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The origins of state security screening in Canada Hannant, Larry 1993

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THE ORIGINS OF STATE SECURITY SCREENING IN CANADAbyLARRY HANNANTB.A., The University of Calgary, 1973M.A., The University of Waterloo, 1981A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THEREQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Historythesis as conforminguired standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1993© Larry Hannant, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature) Department of  HistoryThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate^28 April 1993DE-6 (2/88)AbstractDescribing Canada's security intelligence practice, historians have identified 1945as a watershed. In September of that year Igor Gouzenko defected from the embassy ofthe Soviet Union in Ottawa, carrying with him evidence that the Soviets operated anespionage ring in this country. According to historical canon, Gouzenko's defection andthe investigations which resulted from it forced the Canadian government to initiate asecurity screening program for civil servants and armed forces personnel. This programwas an attempt to discern the political opinions, behaviour and trustworthiness of people inpositions of trust both inside the state and outside.This thesis rewrites the conventional history of state security screening in Canada.By reexamining existing evidence and making use of records uncovered through the Accessto Information Act, this work demonstrates that security screening of civil servants,military personnel and naturalization applicants began in the years between the First andSecond World Wars. Revising the point at which security screening began also forces areevaluation of the motivation for security screening. Security screening was not launchedto detect and neutralize foreign espionage agents. Rather, it was borne out of a deep fearof communists among the Canadian people. Concern about internal dissent, not aboutforeign spying, was responsible for this new security intelligence development.This work also reexamines the Canadian government's supervision of its primarysecurity intelligence agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Contrary to the widelyheld view that the Canadian cabinet initiated and supervised the screening system, thisthesis shows that the RCMP operated a program for at least fifteen years without politicaliiiiiauthorization and guidance. In doing so, it committed acts which can only be regarded ascivil liberties violations. Nevertheless, abuses were relatively minor. One reason whythey were was the dubious legality of the program. Carrying out a program which lackedpolitical approval, the RCMP kept a tight rein on the security screening system, fearing acontroversy which could be embarrassing and damaging to its own security intelligencecapacity.ivTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract^ iiTable of Contents^ ivAcknowledgements viIntroduction^ 1A note on sources^ 13Chapter 1^The last recourse of liars: testing loyalty before 1919^16Security screening in Britain^ 18Security screening in the United States^ 25Security screening in Canada 31The state of security screening in 1919 38Chapter 2^The political technology of the body: Fingerprinting to 1939^46The history and scientific foundation of fingerprinting^49Development of fingerprinting^ 56The law concerning fingerprinting 58Authorities' ambitions for fingerprinting^ 59The popular image of fingerprinting 67Chapter 3^The birth of state vetting:security screening in the interwar period 70Chapter 4^Security screening in the Second World War^94The war brings new conditions^ 97Defining the enemy^ 100Canada's fifth column crisis 105The security screening system and how it worked^115The effectiveness of security screening^ 127Chapter 5^Political rationale for the security screening system^134The political motives behind screening 142RCMP anti-communism^ 144Disciplining labour and exerting social control^ 148Chapter 6^Engineers of conduct:The technical rationale for the security screening system^159The criminal-political interface^ 171Chapter 7^Security screening in the military and merchant marine^181Military security screening 181Screening of merchant seamen^ 195Chapter 8^Liaison with the allies and provinces^ 204Liaison with Britain^ 206Liaison with the United States^ 216Liaison with the provinces 226Outcomes^ 231VChapter 9^"The first to come under suspicion": Union, civil libertarian,press and parliamentary response to state security screeningduring the Second World War^ 236The casualties and their response 236Union objections^ 243Civil liberties organizations' response 247Reasons why civil liberties organizations did not addresssecurity screening 256Chapter 10 Outcomes, developments and significance^ 267Bibliography^ 279Appendix 1 Application for Employment^ 297Appendix 2 Non-Criminal Fingerprint Form 299AcknowledgementsWhat little research exists on the subject of success rates in humanities Ph.D.programs suggests that beginning such a course is a daunting prospect indeed. Over theeight years of my own program I have come to understand one thing well: if I succeeded itwould largely be the result of factors beyond my meagre talents. The most important ofthese is the people who have helped and sustained me over the years.Among them was Elizabeth Lees, whose self-effacing humor and fortitude in theface of her own much greater challenges invariably bolstered my resolve to see this projectthrough. Her death cruelly robbed me and many others of the opportunity to celebratewith her the achievement of completing her history Ph.D.My mother and father, Elenora and Ted Barber, and my sister and brother-in-law,Sandra and Glen Heming, have given me vital financial support on the many occasionswhen it seemed that lack of means would effectively bar me from finishing. They andmany other people have dispensed wise counsel and emotional sustenance through theyears. Among those who have sympathetically stood by me are Maggie Thompson, JimHamm, Avril Torrence and Barbara Winters. Several people have also read the whole orparts of this work and offered helpful comments, including John Lutz and Anna Russell,both of whom have also given me great encouragement.I wish to thank Peter Ward, who unflaggingly persevered in curbing my penchantto "write like Time Magazine." The threads of Time style which remain in this tapestryreflect not failure of purpose on his part but incorrigible recidivism on mine. In waysviviibeyond mere style, this work is far better than it would have been without his advice andsuggestions. Ivan Avakumovic, Charles Humphries and Stephen Straker have alsocontributed considerably to this project.Staff members at the National Archives of Canada, the Ontario Archives, theBritish Columbia Archives and the University of British Columbia library have shown keeninterest in and have considerably assisted my work. Although it would be impossible tothank them all by name, I particularly want to acknowledge the aid of Carol White, who,along with other Access to Information archivists at the National Archives, has speededand facilitated my access to records which were hitherto closed.Interviews with several former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Policehave helped me to understand the nuances of life within the Force in a way that paperrecords alone could not do. Among those who have been particularly helpful are W.C.Bryan and R.W. (Tony) Wonnacott.In the time since I began this work my daughter Caila has grown from infancy tochildhood, and her promise is demonstrated by the fact that she is already a publishedauthor. I dedicate this work to her, urging her not to wait as long as me to again see herwork in print.IntroductionSecurity intelligence lacks the common touch. Plain folks are seldom to be foundin this nether world. Its dramatis personae are members of an elite -- senior politicians,devious spies, brilliant but reclusive code-breakers, lonely moralists pursuing sordid moles.They are all too aware that among the people in whose name they claim to toil, their craftand sacrifice is at best misunderstood. Indeed, it must be so, for secrecy is security'sbyword. The less public knowledge about it the better. Hence little or nothing about itwill be apparent to the Montreal lathe-operator who mills parts for high-pressure pumps orthe Washington typist who prepares invoices for the Department of Transport.Yet for one aspect of security intelligence, these uncelebrated citizens are central.Security screening, the subject of this work, counts such people as its essential rawmaterial, its focus. Compared to other security intelligence branches, security screening isless arcane because it affects the livelihoods and political rights of millions of workingpeople.Some definitions may be in order. A succinct definition of security was providedby the British Security Executive in 1942:the defence of national interests against hostile elements other than thearmed forces of the enemy; in practice against espionage, sabotage andattempts to procure defeat by subversive political activity.'Roy Godson defines intelligence as:1 F.H. Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins, British Intelligence in the Second World War: Volume Four, Security and Counter-Intelligence(London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1990) (Hereinafter cited as Hinsley and Simkins, British Intelligence: Volume Four), p. 3.12the effort of a government, or of a private individual, group or body,devoted to:1. collection, analysis, dissemination, and exploitation of knowledgeand information affecting its own interests which relates to any othergovernment, political group, military force, movement, or individual;2. protection against similar initiatives on the part of othergovernments, political groups, parties, military forces, movements, orindividuals ... 2State security screening, therefore, involves efforts to collect and process informationabout people perceived to be threats to the state, especially in times of national conflictsuch as wars. Security screening is the state's means to assess the political opinions,behaviour and trustworthiness of naturalization applicants, armed forces personnel, civilservants and industrial employees and to use that assessment as a criterion for matters suchas citizenship and employment.Although security screening is an offspring of the complex marriage of security andintelligence, it does not figure prominently in the family photographs. In fact, securityscreening is distinguished mostly by being the clan's neglected child. By some definitionsof security intelligence, security screening does not even rate mention beside moreacclaimed aspects like spying, covert action and code-breaking. Roy Godson's descriptionof the nature of intelligence leaves a small niche for security screening within the categoryof counter-intelligence, where John Bruce Lockhart also places it. 3 But their definitionsonly serve to underline a pervasive attitude among those who write about securityintelligence: that security screening is considered an unimportant part of the enterprise.The prolific British popular writer and latter-day member of parliament Rupert Allason(alias Nigel West) alluded to one reason why security screening has been neglected byresearchers when he wrote that the vetting department of Britain's internal securityintelligence agency, MI5, "was regarded by some as the most junior of the Branches, sinceit was a dull post, best suited for bureaucrats with tidy minds and an acceptable social2 Roy Godson, "Intelligence: an American View," in British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G. Robertson (London:Macmillan Press, 1987), p. 4.3 ibid, pp. 4, 20-1 and John Bruce Lockhart, "Intelligence: a British View," p. 43.3presence." 4 The same contempt is exhibited by others who write about securityintelligence. They tend to value heroes, and even anti-heroes, over millions of peoplelabouring in industry and the public service, who are the subjects of security screening.At heart, security screening is an attempt to accomplish the seemingly impossible --to establish, often on short acquaintance, people's trustworthiness. Over the centuries,officials conducting the screening have usually correlated trustworthiness with fidelity tothe reigning political authority. In the 20th century this has meant to the state. The 1969Canadian Report of the Royal Commission on Security, the Mackenzie Commission,offered an overview of what constitutes security screening when it proposed measures topreventthose who in the judgment of the government may constitute a risk to thesecurity of the state from entering the state, becoming citizens of the state,entering public employment or having access to classified information. 5The Commission identified five aspects of security screening. These are control of 1) whoenters the country (visa and immigration curbs); 2) who becomes a citizen (restrictions oncitizenship); 3) who leaves the country (withholding of passports); 4) who works in thestate (security screening); and 5) who has access to classified information (securityclearance). 6 The focus of this study is on the constraints exercised over who may takepublic employment or work for an employer with a contract to supply some commodity tothe state. Some attention is also paid to security clearance and immigration restrictions,since in Canada they were developed in conjunction with a broader security screeningapparatus.Assessing the loyalty of those in public employment has never been an easy task.Oaths of allegiance have been used for this purpose for centuries, and survive still.4 Nigel West, A Matter of Trust: MIS 1945-1972 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982), p. 51.5 Canada, Report of the Royal Commission on Security (Mackenzie Commission) (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1969), p. 10.6 ibid., p. 11.4Latterly, the activity has become more complex. The Mackenzie Commission describedtwo steps to the process:first, the acquisition of data about the past history of an individual; andsecondly, an attempt to forecast the individual's future performance orreliability on the basis of this data.For most of the 20th century the first of these two phases has received primary attentionfrom security agencies, who have striven mightily to obtain greater and greater amounts ofinformation about more and more people. Increasingly, science has been brought to bearon the problem. The outcome has been a complex battery of devices and tests -- cardindexes, records searches, fingerprinting, electro-mechanical and electronic search aids,interviews, reference checks and active background investigations. This study devotesconsiderable attention to the development of scientific methods to collect the informationnecessary for security screening, seeing in them a conspicuous example of the use oftechnology for political control.?If I pay less attention in this study to the second part of security screening, thepredictive facet, it is only because security agencies themselves have singularly failed toacknowledge its importance or to resolve the conundrum it presents. Echoing a commoncomplaint throughout the history of loyalty testing, the Mackenzie Commission lamented in1969 thatIt would be an ideal situation if it were possible to process an individualthrough a series of more or less mechanistic tests, and arrive at an objectivejudgment of the subject's future loyalty, reliability and character.Unfortunately, we are informed that this is not possible, nor likely to bepossible in the foreseeable future. 87 I take politics to be the relations between people in modern society, an important, but by no means sole, element of which is therelationship between people on the one hand and, on the other, the governing figures who legislate and the bureaucratic authorities ofthe state who implement that legislation. By political control I mean the maintenance of the existing state's hegemony and the stabilityof its attendant institutions and supporting economic and social structure.8 Mackenzie Commission, p. 30.5The dim prospect of inventing such a machine -- to say nothing about how "ideal" it wouldbe -- has not impeded the search for it. Indeed, the quest for a method to sound outhumans' true loyalty is a significant subtheme of this work.Another important aspect of security screening is the matter of who initiates it andwho falls under its scrutiny. It has been found expedient by states of all descriptions --monarchies, republics, dictatorships and liberal democracies -- and by private employers.Recently, specialized state security agencies have emerged to assume the burden ofresponsibility for the process. Prior to the 20th century, relatively few people were subjectto investigation to ascertain their political loyalties. Most of them were senior governmentadvisers or other civil service appointees. As this century has proceeded, screening hasembraced more and more people, even in countries which pride themselves on their respectfor individual liberty and democracy. States have imposed it on many or all of their civilservants, but also on potential immigrants and naturalization applicants. And,increasingly, the state has co-operated with employers to ascertain the political outlook andpractice of private-sector workers.This is not a general inquiry into security intelligence matters. For one thing,although it is a fledgling discipline, the study of security intelligence is a large subject,graced equally by popular and scholarly writing. Even a quick review of the field willattest to its breadth: major categories include such topics as surveillance and suppressionof dissent, espionage and counter-espionage, war and military intelligence, diplomaticintelligence, security intelligence technique, terrorism and counter-terrorism, and politicalcontrol of intelligence agencies. 9 Security screening is just one sub-division within thefield. It shares some characteristics with other security intelligence matters and yet ismarked by unique features.9 Although analytical works on the subject began to appear in great numbers after 1970, only since 1985 has a complementaryscholarly journal, Intelligence and National Security, appeared. The major topics listed above were arrived at through a reading of thefirst six years of its issues.6One of them is its scope, the fact that it takes within its grasp a large portion of thepopulations in modern democratic states. Another is its labels. A common terminologyfor almost all security intelligence routines is used on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet whenit comes to ascertaining the political trustworthiness of civil servants and others, eachcountry has clung to an idiosyncratic title. What is called security screening in Canada isvetting in Britain and loyalty testing in the United States. Each name describes a basicallysimilar procedure conducted in those three allied countries, which also have a history ofclose co-operation in security matters. I shall use the labels synonymously.This study has five key aims and themes. Firstly, it will explain the evolution ofmotives and methods for investigating people's loyalty. The impulse behind securityscreening has existed for centuries. The persistence of loyalty oaths over the years atteststo that. But only in the past century has a new urgency to ascertain loyalty led to thesystematic application of science and technology to the subject.After 1919, security concepts were profoundly transformed in Canada as in otherindustrial countries. Even as late as 1914 the recently-arrived stranger -- embodied inidentifiable ethnic groups -- was regarded as the primary threat to British, American andCanadian security. That changed with the triumph of Bolshevism in Russia in 1917 andthe formation in 1919 of the Communist International to spread proletarian revolutionbeyond the borders of the Soviet Union. Ideological dissent assumed a new, threateningimportance to the capitalist world. The state's problem was how to identify and isolate thecarrier of the plague. This was no small task, since communist ideology is as transparentin the dissenting individual as capitalist ideology is in the host society. Nothing about aperson's appearance or speech need betray what political or social attitudes he or she holds.This much was sure: after 1917 the handy target of pre-war suspicion andsurveillance -- the outsider -- began to decline in importance as a perceived threat. The7prevailing intelligence paradigm shifted dramatically. The population as a whole becamethe new object of attention, and security screening grew to become a comprehensivesystem. By the Second World War the state felt the need to scrutinize a large proportionof the population, not just those identifiable by ethnic origin or citizenship.A second aim is to describe the creation of a Canadian state security screeningsystem, culminating in the huge operation of the Second World War. 113 By 1945 it hadbecome a machine with the power to affect the lives of hundreds of thousands ofCanadians. I wish to chart the evolution of this system, illustrate its characteristics andexplain the reasons for its creation. In the process I will examine various approaches tosecurity screening, assess its effectiveness and measure its impact. This approach paints anovel picture of Canada in wartime, in particular casting new light upon this country'sregard for civil liberties.Before 1984, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police performed a dual role as a policeunit enforcing federal laws throughout the country and as the Canadian state's primarypolitical police." The Force is the subject of dozens of popular books and films, many ofwhich have helped to erect and greatly embellish its romantic image. Among the score ofscholarly books on the RCMP, most concentrate on its policing role and only brieflyaddress security issues. The best of those which deal with security intelligence wereproducts of the controversy about RCMP law-breaking in the 1970s, and in most cases theyrely on testimony from two commissions of inquiry into those crimes. 12 Only one of them,10 Since it focuses upon security screening -- the search for hidden saboteurs and subversives within the Canadian population -- thisstudy does not deal with separate security issues such as internment, registration and supervision of aliens and censorship.11 By political police I mean a specialized police force or sub-force whose primary objective is not to accumulate evidence leading tocriminal prosecution. Instead, the attention of political police is focussed on those in conflict with official ideology; their cases usuallyinvolve no victim (individual or corporate, real or potential) other than the state itself.12 Jeff Sallot, Nobody Said No: The Real Story About How the Mounties Always Get Their Man (Toronto: James Lorimer, 1979) andRobert Dion, Crimes of the Secret Police (Montreal: Black Rose, 1982; French ed., 1979) deal exclusively with the 1970s events; JohnSawatsky's Men in the Shadows: The Shocking Truth About the RCMP Security Service (Don Mills, Ont.: Totem, 1983; Doubleday,1980) is a journalistic chronicle of the history and contemporary activity of the RCMP Security Service which relies largely oninterviews and eschews the McDonald and Keable Commission testimony.8John Sawatsky's Men in the Shadows, examines the security arm of the RCMP in anydepth, and it treats security screening in one page. Hence there is no comprehensivehistory of security screening in Canada in the 20th century. 13Furthermore, only a handful of academic articles have appeared on the subject, andthey show a curious agreement about the origin of the Canadian government's securityscreening program. Reginald Whitaker and Lawrence Aronsen, scholars with conflictinginterpretations of the Cold War security screening operation, concur that such vetting didnot begin until after the Second World War. 14 This approach is shared by the McDonaldCommission's survey of the history of the RCMP Security Service, which bluntly, butquite erroneously, asserts that "In 1946, in response to the Gouzenko revelations, theCanadian government introduced a program of security screening in the federal publicservice. "15Historical vogue claims not only that Canada implemented security screening onlyafter September 1945 but that it was pushed and embarrassed into doing so by IgorGouzenko's revelations about Soviet espionage. According to this scenario a vacillatingCanadian government, bolstered by recommendations from a royal commission, reluctantlyapproved it. The RCMP, without relishing the assignment or having any practiced skill atit, took over the task of vetting civil servants.In fact, security screening of civil servants commenced in 1931. The emergency ofthe Second World War created a situation in which screening could be greatly expanded to13 Reg Whitaker's Double Standard: The Secret History of Canadian Immigration (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1987) effectivelydissects the screening of immigrants in the post-war era.14 Reginald Whitaker, "Origins of the Canadian Government's Internal Security System, 1946-1952," Canadian Historical Review 65,no. 2 (June 1984): 154-183; Lawrence Aronsen, "Some Aspects of Surveillance: 'Peace, Order and Good Government' during the ColdWar: The Origins and Organization of Canada's Internal Security Program," Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 3 (September1986): 357-380.15 Canada, Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (McDonald Commission),Second Report, Freedom and Security Under the Law, Vol. 1, (Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services, 1981), p. 61. (Hereinaftercited as McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. I.)9include most civil servants, all armed forces personnel and merchant seamen. Anotherimportant target of the RCMP's wartime inquiry was hundreds of thousands of privatecitizens who were placed under scrutiny primarily because of their work location. Theywere employed in some 500 companies supplying vital material for the Canadian wareffort. Thus, security screening on a vast scale was already in effect when Gouzenkodefected. In other words, the discovery of spies within the Canadian state did not launchsecurity screening. This new information demands a reinterpretation of the motivesbehind vetting and of the practice of the Canadian state's domestic security intelligenceapparatus. This thesis undertakes to do that.Tracing the origins of this intrusive procedure properly takes us to, but not beyond,1945. The early history ends there, at the moment when the security screening apparatuswas in place, ready for subsequent development. Its existence was not new, nor were itsmotives; even its methods and their applicability to the screening of millions of people hadbeen proven during the Second World War. To the extent that I sketch the system after1945 at all, I do it only to explain how similar were the post-war trends to those which hadbeen evolving from the 1920s.The third aim of this work is to explore the security intelligence connectionsbetween Canada, Britain and the United States which helped to shape the screening systemhere. In passing, it will examine the British and American systems, to discern how theywere similar and different.Co-operation in security matters between these three North Atlantic countries isregarded as an important feature of the past half century. Indeed, the Second World Waris credited with irrevocably breaking Canada's old patterns of intelligence sharing and withestablishing new levels of co-operation between the three states. 16 By 1945 a high level of16 Wesley Wark, "The Evolution of Military Intelligence in Canada," Armed Forces and Society 16, no. 1 (1989), pp. 65-6.10joint effort characterized the relationship between Canada, Britain and the United States.In Wesley Wark's opinion, Canada's wartime work on cryptanalysis explains its acceptanceinto the great powers' intelligence fraternity. Peter St. John endorses this view, but addsthat teamwork with British Security Co-ordination (BSC) was also partly responsible forelevating Canada's intelligence status." Both of these factors relate to foreign espionage, aplot within the security intelligence field which is intensively cultivated and, judging by theproduction of articles and books, especially fertile." This co-operation in espionage andcounter-espionage was doubtless influential in Canada's accession to the allied intelligencecommunity. But it was not the only factor. Another significant common internationalintelligence project was the surveillance of domestic dissent and its concomitant activity ofsecurity screening. This work charts collaborative efforts between security agencies inCanada, Britain and the United States in the security screening arena. This is anoverlooked factor in the growing security intelligence integration of the three countries.Despite the voluminous writing on security matters since 1970, a comparativeinquiry of this scope has never been undertaken before. Indeed, comparative studies ofsecurity intelligence history, issues, policies and agencies are rare, although a recentoverview of trends in the field contains a plea for them. 19 Furthermore, although there is asubstantial body of secondary literature on security agencies in the United States andBritain, most of it barely mentions security screening. 20 In the United States some17 Peter St. John, "Canada's Accession to the Allied Intelligence Community 1940-45," Conflict Quarterly IV, no. 4 (Fall 1984), p. 6,passim.18 Stuart Farson, "Schools of Thought: National Perceptions of Intelligence," Conflict Quarterly IX, no. 2 (Spring 1989), p. 78.19 Roy Godson, "Introduction: The New Study of Intelligence," in Comparing Foreign Intelligence: The U.S., the USSR, the U.K. &the Third World, ed. Roy Godson (Washington: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1988), p. 2.11discussion about security clearance has arisen from works on an associated subject,McCarthyism and the Cold War, but the subject is secondary to other security intelligencefacets. 21As for national comparisons, one early American study of loyalty testing andMcCarthyism glances briefly at Britain, and one book on vetting in Britain alsosuperficially contrasts British and American practice. 22 Both emphasize the differencesbetween the two countries. No work examines several countries over the course of anextended period covering peace and war. And none looks at how official policy andpractice has been influenced by scientific methods or at how evolving technique and socialchanges are linked to new initiatives in security screening.A fourth aim is to fit security screening into a technical context. In its broadestsense, state and industrial security screening must be seen as a politico-technical responseto new opportunities and challenges in the 20th century. The opportunities were primarilythose presented by the adaptation of science to human identification and management, themost important of which was fingerprinting. Fingerprinting represented the application ofscience to an age-old identification problem. At least to its advocates, it was a solutionwith fabulous potential. Fingerprinting promised universal, quick and irrefutable20 A pioneering study of the FBI, Max Lowenthal's The Federal Bureau of Investigation (London: Turnstile Press, 1950), probablycontains more than any other work about the Bureau's security screening efforts up to 1945. More recent studies include FrankDonner, The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America's Political Intelligence System (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,1980) and Athan Theoharis, Spying on Americans: Political Surveillance from Hoover to the Huston Plan (Philadelphia: TempleUniversity Press, 1978), both of which contain penetrating insights into how the FBI used deception to gain a political intelligencemandate. In Britain, the 1980s saw the publication of several probes into that country's extensive security network. In addition to AMatter of Trust, Nigel West has produced MI5: British Security Service Operations 1909-1945 (New York: Military Heritage Press,1981). By far the most authoritative study, however, is Christopher Andrew's Secret Service: The Making of the British IntelligenceCommunity (London: Sceptre, 1986; Heinemann, 1985). Bernard Porter has produced two valuable studies of the development ofBritish security intelligence capacity, The Origins of the Vigilant State: The London Metropolitan Police Special Branch Before the FirstWorld War (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987) and Plots and Paranoia: A history of political espionage in Britain 1790-1988(London: Unwin Hyman, 1989).21 David Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978);Harold Hyman, To Try Men's Souls: Loyalty Tests in American History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959).22 Edward A. Shils, The Torment of Secrecy: The Background and Consequences of American Security Policies (Glencoe, Ill.: FreePress, 1956); Mark Hollingsworth and Richard Norton-Taylor, Blacklist: The Inside Story of Political Vetting (London: Hogarth Press,1988).12identification, a vital aspect of security screening. By the 1930s, it was being used as asecurity screening tool, and in the same decade was married to electro-mechanicaltabulating equipment manufactured by the International Business Machines Company. Thishybrid tool, used initially in the United States and then passed on to Canada, represents thefirst significant intervention of machinery into the collection and analysis of politicalintelligence.Finally, this work probes the reaction of Canadians to the emergence of a newmeans of state surveillance. In the course of imposing this security screening, theCanadian state violated the civil liberties of hundreds of thousands of citizens. Thefingerprinting of civil servants which began by 1931 was contrary to the law, and thatviolation was compounded during the war. Before 1946 no Canadian governmentauthorized the RCMP to screen Canadian citizens. In the United States, security screeningwas conducted without statutory authority beginning in the 1920s, contravening earlierlegislation which forbade political investigations and dismissal of civil servants. InBritain's case, vetting proceeded from the late 1930s without explicit governmentalacknowledgement. This is one significant way in which the issue of security screeningcalls forth a discussion about the relationship between the state and its citizens, particularlyduring a period of war.This study is important because it reveals much about the nature of the Canadianstate in the twentieth century. It also casts new light upon the evolution of the securityintelligence arm of the Canadian state, the RCMP, and the relationship of the federalgovernment to the RCMP. It adds another dimension to our knowledge of the Canadianstate in wartime. We know something about the Canadian state from evaluating its warpolicies vis a vis conscription, military priorities, production of war materials, fiscal policyand a host of other subjects, and these have been investigated by scholars and popularwriters. But we learn something quite new about the Canadian state by examining the huge13operation it conducted during the war to investigate its own citizens. This study speaks tothe changing nature of the relationship between the state and its citizens. In probingsecurity screening and Canadians' response to this new state initiative, we enrich ourunderstanding of the nature of politics as practiced by the Canadian state and people.A note on sourcesIn the United States, the 1974 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act of1966 have fueled an explosion of studies of the security intelligence process, particularlybecause the changes made it more difficult for government agencies to exempt records onthe grounds of "national security". What Congress hath wrought, however, the executivehas rent asunder. Under the Reagan and Bush administrations appropriations to cover theadministration of the act have not kept pace with requests, slowing the release ofdocuments to a trickle. As compensation, I have benefitted from the work of scholars whowere able to use the Act earlier. Their work has provided me with basic information aboutthe United States security screening operation, allowing comparisons to be drawn withCanada and Britain. I have also been able to use some primary source material earlierreleased under the Act. Britain has no similar legislation to assist its researchers. Still,given that deficiency, plus the byzantine strictures of the Official Secrets Act and the blindbut futile determination of the Thatcher government to enforce the Act even beyond itsown jurisdiction, British writers have been able to produce several splendid securityintelligence studies, upon which I have relied for the British side of the security screeningstory.Canadian historians have been slow to take advantage of the 1983 Freedom ofInformation Act. To date, very few significant projects related to security intelligence in14Canada have used the Access Act. 23 This work, by contrast, has made extensive use of it.In conducting the research for it I have made Access Act requests of the RCMP, theCanadian Security Intelligence Service, the Departments of National Defence, Justice,Transport, Labour and External Affairs, the Public Service Commission and the NationalResearch Council. I have also used the Access Act to open volumes of material in theNational Archives of Canada which were previously closed. Through this Act more than2500 previously-unseen pages of records have been opened to me by individualdepartments. Several thousand more pages have been released at the National Archives.The Access Act, however, is far from perfect. It was not, in fact, written toprovide researchers unrestricted access to government records. The Act containsprovisions which have allowed government agencies to withhold records relevant to thisstudy. In my case, CSIS, the RCMP and other government departments have informed methat, in total, they have kept at least 1200 pages of material from me, and they havecensored parts of another 900 pages, citing various sections of the Access Act. Complaintsto the Information Commissioner have yielded little satisfaction.It is impossible for anyone outside of the state to assess the extent to which therecords I have seen represent a complete picture of the security screening apparatus in theperiod up to 1945. In using the Access Act, researchers must place their faith in stateagencies whose mandate is retaining rather than releasing hitherto confidential information.That faith, however, is not blind. The Access Act authorizes agencies and departments towithhold records, but only under certain circumstances. While the justification forexemptions are numerous, the list of those which would apply to this study are relativelylimited. They include sections which prohibit the release of the following: information23 Books written with the assistance of the Act include: William Kaplan, Everything That Floats: Pat Sullivan, Hal Banks, and theSeamen's Unions of Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987); Gregory S. Kealey and Reg Whitaker, eds., RCMP SecurityBulletins: The War Series, 1939-1941 (St. John's, Nfld: Canadian Committee on Labour History, 1989); Gregory S. Kealey and RegWhitaker, eds., R.C.M.P. Security Bulletins: The War Series, Part II, 1942-1945 (St. John's: Canadian Committee on Labour History,1993); John Bryden, Deadly Allies: Canada's Secret War 1937-47 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1989).15which was obtained in confidence from the government of or an agency of a foreign state(Section 13(1)); information the disclosure of which "could reasonably be expected to beinjurious to ... the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities,"(Section 15(1)); and information which contains personal information as defined in thePrivacy Act (Section 19(1)). 