable, the separate volume of exhibits. Both in OCMH Hist MS file. Unless otherwise noted, the material on which the following account of the Alaska Highway is based can be found in the volume of exhibits.

5. Keenleyside MS, p. 25, PJBD 100-2, Organization and Agendas (2).

6. Memo, Gen Embick for CofS, 23 Jun 41, AG 611 (4-24-41).

7. Memo, SGS for WPD, 24 Jun 41, AG 611 (4-24-41).

8. See Ch. VI, above, and Feis, Road To Pearl Harbor, pp. 215-16, 219.

9. Ibid., Chs. 31, 32.

10. Journal of 29 Jul 41, PJBD files; Recommendation 19, 29 Jul 41, PJBD 124-1.

11. Ltr, SW to Hon, Wilburn Cartwright, 6 Oct 41, Exhibit E, Alaska Highway Exhibits, Control Div ASF.

12. Secy Stimson's notes of a mtg in his office on 2 Feb 42; Excerpt from notes of Brig Gen Clarence L. Sturdevant same date; Memo, WPD for CofS, 6 Feb 42, sub: International Highway. All in Exhibit F, Alaska Highway Exhibits.

13. Ltr, La Guardia to President, 27 Feb 42, Roosevelt Papers, FDRL; Keenleyside MS, pp. 2527, PJBD 100-2, Organization and Agendas (2); Mins of PJBD 26 Feb 42, in Exhibit G, Alaska Highway Exhibits.

14. Notes exchanged between the American Minister at Ottawa and the Canadian Secy State for External Affairs, 17-18 Mar 42, Exhibit G, Alaska Highway Exhibits.

15. Keenleyside MS, pp. 29-31, PJBD 100-2, Organization and Agendas (2).

16. U.S. Army Progress Report, 3 Jul 42, in journal of 6 Jul 42, PJBD files; Memo, DCofAS for CG SOS, 29 Jul 42, in Exhibit U, Alaska Highway Exhibits.

17. Paper, title: Airfields . . .-U.S. Army Program of Expansion, 1943-44, in Exhibit U. Alaska Highway Exhibits; Dziuban, U.S.-Canadian Relations, Ch. VIII.

18. Progress Reports of U.S. Army and RCAF members, notably the reports of 20-21 Aug 43, 3-4 Nov 43; and 30 Mar-7 Apr 44, in OPD 334.8 PJBD, Sec. II, Cases 27-34; Recommendation 29, 24 Feb 43, PJBD 124-1.

19. Keenleyside MS, p. 27, PJBD 100-2, Organization and Agendas (2); 1st Ind, Senior U.S. Army Member, PJBD, to ACofS OPD, 22 Jul 44 (basic Ltr missing), OPD 580.82 Canada, Sec. I; Official History . . . Alaskan Department, App. K; and Exhibit U, Alaska Highway Exhibits. Last two in OCMH Hist MS file.

20. For a discussion of the relation of the highway and staging route to the strategy of defense, see Conn, Engelman, and Fairchild, Guarding the United States and Its Outposts.

21. Report on the Canol Project, by a committee of the Control Div ASF, Office, CofEngrs, Office QMG, and CG Northwest Service Command, 1 Jun 45, pp. 31-42, in OCMH Hist MS file.

22. A good summary of early air ferry activities along the northern route is Samuel Milner, "Establishing the BOLERO Ferry Route," Military Affairs, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Winter 1947), pp. 213-22.

23. Comment of General Arnold during conference in office of DCofS 17 Jun 41, OCS Conf Binder 18. See also Conn, Engleman, and Fairchild, Guarding the United States, Ch. XIII.

24. Journal of 29 Jul 41, PJBD files; Recommendation 17, 29 Jul 41, PJBD 124-1; Milner, "Establishing the BOLERO Ferry Route," Military Affairs, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Winter 1947), p. 215; Report, JPC to JB 23 May 41, sub: Delivery of Aircraft to Great Britain, WPD 4323-36.

25. See Joseph Bykofsky and Harold Larson, The Transportation Corps: Operations Overseas, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington: 1957), Ch. I; and Craven and Cate, AAF I, p. 348.

26. U.S. AAF "Appreciation of the North Atlantic Ferry Routes," 6 Jun 42, atchd to journal of 9 Jun 42, PJBD files; Memo, ACofAS Plans for Senior U.S. Army Member PDB, 23 May 42, PJBD 149-10, Weather Reporting Stations, NE Ferry Route.

27. Journal of 9 Jun 42, PJBD files; Recommendation 26, 9 Jun 42, PJBD 124-1; Keenleyside MS, pp. 27-28, PJBD 100-2, Organization and Agendas (2).

28. U.S. Army Progress Report, 3 Jul 42, journal of 6 Jul 42, PJBD files.

29. Craven and Cate, AAF I, pp. 641-45; Milner, "Establishing the BOLERO Ferry Route," Military Affairs, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Winter 1947), pp. 219-21.

30. Memo, ACofAS Plans for OPD, 1 Dec 42, sub: Projected Airfields, Greenland and NE Canada; Memo, ACofAS Plans for OPD, 2 Apr 43. Both in OPD 580.82, Sec. II, Cases 44, 66.

31. Journal of 6-7 May 43, and journal of 1-14 Jul 43, in PJBD files; Memo, OPD for DCofS, 18 Jun 43, WDCSA 676.3 Canada (31 Dec 43).

32. ASF, CE, Hist Monograph, Province of Quebec, Canada-Fort Chimo, Sec. VI, p. 7, in OCMH Hist MS file.

33. Hq, USAF, Central Canada, History of U.S. Army Forces, Central Canada, CE Exhibit B-2, p. 7 (History of the United States Army Air Field . . . Minneapolis, Minnesota) and Exhibit A12, p. 2 (TAG Ltr to CG's, 25 Jun 43, sub: Modification of the CRIMSON Project), in OCMH MS file.

34. Keenleyside MS, p. 27, PJBD 100-2, Organization and Agendas (2); American Aviation, Vol. VIII, No. 7, September 1, 1944; Alaska Highway Exhibits, Tab W, and fiscal data in historical monographs dealing with the various bases, in OCMH Hist. MS file.

35. Glazebrook, History of Canadian External Relations, p. 427.

36. Memo atchd to Journal of 3 Nov 42; Journal of 13 Jan 43. Both in OPD 334.8 PJBD (420-42), Sec. I, Cases 1-26. Recommendation 28, 13 Jan 43, PJBD 124-1.

37. Journal of 8-9 Nov 43, OPD 334.8 PJBD, Sec. II, Cases 27-34.

38. Journal of 6-7 Sep 44, OPD 334.8 PJBD, Sec. III, Cases 35-46; Recommendation 33, 6-7 Sep 44, PJBD 124-1.

39. Recommendation 21, 10-11 Nov 41; Recommendation 31, 6-7 May 43; Recommendation 32, 24-25 Aug 43. All in PJBD 124-1.

40. ABC-1, Annex 1, Par. 2, Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, p. 1497.

41. ABC-22, Par. 16, Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 15, p. 1588.

42. Ltr, Actg Secy State Welles to SW, 3 Jul 41, and atchd Memo, Canadian Legation for Dept State, AG 336 (7-3-41) Establishment of a Canadian Mil Mission in Washington.

43. Ltr, SW to Secy State, 3 Oct 41; Memo by Mr. P. Moffitt, American Minister to Canada, of a conversation with Mr. L. Pearson, Canadian Dept of External Affairs, in Ottawa, 5 Sep 41. Both in WPD 4543.

44. Edgar McInnis, The Unguarded Frontier (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1942), pp. 358-59.

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