Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Foreign Affairs

Issue 35 - Evidence


OTTAWA, Tuesday, May 4, 1999

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs met this day at 3:35 p.m. to examine the ramifications to Canada of the changed mandate of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Canada's role in NATO since the demise of the Warsaw Pact, the end of the Cold War and the recent addition to membership in NATO of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic; and of peacekeeping, with particular reference to Canada's ability to participate in it under the auspices of any international body of which Canada is a member.

Senator John B. Stewart (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Honourable senators, our witnesses today are from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and from the Department of National Defence.

Before we hear opening statements, I wish to remind the members of the committee that the focus of our mandate is on the changed role of NATO, specifically as it concerns peacekeeping. We are not primarily concerned with Yugoslavia and Kosovo. However, I must be realistic. Those events are a recent, dramatic example of peacekeeping. Consequently, we cannot avoid referring to that particular operation, but let us remember that we are concerned with the overall concept of peacekeeping by NATO.

The strategy for our meetings is to begin with some basic information, and we are relying on these two departments to help us obtain that information. We will turn to outside witnesses later. I anticipate that we will conclude by asking members of the government to appear and, if it seems that we are making mistakes, to put us right. Whether or not they will succeed would be a matter of speculation at this point.

Please proceed.

Mr. Paul Meyer, Director General, International Security Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: Honourable senators, we applaud your effort in commencing a study of NATO at a time of great transformation in the alliance. You have already done some important work in terms of your 1996 study on relations with Europe. I also recall the innovative work on the new challenges facing peacekeeping that this committee did in 1993.

NATO is in the public minds and on the pages of our media more than it has been at any other time in its existence. I would say nothing is more important right now than what the alliance is doing in Kosovo, which involves members of our armed forces. This action is changing the lives of many in the Balkans. Vital as that task in the Balkans is, however, it is only part of an evolution in the alliance that has been underway since 1989.

I would like to take a few minutes to tell you what Canada has been trying to do as part of that evolution, that change and adaptation of the alliance. I will also talk about what we have accomplished.

It may be helpful to begin with the objectives that the government pursued for the recent NATO summit in Washington. This summit was initially set up to mark the 50th anniversary of the alliance. It also had to deal with some very fundamental tasks and changes in the organization.

As I review some of these aims, I will indicate the extent to which we were able to achieve our objectives. I hope you will appreciate the extent to which NATO has evolved over the last decade. It has moved from a defensive alliance with a primarily military focus to a much broader political organization. It is well equipped to deal with the broad range of political and military challenges that will arise in the coming decades.

The preparations for the Washington summit focused on three issues. The first was vision -- the need to provide a clear and comprehensive statement of the alliance's purposes as it entered a new century and a profoundly different security environment.

The second focus was tools -- the need to revise the NATO's 1991 strategic concept, which identified key challenges before the alliance and also gave guidance on the political and military structures that would be required over the longer-term in order to meet these challenges.

The third focus was enlargement -- the question of a further expansion of the alliance. As you recall, the Washington summit also marked the formal integration of three new members -- Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. It is now an alliance of 19 members.

A vision statement was issued in Washington. We saw the need to retain public support for the alliance as it entered into a new realm and a new environment, and we wanted that statement to reflect the common values that underline the alliance. We also wanted the statement to underscore NATO's commitment to operating on the basis of a very broad definition of security, including human security.

NATO's vision should commit the alliance to enhanced stability through greater internal consultation, as well as through partnership with non-members, and through cooperative mechanisms. The statement should commit the alliance to providing for our common defence while still acting to promote and protect the values of its members and partners throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.

Though it may not be a literary masterpiece, the Washington declaration set out a vision that provided a cogent and compelling explanation for the alliance's rationale and vision of the future. Copies of these documents will be available to the committee, if you have not already had a chance to look at them.

The second key product was a strategic concept. This really is the central public policy statement of the alliance. It describes the environment in which NATO operates, the challenges that arise from it, and the means that NATO intends to employ in addressing those challenges. That concept was initially issued in 1991 in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the termination of the Cold War. At the alliance's last summit, in Madrid in 1997, it was determined that, given the major transformation changes in the security landscape, it would be appropriate to revise that strategic concept and issue it at the 50th anniversary summit. That was indeed done.

Canada argued that the revised strategic concept should confirm the alliance's political aims in conflict prevention and crisis management, as well as its contribution to peace support operations. Canada argued that a broad approach to security should be supported, and that it should encompass consultation, dialogue, partnership and cooperation. It should ensure that the alliance forces would be able to provide a credible common defence, but would also have the characteristics to perform new missions commensurate with the alliance's values and security interests.

We also advocated a new and specific recognition of the transatlantic link that the alliance embodies in so many ways, a concept that should also define the relationship with other institutions, particularly the UN and other institutions within the Euro-Atlantic. Such recognition would allow them to operate in a harmonious way.

We felt the concept should also permit the alliance to make significant contributions to further progress on international arms control and disarmament measures, recognizing their relevance to alliance security objectives. We wanted to ensure that a description of this broad approach to achieving our security goals was addressed. Our view of the diminishing role of nuclear weapons was also noted.

We also wanted to ensure that, after the Washington summit, there would be an ongoing review of alliance policies relating to weapons of mass destruction and the various roles that non-proliferation and disarmament measures could play in that regard. There were questions of defence and civil precaution, as well.

Each of these goals was essentially accomplished. Our representatives can take some credit for their advocacy and their ability to translate ideas through the prism of the consensual forum of NATO. Our goals have been reflected in the final common documents.

From the beginning, Canada had advocated an inclusive approach to enlargement. We felt that the alliance had a political obligation to the new democracies in Europe, and that as those democracies emerged they would demonstrate their credentials in terms of making a contribution to the overall goals and purposes of the alliance. We were somewhat disappointed that others around the alliance table did not share our view that the time was right for another round of enlargement. Let me remind you that three new members were brought in at the 50th anniversary summit. There was a sense that time was needed to adjust with these new members before making any firm commitments to further enlargement.

