Nuclear Weapons for Canadian Forces

SECRET

Draft

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.

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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.


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John Diefenbaker talking to fighter pilots at Canadian Forces base, Soest, Germany
John Diefenbaker speaking with fighter pilots
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Images

John Diefenbaker with John F. Kennedy
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | United States – Head of State | White House

Description: John Diefenbaker and US John F. Kennedy seated and chatting in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.

Date Created: 20 February 1961

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD1377

John Diefenbaker, Dwight Eisenhower, and their aides at table
Creator: White House

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | United States – Head of State | Columbia River Treaty

Description: John Diefenbaker, US President Dwight Eisenhower and their aides at signing of Columbia River Treaty.

Date Created: [1961]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD6879

John Diefenbaker with George Pearkes and General Lauris Norstad
Creator: Capital Press Service

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Minister of Defence | NATO – Supreme Allied Commander Europe

Description: John Diefenbaker, George Pearkes, and General Lauris Norstad, NATO Supreme Commander, talking in Prime Minister’s Office

Date Created: 19 May 1959

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD1191

John Diefenbaker speaking with fighter pilots
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Canadian Forces | Military Aircraft

Description: John Diefenbaker talking to fighter pilots at Canadian Forces base, Soest, Germany

Date Created: November 1958

Date Ended: Day Month John Diefenbaker en conversation avec des pilotes de chasse

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD828


Audio

Speech by John Diefenbaker to the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Association, Halifax

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Leader of the Official Opposition | Canada – Nuclear Weapons

Description:John Diefenbaker chastises the Liberal Party of Canada for what he claims was their unfounded criticism that his Government had made a commitment to United States to acquire nuclear weapons

Date Created:16November1963

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T200-PAC150a

Speech by John Diefenbaker at a meeting of the Canadian Club, Ottawa Creator: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Nuclear Weapons

Description:John Diefenbaker addresses the threat of nuclear war, indicating that Canada will not consider the use of nuclear weapons unless it has full joint control of the weapons

Date Created:24November1960

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T213-PAC57a

Speech by John Diefenbaker at the 46th Annual Kiwanis International Convention, Toronto

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – National Defence

Description:John Diefenbaker advocates for a strong defence for Canada, brushing aside the wishes of those who want Canada to remove itself from defence commitments and embrace neutrality

Date Created:3July1961

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T209a-c-PAC54


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