Tout au long de son mandat de Premier ministre, John Diefenbaker a tenté de déterminer si le Canada devait se pourvoir d’armes nucléaires. Le ministre canadien de la Défense, George Peakes, souhaitait voir le Canada intégrer sa défense aérienne à celle des États-Unis afin de présenter un front uni pour protéger les deux pays. C’est au début de 1957 que Diefenbaker approuve le Commandement de la défense aérospatiale de l'Amérique du Nord ou NORAD. Bien que cela constitue un engagement important, la décision est prise sans consulter le Cabinet ou le Comité de défense.
Afin de répondre aux exigences de NORAD, le Canada envisage un investissement important pour améliorer sa technologie et ses ressources militaires. Jusque-là, la planification militaire s’est concentrée sur le développement de l’intercepteur Avro Arrow. Après un long débat, il est décidé que l’Avro Arrow est beaucoup trop coûteux et incapable de répondre de façon efficace aux besoins du Canada en matière de défense. Le projet est donc abandonné. Pour le remplacer, le gouvernement accepte d’établir une entente avec les États-Unis afin de partager les missiles sol-air Bomarc et de se servir du système semi-automatique d'infrastructure électronique américain (SAGE) – système destiné à suivre la trajectoire de tout avion ennemi et à l’intercepter.
Le missile Bomarc est conçu exclusivement pour transporter une ogive nucléaire; il a donc fallu faire des arrangements pour que le Canada puisse se le procurer. Selon le ministre de la Défense nationale, Douglas Harkness, « il n’était pas raisonnable d’avoir le Bomarc sans l’ogive nucléaire ». En septembre 1958, la direction de la politique canadienne de défense indique que la nation a pleinement l’intention de se procurer des ogives nucléaires auprès des États-Unis.
Les négociations sur les détails de l’entreposage, du transport des missiles nucléaires ainsi que sur l’autorité dont relève leur usage se heurtent à plusieurs obstacles. En mai 1961, le Président John F. Kennedy rencontre Diefenbaker à Ottawa. Au cours de cette rencontre, l’administration Kennedy souhaite insister sur la question de l’incorporation des missiles nucléaires à la politique de défense nationale du Canada. Le cabinet Diefenbaker est toutefois de plus en plus divisé au sujet de cette question, à savoir si on doit même se servir d’ogives nucléaires du tout.
Le Canada s’oppose à la prolifération des armes nucléaires sur la scène internationale. Le nouveau secrétaire aux Affaires étrangères, Howard Green, tente donc de décourager l’utilisation de missiles nucléaires dans le cadre du plan national de défense puisque cela irait à l’encontre de sa politique étrangère. Pendant ce temps, Diefenbaker commence à recevoir des lettres et pétitions de citoyens canadiens qui partagent ce sentiment. Le cabinet n’arrive pas à prendre une décision ferme à ce sujet et la question reste donc en suspens bien que le public critique ce retard à prendre une décision.
En 1963, le chef de l’opposition, Lester B. Pearson, un libéral, déclare son appui à l’achat d’armes nucléaires pour que le Canada puisse faire face à ses obligations dans le cadre des ententes avec l’OTAN et NORAD. Pearson exprime son inquiétude au sujet du rôle que le Canada a accepté de jouer, mais déclare que tant que la politique canadienne de défense ne serait pas modifiée, un gouvernement libéral respecterait ses engagements.
The Accra Assembly
The World Without the Bomb
P.O. Box 1627
December 18, 1962.
Your Excellency, The Rt. Hon. John George Diefenbaker:
Allow me to address you personally as leader of one of the non-aligned nations to whom related matters of world peace, security and economic development are of increasing concern.
The non-aligned nations, non-aligned individuals and non-aligned organizations everywhere, today share a task and play a special mediatory role on the world scene. There is need to make a closer link between them.