That said, a progressive membership action plan was agreed to in order to help prepare these countries politically, economically, institutionally, legally, and militarily, so that they would be in a better position to take up alliance membership at a later stage.

Mr. Chairman, your study is much broader than the subject of the alliance's role in Kosovo. However, I think it was important for the alliance to demonstrate that it was handling the Kosovo crisis in an effective manner. Emphasis was placed on the consultative function of the alliance -- pointing out its capacity to bring political and military assets to bear in pursuit of a goal that resonates with the underlying values of the democracies that form the alliance.

Membership in NATO remains a central pillar of Canada's foreign policy. I hope that my remarks have demonstrated that Canada is not only active in its participation in the life of the alliance, but that it is also at the forefront of efforts to ensure that NATO continues to adapt, helping it to remain capable and relevant to future security challenges, as it has done in the past.

Membership in NATO provides very significant benefits for this country. It is a means of providing a cost-effective defence against any external aggression. It provides consultative mechanisms that give Canada the ability to influence responses to security threats throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. It affords us access to modern technology to broaden the capabilities and experience of Canadian forces. It allows for participation in NATO exercises, and the development of intra-operability, which contributes to the effectiveness and flexibility of our own armed forces. In short, our participation in the alliance represents a benchmark in Canada's international commitment, and demonstrates our determination to continue acting with like-minded democracies to advance our interests and those of the international community.

The Chairman: Rear-Admiral MacLean, do you wish to make an opening statement at this point?

Rear-Admiral Bruce MacLean, Director General, International Security Policy, Department of National Defence: Honourable senators, thank you for allowing me to provide a starting point for your information-gathering process.

I wish to focus on a couple of issues that are important from a specific DND point of view. What is it that we are doing today? And what is it that we might do? In particular, I wish to speak about numbers. From our perspective, that will be the most germane part of the discussion.

It is important to go back to the 1994 defence white paper, which evaluated where we were with respect to NATO. At that time, the government made the commitment that Canada would remain a full and active member of NATO, and that the alliance's fundamental and primary role would be revived for the collective defence of its member states.

The interesting part is that things have changed, and you are here today, in part, to examine what that change means for Canada. NATO can make a greater contribution to collective and cooperative security than is currently the case, and we have a reservoir of military competence and capabilities to make this greater contribution to peace support operations.

The cornerstone of Canada's military role in NATO is Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which says:

The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

As we move into the next century, the important new strategic concept for this group is the non-Article 5 operation, and we frequently hear it mentioned. What operations might we undertake for purposes other than the defence of one of the allies? In the pursuit of its policy of preserving peace, preventing war, and enhancing security, NATO will seek, in concert with other organizations, to prevent conflict. Should a crisis arise, NATO will seek to contribute to its effective management, in accordance with international law, including the possibility of conducting non-article crisis response operations.

In a nutshell, those are the two major issues that we see now. As we move into the more dynamic -- and perhaps less understood -- 21st century, perhaps we will be doing more than we did during the Cold War.

What is our peacetime contribution to NATO? We have one frigate serving with the Standing Naval Force Atlantic on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This year we are in command of that particular NATO force. We also operate, on an occasional basis, a frigate or destroyer with the Standing Mediterranean Naval Force, and we did that as recently as 1998. We see a ship operating in this formation about once every three or four years.

We have some 200 staff officers serving in various headquarters -- for example, in Brussels, at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe, and in Norfolk, Virginia. We also have 125 personnel in the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force in Germany. In addition, we undertake training opportunities with our NATO allies on a regular basis.

In the future, we will also have the opportunity to provide a service called NATO Flying Training in Canada, or NFTC. Currently, Denmark and the U.K. are participating. We also provide the opportunity for other allied forces, like Germany and the U.K., to conduct training in Canada on a cost-recovery basis. The Netherlands spent some $130 million in 1997-98.

That is what we do in peace time. What is it that we might be able to do in a more challenging crisis situation, or indeed, in a war? In the white paper, we looked at this in the context of general contingency capabilities, not just for NATO, but in terms of all of our commitments overseas, including the UN or coalitions of like-minded countries.

In that context, we could deploy some 10,000 personnel at any one time, and we could do it within three months. This force would be a mix of army, navy, and air force units. It would include elements such as a joint task force headquarters and a maritime task group consisting of up to four destroyers, frigates or submarines, as well as a support ship. It would also include three separate battle groups of about 1,000 to 1,500 personnel, or a gate group. In addition, there would be an infantry battalion group of about 1,000 people, plus a wing of fighter aircraft, which could be up to about 30 to 35 aircraft, and a squadron of tactical transport aircraft -- the Hercules aircraft.

We could not provide long-term support for that force, so after about six months it would either have to return or we would have to undertake some kind of mobilisation in order to continue to maintain it overseas.

What we can provide, however, and what we would view as our sustainable contribution, is a force of up to some 4,000 personnel. Again, it would be a mix of army, navy and air force personnel, but some 4,000 people could be deployed within a relatively short period of time, within about three weeks or a month.

If we were to deploy those 4,000 people, there would be a couple of navy ships, a battle group of about 1,200 personnel, an infantry battalion group of about 1,000 personnel, one squadron of aircraft -- including up to 18 fighters -- some Hercules aircraft, a communications element, and a headquarters element. As I have already pointed out, Canada would also mobilize further national resources if it were necessary in order to fulfil Canada's obligations under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

Canada's financial commitment to NATO is in the order of $160 million a year. This represents approximately 5 per cent of the overall NATO budget. In addition, we are providing about $10 million over five years to ease the transition for the three new members to NATO -- Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. These funds are to assist these countries to become better NATO members. We will be providing language training and some staff opportunities at the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College. There will also be an opportunity for on-the-job training with Canadian organizations. In addition, we will provide an opportunity for expert delegations to go to these countries from Canada in order to assist them and to ease that transition into NATO.

