Military Relations between the United States and Canada, 1939-1945

By Stanley W. Dziuban | Go to book overview
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Problems in Jurisdiction

The deployment of large numbers of U.S. troops and associated civilians to Canada during World War II inevitably gave rise to many complex problems vis-á-vis Canadian authorities and the general public. The fact that the areas in which the U.S. personnel operated were never seriously threatened by hostile action added to the complexity of the problems. Had a real threat existed, it would probably have inspired a will to co-operate that would have caused many of the issues which arose to pale into insignificance. The U.S. forces stationed in Canada understandably considered themselves a cog, however remote from the combat zones, in the machine created to fight the enemy. Many Canadians, also understandably, took the view that, since the major combat, zones were remote and hostilities were not taking place in Canada, the situation did not call for cessions of Canadian sovereignty or grants of limitless rights and privileges to the U.S. forces.

Canadian attitudes were conditioned by the history of relations with the United States. From 1776 to 1871 Canadians were threatened with annexation, particularly in two actual wars and two long periods of filibustering, and thereafter were promised this fate at intervals by many Americans in responsible positions. Throughout the history of Canadian-U.S. relations most Canadians, and especially French Canadians, have also feared and resisted cultural absorption by the United States. The Canadian Government therefore found it necessary, in considering its position on the various problems that came up for discussion with the United States during World War II, to weigh not only the military needs of the situation but also the force of public opinion, the desires of the provincial governments, and the impact on the position and strength of the Dominion Government itself. Under these circumstances it was a notable achievement that the numberless questions bearing on jurisdiction arising during the war years were all worked out in a manner acceptable to, if not to the full satisfaction of, both countries.

Jurisdiction Over Friendly Foreign Forces

Although the United States deployed troops to Newfoundland a year before the Pearl Harbor attack, it did not send U.S. forces into Canada in


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