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Full text of "Canadian Incident - Short Scene - White House Debrief"

^CANADIAN INCIDENT: WHITEHOUSE DEBRIEF' 

by 

© Patrick Bruskiewich 
November 15, 2012 



Cast 



President Dwight D. Eisenhower 



Allen Dulles, Director of the C.I. A. 



Richard Bissell, Head of the U-2 program 



Story Line: 



On September 17 th , 1956 Canadian CF-86 pilots inadvertently 
downed an American U-2 spy plane returning from a mission 
over Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean where it 
has been taking pictures of the secret preparations for the 
invasion of the Suez by The British, French and Israelis. 



This is an excerpt from the script "the Canadian incident" 

which is based on actual events (see "The Canadian 

Incident" and the article "The U-2 and the Avro Arrow" by 
the author at archive.org) . 



fade in: 

INT OVAL OFFICE 

President Eisenhower is sitting behind a desk in the oval 
office. The calendar on the desk reads 18 September, 1956. 
Behind him stands a US flag. 

Eisenhower has his glasses on and is carefully reading a 
document when the intercom on his desk buzzes. He presses a 
button and speaks 

VOICE 
CIA Director Allen Dulles and Richard 
Bissell are here Mr. President. 

PRESIDENT 
Send them in. 

The President takes off his glasses and tosses them on the 
desk. He rubs his eyes before getting up to greet the two 
men as they enter the Oval office. 

Dulles is in a grey suit and is carrying a leather brief 
case. Bissell is in a black suit and has an easel and a 
large portfolio case he is carrying. 

DULLES 
Mr. President we have come here to 
brief you on the U-2 crash that 
occurred yesterday in West Germany. 

PRESIDENT 
Yes, I have just been reading your 
preliminary report and the messages I 
have received so far. Here sit. 

President Eisenhower motions that Dulles makes himself 
comfortable on a sofa around a coffee table in the Oval 
Office. Bissell sets up the easel and remains standing. 

Richard Bissell is standing besides the easel he brought 
and has set up with some pictures, maps and charts. Dulles 
takes some documents out of his case and lays a model of 
the U-2 out on the table. 

Allen Dulles removes the unlit pipe from his lips. 



DULLES 
May we begin Mr. President. 

PRESIDENT 
Yes, Allen please proceed. 

Bissell places the first item on the easel. It is a map of 
Germany with Wiesbaden and the U-2 flight clearly marked. 

DULLES 
The U-2 came down on West German 
territory. It was on its return from a 
mission and coming into land at 
Wiesbaden airbase when it crashed. 

PRESIDENT 
I see the pilot, Howard Carey, did not 
eject and died in the crash. 

DULLES 
That is correct Mr. President. 

PRESIDENT 
And the U-2? 

Bissell places a more detailed map with a red circle 
indicating the crash site and a series up pictures of a 
plane wreck up on the easel. 

BISSELL 
The site has been secured and the 
wreckage is being gathered as we speak. 

PRESIDENT 
What happened? 

DULLES 
Our preliminary report from the crash 
site indicates that the U-2 was not 
shot down. This was Carey's first 
operational mission. 

Dulles looks up at Bissell and points at him with his pipe 
to continue. Bissell places a picture of a Canadair Sabre 
Six on the easel as well as map that shows the air sector 
that the Canadian jets were patrolling. 



BISSELL 
On its landing approach Carey' s U-2 was 
intercepted by four Canadian Sabre 
jets. They were the Zulu aircraft for 
the sector. 

PRESIDENT 
What happened then? 

BISSELL 
It appears the Canadian pilots followed 
proper NATO intercept procedure. No 
rounds were fired by the four Canadian 
jets at the U-2 . 

Dulles picks the U-2 model off the table and uses his hand 
to indicate the jets intercepting the U-2 from behind 

DULLES 
From what we have gathered so far, the 
Canadian jets made a close pass of his 
U-2 from behind. 

BISSELL 
Carey didn't know they were coming. We 
think he just panicked and fucked up 
. . . sorry Mr. President. 

DULLES 
At this point we are focusing on pilot 
error . 

PRESIDENT 
I hadn't expected to lose an aircraft 
and pilot so soon after starting our 
overflights. We started the Aquatone 
Missions only three months ago for god 
sakes . Isn't the U-2 safe to fly? 

DULLES 
I will let Richard answer that. 

BISSELL 
The U-2 is a fine aircraft, but you 
need to keep on your toes when flying 
it. 



DULLES 
We have lost three planes since the U- 
2s began flying six months ago at Area 
51 Groom Lake. 



BISSELL 
We believe that the pilots are the 
weakest link in the program not the 
aircraft . 

DULLES 
The difference with Carey is that this 
is our first loss on an operational 
mission. The other crashes were 
training exercises over the continental 
United States . 

PRESIDENT 
And the pilots from these crashes? 

BISSELL 
Of the three, we lost one ... but two 
walked away. One is still flying for 
the program. The other pilot washed 
out . 

DULLES 
Carey was brought in to replace him. 

PRESIDENT 
Is it possible that Carey did not have 
enough experience for his mission? 
Allen I want you to look into the 
experience issue. 

DULLES 
Yes Mr. President. We have already 
flown in his replacement to Wiesbaden ... 
Richard 

Bissell shuffles through his portfolio case until he finds 
the picture he needs and places it up on the easel. 

BISSELL 
a Gary Powers ... one of Carey' s his 
classmates... . 



