"MEN--MATERIALS--MONEY FOR CANADA'S DEFENCE"
An Address By HON. BROOKE CLAXTON, D.C.M., K.C. Minister of National Defence
Joint Meeting with The Canadian Club of Toronto
Thursday, January 25th, 1951
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. Sydney Hermant.
MR. HERMANT: Members and Guests of the Canadian Club of Toronto, and The Empire Club of Canada. We are specially privileged today to have as our guest and speaker the Honourable Brooke Claxton, D.C.M., K.C., Minister of National Defence.
Mr. Claxton was born in Montreal and received his early education at Lower Canada College. After a year at McGill University he enlisted and served overseas with the Royal Canadian Artillery in the First Great War. He was promoted to the rank of Battery Sergeant-Major in the field, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Returning to Canada after the War Mr. Claxton completed his course at McGill, graduating with honours in Law. He practised his profession in Montreal, and was also associate professor of commercial law at McGill until 1944. In 1939 he was created a King's Counsel.
A full-time citizen, Mr. Claxton has served as President of the Canadian Club of Montreal, and as Chairman of the Montreal branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. He has been Chairman of the Board of Governors of Lower Canada College, and was a graduate fellow of the Corporation of McGill University.
Mr. Claxton was first elected to the House of Commons as Liberal Member for the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George, Montreal, in the general election of 1940. He was re-elected in 1945 and again in 1949. In 1943 he was appointed Parliamentary Assistant to the Prime Minister and in 1944 he was named Minister of National Health and Welfare, the first of the parliamentary assistants to achieve Cabinet rank. As the first Minister of National Health and Welfare he was responsible for the organization of the Department, and of the Family Allowances administration.
In 1946 Mr. Claxton became Minister of National Defence. In 1947 he headed the Canadian delegation to the British Commonwealth Conference on Japan held in Australia, and in 1949, as vice-chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Newfoundland, he signed the terms of union on behalf of Canada. He represented Canada at the meetings of the Defence Committee under the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, Paris and the Hague.
In welcoming Mr. Claxton we assure him that we appreciate the great burden of responsibility that he bears on behalf of all Canadians and in these strenuous days we are particularly grateful to him for taking the time to address this joint meeting of the Canadian Club of Toronto and the Empire Club of Canada. The Hon. Brooke Claxton is going to speak to us now on the subject: "Men--Materials--Money for Canada's Defence".
MR. CLAXTON: I am especially glad to have the double honour of speaking at this very large meeting of two great institutions, so well known for their notable contributions to the life of Toronto and of Canada.
The name Canadian Club evokes in memory's eye pictures of every part of Canada from St. John's, Newfoundland to Esquimalt in British Columbia and from the Great Lakes to the Far North; we join hands with the fourteen million people who share our hopes and our fate, who have today, I believe, a stronger sense of solidarity and unity of purpose than ever before.
And the name Empire Club recalls to us, not only the splendour of the British record, but also our determined adherence to what I believe we treasure above everything else--our heritage of the best system of government the world has ever known, expressed in the single phrase "British institutions".
It is in no narrow sense that we Canadians today think of our country and of our associations in the Commonwealth. Two wars, a world-wide depression and the menacing signposts of the new geography of the air, as well as our large interest in world trade, have brought home to every one of us our direct and personal interest in world peace.
The Canadian People
All of us here today, all Canadians, have in common the desire to live a certain kind of life. Already one of the richest nations, we would like the opportunity to work out our destiny in friendship and goodwill with other nations. We would like the time and the conditions of security to enable us to explore and expand the infinite possibilities of our country.
Canada is not a static country, Canadians are a dynamic people. What has been accomplished in the development of the nation's wealth and in the increase in social security and in individual and family welfare during the five years since the end of the last war has pointed to the possibility of a future unmatched by any country on the face of the earth.
However, the stern course of events has brought home the fact that there are those who would shut us off from this future by the extension of the Iron Curtain. Communists, wherever they exist, are the only people whose course of action would prevent us from having the progress and prosperity which we know we could enjoy with other nations.