24In denying access to material for this study, agencies often cited Sections 13(1) and15(1) to completely delete information, while Section 19(1) tended to result only in thestriking out of individuals' names. Section 13(1) unquestionably limited the extent towhich this study could present a complete picture of the interactions between internationalsecurity intelligence agencies with regard to security screening. Fortunately, that sectionhas not prevented an examination of Canada's domestic security screening apparatus. Theapplication of Section 15(1) was undoubtedly most injurious to this project. While aresearcher outside the state might well argue that very little information 40 to 50 years oldcould "reasonably be expected to be injurious to ... the detection, prevention orsuppression of subversive or hostile activities" in contemporary Canada, CSIS and otheragencies clearly did not agree, and they used this section to withhold much material. Opensources of information, including records in the National Archives of Canada which havebeen presented to the archives by various government departments and agencies, have beenused frequently to supplement the evidence acquired through the Access Act andcompensate for the strictures of the Act.Taking all this into account, then, this work can be considered to be a reasonablycomplete portrait of the security screening system up to 1945. While the Access Act hasits limitations, it has also been an invaluable tool in preparing this work. Because of it thedoor to the fusty intelligence underworld has been dislodged a crack. Through this slit wemay behold a previously-hidden fragment of Canadian history.24 Canada, Access to Information Act, 29-30-31 Elizabeth II, c. 111, Sections 13(1), 15(1) and 19(1).Chapter 1The last recourse of liars: testing loyalty before 1919In September, 1915, when it was obvious to combatants and civilians alike that theonly soldiers who would arrive home from the front for the second Christmas of the warwould be those incapable of savoring the celebration, the British Minister of Munitions,David Lloyd George, committed his ministry to the construction of a huge new shellfactory immediately outside London. National Filling Factory No. 7, despite its pedestrianname, was a monumental undertaking. The site, at Hayes, Middlesex, was carefullychosen for its access by rail, road and canal, and its proximity to an ample labour pool.No effort was spared in its construction; at the peak, some 2,500 men laboured to build it.Just six weeks after the first sod was broken, the plant's deadly product was already beingprepared.Security precautions for the model enterprise were exacting. A military guard tookup duty in December 1915. Barracks were erected for the colonel, captain, threesubalterns and 190 non-commissioned officers and men who patrolled the premises. Thewhole of the facility, 397 buildings spread over 200 acres, was enclosed by a 6-foot highcorrugated-iron fence almost five miles in length. Those metal battlements were breachedby only four gates.1617At shift change, the four gates were the conduit for a surging tide of workers;7,500 men and women laboured on each shift. To enter, each worker passed through abarrier and was handed a pass by an officially-designated "recogniser". A few stepsfurther on, a policeman admitted only those with a pass. Without being recognized, noworker was allowed to enter the factory.'The significance of this security screening method at the flagship of the Britishmunitions plants at the beginning of World War I should not be lost. To the minds ofthose who thought about such things, security meant erecting walls and guarding themvigilantly to exclude those who posed a threat from outside. The burden of reviewingthose who were inside, ironically, fell to a tiny corps of people whose mind-numbing dutyrequired them to place the seal of safety upon the faces of thousands of people streamingpell-mell through a plant gate in the chaotic and fretful moments of shift change.The essential elements of this approach to security screening are evident. One is itstotal reliance upon human agents. If the problem of ascertaining the trustworthiness ofemployees was registering on those who concerned themselves with such matters -- as itwas beginning to -- applying mechanical methods to ease the burden was but a scheme inthe minds of visionaries. The overt, obvious and oppressive security apparatus whichexisted was not for testing loyalty. A second element is that suspicion was still focussed onthose outside of the organization. Those inside were, by and large, trusted. By the end ofthe war that method was already breaking down; within three decades it would be changedutterly.In some ways, the humble factory recognizer was peculiarly British. In the 20thcentury, Britain did not see the paranoia and loyalty testing which swept the United Statesin World Wars One and Two, and again after 1945. Indeed, it was not until 1948 that1 Ontario Archives (OA), MU 6286, Engineering Records Foundation, Industrial Relations Division, Box 2, British Counterpart, 1915.18Britain officially began a civil servant vetting program. But the recognizer, and thesecurity screening method he epitomized, was at least as characteristic of his time as hewas exclusive to his country. In the United States, too, security screening up to the end ofWorld War One relied on human agents -- but many more of them. And there, too,attention was directed towards those deemed to be outsiders. But beginning in World WarOne, and decisively after 1919, security screening changed irrevocably wherever it waspracticed. The recognizer of National Filling Factory No. 7, even as he granted the cachetof security to a young woman from London who he hoped was a new packer in No. 20Clean Room, symbolized an obsolete system.In reviewing security screening practices in Britain, the United States and Canadabefore 1919, several trends come forth. One of them is the constant demand for someobjective method to ascertain the loyalty of state and private employees. A second is thetransition in concepts of loyalty and loyalty testing which emerged about the beginning ofthe 20th century. The third is the common orientation towards loyalty in the three Anglo-American countries sharing a link with British colonialism. The fourth is the sea change inviews of who constituted a threat to security which was initiated by the BolshevikRevolution and the popular response to it in capitalist countries. The last is the arrival ofprofessional agencies in Britain, the United States and Canada which were charged withsafeguarding the state from this perceived revolutionary threat, a responsibility whichincluded security screening.Security screening in BritainLooking at how loyalty has been tested throughout history, the British recognizerwas in good company. For centuries, objective standards have been sought to resolve thedilemma of which ambitious noble, sullen servant, or assiduous apprentice to trust.Indeed, the problem of assessing the loyalty of employees and civil servants was addressed19in one of the first manuals of political security and intelligence, which was written morethan two thousand years ago. Kautilya's Arthasastra describes the security problemsinherent in the Indian feudal political culture of his time. Loyalty to the king was ofparamount concern. In this era before vast bureaucracies, it was the inner sentiments ofsenior advisors which had to be examined. And the test methods -- individual,conspiratorial, manipulative -- were appropriate to an age of personal loyalty. 2Similarly, the feudal era in Europe, with its emphasis on personal fidelity, saw apreoccupation with loyalty. Bonds based on personal loyalty "constituted the fundamentaltechnology of feudal rule." 3 Feudalism also produced a characteristic method of assessingloyalty -- the oath of allegiance. According to Marc Bloch, a prominent historian of thefeudal millenium, loyalty queries in feudal Europe embraced virtually everyone from lordto peasant, unlike those in ancient India, which were reserved for the highly placed.Scrutiny of loyalty was one part of an efficient system of social control in which theconstraints imposed by chief upon subordinate facilitated the obedience of both of them tothe king or emperor. As Bloch notes, the value of this system was equally evident toCharlemagne as it was a thousand years later to Tsar Nicholas I, who "boasted that in hispomeshchiks (lords of villages) he had 'a hundred thousand police superintendents'. " 4 Theoath was also grounded ideologically by a common faith in a Christian God. But importantas the appeal to divinity was, rulers invariably found it expedient to engage a secularguarantor for their subjects' loyalty. The eyes and ears of Nicholas' pomeshchiks,therefore, were essential checks on his subjects' public words.In England, the period of shifting and confused religious and political affiliationsushered in by Henry VIII's break with Roman Catholic ecclesiastical domination produced2 S.D. Trivedi, Secret Services in Ancient India: Techniques and Operation (New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1984), p. 151 and passim.3 Goran Therborn, What Does the Ruling Class Do When it Rules?: State Apparatuses and State Power under Feudalism, Capitalismand Socialism (London: NLB, 1978), p. 49.4 Marc Bloch, Feudal Society, trans. L.A. Manyon (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), Vol. 1: The Growth of Ties ofDependence, pp. 146 and 157-8.2 0an obsession with loyalty. More important, the Tudors derived an apparatus to verify itwhich would survive in various forms until the 20th century. Henry VIII introduced aseries of tests, based on oaths, to gauge the trustworthiness of his subjects. These wererefined under Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I to improve their enforcement, and were sosuccessful, in the words of Harold Hyman, thatBy the end of Elizabeth's reign, England was honeycombed with a networkof justices of the peace, pursuivants, civil courts, militia units, ecclesiasticalinvestigating commissions, spies, informers, agents provocateurs, and portofficers, all empowered to administer the current loyalty tests to allEnglishmen. 5Oaths remained the favored method to assess loyalty until late in the 19th century,when several factors combined to sap their perceived effectiveness. One was the growth ofthe state and the civil service. The prevailing ideology of the political elite remainedlaissez faire liberalism, but 19th century Britain nonetheless saw a remarkable extension ofstate intervention in society. Parliament passed many laws intended to change thebehaviour of individuals and corporations, and, more importantly, it also enactedlegislation to enforce such acts. Regulation of poor relief, public health and factoryconditions were but three issues which required supervision by a state bureaucracy. As aresult, the size, complexity and reach of the state increased considerably throughout thecentury . 6Efficiency, economy and ideology also demanded an end to political interference inthe choice of civil servants. Reforms passed throughout the 19th century paved the wayfor a professional and non-partisan public service which was free from patronageappointments. 7 Casting off the oath as a functional test of civil servants' loyalty occurredat the same time that patronage began to be phased out. By 1870 open competition for5 Harold M. Hyman, To Try Men's Souls: Loyalty Tests in American History (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of CaliforniaPress, 1959), p. 3.6 Michael Hill, The State, Administration and the Individual (Totawa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1976), p. 23.7 Peter Richards, Patronage in British Government (George Allen and Unwin: London, 1963), pp. 60-1.21civil service jobs prevailed in most British government departments. 8 About the sametime, British reformers observed America's unhappy experience with oaths during andimmediately after its Civil War and concluded that Britain's own statute books ought to bepurged of obsolete and useless oath requirements. 9Monarchs were not alone in wishing to ascertain and ensure the allegiance of theirsubjects. A kindred impulse emerged among employers who even by the 17th centuryattempted to determine that they hired none but the most tractable workers. The merit ofthis kind of surveillance must have been early apparent to capitalists. In a system whichrequires a free market in labour, an obvious immediate problem is how to ensure that thelabour which has arrived from elsewhere in response to an employer's call is reliable, and,indeed, has not fled from another employer because of acts which, perpetrated again,might harm his next employer.An early case of industrial vetting occurred at the close of the 17th century inLondon, where journeymen hatters, who were organized into protective clubs, took actionagainst their employers' efforts to reduce wages. Master hatters retaliated in 1697 with ascheme for each journeyman to obtain a "character note" or "leaving certificate" from hisemployer, with the enjoinder, in the words of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, that "no mastershould employ a journeyman who did not bring with him a certificate from his previousemployer." 113 With the Industrial Revolution, reviews of workers' political and shop-floorpractice became widespread, and some of these were held against them in their attempts towork elsewhere. In some instances, the scrutiny was extended into a blacklist. This kind8 Geoffrey K. Fry, The Growth of Government: The Development of Ideas about the Role of the State and the Machinery and Functionsof Government in Britain since 1780 (Frank Cass: London, 1979), p. 115.9 Harold Hyman, Era of the Oath: Northern Loyalty Tests During the Civil War and Reconstruction (Philadelphia: University ofPennsylvania Press, 1954), p. 207, fn 27. A glance at early use of the phrase "ironclad oath" confirms how divorced Britain hadbecome from the practice by 1885. The Pall Mall Gazette of 6 June 1885, for example, recorded that "The British parties ... may try... to follow the American precedent, and make 'an ironclad oath' to preserve the union of the two countries [Britain and Ireland] acondition of election." Cited in Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., Vol. VIII, s.v. "ironclad oath."10 Sidney and Beatrice Webb, The History of Trade Unionism (Clifton, N.J.: Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, 1973; first edition 1894),pp. 28-9.2 2was especially prevalent within the vital railway industry. One example took place in1839, when the Chief Engineer of the Grand Junction Railway wrote to another companyadvising that several enginemen had been discharged for insubordination. In urging thatthe men be refused employment, the chief engineer evoked "the importance of possessingefficient control over this class of men, in which all railways are equally interested ... " 11Victorian Britain was, however, remarkably free of state-sponsored politicalpolicing and security screening, an innocence founded on a curious paradox, according toBernard Porter. To Victorians steeped in the benefits of liberalism, political systems weremost effectively defended by having no defences at all. "The best way to disable'liberation' movements is to persuade people that they are already free; and the much-vaunted absence of a British political police branch went a long way to doing this." 12This sense of confidence began to ebb in the 1880s and declined greatly in the yearsimmediately before the First World War. Bernard Porter dates the beginnings of the"secret state" in Britain to the half-dozen years before the war. In the period from 1909 to1911 a number of key security measures were launched. The domestic security intelligenceagency, MI5, and its foreign arm, MI6, were founded. Special Branch was revamped,bringing it close to being a regular domestic counter-subversive agency. The modernOfficial Secrets Act was passed. The "D-Notice" system for vetting newspaper storiesbearing on national security was inaugurated, as was the blanket interception of certaincategories of mail at the Post Office. 13 . The political environment of the day had much todo with why these decisive developments occurred then. Rising demands from workers,women and Irish nationalists caused conservative members of the establishment to believethat Britain was coming close to disaster. Basil Thomson, who became assistant11 Philip Bagwell, The History of the National Union of Railwaymen (London: Allen and Unwin, 1963), cited in Mark Hollingsworthand Richard Norton-Taylor, Blacklist: The Inside Story of Political Vetting (London: The Hogarth Press, 1988), p. 9.12 Bernard Porter, The Origins of the Vigilant State: The London Metropolitan Police Special Branch Before the First World War(London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1987), pp. 3-4.13 Bernard Porter, Plots and Paranoia: A history of political espionage in Britain 1790-1988 (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), p. 120.2 3commissioner in charge of the Metropolitan Police Criminal Investigation Department inJune 1913, was heard to remark then that Britain was headed straight for revolution "unlessthere was a European war to divert the current. " 14 The war, when it occurred, had aneffect contrary to Thomson's wishes, except, perhaps, in one regard. Its impact on thecomposition and scope of the domestic secret service in Britain was greater than any otherevent for one hundred years. 15 Porter argues that while Britain did not have a politicalpolice before the First World War, within a few months after August 1914 Britain did have"a proper political police." The speed of the transformation indicates to him thatconditions had been prepared for this outcome in the years before the war. "The pieceswere all in place." 16Another new measure to deal with the perceived threat was a register of aliens,begun secretly in 1911; by 1913 it comprised nearly 29,000 names. 17 As the war waslaunched on its baleful course, foreign residents became a particular focus of hostility. Bythe Aliens Restriction Act of 5 August, 1914, all foreign citizens had to register.Eventually more than 100,000 would do so. Registration, in turn, led to internment,beginning in May 1915. 18 By war's end more than 32,000 people were interned and20,000 sent back to their home countries. 19 This internment and deportation shows thatsecurity practice was relatively unrefined in the First World War. Faced with a group of14 ibid., p. 125.15 ibid.16 ibid., p . 133. Christopher Andrew, by contrast, argues that a political police emerged in Britain in the early 1880s as a response toIrish republican bombings in London. This threat declined in 1885, and anti-Fenian surveillance fell off. Nonetheless, the SpecialBranch of the London Metropolitan Police was created in 1887, and it turned its attention to the British wing of the European anarchistmovement in the early 1890s. But Andrew agrees that by the turn of the century the Special Branch "had little of importance left todo," and that it would take the spy scare of the pre-WWI years to bring the Branch back to the prominence the Special Irish Branchenjoyed in the early 1880s. Andrew, Secret Service, pp. 43-7.17 Porter, Plots and Paranoia, p. 127.18 David Saunders, "Aliens in Britain and the Empire During the First World War," in Loyalties in Conflict: Ukrainians in CanadaDuring the Great War, ed. Frances Swyripa and John Herd Thompson (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1983), pp.102, 105.19 Porter, Plots and paranoia, p. 137.2 4people whose loyalty was uncertain, authorities interned large numbers of them, since theyhad neither the interest in investigating each individual nor the capacity to do so.Aliens were the target of at least one new security agency. After two explosions inmunitions plans in the summer of 1915, David Lloyd George, the minister of munitions,demanded an enquiry into the backgrounds of munitions plant workers, looking outespecially for foreigners. 20 As a result, in 1916 the ministry created an agency which itfirst called the Ministry of Munitions Labour Intelligence Division, a title later changed tothe Parliamentary Military Secretary Department No. 2 because the first title conveyed toomuch information about the branch's function. Although at first it confined itself toexamining the credentials of aliens who applied for work in munitions factories, P.M.S.2soon became much more assertive. It began with infiltration of labour unions by agentsprovocateurs. This was followed by several ill-planned and shoddily-executed efforts toinduce workers to carry out acts of industrial sabotage. The resulting fiasco became apublic embarrassment to the ministry and in 1917 it dissolved its erstwhile intelligence unitand transferred what remained of its work to MI5 and the Special Branch. 21 In doing sothe ministry acknowledged that the work could be more efficiently and cheaply done byprofessionals. 22 Another failing of the P.M.S.2 was recorded by an American militaryattache in London who bemoaned the impossibility of getting information about theintelligence operations of any of the several agencies operating in First World War Britain.Each unit "has grown up very slowly around the personality of one man," the Americanwrote, "and he has made his own rules." 23The rips in the political fabric resulting from World War One had a profound effecton security practice; the targets of security inquiries began to shift. Before 1916 espionage20 Nicholas Hiley, "Internal Security in Wartime: The Rise and Fall of P.M.S.2, 1915-1917," Intelligence and National Security 1, no.3 (September 1986), p. 399.21 ibid., pp. 400, 409-10.22 ibid., p. 410.23 Cited in ibid., p. 411.2 5and sabotage had been the pre-eminent security problems. As the war dragged on, politicalsubversion -- "general war-weariness, the greater activity of pacifist groups and therumbling of industrial unrest" -- emerged as grounds for anxiety. 24The state's preoccupation with subversion was further heightened by the BolshevikRevolution, which polarized political life in the world. 25 Some saw it as the signal hopefor the future, others as the death knell of civilization. However it was viewed, therevolution's international appeal was, especially in the early years, the foremost Sovietimpact on the western world. 26 With Britain the main bulwark against the spread ofBolshevism and its major espionage target until 1945, the British security agencies becamepreoccupied with this new menace in their midst. 27 By the last year of the war they weredirecting more effort into the investigation of Bolshevism than they were into counter-espionage and the control of enemy aliens. 28The years immediately before the First World War and the war itself had wroughtdeep changes in the security environment in Britain. Fears of espionage and sabotagedirected from abroad gave way to concern about domestic subversion. But the war did notsee the introduction of security screening for British citizens. That measure would arriveas the country prepared for another conflict.Security screening in the United StatesGiven its preoccupation with verifying loyalty, it is no surprise that when Englandbegan its colonial expansion early in the reign of James I, loyalty oaths and testing werepart of the cultural baggage of the North American colonists. At each change of monarch24 Hinsley and Simkins, British Intelligence: Volume Four, p. 5.25 ibid.26 E.H. Carr, The Soviet Impact on the Western World (London: Macmillan, 1946), pp. 73-4.27 Hinsley and Simkins, British Intelligence: Volume Four, p. 18.28 Nicholas Hiley, "'Not Necessarily a Crime': The Development of British Counter-Espionage during the First World War", n.p.,cited in Porter, Origins of the Vigilant State, p. 180.2 6from 1689 to 1776 colonial administrators were required to renew their pledge ofallegiance, a practice which also carried over to the territories added to British NorthAmerica through conquest of French colonies. 29 Loyalty oaths to the monarch reflectedthe prevailing doctrine of the relationship between the individual and the state. As asubject, each individual had a personal relationship to the monarch, not a generalizedmembership within a political community.The political instability and shifting fortunes of British and American forces in theAmerican Revolutionary War stimulated a firmer demand for loyalty oaths as a way todistinguish Tory from Whig. Since both sides insisted on such declarations, it becamecommon for thousands of confused or intimidated people simply to bend with theexigencies of the moment. Benjamin Franklin vividly captured the prevailing contempt foroaths when he declared that "I have never regarded them otherwise than as the lastrecourse of liars." 30 The fact that thousands on either side had a minimal attachment to theoaths they had sworn, however, created a nightmare after the war for British and Americanloyalty commissioners, whose task was to sort out the tangle of conflicting claims forcompensation. Harold Hyman's study of the period led him to conclude thatmore than a decade of calm, unhurried postwar investigations by ableparliamentary commissions into the realities of loyalty-testing in theAmerican Revolution proved that no loyalty test, British or American, wasadequate to prove loyalty. 31In the anti-authoritarian atmosphere of the new republic, the passion for universal loyaltydeclarations soon subsided. A decade after the end of the Revolutionary War, Americanshad put aside loyalty oaths and testing.29 Hyman, To Try Men's Souls, p. 4 and Arthur Doughty, The Acadian Exiles: A Chronicle of the Land of Evangeline (Toronto,Glasgow Brook and Co., 1920), pp. 28-9.30 Cited in Hyman, To Try Men's Souls, p. 115.31 ibid., p. 112.2 7That resolve did not survive long. When another convulsion of violence seized theyouthful country in 1861, fear of traitors within the federal civil service instantly boiled tothe surface. By the second week of the Civil War Lincoln's cabinet had already demandedan oath of allegiance to the Union from, in the words of the attorney-general, "all theemployes [sic] of the Departments -- from the head Secretary to the lowest messenger... " 32 A Congressional committee of five members was quickly struck to investigategovernment employees who were suspected of disloyalty or who refused to take the oath.Cabinet's decision, meanwhile, had been confirmed by Congress, which passed similarlegislation in August 1861. 33 Two more such laws were passed the following year. 34Civil servants were not the only ones subject to what came to be called, in a reflection ofthe newest naval technology, the ironclad test oath. By the war's end, also under scrutinywere military officers, newspaper correspondents accompanying the Union army,telegraphers, judges, pensioners and postal contractors. The end of the bloodshed in 1865brought not a relaxation in security testing but an extension of it even to civiliansthroughout the rebellious states. These oath laws were not repealed until 1884. 35The Civil War and Reconstruction experience with such pervasive loyalty oaths leftmany Americans with a contempt for them as a method of determining loyalty. Thisattitude was accurately summed up by a Union officer who confided to having "a dislikefor test oaths, and [I] preferred to make conduct the test ... " 36 This post-war distrust ofoaths carried over into the creation of a new regulation protecting the privacy of Americancivil servants. Civil Service Rule 1 of 1884 forbade any inquiry into the political orreligious opinions or affiliation of any applicant for the federal civil service. 37 This32 Hyman, Era of the Oath, p. 1.33 ibid., pp. 1-2.34 ibid., pp. 22-3.35 ibid., pp. 20, 47, 150.36 ibid., p. 155.37 David Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978),p. 267.28enlightened policy, however, did not prevent a recurrence of the loyalty inquiries. Whenanother war threatened, civil servants and others again were required to justify theirpolitical sentiments.The United States Civil Service rule of 1884 which forbade the political or religiousscreening of federal civil servants was violated in World War I. America's briefparticipation in that war touched off an intense spasm of loyalty investigations by state andprivate citizens alike. President Woodrow Wilson instructed the Civil Service Commissionto remove any employee whose commitment to the state was cast into doubt "by reasons ofhis conduct, sympathies, or utterances ..." In 1917 and 1918, the commission conducted2,672 loyalty investigations, and in 1918 barred 660 applicants from employment.Military personnel were also discretely screened. Every officer granted a commission wasinvestigated, as were thousands of Red Cross workers, religious volunteers andentertainers. 38 Educators were particular targets of patriotic zealotry. David Caute reportsthat university professors suspected of pacifist or pro-German sentiment were shown thedoor, and between 1917 and 1923 charges of disloyalty were leveled against teachers inthirteen states, leading to firings in eight of them. 39There was cause for some of the fear of foreign agents. From 1914 to 1917 theGerman government mounted a destructive campaign of sabotage against the United States,which was a major arms supplier for the Western Allies. A comprehensive list of casescompiled years later documented 93 incidents of German sabotage in North America fromJanuary 1915 to January 1917. 40 Two incidents alone, an explosion at a munitions storagesite at Black Tom, New Jersey, and a fire at a shell factory, at Kingsland, New Jersey,38 Hyman, To Try Men's Souls, pp. 268-70.39 Caute, The Great Fear, pp. 403-4.40 Ontario Legislative Library (OLL), W.J. Scott, Sabotage Prevention, War Emergency Bulletin No. 8 (Toronto: Ontario FireMarshall's Office, 1940), p. 5.29killed scores of people and caused almost $40 million in damages. 41 The sabotage ceasedafter the American government expelled German embassy officials several months beforethe United States entered the war in April 1917. 42Once the country was at war there were numerous security excesses, mostlyperpetrated by zealots who, while formally outside of the state, operated with the blessingof the administration. Two organizations, the American Protective League (APL) and theLoyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen (LLLL), carried out a witch-hunt on behalf ofthe federal government and private employers. With the personal encouragement of UnitedStates attorney general Thomas Gregory, the APL grew to a force of three hundredthousand volunteer detectives who, under the guise of semi-official spycatchers, conductedover three million character investigations for the government. These checks wereconducted and transmitted without due regard for discretion and the consequences of thereports for the careers of people under investigation. Harold Hyman has summed up theAPL's legacy in this way:Everywhere, personal feuds, political enmities, financial opportunism,racial, religious, and class prejudices -- all the ills of power almostunrestrained by effective authority -- resulted in innumerable acts of terror,unmeasurable injuries to individual self-respect and dignity, incalculable andunnecessary fear. 43By 1919, the American Protective League had outgrown its usefulness to the stateand to the Wilson administration. The government found it could not tolerate an agencywhich had become too brazen and too powerful for its nominal master. When the end ofthe war stripped the League of its raison d'être, a new Attorney General, A. MitchellPalmer, seized the opportunity to distance the government from its upstart child. Palmer,41 Jules Witcover, Sabotage at Black Tom: Imperial Germany's Secret War in America 1914-1917 (Chapel Hill, N.C.: AlgonquinBooks, 1989), pp. 21, 193 and passim. Ironically, the legal case for compensation in those two incidents was resolved only after thebeginning of the Second World War, in October 1939. At the time, a Washington newspaper concluded that "The whole sordid Black-Tom-Kingsland episode has served one good purpose, however. It has shown the need in this country of an efficient counter-espionagesystem in time of peace as well as war." Witcover, p. 308.42 Scott, Sabotage Prevention, p. 5.43 Hyman, ibid., p. 286.30then in the process of perpetrating his own anti-red purges, rebuffed private patrioticgroups, declaring that aid from them was "entirely at variance with our theories ofgovernment." As Hyman noted, "Amateur internal security operations would destroypublic confidence in constituted authorities, upset community life, and imperil standards ofobjectivity and justice." 44Born in the same spirit as the APL, the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermenwas another venture into loyalty-testing by semi-official organizations. Its ostensibleobjective was to seek out and prevent industrial sabotage in the lumber districts of theAmerican Pacific Northwest. Set up in November 1917, the Legion was a combination ofcompany union, security screening body and central clearing house for blacklists ofIndustrial Workers of the World militants. 45 The Legion suffered, in Hyman's view, fromits unclear concept of what loyalty and disloyalty meant. Helping to maintain control ofdissatisfied workers, however, made the APL and LLLL valuable to employers and thestate. David Davis has concluded that by 1918 disciplining labour and suppressing radicalswas those organizations' major function. 46The security method represented by groups like the APL and the LLLL wascharacteristic of the United States prior to 1919. It is true, as Davis has written, thatthe history of American intelligence operations has been marked bydecentralization, amateurism, and jurisdictional rivalry, all of which wereencouraged by the constitutional division between state and federal powersand by a native preference for private enterprise. 47But in focussing on what he calls "participatory sleuthing", Davis fails to acknowledge theimportant organizing function of the American state. Even the zealous amateur spycatchersof World War One did not operate without the sanction of the state. In fact, they acted as44 ibid., p. 295.45 ibid., pp. 308-310.46 David B. Davis, "Internal Security in Historical Perspective: From the Revolution to World War II," in Surveillance and Espionagein a Free Society, ed. Richard Blum (New York: Praeger, 1972), p. 15.47 ibid., p. 13.31semi-official agents of the cabinet, and, sometimes, of rival members of the cabinet.Moreover, the authority provided by this link to the federal government was essential tothe success of the APL and the LLLL.Security screening in CanadaLike the United States, Canada began its life as a colony at a time when loyaltyoaths were common in the European countries. The application of oaths was reinforced bythis country's troubled infancy. Wars due to economic and political competition betweenEuropean powers scarred the period before England's conquest of New France in 1760.Nor did that settle matters. The period from 1760 to 1867 was highly troubled, marked bya Loyalist influx, the immigration of people with sharply-varying political views, war withthe United States from 1812 to 1814, uprisings in 1837-8, and invasions by Fenians.Similar challenges in the republic to the south sparked, as we have seen, near hysteria andswift recourse to loyalty testing. It would be surprising to see a different pattern in thefledgling northern sibling, and in fact Canada pursued the same course. Canadian politicalauthorities at first relied upon oaths as loyalty tests but found them increasinglyunsatisfactory in the first two decades of the 20th century.The Acadians are the best-known victims of the colonial preoccupation with loyaltyguarantees which Canada inherited. The story is well known of the Catholic, French-speaking Acadians whose settlement of the Bay of Fundy shores was cut short by theirdeportation in 1755. The crux of the issue was conflict between the Acadians and theirBritish governors over the validity of loyalty oaths. The importance of such oaths isindicated by the fact that in the four years after the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht awarded Acadiato Britain, colonial officials commanded the inhabitants to swear oaths of allegiance on fiveseparate occasions. Each time they refused, declaring that their neutral practice wassufficient proof of their loyalty. But in 1755, when a proxy war between France and3 2England broke out in North America, Charles Lawrence, lieutenant governor of NovaScotia, demanded a formal oath. In the absence of such an attestation, Lawrence insistedon deportation. 48 The Acadian case demonstrates the importance of the loyalty oath as aritual of allegiance.After the conquest of New France, the British administration demanded oaths ofallegiance from their new subjects, a process which affirmed their fidelity to a newcrown. 49 But this passion for loyalty oaths subsided in the absence of any threat ofreconquest by the French and because of the population's manifest acceptance of Britishrule.The Loyalists who flooded into Britain's Atlantic and Quebec colonies after 1783had themselves been subject to loyalty tests in the United States. Even though theirdeparture from the United States was, for many, a ringing affirmation of devotion to theBritish crown, the Loyalists who arrived in Canada were themselves subject to loyaltytests. Everyone who received a land grant in the British North American colonies wasrequired to take an oath of allegiance. 50 This requirement did not, however, deterAmericans in large numbers from taking advantage of the free land opened up just over theborder. By 1812 Upper Canada had some 100,000 inhabitants, of whom about 80 percentwere Americans. Loyalist Richard Cartwright had warned the lieutenant governor as earlyas 1799 of the dangers inherent in this influx. In doing so he pointed out the dubious valueof an oath as a test of faithfulness: "Now, it is not to be expected that a man will change48 Naomi Griffiths, The Acadians: Creation of a People (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1973), pp. 27, 53.49 A.L. Burt, The Old Province of Quebec, (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1968), Vol. I: 1760-1778, pp. 15-16 and 23; LeonardWoods Labaree, ed., Royal Instructions to British Colonial Governors, 1670-1776, (New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1935), Vol.1, pp. 38 and 501.50 A.L. Burt, The Old Province of Quebec, (Toronto: McClelland and Steward, 1968), Vol. II: 1778-1791, p. 80.33his political principles or prejudices by crossing a river, or that an oath of allegiance is atonce to check the bias of the mind ..." 51This flaw in the procedure notwithstanding, when war erupted in 1812 the UpperCanadian Tory elite reminded all and sundry that the oath of allegiance was binding. Butthe crisis resulted in more than simple exhortations to remember one's oath. Pre-warsuspicion and resentment of the American settlers hardened into a harsh government policyagainst recent American arrivals. Loyalty oaths were demanded of anyone of uncertainallegiance, Americans were denied patronage appointment to government posts, andimmigration from the United States was limited after 1815. Magistrates were barred fromadministering oaths of allegiance to Americans, making it impossible for them to securetitle to land. 52 This renewed application of the oath might at first appear to reaffirmCanadians' faith in it as a method to ascertain loyalty. In fact, the oath was mere trapping.At heart, the standard for political trustworthiness was country of birth. Aliens, the labelattached to recent American migrants, were automatically suspect.Given the number of people in the colony deemed suspect -- and, more important,actively penalized -- by virtue of their birthplace, it should be no surprise that the matter ofloyalty continued to be highly controversial for the next twenty-five years, and it was acontributing factor in the rebellions which shook the colony in 1837-8. A decision by theBritish courts in 1824 that anyone who remained in the United States after 1783 was nolonger a British subject stripped many people in the colony of their rights as citizens. Asaliens, they could not take the oath of allegiance and hence could neither hold land norparticipate in politics. The problem was relieved only by an 1827 directive from theBritish Colonial Secretary to the Upper Canadian Assembly to pass new legislation51 C.E. Cartwright, ed., Life and Letters of the Late Honorable Richard Cartwright (Toronto: Belford Brothers, 1876) pp. 96-7, citedin David Mills, The Idea of Loyally in Upper Canada, 1784-1850 (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988), p.21.52 ibid., p. 35.3 4allowing Americans resident from 1820 to take the oath and retain their land. 53 But it didnot determine the fate of Americans who arrived after 1828, and the problem continued tofester up to 1837 and beyond. 