Coups in the Kremlin
What the History of Russia’s Power Struggles Says About Putin’s Future
"The war and the aeroplane have driven home to Canadians the importance of their Northland, in strategy, in resources and in communications," Lester B. Pearson wrote in these pages some years ago.[i] They have learned, he said, that the earth is still round and that the shortest routes between many important spots in it lie over the North Pole.
Since then these facts have become commonplace. Any who doubt it need only contemplate the enormous expenditure of money, effort and ingenuity which has gone into stringing lines of radar and other detection devices from Bering Strait to Iceland, in the hope of intercepting hostile attacks by the short polar route from Eurasia. It may be useful to reëxamine the premises which have made the Arctic a focus of military strategy and have diverted so much of polar research away from the traditional coöperative inquiry after truth which happily still characterizes the Antarctic.
The continents are so distributed on the globe that most of the land is in the Northern Hemisphere; there, too, live most of the world's population, concentrated in the middle latitudes. The earth being round, the shortest routes between the main centers of population therefore run not due east and west but somewhat to the north. Indeed, these "Great Circle Courses" are often surprisingly far to the north. Flying direct from Chicago to London, one crosses northern Labrador; from San Francisco to Copenhagen, northern Greenland. As Anne Lindbergh long ago demonstrated, and the airlines have learned to their profit, the shortest route from the United States to Japan lies more north than west, in fact "North to the Orient." Long-distance sailing routes were formerly very roundabout. Captain James Cook reached northern Alaska from England by way of Cape Horn. Contemporary naval explorers in atomic submarines are able to take a more direct route not far from the North Pole.
Irrespective of various intrinsic merits that the northern lands may possess, their mere location in the far north is of significance today. From this stems the demand for DEW Line sites and for I.C.B.M. bases, and it explains the dramatic change in significance of a little village in Northwest Greenland called, by Knud Rasmussen in 1910, "Ultima Thule"-the end of the world. There, today, stands one of the largest and best-equipped air bases-Thule. Fort Prince of Wales, near Churchill on Hudson Bay, is once more recognized as guarding a strategic route, and Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and Novaya Zemlya are no longer left to polar bears and explorers. In the midst of these and other newly-found strategic sites lies the Arctic Ocean, which washes the northern shores of Canada, Alaska, Greenland and the Soviet Union. It is not large as oceans go, and links them more than it divides.
Isaiah Bowman said long ago that a fundamental distinction between Antarctica and the Arctic is that the one is a "hump" and the other a "hole." This is because a vast plateau of rock and ice surrounds the South Pole, while the sea ice at the North Pole is perpetually cracking, grinding and shifting under the force of varying winds or persistent currents. In reality the Arctic Ocean is one of the many inlets of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a continuing exchange of water between the two, and ice drifts southward from the polar area into the North Atlantic shipping lanes. Such ice in the center of the polar basin has proved impenetrable by surface ships. It seems unlikely that even the descendants of the Lenin class atomic-powered icebreakers will ever be free to move at will in the heavy polar pack ice at the North Pole. Today, however, this obstacle can be overcome by submerging beneath the ice.
Navigation in the marginal seas is now practicable with specially designed vessels for shorter or longer periods, depending on the season and unpredictable variations from year to year. These seas were first proved during the search for the "passages" between western Europe and the Orient. What has become known as "The Northern Sea Route" is today of economic significance to the Soviet Union, but long-distance traffic through the Northwest Passage in Canadian waters is still rare enough to secure headlines.
How are North America and Eurasia located both in relation to one another and to the North Pole? And how has this affected their relative development?