The Urgent Situation
The next few weeks may prove to be the most critical since the conclusion of the Second World War. Decisions now being taken at Lake Success and Washington, at Peiping and Moscow, may well mean the continuation of this twilight peace, they may mean some improvement in the international situation, or they may mean a situation much worse than we have ever known.
In doing everything proper to explore each and every avenue to achieve a settlement by peaceful means and so lessen the risks of sliding now into a general war, our Prime Minister and our representative at Lake Success, Honourable L. B. (Mike) Pearson, have, I believe, the strong support of many of the peoples in every part of the world and of all Canadians.
If we are to be successful in deterring aggression, the very fact of our success will of itself prolong the effort. This will call for our devoting a large and increasing part of our national income and our national budget to defence activities. Because of the physical resources of Canada and the spiritual resources of the Canadian people, there can be no doubt that we will endure the strain as long as it may be necessary.
This is going to take endurance and fortitude; good sense and patience--though not complacency; and resolution--though not hysteria.
We in Canada are sometimes accused of being colourless, phlegmatic, cold and unresponsive. If that means that our criticism is less savage, that our Parliament is orderly, that our government is responsible, that we pay our debts and honour our contracts, that we do our duty and meet our obligations, that we get along with our neighbours and that we are respected for all these things by other nations, then I am proud to be a Canadian.
We must be thankful that our country is at this time more united than ever before in its history. In the same way we have better working arrangements with Britain, with the United States and with our other friendly allies than ever before.
Indeed, we are not doing too badly, but we have no time to stop on self congratulation. We cannot stand still. Either we will meet the challenges that face us and grow greater in every way because we surmount them; or we shall fail to meet those challenges and so be obliterated by them. The choice is ours. I have no doubt, and you have no doubt, as to Canada's choice. We have never failed yet.
After the First Great War the hope of a lasting peace through the League of Nations was shattered by Hitler. All of us had hoped that the victory of the Second World War would enable us to work together in the United Nations to establish the conditions for that prosperity which we know we could have if all nations were prepared to live in peace. Again that hope has been shattered, this time by the limitless ambitions of the Communist party throughout the world.
To meet this menacing situation, the nations of western Europe joined together in Western Union to combine their strength and build their security. Canada and the United States took the lead in broadening Western Union into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO has for its primary object the preservation of peace by preventing aggression, and only if that fails, the restoration of peace should aggression occur.
Ten years of public life have given me many opportunities for service, but none I think more important than the chance to work with my colleagues in the Defence Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Nations. It has been our task to prepare military and industrial plans for increasing our strength, to set up an integrated force and to provide for the appointment of a supreme commander. The Supreme Commander was to be appointed by the President of the United States and at the Brussels meeting the honour fell to me of proposing a resolution indicating to the President that it was the unanimous view of all twelve nations that should he choose General Eisenhower, that would give the utmost satisfaction to every one of the associated countries. Tomorrow we shall have the privilege of welcoming General Eisenhower on the occasion of his first visit to Ottawa in his new capacity. In a very real sense he has now become a Canadian officer. We have a one-twelfth share in his leadership.
The objectives of Canada's defence policy are obvious. They are:
First, defence of Canadian territory against direct attack; Second, discharge of undertakings by Canada under the United Nations Charter and the North Atlantic Treaty; Third, building up forces to take our part should we become involved in a world war.
Our defence planning more than ever envisages the fact that we shall never fight alone. For the defence of this continent we have a complete understanding with our United States neighbours. We are adopting U.S. pattern equipment as a practical step in standardization, about which there has been too much talk and much too little done.
The policy of adopting equipment of United States design is just plain military and industrial common sense. Veterans will recall that many United States items of equipment have been used before by the Canadian Army, principally artillery and tanks.
In adopting this policy we anticipate having to make some changes in organization, but these will be minor. We shall continue to wear our own Canadian-type uniforms. We shall preserve our own Canadian traditions. We shall maintain our close affiliations established on the fields of battle with forces of the Commonwealth.