54By 1850, the dispute over loyalty was largely resolved, replaced by a concensusshared by both Tory and Reformer, according to David Mills, who examined the conceptof loyalty in Upper Canada in the period 1784 to 1850. 55 Loyalty to the British imperialconnection was a central tenet of this new concensus, but this loyalty was colored by anappreciation of the practical advantages of the imperial link, including investment andimmigration. Another reason why Canadians showed less preoccupation with testingloyalty in the mid-19th century was that immigration from the United States was almostnil. In these circumstances, the need for loyalty oaths significantly declined and little morewas heard of them in the 19th century.Mills contends that no further serious jitters over loyalty arose until the 1880s,when new fears were engendered by post-Confederation doubts about Canada's future. 56Before then, however, two events produced a renewed interest in ascertaining allegiance.One was a direct military threat from the United States. In the 1860s and early 1870s,Irish republicans organized into Fenian brotherhoods were drilling and collecting arms inAmerican border towns as a prelude to invading British North America. The second wasthe assassination of D'Arcy McGee by a Fenian. McGee, a Father of Confederation andan Irishman who espoused Canadian nationalism, was shot and killed near the Parliamentbuildings in Ottawa in 1868. These events provided the pretext for the first organizedsecurity intelligence activity of the Canadian government. Collecting information throughthe use of undercover agents among the Fenians, the government of Sir John A.53 ibid., pp. 39 and 44.54 Colin Read, The Rising in Western Upper Canada, 1837-8: The Duncombe Revolt and After (Toronto, Buffalo, London: Universityof Toronto Press, 1982) p. 6.55 Mills, The Idea of Loyally, p. 132.56 ibid., p. 137.3 5Macdonald used the intelligence to screen persons entering Canada or applying forgovernment positions. 57 Even if the government had been inclined to use the traditionalmethod of assessing loyalty, the oath of allegiance, the Fenian problem was not oneconducive to being resolved by such a measure. Thus, by the 1860s, Canada had begun todownplay its earlier method of assessing loyalty and gauge the reliability of citizens andcivil servants through a secret security and intelligence force which relied on clandestinemethods. True, it was a halting beginning; in 1981 the McDonald Commission reportdescribed the federal security intelligence operation before 1914 as "intermittent". 58 Butalready it was using intrusive techniques, like opening mail, which in Britain wereofficially regarded as beneath contempt until the 1880s. 59As in the United States and Britain, the First World War was a turning point inCanada's security practice. Initially, the primary security threat appeared to be thefamiliar one -- people of foreign birth. Alarmists both inside and out of the governmentwere apprehensive at the presence among a population of just 8,000,000 of some 500,000people who traced their ancestry to Germany or the Austro-Hungarian empire. While mostof the former had been long established in Canada, at least 30,000 Germans and 100,000people from the sprawling Hapsburg empire had come since 1901. At least theoretically,their allegiance to their former rulers remained. 60 These people were the focus of intensefear and scrutiny. In August 1914 the Canadian government issued a series ofproclamations addressed to Germans and Austrians which prevented military reservistsfrom leaving the country and threatened to arrest those who attempted to defy the ban, butpromised to release those who would sign an undertaking to refrain from acts of hostility.By the end of October, some 10,000 had made such an oath or had been imprisoned.57 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. I, pp. 54-5.58 ibid., p. 55.59 Porter, Origins of the Vigilant State, p. 69.60 Desmond Morton, The Canadian General: Sir William Otter (Toronto: Hakkert, 1974), p. 325.3 6Like the United States, Canada was the object of German sabotage plans in the FirstWorld War. In 1915, for instance, Franz von Papen, the military attache in the Germanembassy in Washington induced a German reserve officer to blow up the internationalbridge at Vanceboro, Maine, which linked Halifax with American munitions suppliers.The officer made a farcical and unsuccessful bid to carry out his instructions. 61 Althoughit was one of few cases of attempted or actual sabotage in Canada, 62 the attempt mustcertainly have heightened public fear. This mood had already forced the Canadiangovernment to adopt a firmer stand with enemy aliens, and in October 1914 an order-in-council required enemy aliens to report to local registrars, who made decisions aboutwhether or not to intern individuals. 63 By the end of the war over 80,000 enemy aliens hadregistered, and 8,600 more were interned. 64 In the first years of the war the internmentoperation seemed as much a way to cope with high unemployment among recentimmigrants as a security measure. 65Although internment was intended to mollify public hysteria about sabotage andespionage, it was not enough. As in the United States, amateur spy hunters found andreported sedition suspects aplenty. This caused no end of additional work for the directorof internment operations, General Sir William Otter. 66 The public also assiduouslyassumed the role of security assessors, deciding, for example, that two senior civic officialsof German origin in Toronto and London were security threats. In 1916 the Anti-GermanLeague in Toronto dedicated itself to driving Germans from the public service, exposing 20of them who had managed to cling to their jobs. 6761 Witcover, Sabotage at Black Tom, p. 68.62 OLL, Arthur Slaght, War-time Sabotage, War Emergency Bulletin No. 6 (Ontario Fire Marshall's Office: Toronto: 1940), pp. 10-11 .63 Morton, The Canadian General, pp. 326-8.64 Donald Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners": European Immigrant Workers and Labour Radicalism in Canada 1896-1932 (Toronto:McClelland and Stewart, 1979), p. 66.65 Morton, The Canadian General, pp. 328, 333-4.66 ibid., p. 334.67 ibid., pp. 327, 341.3 7As the war ground on, labour took advantage of full employment to recoup its wageand bargaining losses of the pre-war recession. 68 In Hamilton, these efforts culminated ina bitter strike at the Steel Company of Canada which divided the work force and thecommunity. Stelco management responded to the bid for better working conditions byemploying a spy system to keep track of trouble-making workers. 69 What made this novel,however, was state involvement. Imperial Munitions Board (IMB) representatives, for ashort time, acted as a clearing house for an informal blacklist system by feeding the namesof union activists to the Stelco management. IMB Chairman Sir Joseph Flavelle, however,quickly repudiated these "indiscretions" when unionists complained. 70 The Canadian statewas not ready, yet, to use security intelligence to coordinate private employers' efforts toscrutinize their workers.There is, similarly, no indication that it operated a systematic security screeningoperation for civil servants or industrial workers during the war. Indeed, as the McDonaldCommission noted, the state's security intelligence activities at the time were not wellcoordinated or centralized. By the fall of 1918 the federal government was receivingreports from four security intelligence agencies. This lack of coordination was notrectified until the Mounted Police absorbed the Dominion Police in 1920, creating a singlefederal security police agency. 71As in the United States, the labour ferment which struck Hamilton and many otherCanadian cities in the war stimulated a rash of charges that foreign agitators werefomenting trouble. 72 Disloyalty was again equated with foreign birth. But a new securitythreat had emerged. Political radicalism -- labelled at the time as Bolshevism or68 Myer Siemiatycki, "Munitions and Labour Militancy: The 1916 Hamilton Machinists' Strike," Labour/Le Travailleur 3 (1978), p.133.69 Craig Heron, "Hamilton Steelworkers and the Rise of Mass Production", Canadian Historical Papers 1982 p. 121.70 Siemiatycki, "Munitions and Labour Militancy," p. 139.71 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1, pp. 56-58.72 Siemiatycki, "Munitions and Labour Militancy," p. 144.38communism -- had by war's end assumed pre-eminence in the pantheon of demons. 73 Thenew threat would, in the estimation of RCMP historian S.W. Horrall, "lead to a completere-organization of the entire system of internal security."The security agencies and their political masters were unanimous in their hatred ofBolshevism. 75 The founding of the Communist International in March 1919, a direct resultof the Bolshevik triumph in Russia in 1917, signalled a new departure for Western securityagencies as much as it did for revolutionaries. The Soviet Union's encouragement ofworld revolution presented security agencies with an unprecedented adversary. But it alsogave them a unique opportunity to link internal dissent with a foreign threat, as the RCMPcommissioner took particular pains to point out in his 1921 report. A.B. Perry observedthat a "Communist Party of Canada" had been organized that year "under the direct ordersof the Third International at Moscow." The party's efforts at fomenting rebellion, hedeclared, represented "the execution of plans conceived outside the country, and furnishedto and imposed upon our agitators from abroad." No security intelligence agency couldfail to rise to the challenge posed by communism.The state of security screening in 1919In 1919, the Western world was at a transition point in its appreciation of loyaltytesting. The assessment method which custom and faith had deemed effective for centurieshad lost its vigor. The belief was quickly waning that a loyalty oath had the power to fusea solid bond of fidelity. In separate countries, Benjamin Franklin and Richard Cartwrighthad long before perceived this flaw. By the 20th century its ineffectiveness was obvious.In all three countries under review oaths were treated, in the words of Harold Hyman, as73 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1, p. 57.74 S.W. Horrall, "Canada's Security Service: A Brief History", RCMP Quarterly (Summer 1985), p. 43.75 Porter, Plots and paranoia, p. 142.76 RCMP, Annual Report, 1922, p. 47.39"obsolete indexes to patriotism" . 77 People still took them, although with less frequency,and much less credence was attached to their value.New conditions in the early years of the 20th century helped to undermine existingmethods and criteria of ascertaining loyalty and created a demand for a new means ofascertaining loyalty. The new method was security screening. It represented adevelopment on and improvement over oaths. Its superiority was founded upon itsobjectivity, which stood in contrast to the oath's subjectivity. For instance, the oath ofallegiance had no verification mechanism attached to it, although, as earlier indicated,astute rulers tried to ensure that a local agent was on hand to supervise the subject who hadaffirmed his loyalty. Security screening, on the other hand, relied upon confirmation ofloyalty, rather mere affirmation of it. The screening system sought to accumulate and havereadily to hand intelligence which would corroborate the subject's allegiance. Science,most particularly in the form of fingerprinting, was brought to bear on the problem ofcomparing subjects (applicants for citizenship or the civil service) with people consideredto be risks. Perhaps most importantly, the system would be operated by specialized,highly organized and centralized security intelligence agencies.One of the new conditions in the 20th century was the growth of the state and of acivil service to administer it. By the late 19th century reform was overdue in publicservices, especially in Canada, where patronage was rife. When reform did occur, itintroduced a new ethic into the appointment process. Patronage, for all its inefficiency, atleast had the advantage of ensuring that public officials were known personally to thepoliticians. The patron-client relationship at the root of patronage was strikingly feudal.The merit system of hiring, which in Canada was given a strong push by the patronageabuses of the First World War, fractured the personal relationship as the foundation of77 Hyman, To Try Men's Souls, p. 337.4 0government bureaucracy. 78 In the United States the merit system allowed the entrance ofpeople with more education into the public service for the first time. Suspicion of themharbored by politicians and their constituents probably hardened as they attained influencewithin the government. 79 So a larger, impersonal and educated civil service which nolonger had a personal relationship to political parties might, plausibly, have contributed tothe perceived need for some better way to determine loyalty than oaths.The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 also helped to bring on a revision in the methodof ascertaining and ensuring loyalty. It did so by challenging the existing focal point ofloyalty. Proletarian internationalism now proffered a new object of veneration. Workers'true devotion ought not to be lodged with a monarch or a nation but with the worldrevolution, whose standard bearer was the Soviet Union. The Kellock-Taschereau RoyalCommission, which in 1946 investigated the Gouzenko revelations, captured well what hadtroubled Western leaders for three decades:[T]he courses of study in the [communist] 'cells' undermine gradually theloyalty of the young man or woman who joins them ... In some cases theeffect of these study courses seems to be a gradual development of a senseof divided loyalties, or in extreme cases[,] of a transferred loyalty. ...Thus it seems to happen that through these study-groups some adherents ...transfer a part or most of their loyalties to another country ...soThis sense of transferred loyalty, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee concluded in 1948,"can be inimical to the State." 81 Speaking in 1944, United States Civil ServiceCommissioner Arthur Flemming carried the issue of a communist's loyalty to its extremeconclusion, declaring that78 Jeffrey Simpson, Spoils of Power: The Politics of Patronage (Toronto: Collins, 1988), pp. 126-7.79 Edward Shils, The Torment of Secrecy: The Background and Consequences of American Security Policies (Glencoe,^The FreePress, 1956), p. 124.80 Canada, Royal Commission to investigate the facts relating to and the circumstances surrounding the communication, by publicofficials and other persons in positions of trust of secret and confidential information to agents of a foreign power, Report (HereinafterKellock-Taschereau Commission, Report) (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1946), pp. 72-3.81 Cited in Anthony A. Thompson, Big Brother in Britain Today (London: Michael Joseph, 1970), p. 62.41A member of the Communist Party or a follower of the Communist Partyline has clearly indicated that his primary loyalty is to a foreign politicalgroup owing its allegiance to a foreign government, and that there istherefore a strong presumption in favor of his willingness to take stepsdesigned to overthrow our Constitutional form of Government if directed todo so. 82According to this way of thinking, adherents of communism had transferred more thantheir loyalty; they had placed their rationality and will in the hands of a foreign power.Asking such a devotee to affirm loyalty to his or her own capitalist government was at bestfutile, at worst, dangerous.Not only was the established method of loyalty testing shattered by the radicallynew conditions which emerged before the First World War, the established criteria ofloyalty had changed. Defining what constitutes a legitimate threat to security and fixingcriteria for assessing an individual's actions in the light of this definition had been aconsistent security screening problem throughout the centuries. As evidenced by the oathsadministered in Upper Canada during the 1820s, the authorities' belief about whorepresented a threat was sometimes more important than the oath itself.Almost constantly throughout the period before 1919 foreign birth was a reliablecriterion of suspicion, even in a country like Britain where immigration was relativelysmall. This extreme fear of foreigners was perhaps most vehemently expressed inDecember 1915 by American President Woodrow Wilson, who inveighed against "citizens... born under other flags .. who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteriesof our national life." 83 Even as this obsession was peaking, however, it was beingundermined by a new fear, requiring a different, and much more subtle, criterion ofdisloyalty -- ideology. Moreover, this new definition of disloyalty challenged allconventional methods for identifying dissidents. No-one has phrased this more succinctlythan RCMP historian S.W. Horrall:82 Cited in John Scheer, Loyalty in America (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1957), p. 132.83 Cited in Gabriel Kolko, Main Currents in Modern American History (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), p. 30.42In the past, disloyalty was usually associated with a person's racial origin,religion, language, or social class, characteristics not easy to hide. Thecommitment to Marx was an ideological one. The converts came fromevery race, social group, profession and creed. If necessary, theirconversion could easily be kept from sight."No litmus test existed to analyze a person's thoughts and place them on the politicalspectrum. The mission for security intelligence agencies was to devise one.This transformation in the criteria of disloyalty corresponded with larger socialchanges: following the rapid influx of Europeans before World War One, immigration toCanada and the United States fe11. 85 The easy equation of foreign birth with disloyalty wasnot only no longer possible, it was no longer useful. 86 The crude reductionism that foreignbirth equaled disloyalty came into doubt. But this gave security screeners no easier work.If anything, it complicated their task, since it demanded more complex criteria of loyalty.That challenge would be perhaps the weightiest problem for security screening during thenext half century. 87By the end of the First World War, then, the flaws in the established loyalty testingmethod and the familiar criteria of disloyalty called for a substantial reform of the bodiescharged with assessing political reliability. This did not mean a new interest by the state; italways had sought to ensure its own survival. However, as Hinsley and Simkins point out,preserving security was previously a chore performed "informally, not to say casually, atthe margin of the main machinery of state, by authorities whose activities were shielded84 Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 45.85 Kolko, Main Currents, pp. 92-93 and Barbara Roberts, Whence They Came: Deportation from Canada 1900-1935 (Ottawa:University of Ottawa Press, 1988), p. 38.86 Even the crudest of security assessors perceived the change -- consciously or unconsciously. Senator Joseph McCarthy wasdistinguished from all previous right-wing demagogues by the fact that he denounced no specific racial, ethnic or religious group.Disloyalty, for McCarthy, was synonymous with communism, and it was a vice of choice, not of birth. See Caute, The Great Fear, p.21.87 In 1957 John Schaar concluded from his examination of the American security screening experience that "the program washampered by ambiguity, vacillation, and indecision" because "no authority ... has yet ... taken the time and trouble to define themeaning of loyalty, prescribe reliable criteria for determining its presence or absence in a particular human container, and elaborate therelations between loyalty and security." Schaar, Loyalty in America, p. 134 In the breach, communist affiliation made do.4 3from popular curiosity. " 88 In the 20th century security moved from the margins of thestate to assume a more central place within it.That was but one new feature which emerged by 1919. Another initiative was theamalgamation of the myriad security units, divisions and branches into a single,coordinated, centralized security agency. Proliferation of security efforts plagued Britain,the United States and Canada before and during the war. In each country the state took theopportunity during the war or immediately at its end to set up a single security unit. InBritain P.M.S.2 was closed and its work was given to existing security organizations. InCanada centralization took place in 1920, with the reorganization of the Royal CanadianMounted Police. Improving security intelligence was one of the principal reasons for therestructuring. 89 The FBI carved a niche for itself in World War One by investigating andcataloguing the political opinions of Americans, then followed up by founding itsIntelligence Division in August 1919. J. Edgar Hoover, its first director, had, since 1917,been in charge of counter-radical activity as Special Assistant to the Attorney Genera1. 90In the United States, a tradition of amateur security investigation persisted into the20th century. But even there security screening as an individual endeavor began to betaken over by organizations. 91 The efficacy of human agents and amateur efforts toenforce discipline and loyalty became at best suspect. Unpaid local officials wereinadequate to the task of being the eyes, ears and hands of the security apparatus. 92 Insome cases they acted subjectively. In some places they were simply too vulnerable to88 Hinsley and Simkins, British Intelligence: Volume Four, p. 3.89 CSIS Access 117-90-107, Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," (Ottawa: RCMP Historical Section, 1978), p. 354. Oncea researcher has obtained documents under the Act, they are effectively open. Other researchers may therefore obtain the samematerial by citing the appropriate Access number. Hereinafter these sources will be listed by government department or agency andAccess request number.90 Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, pp. 36, 71, 113; Homer Cummings and Carl McFarland, Federal Justice:Chapters in the History of Justice and the Federal Executive (New York: Macmillan, 1937), p. 429.91 One could make a case that McCarthy was an aberrant violation of the trend, and that his demise was the inevitable end of anorganizational maverick.92 Cited in Roger Price, "Techniques of Repression: The control of popular protest in mid-nineteeth-century France," The HistoricalJournal 25, no. 4 (1982), p. 864.44retaliation from neighbors, and they often shared local hostility to central authority. Intimes of crisis they were likely to side with their fellows. 93 Similarly, by 1920 RCMPCommissioner A.B. Perry, "the Father of Canada's present Security Service," had lostfaith in ordinary citizens as a reliable source of intelligence. Local police were alsodistrusted because of their flirtation with unions." The dubious trustworthiness andvulnerability of human agents -- especially unpaid ones -- demonstrated the need to makesecurity intelligence agencies more professional, bureaucratic and regular. Thisdevelopment was already occurring within public services. Paying police officialsprovided some guarantee of consistency, efficiency and loyalty.By World War One state agencies in Britain, the United States and Canada hadbegun to cooperate by sharing intelligence and experience in security methods. There weresome exceptions to this trend: Britain ran agents in Canada in the war, and Canada did thesame in the United States. 95 But as Horrall has observed about the RCMP, the warstimulated "closer links with British and American security agencies than ever before." 96After the war, the level of co-operative action between the three North Atlantic countriescontinued to grow. For instance, at least for a time all three countries kept and circulatedinventories of immigrants rejected for political reasons, radicals deported and knownBolsheviks. 97The newly centralized state security agencies were also well placed to adoptscientific methods to aid their work. This movement corresponded to a trend in industrialsociety which had been going on for years. Visions of applying technology to the problemof creating a new security method were not new. One American suggested in 1873 thatCongress offer "a reward for the discovery of an invention which would provide a proper93 ibid., pp. 859-861.94 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 352.95 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1, p. 57.96 Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 43.97 Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners", p. 118.45way of determining loyalty." 98 In the 1830s the French police had moved with thechanging times to embrace card indexes and the classifications systems of business. 99Other security agencies followed. The second directive issued by the RNWMPcommissioner after it assumed new security duties in 1918 was to establish acomprehensive system of security records on radical organizations and individuals.m Oneof the innovations introduced to the FBI's radical-hunting division by J. Edgar Hoover wasa card index of suspects.loi By 1919 it contained some 200,000 names. 102 But Hoover'sunique gift to security work was the introduction of a scientific tool which initially seemedof greatest value for criminal identification -- fingerprinting.98 Hyman, Era of the Oath, p. 151.99 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Allan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), p. 281.100 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 318.101 Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, p. 90.102 Cummings and McFarland, Federal Justice, p. 429.Chapter 2The political technology of the body: Fingerprinting to 1939On 22 October 1931, when he ordered the fingerprinting of all members of theRoyal Canadian Mounted Police, Commissioner Major General Sir J.H. MacBrienexpected some of the resistance but probably few of the remarkable consequences of hisact.' Why he issued the directive is not recorded, but the conditions surrounding hisdecision provide some clues. A war hero who brought considerable political influencewith him, MacBrien was a forceful modernizing leader of the Force. 2 Then just threemonths into his tenure as commissioner, MacBrien saw himself as a new broom. TheRCMP had been established as a police force with military regulations and strict discipline.MacBrien would maintain that tradition, but he would also sweep the Force into thescientific age. It was a curious anomaly that a corps which by 1931 had 25 years ofexperience in fingerprinting, and which prided itself on selecting only the finest, mostdedicated young men, did not already make a basic check on the backgrounds of itsrecruits by comparing their fingerprints to those in the Fingerprint Section at headquarters.MacBrien also had reason to believe that the Communist Party was seeking to slip itsmembers into the RCMP. 3 Fingerprinting might help detect these infiltrators. Moreover,1 National Archives of Canada (NAC), RG 18, Acc 83-84/321, Box 25, File 234-2, Circular Memorandum No. 173, 22 October 1931.2 S.W. Horrall, The Pictorial History of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1973), pp. 195-197.3 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 435.464 7the RCMP had only the month before begun regular fingerprinting of new civil serviceappointees, seeking to bar criminals from "appointments ... where integrity andtrustworthiness are prime essentials." 4 Why should the men guarding the purity of the civilservice not also be scrutinized?Still, anticipating internal opposition, the commissioner allowed the Mounties toobject to the procedure, with explanation. At least four members of the Force did so.Among them was Detective Sergeant C.C. Brown of Saskatoon, who wrote:The idea of having my finger-prints taken is repugnant to me. Having beenclosely associated with criminal work for a long period, the fact of beingfinger-printed is identified in my mind with crime. I have always felt that aman's personality suffered through the process. 5Brown's belief that fingerprinting was degrading, a humiliation which ought not to beinflicted upon a non-criminal, was seconded by another officer. Corporal R.M. Woodcalled the process "an indignity, submission to which would be most repugnant." 6There is higher irony still in the opposition of another Saskatchewan RCMP officer.Sergeant Alexander Drysdale, stationed in Prince Albert, wrote a detailed memo citing fivereasons for his objection. "Fingerprints are associated in my mind, with Crime andCriminals," he declared. Drysdale did not know it then, but as the officer in charge of theIntelligence Branch from 1941 to 1944, he would help direct a security screening monoliththat would collect some two millions fingerprint files from his fellow citizens. 7 He mayhave had some premonition of later events, for in his 1931 memo he placed one caveat onhis own rejection of non-criminal fingerprinting: "I can see no good reason in having such4 CSIS Access 87-A-39, Foran to MacBrien, 28 September 1931 and MacBrien to Foran, 9 November 1931.5 NAC, RG 18, Acc 83-84/321 Box 25, File 234-2, Brown to the Officer Commanding Saskatchewan District, 14 November 1931.Emphasis mine.6 ibid., Wood to Officer Commanding Saskatchewan District, 17 January 1932. It is not clear why all the recorded cases of officersrefusing to submit to fingerprinting were in the Saskatoon sub-district of Saskatchewan.7 RCMP, Annual Report 1941, p. 56, 1946; CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence and Liaison Section Annual Report, 1941.4 8record taken, except in time of war ..." 8 A decade later a similar sentiment must havemade hundreds of thousands of other Canadians, who shared Drysdale's aversion to theprocess, place the unique identification marks of their fingertips onto a registration form tobe sent to the RCMP.Commissioner MacBrien's fingerprinting directive produced another shock. Asidefrom the written dissent of the four officers, objection within the RCMP to fingerprintingalso took the form of passive resistance. In March of the next year, the officer in chargeof the Fingerprint Section reported a very slow response from several RCMP detachments.The foot-dragging might have been based on more than principle. Among those RCMPofficers who had already submitted their fingerprints, two were discovered to have criminalrecords. 9 Even some members of Canada's premier police force had dubious pasts, pastsrelentlessly exposed by the fingerprinting process.In their objection to fingerprinting and their belief that the process violated thempsychologically, these RCMP officers voiced a conviction held by many people of the day.This indignity was for criminals; imposing it upon men and women convicted of seriouscrime was acceptable, but forcing it on others was intolerable. Attitudes have changedlittle. Today, fingerprinting is widely regarded as abhorrent because of its criminalconnotations. 10 It is seen as an investigatory tool employed by police after a crime hasbeen committed. Its history, however, contradicts its image as a purely forensic practice.Years before it was used in Canada, fingerprinting was devised and implemented inIndia. In Britain's most prized colony, 19th century administrators had a pressingproblem: how to keep tabs on subject peoples whose allegiance to their European mastersremained dubious. Fingerprinting offered a solution -- a scientifically-grounded, unerring8 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3462, File 0-252 (Vol. 1) Personal file of Drysdale, Alexander, Drysdale to Officer Commanding Saskatoon SubDistrict, 31 October 1931. Emphasis mine.9 NAC, RG 18, Acc 83-84/321 Box 25, File 234-2, Kemp to the Director, CIB, 11 March 1932.10 "New credit card security system scans shoppers' veins," Globe and Mail, 29 December 1988, p. B11.49system to identify individuals. In its service to British imperialism, fingerprintingrepresented the application of scientific knowledge to attain greater political control. Onceestablished, its focus shifted somewhat, so that it became known as a criminal procedure.Nevertheless, it did not entirely lose its political character, and in Canada it became acentral element, indeed the very heart, of the RCMP's security screening system beforeand during the Second World War. Understanding the security screening system requires aprior grasp of fingerprinting.The history and scientific foundation of fingerprintingIn the 1850s, India was as much the thorn as the jewel in the crown of the BritishEmpire. Open rebellion, seen in the great mutiny of 1857, was merely one problem. Lessdramatic but also troublesome was the difficulty of administering a land so populous, sodifferent from Britain and so ethnically and religiously diverse. One of the Raj's greatburdens was the predicament of how to keep track of the 300 million people in the colony.Sir William Herschel, the chief administrator for the Hooghly district of Bengal in the1850s, was particularly concerned about the effect of personal anonymity in dailycommerce. A later commentator described his problem in this way:Herschell [sic] found that among the three hundred millions of brown-skinned natives, it was almost impossible to prevent fraud and deception inbusiness matters. To an European, practically all natives looked alike. Fewof them could sign their names and the commercial affairs of that great landwere in dire confusion."For British imperial officials this inability to distinguish individuals among the Indianmasses posed a profound challenge, especially for the day-to-day control necessary tocolonial administration.I I NAC, File 1920-(139) International Association for Identification Minutes - 1920, A.J. Renoe, "The Commercial Value of Fingerprints," pp. 24-26. Emphasis mine.50Seeing the difficulty first-hand, Herschel began to experiment with fingerprints,which held out the promise of being able to place a unique mark on each one of thosemillions of people so faceless to their rulers. 12 In fingerprinting, Herschel was pursuing anidentification technique with a lengthy past. For centuries fingerprints had been regardedin India "as incontrovertible signatures to documents of value." 13 But Herschel's challengewas to attach scientific authority to fingerprinting. He did that, in part, by demonstratingthat a person's fingerprints do not change from birth to death. 14 By the 1870s Herschelhad a method sufficiently reliable that he was able to introduce it in several departments ofthe Hooghly district administration. But his suggestion that it be more widely applied wasrejected, possibly because of the lack of an accompanying classification system. 15 Fromthe beginning Herschel's experimentation was aimed at establishing fingerprinting as amethod to deal with an identification problem, not as a forensic investigation tool, as weoften regard it today. 16Sir Francis Galton also made a prolonged study of the subject and published a bookabout fingerprints in 1892. Galton's demonstration that there was a minimal risk of errorin basing identifications on fingerprints was an important contribution to its eventual use.But Galton only partially addressed a significant drawback to the use of fingerprints: theneed for a foolproof classification system. 17 This flaw prompted studies by another Britishadministrator in India, Sir Edward Henry.12 Herschel first used palm prints to enforce a commercial contract, demanding that a road construction contractor affix his palm printalong with his signature to ensure that an obligation to the state would be fulfilled. He later gravitated toward fingerprinting as a moreadaptable system. See Sir Percival Griffiths, To Guard My People: The History of the Indian Police (London: Ernest Benn, 1971), p.334.13 The Times, 21 February 1931, p. 7.14 John Berry, "The History and Development of Fingerprinting," in Advances in Fingerprint Technology, ed. Henry C. Lee and R.E.Gaensslen (New York and Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1991), p. 25.15 U.S., Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fingerprint Identification (1986), p. 3. E.H. Henry wrote that it wasrejected at the time because it "had not then been sufficiently popularized ..." Griffiths, To Guard My People, p. 334, citing E.R.Henry, The Classification and Uses of Fingerprints (London: 1900), p. 4.16 Berry, The History and Development of Fingerprint," p. 25.17 The Times, 21 February 1931, p. 7.51Although he later gained fame as Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police,Henry spent the first 20 years of his career in the Indian Civil service as a magistrate, taxcollector and secretary to the Board of Revenue. In these posts he doubtless encounteredthe same frustrations which encouraged Herschel to look into fingerprinting. In 1891,when he was appointed Inspector-General of Police in Bengal, Henry assigned two of hisIndian employees, K.B. Aziz ul-Haque and R.B.H.C. Bose, the task of perfecting andimplementing the fingerprint classification system which today bears Henry's name. In1897, the Indian government, satisfied by his trials, officially adopted fingerprinting andthe Henry classification system as a criminal identification method." In 1901, followingthe recommendation of a secretary of state's commission of inquiry, fingerprinting wasalso adopted for the same purpose in England and Wales. 19 The same year, Henry becameAssistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard), in charge ofthe Criminal Investigation Department. Significantly, one of his duties in London was tomaintain surveillance of Indian revolutionaries in Britain and on the European continent. 20In this task his identification expertise from India must have been extremely beneficial. In18 "Criminal" must be understood in a broad way. For example, in 1871 the Madras state administration passed the Criminal TribesAct (amended in 1911), which designated certain tribes as criminal. David Arnold indicates that "In one way or another these 'criminaltribes' were at odds with an expanding and assertive economic and administrative order." The act provided for special settlements to beset up for such tribes, confinement which a 1946 provincial inquiry compared to Nazi concentration camps. Members of the tribe wererequired to register and be fingerprinted. Refusal to submit to fingerprinting itself constituted a criminal offence, punishable by sixmonths' imprisonment or a fine of Rs 200 or both. David Arnold, Police Power and Colonial Rule: Madras 1859-1947 (Delhi: OxfordUniversity Press, 1986), pp. 142-4.19 FBI, Fingerprint Identification, p. 4.20 Richard Popplewell, "The Surveillance of Indian Revolutionaries in Great Britain and on the Continent, 1905-14," Intelligence andNational Security 3, no. 1 (January 1988): 57. Henry is an outstanding example of what E.P. Thompson calls the "feed-back ofimperialism ... to the streets of the imperial capital itself." Describing an earlier chief commissioner of the London MetropolitanPolice, Sir Charles Warren, Thompson writes that "he reminds us of the inter-recruitment, cross-posting, and exchange of bothideology and experience between those who learned to handle crowds, invigilate subversives, and engage in measures of 'pacification'in the external empire, and those who struggled with the Labour Problem, the Unemployed Question, the Women Problem, andsometimes just the People Problem, at home." State Research Working Group, Review of Security and the State 1978 (London: JulianFriedmann, 1978), p. v. The words equally apply to Henry.Bernard Porter points out that the connection between the British Empire and the early British secret service is strong. Manysenior officers of the security services were recruited from colonial, and usually colonial military, backgrounds. Henry was merely partof a long line. The one exception to this was self-governing dominions such as Canada and Australia, from whom Britain acquired nosecret police or espionage chiefs. Bernard Porter, Plots and Paranoia, p. 124.521903 he became commissioner, a position he held until the unprecedented London policestrike of August 1918 forced his resignation. 