The tasks assigned to U.S. forces in Canada and related Canadian activities changed frequently as the battle lines receded farther from North America and as the broader logistical requirements and situations shifted accordingly. Certain of the tasks were finished and others were canceled even before the necessary facilities had been fully completed and long before victory was won on the fighting fronts. Still other tasks arose only upon the termination of hostilities in the combat zones. The reduction of the U.S. establishment was thus not an immediate consequence of V-J Day but began long before that date and lasted over a period of years. The arrangements for disposing of U.S. installations and equipment during the U.S. withdrawal differed markedly from the arrangements initiating the activities. Whereas in the early wartime years the military considerations were overriding, many other factors needed to be taken into account in working out the disposal arrangements. This complicating element was compensated for by the fact that, in place of having to reach decisions quickly, those working out the disposal arrangements could take adequate time to study thoroughly the problems involved.
The year 1943 saw the transition from a situation in which northern North America was vulnerable to enemy attack to one of relative security and the use of northern North America principally as a logistical base for overseas operations. By the end of the year the Allied position had improved substantially. The Japanese had been evicted from the Aleutians, the Axis submarine menace was being reduced, and the Allies had seen major successes in the Mediterranean and on the eastern European fronts.
During the latter half of 1943 the United States reduced its garrison in Newfoundland from about 10,000 to half that number. Canada also began to reduce its garrison in Newfoundland. In Canada, Canadian antiaircraft and coastal defense forces were scaled downward. The 7th and 8th Canadian Divisions were disbanded, while the 6th was partially reduced in strength. Similarly, Canadian air base defense detachments were withdrawn from the Northwest Staging Route and other bases. This progressive reduction of