Although not specifically related to NATO, HMCS Regina will be deployed to the Persian Gulf in June in order to assist in UN operations there. We currently have a battle group under NATO command in Bosnia. In addition, an infantry battalion group will soon go to Macedonia as part of the peace implementation force for Kosovo. A squadron of fighter aircraft, made up of 18 CF-18s and about 275 personnel, was deployed to Aviano. We have recently participated with CIDA in delivering aid to both Kosovo and Albania. About 70 people were deployed during that operation.

We are currently involved in some 23 peace support operations around the world. Compare that to the period between 1948 and 1989, when we were involved in a total of 25 operations, both domestically and internationally. Some of these operations were very substantial, and some of the operations I am talking about today only involve one or two people. For the sake of comparison, however, it is interesting to note that we have undertaken some 65 operations between 1990 and 1998. The operational tempo around the world has indeed increased since the end of the Cold War.

In addition to the peace support operations and the army, navy, and air force personnel operating in Canada, we also have approximately 1,000 personnel deployed with the U.S. in NORAD operations. The NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, as I mentioned earlier, has about 125 personnel.

Once we have deployed to the Gulf, and once we have deployed to Macedonia sometime in the summer, we would anticipate that we would have as many as 3,318 folks on operations abroad. I hope that provides you with a sense of where we are today, and what we might be able to offer in the future.

The Chairman: Before I turn to other members of the committee, I have a couple of questions of my own that might help to clarify what will follow.

The Senate refers to peacekeeping in the mandate of this committee. We hear again and again that the operation in Yugoslavia-Kosovo is said to be about human security and the enforcement of human rights. That statement begs the following question. Do human rights exist in East Timor; do they exist in Tibet? If the operation in Kosovo is for human rights, why is NATO not intervening in these other places?

I noticed that in both the initial statements we heard today, emphasis was put on security in the North America-Europe area. That seems to be much more specific than the view that the purpose of NATO under peacekeeping is to enforce human rights or human security.

It would be helpful for the committee and the public to know how broadly the term "peacekeeping" is interpreted. Is it concerned with worldwide human rights? Or is it concerned with security, primarily in the NATO area?

Mr. Meyer: Mr. Chairman, we could take up the rest of your hearing with that one question, which is rich with various elements. In a way, your question reflects the fact that we are in a period of evolution, even flux, in terms of our understanding and interpretation of terms that were old, friendly, reliable concepts for so many years, but that are now taking on new dimensions. There are new understandings.

I am cautious with peacekeeping, although it was a vocation with which we were very comfortable for many years. However, as this committee's work earlier in this decade acknowledged, there were some radical changes. A concept that we thought was rather familiar and stable for four decades has come to involve dimensions like the absence of the consent of the parties. The absence of a national state structure, the so-called failed state phenomenon, has been something that we have had to face throughout this decade in places like Somalia and in Eastern Zaire.

The change in terminology that you alluded to also reflects a realization that the nature of peacekeeping has altered significantly. We are almost having a continuum of intervention, ranging from very modest to high level involvement. Our participation ranges from election and other, unnamed military observers, through to introduction of a force to separate combatants who have agreed to a peace settlement, and on to enforcement operations in which there is not a consensual element.

In short, the nature of peacekeeping has changed. There is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to the issue, whereas there is clearly a requirement for the international community to respond. It is becoming more complex. The image of a continuum with various degrees of the application of force, and with various partners in the process, should be kept in mind. It is a work in progress. It is being developed through many applications and practice. In that sense, it has moved ahead of the theory.

In response to why NATO is intervening in a situation of abusive human rights in Kosovo and not in East Timor, the simple answer is that we are a European or a Euro-Atlantic regional organization whose competence is essentially within that region. The UN is a global institution. From a Canadian perspective, if the UN were able to broker an arrangement for bringing peace in East Timor, we would be very supportive of that. Also, the fact that NATO acts in Europe does not preclude regional organizations elsewhere in the world from dealing with problems in their neighbourhoods when they feel that it is required.

I would hope that the NATO initiative vis-à-vis Kosovo is not seen as a repudiation of the value of human rights elsewhere in the world, or as an indication of a lack of Canadian political support for dealing with those issues.

The Chairman: Are NATO members committed to automatic participation in all NATO missions? I emphasize the word "all" because I believe there may be a distinction between one kind of mission and another kind of mission. Would you answer that question?

Mr. Meyer: Mr. Chairman, under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, nations are obliged to assist in the case of an attack against another member state. It is up to the nation to decide exactly what sort of assistance it will bring forward.

In non-Article 5 operations, a nation decides whether or not it will participate. If it decides to participate, it determines what the nature of its contribution will be. With the present operation in Kosovo, you see a range of degree of participation among the NATO member states. There is an appreciation of political solidarity, however, so that even if states do not participate militarily in a particular operation, they do show solidarity for the political purposes.

The Chairman: One last question and then I shall turn to my list. In the case of missions that do not involve Article 5 operations, that is, defending a NATO member, how does NATO decide? Is a 100 per cent vote required? Is it sort of a loose consensus? The word "consensus" is used, but it is not always clear precisely what degree of agreement is required for consensus. Would you explain that word?

Mr. Meyer: One hardly needs to tell a parliamentary body that consensus has its nuances as well. However, the basic point is that decisions are taken collectively; that every member state has the prerogative to oppose a course of action. If NATO takes a step -- whether that step is a minor one, or a major one like the Kosovo initiative -- it is on the basis that there is no dissenting opinion among the member states for undertaking this operation.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Thank you for your presentation. I also want to get a better idea of the decision-making process in NATO. For instance, the addition of three new members was done by NATO itself. There was a general consensus at the decision-making level. Did no member say that they would have to go to their own country, Parliament, or domestic government for approval? How far does NATO's autonomy to make decisions without referring back to individual countries' Parliaments or governments extend?