The northern mainland coast of Canada and Alaska lies at about 70°N. latitude, or roughly 1,400 miles from the Pole. The northernmost Canadian settlement-Alert, on the coast of Ellesmere Island-is at about 82°N. latitude, or 500 miles from the Pole. Most of the mainland coast of Eurasia is also at about 70°N. latitude, but at one point extends still 500 miles farther north. The northernmost island settlement in the Soviet Union is a little more southerly than is Alert. Rivers draining these northern lands flow, in many cases, into the polar seas. Examples are the Mackenzie of northwest Canada and the Ob, Yenesei and Lena of Siberia. They provide potential water routes between the continental interiors and the seacoast and also lowlands suitable for roads and railways. Their tributaries form a network which alone made it possible to explore the continents overland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Because settlement took place initially along the southern margins of the area, railways and later roads ran east-west between the Atlantic and the Pacific. The need to link these transcontinental routes with the more northerly sea routes has been met to a considerable extent by using the north-south river valleys. This is best exemplified in Siberia where the Northern Sea Route and the Trans-Siberian Railway are tied together very effectively in summer by river transportation, and all year by feeder airlines. In North America this grid- like pattern is less apparent, except in the case of the Mackenzie. However, the Hudson Bay Railroad to Churchill and the Northern Ontario Railroad to Moosonee serve a similar purpose.
Greenland is a special case in any discussion of northern topography. As is usual with northern lands, the east coast is swept by southward flowing currents carrying heavy ice, while the western coast benefits from a northward flowing warmer current and hence is able to support a relatively large population. Thule air base lies far north along the kindlier western side. The same principle permits all-year navigation around northern Norway at least as far as Murmansk, but on the eastern shore of Eurasia it is necessary to use icebreakers to open the port of Vladivostok, which is 1,700 miles farther south. The contrast between the open waters of southern Alaska and the icebound coast of southern Labrador is less dramatic but remains economically significant.
Where do the people live? The center of gravity of population and economic activity in the Soviet Union lies much farther north than it does in North America as a whole or even in Canada. Leningrad is at 60°N. latitude, which marks the southern border of the Canadian Northwest Territories, and Odessa, the southerly Black Sea port, is about as far north as Quebec City. The new industrial regions of Siberia, the southern Urals, Kuzbas and Irkutsk complexes, lie in the middle fifties, comparable in latitude with Prince Albert or Edmonton, Schefferville and Goose Bay. There are quite large Soviet cities in high latitudes-Murmansk has a quarter of a million people at almost 70°N. while the Siberian mining city of Norilsk, with a population of over 100,000, is in about the latitude of the Mackenzie Delta. It is apparent that population is not distributed symmetrically about the North Pole. On the Eurasian side it lies appreciably farther north, and dips more to the south in North America.
The Arctic can be thought of, then, as a moderate-sized sea, rather more than 2,000 miles across, bordered by islands and continental land masses, the latter linked to the south by broad river valleys, or in the case of Canada by the large embayment of Hudson and James Bays. It is this arrangement which offers so much promise in an era of long-range aircraft and atomic submarines.
I believe we may expect the influence of these physical factors to bear increasingly on local and international relations in the years ahead. The existing conflict between geographical potentialities and everyday political realities is nowhere more apparent than in the world-wide pattern of international air routes. Despite popular impressions about trans-polar aviation, very few commercial airlines fly regularly close to the actual Pole. Most of them at best skirt the polar basin and some in fact "dog-leg" across the world by way of the subarctic. The longer routes must still be followed even in the north because approximately one-half of the circumpolar lands are closed to foreign aircraft. Thus a commercial plane going from Copenhagen to Tokyo could, if free to do so, follow a direct route over the North Pole. But such desirable short cuts cannot at present be utilized because Soviet air space is not available.
Apart from rather academic matters, there are no disputes over territory in the Far North today. Nations with territorial interests in the area are the United States (Alaska), Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Norway (Svalbard and Jan Mayen) and the Soviet Union.[ii] Because of the area's remoteness from centers of administration, its strategic sensitivity and the dearth of experience in dealing with political problems there, it is always possible that some minor incident may be inflated into an international dispute. This is particularly the case when submarines are on "exercises" and long-range aircraft on "routine training missions."