21Fingerprinting was not the only procedure developed in the 19th century whichturned science to the interests of identification and social control. Another was theBertillon system. It was also devised as a way to take identification out of the hands offallible humans and place it into the realm of infallible science. Police in the 19th centuryrelied on expert personal identifiers, much like the factory recognizers who monitored theworkers of Britain's National Filling Factory No. 7 in the First World War. Policeidentifiers became remarkably proficient at recalling the faces of wanted persons. But itwas time-consuming work which relied greatly on intuition. To replace it, in the 1870s theFrench anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon began working on an identification system basedon a complex variety of measurements of the human body. It was introduced publicly in1880 and began to be employed by police in northern Europe very quickly. 22 By 1886 itwas in use in the United States. The method briefly gained favor there after 1893 when theChicago police adopted it as a way to identify the criminals who were expected to preyupon people attending the Chicago World's Fair. 23For a short time at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries theBertillon and Henry systems were used simultaneously, each having its advocates. ButBertillon measurements were both difficult to take and complex. Moreover, criminals didnot conveniently leave their Bertillon figures at the scene of a crime. The competitionbetween the systems was dramatically resolved in 1903. By a co-incidence whichastonished police, two prisoners at Leavenworth jail in Kansas were found to have identicalBertillon measurements. The same striking similarity was evident in photographs of thetwo, Will West and William West. Yet the two men were manifestly not the same person,21 The Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940 (London: Oxford University Press, 1940), pp. 421-2.22 The Times, 21 February 1931, p. 7; FBI, Fingerprint Identification, p. 6.23 Renoe, "The Commercial Value of Finger prints", p. 23.53and they claimed to be unrelated. When the fingerprints of the two were taken andcompared, the patterns bore no resemblance. Fingerprinting had been able to distinguishone from the other, while the Bertillon method had not. The Bertillon system neverrecovered its credibility. Moreover, the case gained a prominent place in police lore aboutthe infallibility of fingerprinting. 24 Within a matter of years fingerprinting completelyreplaced the Bertillon method. 25The Henry fingerprint classification system, with some modifications andextensions, is still in use today. The system relies on two facts: 1) that it is possible,using a magnifying glass, to distinguish and count the individual identifying points on eachfingerprint, mainly the pattern of ridges and other distinguishing points called minutiae;and 2) that all fingerprint patterns can be placed into one of five categories -- arches, tentedarches, whorls, ulnar loops (a loop slanted towards the ulnar bone, the large bone on theoutside of the wrist of that hand) and radial loops (a loop slanted towards the radial bone inthe wrist of that hand).The analysis of each set of fingerprints is a six-step classification process. Eachstep leads to increasingly detailed categories into which a fingerprint may be placed. Forexample, one frequently-occurring primary classification contains over 25 percent of thetotal number of prints. Hence, when a print falls into one such large group it is necessaryto complete the classification to greater levels of detail. 26 Numbers and letters are assignedat each of the six classification steps, and the result is an alpha-numeric classification code.A typical Henry description of one person's ten fingerprints might be:12^M^9^R^OIO 11 S^1^R24 FBI, Fingerprint Identification, p. 7.25 NAC, File 1920-(139) International Association for Identification Minutes - 1920, pp. 23-24.26 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Science of Fingerprints: Classification and Uses (Washington,D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984), pp. 80-82, 83.54The formula resulting from the classification process is usually sufficient to identify a smallnumber of fingerprints with similar characteristics, or even one fingerprint set. In somecases, for an exact identification, detailed study of each individual print is necessary. 27In the inter-war period, fingerprinting and forensic science were almostsynonymous. When police referred to the application of science to their work theyfrequently spoke of fingerprinting. It was "one of the most important branches of criminalinvestigation." 28 Fingerprinting was featured regularly on the pages of elite scientificjournals -- such as Scientific American (where it was the subject of 25 articles and lettersbetween 1910 and 1940), Science and the British-based Nature -- and in mass-circulationAmerican magazines -- such as Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. With theestablishment of the RCMP Quarterly in 1933, fingerprinting was the subject of fivearticles in the first six years of publication, far more than any other forensic method. 29 Inthe late 1930s, when fingerprinting was linked with the newest and most powerfulinformation technology of the day, electro-mechanical tabulating equipment, it was seen tobe doubly potent. So integral did the words "science" and "fingerprinting" become that thelatter has taken on a generic meaning, used broadly to describe a range of scientificidentification techniques. For example, the modem forensic science of analyzing thedistinctive DNA in samples of body fluids and hair is called "genetic fingerprinting". 30Fingerprinting enjoyed such status because it was scientifically based. It traced itscredibility to two essential developments. First, experimentation proved that no twopeople had the same fingerprints. Second, it was bolstered by an alphanumericclassification system which held out the prospect of certain identification. If a person hadever been fingerprinted, an expert could, without fail, match that record with a new set of27 ibid. p. 103.28 "Fingerprint Identification Devices," Scientific American 147, no. 3 (September 1932), p. 177.29 Survey of RCMP Quarterly from 1933 to 1938.30 The Globe and Mail 14 October 1991, p. A7.55prints from the same person, or distinguish the prints on record from those of a differentperson.As Richard Ericson and Clifford Shearing point out, science is an importantideological prop for the police. Science holds "special powers of construing the truthwhich reduce complexity to statements of authoritative certainty. " 31 It also lessensunpredictability. Certainty is much sought after in police practice since the endeavour isplagued by mystery, unresolved crimes, conflicting stories and dubious witnesses. Securityintelligence agencies face similar difficulties and therefore would also have great use for atool which promises to enhance their certainty and authority. Science also helps the policelegitimize their authority by making them appear to be "technical agents of scientificrationality rather than instruments of particular interests and a morality reflecting thoseinterests. " 32 As the foremost police science during the inter-war era, fingerprinting playeda vital part in lending authority to the police.Michel Foucault's study of the changes in the nature of discipline and punishmentduring the past three centuries suggests another fruitful way of looking at the scientificaspect of fingerprinting. In Discipline and Punish Foucault speaks about the subjugation ofthe human body which helps mold people into willing or unwilling participants in thecapitalist economy. This pressure is applied not only through "instruments of violence andideology" but also through science. Discipline, he contends,may be calculated, organized, technically thought out; it may be subtle,make use neither of weapons nor of terror and yet remain of a physicalorder. That is to say, there may be a 'knowledge' of the body that is notexactly the science of its functioning, and a mastery of its forces that is morethan the ability to conquer them: this knowledge and this mastery constitutewhat might be called the political technology of the body. 3331 Richard Ericson and Clifford Shearing, "The Scientification of Police Work," in The Knowledge Society: The Growing Impact ofScientific Knowledge on Social Relations, ed. Gernot Bohme and Nico Stehr (Dordrecht, Holland and Boston: D Reidel, 1986), pp.132-3.32 ibid., p. 133.33 Foucault, Discipline and Punish, p. 26.56There is no better example of a political technology of the body than fingerprinting. It is atechnology which constructs a meaningful social map from the apparently random tangle oflines on people's fingertips. Today fingerprinting is one of many such technologies. Butbeginning at the turn of the 20th century, when it demonstrated its mastery over theBertillon system, fingerprinting was the political technology of the body. It kept thatexalted status for half a century, enjoying a singular authority in the minds of public andpolice alike.Development of fingerprintingOnce it gained a cachet of scientific authority through perfections in itsclassification system and by demonstrating its superiority over rival identification methods,fingerprinting rapidly spread among police forces in Britain, the United States and Canada.Under Sir Edward Henry, Scotland Yard established the world's first central fingerprintrepository, the Finger Print Bureau. 34 Scotland Yard was more than willing to share itsknowledge of such a valuable police instrument. The first overseas student to receiveinstruction in fingerprinting there was a lieutenant in the New York City policedepartmentDespite this early interest among American policemen, Canada created the firstcentral fingerprint repository in North America. The founding spirit of the CanadianCriminal Identification Bureau (CCIB) was Edward Foster, who went on to become aninspector in the RCMP and the head of its Finger Print Section. Foster was an enthusiast,a tireless promoter of fingerprinting. By a stroke of good fortune he attended the firstlecture on fingerprinting given in North America. A Scotland Yard expert, Sergeant JohnFerrier, presented a paper on the subject to the International Association of Chiefs of34 ibid., P. 6.35 Frederick R. Cherrill, The Finger Print System at Scotland Yard: A Practical Treatise on Finger Print Identification for the Use ofStudents and Experts and a Guide for Investigators when Dealing with Imprints left at the Scenes of Crime (London: Her Majesty'sStationery Office, 1954), p. 8.57Police in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. At the same time, Foster, then a constable in theDominion Police, was helping to guard a Canadian display of gold at the St. Louis World'sFair. Infected by Ferrier's passion, Foster became an avid fingerprint student andadvocate. 36 He spent his off-duty hours in St. Louis immersed in the intricacies of theprocess. When he returned to Ottawa, Foster pressed for the establishment of both anational bureau and a Chief Constables' Association which would promote interest infingerprinting throughout the country. His zeal paid off. The Canadian Chief Constables'Association was inaugurated in 1905, and in 1911 the CCIB was formed by an order incouncil of the federal cabinet. 37Thanks to his own preparatory work Foster had a collection of 2,042 fingerprints,mostly of federal prison inmates, at the bureau's founding. 38 Police departments in largeCanadian cities began to contribute fingerprints, and by 1919 there were 69,622 sets in thebureau. Exchanges of fingerprints with British and American authorities also began. In1915, 29 prints were received from the United States, rising to 952 sets in 1919. 39Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Identification Division was not establisheduntil 1924, by the 1930s, the exchange of fingerprints between the two countries, eventhose of minor offenders, had become routine:40 Regular exchanges of fingerprintsbetween Canada and Britain occurred by the early 1920s, with the RCMP providingfingerprints and photographs of people deported from Canada as criminals. 41When the Dominion Police was absorbed by the RCMP in 1920, the bureau and itscollection of thousands of sets of fingerprints went with it, and Inspector Foster remained36 Berry, "The History and Development of Fingerprinting," p. 35.37 Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Fifty Years of Fingerprinting: The RCMP Identification Branch (np, nd) [first published in theRCMP Quarterly, January 19611, pp. 1-2.38 ibid., p. 4.39 NAC, File 1920-(139) International Association for Identification Minutes 1920, Inspector James Anderson, "Finger PrintIdentification in Canada," pp. 31-32.40 Eugene B. Block, Fingerprinting: A Magic Weapon Against Crime (New York: David McKay, 1969), pp. 119-20.41 NAC, RG 76, Vol. 568, File 812274, Blair to Smith, 24 Nov. 1922; RG 18, Volume 3754, File G-516-26-1, Minutes of ChiefConstables' Association of Canada (CCAC), 1928.58as officer in command until he retired in 1932. It was known as the Fingerprint Section(FPS) throughout the 1930s and well into the Second World War. During this time it waswithin the Criminal Investigation Branch, along with sections like Firearms, ModusOperandi and the RCMP Gazette, a bulletin disseminated only among police forces. In1944 an internal reorganization spawned a new Identification Branch incorporatingfingerprinting and other aspects of criminal identification. 42The RCMP worked constantly to improve its fingerprinting techniques, and oftendid so in consultation with local and foreign police forces. In the 1920s, for instance,Inspector Foster pioneered a method of sending fingerprint information by wire. Thisinnovation helped disseminate awareness of fingerprint procedures, improved thecommunication between police forces in Western Canada and the CCIB in Ottawa andlinked local police forces more closely to the RCMP. 43 News about equipment was alsocirculated among police forces in several countries. 44 Fingerprinting's status as "the one[identification] method common to all countries" made it a singular part of internationalpolice co-operation, RCMP Commissioner Wood told an International Association forIdentification conference in Washington in September 1937. 45 By the eve of the SecondWorld War, the RCMP had built up a considerable bank of knowledge and lore aboutfingerprinting. 46The law concerning fingerprintingThe development of this new identification technique and its adoption by policewere quickly followed by legislative recognition of it. In Canada a 1908 order in counciladded a regulation to the 1898 Identification of Criminals Act giving police the power to42 RCMP, Fifty Years of Fingerprinting, pp. 1, 6, 11.43 NAC, RG 18, Acc 84-85/084, File G-516-26-1 (Vol. 1 Supplement), Report on the 1927 annual convention of the CCAC andsynopsis of the 1929 CCAC annual convention.44 NAC, RG 18, Acc 85-86/048 Box 54, File S-955-4(1961), Jennings to MacBrien, 15 July 1932.45 RCMP Quarterly 5, no. 3 (January 1938), p. 175.46 NAC, RG 18, Acc 85-86/574 Box 9, File G-537- 1, Wood to Commissioner, 8 August 1939.59fingerprint. 47 Aside from similar subsequent orders in council changing regulationsassociated with the 1898 act, the Identification of Criminals Act has not been changed tothe present day. 48The quick legal sanction given to fingerprinting, however, yielded long-termfrustration for the police. The act allowed police to fingerprint people, but in severelylimited circumstances. A person could be fingerprinted only if he or she were chargedwith or convicted of an indictable offence. An indictable offence, more serious than apetty crime (a summary offence), is one which is punishable by two or more years inprison. Being associated with serious crime gave fingerprinting a stigma of criminality.The popular distaste for the procedure which emerged persists to today. 49Authorities' ambitions for fingerprintingHaving adopted fingerprinting, Scotland Yard eagerly promoted the system. AfterFerrier spoke enthusiastically about it at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, it swiftlyswept the United States and Canada. Police in all three countries came to hold it in highesteem. Within a decade it became an internationally-accepted identification technology.The rapid spread of information about it also led to a common attitude towards its potentialand the need for public acceptance of it. Organizations such as the InternationalAssociation for Identification, formed in 1915, and the International Association of Chiefsof Police, preached the virtues of fingerprinting, urging all police forces to adopt it, toexchange both fingerprints and details about its use, and to proselytize it among the public.By the 1920s police forces in different countries were beginning to chafe at thedisparity between fingerprinting's potential and the legal constraints on its use. Police47 R.S.C. 1927 Chapter 38, p. 1097; NAC, RG 18, Acc 84-85/84 Box 30, File G-516-26-1 Vol. 1, Aylesworth to the GovernorGeneral in Council, 15 March 1911.48 Department of Justice Access A87-00067, letter to Solicitor General of Canada, 1 Sept. 1982 and 8 Nov. 1982 reply; NAC, RG 18Accession 84-85/084, File G-516-26-1 (Vol. 2), Wonnacott to Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, London, 9 Sept. 1946.49 The Globe and Mail, 29 Dec. 1988, p. B11.6 0officials were convinced that nothing but good could result from fingerprinting much moreliberally than the existing laws allowed, and many of them pressed for compulsory,universal fingerprinting." Some governments moved quickly to seize the opportunitypresented by fingerprinting. An international police conference in New York City in May1925, where universal fingerprinting was promoted, heard that all Argentinians wererequired to carry an identity book with fingerprints. 51 But in Britain, the United States andCanada laws remained restrictive.In Britain and the United States police became fingerprint enthusiasts. ScotlandYard campaigned to gain the right to fingerprint people arrested for virtually any crime. 52Yet the stigma of fingerprinting was so intense that police officers in Oxford were preparedto be fired, and were, rather than themselves submit to fingerprinting in 1939. 53Probably the most zealous fingerprint advocate of all was the head of the FBI, J.Edgar Hoover. After 1924, when the FBI's central fingerprint repository was created,Hoover urged police throughout the country to fingerprint everyone they thought it"desirable to fingerprint" and send the prints to the FBI. 54 Hoover's efforts to promotemass fingerprinting took on the air of a personal crusade. He travelled the country tospread the word to local policemen, delivering testimonials in the style of "a Rotary Clubbusiness man." Under him, the FBI sent out instructions to city detectives and townsheriffs alike telling them how to take proper fingerprints and what equipment they needed.It mailed out millions of eight by eight inch fingerprint cards that became not only theAmerican but also an international standard. 55 Hoover had a belief in the power of50 Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Canadian Police Bulletin, 1928, pp. 70,73.51 Richard Enright, "Everybody Should be Fingerprinted: A System of Universal Registration Would Benefit Especially Those WhoWere Recorded," Scientific American 133, no. 4 (October 1925), p. 225.52 Canadian Police Bulletin, 1928, p. 66.53 "Fingerprints," Civil Liberty No. 7 (July 1939), p. 7.54 Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, p. 375.55 Herbert Fearon, "Uncle Sam, Ace Detective," Scientific American, 151 no. 4 (October 1934), p. 174; NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3565 FileG-537-20, Wonnacott to Kemp, 18 November 1943.61fingerprinting that bordered on the mystical: "A fingerprint flies faster and truer than aloftful of stool pigeons in leading us to the man we want," he rhapsodized. 56 One skepticalcongressman declared that Hoover had aroused such a fingerprint fervour that policethroughout the country "take and file the fingerprints of every man they arrest, whether heis drunk or disorderly, or just fighting ... " 57Under Hoover, fingerprinting became a political tool. That is, it moved out ofrealm of being an adjunct to criminal prosecution and began to be used to record theidentities of and monitor people whom the FBI believed posed a threat to the governmentand the established economic order in the United States. An indication of the highlypolitical manner in which fingerprinting came to be used during the interwar years was theFBI's creation of a separate, non-criminal fingerprint collection. The FBI established itsCivil Identification Section in November 1933, receiving as a down payment thefingerprints of more than 140,000 United States government job applicants andemployees. 58 Hoover augmented the collection by urging municipal officials to fingerprintpeople applying for relief. In the late 1930s his agency received over one millionfingerprints of people enrolled in New Deal Works Progress Administration projects andused them to isolate potential troublemakers. 59 By 1939 the FBI's total fingerprintcollection numbered 10 million, many of them non-criminal fingerprints.American conservatives believed fingerprinting was a potent weapon againstpolitical dissidents. In 1922 a spokesman for the United States Chamber of Commerceurged universal civilian fingerprinting as a device to eliminate agitators from the ranks ofindustrial workers. 60 The campaign for universal civilian fingerprinting intensified during56 Ryley Cooper, "Fingerprinting for Protection," Reader's Digest 35 (August 1939), p. 75.57 Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, p. 375.58 U.S., Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation Fingerprint Identification: The Identification Division of the FBI (U.S.Government Printing Office: 1986) pp. 4-5, 9.59 Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, pp. 380-2.60 Thumbs Down!: The Fingerprint Menace to Civil Liberties (New York: American Civil Liberties Union, 1938), p. 4.62the Depression. A writer in the magazine Good Housekeeping described the strands ofpatriotism, trust in the state and anti-communism which were woven into the movement'spitch. At FBI headquarters Vera Connolly was shown the bureau's Civil IdentificationFile. The collection moved her to writeTo me it was symbolic -- that little file of fingerprints of public-spiritedAmericans with nothing in their pasts to hide; who trusted their Federal law-enforcement officers and were thankfully accepting their protective care.No communism in the minds of these individuals. No red revolution.Simply old-fashioned American faith in American institutions. 61Connolly's words illustrate the subtle way in which fingerprinting had changed to becomea prop for the existing political order.The American Civil Liberties Union considered the threat so potent that it issuedpamphlets about it in 1936 and 1938. Probing the motivations behind the universalfingerprinting movement, which had "taken on really formidable proportions," the ACLUsaid "It is backed primarily by police and crime-prevention agencies, but it is alsopromoted by employers, obviously with a view to better control of labour activities." 62Large business organizations like the National Manufacturers Association and the Hearstnewspaper conglomerate and patriotic leagues like the Daughters of the AmericanRevolution actively joined the interwar fingerprinting crusade, according to the union. 63The ACLU also detected and condemned an attempt by police to apply fingerprintingspecifically against left-wing political activists. In 1934 police in Boston passed an orderunder which Communists and "other radically inclined" persons holdingstreet demonstrations are arrested and "brought to police headquarters to bephotographed and finger-printed." A special file of suchpersons [sic] is keptin the Bureau of Records for "future reference." 6461 Vera Connolly, "Uncle Sam Wants Your Mark," Good Housekeeping 101 (December 1935), p. 152.62 Finger Printing -- For What? A memorandum on the movement for voluntary and compulsory finger-printing (New York: AmericanCivil Liberties Union, 1936), p. 1.63 Thumbs Down!, p. 12.64 Finger Printing -- For What?, p. 4.63Similarly, in 1936 in Berkeley, California, a mass fingerprinting program was launched,said the chief of police, to "enable us to follow the movements and activities ofCommunists, Anarchists and Radicals. " 65Advocates of more widespread fingerprinting brought their message from theUnited States into Canada. In the late 1930s the American Universal FingerprintMovement spread to Canada. 66 The FBI itself crossed the border to promote compulsoryfingerprinting. At the 1939 annual convention of the Chief Constables' Association ofCanada, for instance, FBI agent John S. Bugas offered Canadian police advice based onFBI experience. Speaking about strategies to impose universal fingerprinting in Canada,he acknowledged that the FBI's all-out campaign had backfired. Hoover, he implied, hadbeen "advocating it too strongly." As a result "a very natural stigma is attached to it."Bugas advised patience: "When you advocate universal finger printing, it must be a gradualprocess, in my mind, and something we must approach slowly." 67Canadian police needed no instruction; on their own they had conducted a long andvehement campaign to extend fingerprinting. One forum which saw frequent appeals forextension of fingerprinting was the Chief Constables' Association annual meeting.Inspector Edward Foster of the RCMP Fingerprint Section told the 1927 and 1928conventions that everyone should be fingerprinted. 68 The plea was echoed by Canadianmunicipal police officials and the RCMP throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Theyrepeatedly asked the government to put more teeth into the Identification of Criminals Actso they could fingerprint immigrants and prospective immigrants, anyone in legal custody,and even every citizen. 6965 Thumbs Down!, p. 6.66 J. Arthur Piers, "Finger-printing for Protection," Canadian Magazine XC, no. 6 (December 1938), p. 58.67 Minutes of the Chief Constables' Association, 34th Annual Convention, pp. 113-4.68 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3754, File G-516-26-1, minutes of Chief Constables' Association for 1927 and 1929.69 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3754, File G-516-26-1, minutes of Chief Constables' Association for 1926 and 1928; Canadian Police Bulletin,1928 p. 71.6 4Police were particularly adamant about fingerprinting vagrants. In 1927 RCMPCommissioner Cortlandt Starnes urged this upon the Deputy Minister of Justice, but nofavorable amendments to the legislation were obtained." Acting on requests for it at the1930 and 1931 annual conventions of the Chief Constables' Association, a delegation ofpolice chiefs approached Justice Minister Hugh Guthrie. But Guthrie's reply was negative.He believed "there would be strong opposition to the amendment of this Act so far ascovering vagrants was concerned. " 71 The police persisted. Again in 1934 RCMPCommissioner MacBrien suggested broadening the act so as to provide the police with theright to fingerprint vagrants. This would please various police forces in the country,"particularly those operating in the larger cities," according to Assistant CommissionerG.L. Jennings. Although the Deputy Minister of Justice replied that he would recommendan amendment to the act, no change resulted. 72 In 1937 one RCMP officer insisted that achange to the act "is very urgently desired." Yet the Identification of Criminals Actremained unchanged.These police requests were at least partly politically motivated. Vagrancy was acriminal charge that was especially useful to police during the Depression. It allowedpolice to exert control over public places by arresting unemployed drifters and politicaldissidents on little pretext. If the arrested men were immigrants, they were oftendeported. 74 Flouting the law, police often went ahead and fingerprinted vagrants, a70 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3754, File G-516-26-1, minutes of Chief Constables' Association for 1927 and 1929.71 Minutes of the Chief Constables' Association, 27th Annual Convention, p. 77.72 RCMP Access 87HR 1386, Edwards to RCMP Commissioner, 18 April 1934, and Jennings to Edwards, 3 May 1934.73 RCMP Access 871-ER 1386, extract of communication, Meller to Director of Criminal Investigation, 23 July 1937.74 Barbara Roberts, Whence They Came: Deportation from Canada 1900-1935 (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1988), p. 134.The cause for deportations changed dramatically in the years that fingerprinting became widely used by Canadian police. From 1903 to1910 the percentage deported for criminality averaged only 4%. The percentage deported for medical reasons was extremely high,reaching a peak of 80% in 1906. But beginning in 1910 the criminal deportations, which had been single digit percentages throughoutthe period from 1903, suddenly jumped to 17% and grew to a height of 56% in 1921. Thereafter, it fell off, to be replaced by thecause of becoming a public charge, which reached a peak of 69% in 1933. It is likely more than coincidence that criminal deportationswere highest in the decade in which fingerprinting gained official sanction and was adopted by the Canadian police. See Roberts,Whence They Came, p. 46, Table IV.65transgression acknowledged even by the deputy minister of justice. 75 Nor was vagrancythe only charge they used in this quasi-political manner. In Vancouver, during the turmoilarising from demonstrations of the unemployed in the late 1930s, police routinelyfingerprinted men they arrested for the minor offense of soliciting funds on the street. 76Since these collections were organized by communist led unemployed movements,fingerprinting participants gave the police records on agitators close to the CommunistParty. Even railroad police invoked minor criminal charges in order to fingerprint menriding the freights. 77 Similarly, the Immigration Department, which began to fingerprintpeople deported from Canada for criminal offences in 1920, counselled its officers tofingerprint even those deportees "whom you believe to be guilty of some offense. " 78As the Depression dragged on and war loomed in Europe, the man who would soonbe RCMP commissioner again raised the plea for universal fingerprinting. Speaking asDirector of Criminal Investigation to a convention of the International Association forIdentification in 1937, S.T. Wood called for all Canadians to be fingerprinted. Headmitted, however, that "fingerprints have been connected in the public mind withcriminals and therefore a certain odium is attached thereto." 79 Once the curtain of wardescended, the RCMP was in the forefront of those calling for "national registration byfingerprints." In a wartime address to the Chief Constables' Association of Canada, theofficer in charge of the RCMP Fingerprint Section, H.R. Butchers, made the oft-repeatedpitch, then enlarged upon it. The scrutiny of fingerprinting should fall, he proposed, uponall the living and the dead.75 Minutes of the Chief Constables' Association, 27th Annual Convention, p. 77.76 NAC, King Papers, MG 26 J2, Vol 157, File J-157, Jones to King, 31 May 1938.77 Minutes of the Chief Constables' Association, 33rd Annual Convention, p. 95.78 NAC, RG 76, Vol 568, File 812274, Scott to Perry, 26 Jan. 1920; Scott to Ragimbal, 15 July 1920. Emphasis mine.79 RCMP, Fifty Years of Fingerprinting, p. 13.66Many whom we consider substantial citizens have at one time or anothercommitted an indiscretion for which their fingerprints have been registeredat the Bureau. After death, a check of their impressions against Bureau filesdoes no harm and permits their fingerprints to be removed from our activecollection. 80In advocating national fingerprinting, and in overstepping the law, the policerevived fingerprinting's political heart, which had given life to the technology in the 19thcentury. Their public campaign, on the contrary, strived to depoliticize it by insisting thatit was benign and indeed beneficial to the public. The association of fingerprinting withcriminals should not prevent honest citizens from having their own fingerprints recorded bythe police, argued Inspector George Guthrie of the Toronto city police. After all, "No oneobjected to their names appearing in city or telephone directories alongside some of thosewho had broken the law." 81 In a 1935 article in the RCMP Quarterly explaining hownational fingerprinting would benefit the public, Sergeant Butchers called on other policeofficers to build a public campaign to sanitize fingerprinting. 82 But many citizens remainedhighly suspicious of fingerprinting and refused to let the police guide their hands to the inkpad.For police on both sides of the border, fingerprinting was not a purely criminaltechnique. It was also valued as a method to monitor noncriminals and to track politicaldissidents, and it was extensively used in this manner during the interwar period. Whenwar broke out it was therefore not surprising that police became even more reliant uponfingerprinting and turned to their already extensive fingerprint collections as a means toexert control in a challenging environment.80 H.R. Butchers, "Fingerprint Identification in Wartime", RCMP Gazette 6, no. 30 (26 July 1944), p. 2.81 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3754, File G-516-26-1, minutes of Chief Constables' Association for 1926.82 H.R. Butchers, "How National Finger Printing Would Benefit the General Public," The RCMP Quarterly 2, no. 4 (April 1935), p.16.67The popular image of fingerprintingLike the views of police officials, public opinion about fingerprinting tended tostraddle the 49th parallel. American magazines and books spread information about theprocedure and alerted people to its dangers. In the U.S. the anti-fingerprinting mood wasparticularly vehement, a reaction to the intense zeal of the FBI and other police forces tohave people accept fingerprinting as a patriotic duty. 83 The American Civil LibertiesUnion launched a campaign in 1936 to halt the compulsory fingerprint movement. Indoing so it emphasized the political nature of fingerprinting, citing the danger of it beingused to compile blacklists, to intimidate employees and to create a system of nationalregistration."For their part, Canadians demonstrated no willingness to defer to police authorities'ambitions to fingerprint more people. For all their devotion to the task, police weresingularly unsuccessful in convincing various Canadian governments to extend policepowers under the Identification of Criminals Act. One reason why the act was not madetougher was the strength of popular opinion against fingerprinting, which senior policeofficers acknowledged. People persisted in seeing it as a criminal procedure, a violation ofcivil liberty and a measure to bring citizens under the supervision of the police. 85 It wasdeemed to be particularly odious when the cause of arrest was a quasi-political offence.For example, the detention of unemployed men in Vancouver who were participating in tagdays caused a women's support group to object to the men being fingerprinted. It "placesthe stigma of crime on them," the group declared to the Prime Minister. They demandedthat the practice end and that the fingerprints already taken be destroyed. 86 Similarly, TheCanadian Congress Journal, the organ of the Trades and Labor Congress, condemned the83 Thumbs Down!, p. 13.84 :ma p. 18.85 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3754, File G-516-26-1, Reports on the annual meetings of the Chief Constables' Association for 1926 to 1929;Canadian Police Bulletin, 1928 pp. 70-74.86 NAC, King Papers, MG 26 J2, Vol 157, File J-157, Jones to King, 31 May, 1938. Emphasis mine.6 8Padlock Law in Quebec as an iniquitous act which allowed "raiding and breaking intohomes without warrant and searching, finger printing, photographing and questioning menwithout any charge being laid against them ... " 87Even in criminal cases people objected to being fingerprinted. For example, theRCMP in 1934 reportedconsiderable trouble in obtaining the fingerprints of persons charged underthe Excise Act as it is being circulated that we have no rights to take theirprints ... 88In this case the resistance to fingerprinting reached the level of a complaint to theDepartment of Justice. The complainant was emboldened by criticism of fingerprinting inthe House of Commons. Charles Bell, the Conservative Member of Parliament forHamilton West, scolded the Minister of Justice, saying that "to take the finger prints of anyman accused simply because he has been accused ... is an outrage and ought to becondemned by every member of this house." 89 This notoriety made the RCMP wary ofdemanding fingerprints. 90 Assistant Commissioner Jennings acknowledged that populardoubts about whether the RCMP had the legal jurisdiction to demand fingerprints of peoplecharged even with indictable offences were causing the Force to shy away from takingthem. 91Popular sentiment before the Second World War was strongly againstfingerprinting, primarily because of its association with criminals. In the 1930s, economiccatastrophe and political turmoil induced authorities in Canada and the United States toemploy fingerprinting much more broadly. This increased use exacerbated popular87 Canadian Congress Journal, February 1939 p. 8.88 RCMP Access 87HR 1386, extract of communication, St. Pierre to Campbellton Subdivison, 6 April 1934. Emphasis in original.89 Canada, House of Commons, Debates, 1935, p. 2448.90 RCMP Access 87HR 1386, extract of communication from Blake, 9 April 1935.91 ibid.; extract of communication, Jennings to Edwards, 20 April 1935.69displeasure, and gave the opposition a political tone which mirrored the direction thatfingerprinting itself had taken.Fingerprinting was not just an accidental discovery welcomed by those who soughtgreater social control. It was the product of that desire. Fingerprinting represented theapplication of science to an age-old state problem -- how to identify and monitor ananonymous or potentially troublesome population. It is most accurately seen as theapplication of science to the attainment of greater social and political control. After it wasestablished, its focus shifted somewhat, so that it became known as a criminal procedure.To this day, despite the best efforts of its enthusiasts, it has never shaken the stigma ofcriminality it acquired. Yet its political character was not lost, and its potential as apolitical tool excited both heightened official ambitions for it and public concern about it inthe 1930s. Its success as a scientific method of social identification and popular distastefor it combined to limit its legal use. Although it was accepted into law very quickly, itremained constrained -- although only de jure, not de facto -- to use for indictable offenses.Fingerprinting also contributed considerably to co-operation among police forces inBritain, the United States and Canada. The exchange began with explanations of thetechnique, but it soon blossomed into a traffic in fingerprints. In short, this was an earlyexample of criminal and political intelligence communication among the three countries.Fingerprinting therefore added to the improving rapport and became an integral part of thestrengthening intelligence collaboration between the three North Atlantic countries.Chapter 3The birth of state vetting: security screening in the interwar periodThe 1931 appointment of Major General Sir James H. MacBrien as RCMPCommissioner signalled several developments in the Force that were noticed by critics andfriends alike. One of them was a new attention to political security. The Force hadlanguished in the 1920s, reaching a low point in 1926, when it had just 963 men.MacBrien's arrival in 1931 reversed the slide and gave the RCMP the initiative to take onnew enterprises. When he came to Ottawa to head the RCMP Intelligence Section in 1935,Inspector Charles Rivett-Carnac described the transformation in outlook this way: "Fromalmost a question mark in 1923 when I had first joined ... it had found a new growth in achanged age of mechanization, its stature greatly increased in Canadian affairs."'It was no surprise that R.B. Bennett's Conservative government settled onMacBrien as commissioner. He was an outspoken anti-communist and an advocate of anintegrated security intelligence system to deal with dissent. As an army commander in1919, MacBrien had championed the idea of a comprehensive defence plan which, in theimmediate postwar era of labour strife, would concentrate on communism and labour1 Charles Rivett-Camac, Pursuit in the Wilderness (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Co., 1965 ), p. 293.7071unrest. 