Gander, NF

1952 – RCAF Manning – National Archives of Canada


S 70-100-G2


Conditions Under Which Gander Early Warning Station was Manned by RCAF

This subject was raised during discussions held 4 Mar 52 between Mr. Claxton, Mr. Pearson, Mr. Heeney, Mr. Drury and Gen. Foulkes. Herewith is extract of these discussions:

“Mr. Pearson raised the question that he understood that a radar station of the integrated Cda-USA air defence scheme was to be operated by the Americans in the close proximity of Gander airfield. He felt this was a bit unfortunate as Gander was an international airport and international visitors would encounter large numbers of American troops in and around the airfield and might gain the impression that Gander was a United States responsibility. He asked that this matter be investigated to see whether this airfield, particularly the radar unit, could not be manned by Canadians and some other Canadian station be taken over by the Americans. However, it was pointed out to Mr. Pearson that there were many difficulties in this problem in that wherever possible it was the intention to have Canadians operating radar stations supporting Canadian fighter squadrons and under similar situations as far as the United States was concerned. In the case of Newfoundland the only requirement for air defence of Newfoundland is to defend the American bases and it is not at present planned to have any Canadian fighter squadrons operating in Newfoundland and any fighter squadrons there would be United States and for the sole purpose of defending bases. If at all possible it was not wise for one nation to take on a partial responsibility for the defence of another nation’s installations. However, Mr. Pearson asked that this matter be looked into and a report on the problem be drawn up by the RCAF”.

As a result of these discussions a Brief was prepared by the RCAF on the RCAF manning these Early Warning Stations and submitted to the Deputy Minister 19 Apr 52, who in turn submitted this proposal to the Minister on 22 Apr 53. The Minister directed that the RCAF should man these stations.

Since one of the terms of the Pinetree Note (454 dated Aug 51) was that the RCAF could take over manning and operation of radar stations in addition to those allocated for the initial manning by the Canadian personnel, the RCAF Member PJBD wrote to the USAF and Steering Member PJBD informing that the RCAF was prepared to man this station as soon as construction was completed. The USAF and Steering Member PJBD concurred in this proposal in their letter of 19 Aug 52. The RCAF took over “beneficial occupancy” of the site 1 Apr 52 and the station is presently being operated by the RCAF 226 Aircraft Warning Squadron.