Mr. Meyer: The key term there is "governments." The governments are represented at NATO; it is an intergovernmental organization. Those governments provide the instructions for the representatives around the council chamber, and those decisions are binding on governments. It is for each individual government to determine what process of parliamentary consultation or legislation it may require before committing itself to a certain course of action.

Ultimately, in something like the enlargement question, which involved an amendment to the Washington Treaty, it was implicit that each member state would need to fulfil the requirements for ratification. Now, they do differ among member states, and it did involve some submissions before legislatures. Does that answer your question?

In terms of the actual history of the enlargement decision, you would have to trace it back to the Brussels summit of January 1994, where there was a selective decision that NATO would move towards enlargement. NATO subsequently produced a study outlining some of the considerations that would be taken into account before inviting members to join, and that study was produced in 1995.

There was a lively debate both inside and outside NATO, in the governments and beyond governments, about which countries might be appropriate to take in and what cycle the aspirant country was in to promote their candidacy. Finally, at the Madrid summit in 1997, a decision was made to invite Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland to join, and to begin the so-called access negotiations that eventually led to the development of protocols that amended the Washington Treaty and formally gave them membership status.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: As long as NATO was a defensive alliance and the additional members shared that defensive alliance with the same objectives, one could ask: How did the decision-making power become so concentrated and autonomous? Now however, the whole nature of the alliance has changed to the extent that it has even initiated aggression. I sense that the decision-making process remains the same -- that NATO can make these decisions by itself. It has altered its purpose -- more or less on its own -- and is committing individual countries to actions that all of them may not share as enthusiastically as they might have done when NATO was first formed.

Mr. Meyer: This whole process has been done with the support of all of the member states.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: By NATO member states. I am trying to stay away from the political aspect as much as possible, but are you aware of any of the 19 countries debating the recent decisions?

Mr. Meyer: Yes. That obviously occurred within our own Parliament.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Before the decision was taken.

Mr. Meyer: I do not know the processes in all the member states in terms of the nature of legislative consideration. Are you referring to the decision to back up diplomacy with force vis-à-vis political sentiment in Kosovo?

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Let us leave that one aside.

The Chairman: I have asked that we have witnesses to deal with the competence of the Crown in Canada relative to treaties as compared with the competence of the executive branch in the United States to deal with treaties.

The U.S. Constitution makes Senate agreement necessary for a treaty or an amendment to a treaty. Therefore, the basic laws of the countries are different. We will have expert witnesses. It is important to clear up this point.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: I am trying to examine NATO's authority to take key decisions, more or less on its own, without individual Parliaments being obliged to ratify that decision before it is implemented. Does the consensus approach exist, no matter what the decision might be?

RAdm. MacLean: Fundamentally, the most important aspect is that NATO does not make decisions. The national governments collectively make decisions in NATO. For example, as we moved up to the initial bombing campaign, various nations were able to gain that executive authority to be able to commit earlier or later than others did. However, NATO was unable to move forward until all of the governments, individually, had come to the conclusion that they were able to support the issue at hand.

It is important to understand that NATO cannot make decisions autonomously; they must be made in the context of national government positions.

Senator Bolduc: We have the impression that the decision-making pattern resembles the European Commission in Brussels. For the last 10 years we have been talking about a democratic deficit. It appears that the decision-making process to which you refer is not carried out as it would usually be carried out in Canada. We do not speak of a democratic deficit in Canada, but they frequently do in Europe. That aspect of the NATO decision-making process is the same pattern as in Europe. It is not a typical North American political process.

Mr. Meyer: I would like to ask my colleague to respond to that comment. He has some experience with the European Economic Commission, and he could contrast the Commission's practices with those of NATO.

Mr. Charles Court, Deputy Director, I.D.R. Division, North American and Euro-Atlantic Security and Defence Relations, NATO NORAD Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: There is a basic common factor between the European Union on the one hand and NATO on the other, in that they are both made up of states. In both councils, the ministers or ambassadors who represent the member states act on the basis of the instructions that they receive from their governments.

Those governments each follow their own national decision-making procedures. They have constitutional procedures to provide those instructions. Therefore, one gets the impression that the council is deciding things on its own. There is political shorthand that people use to identify the locus of decision-making. However, the people making the decisions represent the governments that make up the organization in question.

I will refer to the revised strategic concept. It speaks about conflict prevention and crisis management, and various things that the alliance has said are recalled. The part that goes to the point here says that, while taking into account the necessity for alliance solidarity and cohesion, participation in any such operation or mission will remain subject to the decision of member states in accordance with national constitutions. Therefore, the basis on which NATO will act is clearly spelled out.

I hope that helps.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: That has been helpful to me. To summarize, NATO is made up of government representatives who are themselves responsible to their governments to get whatever approval or support they need. It is not up to NATO itself to engage in that. That seems rather obvious. It is good to know that if Canadians are complaining about not being consulted enough or not being allowed to vote on certain things, it is because in a sense Parliament has given this authority to its government. It is up to Parliament to get that authority back if it wants it. It is not up to NATO to become involved in that debate.

Mr. Meyer: I think that is well put.

Senator Forrestall: I understand the reasoning behind the admonishment not to enter into the legal area because experts will be arriving. What is the status of the troops who are now involved in Yugoslavia? Under what authority are they there? Are there orders in council, or some other instrument?

RAdm. MacLean: It is under the direction of cabinet that our troops are in any part of the world, whether it is a peacekeeping mission or whether it is any other operation. The executive decision of cabinet is the important element. There is a consultation in Parliament in almost all cases; however, it is the executive authority of the national government that causes those troops to be deployed.

Senator Forrestall: The instrument, to your knowledge, is not an order in council but a directive to the chief of the military forces?

RAdm. MacLean: A duly recorded cabinet decision would cause the Chief of Defence Staff to issue orders to deploy his forces abroad.

Senator Forrestall: What is the line of communication from the cabinet? Is it a direct line through the Minister of National Defence?