2 When he became RCMP chief MacBrien paid no less attention to securityintelligence.Not everyone in Canada liked the prospect of a military man with a taste fortougher security heading the RCMP. Public trepidation about the appointment ofMacBrien was expressed in the House of Commons by J.S. Woodsworth, a left-wingmember of parliament and civil libertarian. In August 1931 Woodsworth declared that "Ithink it is rather a significant fact that recently we have had an increase in the RoyalCanadian Mounted Police and have placed at the head of the force a military man." "Anda good one," shot back the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Conservative H.H. Stevens.Woodsworth was unimpressed. Using "military methods" against the unemployed was "allwrong," he insisted. In 1932 Woodsworth again took up his criticism of the militarizationand strengthening of the federal security police force. Particularly abhorrent was "the spysystem" used by the RCMP against labour. "I object to labour being considered dangerousin character and to having government officials push their way into trade union or otherlabour class organizations in order to spy upon them. " 3Spying on labour was not the only security intelligence measure the RCMP madeuse of during the early 1930s. Indeed, infiltration was an old practice. MacBrienintroduced another routine which was genuinely innovative -- security screening of civilservants. This began in 1931, and by the end of the decade it embraced virtually everynew civil servant. During the 1930s the RCMP refined its techniques and developed astandard vetting routine. By the end of the decade the Force was well placed to expandinto full-scale wartime security screening with minimal confusion.2 Stephen Harris, Canadian Brass: The Making of a Professional Army, 1860-1939 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), p.169.3 Canada, Debates, House of Commons, 1931, p. 4453; 1932, pp. 2541-2.72This new security initiative of vetting did not materialize over night. To understandits characteristics it is necessary to return to the last months of the First World War andtrace the decade of preparation and consolidation of the Canadian state's securityintelligence capacity. In May 1918 the government ushered in a troubled post-war era withsecurity legislation of unprecedented ferocity. Prime Minister Robert Bordencommissioned a Montreal lawyer, Charles Cahan, to study the radical labour movement inthe country. Cahan, who had worked with the British secret service to counter wartimeGerman espionage in the United States, warned that Bolshevism was the major danger toCanadian security. In a September report he proposed strict measures to deal with theperceived threat. 4 Acting on his recommendation, the government later that month issuedorders-in-council which outlawed fourteen socialist and anarchist organizations, stifled theforeign-language press and prohibited strikes and lockouts. These were followed in June1919 by an amendment to the Immigration Act which allowed for the deportation of anyimmigrant who was deemed to be a revolutionary and, in July, a drastic change to theCriminal Code which outlawed any organization whose professed purpose was to make"governmental, industrial or economic change" by force. 5 These draconian bills were partof the government's all-out assault on the labour ferment which peaked in the WinnipegGeneral Strike of May-June 1919.The government also moved to strengthen its security apparatus. Cahan's reporthad recognized that the state's security enforcement agencies were poorly coordinated, andhe recommended the creation of a centralized security service. The result was the PublicSafety Branch within the Justice Department, which he himself headed. 6 But when thePSB failed to become the powerful civilian security coordinating body he envisioned, he4 Sawatsky, Men in the Shadows, p. 58.5 Roberts, Whence They Came, pp. 81-2, 84.6 Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners", p. 75.73resigned. 7 By filling the vacuum Cahan identified, the RCMP rose to prominence as theCanadian state's main security vehicle.For a small paramilitary force whose base was the prairie West and whose forte waswilderness patrolling, this enhanced security role was somewhat unexpected. At war's endin November 1918, still known as the Royal North-West Mounted Police, the Force hadjust 303 members, almost exactly its size at its founding in 1873. In Ottawa, rumourssuggested it would be disbanded. 8 However, in December 1918 the government took stepsto lift this cloud of doubt. It issued orders to bring RNWMP strength up to 1200. In areorganization, the RNWMP was given the responsibility of enforcing federal laws andsecurity regulations from the head of the Great Lakes to the Pacific, previously the dutiesof the older, but smaller, Dominion Police force. 9 The authorized strength was raisedagain in July 1919, and by September 1919 the RNWMP had 1600 men.The RNWMP had taken a tentative step into the shadows of intelligence work in1904, when it hired a handful of detectives. 10 It had also gained valuable securityexperience in the First World War because many of the enemy aliens and labour radicalswho were considered prime threats lived in the West, the jurisdiction of the RNWMP.They had been monitored by a motley collection of government agents, private detectiveagencies, secret agents paid from Dominion Police funds and the RNWMP's own regularmembers.' 1 By 1917 the Force was using its Regina headquarters as a clearing house fordossiers on several hundred western Canadian radicals. 12 The government's rising fear that7 Roberts, Whence They Came, pp. 80, 83.8 Nora and William Kelly, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police: A Century of History 1873-1973 (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers,1973), p. 147.9 S.W. Horrall, "The Royal North-West Mounted Police and Labour Unrest in Western Canada, 1919," Canadian Historical ReviewLXI, no. 2 (June 1980), p. 172.10 Sawatsky, Men in the Shadows, p. 56.11 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1, p. 56.12 A. Ross McCormack, Reformers, Rebels, and Revolutionaries: The Western Canadian Radical Movement 1899-1919 (Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1977), pp. 130-1.7 4Canada would be seized by revolution was prompted in part by reports it received from theRNWMP. "During the Force's post-war expansion its involvement in the surveillance of labourand radical organizations grew. In December 1918 the RNWMP had just eight secretagents and six detectives in its entire operation, but in February 1919 the federalgovernment approved funds to hire 20 more. The Force must have had in addition ahealthy stable of paid freelance informers, for in January 1919 it undertook the ambitiousproject of penetrating all the major labour organizations in western Canada." The Forcewas not wandering blindly into this assignment. Commissioner A.B. Perry showed a firmgrasp of the objective of his Force's political intelligence when he insisted thatIt must be borne in mind that the only information which is of any value inconnection with Bolshevism is the valuable and first hand information ofwhat is going to happen before it occurs in sufficient time to permitarrangements being made to offset any intended disturbance. 15The commissioner's goal was clearly related to security intelligence rather than a policing,since, in Gregory Kealey's assessment, "Perry made it clear that he preferred implantationto prosecution. " 16 This in itself was a sign of the RNWMP's developing professionalism insecurity intelligence. By April 1919 the RNWMP had succeeded in organizing a covertintelligence operation in western Canada. Secret agents or detectives had managed topenetrate every important radical organization, and some of them occupied executivepositions. Agents of the Force had also slipped in among the Winnipeg General Strikeorganizers. 1713 Charles K. Talbot, C.H.S. Jayewardene and Tony J. Juliani, The Thin Blue Line: An Historical Perspective of Policing in Canada(Ottawa: Crimcare, 1983), p. 26.14 Horrall, "The RNWMP and Labour Unrest," pp. 174-5.15 ibid., p. 174.16 Gregory S. Kealey, "State Repression of Labour and the Left in Canada, 1914-20: The Impact of the First World War," CanadianHistorical Review LXXIII, 3 (September 1992), p. 301.17 Horrall,"The RNWMP and Labour Unrest," pp. 177-8, 184.7 5Even as it sank the roots of its informer network into the labour milieu, theRNWMP was also improving its capacity to gather and analyze the information from itsagents. The Criminal Investigation Branch, founded early in February 1919, gave theRNWMP a central division which coordinated intelligence, correspondence andinstructions on security and criminal matters between headquarters and the field. 18Intelligence reports were carefully scrutinized and distilled at the CIB office, and fromthere went to the commissioner and to political authorities. 19 Until it was reorganized in1946, the CIB housed both the Intelligence Section and the Fingerprint Section, whichwere destined to work together closely in security matters. It is significant that theRCMP's security intelligence office was headquartered within an ostensibly criminalbranch. In part this helped to disguise an operation which had no statutory authority andwhich was not even acknowledged in the House of Commons until 1934. 20 Equallyimportant, it revealed the mutual interdependence of political and criminal intelligence,both in method and in the minds of RCMP personne1. 21The RCMP's improving facility with security matters made it by 1919 the logicalforce to assume those duties throughout the country. In July, the same month it passed thedraconian Criminal Code Section 98 outlawing revolutionary organizations, the Bordengovernment opted for a centralized security force. It made the RNWMP both the federalpolice and the security intelligence force across the country. The Dominion Police,comprised of 150 members, was merged into the larger force, and the reorganized wholewas renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 22 Working out of a new headquarters inOttawa, the RCMP was provided with sufficient staff to meet political policing demandswithout having to resort to local police or private detective agencies. 2318 •• •^,•.:ma p. 174.19 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 330.20 Canada, Debates, House of Commons, 1934, p. 1663.21 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1, pp. 58-9, 64.22 Horrall, "The RNWMP and Labour Unrest," pp. 188-9.23 Sawatsky, Men in the Shadows, pp. 59-60.7 6One vital accoutrement which went with the RCMP to Ottawa was its records.During the labour crisis of 1919 RNWMP Commissioner Perry had ordered that a systemof security files be created. One category of files dealt with suspected subversiveorganizations, the other with individuals. In 1920, this file system was moved to Ottawawhen the RCMP was set up as the single federal police force. Central Registry, thedepartment assigned to maintain the files, was within the Criminal Investigation Branch,but security and intelligence files were kept as "a distinct group which required specialattention." 24 As "the key to any successful intelligence system," these records made up thecore of what would become by the end of the 1920s a Central Registry incorporatingthousands of files and millions of pages. 25 It also formed the heart of the RCMP's securityscreening system as it evolved in the interwar decades.By 1920, the period of intense confrontation between an aroused labour movementand the Canadian state had drawn to an end. The result was, on the one hand, atemporarily quiescent labour force, and, on the other, a single centralized federal securityforce with a widespread network of informers and agents among labour radicals. Thatinfrastructure proved highly useful to the RCMP within a year. In 1921 the revolutionarystream within the labour movement united to found the Communist Party of Canada, whichthe RCMP was to regard as its mortal enemy and the main threat to the security of Canadafor the next 40 years. So well placed were RCMP agents that one of them was among the22 delegates present at the party's inception. 26 RCMP infiltration of the Communist partyrepresents one of the major successes of its early years as a watchdog on political dissent.Through the depression of the 1930s, as Communist Party membership rose from 4,000 in24 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," pp. 387-8.25 ibid., p. 387; Gregory S. Kealey, "The Early Years of State Surveillance of Labour and the Left in Canada: The InstitutionalFramework of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security and Intelligence Apparatus, 1918-1926," unpublished paper, University ofToronto, November 1991, p. 10.26 Ivan Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada: A History (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975), p. 21.771931 to 16,000 in 1939, the RCMP's constant objective remained monitoring communistleaders and activists. 27The Canadian state's interwar security effort was based upon the knowledge thatagitators and communists were mostly foreigners and the conviction that suchtroublemakers should be either prevented from entering or deported back to whence theycame. 28 Towards that end the state went to great pains to provide a firm legal foundation.The effort began just before the First World War descended. In May 1914 the Bordengovernment passed the British Nationality, Naturalization, and Aliens Act. It dramaticallyaltered Canadian naturalization practice and gave police considerably more justification toinquire into the background of people of foreign birth. The act changed the mainnaturalization requirement from three years' residence to five years' residence and adequateknowledge of French or English. More importantly, the applicant must be "of goodcharacter." The act gave the Secretary of State the power to deny naturalization accordingto what he deemed to be "the public good," and there was no appeal of this decision. 29What constituted "good character" or "the public good" was not defined in the act, and thisgave the police considerable leeway. An adverse police report, therefore, could block animmigrant's bid for citizenship. Parliament's 1919 changes to the Immigration Act gavethe RNWMP (later the RCMP) significant added influence in the granting ofnaturalization, since that agency was the essential intelligence source for the ImmigrationDepartment. 30 The vetting of potential citizens became one of the RCMP's undertakings. 31RCMP records show that in 1926 applicants for naturalization were being fingerprinted andthe results compared to the RCMP's criminal records. 32 In 1933-34 the RCMP checked anaverage of 1200 naturalization fingerprints each month. By 1935 this had risen to about27 ibid., p. 15; Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners", p. 139.28 Canada, Debates, House of Commons, 1932, p. 2592.29 Canada, Statutes, 4-5 Geo. 5, Chap. 44.30 Roberts, Whence They Came, p. 71 and passim.31 Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners", p. 118.32 NAC, RG 18 Acc 85-86/574, Box 9, File G-537-1, Watson to Douglas, 7 August 1926.782200 per month. 33 At the beginning of the Second World War the RCMP wassystematically investigating the character and background of all naturalization applicants,based on a long-standing arrangement between the Force and the Secretary of State. 34Naturalization intelligence was shared between the RCMP, the ImmigrationDepartment and police authorities in Britain. The RCMP forwarded to Scotland Yardfingerprints of British deportees from Canada who were suspected of having criminalrecords in their home country. 35 And MI5 sent lists of undesirable immigrants and knowncommunists from London to Ottawa. 36 In addition, criminal charges were often laidagainst communists and other radicals; once arrested, deportation was frequently theirfate. 37 This screening of potential immigrants illustrates one way in which criminal andpolitical intelligence became merged.Try as it might, however, the Canadian state could not exclude everyone it regardedas an agitator. For example, the Immigration Department's 1924 attempt to deport IWWmember Sam Scarlett failed, to the department's acute embarrassment. The fiascoeffectively declared that the state would have to live with this and other thorns in its side. 38Harsh laws and increasingly sophisticated deportation procedures notwithstanding, the statecould not deport a movement. Faced with that reality, keeping dissidents from positions ofpower within the state gained new importance.Until well into the 20th century, civil service appointments were based upon thepolitical affiliation of the candidates. The Civil Service Act of 1918, amended in 1919,was touted as a measure to eliminate this partisanship. A guiding principle of the act was33 ibid., Jennings to Officer Commanding, Headquarters Division, 11 March 1935.34 Canada, Second Report, Commission of Inquiry Concerning Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (McDonaldCommission) Vol. 2, Freedom and Security Under the Law Part VI (Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services, 1981), p. 829.(Hereinafter cited as McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 2.)35 NAC, RG 76, Vol. 568, File 812274, Blair to Smith, 24 November 1922.36 Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners", p. 88.37 Roberts, Whence They Came, p. 134.38 ibid., pp. 92-3.7 9to enshrine merit as the method of selecting civil servants. Merit was to be ensured byrequiring that appointments be made only through open competitions, decided byexaminations. 39 By 1921 the Commission had created an Examination Branch, whichenforced competitive exams for all appointments. 40Patronage may have been cast out, but politics was not. Within a decade it returnedas a criterion of appointment. The new political filter was security screening. Beginningin 1931 Civil Service Commission appointees and applicants were subjected tofingerprinting and security screening, and this was stepped up toward the end of thedecade. The Commission initiated fingerprinting after it was embarrassed by a briberyscandal in which outsiders paid cash to be admitted to low-level jobs in the civil serviceeven though they had failed the civil service exams. The resulting criminal prosecutionswent to trial in April 1931 but ended in acquittals.'" The case prompted the Commissionto experiment with fingerprinting as a means to ensure that an applicant, exam writer andappointee were one and the same person. In March 1931 the CSC approached the RCMPto obtain the benefit of the Force's expertise in comparing fingerprints. The Commissionasked the RCMP to undertake the work of fingerprinting applicants and appointees, a taskwhich the RCMP agreed to perform. 42What began as a response to a criminal problem, however, soon assumed securityapplications. In September 1931, after a three-month trial of a straightforward fingerprintcomparison, William Foran, the Commission's secretary, suggested that the RCMP step upits involvement. He requested aid in "ascertaining in appointments ... where integrity andtrustworthiness are prime essentials, whether or not the persons being appointed have had39 J.E. Hodgetts, et. al., The Biography of an Institution: The Civil Service Commission of Canada, 1908-1967 (Montreal: Institute ofPublic Administration of Canada; McGill-Queen's University Press, 1972), pp. 51-2.40 ibid ., p . 96 .41 RCMP, Annual Report, 1931, pp. 18, 56.42 In doing this the CSC was following the path of the New York State CSC, which had inaugurated fingerprinting in the United Statesin 1902. See U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fingerprint Identification: The Identification Division of theFBI (U.S. Government Printing Office: 1986), pp. 4-5, 9.80previous criminal records." What the Commission deemed to be sensitive positions,however, covered a very broad spectrum -- newly-hired prison guards and newappointments to positions in the Post Office and the customs, immigration and financedepartments. (Employees of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, unlike theircolleagues in Britain, were not vetted. 43) RCMP Commissioner MacBrien agreed toperform the screening, and, if it occurred to him, said nothing about the possible civilliberties consequences of such an act. 44 But this fingerprinting was more than an affront tocivil rights. It was illegal. According to the Identification of Criminals Act, fingerprintingwas authorized only for people convicted of an indictable offense. Nor did any legislationexist to authorize the fingerprinting of naturalization applicants. 45 The Civil ServiceCommission appeared to believe that it did not need to obtain the permission of thegovernment or cabinet for this new security initiative, or indeed even to inform its politicalmasters about it. No record has come to light which shows that elected authoritiesapproved or knew about security screening of civil servants. 46In the first year of civil service screening, 233 fingerprint searches were conductedby the RCMP Fingerprint Section. The number of civil servants being investigatedincreased markedly after that. In the eighteen months from the first of October 1932 to theend of March 1934, 1,231 non-criminal fingerprint checks were made by the RCMP; 336of them were of new recruits to the Force. The remainder were of federal and Quebeccivil servants and applicants for weapon permits. The 1936 RCMP Annual Reportrecorded 2,417 security-related fingerprint searches, including new RCMP members (347),43 CSIS Access 89-A-31. These records indicate that screening of CBC employees began after 1945.44 CSIS Access 87-A-39, Foran to Starnes, 28 February 1931; Starnes to Foran, 10 March 1931; Foran to MacBrien, 28 September1931; MacBrien to Foran, 9 November 1931.45 RCMP, Annual Report, 1935, p. 33.46 In 1947 the Security Panel reasoned that "The terms of the Civil Service Act are sufficiently broad to permit rejection of an applicantfor employment on security grounds." (NAC, MG 26 J1, Vol. 429, Security Panel Document 22, 9 Sept. 1947.) This is the onlyjustification of civil service security screening I have been able to unearth. Section 4(a) of the act stipulates that one of the duties of theCivil Service Commission is "to test and pass upon the qualifications of candidates for admission to ... the civil service ..." (R.S.C.1927) Aside from this broad mandate, the act says nothing which would specifically permit security screening, and it contains nomention of fingerprinting.81federal civil servants, "applicants for positions of trust in the province" of Quebec (222),and new recruits to several provincial and municipal police forces. The number rose to2,501 civilian fingerprint searches in 1936-7, 4,422 in 1937-8 and 4,991 in 1938-9. 47 Theabsolute numbers may appear small, but they represented a significant proportion of allCSC appointments. In 1938 there were only 843 permanent and 5,563 temporary federalcivil servants hired. 48 This tends to confirm the assertion by the director of the CanadianImmigration Branch that all civil servants were fingerprinted by 1939. 49But the inquiries into civil servants were not limited to fingerprint searches. By1938 the RCMP had expanded its screening of CSC appointees to a level which is notusually believed to have been invoked until the post-Second World War years. 50 A 1938RCMP memo called for very detailed checks, and pointed out thatIn investigations of this nature, instructions are issued to the N.C.O orConstable detailed to the inquiry, that whenever possible, informationconcerning the character of the applicant must be obtained from others thanthose who have already submitted testimonials."In other words, security screening of civil servants in 1938 involved both record checks ofRCMP indexes and field checks in which the Force sought information from peoplebeyond the applicant's listed references. This is full-scale "positive vetting" of the kindwhich was not officially practiced until after 1945.It should also be kept in mind that the RCMP had been accumulating experience inconducting field checks for naturalization applications since the 1920s. The proceduredescribed in 1932 was remarkably similar to a civil service field inquiry for vettingpurposes:47 RCMP Annual Report, 1932 p. 131; 1934, p. 30; 1936, pp. 37, 118; 1937, p. 34; 1938, p. 34; 1939, p. 37.48 Hodgetts, et. al., Biography of an Institution, p. 500.49 NAC, RG 76, Vol. 446, File 675985 pt. 1, Blair to District Supt. of Immigration, Winnipeg, 26 Sept. 1939. Blair refers to all civilservants, but it is uncertain whether he meant everyone in the civil service or all new appointees to the civil service.50 Lawrence Aronsen, "Some Aspects of Surveillance: 'Peace, Order and Good Government' during the Cold War: The Origins andOrganization of Canada's Internal Security Program," Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 3 (September 1986), pp. 364-5.51 CSIS Access 87-A-39, extract of communication, Mercer to the Commissioner, 4 March 1938.82The Naturalization Branch ... supplies us with the names of applicants; theseare borne to the divisions concerned; and an investigation is made into thecharacter of the applicants. On the report being forwarded to headquarters itis transmitted to the naturalization authorities, and all decisions rest withthem .52The 1932 RCMP Annual Report mentions the Force making 7,500 naturalizationinvestigations in that year alone. 53 This reveals the extent of the Canadian state's screeningsystem in the interwar period. It was also a potent expression of the state's fear of theforeign born.The Force's vast Central Registry was an indispensable part of screening. Theessence of the screening operation was a matching exercise, drawing upon informationfrom two categories. All applicants for or incumbents of government positions werechecked against records of criminals and suspected subversives. The matching wasperformed by hand in Canada. In the United States, beginning in 1934 the FBI usedInternational Business Machines electro-mechanical sorters to search its fingerprintdatabase beginning in 1934. 54 The machinery speeded the search, but matching as atechnique was used before equipment came along to assist it. 55 Indeed, the first conditionfor such a method is the possession of an index arranged in some logical way. Having aCentral Registry organized into several categories, as the RCMP one was, allowed for avariety of matching options. 56Its very existence is not the only remarkable aspect of this intensive securityscreening. What motivated it is also significant. It was a response to the economic crisisof the Depression and the political challenge to the status quo represented by theCommunist Party of Canada. The RCMP's fear of and distaste for communism grew more52 RCMP, Annual Report, 1932, p. 48.53 ibid., p. 69.54 "Automated Fingerprint Processing -- A Step Forward", FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 1970, p. 3.55 John Shattuck, "Computer matching is a serious threat to individual rights," Communications of the ACM 27, no. 6 (June 1984), p.538.56 Kealey, "The Early Years of State Surveillance," p. 8.83and more tangible in the 1930s. The interwar editions of the RCMP Annual Report are atestament to the Force's rising concern about agitation which it believed originated fromthe Soviet Union. Although mention of the Communist Party was rare in reportsthroughout the 1920s, after 1933 a section of the Annual Report was regularly devoted toaccounts of industrial disturbances in which communists featured prominently. Suchdissent was "the execution of plans conceived outside the country, and furnished to andimposed upon our agitators from abroad." 57 The communists, too, saw themselves asagents of the Comintern. But the conditions which gave rise to strikes, demonstrations andconfrontations were home grown, not imported.Like its security police, the federal government of R.B. Bennett was also seized bya fear of communism. Echoing the RCMP commissioner's own anxiety in 1933, JusticeMinister Hugh Guthrie called political conditions "not at all satisfactory. ... I regret tosay that ... the communist party ... is perhaps more active and dangerous to-day then it hasbeen at any time in recent years. " 58Late in the decade suspicion of communist activity among workers and preparationsfor possible war prompted the RCMP to set up a far-reaching scheme to vet peopleemployed in munitions plants. In the spring of 1939 the RCMP formed a Civil SecurityBranch within the Intelligence and Liaison Section and initiated consultation with ownersand managers of plants with munitions contracts. The branch had already written thebooklet Notes on Industrial Security telling managers what security measures they shouldtake in their plants and was then awaiting Department of National Defence approval for it.A screening plan was also afoot to identify "foreign elements" in the "important plants",with the understanding that "these individuals can then be checked with our subversive filesso that full particulars will be available respecting the personnel employed." 59 The57 RCMP, Annual Report, 1921, p. 47.58 Canada, Debates, House of Commons, 1933, p. 3636.59 CSIS Access 89-A-63, Annual Report of the RCMP Intelligence and Liaison Section for 1939.8 4procedures would be beneficial in peacetime or in a wartime emergency, the intelligencesection believed. Indeed, as part of the national survey of vulnerable points, thecommanding officer of "E" Division, British Columbia, proposed a plan to check theemployees of major industries such as Boeing Aircraft and Imperial Oil and provincialpower plants. He wrote to the RCMP commissioner suggesting that "these firms should berequested, in addition to furnishing us with a list of their employees at this time, to notifyus immediately [of] the names of new hands." The lists would also help to select loyallong-term employees who could "be used as part-time agents in supplying information tothis Office regarding the activities of their fellow-workers." 60 By 1938 the military alsobelieved that the primary threat of industrial sabotage came from disaffected employeesrather than outsiders. 61Communist infiltration of another part of the state, the military, had long been aconcern of the RCMP. In 1919, the Force seized revolutionary literature at the Esquimaltdockyards, Canada's main west coast naval station. 62 Then, in 1930, authorities at thebase were alarmed at the appearance of a pamphlet addressed "To all Soldiers and Sailors".The leaflet was the work of a former member of the Canadian Permanent Force, R.C.C.Stewart, who had become a Communist Party leader in nearby Victoria. Stewart wasarrested and convicted of incitement to mutiny and sentenced to two years in jail. 63In March 1931 military intelligence warned General Andrew McNaughton, theChief of the General Staff, about increased communist infiltration and subversion of themilitary. Military intelligence was basing its belief on a study of Communist Partypropaganda, which signalled a move against the armed forces. McNaughton called forscreening of new recruits to both the regular force and the militia. The screening must also613 OA, MU 7152, File 3, Hill to the Commissioner, 4 October 1938.61 ibid., File 1, Wood to Wismer, 20 February 1939.62 David Bercuson, Fools and Wise Men: The Rise and Fall of the One Big Union (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1978), p. 93.63 RCMP, Annual Report, 1931, pp. 27-8.8 5have been directed against those already in the forces, because in July 1934 the AdjutantGeneral reported that at least 13 and up to 17 communists had been identified in the army.He asked that all new recruits be put under observation and that reports be made abouttheir habits, associates and spare-time activities. Naturally, this surveillance wascoordinated with the RCMP, which retained a monopoly on state information aboutsubversion. 64 One soldier in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry didn't botherto use official channels to chastise a communist in his own unit. When the communistasked the PPCLI member to steal rifles for the party, the soldier said "There was noresponsible person or policeman in the neighborhood, so I knocked him down and left himlaying there." 65 Military men who joined the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion to fight for therepublican government in the Spanish Civil War also caused concern. The army wanted toknow who was going, and, at the conclusion of the war in 1938, who might be returningand seeking to rejoin the militia. 66Fear of communists influencing the military probably contributed to RCMPattempts to convince the Department of National Defence to fingerprint all recruits. Thesuggestion had first been made in 1917 by Percy Sherwood, the Chief Commissioner of theDominion Police, but it was rebuffed. 67 In October 1938, just seven months afterbecoming commissioner of the RCMP, S.T. Wood repeated the plea for military adoptionof fingerprinting, as the American military had done in 1906 and 1907. As evidence ofone benefit Commissioner Wood cited a United States Navy report that its fingerprintbureau had "prevented undesirables from entering the service under assumed names ..."64 S.R. Elliot, Scarlet to Green: A History of Intelligence in the Canadian Army 1903-1963 (Toronto: Canadian Intelligence andSecurity Association, 1981), pp. 71-2.65 ibid.66 ibid .67 NAC, RG 24, Vol. 6596, File HQ 1685-4, Sherwood to Adjutant General, 2 April 1917; A/Adjutant-General to Sherwood, 9 April1917.86However, the defence department again rejected the proposal, on the oft-cited grounds thatit would deter new personne1. 68The political discord resulting from the Depression brought on several othersecurity and intelligence developments within the RCMP. One of them was that trainingwithin the Force became more overtly directed towards ideology, especially after Woodbecame commissioner in 1938. This trend was noted by C.W. Harvison, a DetectiveSergeant in the Force in the late 1930s. He observed that in 1938 instructional sessionsoffered by the Mounted Police began for the first time to include lectures on communismand, secondarily, fascism. 69 Although ideological schooling was new in the RCMP, amarked political orientation was not. Anti-communism had been a mainstay of the Forcefor some time. Indeed, Wood was following the lead of Commissioner MacBrien, wholaunched a public campaign against the far left after he became commissioner in 1931.Not content to speak publicly against communism, MacBrien founded the RCMP Quarterlyin 1933 to warn Canadians about its threat. 70 Beginning from 1935 the RCMP Quarterlyregularly attacked communism, a tirade that indelibly marked the Force ideologically. 71Harvison observed a second security-related development in the late 1930s. TheForce began to expand its security and intelligence capacity and improve its internationalcontacts. He recalled thatspecial branch sections across Canada were increased; administrative andcoordinating staffs at headquarters were strengthened; contacts and liaisonswere established with intelligence agencies in the United Kingdom and theUnited States; training courses were set up in Canada; and selected memberswere sent abroad for specialized training. 7268 NAC, RG 24, Vol. 6596, File HQ 1685-4, Wood to Deputy Minister, DND, 27 October 1938; LaFleche to Wood, 3 December1938.69 Harvison's own RCMP personnel file indicates that he received three lectures on communism, but none on fascism, when heattended an upgrading course at Depot Division in Regina in April 1937. RCMP Access 92AT1P 1550, 0-311, 23 April 1937 report toOfficer Commanding, C Division.70 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," pp. 436-7.71 RCMP Quarterly 3, nos. 1-3 (July and October 1935 and January 1936); C.W. Harvison, The Horsemen (Toronto: McClelland andStewart, 1967), p. 84.72 Harvison, The Horsemen, p. 86.8 7This co-operation between intelligence agencies had begun years before. British andCanadian security authorities had exchanged intelligence during the First World War, andfor the RCMP this British connection remained primary throughout the 1920s. ScotlandYard and the Intelligence Service of the War Department supplied information on theComintern and about the movements of Canadian communists visiting Britain. 73 TheRNWMP began to receive British security intelligence materials on a regular basis in May1919, and had commenced routine reporting to Britain at least by October 1920. 74 Britishand Canadian intelligence agencies strengthened this liaison as the Second World Warapproached and concerns about sabotage came to the fore. 75 The RCMP's decision topublish a security guide for plant managers and screen workers followed recommendationsfrom Guy Liddell of MI5, who had been invited by the RCMP to visit Canada in 1938 toadvise on British security precautions and to suggest ways for Canada to improve itssecurity. 76 The British handbook on plant security helped Canadian security officials laydown the rule that military contractors were to be responsible for their own plant'sprotection. The police and military were to confine themselves to ensuring protectionagainst attack from the outside. The British handbook was very likely the model for theRCMP booklet Notes on Industrial Security which was printed in the spring of 1939. 77 Inaddition, the Canadian government as a whole looked to the British government forguidance on security matters. For example, O.D. Skelton, Undersecretary of State forExternal Affairs, in arguing for a wait-and-see attitude toward action against theCommunist Party in December 1939, suggested using regulations in Britain as a guide. 7873 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 402.74 Gregory S. Kealey, "The RCMP, the Special Branch, and the Early Days of the Communist Party of Canada: A DocumentaryArticle," Labour/Le Travail, 30 (Fall 1992), pp. 170-1.75 Hinsley and Simkins, British Intelligence in the Second World War: Volume Four, p. 141; Betke and Horrall, "Canada's SecurityService," p. 465.76 S.W. Horrall, letter to author, 8 August 1988; Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 510.77 Elliot, Scarlet to Green, pp. 80-1.78 NAC, MG 26 J4, Vol. 230, 13 December 1939 memo.88The American connection, tenuous at first, grew to eclipse the British link by 1945.In 1919, the RCMP Liaison and Intelligence Officer, Colonel C.F. Hamilton, hadinaugurated official intelligence co-operation with American police officials by visitingWashington. But the exchange stagnated until 1924, when J. Edgar Hoover becamedirector of the FBI. 79 During the Depression informal contacts between the FBI andRCMP grew in importance until November 1936 when RCMP Commissioner MacBrienwrote directly to Hoover to resolve the problem of how to obtain information on themovements of Canadian communists who visited the United States. MacBrien followed upthis inquiry by visiting Hoover in Washington in 1937. 80 In October 1938, after industrialsabotage preparations were unearthed in the United States, Commissioner Wood becamealarmed at the possibility of similar attacks in Canada. As a result, RCMP IntelligenceOfficer Rivett-Carnac met with an American counterpart to discuss ways to preventsabotage and espionage. 81 These intelligence co-ordination meetings would lead to threewestern hemispheric intelligence conferences and to permanent liaison officers during theSecond World War. 82Although it remained tiny, the RCMP's intelligence organization was centralizedand strengthened throughout the 1930s . A distinct Intelligence Section was created withinthe Criminal Investigation Branch in 1936 and the number of personnel increased to 6 from4 in 1934. In addition to Inspector Rivett-Carnac and Sergeant John Leopold, the sectionwas made up of a stenographer, a translator and two other officers, one in charge of theall-important Registry and one handling agents. Moreover, intelligence sections alsoexisted in some of the divisions." And the Assistant Commissioner, S.T. Wood, who had79 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," pp. 386-7, 405.80 ibid., pp. 407-8, 465a.81 ibid., pp. 501-2.82 CSIS Access 117-91-61, Minutes of the Western Hemisphere Intelligence Conference, 3 August 1942, p. I.83 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," pp. 393-5.8 9headed the division in politically-volatile Saskatchewan, gave security intelligence a greaterpriority when he became commissioner in 1938. 