The traditional seaward extent of sovereignty-three or four miles-does not apply to the Soviet Union, which has established a boundary at 12 miles. There is also a wide variety of fisheries-limits and of aircraft identification zones which are usually marked on charts. More recently there has arisen some doubt about the extent of a nation's right to claim resources within the submerged continental shelf. Clearly there is room for careful study of the many boundary lines drawn, some unilaterally, on political maps and charts of the Arctic. The "Blue Line" dispute about trawling limits off the north Norwegian coast led eventually to a World Court decision which the United Kingdom lost-and this subsequently influenced the better-known dispute over Icelandic waters. A similar case could yet arise off West Greenland. The disagreement between Norway and Denmark concerning sovereignty over part of East Greenland was also settled at The Hague but only after a good deal of acrimony. It is encouraging to note by contrast that Soviet-Norwegian boundary questions have been settled amicably in recent years and the improved atmosphere has resulted in most useful agreements concerning offshore fishing and hydroelectric development.
There is an interesting contrast between the attitude of the United States and Denmark on one hand, and Canada on the other, with regard to the "sector" principle. This concerns the extension of international boundaries for long distances across the open Arctic Sea. The United States and Denmark do not advocate or recognize this method of determining sovereignty, but Canada (with confidence in the authority of Opposition Senator Poirier in 1907) has continued boldly to print boundaries reaching to the Pole along the 141st and 6oth meridians. Government maps sometimes go farther and with a varying degree of precision show a line down the center of Davis Strait between Greenland and Canada which eventually fades off into the open North Atlantic.
Russia followed Canada's example in 1916 by claiming two meridians as boundaries as far as the Pole. However, the westerly limit was not moved still farther west with the occupation of Petsamo following World War II, and its effectiveness is somewhat reduced by the need to detour around Svalbard. The territorial limits and the rights of Norway in this area are very carefully spelled out in a treaty. One consequence is that for almost 40 years Svalbard was the only considerable part of the world to be permanently demilitarized by international agreement; since 1959 it has been joined in this by Antarctica.
Territorial sovereignty in the Far North is clearly not without interest as a subject of political inquiry, and the possibilities are continually expanding. About 15 floating ice stations manned by scientists have circled in the polar basin at one time or another since 1937. Some have crossed sector lines. One American "island," Arlis II, has spent a considerable time west of the Soviet line, others have gone aground, and some eventually drifted into the Atlantic. One Soviet icefloe station, N.P. 7, which was first manned in 1957, was evacuated in 1959 north of Greenland. Two years later it turned up off the coast of Baffin Island-complete with buildings and supplies and a message of welcome for the finders. A nice question can be posed as to whether the station remains Soviet property until the floe finally melts. Until this happens is it, to the sea lawyer, jetsam or flotsam?
It has been shown that there is a basic physical unity about the north polar region, but that on the other hand its settlement and exploitation have been brought about piecemeal, sector by sector, from the south. So it is the dissimilarities which first strike one. Different social and economic patterns have been imposed; one encounters a variety of languages and educational systems; and commerce, transportation, scientific inquiry and above all defense are remarkably diverse,
There has been no lack of praise for the economic success of Soviet enterprise in the Arctic. Unfortunately, little direct proof of such success is available and there has been no opportunity for an independent assessment by outside scholars. Beyond a few rather generalized statistics, quantities of brick, mortar and concrete revealed in photographs, and the happy faces of the pioneers, we have not been allowed to penetrate. It is more than a quarter of a century since a Western specialist traveled widely in the Soviet North. There has recently been frank public criticism within the Soviet Union of past shortcomings in developing the northern regions. This suggests that undertakings there have not been uniformly successful. It is known that there has been a large-scale northward migration involving hundreds of thousands of workers and scientists, but not whether there has been a satisfactory economic return for the very large sums invested; nor do we know anything of the quality of the widespread construction or the permanence of the settlements.
An appreciable beginning in this northern economic development took place before the 1917 Revolution. An English sea captain, Joseph Wiggins, pioneered commercial use of the Kara Sea route between the Yenesei River and the Atlantic. He was followed by a Norwegian businessman, Jonas Lied, who, with encouragement from the scientist, explorer and statesman, Fridtjof Nansen, planned a detailed program of exploitation of the resources of Northern Siberia and had put it partly into effect before the Revolution came. Nansen's volume, "Through Siberia, the Land of the Future," was an outcome of this activity.