The character, traditions and methods of operation which have enabled the Canadian Army to gain its many great successes in the past will not be altered beyond what is essential to meet the needs of these new weapons and supply procedures.
This process of standardization will be speeded up and the forces of our allies correspondingly strengthened by transferring the equipment of United Kingdom type to our allies in Europe and to this extent keeping them standard too. We have large stocks of this equipment.
The gift of United Kingdom type equipment for a Netherlands division to be replaced by equipment of United States type, to be purchased from the United States or made in Canada, will be followed by other similar arrangements. Similarly we shall be making some equipment of Canadian design available to all the North Atlantic Treaty Nations--another major step in standardization.
Our defence relations with the United Kingdom are closer than they have ever been. A year ago we offered to train Army officers and aircrew for the North Atlantic Treaty nations and today we have young men from Britain, Italy, Norway, France, Belgium and The Netherlands training in Canada. They know it is a good place to come to get the job done. We are offering to enlarge this plan greatly.
Another problem of defence planning is to maintain a proper balance between the territorial defence of this continent and our outer defences in Europe or Asia.
We are constantly reviewing our territorial defence with the United States services because the defence of the North American continent is a joint operation. Our security does not depend exclusively on what Canada does or what the Americans do, but on the sum of our joint effort. Every cent spent in Canada helps to defend the United States and vice versa. We have the same interest in our common defence and from day to day we are making arrangements to strengthen that defence.
Forces in Being
But defences of our own territory, while essential, are not what is going to prevent aggression. We have to take our part in preventing aggression through assisting in the creation of a combined force strong enough to make it plain that aggression will not succeed.
There is also the problem of arriving at the right proportion as between the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and that balance must be related to manpower as well as materials and money. No country can ever have as much defence as the military authorities would consider necessary for complete safety. Defence planning is a question of estimating possibilities, calculating risks and establishing priorities.
Defence planning must be carried out so that we make the best use of our resources as regards manpower, materials and money.
In this connection it is well for us to remember that we have in Canada an immense productive capacity. During the war we had two men or women directly engaged in defence industry for every man or woman in the armed forces. During the war 70% of everything we made was used by other nations. Today we are using our skills and our capacity to make munitions and training facilities available to nations which need them in the most urgent way.
In the armed forces of today the cost of manpower is very high. Every man we take into the armed forces costs $3,200 a year for pay, allowances, food, clothing and other things which are the equivalent of a single wage. Since accommodation in the places where we want it is already crowded, each new man taken on requires immediately $1,000 to $2,000 of new construction. The cost of his share of the equipment on himself and his unit is $3,450 if he is in an infantry division; $6,800 if he is in an anti-aircraft regiment: $7,325 if he is in armour; $10,000 if he is in the Navy; and $16,000 if he is in the Air Force.
As of December 31 the strength of the active forces of the three services was 62,000. The reserve forces of the three services total 53,000. During the last four years the full-time service and civilian personnel engaged on defence has increased from 50,000 to 80,000 people, an increase of sixty percent. During the next few years at the planned rate of intake, they will increase by another fifty percent. Recruiting for the month of December, 1950, alone resulted in over 1,500 enlistments in the active forces.
In the first three weeks of this month the number of officers and men taken on was 2,361.
That was more than the average rate for 1950 including the Special Force.
At anything like this rate Canada's manpower shortage will not be in the armed forces. Our aim is to take in men at the rate needed to man the ships and fly the planes and work the guns as they roll off the production line in ever-increasing numbers. We have been getting them in these numbers and we are going to continue to get them. Production of equipment and enlistment of men must keep in step.
We would like to see the reserve forces built up still more. The devoted officers and men who serve in them have made great progress over the last four years. We need still greater progress. I appeal to the officers and men who have been in the reserve forces, and who are no longer active, to get to work again with their units and I appeal to young men to hear the call of service.
