Air University Review, January-February 1967
A Salute to Canada
The Honorable Harold
Secretary of the Air Force
This year marks the Hundredth Anniversary of Canada’s existence as a
federation. On 1 July 1867 the British North America Act created a union of
four provinces forming the nucleus for Canada’s transcontinental
The United States Air Force is proud to join Canadians everywhere in
celebrating their Centennial. It has been a century of unparalleled progress in
economic, social, and political development. Today Canada stands as one of the world’s
great trading nations, with a superb reservoir of natural resources and a
growing industrial base. Her influence in international affairs is probably
unequaled by any other nation of comparable population.
For many years Canada and
the United States
have been valued and trusted friends. Our common border has been undefended for
generations, and we have formed arrangements for mutual defense that are more
extensive than either country has with any other. Military people of both
nations are accustomed to working together, sharing their experiences,
knowledge, and ideas.
Relations between Canada
and the United States
have not always been as cordial as during the last half century. We remember
the War of 1812, though perhaps recollections of certain actions in that
war—the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, for example—evoke less enthusiasm on this side
of the border than on the other. But a Canadian historian has observed that, in
retrospect, the War of 1812 was for all participants one of the most satisfying
in history: Canada knew she won it on land, the United States knew she won it
at sea, and the British have forgotten it ever happened.
Even during that war and the various boundary disputes that extended over
much of the nineteenth century, our relations, though sometimes rather
turbulent, rested on a foundation of shared ideals and mutual respect. An
incident that took place during the War of 1812 is symbolic. The town of Calais, Maine,
found itself short of gunpowder for a Fourth of July celebration. The people of
Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, obligingly supplied powder to
their Down East “enemies.”
One of our great achievements is this: for more than 150 years we have lived
side by side in peace which has ripened into a deep and abiding friendship.
Each has retained its unique national characteristics and separate points of
view. Each has felt free at times to disagree with the other on questions of
economics, use of natural resources, or international commitments, usually
without rancor but always without fear of any untoward consequences. Nearly a
century ago the Canadian-American International Joint Commission replaced early
nineteenth century martello towers and limestone ramparts bristling with
24-pounders as a means of defending our respective interests.
It is inevitable, and in many cases desirable, that differences between Canada and the United States will continue. These
differences are the product of similar but not identical histories,
governmental systems, cultural influences, economic resources, and views of our
respective national interests and responsibilities toward the world community.
The diversity that exists between us enriches both.
Geography and a heritage of shared basic ideas make it equally inevitable
that the scope of interests which unite us will remain the broadest that either
shares with another country, while the range of issues on which we are not in
complete agreement probably will remain the narrowest. Our common interests
include trade, defense production sharing, research and development cooperation
(both military and nonmilitary), technical and economic assistance to less
developed nations, unilateral and multilateral work to maintain peace, and
membership in such organizations as NORAD, NATO, and the United Nations.
I do not propose to comment on those issues which Canada
and the United States
view in somewhat different perspective. Our professional interest in defense
and foreign affairs will have acquainted most of us with the American
assessment of these issues. I hope that the Canadian authors of the articles in
this series will explain some Canadian points of view with which we may be less
familiar and perhaps comment on American policies and practices which are not
fully shared by their country.
In both our countries the character of armed forces is set by popularly
determined national policies and objectives. It is important that Canadian and
American military people understand not only each other’s defense structure,
policies, and procedures but also the specific purposes which they are designed
to serve and the rationale behind those purposes. In this light, we shall be
observing the reorganization and restructuring of the Canadian armed forces
with great interest, just as Canadians have watched our organizational
evolution during the past six years.
Our two countries have set up elaborate machinery for consultation and
coordination in many fields. The formal machinery is most effective as it is
backed by the widest possible official and public appreciation of our
similarities and differences. I think we must admit that Canadians generally are
better informed about our affairs and objectives than are we about theirs. One
of the purposes of this series of articles is to achieve a more equitable
balance of understanding.
begins her second century of federation, we look forward to the continued
stimulus of the unique association shared by our countries. Both nations are at
once independent and interdependent, similar yet different in culture, economic
goals, and political objectives. We live under different flags, but neither
people regards the other as foreign.
On both sides of the border there is much reason for pride in the maturity
and benevolence of our relationship. These qualities have grown out of mutual
understanding and good will, but most of all from mutual respect.
The Honorable Harold Brown (Ph.D., Columbia University) has been Secretary of the
Air Force since October 1965 and had been Director of Defense Research and
Engineering, Department of Defense, from May 1961 to September 1965. During the
period 1947-52 Dr. Brown lectured in physics at Columbia
University and Stevens Institute of
Technology; spent a year in postdoctoral research at Columbia;
and in 1950 joined the University of California Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley as research scientist. In 1952 he
joined the staff of Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Livermore, California,
and in 1960 became its Director. He was a consultant to the Air Force
Scientific Advisory Board, 1956-57, and a member of the Board, 1958-61. He was
a member of the Polaris Steering Committee, 1956-58. He was Senior Scientific
Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Discontinuance of Nuclear
Weapons Tests, November 1958—February 1959; and a member of the Scientific
Advisory Committee on Ballistic Missiles to the Secretary of Defense, 1958-61.
After serving as consultant to several panels of the President’s Science
Advisory Committee, 1958-60, he was appointed a member of the Committee in
1961. Dr. Brown’s research interests have included nuclear explosive design and
application. He has conducted research and analysis in the detection of nuclear
explosions and has participated in studies of arms limitation and control.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this
document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression,
academic environment of Air
University. They do not
reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense,
the United States Air Force or the Air
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