It was not until the 1930s that further appreciable advances were made. Then the Soviet Government formed the rather spectacular Northern Sea Route Administration, which in effect administered the whole country north of 62°N. latitude. Its shipping and lumbering enterprises were paralleled by a powerful scientific campaign which provided the essential basis for Soviet successes both in the Arctic and Antarctic in the postwar years. During this period of the 1930s the Canadian North was almost completely neglected- scientifically, economically and socially.
As a part of the campaign to bring all native peoples within the Soviet system, the Arctic became a field for stirring missionary endeavor in the 1930s. Selected leaders were trained in Leningrad, and eventually a network of schools and colleges spread throughout the north; today the more advanced of them-such as that at Yakutsk-have become universities. At the same time scientific stations were set up-some for gathering routine data, others for more complex duties. All provided a training ground for new northern recruits. Today the Arctic and Antarctic Institute in Leningrad and various Institutes of the Academy of Sciences have a closely interrelated system of basic scientific stations. Economic planning has of course called for comparable work in the social sciences, and here, too, the Soviets are far in advance of anything in North America. Part of the acknowledged Soviet success is undoubtedly due to the early start, part to the widespread conviction that the northern areas of the U.S.S.R. are not different in kind from other parts of the country. This means that their development is planned in the same way, though it is recognized that effort expended may bring relatively fewer returns.
The results of 30 years of northern scientific and economic study are now appearing in Soviet university textbooks and technical journals. They provide knowledge of the Arctic unequalled in any other country. Thus more than half the items in a recent volume of the "Arctic Bibliography," published in Washington, D.C., originated in the Soviet Union. However, early optimism concerning the economic potentialities of the Soviet Arctic appears to be giving place to a more sober assessment of the difficulties inherent in exploiting resources in a remote region. It is now recognized that to justify development either the resources must be present in very large amounts or they must be scarce elsewhere. In addition, some of the early urgency to seek natural resources in the Arctic has passed because the U.S.S.R. is now able to secure them from abroad through normal trade channels.
Events in the Soviet Arctic are often compared with those in northern Canada. There, during the nineteenth century, development was left to the fur traders, who limited their activities for the most part to the Northwest and rarely ventured beyond the tree-line. Whalers from the Pacific and sealers from the Atlantic made contact with the Eskimos. Though the Klondike gold boom had a dramatic short-term effect in the Yukon, it made little or no impression elsewhere. It was not until the 1920s and 1930s that Canadian industry began to reach the North, and then only in the Mackenzie Valley. First came a small-scale oil boom at Norman; later a mining development on Great Bear Lake where radium and uranium of great strategic importance were produced; finally gold was mined at Yellowknife. The fur trade had meanwhile extended to isolated posts in the Eastern Arctic, where it unfortunately altered for the worse the Eskimos' traditional way of life. One vessel a year provided the Eastern Arctic Patrol; its mission was partly political, but it also provided a minimum of medical services and caused a few settlements to be given an annual "paint up and brush up" in the best Potemkin tradition. The railway to Churchill, and the seaport itself, though so important to the Prairies, made no impact on the remoter North until many years later, when there was an urgent need for defense construction. Administration was of necessity rudimentary; there was no genuine local self-government and little call for it. Yukon retained vestiges of the territorial form of government which had been designed in far-off Klondike days for the golden future. Elsewhere, the whole of the North could have been termed, in the modern jargon, "underdeveloped and non-self-governing."
There was considerable influence on the Canadian North from the outside during World War II. The United States built the Alaska Highway and the Canol pipeline, constructed a string of airfields across the Arctic to ferry planes to Asia and Europe, and scattered weather stations here and there to service them. It also photographed and mapped. These activities drew the attention of the Canadian Government to the new significance of the North.
No clear picture can be obtained as yet of the economic potential of the vast area north of the settled belt of southern Canada. It has been tacitly assumed that when any resources there may be developed they will be processed and marketed elsewhere. This has been true of gold and uranium, and would also have been true of Mackenzie oil had it flowed through the Canol pipeline. Today the principal purpose is to extract from the North enough to pay for the cost of shipping goods in-with sufficient margin to make the transaction worthwhile. Not many consider it possible to create there a self-sufficient economy, although this is what eventually occurred on a vast scale in Siberia and to a lesser degree on the Canadian prairies.
