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The border in question this program is produced and recorded at the University of British Columbia Canada under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Close to where we are now as an Air Force base an integral part of the defense of North America. It isn't an American Air Force Base. It is Canadian. This Royal Canadian Air Force Base is important to Americans and because it is a first line of defense for the American nuclear power. It is important to Canadians for the same reason that it has an immediate significance to both countries. Which is little appreciated below the border and little understood about. Its significance lies in the changes which have been and are still taking place here. The personnel are alternating. Yet because of its function and purpose. Orders
received here directly or indirectly come from NORAD's headquarters in Colorado Springs in the United States. For years the main weapon here was the sea of 100 jet fighters hired me to sign a bill to finance my camp. It became obsolete. And by 1961 unable to keep pace with even commercial jet aircraft. It was to have been replaced by another all Canadian jet which experts who observed this test flight claimed to be the best in the world. It was strapped in order to buy the duct full American ball mark missing. That's the norm at agreement for continental defense and the replacing of Canadian fighters for American jet fighters have become twin symbols of the Canadian defense dilemma a dilemma many Canadians are prepared to resolve even at the cost of American goodwill. The United States and us the third in a series of programs
examining important aspects of American Canadian relations the US and US is a brief examination of the price of continental security and Canada's defense position with respect to the United States. The US and US when completely frank a Canadian will it mean that at this moment in time the forces of history seem to be in conflict with Canadian sovereignty and independence. But if we were also historically inclined we might add that this is the way it's always been with Canada. Immediately after the Second World War Canadian confidence in its sovereignty what it was at its height a symbol of that independence was the ability to design and produce its own fighter aircraft. Some may pick other symbols but the building of the giant aircraft industry and putting a highly respected fighter into the air to many seemed a mark of real independence independence from Britain
independence from America. Political economic and military independence in a single sweep in the 1950s. A new government emptied the symbols of old meaning. The contract to produce a fighter to replace the obsolete Canadian jet was canceled. The prototypes were scrapped. The industry which built them was reduced to making small implements. All the technical and engineering skill was dispersed. Much of it to the United States is stead of less. There was more reliance on the United States and Americans who visit Canada now are sometimes shocked that many Canadians seem to fear the United States. Only a little less than they fear Russia. It isn't a new sentiment. And 1812 American forces invaded Canada. Aside from any other effect it may have had at the time it then gave the colonial
Canadians a new pride in their country. Eventually this pride would lead to complete independence from Britain. But in 1812 Canadians for the first time contributing to their own defense helped the British drive out the Americans fierce battles were fought and monuments on the Canadian side of the Niagara Peninsula still recalled the battles with the Americans. That's the War of 1812 became part of the pattern of the Canadian fabric. Have your courage the courage of those young people. Now there was a brave general by name don't ship it out to go to the yard he said is my gallant hero with those
proud Yankees. When the game was thus that we reply along with you we were gone our knapsacks we went to shoulder without any of our knapsacks we will shout or our word we will stay here with those proud Yankees with pride of having survived if not having routed the Americans did not blind early Canadians to the potential and actual military strength of the great and growing giant to the south and if they happen to forget throughout the 19th century there were U.S. statesmen who did not consider it in modest to remind them of the disparity in relative military might between the two nations. After the War of 1812 there followed the Fenian raids from the United States which Washington was unable or unwilling to stop. Canada built a canal the canal near the present capital of Ottawa to provide a safe
waterway in the event of American attack. And as late as the 20th century Teddy Roosevelt sent troops to the Alaska border during peaceful negotiations on the Alaska boundary dispute. And right up until the Second World War student officers at Canada's Royal Military College exercised their young talents on the problem of defending Canada from American attack. The longest undefended border which service club speakers have made an international platitude wasn't always what it appeared to be. The Canadian defense dilemma is in part Canada's own making but U.S. statesmen are alive to the consequences of national pride in the north a pride if not outraged certainly sitting uncomfortably in the present defense partnership with the United States. During a conference on American Canadian relations at the University of Washington this problem was discuss colonelcy peace Stacie professor of history University of Toronto and formerly Canadian Army
historian explained one Canadian view and 1939 I was engaged in trying to write a little book on Canadian military problems. It was. All together an easy book to write. And yet the problems it dealt with were simple compared with those confronting Canada now and 1999 Canada had a defense policy which was at least partially independent and within its very narrow limits not in effect complicating factors were internal political ones. They were serious enough in all conscience but they were counted as some kind of his own. These are words which Canadian suspect they are no longer justified in using regarding defense the relative simplicity of maintaining pre-war sovereignty has been so complicated by ante bellum Cold War that Canadian political parties right left and center aren't really sure how it should be handled. There is the recognition of the need for a united defense posture. But on the other hand there is the fear that whereas the
