NASIH presents: Isabel Campbell, “A tale of submarine sightings and a Golden Goose. American-British-Canadian intelligence sharing in the early Cold War.”
The topic: This paper analyzes reported sightings of Soviet submarines in the Davis Strait during the summer of 1946. It fits these intelligence reports into a broad international and inter-service framework, demonstrating how the areas adjacent to the Davis Strait (Newfoundland and Labrador, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic) were important elements in early allied post war plans for strategic deterrence. The 1946 Davis sightings combined with other American and British appreciations to spur Canadian leaders to endorse post war joint defence plans with the Americans, to pursue trilateral intelligence, research, and defence work, and to agree to defence preparations in the north, including supporting American proposals to establish strategic air forces in Goose Bay, Labrador. This paper draws upon American, British, and Canadian intelligence and defence documents, including consideration of Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation with Canada and other contentious subjects.
This paper is a part of a series of articles about these sightings and early Cold War intelligence being prepared for publication. The first one which analyzed how the sightings led to the Royal Canadian Navy’s 1948 northern voyage was published in under the title: “A re-assessment of the Royal Canadian Navy’s 1948 northern voyages into Hudson Bay and its place in oceanographic research,” available at this link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0843871419874004.
This second piece will be published by the Journal of Military History, Autumn 2021, under the same title as this paper. For further information, please see this link: https://www.smh-hq.org/jmh/upcoming.html
A third piece is underway on how the dismantling of the WRCNS negatively influenced Canada’s early post war operational intelligence function. A fourth piece on Canadian-Inuit relations is also partly completed. These articles draw upon official historical research, but represent the author’s own views, not the official views of the Department of National Defence.