These urgent times repeatedly are presenting opportunities for constructive action by non-aligned governments, organizations and individuals able to rise above artificial barriers of nation, race, class, color and creed to think and act in terms of this planet’s one essential – humanity.
Until now, many of these opportunities for purposeful and co-operative effort have been lost simply because there has been no suitable centre through which contacts could be made on a world-wide basis, and effective communication established at many levels for the consideration of problems common to all; no platform levels for the consideration of problems common to all; no platform from which proper cognizance could be taken of both world public opinion and official viewpoints so that attempts could be made toward a synthesis for constructive action.
But the times call for new approaches, new ideas, new methods, new efforts. And here in Accra, Ghana, this year, something entirely new came into being – a non-aligned, non-governmental international organization to bridge the gap between individuals, organizations, governments and the United Nation. This is of very special import to all non-aligned nations.
This organization is The Accra Assembly, initiated by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who sponsored its first meeting on “The World Without the Bomb” during the final week of June. To it were invited as participants 130 highly qualified non-aligned individuals and some experts and observers from all over the world. Their dedicated work during that week, to find fresh and valid approaches to some key problems of our time, clearly demonstrated that competent non-aligned thinkers can indeed suggest means to assist the great powers to find a way out of their present world-threatening impasse, and to initiate new efforts in many directions. A copy of their “Conclusions of The Accra Assembly” is enclosed for you herewith.
To begin at once to implement these proposals and to continue to seek among the wrld’s best minds for new ideas in line with developing world events, The Accra Assembly set up a governing Council and a permanent Secretariat charged also with making plans for future meetings of the Accra Assembly to be held in other countries in other years. Wholly uncommitted, this organization is non-aligned with any government, ideology, or group concerned with peace and development, although it seeks support and cooperative effort among all agencies and governments working for peace and development, anywhere in the world, regardless of outworn divisions encouraged and maintained by the “cold war.” In turn, it supports and encourages their efforts.
To non-aligned governments such as your own, The Accra Assembly presents an alternative and/or additional channel through which to work constructively for positive world aims without being caught up in cold war manoeuvres [sic]. To peace and developmental organizations, such as those in your country, it offers a suitable focal point or platform from which fresh proposals for resolution of international tensions, or new developmental plans, can be put forward without being tagged as a part of the ideological conflict, for The Accra Assembly stands above it.
For all of these reasons we now ask your personal interest and invite the support of your Government for the work of The Accra Assembly. This work is now accelerating daily and already – in six months – a number of its proposals are before the United Nations, others are being studied there, and work is going on in at least a dozen different directions, all in line with the interests and the stated objectives of the non-aligned nations, and therefore meriting their serious financial, political and moral support.
Your consideration is invited, too, because at no time in history has there been such an urgent need for peace, nor a period when peace was so illusive. We all know that in this generation man’s destructive capacity has reached a zenith and the whole world is threatened with total annihilation in the event of an outbreak of war. The recent crisis over Cuba has demonstrated how real and how close is the danger, and has emphasized the urgency of reaching agreement on total and complete disarmament. Even assuming that good sense some-how prevails and no war occurs, humanity still is in deadly danger from constant pollution of the atmosphere by radio-active fallout – a situation calling for an immediate test ban. And finally – this generation has seen numerous less developed countries attaining independence and urgently in need of wide-spread economic development. With poverty, hunger and disease the lot of a considerable percentage of the world’s population, can resources be wasted on the continued production of armaments? Billions are now being spent annually as the incredible arms race continues unabated in its intensity.
Thus the question of world peace and security has now become the concern of all nations great and small and of every single individual. No one can now be unaware that distrust among the big powers has given birth to the cold war which, more often than not, has frustrated hopeful internationational [sic] negotiations and prevented realistic and objective examination of issues. The big powers, against all counsels of wisdom, have manoeuvered [sic] themselves to the edge of a precipice from which they dare not move forward and from which they fear to turn back.