RAdm. MacLean: Yes. It is certainly captured as a recorded decision, and then it is transmitted through to the Chief of Defence Staff.

The Chairman: I might be able to assist. There would be a minute of cabinet, which the Minister of National Defence would communicate to his deputy minister. Is that correct?

RAdm. MacLean: I believe it goes to the Chief of Defence Staff as opposed to the deputy minister, and he or she must actually authorize and prepare the directive.

Senator Forrestall: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

What is the status of these men and women? Are they combat troops now, or are they troops that would have another description? What is the difference between their status on their bases here in Canada and on their peacekeeping bases, if that is what the mission is, in Yugoslavia?

RAdm. MacLean: First and foremost, they are soldiers, sailors, and members of the Canadian Forces. The important element when they are deployed is to fully understand what the mission is. That is, the lines of authority, the mandate of the mission, and the capability of the Canadian Forces -- or of that particular component -- to participate in that particular mission. That is an essential part of ensuring that the right troops are sent to the right mission.

Senator Forrestall: You are coming closer now to my final area of concern. On the question of rotation, you suggest that we may have in excess of 3,000 men and women there.

RAdm. MacLean: We will. If and when the 800 are deployed, and if the additional ship goes to the Persian Gulf as scheduled this summer, we will have in excess of 3,000 people abroad, that is right.

Senator Forrestall: In this theatre alone?

RAdm. MacLean: No, worldwide.

Senator Forrestall: How do we intend to rotate these troops, or do we intend to do so? How do we intend to rotate the troops in Bosnia? I know how we would probably do it physically, but where are the men and the women coming from?

RAdm. MacLean: You have hit on a very important and key element when undertaking any kind of peace support or peacekeeping operation. Increasingly, these missions can last for a long time, measured, in some cases, in years. Cyprus, of course, is perhaps the longest peacekeeping operation that we have been engaged in, and it has lasted over 20-some years. However, we know how long we have been in Bosnia, and we must keep in mind the potential for some kind of peace implementation force in Kosovo. Consequently, the sustainability of your forces is an absolutely vital element. In part, it is wrapped up with the exit strategy from the mission.

In terms of getting from today through to two years or three years down the line, you will have to rotate that capability once every three months or six months -- or whatever time is determined to be the most appropriate. A good rule of thumb would be that you would probably need, for a long-term sustainment or long-duration mission, something in the order of three to four troops for every person that you send overseas.

Senator Forrestall: Therefore, we would need virtually a division?

RAdm. MacLean: No.

Senator Forrestall: It sounds like you are getting close to a division.

RAdm. MacLean: Let us take the army as our example. We have some 20,000 personnel in the army today. That is regular forces; it does not include the reserve component, where there is an additional 25,000 to 27,000 personnel. Therefore, in the context of providing 2,000 to 3,000 folks overseas at any given time, that is sustainable, assuming you have the right mix.

The interesting thing is that, in today's situation, it is not necessarily the infantry that may pose a problem. It may be some of the more specialized elements that are attached to the force, such as logisticians, engineering troops, medical personnel. That may be the more difficult element, even though they are much smaller in terms of numbers.

If you have 3,000 personnel overseas, you would need something in the order of 9,000 to 12,000 personnel in total to be able to work that kind of long-term sustainment. One must bear in mind, though, that it is not just as simple as looking at large numbers. You must also look at various components of the force, and it may be some of the smaller, more specialized elements that cause you more difficulty.

Senator Forrestall: Have we commenced, or do we have a regime for, the training of these additional men and women?

RAdm. MacLean: We are always in a process of preparation for a particular mission. Therefore, if we have a rotation in Bosnia today, we have identified who the next contingent will be six months from now. We will then ensure that the next group to go over is given the appropriate training at the right time so that they may then deploy and participate to the right level. That process then starts all over again.

In the context of what we have been talking about, we do not need to increase the overall numbers of the forces to meet the commitments that we are currently undertaking.

Senator Meighen: As I understand it, we are not currently in a state of war. What difference, if any, is there with respect to remuneration or benefits for the troops in this theatre, either by reason of their serving there or in the tragic event of their death?

RAdm. MacLean: I am probably not the best person to respond to that question, but all of our personnel are on active service and can be deployed to any area of the world on short notice. We do have a regime of compensation which applies while they are there, and it provides an additional premium, depending on the particular hardship, as well as after-care when the personnel return. I cannot give you the actual specifics.

The Chairman: We may wish to return to that later when we have witnesses who can deal succinctly and confidently with the question.

Senator Di Nino: As we all know, the role of this committee, as mandated by the Senate, is to take a look at NATO's changing or evolving role. NATO was originally dedicated to the defence of its member states, but one now would also include the preservation or protection of human security. That change, if I understand it correctly, emanates principally from the Washington Treaty, which I believe has now been adopted by all the member states.

Has the Government of Canada undertaken a dialogue with Parliament, and is it required to do so, to accept this evolution of NATO's mandate?

Mr. Meyer: I do not know all the details of what parliamentary consultation may have taken place. In a way, this has been a progressive adaptation, or evolution, if you will, almost since 1989, with the fundamental change from the confrontation that existed during the Cold War. There has been a succession of both summits and twice-yearly meetings of foreign ministers and defence ministers, from which have come communiqués and statements suggestive of this process. It is difficult to point to one particular time, because it was a process that did evolve.

I think it enjoyed the broad support of the Canadian public and its representatives in terms of the kind of direction this represented. There was the acknowledgement that, having been liberated from the Cold War confrontation, we should be seeking to develop facets other than purely the one of military buildup to resist some massive invasion. In that sense, particularly in terms of the emphasis on the political dimension of the alliance, it has really been a Canadian refrain from the beginning.