forces of us manifest destiny failed to bring the Dominion in to the American Union the exemption C's of common defense may accomplish the same. And how close Canadians are asking can you get without being smothered. And this has led to a touchiness which is interpreted and sometimes rightly in the U.S. press as being positively anti-American. But this is perhaps no more anti-American than similar expressions toward Britain during the first and second world wars. Canada's disputed with Britain the business of command of Canadian troops identity of Canadian units and harsh words were sometimes uttered in the end. Canadian troops were identified as such and commanded by Canadian officers. Perhaps there is some similarity in the same national psychology today. As to defense matters there was a great similarity in Canadian and American policies prior to 1939. Colonel Stacey explains that Canadian position before 1939
that a man was attempting to pursue an isolationist policy not her government and people realized that such a policy would be nonsense. But in trying to find a more enlightened one. They are meeting with serious frustrations. It's true look there has been a dramatic change in kind of those principles of action and action on military affairs in 1939. Our government's watchword was no commitments no commitments even to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. But in the post-war world she has turned to policies of collective defiance took a leading part and originating from off Atlantic Treaty Organization and has contributed and is still contributing considerable military and air forces to the knight o shield in Europe. She sent an infantry brigade group and other forces to fight for the United Nations in Korea. She may know and is still making a large contribution to the United Nations emergency force in the Middle East. And today she has troops in the Congo. As we shall see her commitments to her
neighbor the United States have become larger with the progress of the Cold War are we part of those regular armed forces amounted only to about eight thousand nine hundred sixty their strength is about one hundred and eighteen dollars expenditure on them and nine hundred thirty seven forty eight was running at just a little over 30 million dollars a year. Lately it has averaged about one and three quarter billion. Until recently this post-war effort seemed an impressive performance for an action of 17 million arsenal and Canadians took satisfaction at not however under the shadow of the hydrogen bomb and the intercontinental missile. It seems oddly shrunken this is all I'm on the case since the past half dozen years I witnessed a process by which Canadian freedom of action and defense matters has been subjected to increasing limitations imposed by the conditions of our relationship with the United States.
But after 1939 the nature of war changed and as a result so did the nature of defense airpower blew up the national concept of defense defense became a geographic concept involving strategic blocs without regard to national boundaries or national pride. This was to become apparent to military and political leaders on both sides of the forty nine. It was obvious that the fence in North America was a mutual responsibility and Continental in scope. Canadian defense cooperation with the United States began tentatively and even secretly and 1947 thirty eight. A couple of years later after down encourage the two countries were forcibly brought together by the operation of what Kipling once called the ties of common funk. The result was the Ogdensburg declaration of August 1940 and the Permanent Joint guard on defense. The next five years witnessed military cooperation in many spheres. A good deal has been published now about what went on and on the whole the story is pretty
satisfactory though it tells us that cooperation between two countries so on equal in population and resources is by no means a simple matter. The record contains such imaginative pieces of statesmanship as the Hyde Park agreement of 1941 based on the principle that each country should provide the other with the defense articles which it is best able to produce. This principle was certainly not carried out to the letter of the agreement served to solve kind of those foreign exchange problems and war time with the United States. But the record also shows such less happy in some things as the refusal of the United States to accept a Canadian military mission in Washington. This was persistent for about a year and was certainly damaging to good relations. In 1941 when I joined defense plan the second one was being drafted. There was a significant controversy over come on. The Canadian authorities had been ready to accept American strategic direction in a plan which assumed that Germany had
achieved complete domination and Europe and including the British Isles. But they were not prepared to accept it in a plan which was essentially off and so and in circumstances which would give the United States come armed over Canadian Forces and Canada. The American negotiators could not shake from and in the end the plan provided far coordination of the joint effort by what was called mutual cooperation. Up to now the Permanent Joint Mart on the fence has lived up to its name. In February 1947. The two countries announced that military cooperation would continue. They remarked incidentally that it would necessarily be limited. And that as an underlying principle there would be quote again no impairment of the control of either country over all activities in its territory. The program had now changed from instead of an actual enemy Germany. It was now concerned with a possible enemy Russia. And it was largely oriented towards the Arctic weather stations fire where the
first item publicly discussed and several of them were duly established by Canadian American agreement. But a growing amount of concern over the possibility of attack by Soviet bombers soon produced a great cooperative system of radar warning lines. By 1957 there were three of these stretching across Canada financed and mined jointly but mainly by the United States. In Canada there was sporadic criticism of these developments on the ground but Canadian sovereignty was being impaired by U.S. operations in the north. But on the whole the radar lines seem to have been accepted as a necessary and proper. More recent events have had more impact on the public mind soon after Mr. D from Baker's ministry came into office in 1957. The creation of the North American Air Defense Command was announced. This of the IF I to placing nine squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Farce under an American general with headquarters at Colorado Springs the Canadian government under the impulsion of new circumstances had