To this generation is given the responsibility and the opportunity to change this situation, to safeguard not only itself but the future generations for whom we hold the world in trust. The immediate problem of the cold war is not the emotional one it seems. It is not even ideological or political. It is so universal a problem – the problem of sheer survival – that emotion, ideology and politics cannot be allowed to divide us in our cooperative efforts to resolve it. This problem, as well as all others, can be solved if there is the enlightened will and fixed determination to do so.
So in this critical world period, the non-aligned nations, non-aligned organizations, and non-aligned individuals throughout the world can supply this will and determination, rendering invaluable service to humanity and accurately reflecting the demands of world public opinion.
It was with all this in mind that the non-aligned Government of Ghana, under the inspiration of President Nkrumah and with the whole-hearted support of its people, re-allocated roughly €80,000 from its Defence Budget for the establishment of The Accra Assembly. In addition, Ghana has provided offices for the Secretariat, seconded a number of its top officers to the Assembly work and paid their salaries, and further has made an initial contribution of €5,000 to assist in maintaining the Secretariat during the first crucial months of its work.
From the beginning, however, it has been felt that because of the non-aligned character of The Accra Assembly, which makes its work acceptable to both sides in the world conflict, it is neither desirable nor appropriate for one Government – Ghana – to continue maintain the Assembly single-handed, even if capable and willing to do so. To carry on its work, The Accra Assembly must have participation and backing from a variety of non-alingned [sic] governments and groups and individuals in all parts of the world.
In September, an initial appeal was addressed to non-aligned Governments through their diplomatic representatives in Accra, asking for financial grants and for consideration of sponsorship for future meetings of The Accra Assembly. No doubt these are being studied in normal diplomatic channels, as we have been informed; but due to the urgency of the world situation and the need for immediate and consistent constructive moves which require long-range planning, I have taken the liberty of putting the story of The Accra Assembly before you today in the context of world events, and I appeal to you personally to move your own Government toward an immediate financial contribution to the urgent work going on here.
Hardly any of the non-aligned nations are rich, we all know. We do not ask for huge sums; even token grants of only a few thousand pounds would help immeasurably in this phase of the work. Yugoslavia already has been of great assistance in sponsoring and underwriting the cost of the Pre-Accra Assembly planning meeting in Zagreb earlier this year, and the Czechoslovakia Peace Committee has contributed €2,300. The Government of Tanganyika was the first to make a contribution of €500 immediately after the close of The Accra Assembly meeting in June. If the work that now has been solidly started here is to go boldly forward – as it must – then Governments sympathetic to this work will realize that slow bureaucratic procedures cannot possibly move fast enough to be of any help, any they will, we hope, take immediate steps to grant whatever funds can be made available now.
Contributions are accepted in local currency if made through Ghana missions where they exist.
It would be strategic wherever possible to have such grants diverted from Defence budgets in the various non-aligned countries following Ghana’s example. This would demonstrate to world public opinion the acceptance of the practical idea of “putting first things first” and underscore the concern for peace, security and world development of the non-aligned countries as well as their willingness to give encouragement to and help take responsibility for work toward this end. When the very existence of humanity is at stake – as it is now – the size, prosperity or special problems of the non-aligned effort, for it is of special value to contributors themselves as a powerful addition to their own efforts and as safeguard of their own interests and the interests of the majority of the peoples of the world.
We await, Your Excellency, indication of your pleasure in this important matter.
Meanwhile, please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.
Your Obedient Servant,
The Accra Asssembly
His Excellency, The Rt. Hon. John George Diefenbaker,
Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada,
His Excellency’s Office,
February 16, 1959
DRAFT STATEMENT REGARDING THE ACQUISITION AND CONTROL OF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOR POSSIBLE USE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Last autumn the Government announced its intention to introduce the BOWC ground-to-air missile into the Canadian air defence system and to equip the Canadian Brigade in Europe with the LACROSS ground-to-ground Missile.