Lester Pearson is often associated with Article 2, which is sometimes called the Canadian article, of the Washington Treaty. He was very prescient in that that article speaks about promoting the free, democratic institutions that encourage harmonious economic interaction between states. He recognized that if one were to interpret the alliance exclusively in military terms, then once the threat for which the alliance was created disappeared, the rationale for the alliance itself would also disappear.

The Chairman: This question came up when Senator Lynch-Staunton had the floor. I said at that time that I think it is an important question and that we would try to get witnesses competent in this area to deal with it. I believe the question you are asking is: What role do the two Houses of Parliament have to play in the assumption of a new NATO mandate; and, specifically, what role do they have to play when a particular mission is undertaken?

I undertake to get you witnesses who will deal with these questions and who will claim to be authorities. I do not think these witnesses are claiming to be authorities on that particular question.

Senator Di Nino: Mr. Chairman, thank you for the intervention. I would be happy if the witnesses were to say that it is beyond their authority or expertise to answer a question of that nature. That is probably a better answer than the ones that we are getting now, and I do not mean to demean the witnesses. I think they are doing the best that they can. However, the Chairman is probably right in the sense that these kinds of questions should be asked of someone else.

I have another two questions to ask. Once again, if the answers are not within your purview, please tell us.

In terms of this new responsibility that NATO has taken upon itself, if it feels that within the NATO geographical sphere there are issues that require its intervention, is it correct to assume that perhaps NATO will deal with them other than through the established, historical way of dealing with them through the United Nations? When I ask the question, I keep in mind the geographical limitations that you dealt with before.

Mr. Meyer: There is a clear commitment to work through the United Nations and to be supportive of the primary responsibility of the United Nations, which is for maintaining international peace and security. That was recognized in 1949 when the treaty was signed. The primacy of the UN is acknowledged.

Senator Di Nino: Why did NATO not follow that course in the Kosovo situation?

Mr. Meyer: I would say that it was working through the United Nations in terms of the process and in terms of the demands on the Serbian regime to cease its actions in Kosovo. A series of resolutions was passed by the UN Security Council demanding that support for the political process. Where that consensus broke down was with the refusal of Russia, and China in particular, to authorize all necessary means to ensure that the conditions enumerated by the Security Council would be respected. NATO governments felt that what was at stake was sufficiently dire, in terms of the crimes against humanity that were being perpetrated, and which are also part of the international legal framework, that it justified action, despite the lack of a Security Council mandate for the use of all necessary means.

Senator Whelan: Mr. Chairman, I have never attended a NATO meeting. However, I have attended many other meetings under the auspices of the United Nations and the OECD. I sometimes thought I was an intruder, since I was there as a minister and an elected representative. One was left wondering what went on after those meetings, since the officials stayed behind. Thus, I have strong reservations about some of these things in which we get involved and how they operate.

If I understood correctly, Mr. Meyer, you are the director general. How long have you held that position?

Mr. Meyer: Since September 1998.

Senator Whelan: Admiral MacLean, do we have a tank brigade?

RAdm. MacLean: No, we do not.

Senator Whelan: When were they disbanded?

RAdm. MacLean: I really do not know. I can only assume that it would not have been in the last 40 to 50 years.

LCol. Don Craig, Directorate of NATO Policy, Department of National Defence: We have not had an armoured brigade since World War II. We have three armoured regiments with mixed equipment, but not in a brigade format.

Senator Whelan: I remember being on the foreign affairs and defence committee when I was a minister in the other place. I remember many discussions about our winning the war by air and that tank brigades were obsolete. Perhaps Lieutenant-Colonel Craig can tell us whether he thinks we could win the war by bombing, by tank brigade, by armoured brigade, or whatever. I was a strong defender of the tank brigade when I was on the committee.

RAdm. MacLean: Senator, we still have tanks today in our inventory. Certainly, in the context of all the components of the Canadian forces, that is, navy, army, air force, and in the context of the army and the infantry, the artillery and armour are integral, essential components necessary to achieve mission success in the context of, let us say, wartime. In the broader, more strategic sense of the alliance, there are national components which must all be brought together as well.

To say that any individual component, whether it is air force, army, or navy, is sufficient, is probably not correct.

Within our national capability, missing an essential component of an army, navy or air force will probably prevent us from doing what we must in terms of both national defence and participation in crises where Canada is called on to help.

To sum up, you are absolutely correct that a combat capability, as expressed in the context of armour or tanks, is still an important element, but that in itself is not sufficient to win any particular day. The same probably applies to any of the other constituent parts, like air power and naval power.

Senator Whelan: Admiral MacLean, you speak as if this conflict will go on for much longer. You are speaking about weeks and months ahead in planning to have troops in certain positions. You are not very optimistic that the situation in Kosovo will be resolved?

RAdm. MacLean: I am not sure that I made any comment on how long the situation in Kosovo might last.

Senator Whelan: You mentioned the ship would be there in June.

RAdm. MacLean: That ship will be deployed to the Gulf in June, which is not at all related to the Kosovo situation. I was discussing the broader sense of UN and NATO operations.

Senator Whelan: How many million people have been killed in conflicts since the Iron Curtain came down and the Cold War disappeared?

The Chairman: I do not know if they have these statistics at hand. Let us assume that millions have been killed. Would you complete your question?

Senator Whelan: I abhorred the Iron Curtain regime, but how did that compare with what is happening in Kosovo now? My wife came from Yugoslavia, of German descent from before the last war. I know that country fairly well. I know they had built a beautiful country but it was run with an iron fist, so to speak. The UN did not move into Rwanda on time, even when asked to by our Canadian generals. The incompetence of the UN prevented the saving of hundreds of thousands in that area. Troops should have been sent there sooner.

I have strong reservations about the lack of competition in world activities. There is only one superpower now. We have a tremendous desire for armament and equipment of every description, and new technology. I have not been active in the government for the past several years, but I find that perhaps we are just too relaxed.

The Chairman: I do not know that that is a question.

Senator Whelan: Perhaps it is not a question. It is my feeling that we had a significant amount to do with the fact that the Iron Curtain came down.