now done something it had never done before. Whereas in 1941 in the midst of our World War it refused to place Canadian Forces and Canada under American come out and it had not taken this action and a time of peace. It was of course explained that in another world war came it would come with appalling suddenness and there would be no time to improvise command arrangements if for the first time perhaps the decisive blows were struck. Nevertheless there was again some criticism in Canada and in this case it is still continuing. The greatest shock to Canadian opinion however came on another front of the defense effort. In February 1959 the government suddenly announced the cancellation of the contract for the much publicized S.F. 105. The high performance Canadian interceptor fighter which had already been test flown Colonel Stacey explains what issues the situation has brought about. At this moment two unresolved issues served to emphasize the uncertainties of our present
situation. For many months there has been talk of an agreement with the United States on the question of nuclear weapons for Canadian Forces. No agreement has emerged and it's reported that apart from differences of opinion between Ottawa and Washington there are differences within the Canadian government that there are people in it who want the Canadian Forces to have nothing to do with nuclear weapons. Secondly last August the one minister of national defense indicated that there would probably be a decision shortly on the question of a new aircraft for the Canadian squadrons and not a ride replacing the obsolescent S.F. 100. But here too there has apparently been no decision as yet. There have been repeated reports of a comprehensive deal involving American volatile fighters for the Canadian Iraqi units and American purchase of Canadian transport aircraft and Canada taking over the operation of additional radar stations on her territory. But price forecasts of an early announcement have proved inaccurate
but announcement came after Colonel Stacey's book but no Americans as well as Canadians are wondering how Canada's attitude toward its military partnership with the United States should be defined. It's very dangerous for any individual to presume to make himself the interpreter of opinion and a Democratic state particularly on matters which have never been placed before the voters. But perhaps I ought to run the risk. I'm sure that if I go off the rails other Canadians can be relied upon to correct me. There can be no doubt I think that the great majority of Canadians broadly and generally are sympathetic to the United States in the contest which divides the world today. They could hardly be otherwise. Certainly very few Canadians outside the tiny Communist Party which we find it a good idea to tolerate have any use for the policies of Soviet Russia. On the other hand Canadians on the average seem to be rather less excited over the Russian menace. None Americans are moreover
a general preference for American attitudes doesn't imply an automatic acceptance of American policies and all particulars. I find the Canadians in the circles I move in have not got on limited confidence on the world policies of the United States. Canada's own idea of a world policy was best summed up by the minister of defense in June of this year. Canada is dedicated to an unremitting search for the lessening of international tensions and to finding means of bringing about permanent disarmament. Now I know that things like this are easy for a middle power to side. And I know also that at this point I am in danger of sounding far astray. But I'm afraid that a good many Canadians sometimes indulge themselves with the idea that the United States dedication to these causes is somewhat less serious than their own. I meet people who think they have observed a tendency to a lot of American mutilation of weapons of mass destruction and the mere scoring of propaganda points in the Cold War to become objects of importance in themselves. Having
said this much I might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a while and I go on to say that I find that a fair number of Canadians among those who think about such matters at all are inclined to believe that the control which the civil government maintains over the military establishment is less complete in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom or in Canada. They recall particularly the Korean War when the president of the United States after suffering repeated provocations which no British are going to be a minister would have tolerated for a moment took his abundant coverage in both hands and fired the supreme commander. I remember the sigh of relief that literally reverberated across Canada at that moment. It almost seemed for a moment as not a very able and I get testicle general taking leave of possible control was giving serious consideration to starting the third world war. And I'm quite sure that almost all Canadians if they have to live or die by the consequences of U.S. policy
would like that policy made by responsible representatives of the people and not by anybody. And I was the senior and leading member in the Western defense setup. It is understandable that many Americans are insensitive to the aspirations of any single member of the defense complex but perhaps events in the Caribbean in 1960 and 61 point up certain dangers and failure to understand hemispheric neighbors. Well then Americans want to know what is Canada going to do about this joint American defense arrangement. Most Canadians I think would like to see their country regain some freedom of action. But not many would wish to do this at the cost of exposing the United States to serious peril. From all other considerations. There is a connection between American power and Canadian security. Various solutions for the Canadian dilemma are being proposed and I should mention some of them. The most extreme is that suggested by James have Menifee and his little book peacemaker our powder