- The Government’s decision to acquire these modern weapons for use by the Canadian forces was based on its appreciation, in the light of the best expert advice available, of the need to strengthen our air defence in the fact of this threat to the continent and on its determination to continue a full and effective contribution to the NATO shield. The full potential of these defensive weapons is achieved only when they are armed with nuclear warheads.
- The Government is, therefore, examining with the United States Government questions connected with the acquisition of nuclear warheads for BOMARC and other defensive weapons for use by the Canadian forces in Canada and the storage of warheads in Canada. The problems connected with the arming of the Canadian Brigade in Europe with short range nuclear-capable delivery systems for NATO’s defence tasks are also being considered.
- We are confident that we will be able to reach formal agreement on satisfactory means to serve our common objective. It will of course be some time before these weapons will be available for use by Canadian forces. At an appropriate time the Government
will inform the House, within the limits of security, of the general terms of understanding which are reached between the two Governments on this subject, and an opportunity will be provided for the House to discuss them.
- I wish at this time, however, to give the House an indication of certain basic considerations in the Government’s thinking on the question of the acquisition and control of nuclear weapons.
- The first important consideration is the Government’s firm belief in the importance of limiting the spread of nuclear weapons at the independent disposal of national governments. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said in the External Affairs Committee on July 29, last, that it took but little imagination to envisage the dangers of the situation if the know-how with respect to the production of nuclear weapons were disseminated in numerous countries of the world. The prospect of further dissemination of such techniques continues to be a matter of fundamental concern to the Government. As a contribution to this important objective, it is the policy of the Canadian Government not to undertake the production of nuclear weapons in Canada, though we believe our scientists and technicians are quite capable of making them.
- The second consideration is the Government’s determination to leave no avenue unexplored in the search for an acceptable agreement on disarmament with the Soviet Union, even though we must reluctantly admit the need in present circumstances for nuclear weapons
of a defensive character. We will not lose sight of this objective of disarmament. Even if that objective is capable of only partial realization, as for example in agreed zones of inspection in the Arctic, or agreed measures to guard against surprise attack, our firm support can be counted on. In the meantime, however, we cannot minimize the importance of providing the strongest deterrence to aggression and of protecting the deterrent power against surprise attacks.
- The third basic consideration is the Government’s commitments to support the collective security of the NATO alliance. Whether our effort is made directly in continental defence – the defence of the Canada-United States Region of NATO – or whether it is made on the continent of Europe, it will be made in concert with the efforts of our NATO partners. In the one content as in the other, it is the Government’s intention to provide Canadian forces with modern and efficient weapons to enable them to fulfill their respective roles.
- Following from the Government’s belief that the spread of nuclear weapons at the independent disposal of national governments should be limited, we believe it is right that ownership and custody of the nuclear warheads should remain with the United States. The requirements of Canadian and United States legislation on atomic energy will continue to apply. There will be no change in Canada’s responsibility for regulating all flights of aircraft over Canadian territory.
- The Canadian and United States Governments have assumed joint responsibility for the air defence of Canada and the continental United States including Alaska and have implemented their responsibilities through the establishment of the North American Air Defence Command. The Canadian Government exercises with the United States Government joint responsibility for the [(defensive) –scratched out] operations of the Command including the use of defensive nuclear weapons if that should become necessary. In the event that these defensive weapons are made available for use by NORAD, they could be used only in accordance with procedures governing NORAD’s operations approved in advance by the two Governments. These weapons, therefore, would be used from Canadian territory or in Canadian air space only under conditions previously agreed to by the Canadian Government. This interpretation by the Canadian Government of the exercise of common responsibility for continental air defence is shared by the United States Government.
- The procedures concerning custody and control of nuclear warheads for us by Canadian forces operating under the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Supreme Allied Commander in the North Atlantic ocean will be subject to negotiation with appropriate NATO partners and the Supreme Allied Commanders.