What of the indigenous peoples, the Indians and Eskimos? Are they to take an active place in local development and be encouraged to move outside and join the multi-national settlers to the south? Or are they to be left to eke out a living in the North, a burden on the consciences of their more prosperous fellow citizens, contributing little to their own support or the future of their people?
And what inducements are going to attract newcomers from the south? To make quick money as miners or summer workers and leave? Or to build up communities with assured futures in the North as has been done farther south? Can one foresee Inuvik, the new town on the Mackenzie Delta, as a local Ottawa, Frobisher Bay as a miniature Quebec City, Yellowknife as a northern Sudbury? Is there a possibility of building electro-chemical centers like those at Niagara Falls beside some northern hydro site? Will there be petro-chemical communities like Edmonton or northern scientific centers like Chalk River?
The Canadian Federal Government in a sense has a dual responsibility in the Far North. It provides a quasi-provincial administration and oversees a rudimentary legislative system. On the other hand, the Federal Government departments and agencies have their own interests in the north: Agriculture seeks insects on the remotest islands; Mines and Technical Surveys has a wide range of activities from mapping to oceanography; Public Works builds; Revenue taxes. There are weather observers, weights-and-measures inspectors, postal clerks and telegraphers; there are sailors, soldiers and airmen. The lines of authority from each department in Ottawa run to the remotest outpost, and the loyalty of the employees follows the same lines back. Departmental autonomy discourages attempts at integration.
Local government also raises questions. There are a few oases in the vast wilderness-minute specks in fact, though appearing larger on the map. Each is a special case-a mining town, an administrative center or a scientific community-often with mixed populations of different races, languages and levels of culture and achievement. To what extent should such groups govern themselves and whom else should they essay to govern? Can the Yellowknife miner claim authority over the Indian of Fort Rae not far away? Should the Eskimos of southern Baffin Island be allowed to outvote the technicians, priests and schoolmen of Frobisher Bay? Is government necessarily better because it is geographically closer? And is Frobisher Bay any "closer" to an Eskimo on the other side of Baffin Island than is Ottawa? And in DEW- Line posts and other technologically advanced communities, can the bored and frustrated transient technicians be expected to give loyalty elsewhere than to Toronto or Schenectady? Can there be self-government in such a situation?
Settlement in Greenland has proceeded entirely differently from that in either the Soviet Union or Canada. The first settlement was by descendants of Norwegian-Icelandic farmers and fishermen. By the thirteenth century, however, southern Greenland had reverted to a scattering of Eskimo camp sites perched precariously between the icecap and the sea. Modern Greenland dates from Danish missionary zeal in the early eighteenth century. The subsequent Danish state monopoly varied little in its over-all guidelines down to the present century. It abolished illiteracy among the primitive Eskimos and created successful settlements, particularly along the west coast. Profit motives were never allowed to interfere with the well-being of the native peoples. That this closely knit little welfare state was rigidly cut off from the outside world was until recently no disadvantage. Certainly in the 1930s it was true that of all the Eskimos, those of Greenland were the best cared for.
Yet the coming of the airplane and radio meant that foreign influence could not forever be excluded, and in 1950 Denmark wisely decided that Greenland should move into a radically new stage of development. The country was thrown open, very large sums of public money were poured into new schools, hospitals, harbors, fish-processing plants and housing, and Greenland was absorbed into the Danish community as another province. Today the Greenlanders undoubtedly lead their Eskimo relatives elsewhere in social and cultural affairs, even though they may remain inexperienced in economic matters. By good fortune, the waters of West Greenland warmed appreciably in the 1920s and the resulting increase in the supply of cod and other commercial fish made it easier to provide a soundly based economy. Today Greenland "fish sticks," frozen shrimp and other high quality products are very widely marketed and help to pay for the consumer goods which crowd Greenland's new self-service stores. On balance, however, Greenland remains a heavy financial burden on Denmark and it is difficult to see how this can change for the better.