The Chairman: We will record your views.

Senator Whelan: The chairman is great at recording his own views, too.

The Chairman: That is right. All important views are recorded.

Senator Roche: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Meyer referred to the decision taken at the NATO summit to begin a review of nuclear weapons policies. I express my appreciation to those Canadian officials who carried that view forward in Washington.

What are the standards of this review? What are the criteria? What is the schedule? Which body of NATO will actually conduct the review? Will governments have an opportunity to submit papers? Will international bodies of esteem in this area, such as the International Court of Justice, be consulted?

Would you take those questions and speak on the context of the forthcoming NATO review on nuclear weapons.

Mr. Meyer: Thank you, senator, for your supportive words. I recommend to those interested in this question, paragraph 31 of the Washington summit communiqué.

Senator Roche: I have read that.

Mr. Meyer: That paragraph describes the context. On the specific element of the timeline, the North Atlantic Council will propose a process to ministers in December 1999 for consideration of options. The options relate to possible conference and security measures, verification, non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament.

As to the scope of that review, it remains to be defined. We will take an expansive approach. Interested member states can present material that they think is relevant to those options. As I enumerated them, they are fairly extensive. Much could come under that rubric.

Senator Roche: Will the review be finished in time for the non-proliferation review conference in April 2000, which is a critical international gathering with respect to the future of nuclear weapons?

Mr. Meyer: I do not think it has been determined when the review will be completed.

Senator Roche: Senator Di Nino referred to the decision taken by NATO to begin the bombing and use the military route to solve the crisis in Kosovo.

I do not necessarily wish to quarrel with that decision. It is pretty well known that I am vigorously opposed to that decision on the grounds that it did do an end run around the United Nations. I would say, with respect, that perhaps you truncated your recitation of what went on at the UN in answering Senator Di Nino earlier.

The reason I bring this up is my concern, and the concern of this whole committee, about the future of NATO. How will NATO make its decisions in future? How will the NATO countries' governments make decisions going beyond the original Article 5 into this new mandate, which is rather amorphous, I think you will agree.

How will we make those decisions with reference to the continuing international authority of the United Nations Security Council as a guarantor of peace and security? Will NATO take its own actions any time it does not agree with the United Nations Security Council? What will that do for world security, which must be built on the cooperation of regions around the world?

Mr. Meyer: Senator, in my view, the short answer to that is no. This was an exceptional circumstance. The alliance has reiterated its view on the primacy of the UN Security Council. It worked arduously to have the council be supportive of the work in Kosovo, which, of course, is of concern to many countries outside of its membership. I would not extrapolate from the Kosovo intervention that somehow NATO will turn its back on the UN and carry on in some sort of maverick fashion.

Senator Roche: Do you suppose it might help if the committee then addressed itself to a statement that never again should there be a NATO action that is not supported by the United Nations Security Council? Would your thinking lead in that direction, for the committee's guidance?

Mr. Meyer: As a personal view, one might examine the nature of that interrelationship and what might be NATO's scope in the future.

However, that action does not represent a repudiation of the role of the Security Council. Indeed, many of the current diplomatic and political efforts by NATO member states involve trying to restore that consensus on demands that the Security Council had put forward at an earlier stage.

Senator Stollery: Many people say that the Washington Treaty is a very simple and straightforward document of 14 articles, devised at a time when the issues were very simple: the rise of the Russian threat and the need for collective defence.

It is a very straightforward and simple document. It seems that with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the usefulness of the document ended and circumstances changed.

Mr. Meyer mentioned the concept of a non-Article 5 intervention, and I believe that is what we are talking about. We look at Article 5 in the treaty and see a very straightforward piece of writing. It is very unequivocal. It is a mutual defence agreement in case a member is attacked.

I believe the public may have been left behind when the strategic concept was updated to make it fully consistent with the alliance's new security environment.

Having read much of the material provided by our staff, I find it difficult to justify this non-Article 5 intervention that has also been questioned across the country. Clearly, the bombing campaign is not working. The longer it goes on, the more people ask what this is all about. How did we get into this? The reply is that it is a non-Article 5 intervention.

I find it difficult to see the legal basis for a non-Article 5 intervention. Senator Roche has said, and I think he is right, that it is something of an end run around the Security Council. You say, well, the Security Council cannot agree. Yet Article 1 of the UN Charter is very clear.

Things seem to have gone somewhat haywire here. We have a non-Article 5 intervention and I would like to know the legal justification for it.

The Chairman: You are not asking specifically about Yugoslavia or Kosovo, but about all such actions, past or future?

Senator Stollery: Which you referred to, Mr. Chairman, in your questions at the beginning, yes.

Mr. Meyer: This is not the first non-Article 5 involvement of the alliance. I am sure you are familiar with its role in Bosnia and that was also non-Article 5.

Senator Stollery: However, the United Nations specifically asked for that intervention. There is a considerable difference.

Mr. Meyer: I grant you that. I am simply saying that this is not the first time there has been a non-Article 5 mission.

The basis for the action, as I tried to articulate before, related to support for demands that had been expressed by the international community but that the Security Council was unable to act on to determine whether they were actually implemented.

There was a decision by the political leadership of the alliance that the questions at stake were of such importance, that the humanitarian laws that were being violated, and that were also a part of the structure of the international legal system, made it legitimate for countries to take the action that they did. That remains the basis for this action.

Senator Stollery: What are these humanitarian laws, so that I may review them?

Mr. Meyer: My colleague from the legal bureau could probably respond to you more extensively. However, the humanitarian laws involve the International Convention on Political and Civil Rights, the Geneva conventions, and the optional protocols regarding crimes against humanity. Those are applicable in the case of what was happening in Kosovo.

Senator Stollery: When the chairman spoke of East Timor, I would have spoken of somewhere closer to home, that is, Spain, home of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, where the minister of police was put in prison for human rights violations against a Basque terrorist group.