Secret [scratched out] and Personal
January 8th, 1961
Memorandum for the Prime Minister:
Re: Nuclear weapons; policy statement
I have been thinking of the substance and tactics on this subject before getting down to wording and would like your direction on several points.
On substance, I believe you have now reached the conclusion that we should make the necessary arrangements with the United States to have nuclear weapons available for the Canadian forces, under joint control, and in accordance with the basic policies outline in your statement of February 20th, 1959. I hope this is the case, for I feel these defensive weapons are needed now in Canada for anti-bomber and anti-submarine defence. I think the real need for our forces in Europe having them is less urgent, but we have made clear-cut commitments to NATO on the matter and there would be serious trouble here and in Europe in cancelling or frustrating the huge F104 programme to re-equip our air division there. Moreover, I think there is another type of danger in serious delay; should you decide after an election to have these weapons available for the defence of Canada, many people would say or think that you had knowingly risked the security of Canada and the Alliance for election purposes.
Therefore I assume that what you want is a statement announcing that we are negotiating now with the United States the arrangements by which
nuclear warheads can be kept available in Canada under joint control for the use of Canadian and U.S. forces if and when they are required in defensive anti-aircraft and anti-submarine weapons. The statement would recognize the arguments for not having such weapons, disarmament and the desire not to enlarge the nuclear club, and would justify our delays on those grounds, but say why we feel the defence arguments now outweigh these considerations.
On tactics, I would suggest you consider asking the House of Commons to approve by suitable resolution the Government taking these necessary steps to be ready to protect the country and the Alliance. There has been so much said and written outside of Parliament by well meaning but ill-informed people on this subject, that I feel the air should be cleared and the Government given a chance to explain the real situation so far as security permits (which is pretty far) by a proper debate in the House early in the session. Moreover, it will I think strengthen your position on balance to have such a debate and make it necessary for the Liberals to declare themselves in a responsible way in advance of the campaign. The CCF (NDP) will no doubt oppose, but will have more difficulty in doing so in debate than on the hustings. I think most of those who will oppose you on this issue, after a good debate, will likely be voting NDP anyway, or for Pearson as winner of the Nobel peace prize.
The chief difficulty is, of course, Mr. Green and this causes me serious concern for I have much respect and affection for him, even when I cannot agree with him. I should be glad to help in any way I can in preparing memoranda for you to give him or in talking to those of his officials, chiefly Norman Robertson, who encourage him
in this last ditch opposition to our having these warheads available.
Perhaps I should add that I do not think we need to be in this nuclear business indefinitely. Our role in Europe should be, within a few years, as part of the non-nuclear force there on which the United States now puts such emphasis, if indeed we need to remain in Europe at all for more than five years or so. In North America, the importance of the ICBM and Polaris-type missiles will grow so rapidly in the next five years that defensive nuclear weapons of the nature we are planning to have within Canada will become much less important than now, and we could leave them to the United States and perhaps turn our efforts to special non-nuclear forces to use in some sort of international set up. But it is clearly far too early for that now and we should have ready as soon as possible the defensive weapons that would be important during the next five years or so.
January 14th, 1960
Nuclear Weapons for Canadian Forces
As I stated at the last session, the Government believes in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons at the independent disposal of national governments. We are planning arrangements now for arming the Canadian forces with defensive weapons using nuclear warheads, such as the BOMARC anti-aircraft missile, which will be consistent with this principle. Our need for such weapons will arise only in defensive operations taken jointly with the forces of the United States. Therefore we propose to obtain from the United States the nuclear warheads required, at the time they are needed.
In order to have these warheads available when and where they are needed, we are asking the United States Government to keep them in storage on the bases, in Canada or in Europe, from which the Canadian units are operating. They will remain in U.S. ownership, in accordance with U.S. law, but subject of course to Canadian law while in Canada until such time as they are transferred to the Canadian forces by decisions and orders of the President of the United States and the Government of Canada. If the bases are in third countries, for example in Europe, the concurrence of a third government may also be required.