The large United States-operated air bases in Greenland during the past 20 years have undoubtedly played a part in this remarkable social and economic revolution. Yet it would be a mistake to attribute it to direct United States intervention; at all times, even during the war years, Danish authorities completely controlled the country. However, the intensity and range of scientific research in and about Greenland during the past two decades owe an enormous amount to American initiative, personnel and financial support.
While intensive exploration for resources has taken place in the Arctic recently, much remains to be learned. In the sixteenth century, expeditions sought mineral deposits; afterward the objective was fur trapping. Later when the true wealth of the North was found to be in the seas, the rich whale fisheries of Spitsbergen, Greenland and Alaska flourished. The seas now yield large harvests of fish, and oceanographers suggest that the convergence of cold and warm waters there provides an exceptionally rich growth of plankton, the basic foodstuff of the seas. As fishing areas farther south are being more rigidly policed, there is pressure on the long- distance trawlers to penetrate still farther north into truly arctic waters.
Forest resources do not by definition exist in the true Arctic since this lies north of the tree-line, but there are enormous reserves of soft woods in subarctic lands, some of which are best reached from farther north. This is so in Siberia, in northern European Russia and in Finnish Lapland. Britain and other West European countries regularly trade for timber via the Northern Sea Route to Igarka far up the Yenesei River. Collaboration between Norway and Finland may result in more rational use of the Finnish timber for production of pulp and paper on the Norwegian coast near Kirkenes.
It is generally believed that mining offers the most encouraging basis for arctic development, for only minerals can stand the heavy freight charges and exceptionally high costs of production. The list of arctic mining centers is already impressive, but the addition of others depends less upon further exploration and prospecting than on a rise in world prices of metals and oil products.
Greenland has been fortunate in possessing a unique and highly profitable mine opened more than a century ago. This produces cryolite which is in great demand by the aluminum industry. The deposit is almost ideal for exploitation in the Arctic, since it occurs at tidewater on an ice-free coast and can be mined inexpensively. On the other hand, despite determined efforts, no other successful mines have been opened in Greenland.
Canada's two genuinely arctic mining operations at Port Radium on Great Bear Lake and at Rankin Inlet on western Hudson Bay closed recently. Coal mining, which has a long history in Svalbard and on Disko Island in Greenland, faces an uncertain future. On the contrary, the long-established iron ore (taconite) mine at Kirkenes in northern Norway was successfully reconstructed following World War II and continues to find a ready market in Western Europe for its high quality concentrates. Its success is due in part to its location very close to an open seacoast.
The economics of Soviet Arctic mining remain a closed book. There are several high-latitude enterprises which not only continue but expand. Some of them are associated with large permanent settlements. The well-known Petsamo nickel deposit close to the Norwegian border, a few miles from Kirkenes, apparently continues to prosper; it uses a large part of the hydroelectric power produced at the nearby Pasvik River. Even larger is Norilsk far to the east, some miles from the Yenesei, where both base metals and coal are present and a highly complex industrial center has been erected in a region of permanently frozen ground. On the margin of the true Arctic, the Pechora Valley of northern European Russia produces coal, oil and natural gas which are moved southward to industrial centers. Various minerals are mined in northern Siberia east of the Yenesei and there are new reports of oil drilling near the arctic seacoast.
In North America today the greatest effort is being put into the search for oil. This began in Alaska during World War II when the Naval Petroleum Reserve near Point Barrow was the scene of intensive study. A large-scale search for new oil fields has been going on in the Queen Elizabeth Islands since 1959. Many companies, usually grouped in syndicates, have secured exploration permits and undertaken detailed geological mapping and geophysical prospecting. Drilling has been done at a few sites, first on Melville Island and later farther east. This has presented the first opportunities for use of part of the Northwest Passage for strictly commercial shipping. Even if oil in commercial quantities were to be discovered shortly, there might well be considerable delay before it could reach world markets as the method of transportation is still to be determined. Some companies believe that arctic oil can be competitive with that from the Near East, and speak of using submarine tankers to ship it to Western Europe. However, any oil located in the remoter parts of northern Canada may possibly be regarded for the present as a hedge against serious depletion of resources elsewhere, rather than for immediate production.
