24 October 1962: Selective Use of Nuclear Weapons
The text of Ignatieff’s statement to Council on 23 October 1962 in which he clarifies that Canada’s reservations to the inclusion of nuclear weapons in the BERCON plans is “not in the context of the general nuclear strategy of the alliance.” Overall, he asks for further clarification on the key issues, including economic countermeasures and political authority as well as “what sort of formula” is required for Canada’s official response. Despite these other questions, however, the main point of contention continues to be the possible use of nuclear weapons. In response to his questions the standing group explains that the proposed use of nuclear weapons would be “primarily political and psychological in nature” and “are not currently designed to have significantly military value.”
In his analysis of the meeting, Ignatieff believes that there is no longer significant support for the Canadian position despite private agreement. The other NATO delegations have become primarily concerned with other issues and are no longer willing to support a move to remove the nuclear provisions. Ignatieff therefore suggests that Canada give a “general non-committal approval” combined with a reservation on the use of nuclear weapons.