One question on which there should be no doubt is that the decision to authorize the Canadian forces to use these weapons will be taken by the Canadian Government. This Canadian decision would be put into effect through the commanders of NORAD, SACLANT or SACEUR under whom the Canadian units concerned will be serving.
In Canada we contemplate arrangements being made to construct the special facilities needed to store these warheads on our bases. In storage the warheads will remain the property of the United States, maintained and safeguarded by the minimum numbers of U.S. personnel required to discharge these duties. These storage and maintenance facilities will be guarded by Canadian forces who will thus be responsible for the external security of the storage site, as well as the base as a whole. Some modification of these arrangements may be necessary at Canadian NATO bases in Europe where it is expected that common NATO storage facilities will be provided.
We hope that before many years have passed there will be a sufficient further relaxation of tensions, and sufficient progress made in disarmament, that it will not be necessary to keep these nuclear weapons on our bases. Until that time they will, when we complete the arrangements with the United States, strengthen our joint defences against aggression.
Handwritten: “Vault, 3 of 24”
FM WASHDC JAN31/63 TOP SECRET NO RPT NO DISTRUBTION
To external 326 emergency
For Prime Minister and Minister
Nuclear Weapons: USA CDN NEGOTIATIONS
We were called to the state dept at 5:45 pm this evening and handed copies of a press announcement scheduled for release at 6:15 pm. Text in following tel.
- Willis Armstrong, after apologizing that it had not rpt not been possible to give us more advance notice of press announcement, said that he was under instructions to make certain supplementary comments, as follows.
- First, there had been four years of discussions on this problem. Every effort to solve it had proved abortive, and [quote] not rpt not really for technical reasons. [unquote]
- Second, the USA authorities had examined thoroughly the possibilities of storing components in USA on a stand by basis but had concluded that this was a contrived solution which no rpt not only might fail to strengthen continental air defences but might also create added confusion at times of growing emergency. Moreover, in USA view the stand by solution contemplated would mislead public opinion as to the state of air defences.
- Third, USA authorities did not rpt not see the relevance of refs to the Nassau Agreement in the context of the USA CDN negotiations on nuclear weapons for CDN forces in Europe. (Honest John and F104G) were designed for nuclear weapons. If they were to be assigned to a NATO nuclear force under the Nassau agreement they would be fully effective only if equipped with nuclear weapons.
- Fourth, with regard to the argument about the obsolescence of weapons systems, there was in USA view a difference between (a) cancelling weapons systems which were becoming obsolete and (b) immobilizing modern weapons by not rpt not taking parts which were …2
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Essential to the full operational effectiveness of such weapons.
- Armstrong volunteered certain additional comments. He said that the purpose of the statement was primarily to set out in factual terms the status of the problem as USA admin saw it in the light of the PMs speech in the House on Jan 25. There had been much press comment and speculation, largely in CDA but some of it from USA, which in the USA view made it all the more necessary to state clearly USA side of the case. No rpt no ref had been made in the statement to the fact that the disclosure of the negotiations had been made in Ott without advance notification to USA but this factor had caused much concern in WashDC. He went on, however, to draw attention to the fact that the announcement was so drafted as not rpt not to preclude further negotiations.
- Armstrong said that it was realized that the publication of this statement would cause concern and controversy in Ott but he said that after consideration of all the circumstances they had decided that it was impossible to withhold comment.
- With regard to para5 above Armstrongs attention was called to the misinterpretation which he had implied in his comments on the PMs refs to the Nassau Agreement. Armstrong was also reminded of the views I had expressed on Jan 29 to Tyler asst sec for European affairs regarding (a) the positive possibilities of continuing negotiations, as set forth in the PMs speech of Jan 25. And (b) the unfortunate effects which a public statement by USA Govt would have in CDA. As to Armstrongs remarks on the substance of the negotiations, we said that we would withhold comment until we received instructions from you