There are many of these places, but I will not pursue the point, except to say that I find it difficult, even with your assistance, Mr. Meyer, to fully understand the legal justification.

The Chairman: I have a question for you, Senator Stollery. You seem to be saying that there is not a sufficiently clear criterion as to when NATO should act without the prior approval of the Security Council. You say that NATO seems to act on its own in some instances and not in other instances.

I was getting at that at the very beginning of our meeting, and I noted that these witnesses spoke about security in the North Atlantic area. While Spain is within that area, some of the other examples are not.

Therefore, there seems to be something other than human rights and human security and concerns such as these operating in this instance. I am not suggesting that they should not operate, but it would be nice to know all the considerations that are on the table.

Senator Stollery: Mr. Chairman, in particular, in the original Washington Treaty, it mentions the Algerian Departments of France, where, as we all know, human rights violations are enormous. That area was actually mentioned in the original treaty.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: While the Bosnia mission was not authorized by the UN, did the Security Council not pass a resolution more or less delegating NATO as its agent in that area and, in effect, giving it tacit approval?

Mr. Meyer: Yes, the involvement of NATO in Bosnia was at the behest of the UN.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Therefore, there was a UN sanction for action in Bosnia that we do not have for Kosovo.

Mr. Meyer: That is correct. At least, we do not have a UN sanction as yet.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: I do not wish to argue with you about genocide, but it has yet to be proven that genocide was committed in Kosovo. The word is used, but it is misused and abused. You used the word, but there is no proof yet.

Senator Prud'homme: Misused.

The Chairman: Order, please. Senator Lynch-Staunton has the floor.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: You used the word "genocide." I want to know on what basis you claim that genocide is being committed in Kosovo.

Mr. Meyer: Actually, I did not use that word. I used the term "crimes against humanity". Our legal advice is that that term is more appropriate. It is not evident, I understand from our legal advisers, that genocide is taking place under the terms of the genocide convention. However, there are clearly crimes against humanity as defined in other international legal instruments.

Senator Mahovlich: I heard on the news yesterday that Russian soldiers are going into Kosovo. Did NATO approve that?

Mr. Meyer: I have not heard those reports. Part of the view on an eventual implementation force in Kosovo is that it should be open to Russian participation, in the same way as Russian troops currently participate in the NATO-led force in Bosnia. Therefore, there is a prospect of that occurring, but it has not happened yet.

Senator Bolduc: NATO governments apparently decide to intervene when they perceive danger in their areas. What would happen if the Turkish army decided to inflict ethnic cleansing on the Kurds? Would we have to go there, too? That happened in the past, so it is possible, and Turkey is a member of NATO.

Mr. Meyer: Obviously, the Turkish government would be held responsible for its actions, but that is a hypothetical scenario.

The Chairman: Senator Bolduc, your question is interesting and important, but it is too big and too important to be raised as a supplementary. We will return to that question and give it all the attention that you wish to have it given.

[Translation]

Senator Prud'homme: When the Soviet Union collapsed and there was only one superpower left, we didn't give much thought to NATO's new role. What should NATO have become once one of the potential enemies was gone?

I've been to Kosovo, to Albania, to Zagreb and Dubrovnik, et cetera -- not for the government, but because the Americans had asked me. I came to the conclusion that the main danger was the terrible poverty in those countries.

[English]

Today, people are knocking on the door wanting to join NATO. There are nine possibilities, with immense problems in which we could be involved, because as Senator Stollery said, with mutual defence we have no choice. Senator Bolduc mentioned the Turks. He went south. He could have gone to the north. In South Georgia, many people would like to join Turkey. Of course, other people would not accept that.

We have refused to acknowledge that all these new, emerging democracies wanted a kind of Marshall Plan of economic development. Now we see an immense military plan. As Eisenhower said, beware of the military-industrial complex. Those are the most dangerous people.

Everyone to whom I have spoken in the diplomatic corps says that when these countries cannot get economic aid, they need only knock at the door of NATO and everyone will help them.

Have we really reflected on the true meaning for Canada of the expansion of NATO?

Tomorrow, Canada will have a clear conscience. We will take 5,000 refugees and spend $100 million. Without a shadow of a doubt, we will create the future Palestinians of the Balkans, with all the exclusive aspects of that.

After 52 years, 700,000 Palestinians still live in refugee camps, but we do not talk about that. Are we creating something similar because of our lack of reflection?

The Chairman: Senator Prud'homme, I think that is a question for the ministers.

Mr. Meyer: Mr. Chairman, I have a few words to say, and it is for you to judge whether they are appropriate as a response. I would say that Canada was thinking about the utility of enlargement and was fully convinced that this was the right thing to do as part of integrating these new states into western institutions. What is right for the Council of Europe and for the European Union is also right for NATO; for the security realm as well as for the economy and social and human rights. I believe that this is indeed part of ensuring that democracy and peace will be long-lasting.

The economic dimension is definitely very important. There will be a meeting later this month on a so-called "stability pact" for Southeastern Europe that is designed to recognize the economic challenges those countries must face and to coordinate western and international financial institutions to assist, which is also essential.

Finally, one of the purposes of the NATO action to enable Kosovars to return to their homes in safety is exactly to avoid the re-creation of the Palestinian-type refugee camps for an indefinite period in other countries.

The Chairman: Honourable senators, you will recall that at the beginning I said that our concern was the new role of NATO, and specifically the matter of peacekeeping. As I predicted, we have talked about Yugoslavia and Kosovo. I hope that we will all use what we have heard about Yugoslavia and Kosovo as evidence relative to the peacekeeping question, because we do not have a reference specifically on Yugoslavia and Kosovo. We have a peacekeeping reference and this is adduced as one example.

As we have run out of time, I ask the senators who are on my list of questioners to ask their questions at our next meeting, which will be tomorrow afternoon at 3:15, at which time we will have before us the same witnesses.

Thank you very much, honourable senators.

The committee adjourned.