Status of Forces Agreement with Canada, Author Ken Dahl

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Ken Dahl 2 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #10847

    Dennis McClure
    Keymaster

    Member Ken Dahl, submitted a very interesting comment today on the story about 340th Photographer, James Phillips.  It doesn’t really relate to the Phillips story, so I’ve taken the liberty of turning it into a topic.

    Ken’s comment follows:

    One thing I’ve wondered about: what sort of SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) did the U.S. have with Canada. The U.S. was stationing at least a couple thousand troops (more with rotations?) on foreign soil. I presume Canada was glad to have us, or was there any resentment coming out of Ottawa? Typically, a SOFA arranges for a soldier accused of crime to be tried in an American military tribunal and not by the local authorities. Any info on how often that got invoked? The Bush people are criticizing the Obama people for a total pull-out of American forces from Iraq, but fact is that the Obama people tried mightily to negotiate a SOFA agreement with Iraq to cover residual forces, and Iraq refused, or made demands that no American could accept. Negotiations failed, and that’s why Obama’s pull-out was total, and surely the Bush people wouldn’t insist that Obama leave troops in Iraq without a SOFA agreement. So how harmonious were relations between Ottawa and Washington about all these American soldiers building a road on Canadian soil?

  • #10849

    Dennis McClure
    Keymaster

    Before the war the Canadians and the Americans had been “studying” a land route for decades. Agreement on who would do what and such issues as status of forces were part of all that studying–and as late as 1940 those issues, along with the actual route of the road, were still very much up in the air.

    In December of 1941, the Canadians had been at war for two years, but they hadn’t had to worry about getting invaded or about protecting their sea lanes. With the United States in the war and Alaska and the Aleutian sea lanes a tempting target, all of that changed.

    Roosevelt kicked ass on this early in 1942 and his Canadian counterpart did the same. The job was assigned to the Corps of Engineers, they picked a route that infuriated all of the ‘studiers”, and Canada agreed to whatever the Corps thought it needed.

    Blanket approval to enter the country came through almost immediately with a note that said, in effect, we’ll negotiate details later.

    As Rahm Emmanuel (or was it Tim Geitner?) said, “Never waste a good crisis”.

    After 1942, as the Corps of Engineers moved up to the Aleutians, the Japanese threat receded and the PRA came in behind the army to upgrade and improve the road, the Canadians asserted themselves and, gradually, formal rules were instituted.

    A few years after the war, the highway in Canada was simply turned over to the Canadians to run and maintain–much to the disgust of more than a few Alaskans who thought that since we’d paid for it, we should get to run it in perpetuity–shades of the Panama Canal.

    We cover this issue and the effects of the Emmanual crisis in much more detail in the book.

  • #10851

    Ken Dahl
    Participant

    What you relate is so typically American, I want to shout for joy and squeal in frustration. FDR was the great experimenter, the great improvisor, and apparently he had a willing conspirator in the Canadian PM at the time. And Rahm Emmanuel was also typically American in never wasting a good crisis. And the Alaskans after the war were SO American–can you see Russia from the road?
    One more thing: what’s the PRA?

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