29 November 1946: Pearson to Foulkes

Finally, in November of 1946, there was some progress. Lester Pearson (Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs) wrote to General Charles Foulkes (Chief of General Staff), forwarding several pieces of correspondence confirming that both the Canadian and British governments were amenable to the Canadian takeover of HYDRA. The transfer had been worked out on the Canadian side with a “high degree of secrecy,” and with “knowledge confined to as few persons as possible.” Arnold Heeney (Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet), had personally obtained approved from Douglas Abbott (Minister of Defence), and from J.L. Ilsley (Minister of Finance). HYDRA was to be “part of the co-operative U.K.-U.S.-Canada programme in the field of interception,” and would be used primarily for “Sigint traffic between London, Ottawa, and Washington.” It was agreed that it could be used for Foreign Office and External Affairs diplomatic communications as well. It would be operated by the Canadian army, and the equipment was to be handed over free of charge pending British Treasury approval. Across the Atlantic, a corresponding British communications facility was well underway. Sir Edward Travis (GC&CS) suggested that officials from the British Special Communications Organization meet and coordinate with Canadian Army Signals in order to synchronize project plans.  


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Hydra Communications - Policy, RG24, 1250-36 Vol. 1, Library and Archives Canada (LAC)