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

By Stanley W. Dziuban | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Organization and Command

The several joint strategic defense plans whose preparation was undertaken pursuant to the Seventh Recommendation of the Permanent Joint Board on Defense necessarily concerned themselves with problems of co-ordination and command jurisdiction. Divergent U.S. and Canadian points of view regarding the solution of these problems were intensified after Pearl Harbor had brought the war to the threshold of the United States. This was due to U.S. unwillingness to leave in the hands of another power the defense of contiguous border areas whose adequate defense was vital to the security of the United States.

Other factors added to the complexity of the problem of U.S.-Canadian co-ordination after Pearl Harbor. Until then the joint relationship involved a common defense problem to be worked out on a mutual basis using newly developed patterns and precedents. After 7 December 1941 certain important continental defense requirements continued to exist, but the principal foci of U.S. military interest shifted from North America to Europe and North Africa, and to Alaska and the mid-Pacific islands. Canada thus became to the United States primarily a territory astride or bordering on essential ground, air, and sea lines of communications to the areas in which the major engagements with the Axis forces were to take place.

Within Canadian territory a vast complex of logistical facilities became necessary for the support of friendly forces in combat zones. The United States, with its preponderance of resources, undertook the development of the greater part of the logistical facilities required in Canada and in the North American areas. The development work took on, to a large extent, the appearance of a U.S.-directed unilateral operation on Canadian territory, with Canada providing rights of way, auxiliary facilities, and the like. Logistical tasks, although of joint interest, did not lend themselves to joint direction as did defense tasks, since they were undertaken primarily by the United States and principally with its own resources.

As more logistical tasks were undertaken, the movement into Canada of U.S. construction, communications, and other organizations mushroomed rapidly. The functioning of this quickly growing establishment presented many new problems of co-ordination, political and military, from the governmental level to the lowest operating echelons.

-109-

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