monkey. His prescription is simply an impregnable neutralised. Let Canada get out of Mr. Sadler last night oh Mr. D from bankers now read and Mr. King's prominent John Bardon defiance of the fact that the book is being widely read and discussed on account of what may be a straw in the wind. But I don't believe that Canadian public opinion would accept the proposition that neutrality for Canada is either practicable are desirable. Politically the sort of program seems to come out and support only out on the left in a cooperative Commonwealth Federation Canada Socialist Party and even Meyer it is not solid. I see no great hostility tonight Helen counted on and it was Raul of Canadian forces from Europe might have adverse affects a player out of all proportion to the strength of the forces themselves. As for the relationship to the United States although there is little demand for ending a modification might be a different matter. I suspect that not many tears would be shed in Canada if no right went down but right. Indeed it's being argued but
no ride will soon be outmoded. It can do nothing against the growing menace of the intercontinental missile against which at this moment there is no toughness. Moreover NORAD's main function almost everybody knows is to protect the bases of the US Strategic Air Command and the strategic air command itself is becoming less important. With the advent of the roving deterrent the Polaris fire and nuclear submarine mention of the Polaris recall is what has been suggested that Canada might regain some degree of independence by asking United States assistance in acquiring one or more such submarines in return for the facilities which are being acquired of the United States and Canadian territory. But unless I misread American policy the suggestion is unrealistic. I cannot help feeling that a request of the start address to Washington would get a dusty answer. Perhaps more realistic and certainly my son it all is the suggestion of a former deputy minister of national defense Brigadier C-h Gregory who is reported to have said in
1059 that the only thing that matters in the eyes of Canada's NATO partners is the size of her defense budget. As long as she continues to keep forces in Europe and goes on spending on defense annually about the same Some as in the recent past they will not worry much about what specific object she spends it on. He suggested that there might be a case for concentrating on farms of defense research which would contribute to the country's economic strength. Other people have proposed the proposal seems to have merit that since it is unlikely that Canada can make any contribution to the nuclear deterrent and she may not even wish to do so she should emphasize the maintenance of efficient forces armed with up to date conventional weapons. If Korea means anything limited to our fight with such weapons is actually much more probable about an all out nuclear war which would be fatal to both sides. For them are the great powers of the West seem to be putting their resources into nuclear arms at the expense of conventional forces thus raising the very nasty possibility of having
nothing to fight with even a nuclear and limited war. But nuclear weapons which would be likely to turn a limited walk into a universal and all destructive one. In these circumstances if Canada had effective conventional forces available they might serve the West and mankind at large better than any others and they could also be time to account and the United Nations police operations and which Canada has been so active. Colonel Stacey concludes. I do not believe that there is going to be a cataclysmic change in the relations of Canada and the United States. But I think it would be a mistake to assume that everything in the garden is necessarily and prominently lovely. And on occasion like this it is our business to try to be realistic. Of course dissent can be expected from some of these views. Americans at the conference at which Colonel stories he spoke seriously questioned the low proportion of Canadian defense spending to U.S. defense spending. One of these critics is Vice Admiral Ellen Smith United States Navy retired who said the Canadian
explanation that because it was smaller it spent less on defense was not entirely satisfactory. Admiral Smith met with a group of Americans and Canadians to discuss this and other problems and later reported the results of the meeting. When that question was coming up about. Participation and that difference in money contribution and one of the Canadians spoke up we have participated We've got troops in and the Congo is kind of an end and I have been in Korea where three Canadian ships Erika's who happen to be ahead of me for a little while. So the Canadian active Canadian participation in world affairs is very definitely there even though the Americans say well it isn't enough and you know we shook hands and hand. Since the conference on Canadian-American relations. The Canadian defense dilemma
has become more acute. It seems to Canadians they sacrifice their proud fighter and an aeronautical industry in order to buy an American fighter all in the expediency of Defense defenses demanding nuclear armaments and many if not most Canadians are opposed to their acquisition. A firmer more truly independent defense policy might alienate a friendly United States. No thoughtful Canadian wants this but the alternative seems to be closer and closer ties in defense in which Canada cannot hopefully feel it has much influence rather than handshakes across the border now. Canadians are looking for a decision. It is a decision which will have reputations on both sides of the border and it will have to be made soon. As Canadians see it the time of their independence is running out.
The border in question produced and recorded at the University of British Columbia Canada under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio written and narrated by Bill McCarthy produced by Jack McCoy of the preceding program was made available to this day by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
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The border in question
The U.S. and us
Producing Organization
University of British Columbia
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program looks at Canada's sometimes-uneasy role as a military partner with the United States.
Series Description
Documentary series on U.S.-Canadian relations, from a Canadian point of view.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Media type
Narrator: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Producing Organization: University of British Columbia
Writer: McCarthy, William
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-57-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:38
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Chicago: “The border in question; The U.S. and us,” 1961-11-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 12, 2024,
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APA: The border in question; The U.S. and us. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from