In the near future we may again be calling upon the young women, who played such an integral part in the Second World War. If this should take place, I am certain the response will be just as loyal as before.
Materials and Money
Coming to the matter of materials and money, as you all know, Canada is in a position to make an important contribution to the joint effort by producing material and equipment of many kinds.
The cost of modern equipment is staggering.
A new anti-submarine vessel costs over $8,000,000; a two-engine fighter, $750,000; a single engine jet interceptor over $400,000; an anti-aircraft gun with fire control equipment, over half a million; a new airfield with runways, buildings and equipment, $20,000,000; a radar station with buildings and equipment, $6,000,000.
The increased tempo of defence preparations is reflected in the expenditures voted by Parliament.
Four years ago defence expenditures amounted to $196 millions. This year the original vote was $425 millions, increased last September to $567 millions plus the $300 millions for mutual aid; making, with over $100 millions spent by other departments on matters related to defence, nearly a billion. In 1951-52 we shall need more, much more.
Perhaps I can illustrate with one or two figures the impact that this will have on the civilian economy.
Since the beginning of the current fiscal year on April 1, 1950, we have placed orders with Trade and Commerce for equipment and construction totalling $701,177,720.
The main items are:
The Canadian Programme
Radar and Wireless 49,967,240
Clothing and Textiles 35,000,000
Motor Vehicles 50,091,022
Now observe that in the year before the Second World War the Department spent $34,432,839, and during the first year of the war we spent $125 millions. It has been suggested to me that the position of defence industry today corresponds to what it was about two years after the beginning of the last war but with much greater potential capacity.
What this means to Canadian business is shown in the lists of contracts now being published each week by Canadian Commercial Corporation. Eighty thousand contracts have been let in the last nine months.
Defence has become today the biggest single business in Canada.
The impact of these additional demands has not yet been felt with its full force in the Canadian economy, for in many cases preparatory planning and tooling require some months before actual production gets under way. Defence expenditures are not spread evenly over the whole economy but tend to concentrate on industries that make use of such basic materials as steel, aluminum, nickel and other non-ferrous metals, creating shortages of materials and services required for civilian production and essential for national defence.
The Canadian programme includes orders for twentyseven ships to be under construction at all the major shipyards. That will be increased. The Navy is accelerating its programme of refitting, rearming and commissioning all the existing ships. This includes manufacture at Sorel of the 3-inch 50 calibre automatic guns for both the R.C.N. and U.S.N., an example of the type of co-operation we have been seeking to obtain. Large orders such as this make it possible for us to use our great productive capacity economically and efficiently.
Arrangements are being made for tooling up for the production of motor vehicles of American pattern and other new equipment, also on U.S. pattern, as part of the policy of having the forces in North America--both military and industrial--work according to the same industrial practices, the same industrial standards and the same military patterns.
The Air Force, however, has by far the biggest programme, the largest single item being the production of the F-86E Sabre, the front-line U.S. fighter; next is the CF-100, the twin-engine, all-weather fighter known as the "Canuck", having qualities which particularly fit it for long range work in Canada and elsewhere. In addition, there are extensive programmes for the modification of various types of aircraft being carried out at all the major aircraft industries in Canada.
In the electronics and electrical field development has been most rapid of all. Here, in addition to large order for Canadian use, contracts are under way for equipment for other countries.
Where industry was talking about plans two years ago, we now have programmes under way and they will be progressively increased, extended and accelerated.
In 1939-40 when we were at war we spent $125 millions. Now when we are not at war we are spending a good many times as much. And this is going to be further increased.
The programme I shall be putting before the next Session of Parliament will leave no doubt in the minds of anyone that business as usual is over. Canada is going to have far more business than usual and it is going to put pressures on the resources of manpower and raw materials and productive capacity of this country.
