Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Canadian Foreign Service Communicators

The Canadian Foreign Service Communicators served in the telecommunications division of the Canadian Department of External Affairs, at headquarters in Ottawa and at Canadian Embassies and Missions abroad. Many of them had a military communications background. As civilians they became responsible for preparation and transmission of an uncountable number of telegrams.

They worked with several different types of telex machines and communications were of course protected with then appropriate encryption systems such as BID 610, KL-7, KW-7 or the manual One-Time Letter Pads and One-Time Figure Pads . These were the days when secure communications were an art. In the early 1990s the communicators were largely replaced by new technology.

A brief but most interesting history on the Foreign Service Communicators, including many images of their equipment, is published on the AFFSC website. They also have a COMWEB Museum with an interesting Exhibits section (scroll down!). Another related website is the Military Communications and Electronics Museum. They have an online museum tour, describing the Canadian communications history from the 19Th century until today. I found an interesting photo gallery on the Old Foreign Affairs Retired Technicians website www.ofarts.ca. My kind of stuff! Another good article on communicators, with many images, is found on Jerry Proc's website.

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