PRESIDENT 
Let's hope he is more experienced. 
Gentlemen, do we need to change our 
operational orders? 

DULLES 
Mr. President. As you know the U-2 
flies at the very edge of space. 

BISSELL 
At 70,000 feet the autopilot flies the 
aircraft. At altitude the difference 
between stable flight and a stall is 
only 12 knots . 



DULLES 
Carey crashed on his descent at around 
55,000 feet. This is an important 
clue ! 

PRESIDENT 
Explain ... 

BISSELL 
There is a switch that must be reset by 
the pilot as he descends through 55,000 
feet. Without a reset, the pilot can 
still deploy full ailerons. Below 
55,000 feet full ailerons over stresses 
the wing causing them to fail. 

DULLES 
Our preliminary crash investigation has 
determined that the switch was in the 
full aileron position ... we are focusing 
on pilot error. 

BISSELL 
When the Canadian pilots buzzed him he 
might have been distracted. We believe 
Carey pulled back too hard on the yoke, 
over stressing the wings and they 
failed . 

PRESIDENT 
I don't understand ... how did the 
Canadians get so high. Isn't the 
ceiling on their jets around 45,000 



feet? 

DULLES 
Richard can answer that ... 

BISSELL 
They have this new engine, the Orenda 6 
that is 20% more powerful and more 
compact than anything we can put in our 
jets . 

DULLES 
It also looks like the lead pilot knew 
what he was doing. 

PRESIDENT 
What do you mean? 

DULLES 
The lead Canadian pilots name is John 
McElroy. He's one of their better 
world war two fighter aces with ten 
wartime kills. He flew with their Buzz 
Beurling who had 33 and a half kills to 
his credit. 

Bissell puts a picture of John McElroy standing next to his 
sabre jet. 

BISSELL 
McElroy is a bit of a maverick ... after 
the war he flew with the Israelis in 
1948 and managed four more kills, 
including two RAF photorecon Spitfires. 

PRESIDENT 
McElroy shot down two RAF Spitfires ! 
Whose side is he on? 

DULLES 
The RAF had given the Egyptians some of 
their old spitfires. Thinking they were 
Egyptian, he didn't realize he was 
engaging RAF aircraft. 

PRESIDENT 
I am surprised the Brits didn't have 
his neck. Now with our U-2 does that 
make fifteen for this McElroy fellow? 



BISSELL 
Our man at Wiesbaden has spoken with 
the Canadians and they stand by their 
pilot . 

PRESIDENT 
As if I don't have enough headaches. 
Now are own side is bringing our own 
aircraft down. 

How did he get so high? 

BISSELL 
The nearest we can figure is that the 
four Canadian Sabre jets got up into 
the jet stream ... gained an extra 50 
knots and a few thousand feet. 

PRESIDENT 
And the intelligence? The Suez pictures 
... did we lose the film as well? 

BISSELL 
No ... the U-2 fell out of the sky in a 
flat spin ... like a seed from a maple 
tree . 



Bissell takes a maple tree seed out of his pocket and 
tosses it into the air. The seed spins slowly and lands 
onto the table. 

DULLES 
The camera, film and most of the 
aircraft pretty much survived the crash 
to earth, Mr. President. 

PRESIDENT 
Didn't Carey try to eject. 

DULLES 
Our preliminary investigation shows 
that the eject handle was pulled but 
nothing happened. The self-destruct 
also did not operate properly. 

BISSELL 
I figure someone may have forgotten to 
pull the safety pin during the pre- 
flight checklist. 



PRESIDENT 
Allen, you told me that the self- 
destruct would do a thorough job of 
things . 

Dulles nodded but remains silent, puffing at his empty 
pipe. 

PRESIDENT 
Allen ... I need to ask you this and you 
need to be perfectly candid with me 
with your answer. 

DULLES 
Yes Mr. President ... aren't I always? 

PRESIDENT 
Well, sometimes I don't know. Was 
there any delay? 

DULLES 
Delay Mr. President? 

PRESIDENT 
You know what I mean Allen, between the 
time the pilot pulls the eject handle ... 
and the self-destruct of the U-2? 

Dulles turns to Bissell. 

BISSELL 
None ... Mr. President. 

PRESIDENT 
I guess the pilots know the risk they 
are taking. 

DULLES 
Yes they do. They are all volunteers. 

PRESIDENT 
Allen ... I want your people to find a 
better way to destroy the U-2 
completely, especially the camera and 
film when the self-destruct goes. 

DULLES 
Yes Mr. President. We are working on 
it. 



10 



PRESIDENT 
I don't think there is any need to 
stand down the program. 

The intercom on the desk buzzes. President Eisenhower gets 
up, walks to his desk and presses the switch on the 
intercom. Dulles and Bissell start to collect together 
their things . 

VOICE 
Your call has gone through to the 
Canadian Prime Minister. 

PRESIDENT 
Put him on. 

Eisenhower sits at his desk and picks up the telephone and 
begins to speak into the telephone. 

PRESIDENT 
Mr. Prime Minister. How are things in 
Ottawa? 

Eisenhower covers the mouthpiece of the phone and talks to 
Dulles and Bissell. 

PRESIDENT 
Best you be on your way. This will 
take some time. Keep me informed. 

Dulles and Bissell nod, collect their things and leave the 
oval office . 

PRESIDENT 
So you have heard ... listen Prime 
Minister I need you to do me a big 
favor ... keep your hotshot Sabre pilots 
away from our aircraft. 

FADE OUT: 
THE END 



11