With a few exceptions, the Arctic does not yet make a major contribution to world mineral needs and there is no assurance that it is likely to in the near future. Costs are always higher in the Far North than in more accessible areas, and most of the skilled labor needed to operate mines, build and man cities, staff schools and hospitals, are transients who under present conditions do not regard the area as a permanent home. As yet companies have but few inducements, such as tax benefits, to develop northern resources in preference to more accessible ones.
Among the contrasts between the Antarctic and the Arctic, none is more striking than the close international collaboration in the one and the almost total lack of it in the other. Despite apparently fundamental disagreements over territorial claims in Antarctica, an epoch-making treaty went into effect in 1959 ensuring the closest scientific coöperation between the 12 nations concerned. In the Arctic, where there are no pressing boundary problems, where the need for scientific coöperation is every day more urgent and where no elaborate treaty would be required, there is an almost total absence of official contact between the Western nations and the Soviet Union and its allies. That this is merely a by- product of disagreements over policies in other areas is all the more regrettable. There are, however, some signs of improvement in international scientific relations. Informal exchanges of scientists are increasing. The Arctic and Antarctic Institute of Leningrad has welcomed visitors from the West, and there have been contacts in Moscow between the Northern Sea Route Administration, various Institutes of the Academy of Sciences and corresponding groups in North America. The Arctic Institute of North America particularly has welcomed several groups of Soviet scientists. A Russian delegate to an arctic symposium held in Montreal in 1963 was subsequently taken on an extended tour of Canadian research sites in the Queen Elizabeth Islands. And individuals persist in exchanging publications and ideas and in answering inquiries.
In Arctic North America today there is a considerable degree of coöperation across the frontiers. The farthest-north weather stations in Canada are manned jointly, and jointly paid for, by Canada and the United States. There is a truly international scientific station on Devon Island, operated by the Arctic Institute of North America and employing scientists from several nations. The staff of the Axel Heiberg Expedition of McGill University has included scientists of many lands. Japanese, British and Canadians have worked together on United States icefloe stations, and a desire has often been expressed to include Russians. Much scientific research is necessarily international, and this is particularly the case in northern Canada-the home of the North Magnetic Pole, with nearby the Geomagnetic Pole which is the focal point of the Aurora. The vast Precambrian Shield is of interest to all who study the structure of the earth and the behavior of shock waves. The shores of the Polar Basin may give clues as to how continents and oceans are formed, and arctic waters may throw light on climatic changes much farther south.
Of even greater significance is the value of the Arctic as an area for studying physical and socio-economic problems which are of broad scientific interest. If only because the environment is relatively uncomplicated and uncluttered, ideas can be developed there which may advance science everywhere.
When Lester Pearson wrote of the Far North in 1946 he was very much aware of the need for international collaboration in all aspects of its development. "It is in Canada's interest, and in the general interest," he wrote, "that each northern nation should coöperate with every other in all Arctic problems. Though much has been accomplished, a great deal remains to be done. . . . If the fullest use is to be made of the resources of the northern regions, there should be a pooling of scientific data and co- ordination of research and experimentation. All the polar nations can learn from each other and thereby advance the knowledge and resources of mankind. For this reason Canada desires to work not only with the United States, but with all the Arctic countries-Denmark (for Greenland), Norway and the Soviet Union-in exploiting to the full the peaceful possibilities of the Northern Hemisphere. Particularly is this true of the U.S.S.R., which is well ahead of the rest of the world in the development of its polar areas and which, Canadians are beginning to realize, is their neighbor across the North Pole." The years which have passed since 1946 have done nothing to diminish the urgent need for such collaboration.
[i] "Canada Looks 'Down North,'" Foreign Affairs, July 1946.
[ii] Norway, the Soviet Union and Finland also have high latitude (though not strictly arctic) interests where their territories adjoin near the Barents Sea.
Can Washington Still Walk and Talk Differently?