USAF Gap Fillers - Labrador/Newfoundland

National Archives of Canada

DL(1)Div/FM Tovell/df


Ottawa, April 6, 1961

The Deputy Minister,
Department of National Defence
Ottawa, Ontario

Deactivation of Certain Radar Stations
on Baffin Island and in Newfoundland.

The United States Embassy, in its Note No 546 of April 1, has formally sought Canadian concurrance in the deactivation of certain radar stations on Baffin Island and in Newfoundland. Five copies of the Embassy's note are attached.

More specifically the United States note expresses the desire to reduce to communications status only the operation of the Baffin Island and Resolution Island aircraft control and warning sites and that the aircraft control and warning site at Redcliff and the following gap filler radars be inactivated: Elliston Ridge, Fox Harbour, La Scie, Cut Throat Island, Spotted Isle, and Cape Makkovik.

We should be grateful to have your comments on this note and we are also seeking comments from the Department of Transport. It is our understanding that this matter has for some time been the subject of discussions between the RCAF and the USAF. In this connection the USAF progress report prepared for the April 9, 1961 meeting of the PJBD which has just come to hand indicates that complete withdrawal of personnel and equipment is planned except at Resolution Island and at Baffin Island where existing BMEWS Rearward and Pole Vault communications facilities respectively will be retained. In this report, however, no indication is given as to the USAF's intentions with regards to custodial arrangements for the buildings which will remain.

At the same time you may wish to consider the nature of any publicity which should be given this development. You will note that the communication from the Embassy is clasified secret and it is to be assumed that our reply when made would be similarly classified. On the other hand it seems to us important to bear in mind the relationship between the development and the government's decision recently reaffirmed to proceed with construction of certain additional radars in Western Canada. Your comments on this point would be particularly appreciated.

We are also seeking the comments of the Department of Northern Affairs.

WH Barton
for the Under-Secretary of State
for External Affairs.