Publication Notice: CIHC Members Publish New Research

Asa McKercher, “How reliable an ally?”: Surveying American power and credibility after the fall of Saigon—and Kabul,” International Journal. Advance online access.


Abstract: The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, and the subsequent collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government in August 2021, raised doubts in the United States and abroad about the limits and credibility of American power. For some observers, the situation seemed to parallel the fall of the South Vietnamese regime in April 1975. Given the comparisons being drawn between Saigon and Kabul, this brief paper examines a series of Canadian diplomatic reports produced in the wake of the events in South Vietnam. Addressing the question of how reliable the United States was as an ally, the conclusions drawn in these reports should give some pause to doomsaying about US security commitments. Although the contemporary situation differs from that of the mid-1970s, Canadian observers recognized that American power rested on a firm foundation.

Timothy Andrews Sayle, “But the Story Was True”: A Research Note on Canadian Intelligence Activities in Vietnam,” Canadian Historical Review 103, no. 2 (2022).


Abstract: Recently declassified records reveal new information and confirm old assumptions about Canadian intelligence activities in Vietnam during the 1950s and 1960s. These records are now available online at Canada Declassified. This research note describes the new evidence and considers its implications for existing historiography regarding Canada and the International Commission for Supervision and Control and Canadian policy towards the American war in Vietnam. It suggests new opportunities for research on Canadian intelligence activities during the Cold War. More broadly, the note responds to the discussion in The Canadian Historical Review’s December 2015 issue (volume 96, number 4) regarding the future study of Canada’s diplomatic history and international action by suggesting that Canadian intelligence activities should be considered by scholars crafting narratives of Canadian international history.

Matthew S. Wiseman, “The origins and early history of Canada’s Cold War scientific intelligence, 1946-65,” International Journal. Advance online access.


Abstract: In the process of creating the policies and structures that led to the formal organization of Canada’s Defence Research Board after the end of the Second World War, senior military and defence officials in Ottawa conceptualized and established a scientific intelligence bureau within the defence department. Recognizing the heightened military significance of science during the war, defence officials believed that scientific intelligence—the practice of analyzing scientific information for forecasting the weapons and warfare potential of enemy countries—could support and improve Canada’s military preparedness efforts in the immediate postwar period. Using recently opened government and military records, this article explores the origins and history of Canadian scientific intelligence during the early Cold War, framing the topic as useful for understanding Canada’s military past and Ottawa’s approach to some of the country’s top security and defence issues of the late 1940s through the mid-1960s.

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