84As for supervision by elected politicians, security screening was overlooked. TheRCMP's surveillance and infiltration of radical groups became controversial after 1920 andremained so throughout the interwar period. 85 But no voice was raised against securityscreening. The dubious legality of fingerprinting civil servants was not a subject of publicdebate. The propriety of inquiring into the backgrounds of people who applied forCanadian citizenship or who wished public service appointments was not discussed in theHouse of Commons or in newspaper editorials. No Canadian government brought it to thepublic's attention, let alone sanction it by legislation. Its secrecy doubtless helped shield itfrom criticism. In the Depression, becoming a citizen or gaining a job in the civil servicewas such a sought-after plum that applicants were probably loath to complain about beingfingerprinted and scrutinized. But despite this tolerance of security screening, the fact thatthe state felt compelled to check civil service applicants for possible criminal records andto inquire into their background indicated that it did not fully trust them.British and American security intelligence agencies also instituted security screeningduring the interwar period. In both cases their systems were consistent with the Canadianmethods. In Britain, vetting emerged in the late 1930s, and appears to have begun with theinauguration of a special department within the internal security agency, MI5. The sectionresponsible for vetting was "C" Division. 86 By 1937 it had instituted a security screeningsystem covering people in key government sectors like the military and the BBC. 87 It took84 ibid., pp. 397-8.85 Sawatsky, Men in the Shadows, p. 60.86 West, M!5, p. 138.87 Hollingsworth and Norton-Taylor, Blacklist, p. 101. Actor Michael Redgrave was one of the first of several celebrated artists to runafoul of this vetting. In February 1941 he was banned from the air after signing the "People's Convention", a communist-sponsoredmanifesto which called for "a people's war" and "a people's peace". Protest from members of parliament and fellow actors caused theban to be lifted three weeks later. Michael Redgrave, In My Mind's Eye: An Autobiography (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson,1983), pp. 135-46.90its toll on civil servants. In February 1939 the National Council for Civil Libertiesreported civil liberties violations such as the interrogation of Post Office workers. Inaddition, the political views of civil service clerks who were active in unions wereprobed. 88MI5 was also immersed in vetting industrial workers before the Second World War.Little is known about this, but Hinsley and Simkins' official history of British intelligencecryptically observes that "The weekly average of vetting submissions rose from 2,300 inJanuary 1939 to 6,800 in September and to over 8,000 iin [sic] June 1940 when the vettingof many industrial grades was abandoned to ease the load." 89 One look at these figuresconfirms the scale of MI5's security screening operation. In the eight months prior to thewar, the service vetted at least 75,000 people. Another 100,000 were checked in the firstfour months of the war. Clearly a functional screening system was in place months beforethe war began.This does not mean that British vetting was complete or adequate. At least fiveSoviet agents found their way into British security intelligence agencies and the ForeignOffice during the 1930s. The crucial flaw of vetting, however, was not that it wasslipshod. Its problem was class bias. As Bernard Porter points out, the British uppermiddle class which dominated the secret and diplomatic services looked for recruits fromamong men they knew personally and those like themselves. Since it would insult agentleman to apply intrusive vetting practices to him, selecting people mainly from theirclass was their form of screening. 90 Of course they had no objection to vetting their socialinferiors. As Peter Wright observed, even in the 1950s, suspicion about the cause of leaks88 Advertisement for conference "The Civil Rights of Black-coated Workers" organized by National Council for Civil Liberties, 18February 1939.89 Hinsley and Simkins, British Intelligence in the Second World War: Volume Four, p. 32.90 Porter, Plots and Paranoia, p. 186.91from British government offices usually fell upon clerks, cleaners and secretaries. 91Screening them only made good sense, and it was begun in the 1930s.As in Canada, technique was an important part of the screening operation. Thecore of MI5's system was its extensive card index of suspected subversives, which grewconsiderably during the interwar period. Using this indispensable intelligence repository,MI5 was able, with some assurance, to check the names of all new employees in sensitivesections of the government and military, and thousands in industry as well. By early 1939this vetting had already proven its worth by detecting a communist within the BritishTerritorial Army. 92In the United States, formal and systematic security screening began by 1921,carried out by the FBI for the Civil Service Commission. 93 By 1936 the FBI Manualincluded a detailed outline of the requirements for investigating applicants for civil servicepostings, including the proper way to glean information about "organizations of a quasi-political nature. "94 Obtaining reliable information about the political affiliation of civilservants was obviously an important part of the FBI's vetting process. What theinstructions describe is a positive vetting process, involving both a record check andbackground investigations and interviews.As in Canada, the FBI's vast fingerprint records were central to its vettingoperation. Its Civil Identification Section was founded in 1933, but even before it existed,in 1929, the Civil Service Commission began to send the fingerprints of its applicants tothe FBI. 95 The manner in which fingerprinting was conducted during the 1930sdemonstrates how important fingerprinting was to security screening in the United States.91 Peter Wright, Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer (New York: Viking, 1987), p. 122.92 West, MIS, pp. 74-6.93 Theoharis, FBI filing and records procedures, Section Three, Classification No. 35, "Civil Service".94 Theoharis, FBI Instruction Manuals, 1936 manual, Section 19, p. 2.95 Connolly, "Uncle Sam Wants Your Mark," p. 155.92J. Edgar Hoover himself viewed them as inextricably linked. In January 1940, still 22months before the United States entered the war, he told the House AppropriationCommittee that many industrial employers were fingerprinting their employees, and thatthe fingerprints were "being transmitted to the Bureau for check to ascertain whether anyof these individuals have been engaged either in criminal or subversive activities." 96Anxiety about political developments in the interwar years was accompanied bysecurity screening of citizenship applicants, civil servants and people in "positions oftrust". By 1939 the Force had accumulated a wealth of security screening experiencethrough more than a decade of practice. The result was a security screening system whichhad been well tested in a small scale but authentic environment. Citizenship applicantswere screened from the 1920s, and in the late 1930s the RCMP conducted at least arudimentary security screening -- fingerprinting and a check of records -- of every newly-hired permanent civil servant. In addition, the Force frequently conducted a full fieldinquiry into a civil service applicant's background.Security screening was launched well after the First World War and well before theSecond. Thus it cannot be seen as a response to a wartime emergency. It is true that inthe late 1930s the imminence of a second confrontation with Germany hastened vetting, butit had begun long before 1939. At no point did the RCMP or the Civil ServiceCommission oblige historians by setting out for the record exactly why they introducedcivil service screening. All we can discern is that the process began in a decade marked bypolitical volatility, economic depression, international tension, the perfecting offingerprinting and a grasp of its political use, the advance of police organization andpreparation and the existence of a growing bureaucracy freed from the constraints of96 Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, p. 382. Emphasis mine.9 3patronage appointment. The political climate of the 1930s was thick with fear of economicmalaise and revolution. In retrospect, we can see that Western security officials andpoliticians of all stripes, left and right, exaggerated the threat from Bolshevism and theworld communist parties it nurtured. But this is hindsight. For contemporary participants,the fear -- to some, the hope -- of the Bolshevik revolution was as pure as the color red. Inthe absence of a single cause for the commencement of security screening, these factorsmust suffice to describe the pressures which encouraged its birth.Although we cannot specify a single cause for the creation of the security screeningsystem, we can identify an outcome. Because of its years of security intelligencedevelopment, the RCMP was well prepared to deal with internal dissent when war loomedin the late summer of 1939. Accustomed to operating a complete, if small scale, vettingsystem, the RCMP was able to use that experience to good advantage in the hectic earlymonths of the war.Chapter 4Security screening in the Second World WarSaturday, 8 March 1941 was a momentous day in the Second World War. TheUnited States Senate approved the Lend-Lease Bill, putting the industrial might of thatofficially neutral giant at the service of a beleaguered Britain. Italian forces were in retreatbefore a Greek offensive in Albania; an agitated Hitler darkly threatened a Balkaninvasion. With so many pressing world events to report, it was little wonder that a matter-of-fact announcement about new controls on workers in Canadian war factories did notmake page one of The Globe and Mail. The Globe's article was meagre in the extreme andcuriously vague -- no dateline indicated where and when it had originated. It was,moreover, almost the antithesis of news, stating what seemed to be established practice:Workers in factories engaged in war work are being fingerprinted asa measure of precaution. ...Finger-printing already is under way at factories with war contracts.Plans for this system were made toward the end of last year.The Federal Government issued orders direct to the companiesworking on war work stating that finger-printing was necessary for theprotection of all concerned.'Brevity was not the only peculiarity about the article. Even its placement was odd.This measure, which would see one million Canadian workers subjected to a procedure thatCanadian law applied only to serious crimes, and which the public abhorred, was not even1 Globe and Mail, 8 March 1941, p. 25.9495consigned to a news page. The article was placed on page 25, The Globe's funnies page."They'll Do It Every Time," "Life's Like That" and "Little Annie Rooney" competed forthe reader's attention.Two months earlier, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had announced the newsthat industrial workers would soon be subject to screening which would require them togive "particulars as to birth, naturalization and domestic affairs together with characterreferences." 2 But fingerprinting had not been mentioned. The cryptic Globe and Mailarticle and a similar story the same day in The Toronto Star were the first publicannouncements of the largest fingerprint registration in Canadian history.The fingerprinting of war plant workers was a program initiated and implementedby the federal Department of Munitions and Supply (DMS) and the RCMP. It was anessential element in a security screening program which also entailed background andcharacter checks for some people. The RCMP itself viewed fingerprinting as "animportant cog in the machinery of internal protection. " 3 In the course of the war theRCMP received fingerprints from some 500 companies which had munitions contracts withthe Canadian or British governments, as well as from public utilities, oil refineries,distilleries and even a few corporations without war contracts. Each day over 500,000people laboured in those plants. 4 By 1945 one million Canadian workers had foundthemselves under the scrutiny of the RCMP. 5Wartime security screening did not stop there. The RCMP was also the finalauthority in the vetting of all applicants for the three armed forces. This involved2 Globe and Mail, 24 January 1941, p. 11.3 H.R. Butchers, "Fingerprint identification in wartime," RCMP Gazette 6, no. 29 (July 19 1944), p. 1.4 NAC, RG 28A, Vol. 134, File 44, Development of Industrial Security Branch Department of Munitions and Supply, 15 September1943, p. 10.5 RCMP, Annual Report 1946, p. 39. At war's end the RCMP's civil fingerprint collection numbered 1,100,000. (Canada, Debates,House of Commons, 1947, p. 1652.) This declaration would corroborate the RCMP Annual Report figure, since it is reasonable toestimate that about 100,000 civilian fingerprints were taken before the war and from September 1945 to 1947. It should beacknowledged that some people must have been fingerprinted more than once during the course of the war, so the absolute numbers offingerprints held by the RCMP exaggerate the number of people fingerprinted and screened.9 6fingerprinting and checking approximately another one million Canadians. 6 In addition,merchant seamen were fingerprinted and many civil servants were screened.? In sum, thefingerprints of some 2,300,000 civilians and military personnel were taken by the RCMPand military identification services during the war years. 8 The size of the group undersurveillance is significant. In 1941 Canada's population was 11,500,000. So oneCanadian in five was subjected to some form of security inquiry during the Second WorldWar.The scope and importance of this dramatic expansion of state security activity hasbeen overlooked by other commentators. For instance, writing about the Gouzenko case,Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein argue that the vetting which went on in the SecondWorld War was at best cursory. This, they say, isproven by the [Kellock-Taschereau] Royal Commission's evidence thatdemonstrated that active communists held positions of trust. [During thewar] vetting only rarely looked at ideological questions. 9In fact, the Second World War security screening system was well organized, extensiveand explicitly ideological. Its targets were several, but initially communists were itsprimary focus. In other words, its most important purpose was to monitor and controlpeople who espoused and practiced extreme left-wing politics.This system was the most formidable inquiry into the lives and beliefs of Canadiansever seen in this country. In order to understand its features, how it worked, who itincorporated, what it did, and when and where it was implemented, we must first look atthe conditions in which it was created.6 CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence and Liaison Section Annual Report, 1941; RCMP, Annual Report, 1941, p. 56.7 It appears that the pressure of fingerprinting war plant employees and armed forces personnel contributed to a slight reduction in CSCuse of the RCMP fingerprinting service during the war. The practice of fingerprinting candidates at CSC examinations fell into disuse,and was revived only in 1946. Nevertheless, CSC candidates had criminal and subversive checks done on them. CSIS Access 86-A-85,McNaughton report, 8 July 1946 and Parsons to DCI, 22 May 1946.8 The figure 2,300,000 represents the number of fingerprint sets sent to the RCMP. Since people changed jobs during the war andhence were fingerprinted more than once, that number doesn't correspond exactly with the number of individuals fingerprinted. It isimpossible to know precisely how many people were fingerprinted, but it was not likely less than 2,000,000.9 Robert Bothwell and Jack Granatstein, The Gouzenko Transcripts (Toronto: Deneau, 1983), pp. 18-9.97The war brings new conditionsJust days before conflict on the Polish-German border flung the world into a six-year cataclysm, The Globe and Mail commented editorially that Canada's lack of air raidprotection "serves to remind us of how utterly unprepared we are for the catastrophe [ofwar]." 10 But Canada was ready for war, as Reginald Whitaker has pointed out, in oneregard -- "internal surveillance and control." 11 Secret precautions to enforce internalsecurity had already been taken. In 1936 the threat of a European conflict prompted thegovernment to consider some of the internal security consequences of modern warfare. 12More consistent efforts to strengthen Canada's internal security for the possibility of warbegan in 1938. One of the most important of these was the creation of aninterdepartmental committee to draft emergency legislation in March 1938. The committeeissued sixty-four proposals which became the core of the Defence of Canada Regulations(DOCR). Proclaimed under the War Measures Act on 3 September 1939, these regulationssupplied the cabinet with the authority to rule by order in council throughout the war. 13 Inthe assessment of the distinguished historian of Canada's Second World War policies, C.P.Stacey, the power thus conferred upon the cabinet and the prime minister was enormous. 14Canada's declaration of war on Germany in September 1939 created a new situationin the country; major changes would be necessary. By enacting the DOCR the governmentmade it clear that peacetime freedoms would have to be severely curtailed. To reach a warfooting Canada had to transform itself, mobilize en masse, vastly increase its production ofwar material, impose censorship and rationing and take a host of other tough measures.No citizens would be spared from some sacrifice and even hardship. Drastic changes to10 Globe and Mail, 18 August 1939, p. 6.11 Kealey and Whitaker, R. C.M.P. Security Bulletins, 1939-1941, p. 10.12 NAC, RG 35/7, Vol. 24, File Civil-Defence, "Civil Defence in Canada 1936 to 1946".13 Ramsay Cook, "Canadian Freedom in Wartime 1939-1945," in His Own Man: Essays in Honour of Arthur Reginald MarsdenLower, ed. W.H. Heick and Roger Graham (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1974), p. 38.14 C.P. Stacey, Arms, Men and Governments: The War Policies of Canada 1939-1945 (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1970), p. 111.98the prewar status quo were imperative. One of them would be a grand security screeningoperation.In such extraordinary circumstances the Canadian labour movement was ofparticular importance. The two major labour centrals, the Trades and Labor Congress(TLC) and the All-Canadian Congress of Labour (ACCL -- after September 1940 theCanadian Congress of Labour, or CCL) both backed the government's war campaign. TheTLC annual convention in September 1939 pledged its unwavering support to the Canadianand British governments. 15 In 1940 it also voted overwhelmingly to support the Defenceof Canada Regulations, explaining that in war everyone had to be prepared to "sacrificepersonal liberty to some degree as the price to be paid for national security." 16 In the samevein, the ACCL executive board declared in September 1939 that it had no hesitation "inassuring the Government of its support in this period of crisis." 17But while labour unions were prepared to make the sacrifices necessary in such anemergency they were not ready to do so without qualification. Their loyalty came withconditions: they were adamant that the full force of strict regulations should not fall onlyupon labour. Moreover, they wanted the state and employers to co-operate fully withlabour and to recognize traditional union rights -- to organize, bargain collectively andstrike. The Canadian Congress Journal, for instance, warned against the adoption of anextreme stand against labour such as was taken by The Montreal Gazette, which said that"there should be no strikes in war industries anymore than there should be desertions fromthe Army." "The war will not be won by making the industrial workers of this countryinto industrial slaves," admonished the Journal. 18 In addition, labour wanted to be takeninto the government's confidence and properly consulted about wartime policies. Inreassuring the government of its support in the war in September 1939, The Canadian15 Canadian Congress Journal, October 1939, p. 31.16 Canadian Congress Journal, October 1940, p. 23.17 Canadian Unionist, September 1939, p. 107.18 Canadian Congress Journal, June 1940, p. 10.9 9Unionist quickly added that it endorsed Prime Minister Mackenzie King's own proposal for"a National Advisory Council, on which Labour shall be represented, ... for the purpose ofco-ordinating all activities of the nation ... in the struggle in which the country is nowengaged." 19 Urging that union representatives be invited to join state war coordinatingcommittees was a theme frequently reiterated throughout the war by these two influentiallabour journals. "The workers want to co-operate in the war-effort; they can co-operateonly through their unions. Wouldn't it be a good idea if they were allowed to co-operate?"editorialized The Canadian Unionist in April 1941. 20The foremost enemy of such co-operation within the labour movement, and themost feared national security threat, was the communists. By 1939 conservative and socialdemocratic labour officials could look back on more than a decade of battles withcommunists over the direction of the labour movement. 21 The communist response to thewar generated further distrust. The party had been vociferously anti-nazi for years beforeSeptember 1939. But with the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty of 23 August 1939and the Comintern's opposition to the war, the Canadian Communist Party made anawkward half-turn twist. Its policy spun from support for the Canadian war in earlySeptember to condemnation in October, following the Comintern line. 22 "Stop theImperialist War!" was the communists' major slogan for the March 1940 federal election. 23After the Soviet-German pact, opined The Canadian Congress Journal, "as far as theCommunists were concerned, Naziism was no longer to be feared or fought. " 24The leadership of both the TLC and the CCL abhorred the communists and othersubversives within unions and strove ceaselessly to purge them. Delegates at the fall 194019 Canadian Unionist, September 1939, p. 107.20 Canadian Unionist, April 1941, p. 265. See also Canadian Congress Journal February 1941, p. 6; April 1941, p. 7; June 1941, p.4; December 1941, p. 9.21 Bryan Palmer, Working Class Experience: Rethinking the History of Canadian Labour, 1800-1991 2nd ed. (Toronto: McClellandand Stewart, 1992), p. 247.22 Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada, p. 140.23 The Clarion, 23 March 1940, p. 1.24 Canadian Congress Journal January 1940, p. 8.10 0conventions of the TLC and the CCL took very similar stands in simultaneously linkingand condemning nazis, fascists and communists and urging member unions to oust anyonewho was known to espouse such views. The Canadian Unionist avowed that workers "willgive short shrift to 'fifth columnists' and their dupes; they have no sympathy with 'fellowtravellers' and the stupid or ignorant who swallow their poisoned dope." 25 In some casescommunists were barred; for example, Communist Party members were cast out of theToronto District Labour Counci1. 26 But it was no easy task to eradicate all communists,since they were key figures in many unions, especially those affiliated with the Committeefor Industrial Organization." Nevertheless, the goals of banishing the communists andensuring the peace within the labour movement which would allow vigorous participationin the government's war drive were tightly bound. A.R. Mosher, president of the CCL,expressed the connection succinctly in March 1941 when he declared that "When theworkers are adequately organized, under proper leadership, they will remedy the evilswhich now cause discontent."28Defining the enemyIn the public mind, aliens constituted a grave threat to Canada's security. In thefirst year of the war people of German and Italian origin were particularly targeted. 29 Butthe official view on people of foreign birth was quite different. The InterdepartmentalCommittee on Emergency Legislation created in 1938 had established a specialsubcommittee to study the problem of immigrants and subversion. It agreed that mostimmigrants in Canada would be loyal to the state in case of war. For that reason itrecommended that non-citizens of enemy origin should not be arrested or detained en25 Canadian Unionist, September 1940, p. 91.26 Toronto Clarion, 1 May 1940, p. 4.27 Irving Abella, Nationalism, Communism, and Canadian Labour: The CIO, the Communist Party, and the Canadian Congress ofLabour, 1935-1956 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973), pp. 25, 31, 38, 43.28 Canadian Unionist, April 1941, p. 247.29 OHA, File 160.01, memo from chief municipal engineer, 20 June 1940; Kealey and Whitaker, eds., R.C.M.P. Security Bulletins:1939-1941, pp. 261, 269; Globe and Mail, 10 June 1940, p. 4.101masse. They would be required to register with the local Registrars of Enemy Aliens, butno further action would be taken against them unless there were reasons to suspect anindividual of disloyalty. 30 Once the war began, this internment plan was carried out, andthe number of interned enemy aliens was surprisingly small. Pre-war plans, for instance,called for just 814 people to be detained. 31 By war's end some 1100 enemy aliens hadbeen interned, compared to 8600 in the First World War. 32 This was not a mass roundupof immigrants but a selective seizure limited to specific targets. 33During the war the RCMP held a judicious attitude towards people of foreignextraction. The federal police were careful to contradict the notion that a foreignerequalled an enemy agent. Commissioner S.T. Wood, for instance, publicly proclaimed inearly 1941 that it was not the alien but the radical who was the country's greatestadversary:Whereas the enemy alien is usually recognizable and easily renderedinnocuous by clear-cut laws applicable to his case, your "Red" has theprotection of citizenship, his foreign master is not officially an enemy and,unless he blunders into the open and provides proof of his guilt, he is muchmore difficult to suppress. 34Wood's declaration was important for more than the fact that it refuted the publicfear of enemy aliens. It signalled a far-reaching transformation in security policy.Foreigners as a group were no longer considered to be the primary security problem.Wood's complaint about "your 'Red" was that he was a citizen and invisible in theCanadian population. Within that population the enemy hid, and extraordinary security30 Robert Keyserlingk, "'Agents within the Gates': The Search for Nazi Subversives in Canada during World War II," CanadianHistorical Review LXVI, no. 2 (1985), p. 224.31 NAC, RG 76, Vol. 446, File 675985 pt. 1, 31 August 1939 report.32 Keyserlingk, "'Agents within the Gates'," p. 239; Lubomyr Luciuk, A Time for Atonement: Canada's First National InternmentOperations and the Ukrainian Canadians 1914-1920 (Kingston, Ont.: The Limestone Press, 1988), p. 7.33 The internment of some 24,000 Japanese Canadians represents an anomaly to the general trend, a reversion to an earlier policy ofmass rather than selective internment of aliens. The forcible transfer of these people, it should be noted, was carried out despite theRCMP's intelligence assessments to the contrary. See Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 477 and Gregory S. Kealeyand Reg Whitaker, R. C.M.P. Security Bulletins: The War Series, Part II, 1942-45 (St. John's: Canadian Committee on Labour History,1993), p. 20.34 S.T. Wood, "Tools for Treachery," The Canadian Spokesman 1, no. 2 (February 1941), p. 3.102measures were going to be needed to detect him. This change in the target of the state'ssecurity police constituted an important shift in security and intelligence thinking in thefirst half of the 20th century. Although as late as the 1930s police still saw "dangerousforeigners" as the state's greatest adversary, 35 that perception faded in the early years ofthe Second World War.Although Canada was at war only with Germany until June 1940 the RCMP tendedto discount the threat posed by agents of that power. Canada had its share of nazi andfascist sympathizers, some of them directly connected to Hitler's regime. 36 Yet before andafter September 1939, in its secret intelligence bulletins to the government and in publicstatements, the RCMP consistently maintained that nazis were of secondary importance. 37This attitude was the cause of criticism from an official in the prime minister's office earlyin the war. In November 1939 Jack Pickersgill wrote a telling memo which berated theRCMP's tendency to focus on the communists as the state's main enemy. Analyzing the30 October 1939 RCMP Intelligence Bulletin, Pickersgill detected an "anti-Red complex"and "an almost exclusive pre-occupation with so-called subversive organizations, and ...very little information about Nazis or Fascists. "38Communism was a virtual obsession for the RCMP. As a target, the CommunistParty rose to prominence shortly after the end of the First World War, and it maintainedthat status in the RCMP's eyes throughout the interwar years. 39 Its assessment of the threatfrom the party grew as the Second World War opened. Thus, in a 25 August 1939 letter toJustice Minister Ernest Lapointe in which he outlined a number of preventive actions incase war broke out, Wood called for "A more rigid and extended surveillance of35 Avery, "Dangerous Foreigners", pp. 13, 116.36 Lita-Rose Betcherman, The Swastika and the Maple Leaf: Fascist Movements in Canada in the Thirties (Toronto: Fitzhenry andWhiteside, 1975), p. 128.37 Kealey and Whitaker, eds., R. C.M. P. Security Bulletins: 1939-1941, p. 22.38 NAC, MG 26 J4, Vol 372, File 3913, Pickersgill note and analysis, 27 November 1939.39 Horrall, "Canada's Security Service: A Brief History," p. 45.103Communist Agitators, particularly those active among industrial workers." 40 According tothe RCMP, the party was especially dangerous because it "has cells in practically everyindustry. " 41 In November 1939 the police revealed to the prime minister papers and copiesof letters which showed, King wrote, "efforts of communists to create dissatisfaction andsabotage ..." 42 Throughout the Second World War, then, the federal police force devotedmost of its attention to the internal adversary which had emerged at the end of the FirstWorld War.Fear of communism was not confined to the RCMP. As it was with labour leaders,popular and elite opinion was strongly suspicious of the communists. Many peopledoubted the communists' loyalty to the country and feared that they were as dangerous asthe nazis in their potential to sabotage the Canadian war effort. The Vancouver Sunexpressed this suspicion that the nazis and communists had in fact united in May 1940when it editorialized that "Communism and Nazism are as alike as two peas. The fact thatthey go under different names is all the more reason for alertness." 43 Saturday Nightreiterated this view in asserting that Canadian communists were agents of Soviet policy,which was "to aid Germany, up to a certain point, by hampering the war effort of theAllies." 44 The RCMP held a similar view. In April 1940 the Intelligence Bulletineditorialized against a "Sickle-Swastika" alliance. 45The Intelligence Bulletin also drew a link between communists and industrialdisruption. "Better wages and working conditions ... are now seen only as a 'legitimate'excuse for enlisting mass demonstrations calculated to retard our war efforts," it argued inApril 1940. 46 The RCMP claim appeared to be confirmed when a strike organized by the40 NAC, RG 27 1111310, Vol. 50, File 41, Wood to Lapointe, 25 August 1939.41 Keeley and Whitaker, eds., R. C.M.P. Security Bulletins: 1939-1941, p. 22.42 King Diary, 24 November 1939.43 The Vancouver Sun, 7 May 1940, p. 4.44 Saturday Night, 8 June 1940, p. 1.45 Kea ley and Whitaker, eds., R. C.M.P. Security Bulletins: 1939-1941, p. 222.46 ibid . p . 201, 206, 361 and passim.104Canadian Seamen's Union, which was led by communists, tied up shipping for six days onthe Great Lakes in April 1940. Some people, Ontario Fire Marshal W.J. Scott amongthem, saw the strike as an act of sabotage. 47The Communist Party's actual campaign against the war effort relied mostly uponpropaganda and agitation." Indeed an underground communist paper, The TorontoClarion, dismissed the use of violence, saying that communists' duty "to work night andday for the defeat of their 'own' bourgeoisie ... does not mean foolish, anarchistic acts ofviolence, as the bourgeois press says." 49 Peter Hunter, a long time Communist Partyactivist, dismissed out of hand the idea that party members would have obeyed the party'sexhortations to turn the imperialist war into civil war. He has recalled that "very fewParty members I knew would have even considered such a policy. Many remainedinactive. "50 Historian Ivan Avakumovic declares that the party's political peregrinationscaused members to leave in droves. 51 If the communists had been responsible for anysabotage the RCMP Intelligence Bulletins would have been sure to announce it, and thebulletins from 1939 to the end of 1941 report no violent sabotage perpetrated by them.Canadian communists' oppositional phase ended abruptly on 22 June 1941, whenGerman forces invaded the Soviet Union and the party reversed its stand on the war onemore time. The Communist Party's transformed stand on the war was announced in astriking banner headline in The Canadian Tribune on 28 June 1941: "World Fascism isDoomed!" An imperialist war had been transformed into a just war, according to partyleader Tim Buck, because "a fundamental change has taken place in the character of thewar and the international situation." The new conflict "cuts across class lines," declaredBuck, and he called for all members and supporters of the party "to exert all efforts to47 OA, RG 33, Series I-1, U.S.A. 1940-1946, Scott to Tamm, 20 May 1940.48 Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada, pp. 141-2.49 The Toronto Clarion, 26 September 1940, p. 2.50 Peter Hunter, Which Side Are You On, Boys? Canadian Life on the Left (Toronto: Lugus Productions, 1988), p. 120.51 Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada, p. 144.105defeat Hitler." 52 For the duration of the war the Canadian Communist Party devoted itselfto the Canadian government's policy of all-out war. The RCMP, however, refused tobelieve the transformation was genuine, and communists headed its list of security risks forthe remainder of the war. 53Canada's fifth column crisisWith its vision of the internal enemy thus set, the RCMP was able to take advantageof a fear which engulfed the country in the early months of the war -- the fear of sabotage.It was a singular and especially useful phobia. Sabotage emerged in the 19th century as apurely-domestic threat, involving destruction of machinery by workers. But in thetwentieth century it gained a new facet -- the enemy within was linked to the externalantagonist. Saboteurs came to be seen as people who were trained to perpetrate violenceagainst their own citizens in order to aid a foreign power. This connection to an outsideenemy was an important development for security intelligence, because it denied thesuspected saboteur protection from state surveillance or harassment. 54Sabotage was practiced and feared during the First World War, but it took on asomber aura of terror during the 1930s. Anxiety about it was a staple of popular literature-- like Richard Rowan's apocalyptic sagas Spies and the Next War, The Story of SecretService and Secret Agents Against America -- and grist for suspense films like AlfredHitchcock's 1936 Sabotage. 55 By 1939 sabotage had also become a potential threat52 Political Bureau of the CPC, "A National Front For Victory," as quoted in Kealey and Whitaker, eds., R. C.M. P. Security Bulletins:1939-1941, p. 409.53 ibid., p. 390.54 Elizabeth Grace and Colin Leys, "The Concept of Subversion and its Implications" in Dissent and the State, ed. C.E.S. Franks(Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 65.55 The Story of Secret Service ominously forecast that the next war would see saboteurs who would "detonate, ignite and demolishopponents with vivid effect and quiet contentment." The Story of Secret Service (New York: Literary Guild of America, 1937), p. 521.The 1987 National Intelligence Book Center catalogue describes the Hitchcock film as "filled with the master's touches, the mostfamous of which is the innocent boy carrying a bomb set to go off at any moment. Considerable tension." A 1942 Hitchcock film,called Saboteur, has a plot vividly evocative of wartime political culture: "Unjustly accused of sabotage, a war worker flees andexposes a spy ring." National Intelligence Book Center, Catalogue (Washington, D.C.: Spring 1987), p. 95.106familiar to Canadian business leaders. A Toronto firm which specialized in procuringindustrial spies declared in a 29 March 1939 promotional letter thatA recent survey indicates that manufacturers and business men in general,are alive to the necessity of protecting their business and their employeesfrom sabotage. 56Sabotage was a potent label outside of the capitalist world, too. "Saboteurs" and"wreckers" were the favorite charges used to purge thousands of Communist Partymembers in Stalin's Soviet Union. As in the West, it signalled fear of the undetectedenemy within, the traitor whose public face gave no cause for alarm. More vividly thanany other word, it signalled the collusion between a foreign power and innocent appearingcitizens. Ironically, Canadian communists contributed to the fear of sabotage in thiscountry through articles warning about Nazi spies in The Daily Clarion during the late1930s. 57In Canada action to combat sabotage began even before the war. By April 1939plants of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario were already guarded. Thenext month the commission's chief engineer rejected requests to photograph its Leasidepower site because of "our present concern about possible sabotage." 58 The RCMP usedthe threat of sabotage to justify the arrest of over 200 pro-nazis within hours of Canada'sdeclaration of war. 59If talk of sabotage was a current before the war, it grew to a flood with theoutbreak of war and became a torrent in the spring of 1940. Denmark, Norway,Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and France all toppled before the German blitzkrieg.These catastrophes forced the Canadian state and people to recognize the dire situation theywere in. Britain itself was in grave difficulty. If it fell, Canada, as its major ally, could56 Cited in Irving Abella and David Millar, eds. The Canadian Worker in the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press: Toronto,1978) p. 272.57 See, for instance, The Daily Clarion, 2 June, 1939, p. 1 and 2 June, 1939, pp. 1-2.58 Ontario Hydro Archives (OHA), File 160.01, chief operating engineer to chief engineer, 22 April 1939.59 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 478.107face the full force of German military might. On 12 June Justice Minister Lapointe warnedCanadians that they "could no longer rely upon the Allied armies and the British fleet forprotection against invasion." 60 Prime Minister Mackenzie King declared before a solemnHouse of Commons on 18 June that "The plain facts are that the defeat of France hasbrought the war much nearer home to Canada. ... It is now wholly apparent thatadditional measures both for the assistance of Britain and for the defence of Canada areessential. "61The crisis aroused a public alarm in the country, the center of which was the fear ofinternal saboteurs and fifth columnists, who were seen as the cause of the unimaginably-swift collapse of western European countries. Mass meetings in May and June called forsweeping action against enemy aliens and suspected fifth columnists. In Vancouver ralliesof 7000 on 26 May and 5000 on 28 May demanded that the federal government organizeveterans to assist the police in fighting "espionage or sabotage, whether of word or deed,or in any other role," and urged the government to bar "aliens of enemy birth ... fromemployment in any government or municipal service or in key industries, and dischargethose at present employed. "62 In Calgary a crowd of 7000 demanded internment ofGermans and other measures to combat the threat of fifth columnists. Fear of possiblerioting there led Police Chief David Ritchie to close the Ukrainian Labor-Farmer TempleAssociation office and the Russian Workers and Farmers Club. 63 In Windsor an assemblyof 3000 ex-servicemen called for protection such as the registration of every person inCanada and internment of all enemy aliens. 