In every country a civil defence organization must be organized so as to be able to take effective action where action is required and that is, on the spot. The primary responsibility for civil defence operations, therefore, must rest with the municipality. In Canada, as in other countries, the federal government has agreed with the provinces that the civil defence organization should be set up under the official municipal authority and be an agency of that authority. I put this proposal to the provincial governments at a conference last September and I am glad to say that that position has been recognized by them as being the only sound one to take; moreover, the municipal organizations are being set up on the basis suggested and there is good co-operation between the federal, provincial and municipal authorities.
The question outstanding is how much financial assistance is the federal government going to give for local civil defence activities? I have previously suggested lines of division. We will certainly pay for what is essentially and exclusively civil defence equipment--warning signals, geiger counters, gas respirators, in so far as they are required over and above stocks now held, and other similar equipment. I believe that I am right in stating that the provinces do not want the federal government either to trespass upon or assume the proper role of the provinces as responsible for municipal organization.
To deal with the division of expense and further strengthen co-operation, the provincial authorities will be invited to meet us again at a very early date.
The Great Need
Finally, in our discussion of planning, we must plan for a partnership of the whole community.
The job of our national defence is just one job, the job of every one of us.
If the defence preparations of NATO discourage our potential enemy from taking the final step into the abyss of World War III, then our immediate objective will have been attained.
But I believe that the peoples of the free world, as well as in Canada, will not relax defence preparations until such are no longer necessary. We are building up force to meet force. Our defence effort will engage an ever-increasing proportion of our total energies and resources.
We are faced with the necessity of extending this effort until the threat of war is ended either by the fact of war, or, as we hope it will, by a change in the attitude of the countries now controlled by the Communists. While war is not inevitable, neither is peace, and today we must recognize that even on the most distant horizon there is nothing to indicate that a change for the better is yet under way.
We are determined to do what is necessary and that I believe is the united view of the Canadian people.
VOTE OF THANKS moved by Mr. R. F. Chisholm, President of The Canadian Club of Toronto.
MR. HERMANT: Torontonians who have been fortunate enough to obtain tickets this week for the Royal Alexandra Theatre are enjoying the visit of the world famous D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, of London, England, who are presenting their delightful repertoire of Gilbert & Sullivan Operas. We have as a special guest this afternoon Mr. Martyn Green, of the D'Oyly Carte Company, and with the Hon. Mr. Claxton's kind permission Mr. Green has been good enough to agree to say a few words to this meeting. Following service with the Royal Fusiliers in the First War Mr. Green joined the D'Oyly Carte Company in 1922. For some time he played small parts and understudied the great Sir Henry Lytton. He has now become a world famous star. From 1941 to 1946 Mr. Green served with the Royal Air Force in the United States, India and the Far East, being demobilized with the rank of Squadron Leader. It does seem appropriate, therefore that following an address by the Minister of National Defence we should hear a few words from one who is at the same time a Lance-Corporal in the Royal Fusiliers, a Squadron Leader in the R.A.F., the Admiral on His Majesty's Ship Pinafore, the Major-General who conquered the Pirate band, the noble Duke of Plazatoro who lead his Regiment from behind, and the Lord High Executioner. Mr. Martyn Green, the famous Gilbert & Sullivan actor, will now speak to us for a few minutes.
MR. MARTYN GREEN thanked the President and members for inviting him as a guest when Mr. Claxton spoke.
He introduced his colleagues who were present, Mr. Bruce Worsley, Business Manager. Miss Muriel Harding, Soprano. Mr. Alan Styler, Baritone, Mr. Neville Griffiths, Tenor. Mr. Richard Watson, Baritone. Mrs. Richard Watson.
Although a comedian, Mr. Green admitted that he did not feel very funny at the moment as he had come direct from a visit to the Income Tax Department were he had undergone a gruelling five minutes.
He said he had enjoyed Mr. Claxton's speech but felt there was one phase of defence that he had missed and that was entertainment. While this cost very little Mr. Green felt it was necessary in times of stress to keep up the morale of our people and suggested Gilbert and Sullivan had provided just the vehicle for this objective.
Mr. Green injected a note of humour by telling a couple of good stories and closed by thanking Toronto for the wonderful reception always given the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.