Editorial Note

The only source found for this meeting (which included other guests not named in Harriman’s notes) is an informal memorandum dictated by Harriman at Quebec, which contains the following information on the dinner conversation:

“Gray was telling the Prime Minister (in the presence of the President) all about Ireland and how it should be dealt with. The Prime Minister seemed unimpressed.

“At dinner the Prime Minister sat on Mrs. Roosevelt’s right and I was on her left.

“The Prime Minister described the kind of ‘fraternal relationship’ that he would like to see accomplished between the U.S. and the British after the war. This loose concept of ‘fraternal relationship’ he feels is much better than any attempt at more definite association or understanding as more definite arrangements are subject to misunderstandings whereas loose concepts become realities in the public mind and, if flexible enough, can be adjusted to historic developments.

“Mrs. Roosevelt seemed fearful that this might be misunderstood by the other nations and weaken the United Nations concept, to which the Prime Minister did not agree as any hope of the United Nations would be in the leadership given by the intimacy of the United States and British in working out understandings with the Russians—and the Chinese too, he conceded, if they become a nation.…

“The President told me he wanted me to see that Lew Douglas was given information and fully consulted on all shipping matters as he considered that shipping was the key to strategic agreement.

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“He said that he wanted to have a quiet dinner on the night of his arrival, Tuesday,1 with Admiral Leahy, Harry2 and myself to get a report on where the discussions stood.…”3 (Harriman Papers)

  1. i.e., August 17, 1943, when Roosevelt expected to arrive at Quebec.
  2. Hopkins.
  3. Harriman noted in his memorandum that after his arrival at Quebec he discovered that the Governor General (Athlone) was giving a dinner for Roosevelt and Churchill which apparently would supersede the small dinner which Roosevelt had mentioned to him. Harriman accompanied Churchill from Hyde Park to Quebec, leaving Hyde Park by train on the night of August 14. He noted that during the trip Churchill “said he was quite happy about his talks with the President [at Hyde Park] and as always he found that he and the President could see eye to eye on major matters.”