64 In Toronto 50,000 ex-servicemen rallied on9 June to demand that the federal government act decisively to put the country on a totalwar footing. The most effective fifth columnists in Canada, Major the Reverend H.F.Woodcock told the crowd, "are those in positions of authority who have adopted half-60 Globe and Mail 13 June 1940, p. 3.61 Canada, House of Commons. Debates, 1940, pp. 853-4.62 Vancouver Daily Province, 27 May, p. 3 and 29 May 1940, p. 5.63 ibid., 30 May 1940, p. 11.64 Toronto Star, 23 May 1940, p. 5.108hearted purposes, thus bringing only a fraction of our power to bear on the problem ofwinning a war. "65 In Montreal a gathering of 7000 at Atwater Market on 27 May heardColonel J.J. Creelman declare that the peacetime maxim of allowing 100 guilty persons togo free rather than jailing a single innocent must be abandoned. In wartime, all suspectsmust be arrested, he asserted. 66This fear of the fifth column and the demand for internment, national registrationand, most importantly, active prosecution of the war, was also voiced in the House ofCommons, by public officials and on the pages of daily newspapers. Waterloo South MPKarl Homuth told the House on 27 May that "There is a real fear on the part of people.There are a great many of these enemies at large in Canada." He, too, called for theinternment of suspects who, he said, could later be given an opportunity to prove theirinnocence. His remarks also reiterated a popular belief that registration of all citizenswould help ease public concern by allowing for a check on subversives. 67 Vancouver EastMP Angus Maclnnis presented a communication from the mayor of Vancouver reporting"considerable feeling ... against enemy aliens and enemy sympathizers." The mayor addedthat "unless there is an assurance from the federal government that adequate measures arebeing taken to cope with subversive activities of such people, citizens may organize for thatpurpose. "68Among the leading figures who seized the sabotage issue, none was more driventhan Ontario Fire Marshal William J. Scott. Scott's position kept him in closecommunication with the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the UnitedStates, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover's control of the FBI made him the indispensable key toinformation from that agency. 69 Scott's prestige as fire marshal in the province with the65 Globe and Mail, 10 June 1940, p. 4.66 Le Devoir, 28 May 1940, p. 10; The Canadian Tribune, 1 June 1940, p. 1.67 Canada, House of Commons, Debates, 1940, pp. 223, 358.68^• •., p. 21.69 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," pp. 406, 408.109greatest concentration of wartime industry, and his ideological affinity with Hoover, helpedhim to bask in the reflected prestige of the FBI. Scott reciprocated by feeding Hooverinformation about developments in Canada. The connection added considerably to Scott'sinfluence and provided him with delectable secrets about "incendiary bombs and otherinfernal machines" which he recounted in a frenzied round of sermons. As a conduit ofsabotage tales and lore between the United States and Canada, Scott helped to generalizeexperience from one country to the other. His purpose in speaking and writing aboutsabotage was not just to alert Canadians to its possibility. He also spoke frequently in theUnited States and sought to put a scare into Americans by distributing "some Canadian warpropaganda along the lines of what the Germans did to them last time when they were atpeace, and what they can expect the Germans, and probably the Communists, also to donow." 70 Scott was also a persistent advocate of security screening, beginning his campaignin an October 1939 War Emergency Bulletin, which he issued to thousands ofcorporations, government departments and police forces in Canada, the United States andBritain. 71The rising tide of fifth column fear is revealed through a day-by-day reading of TheGlobe and Mail and The Toronto Star in the months of September 1939 and June 1940. InSeptember 1939 The Globe published 26 articles about sabotage, spies and the fifthcolumn. On the same subject there were four editorials but no letters or photos. The Starpublished 103 articles, three letters, one editorial and two photos about the fifth column.In June 1940 The Globe published 116 articles, ten editorials, four letters and four photoson the subject. In the same month The Star published 164 articles, one editorial, sevenletters and three photos about the issue. 7270 OA, RG 33, Series 1-1, File 84.2, Scott to Hood, 16 January 1940.71 OA, RG 33, Series 1-1, File 84.3, War Emergency Bulletin No. 3, 20 October 1939; for distribution list see ibid., File 90.14, Scottto Hipel, 9 July 1940.72 The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star, September 1939 and June 1940.110The public mood of intolerance for dissent in the dark days of May and June 1940was revealed after the Canadian Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) brought together inMontreal some 500 people in a national conference dealing with civil liberties in wartime.RCMP Superintendent H.A.R. Gagnon, commanding the Quebec division, reported that"this Office has since been deluged with complaints from various individuals and many ofprominents [sic] in connection with permitting this organization to function." The publicagitation seemed even to cause the RCMP some jitters. Gagnon told the RCMPcommissioner that "it is time that some drastic action be taken before we are confrontedwith demonstrations by the complaining organizations ... " 73 On 5 June 1940 the police gottheir wish: the government banned 16 groups, including the Communist Party andorganizations affiliated with it (although not the CCLU).The RCMP was anxious not to let the public frenzy get out of hand. There was "noroom for sixth columns," the Force warned in the pages of its Intelligence Bulletin:Police forces are swamped with a flood of complaints regarding allegedsubversive activities. Switch-boards are jammed with messages to the sameeffect. A well meaning but ill-informed public, particularly veterans andtheir organizations, are letting their imagination run riot. Old incidents,second-hand gossip, a German-sounding name, a Teutonic haircut, almostanything now assumes a sinister aspect ... 74By late May the RCMP was so overwhelmed by telephone reports of fifth columnists that itappealed to people to write letters detailing their complaints rather than calling the police. 75In Montreal the RCMP urged citizens to stop denouncing aliens as fifth columnists inpublic and in their homes. 76Federal politicians also tried to calm the collective fear. Three days after theRCMP issued the above warning in its Intelligence Bulletin, Justice Minister ErnestLapointe repeated the statement word for word to a House of Commons committee73 CSIS Access 117-91-1, Gagnon to the Commissioner, 23 May 1940.74 Kealey and Whitaker, eds., R. C.M.P. Security Bulletins: 1939-1941, p. 260.75 The Toronto Star, 5 June 1940, p. 3; Le Devoir 28 May 1940, p. 1.76 Le Devoir, 6 June 1940, p. 2.111examining the Defence of Canada Regulations. Apprehension about the fifth column "hadreached a stage bordering on hysteria," he was reported to have said." Like the RCMP,Lapointe wanted Canadians to leave anti-subversive work to the police. "They knowbetter; they are trained. " 78 Lapointe and Air Minister C.G. Power publicly chastisedOntario Premier Mitchell Hepburn as "reckless and impetuous" for alarming the public byclaiming that nazi sympathizers in the United States were preparing to invade Ontario.Even The Globe and Mail, which throughout June 1940 insisted that authorities deal withthe sabotage threat, labelled the premier's story "hysteria." 79In June the public fear of sabotage peaked; thereafter it began to decline. Two boldsteps by the federal government that month seemed to calm citizens by at least partlyyielding to their demands. On 5 June it banned nazi and communist organizations andfollowed that by announcing national registration on 18 June, just two days after Francecapitulated to Germany. The National Resources Mobilization Act which imposedregistration was passed swiftly in parliament, and in August 1940 the registration wasaccomplished. 80 The King government finally appeared to be taking the decisive measuresfor total war which the dire situation required.By March 1941, when the RCMP's industrial vetting program was significantlyexpanded, the popular fixation upon the fifth column had almost dissipated. This wasevident in the pages of The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. In March 1941 thenumber of articles in The Globe on sabotage and the fifth column was only 20, and three ofthese dealt with sabotage perpetrated by the nascent resistance movements in occupiedEurope. No editorials, and just one letter and photo each were published on the subject.The decline in attention to the subject was equally dramatic in The Star. In March 194177 The Globe and Mail, 14 June 1940, p. 15.78 Canada, Debates, House of Commons, 1940, p. 747.79 The Globe and Mail, 13 June 1940, pp. 6, 15.80 J.L. Granatstein, Canada's War: The Politics of the Mackenzie King Government 1939-1945 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1975), pp. 99-101.112that newspaper published just 33 articles, two letters, one photo and no editorials on thesubject. One signal of the calmer atmosphere in March 1941 was the fact that The Globeand Mail, which had frequently criticized the government for complacency in the spring of1940, was now complaining editorially about an overreaction. 81 While public fears ofsabotage played a role in introducing security screening, this factor was reduced by thetime the program began to work in earnest.Less agitated than the public, federal government agencies and departments like theRCMP and Munitions and Supply were nonetheless determined to ensure that no fifthcolumn undermined the Canadian war effort. RCMP officials consistently cited sabotagein explaining the need for security screening. 82 This threat was the official justification forthe full-scale program of security screening that began in January 1941. A dramaticToronto Star article summed up this view. In March 1940, just seven months after the warbegan and a full year before the complete security screening program was publiclyannounced, the newspaper printed an article based on an interview with SuperintendentE.W. Bavin, head of the RCMP Intelligence Section. The headline issued a dire warning:"R.C.M.P. Intelligence Dept. Ready to Jump on 'Trusted' Industrial Workers". Clearlyintended to calm public dread of sabotage by showing the RCMP to be on top of theproblem, the article gave no specifics about the program that was being devised. ButBavin revealed how wide-ranging the RCMP inquiry would be when he confided that thesaboteur "may be a trusted, or at least unsuspected, employee who has wormed his way81 On 12 June 1940 (p. 6) The Globe and Mail editorialized that "there is a potential danger in this country which the FederalGovernment is treating with tragic complacency." Articles and editorials with the same thrust were common throughout the months ofApril, May and June 1940. The Globe's language was frequently less than judicious, and one must ask whether the newspaper itselfdid not contribute to public concern: "Spies used to work in two and threes, but it is now seen in Denmark and Norway they mayinvade a country by battalions. They seek to sabotage the national war effort ... They are highly organized and dangerous. They areeverywhere." (17 May 1940, p. 6) "^the spy and the saboteur should get cold justice and nothing more." (7 June 1940, p. 6)A year later, however, on 8 March 1941 (p. 6) the same paper declared that "Those who had been complacent went to theother extreme and became arbitrary and autocratic, throwing hundreds of innocent people into internment camps without a hearing ofany sort. British justice was flouted."82 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Tait to Divisional Officers Commanding, 24 March 1941; RCMP, The Protection of Industry in Time of War,pp. 1-2, 11.113into the confidence of his employers. " 83 Given this type of propaganda it should not havesurprised the RCMP at all that employers began asking the Force to conduct backgroundchecks on people who had worked for them for as long as 20 years. 84 Even those whowere apparently most loyal were now under suspicion. 85What constituted sabotage was broadly interpreted. For public authorities, sabotagebecame a term of convenience, a handy catch-all that could be used to condemn manytypes of dissenter. In the House of Commons, it was thrown back and forth by thegovernment and the opposition. According to Liberal Hughes Cleaver, anyone who"attempts to undermine or weaken confidence in the government's prosecution of the waris positively guilty of sabotage of the nation's war effort ... " 86 From the opposition sideVictor Quelch issued the accusation that "For five years [before 1940] the governmentdeliberately sabotaged the life of this country" by failing to create the industrial capacityneeded for the war. 87The RCMP also held a broad, amorphous understanding of the meaning ofsabotage. In the pages of the wartime Intelligence Bulletin sabotage was used to describe avariety of actions. Since violent sabotage was virtually non existent, the bulletins devotedattention to other forms. The most important of these were strikes, almost alwaysfomented by communists. 88 The RCMP appeared to have no faith that workers werecapable of resisting communist machinations in the work place. A handful of communists-- as few as five in a plant -- constituted a threat to normal production. 89 Moreover,according to RCMP thinking, workers could be manipulated by communists into acting as83 The Toronto Star, 5 March 1940, p. 19.84 CSIS Access 86-A-85, King to Divisional Officers Commanding, 28 June 1940.85 National registration was also partly a security precaution. Debate in the Cabinet War Committee on the controversial issue revealedthat at least one cabinet minister, Minister of Finance J.L. Ralston, believed that registration would provide a "careful check upon allelements in the population," which would help protect against subversive activities. NAC, Minutes and Documents of the Cabinet WarCommittee, RG 2 7C, Vol. 1, 17 June 1940.86 Canada, House of Commons, Debates, 1940, p. 360.87 ibid., p. 357.88 Kealey and Whitaker, eds., R.C.M.P. Security Bulletins, 1939-1941, p. 232.89 ibid., p. 234.114unwitting saboteurs. Communists acting as union officials could push production costs "sohigh that Management will refuse to pay them and the Workers will walk out thussabotaging our defence of democracy." 90 The bulletins also applied the term sabotage tomisinformation about Canada given to potential tourists from the United States and to thepurchase by two American firms of the entire Canadian supply of calves bellies (necessaryto the production of rennet, an ingredient in cheese). 91 In 1942, RCMP Inspector JosephHowe warned that the most dangerous form of sabotage was "extremely slow work." 92And the same year, when he acknowledged that "no organized system of sabotage exists inCanada," Assistant Commissioner R.R. Tait asserted that the "most insidious types ofsabotage" were those involving "carelessness, error of judgment, or oversight." 93 Thepoint is not that these concepts of sabotage were invalid. Pierre Dubois' study indicatesthat sabotage takes many forms. 94 What is important is that sabotage's meaning was soambiguous that it could be stretched to cover potential political and economic acts by avariety of political dissidents, union members and workers. The fact that the wordremained ill-defined and amorphous was useful to the RCMP. It meant that securityscreening could be invoked and justified as an effective measure against several types ofproblems and foes.Public fear of an ill-defined threat, then, was a vital part of the context in whichsecurity screening was inaugurated. But the fear was useful to the RCMP, which ofteninvoked the spectre of sabotage in justifying the need to delve into people's pasts. Such arationale seemed entirely supportable, but it was an argument that played more to publicanxiety than to the RCMP's genuine concern. This is not to suggest that the RCMP used913 ibid., p. 361.91 ibid., pp. 291, 239.92 OA, RG 33, Series I-1, File 10.6.93 CSIS Access 117-91-61, Minutes of the Western Hemisphere Intelligence Conference 3 August 1942, pp. 10-11.94 Dubois distinguished three types of workers' sabotage: "those where the object is to destroy machinery or goods ...; those whichstop production ...; and those which reduce the amount of work done ..." Pierre Dubois, Sabotage in Industry, trans. Rosemary Sheed(Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1979), p. 21. Strikes had been fomented by the Germans in the First World War to hamperAmerican munitions production. Witcover, Sabotage at Black Tom, p. 119.115the threat cynically. Certainly the Force was not above referring to it as a reality, eventhough it believed that it had forestalled sabotage through its timely arrests of nazisympathizers in September 1939. 95 Its own internal assessments, issued throughout thewar, stressed that there was no organized sabotage in Canada. 96 But the RCMP was neveras swept up in the alarm as was the public, and actually strived to calm it.In short, what we observe is a difference between the public's view of the threat ofsabotage and the assessment of the Canadian state's security intelligence agency and federalgovernment officials. The public mood was very agitated, even if some might not wish tocall it hysterical. The RCMP's statements, to the public and, privately, to the government,stressed that the situation was under control. It believed that it had nipped the problem inthe bud through internment, guarding vulnerable points and industrial protection measures,and it believed this before and after the fifth column crisis of May-June 1940. 97Nonetheless, the RCMP cited the fear of sabotage as a justification for industrial vetting.How much this was genuine and how much it was a concession to the public mood isimpossible to say. In any case, even the public mood seemed to shift after the ominousdays of spring 1940. By March 1941, when the full-scale screening program wasintroduced in industry, Canadians' pre-occupation with sabotage was largely spent.The security screening system and how it workedThe vetting of many people, including civil servants and some industrial workers,proceeded smoothly as Europe slid from apprehended to actual war. Early in 1939, the95 "So far there has been no serious act of sabotage and it has been suggested that this is probably due to the precautions takenimmediately upon the outbreak of hostilities when the known leaders of all Nazi organizations, who were considered likely to commitacts of sabotage, were interned." Toronto Star 27 January 1940, p. 1.96 For example: "There most certainly has been no attempt to date at the commission of organized sabotage." OA, RG 33, Series 1-1,File 84.4, Tait to Scott, 5 September 1940. "Due to the excellent precautions taken, there have been no cases of enemy sabotage."MG 27 111 B10, Vol. 23, File 78, Cadiz to Bernier, Oct. 28 1941. At the end of the war the RCMP Commissioner acknowledged that"only a comparatively few cases of intentional harm were brought to light, and it is certain there was no organized system of sabotagein Canada." NAC, RG 18, Acc. 84-85/084, File G509-79, Supplementary memorandum relating to the war Activities of the RoyalCanadian Mounted Police, 28 September 1946. See also, RCMP Annual Report 1942, p. 27; 1943, p. 35; 1944, p. 33; 1945, p. 29.97 The Eastern Underwriter 19 April 1940.116RCMP had worked out a scheme to vet people employed in munitions plants. Theprogram was aimed at identifying "foreign elements" who would be registered in thesubversive files of the RCMP. 98 The system was immediately applicable once Germanyinvaded Poland and Canada found itself at war. In the ensuing years of conflict itsorganization improved and its belly swelled as it engulfed more and more Canadians.By May 1940 established practice was that civil servants hired into the Departmentof National Defence were checked for "subversive tendencies, etc." The RCMP advisedthe Civil Service Commission that fingerprint records for these civil servants could also besearched, and it set out the vital prerequisites for such a search: 1) voluntary agreement bythe employee to an RCMP check of the prints (by law, only people committing indictableoffenses could be fingerprinted); and 2) proper training for CSC staff in how to takefingerprints, which the RCMP offered to impart. 99Fingerprinting of civil servants was recommended as a security measure in a 1August 1940 report of the Interdepartmental Committee for Co-ordination of Intelligencefor War Purposes. The committee made the proposal because it saw Ottawa as the placewith the greatest potential to harbor espionage, even though it contended that leaks weremore likely to occur through civil servants talking shop outside the office than throughagents working their way into the government. 100 The Interdepartmental Committee hadearlier in 1940 assisted in establishing an efficient system to channel intelligence about civilservants to the RCMP.I01By February 1940 the RCMP had begun to recommend fingerprinting to 12 privatecompanies. For example, the Force urged the Ottawa Car and Aircraft Ltd. to fingerprintapplicants and employees alike, company president Redmond Quain reported to Ontario98 CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence and Liaison Section Annual Report, 1939.99 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Tait to the Chairman, CSC, 20 May 1940.100 NAC, RG 76, Vol. 446, File 675985 pt. 2, report of 1 August 1940.101 ibid .117Fire Marshal Scott. 102 The 12 probably owed their special status to the fact that theysupplied munitions to Britain. 103 A comprehensive vetting program was confined to those12 companies until January 1941. In place for more than a year before the formalannouncement of screening, this system served as a prototype for the much granderoperation which began in 1941.Before this full-scale screening system was launched, the RCMP produced thesecurity booklet The Protection of Industry in Time of War. Complete by November 1940,the book addressed itself to corporations filling contracts for the Canadian Department ofMunitions and Supply and the British Supply Board. In it industrialists were "stronglyadvised to have all present and prospective employees fingerprinted." 104The Department of Munitions and Supply was a driving force behind the vettingproposal. Its historian's description of the department as "the centre from which all warproduction radiated" distills into a phrase its innumerable tasks. 105 One of thoseassignments was coordinating industrial security among the hundreds of corporations withmunitions-supply contracts. Industrial security was a concern of the department virtuallyfrom its inception in April 1940. At first the Legal Branch of the DMS had beenresponsible for security, but the duty soon became sufficiently onerous that a separatebranch, the Industrial Security Branch, was established in July 1941. 106 In November 1940the DMS appointed a security officer, R.L. Anderson, to carry out security efforts andcoordinate them with the RCMP. One of Anderson's first actions was to send a letter tocompanies with DMS contracts advising them to screen their employees, to fingerprintthem and to submit the fingerprints to the RCMP. The 21 January 1941 package, largely102 OA, RG 33, Series I-1, File 85.13, Quain to Scott, 23 February 1940.103 Because the Access Act allows government agencies to withhold material that has been supplied in confidence from a foreigngovernment, it is possible only to make an informed guess that documents refer to a British agency. But see, for example, CSIS Access86-A-85, Wood to Bernier, 8 June 1940.104 RCMP, The Protection of Industry in Time of War, p. 11.105 Kennedy, History of the Department of Munitions and Supply Vol. I, p. 6.106 ibid., Vol. 11, p. 341.118prepared by the RCMP, contained a sample employee application/registration form(Appendix 1), the RCMP's fingerprint identification form (Appendix 2) and the RCMP'sindustrial security booklet, numbered and marked "Secret". 107Before the war began the RCMP undertook an ambitious national survey ofvulnerable points. 108 When war was declared, among the first people to be fingerprintedand screened were the 1100 special constables hired by the RCMP to guard some 85vulnerable points across the country. Since the RCMP expected sabotage attemptsimmediately, it quickly took on a great number of guards, most of them ex-servicemen.Only then were they fingerprinted. They were no angels, as Inspector C.W. Harvisonforesaw in July 1939: "a certain percentage of the returned men have grown long on thedrinking and short on the discipline and would be about as hard a gang to handle asimaginable." 109 Checks on their fingerprints revealed many of them to have criminalrecords. By the end of November 1939 in Montreal alone 78 guards had been dischargedbecause of past crimes. 110The number of people swept into the system grew apace. In the first year of thewar the RCMP screened several thousand civil servants and industrial workers. The exactnumber is unknown, since there are no detailed figures from a telltale source, the size ofthe RCMP Fingerprint Section's Civilian Identification Collection. However, byDecember 1943 the collection numbered three quarters of a million." In 1943-4 310organizations forwarded a further 362,545 sets of fingerprints to the RCMP, and in the1944-5 233,000 sets were submitted, bringing the total to over one million. 112107 ibid., pp. 346-7; OHA, File 160.01, circular from G.K. Shiels, 21 January 1941; RCMP, The Protection of Industry in Time ofWar, cover.108 J. de N. Kennedy, History of the Department of Munitions and Supply: Canada in the Second World War Vol. II (Ottawa: King'sPrinter, 1950), pp. 345-6.109 OA, MU 7152, File 1, Civil Security Survey General, Harvison to Haultain, 26 July 1939.110 NAC, RG 18 Acc 85-86/048, Box 27, File G-585-4-C, Hobbs to O.C. "C" Division, 28 November 1939.111 NAC, RG 18, Vol. 3656, File G-537-20, Butchers to Kemp, 9 December 1943.112 RCMP, Annual Report, 1944, p. 37; 1945, p. 37 and 1946, p. 39.119Security screening and its concomitant fingerprinting did not stop there. The DMSfingerprinted all of its employees, eventually numbering almost 5000. 113 The 1941 annualreport of the RCMP Intelligence and Liaison Section listed a number of other governmentdepartments and branches of the armed forces whose members were being screened by theSection. For example, persons assigned by the Civil Service Commission to employmentin the Departments of National Defence, Naval Service, Militia Service and Air Service, aswell as personnel in the Department of Transport and the Inspection Board of the UnitedKingdom and Canada all had their names checked against RCMP subversive and generalrecords. Personnel in the Royal Air Force Ferry Command were checked against theRCMP subversive records. 114 So it was only a slight exaggeration for the 1941 RCMPAnnual Report to say that the Force vetted "practically all departments of theGovernment." 115Personnel in the National Research Council and those in associated institutions likeMcGill University who were working on NRC projects were checked against the RCMPsubversive records. 116 Screening of NRC personnel began as an effort to prevent any"leakage of information." 117 In October 1940 the RCMP Intelligence Officer,Superintendent E.W. Bavin, approached NRC president C.J. Mackenzie about vetting hisemployees. Having talked with Mackenzie about the top-secret experimental work goingon at the council, Bavin urged immediate action:113 Kennedy, History of the Department of Munitions and Supply Vol. II, pp. 349, 375.114 NAC, RG 77 Acc. 87-88/104, Vol. 69. File 36-5-0-10, Eagleson to Fraser and Smith, 12 May 1942; CSIS Access 89-A-63,RCMP Intelligence Section Annual Report, 1942. Department of Transport personnel were screened in part because the departmentwas an integral part of the Canadian cryptanalysis effort, which involved intercepting the telecommunications traffic of Vichy Franceand Japan, interpreting it and creating political intelligence from it, much of it passed on to the British and Americans. The DOToperated interception stations at places like Point Grey in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa. The National Research Council, whichoperated the Examination Unit, was also an integral part of this effort. It was chosen in part because hiring for it was not done throughthe open Civil Service Commission process. See Peter St. John, "Canada's Accession to the Allied Intelligence Community 1940-45,"Conflict Quarterly IV, no. 4 (Fall 1984), pp. 8-12.115 CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence and Liaison Section Annual Report, 1941; RCMP, Annual Report, 1941, p. 56.116 CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence Section Annual Report, 1942.117 CSIS Access 117-91-99, Bavin to DCI, 24 October 1940.120It seems necessary that the most extensive enquiries should be instituted withregard to the reliability of the personnel employed in these laboratories andalso of the clerical staff who deal with the correspondence. ... Mr.Mackenzie is very anxious for this to be done, as he says he and othermembers of the Council spend many sleepless nights wondering how safethis important information is being kept. 118Commissioner Wood assigned a trained intelligence investigator, Detective Sergeant T.G.Scrogg, to the NRC, and informed Mackenzie that within days "we will commenceextensive inquiries, first of all to establish the reliability of all employees." 119 DetectiveSergeant Scrogg reported early in 1941 that questionnaires had been received from theNRC employees. The investigation process he set out had two prongs:Those employees belonging to the Secret Radio Division and of ChemicalWarfare will be investigated individually as to their antecedents. Theremainder of the employees will be checked with our files. 120In 1945 this screening was still going on. And the end of the war in Europe did notconclude the RCMP's security inquiries into NRC employees. In July 1945 IntelligenceOfficer C.E. Rivett-Carnac reported that the RCMP would still check its files onemployees. "In any special cases where extra secret work, etc. is concerned a specificrequest will be made for more detailed investigation." 121 The particulars of this screeningsystem are unknown, so it is not clear how people like Dr. Raymond Boyer and DavidShugar, who were identified by the 1946 Kellock-Taschereau Royal Commission asmembers of the Soviet espionage ring, slipped through the investigation. 122 It is evidentthat the system was not flawless. But system there was.The 1941 Intelligence and Liaison Section report also noted that118 CSIS Access 117-91-99, Bavin to DCI, 29 October 1940.119 CSIS Access 117-91-99, Wood to Mackenzie, 30 October 1940.120 CSIS Access 117-91-99, Scrogg to the Intelligence Officer, 29 January 1941.121 CSIS Access 117-91-99, Rivett-Carnac memo, 10 July 1945.122 Canada, Royal Commission to Investigate the Facts Relating to and the Circumstances Surrounding the Communication, by PublicOfficials and Other Persons in Positions of Trust of Secret and Confidential Information to Agents of a Foreign Power, Report (Ottawa:King' s Printer, 1946), pp. 318, 409.121Applicants for employment on work of a secret and confidential nature andapplicants of foreign origin have also been investigated for the Navy, Army,and Air Force, as well as for the Chief Postal Censor, the Air ServiceDepartment, Canadian Pacific Railway. These latter employees beingengaged in ferrying aircraft from Canada to the United Kingdom.In addition, names of personnel of the Royal Canadian Air Force were checked againstsubversive and criminal records, as were those in "certain private industries employed onGovernment contracts." 123The 1945 report of the same section remarked that the Force's duties includedvetting of all applicants for the three armed forces andsecurity investigation of persons in the employ of Canadian and Alliedgovernments; enquiries on behalf of the U.S. Consular Offices in connectionwith persons of foreign extraction desiring entry into the United States.Enquiries made at the request of the U.S. United Services operating in theNorth West Territories on the Alaska Military Highway and the Canolproject covering employees on both operations involved a great deal ofinvestigation and correspondence.This report added that three other groups underwent security screening: Canadiansrecruited to work for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration,Canadians interned in Europe who sought to return to Canada and Jewish refugees fromEurope. 124 This shows how far security screening extended late in the war. The peoplereturning to Canada were citizens, so the inquiry was not justified by naturalizationapplication. And they were not applying for civil service work. They were beinginvestigated because they had lived in a region defined to be infected ideologically -- byboth nazi and communist thinking. And the screening was conducted in depth -- to theextent of field investigations "where there was a question of identity ..." 125123 CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence Section Annual Report, 1941.124 ibid., 1945; RCMP Annual Report, 1945, p. 38.125 CSIS Access 89-A-63, RCMP Intelligence Section Annual Report, 1945. The normal problems of establishing identity after adestructive war were compounded by another fear which had plagued the RCMP and American security intelligence from the 1930s --what use would the Soviet Union make of the thousands of North American passports it had acquired from Spanish Civil Warvolunteers? See Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. 544.122All three branches of the Canadian military also relied on fingerprinting as part oftheir security screening system, and their security routines were coordinated with theRCMP. The RCAF inaugurated its identification bureau in 1940, requiring of itspersonnel both fingerprints and photographs. Each member was also issued with anidentity card. By 1944 an IBM card index system had been completed for virtually everyAir Force member, some 250,000 in total. Each card contained the name and fingerprintclassification of a recruit or civilian member. 126 Occasionally the RCAF asked for specialscreening, such as that for 2500 men who were being given secret training at 15 Canadianuniversities. 127The Canadian Army Identification Bureau was established on 1 September 1942under an order authorizing the fingerprinting and photographing of all military and civilianpersonnel in the Department of National Defence. A progress report of 10 July 1943 notedthat almost 314,000 military and 16,000 civilian personnel had been fingerprinted to thatpoint, with some 223,000 identification cards having been issued. Later in the war armyand navy identification records were merged into the Canadian Bureau of Identification.By the end of March 1945 it had fingerprinted and photographed some 837,000 army andnavy personne1. 128Enemy aliens were required to be fingerprinted when they registered, which,according to the director of the Immigration Branch, "should not cause any uneasiness asthe same method is followed in connection with persons entering the Dominion CivilService." 129 In addition, an order in council in June 1940 provided for the photographingand fingerprinting of anyone detained or convicted under the Defence of CanadaRegulations. 130126 NAC, RG 24, Vol. 3360, File HQ 377-1-5 vol. 1, Bower memo, 29 April 1944.127 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Edwards to Commissioner, 12 August 1941 and Commissioner to Tait, 14 August 1941.128 NAC, RG 24, Vol. 3360, File HQ 377-1-5 vol. 2, Canadian Bureau of Identification Fourth Annual Report, 31 March 1945.129 NAC, RG 76, Vol. 446, File 675985 pt. 1, Blair letter, 26 September 1939.130 P.C. 2505, 10 June 1940.123An overview of the security screening system will demonstrate how it worked.Since before the outbreak of the war the government had insisted that primaryresponsibility for the safety of a private corporation rested with the company's owners. Atleast in theory, the RCMP and the DMS strictly applied this principle to security screening.The 21 January 1941 letter sent by the DMS to industrial plants insisted that plant securityofficers conduct the first check on any employee "concerning whose bona fides there is anydoubt." If, after that process was completed, doubts still existed about the employee, thesecurity officer was urged to ask the RCMP to check its subversive records. The RCMPdeclared itself willing to "check any number of employees when the above conditions arecomplied with, but WILL NOT check mere lists of names as this is largely a waste oftime." 131 The same process was applied later in the war to the military. 132Several steps were involved in comparing the names and fingerprints of war plantworkers and others with the Force's subversive and criminal records.1. At the Identification Branch (Fingerprint Section), RCMP headquarters:a. A name comparison was made between war-plant lists and criminalrecords. Some people were immediately identified as having committed offenses; mostwere not. (After the system was in place for a time the RCMP asked companies to submitthe names of employees in key positions on special lists, so that the Fingerprint Sectioncould check them first. 133)b. Fingerprints for each person were classified and given an alpha-numericidentification following the Henry system.c. The Henry code for each employee's fingerprint was compared --sometimes manually but sometimes with the assistance of IBM tabulating equipment -- with131 Justice Access A89-00061, DMS circular.132 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Mead to Air Member for Personnel, 11 September 1942.133 H.R. Butchers, "Fingerprint Identification in Wartime," RCMP Gazelle 6, no. 29 (19 July 1944).124fingerprint codes in the RCMP's files. For those identified as having criminal records, thenature of the offense was recorded and the application set aside.d. The fingerprint forms for war plant employees were filed in the civilianidentification section of the RCMP Identification Bureau. Those for governmentemployees were returned to the department in which they worked. 1342. At the Intelligence and Liaison Section, RCMP headquarters:a. Each name on the lists submitted by employers, the Civil ServiceCommission and military intelligence was sent to the appropriate divisional office in eachprovince and compared to the index of known and suspected subversives and associates.b. If no subversive record was found at the divisional level, a check of thesubversive records at RCMP headquarters was undertaken. 135c. When full character investigations were carried out the procedureinvolved a check of 1) RCMP criminal records; 2) Enemy Alien Office records (whereapplicable); 3) RCMP Intelligence Branch files (subversive records); 4) fingerprint records(when fingerprints were provided); 5) referees and associates of the person. 1363. Results of the checks of subversive and criminal records were forwarded todivisional headquarters (for war plant workers), where a Civil Security Liaison officerwould contact the security officer at each company to relay information about thosedeemed to be security risks. For civil servants, the subversive or criminal records weresent directly to the employee's department; for armed forces personnel, to the appropriatemilitary identification or intelligence bureau. 