Under Secretary of State for External Affairs,
Department of External Affairs,
East Block, Parliament Buildings,
United States Proposal to Deactivate
Certain Radars in the Northeast Area
Reference is made to your letter DL(1) Div/FM Tovell dated April 6, 1961 requesting comments on the United States Note #546 of April 1, 1961.
The Department of National Defence concurs with the United States proposal to inactivate the prime radars at Baffin Island (Frobisher), Resolution Island, and Redcliff and the gap filler radars at Elliston Ridge, Fox Harbour, La Scie, Cut Throat Island, Spotted Isle, and Cape Makkovik. However, the Note should state that the inactivation is to be concurrent with the activation of not only the Greenland extension of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW East) but also the activation of the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom barrier(G-I-UK barrier) in July of this year. In addition, it is recommended that the Note contain a paragraph stating that press releases on the inactivation of the radar sites are to be jointly agreed by the two governments. A suggested initial release is attached at Appendix A.
Attached as Appendix B is a synposis of the military implications of closing the radars in the Northeast Area. Briefly, when the improvements in early warning become operational in July 1961 the additional coverage provided by the radars which are under consideration for deactivation is so limited that their high cost operation cannot be justified.
Your letter suggests that there is a relation between the construction of the five Western radars which the government has recently approved and the deactivation of the radars in the Northeast Area. I would like to emphasize that aside from the fact that all are radars there is no relationship between them. The Labrador-Newfoundland radars have been serving an early warning function, with limited control capability, while the five Western radars are required to extend the contiguous SAGE coverage northward for control of weapons in the Prairie region. Further, the deactivation of the six gap filler radars in the Goose Bay Sector should in no way be associated with the 45 CADIN gap filler radars which are to be located in Southern Ontario and Quebec within the contiguous radar coverage and which will provide continuous low altitude SAGE control of weapon systems deployed in the area.
In summary, the Department of National Defence concurs with the United States proposal to deactivate the three prime radars and six gap filler radars in the Northeast Area concurrent with the activation of DEW East and the G-I-UK barrier in July 1961 and recommends that the following changes be made in the wording of the Note:
A - Suggested Joint Press Release
B - Synopsis of the Military Implications of Inactivating certain Radars in the Northeast Area.