137134 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Wood to Divisional Officers Commanding, 29 January 1941.135 ibid.136 CSIS Access 87-A-39, Drysdale memo, 28 March 1944; CSIS Access 86-A-85, DMS circular, 21 January 1941.137 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Wood to Divisional Officers Commanding, 29 January 1941.125Conducting security screening on this scale must have severely taxed the RCMP'spersonnel resources. The size of the total RCMP organization increased considerablyduring the war, rising from 2540 in 1939 to its wartime peak of 4928 in 1943. But it wasthe Intelligence Section and the Fingerprint Section which shouldered the main burden ofwartime screening. Each grew enormously in the war years. On the eve of the SecondWorld War the Intelligence Section at headquarters numbered just six, and the seniorintelligence officer, Charles Rivett-Carnac, doubled as the editor of the RCMP Quarterly.By 1943 the group at headquarters involved in intelligence numbered 98, with at least 48others in the country's three major cities.' 38 Total headquarters staff in 1943 was 203, sothat the Intelligence Section constituted almost half of that group. 139 In 1937 the FPS staffnumbered 25, all of them regular RCMP officers. By 1943 the FPS staff, includingregular officers and civilian women, totalled just over 100. 140 Although the wartimegrowth of these security-related sections was remarkable, even at the peak their absolutesize was small, and we know, for instance, that the FPS was severely overburdened. 141The RCMP, however, was not alone in gathering, filtering and processingintelligence about workers. The federal police strongly advised plant owners to create aninternal security service to take the first step in weeding out subversives. The Protection ofIndustry in Time of War warned thatThe most elaborate and costly system of guarding and other externalprotective measures are rendered completely worthless if no effort is madeto seek out the saboteur who nonchalantly passes the guards and punches atimeclock at the employees' entrance.While the RCMP discouraged the use of privately-hired detective agencies in industrialplants, it highly recommended that plant security officers secretly organize "old and trustedemployees" into a corps of "Security Watchers intent on performing a patriotic duty by138 McDonald, Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1, p. 59.139 NAC, MG 27 III B 10, Vol. 50, File 41, Wood to Lapointe, 25 Aug. 1939; RCMP, Annual Report, 1943, p. 73.140 This is an estimate based upon the figures given for the size of the female staff in the FPS. See RCMP Annual Report, 1943, p.42.141 See Chapter 6.126maintaining one hundred per cent production." 142 In some plants this must have been hardto do, and the management had to resort to more blatant methods to accumulate securitydata. Workers at DeHavilland Aircraft in Toronto, for instance, were instructed by noticeshung throughout the plant that "It is your patriotic duty to report subversive or un-Britishtalk to your Charge Hand or to the Security Officer." 143In addition, many security officers, some of whom doubled as personnel officers,were former RCMP officers. 144 For example, the plant security officer at the MarineIndustries factory at Sorel, Quebec was a special agent who provided the RCMP withinformation over the course of four years) 45 Developing undercover agents in factorieswas considered by the RCMP to be a high priority and an effective anti-sabotage tactic. 146Intelligence gleaned from the security officers was fed into the RCMP and DMSnetwork) 47 By using the plant security officers and their loyal employees as informants,the RCMP increased the state's intelligence network within the private sector)"Even this comprehensive screening system was at times not enough for employers.In early 1941 corporations plotted other strategies to trace and even blacklist workers, withthe assistance of the state. At the February 1941 meeting of the Ontario Co-ordinatingCommittee for Security, senior corporate executives and police officers frankly discussedestablishing, in the words of Ontario Provincial Police Inspector A.S. Wilson,a clearing house in the Dominion of Canada through which firms engaged inwar production could be supplied with information regarding employeesdischarged for subversive activity, suspicion of sabotage or disloyalty, etc.,where the evidence has not been sufficient for prosecution.142 RCMP, The Protection of Industry in Time of War, p. 8.143 NAC, RG 27, Vol. 102, File 424.01:276, The D-H Gazette, issued by the DeHavilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.144 NAC, RG 27, Vol. 102, File 424.01:276, Featherstonhaugh to the Minister of Labour, 6 June 1941; ibid., Waters to MacDonald,5 May 1941.145 NAC, RG 18, Acc 85-86/574 Vol. 12 File G-15-84, Lemieux memo, 3 April 1947.146 OA, MU 7152, File 1, Harvison to commissioner, 30 December 1938; OA, RG 33, Series 1-1, File 84.4, Howe letter, 6 March1940.147 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Wood to Divisional Officers Commanding, 29 January 1941.148 I have encountered no records which indicate how extensive this activity was.127Ontario Fire Marshal Scott warned about possible libel suits if such information accidentlybecame public. Still, he expressed enthusiasm for a blacklist of the names of every workerwho resigned, "even if the man had apparently left the position for an honest reason."That view was seconded by C.I. Scott, the National Steel Car Aircraft Division Director ofPersonnel and Security. He also dismissed concerns about potential violations of civilliberties by asserting that "we in Canada were sticking too close to the fine points in thistime of war." In the end the committee members were mollified by the information thatnew federal regulations penalized a company which enticed employees from another,thereby discouraging workers from changing employers. The committee also passed amotion to have Ottawa order companies both to fingerprint and photograph all employeesand to notify the RCMP "of any act, or suspected act, of subversive activity or sabotage onthe part of any of their employees." 149The effectiveness of security screeningThe security screening system in Canada during the Second World War representedan exercise in vigilance by the Canadian state in which considerable care was devoted todetails. This belies Bothwell and Granatstein's description of it as cursory. Yet there hasso far been no answer to the question raised by Bothwell and Granatstein: if a vettingsystem was in place, how was it possible for communists to penetrate the Canadian state?Entrance to the state was not an open door. Although we will never know howmany dissidents were kept out of the civil service by security screening, we know of atleast one case. A Montreal woman who applied to perform temporary editorial work forthe Nationalities Branch of the Department of National War Services was ruled out becausean RCMP security report concluded that she was a subscriber to the Canadian Tribune andsecretary of the local branch of the Writers, Artists and Broadcasters War Council, an149 OA RG 33, Series 1-1, File 85.4, Minutes of the 18 February 1941 meeting. Private corporations had maintained blacklists foryears, but this is the first case I have encountered in Canada (aside from a shortlived effort in the First World War -- see Chapter 1) inwhich the state actively collaborated with such schemes.128organization "the Communists are taking some interest in. " 150 In any case, as the SecurityPanel concluded in 1947, it was doubtful that any of the people named as spies by theKellock-Taschereau Commission "would have been discovered by any conceivable systemof 'screening'." 151Still, it is true that communists worked in the state. Herbert Norman was one. Hisis perhaps the most renowned case of a communist or former communist joining theCanadian government in the early war years. A scholar who began his career in theDepartment of External Affairs at the Canadian legation in Tokyo in May 1940, Normanlater went on to become a prominent diplomat before committing suicide in 1957 under acloud of suspicion about his past. The fact that a man who had been a declared communistcould hold a government post verifies that the screening system had its faults. 152Even close association with the Communist Party did not automatically result in jobloss. On 18 November 1942 the secretary of the Civil Service Commission asked theRCMP "to investigate the character and habits" of Claire Eglin and to report to thecommission. Then 24, Eglin was living in Victoria with Garry Culhane, who had beeninterned briefly in late 1941 because of his Communist Party activities. The CSC reportwas requested because Eglin had applied to work as a clerk in the Treasury Department atthe Esquimalt, B.C., naval dockyard. The RCMP Finger Print Section reported on 20November that Eglin had no criminal record. But at "C" Division headquarters inMontreal, where Eglin was born and lived until 1942, a record existed of Eglin's activities150 NAC, MG 30 E350, Vol. 1, File 9, Philipps to Mead, 6 May 1943; Leopold to Philipps, 11 and 18 May 1943; Philipps toLeopold, 21 May 1943.151 NAC, MG 26 .11, Vol. 429, Security Panel Document SP-22, 9 December 1947.152 Missing Norman might have been merely fortuitous. The RCMP's general investigation of communists did come close to homingin on him. In February 1940, before Norman entered the foreign service, the RCMP had learned from an agent that a ProfessorNorman of McMaster University in Hamilton was a communist. The RCMP went to the trouble of checking on professors at McMasterand even contacting families in Hamilton with the surname Norman. As it happened, the report was just incorrect enough (Norman hadtaught at Upper Canada College in Toronto, but was at Harvard University until May 1940) that Norman escaped detection at the time.The depth of the RCMP investigation -- on the strength of a simple report that a Professor Norman was a communist — indicates thatthe RCMP search for communists was vigorous, even if it was not yet flawless. See Roger Bowen, Innocence is Not Enough: The Lifeand Death of Herbert Norman (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas and McIntyre, 1986), pp. 76-7; James Barros, No Sense of Evil:Espionage, the The Case of Herbert Norman (Toronto: Deneau, 1986), pp. 51-2.129with the Communist Party and the Canadian Civil Liberties Union dating back at least toMarch 1940. A 28 November 1942 RCMP report observed that "it is evident that ClaireEglin was very active in the radical movement whilst she stayed in Montreal." Thisinformation was conveyed to the Civil Service Commission on 2 December 1942.Nevertheless, on 29 December 1942 she was reported to be still working at the dockyard,and her adverse security report did not cause her to lose that job. Assistant CommissionerC.H. Hill, commanding "E" Division (British Columbia), noted on 6 January 1943 thatEglin "will be kept under supervision"; this continued throughout the war and beyond. 153In short, communists may not have been fired automatically, but neither was theirpresence in the state always undetected. The screening system largely did the first of itstasks -- identifying the potential security risk. But for several reasons it did not alwayscomplete the assignment of purging the person who posed the risk. 154 One of them wasthat not all departments were screened. And, ironically, although people assigned to mostdepartments by the CSC were screened, the screening of CSC employees themselves wasnot flawless. Charles Holmes, a friend of Herbert Norman's and, like Norman, anintellectual Marxist, worked in the CSC during the war, according to H.S. Ferns. 155Ferns himself is another example. A Canadian and one of the bright young menattracted to communism at Cambridge University during the 1930s, Ferns worked in thePrime Minister's Office (PMO) from April 1940 to the spring of 1943, and then carried onin the Department of External Affairs until November 1944. His reminiscences of theperiod mention no security screening of any kind on his hiring. 156 This was not surprising,since the PMO and External Affairs were not screened. At External Affairs, according to153 Claire Culhane Privacy Act records, "D" Division report, 11 March 1940; Saunders to Wood, 18 November 1940; "C" Divisionreport, 27 November 1942; reference card to the Secretary, CSC, 2 December 1942; "E" Division report, 29 December 1942; Hill tothe officer commanding, "C" Division, 6 January 1943; "E" Division report, 3 March 1944.154 One could argue that this latter aspect is not in fact the responsibility of security screening. Deciding on whether to oust the personwho is believed to constitute a security risk is an administrative matter, not the duty of the screening operation.155 Ferns, Reading from Left to Right: One Man's Political History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983), p. 207.156 ibid., p. 138-9.130a historian of the department, Don Page, new officers "were known by their friends, or byan old-boy network when they came into the department." Even clerks and secretaries atthe department were not vetted.'"Still, this lack of security screening did not mean that the department or, morebroadly, the government, uncritically accepted communists. In fact, Norman Robertson,the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, denied Ferns a permanent job in thedepartment because Ferns was a leftist, although a disaffected one. 158 Robertson's correctidentification of Ferns, however, came not through security screening, but throughRobertson's own acutely-sensitive political antennae.Ferns offers other reasons why some communists would have been able to enter thecivil service undetected. He wrote that the RCMP's political intelligence was"characterized by boneheaded stupidity," and characterized them as "simply 'dumb cops,'ill-educated and of limited knowledge and mental capacity." He was not alone in thisopinion. According to Ferns, Jack Pickersgill, who also worked in the Prime Minister'sOffice, displayed outright contempt for the RCMP Intelligence Bulletin. Nonetheless,Ferns acknowledged that even had the RCMP been "honours graduates of the University ofToronto" they would probably not have spotted the communists in the civil service whoGouzenko unveiled. Few people outside of those who had direct experience with itunderstood the tyrannical nature of the Soviet regime and its determination to infiltrateWestern governments, Ferns admitted. 159Rivalry between the RCMP and both External Affairs and the Prime Minister'sOffice could also account for the presence of Marxists and communists in thosedepartments. Like officials in the Prime Minister's Office, Norman Robertson had ample157 John Sawatsky, Gouzenko: The Untold Story (Toronto: Macmillan, 1984), p. 283.158 Ferns, Reading from Left to Right, p. 171.159 ibid., pp. 182-3.131contempt for the RCMP's security intelligence capacity. 160 It is possible that thesedepartments simply did not deign to submit their employees' names to the RCMP. Hencethe presence in the bureaucracy of communists like Herbert Norman should not beattributed to the lack of a screening system. External Affairs and the Prime Minister'sOffice themselves are mostly to blame for the fact that their officers were not vetted.Communists might have been able to take jobs in the state because after June 1941 amore relaxed attitude towards them prevailed, at least among some government officials. 161The effect of this tolerance can be seen in the case of one communist. Ruth McEwen hadbeen a member of the Communist Party before it was banned in 1940 and later of theLabour Progressive Party. In February 1942 she volunteered and was accepted for servicewith the Canadian Women's Army Corps. The Directorate of Military Intelligence wasaware of her record, but, as it later explained, she was inducted on the grounds that "co-operation by the Communist Party was complete" in 1942. Similarly, the RCMPacknowledged that "While she was active in the Party, there had never been anythingdefinitely against her." On the strength of her service as a CWAC lieutenant and anhonorable discharge, in September 1946 she was hired, through the Civil ServiceCommission, as a clerk in the Prime Minister's Office. She remained there for fourmonths before resigning. A year later the issue was raised in the House of Commons by amember of parliament who claimed that a communist worked in the PMO. This chargealso tended to reinforce the belief that no security screening system operated. 162Communists were also able to remain in their jobs because the state had noconsistent stand on what to do with them. Because the program was not sanctionedpolitically, even by war's end there was little formalized security policy to guide the160 NAC, MG 30 E 163, Vol. 13, File 148, Robertson to Skelton, 9 December 1940.161 By 1942, for instance, the prime minister's principal secretary, W.J. Turnbull, was complaining about the RCMP's fixation uponcommunists: "a change of policy might well be indicated to them, with Russia a valiant ally." NAC, MG 26 J4, Vol. 328, File 3490,Turnbull to the prime minister, 6 July 1942.162 NAC, MG 26 J4, Vol. 246, R.G.R. to King, 24 May 1947.132RCMP's practice. Procedure was utterly clear, however, about what consequences wouldfollow an adverse security report: the RCMP was not to be involved in any decision toretain or dismiss a person whom it considered a risk. It was the responsibility of theorganization receiving the security report to decide whether or not the confidentialinformation justified the rejection of an applicant or the firing of an employee. Within thegovernment, each department followed its own course. This patchwork-quilt approach wasexacerbated by inter-departmental rivalries, especially involving antagonism between theRCMP and other agencies. 163Probably because of this practice an adverse security report from the RCMP did notalways lead to an employee losing his or her job. In December 1940 Commissioner Woodcriticized industrial firms who continued to retain the services of employees in spite ofcriminal records or connection with what the Force considered to be subversiveorganizations. Wood claimed to know of "numerous cases" of this kind, adding that "thisrenders the investigation futile." 164In industry, unions were able to shelter some employees caught in the securityscreening net. The plant manager at Fairchild Aircraft in Longueuil, Quebec found thathis agreement with the International Association of Machinists required him to justify anyfiring, making it difficult for him to dismiss two employees whom the RCMP had reportedto be security risks. 165Many months before the outbreak of the Second World War the Canadian statebegan to develop methods to deal with the internal opposition it expect to encounter in caseof war. The RCMP was particularly well prepared, and even before war was declared it163 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Tait to Divisional Officers Commanding, 22 February 1941; Wood to Bernier, 7 October 1942.164 CSIS Access 86-A-85, Wood to Anderson, 5 December 1940.165 Justice Access A89-00061, Brady report, 15 April 1941.133had acted swiftly to neutralize nazi sympathizers. Its precautions to deal with industrialsecurity were also well rehearsed. By September 1939 vulnerable points had beensurveyed and an industrial security manual was in preparation. Security screening ofworkers in 12 companies supplying munitions to Britain and Canada began soon after thewar erupted.Thus a small-scale screening system, complete with fingerprinting, was in place bythe spring of 1940, when the country was shaken out of its lassitude by the GermanWehnnacht's sweep through western Europe. By June 1940 the Canadian public washighly agitated by fear that the country harbored a fifth column serving foreign masters.This panic put considerable pressure upon the Canadian state to act, and the governmentresponded by imposing national registration and banning 16 organizations. But there is noevidence that the RCMP implemented security screening as a result of this public fear.The program had begun before the crisis and it continued after public fear dissolved. Bylate in 1941 it had evolved into a comprehensive state security screening system.Chapter 5Political rationale for the security screening systemThe reasons why the federal government never blessed the wartime securityscreening program remain a great enigma. The RCMP acutely felt the danger inherent inthe lack of any legal sanction to fingerprint and screen hundreds of thousands of industrialworkers. Yet the government did not rescue the RCMP by legalizing the most contentiousaspect of screening, fingerprinting, or by approving the security screening program. 1It would have been easy to do. After his election victory in March 1940, PrimeMinister King had a reliable parliamentary majority which could have passed the requiredlegislation. Had he wished to avoid a potentially messy debate in the House, King had theready option of acting through the Defence of Canada Regulations. Under the DOCR,only the agreement of his Cabinet colleagues was needed to pass an order in council whichhad the force of law. The process was employed thousands of times during the war.Whether prohibiting the export of clothes pins or interning citizens of Japanese origin, theCabinet invoked the DOCR. Yet the government never authorized non-criminalfingerprinting; it remained illegal throughout the war and a potential source of1 By contrast, in 1948, soon after security screening was officially introduced, the Cabinet issued specific guidelines on how toimplement it, known as Cabinet Directive Number 4. Privy Council Access 108-2/897015, Circular No. 4 and Circular No. 4A.134135embarrassment to the RCMP and the government. Similarly, security screening itself wasnever approved by elected politicians.Fingerprinting did come close to being officially condoned. In March 1943, morethan three years after the fingerprinting of thousands of industrial workers began, aproposal to amend the DOCR to provide for it was forwarded to the Cabinet. It came onthe initiative of the Department of Munitions and Supply, and was endorsed by theMinisters of Justice and Labour, Louis St. Laurent and Humphrey Mitchell. The proposalarose not out of any political discussion in the government but came instead after a directorof the Industrial Security Branch of the DMS learned that industrial plants in the UnitedStates had been ordered to fingerprint their personnel. 2 Industrial security officers andDMS personnel believed that the American approval added weight to arguments for stricterrules in Canada. 3But the bid to authorize fingerprinting and searching of war plant workers suffereda reversal at the March 1943 Cabinet meeting. The Cabinet was not convinced that themeasure was necessary. C.D. Howe, the Minister of Munitions and Supply, argued that"existing security regulations were adequate ..." 4 Only in November 1943, after a rash ofthefts in munitions plants, did Howe declared himself ready to subject workers to searches.But he declined to sanction their fingerprinting, and it was not approved. 5 There is no hintof what might have held Howe back from conceding what his own security branch wanted.If his motive was reluctance to abridge workers' rights, it was an uncharacteristic act.Howe is better known as a proponent of big government and a right wing influence withinthe Cabinet than as a civil libertarian. 6 And the previous year he had supported a proposal2 NAC, RG 13 A2, Vol. 2028, File 143931, Spalding to Wood, 28 April 1942.3 ibid., Spalding to Wood, 14 April 1942.4 NAC, RG 13 A2, Vol. 2028, File 143931, Howe to St. Laurent, 6 November 1943.5 ibid.6 Reg Whitaker, "Official Repression of Communism During World War II," Labour/Le Travail, 17 (Spring 1986), pp. 152-3, 155.136to add a clause on fingerprinting to the DOCR. 7 Perhaps the popular stigma attached tofingerprinting stayed his hand. Ultimately, politicians' qualms were of little consequence.Fingerprinting of munitions workers went on, unauthorized.Aside from that tantalizingly-brief record of the abortive bid to authorizefingerprinting, no documentary evidence exists showing political input into the program.No minutes were kept of Cabinet meetings, so we know nothing directly about discussionsthere concerning fingerprinting. There are minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet WarCommittee, which was the key directing committee of the government during the war. 8Yet those minutes reveal no record of any discussion about fingerprinting or securityscreening.Remarkably, even some highly placed Canadian political authorities seemedignorant of the scale of vetting that was going on in the country. This is confirmed by amemo from a civil servant who was the single most influential voice in security mattersduring the war years. Norman A. Robertson assumed the post of Under Secretary of Statefor External Affairs in January 1941, becoming almost overnight the prime minister'sclosest and most trusted advisor. In September 1939 and again in May 1940, as Naziarmies stormed through Europe, he pored over RCMP intelligence reports deciding whichcommunist, nazi and fascist adherent should be interned. 9 Central though he was,Robertson seemed to have no inkling of the extent of fingerprint based security screening.In December 1943 he expressed his concerns about a Department of National Defencedecision to fingerprint allied aliens who sought to enter the armed forces. Robertson, whohas gained a reputation as a civil libertarian, contended that allied governments might7 NAC, RG 13 A2, Vol. 2028, File 143931, Kennedy to Varcoe, 1 September 1942. Mere accident prevented this proposal fromgoing to Cabinet as part of a draft consolidation of the DOCR. The proposed amendments providing for searching, fingerprinting andphotographing of munitions workers did not reach the Department of Justice before the draft consolidation had been set in type. Seeibid., Varcoe to Kennedy, 31 October 1942.8 Granatstein, Canada's War, p. 10.9 ibid., p. 149; J.L. Granatstein, A Man of Influence: Norman A. Robertson and Canadian Statecraft 1929-1968 (n.p.: Deneau, 1981),pp. 85, 90.137object to the procedure, and opined that it would be "rather doubtful whether it would bedesirable to have fingerprinting ... as a matter of course. " 10 Yet his own military alreadyrequired fingerprints of Canadian citizens entering the armed forces, and the policefingerprinted applicants for jobs in much of the private sector. It is truly astonishing thatRobertson did not seem to know the existing scope of fingerprinting in Canada. Hisignorance, however, must be put in a political perspective. It is a telling statement abouthow quietly the program was implemented. Moreover, it implies that fingerprinting inCanada was invoked not by a high level political decision, but by bureaucratic fiat.A police request that the government authorize civilian fingerprinting had earlierbeen presented to Justice Minister Ernest Lapointe. But its origin and timing indicate thatthe RCMP had a relaxed attitude towards the need to obtain political authority tofingerprint war plant workers. On 15 July 1941 Commissioner Wood wrote to Lapointeasking that "the Federal Government order that the finger prints be taken of all personsengaged in any industry classed as an 'Essential Service' by the Defence of CanadaRegulations." 11 The request did not originate with the RCMP. Wood was merely passingon a resolution to that effect which had been approved by the Co-ordinating Committee forSecurity, a high-level group of police officers and manufacturers in Ontario who wereconcerned about industrial security. The timing of Wood's letter was also significant. ByJuly 1941, the RCMP had already been processing fingerprints of industrial workers forwell over 18 months, and the program had been significantly expanded four months before.Yet the federal police had not seen fit to ask for authorization to fingerprint before thattime.The lack of political input into the security screening program was confirmed by aMarch 1947 memo from an RCMP constable which summed up the thinking behind the113 NAC, RG 25, Volume 2663, File 7348-40, Robertson to Deputy Minister of National Defence, 6 December 1943.11 NAC, MG 27 III BIO, Vol. 25, File 87, Wood to Lapointe, 15 July 1941.138fingerprinting of war plant employees. Constable W.N. Wilson's five-paragraph memowas a testament to the astonishingly informal way in which Canadian security policy wasestablished. In the memo, Wilson explained thatA study of the file relating to Cooperation with Industry ... reveals that thepolicy of fingerprinting employees employed in munitions plants came intobeing quite naturally as a result of numerous discussions between this Forceand officials of the Department of Munitions and Supply. 12Wilson's review of security policy contained no reference to the political authority for themass fingerprinting aspect of security screening. The program had been implemented bycivil servants and the federal police force; involvement by politicians was non-existent.It was not even widely promoted among bureaucrats. Two months afterfingerprinting was introduced in hundreds of munitions plants, the Department of Labourstill did not know about it. When the program encountered loud opposition from anInternational Association of Machinists local at Fairchild Aircraft, the Assistant DeputyMinister of Labour rebuked the RCMP and DMS for not discussing it with his departmentbefore instituting it. The DMS Director of Labour Relations did not know of thefingerprinting program's existence before it was implemented, and even the Minister ofLabour was not aware of it until a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) memberof parliament raised the matter in the House of Commons. 13But the quiet way it was introduced does not entirely explain how it was possiblefor the RCMP and the DMS to carry out a major vetting program without politicalauthority. Another contributory factor was the extraordinary temper of the times. Theexigencies of war permitted many expansions of bureaucratic influence to go unchecked.Although he was not speaking specifically about security screening, political scientist J.J.12 CSIS Access 87-A-39, Wilson to Shakespeare, 21 March 1947.13 Justice Access A89-00061, Brady report, 15 April 1941; Canada, House of Commons, Debates, 1941, p. 1469.139Deutsch offered a useful explanation of how wartime attitudes might have allowed such anoperation to spring to life without authorization. Deutsch noted that during the warIt became necessary over a very short period to mobilize the entire resourcesof the country under the direction of a highly centralized administrativemachine. On the basis off this overriding national necessity it was possibleto make short cuts, to experiment, to adopt expedients, to undertake on alarge scale programmes that had never been tried before ... 14Nothing illustrates this better than the fact that Canadian military leaders launched andworked on a chemical and biological warfare program that continued from 1937 to 1947without consulting either the government or parliament. 15It was no accident that politicians failed to direct the security screening system,according to RCMP historians Carl Betke and S.W. Horrall. In 1978 they produced aninternal history of the RCMP Security Service from 1864 to 1966. In it they contend thatfrom 1920 to the 1960s, governments refused to give the RCMP any "guidelines ordirectives with which to operate and determine its intelligence role." Ignorance of theRCMP's security intelligence activities does not explain the hands-off attitude, they assert.In fact, the government had ample contact with the Force. The minister of justice metfrequently with the commissioner, and cabinet was informed through regular intelligencereports. Betke and Horrall argue that the absence of guidance was sinister: in appearing tohave no hand in security intelligence matters, "the government made the R.C.M.P. theprinciple [sic] butt of criticism for those opposed to its intelligence activities." Issuing noorders allowed various governments to "shift on to the shoulders of the R.C.M.P. criticismfor policies for which they were in the final analysis responsible." 16 Betke and Horrall'sclaim that various governments have wilfully turned their eyes from the RCMP's securityintelligence activities offers a possible explanation for why the King government never14 J.J. Deutsch, "Some Thoughts on the Public Service," Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 23, no. 1 (February1957), p. 84.15 John Bryden, Deadly Allies: Canada's Secret War 1937-1947 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1989), p. 13.16 Betke and Horrall, Canada's Security Service," pp. 426-8.140authorized wartime security screening. It was simply following the established practice ofCanadian administrations with regard to security matters: the fewer explicit directions, thebetter.The evidence shows that when it came to security screening, the security serviceguided the politicians. Until 1946 security screening existed because the RCMP took itsown initiatives, without the formal approval of the government of the day. Thisdevelopment was not unique to Canada. Christopher Andrew and David Dilks' assessmentof the relationships between governments and security intelligence agencies in the twentiethcentury identifies two major trends:the gradual and erratic professionalisation of intelligence communities in theWest, and the equally gradual and erratic way in which governments havelearned to cope with them."According to these authors, "creeping bureaucratic growth" accounts for the emergence ofmuch of the security intelligence apparatus in Western countries. 18 This broad patternappears to hold true for security screening in Canada. After its reorganization in 1920, theRCMP became continually, although erratically, more skilled in security intelligenceendeavors. One illustration of this trend is its development of a security screening systembefore and during the war. As Andrew and Dilks say occurred elsewhere, the Canadiangovernment coped with this security initiative only gradually, beginning in 1946. As aresult for 15 years the Canadian security intelligence community developed securityscreening on its own, without instructions or guidance from elected politicians.Ironically, according to Betke and Horrall, this lack of political direction had justtwo exceptions: "Only during wartime, and with respect to the screening of governmentemployees and applicants as well as applicants for visas and citizenship, has the R.C.M.P.17 Christopher Andrew and David Dilks, "Introduction," in The Missing Dimension: Governments and Intelligence Communities in theTwentieth Century, ed. Andrew and Dilks (London: Macmillan, 1984), p. 6.18 ibid., p . 9.141been provided with relatively precise government direction." 19 The overt rules for securityscreening, of course, did not emerge until 1946. The oddity is that during the SecondWorld War, precisely at the moment the government offered the RCMP the greatest degreeof political direction, one important part of the RCMP's security intelligence procedurewas beyond political control. That was the security screening operation. While otherRCMP security activities during the war were closely politically monitored, securityscreening was not. Moreover, even when the Cabinet was made aware that munitionsworkers were being fingerprinted, it declined to sanction it through the Defence of CanadaRegulations.Although governments failed to set a political bearing for the RCMP, Betke andHorrall insisted that they had "unearthed no evidence that it [the RCMP Security Service]had ... become an authority unto itself, [or] operated outside the law as a matter ofpolicy. "20 While this is likely true in general, in implementing a security screening systemthroughout the Second World War the RCMP in fact "operated outside the law as a matterof policy." Certainly general authorization to protect the country was granted in legislationsuch as the RCMP Act, the War Measures Act, the Civil Service Act and the Munitionsand Supply Act. But nothing in those statutes allowed the RCMP to circumvent theIdentification of Criminals Act, which it did throughout the war.Curiously, neither the RCMP nor the government actively sought to have electedauthorities control security screening. On the one hand, the RCMP did not press forpolitical authorization of mass fingerprinting, which it acknowledged was an illegalmeasure. Moreover, the Force showed little interest in keeping the government informed19 ibid., pp. xvii-xviii.20 Betke and Horrall, "Canada's Security Service," p. xvi. If it were true that the RCMP had never strayed beyond the bounds of strictadherence to the law and obedience to the government, it would be a rare case among western intelligence agencies. As Bernard Portersuggests about the British security intelligence community, intelligence officers at least occasionally "saw their loyalties as transcendingtheir political masters, especially if those masters were Labour, and attaching to something -- an ideal or principle or an interpretationof the 'national interest' -- which could override their allegiance to mere governments." Porter, Plots and Paranoia, p. 163.142about the extent of its security screening operation. Beginning in 1942 the RCMP AnnualReport did tally the total number of civilian fingerprints taken by the Force. Nevertheless,in the weekly Intelligence Bulletin, the channel through which it informed the governmentabout security developments, the RCMP did not once mention security screening andfingerprinting. Given the significance of the program, and the fact that it entailed breakingthe law, this failure to keep the government properly apprised of the full extent of thescreening system constitutes irresponsibility at best, malfeasance at worst. For its part, thegovernment showed little interest in actively supervising its political police. When it wasgiven the opportunity to authorize fingerprinting, it declined to do so. And in contrast tothe procedure it followed after 1946, it never specifically authorized security screening.The political motives behind screeningThe absence of political approval did not signify a lack of political content in thesecurity screening operation. Although the RCMP and DMS had several goals for theprogram, exerting political control was its central motivation. Woven into its justificationsfor the security screening program were unstated and indeed even unconscious conceptsabout the threat posed by sabotage and subversion.Potential sabotage of the Canadian war effort was the reason most often cited forimplementing security screening. Yet the RCMP never comprehensively explained whatconnection there was between potential sabotage and security screening, what it understoodsabotage to mean, what forms it could take, or who might commit it. Its analysis of theproblem seemed sketchy, and it resisted coming to terms with the questions which securityscreening raised. For example, after the war, when the Inter-Departmental Committee ofPublic Records requested a report on its wartime activities, the RCMP refused to giveanything more than a brief outline, citing reasons of national security. 21 But on one21 NAC, RG 18, Access 84-85/084, File G 509-79, Wood's supplemental memo, 28 September 1946.143occasion in the midst of the war an RCMP officer who was administering the security andfingerprinting system spoke to the public about the Force's mission in launching it. Thatwas an address by RCMP Inspector Joseph Howe, officer in charge of the Civil SecurityBranch (earlier known as the Anti-Sabotage Branch) in Ontario. Speaking to the CanadianManufacturers' Association annual meeting in June 1942, Howe asserted thatThe German espionage organization select [sic] criminals and other personsof weak character to do their dirty work for them. They will find someperson who has a grievance against the state or his fellow men. Blackmail isanother method they use to get people to do their bidding. It is thereforenecessary for us to be most careful in checking the background of employeesin war industries. In Canada we have adopted fingerprinting of employeesas an added precaution. 22Howe did not, however, provide evidence for his assertion that sabotage was the work of"criminals and other persons of weak character," or examples of it occurring.Screening did not locate many criminals in the war plants. In September 1941 theDirector of the Criminal Investigation Branch reported that of 59,728 industrial workerswho had been fingerprinted, only eight were wanted criminals. 23 As for those withcriminal records, RCMP figures consistently show that they numbered only about fivepercent of applicants for industrial work. 24 Redmond Quain, president of Ottawa Car andAircraft, found that only half of one percent of his permanent employees and five percentof new applicants had criminal records. 25Not