Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin 1

operational priority

Secret and personal to Marshal Stalin from Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt.

[Page 1096]

We have both arrived here with our staffs and will probably remain in conference for about ten days. We fully understand the strong reasons which lead you to remain on the battlefronts, where your presence has been so fruitful of victory. Nevertheless, we wish to emphasize once more the importance of a meeting between all three of us. We do not feel that either Archangel or Astrakhan are suitable but we are prepared ourselves, accompanied by suitable officers, to proceed to Fairbanks in order to survey the whole scene in common with you. The present seems to be a unique opportunity for a rendezvous and also a crucial point in the war. We earnestly hope that you will give this matter once more your consideration. Prime Minister will remain on this side of the Atlantic for as long as may be necessary.

Should it prove impossible to arrange the much needed meeting of the three heads of governments, we agree with you that a meeting of the foreign office level should take place in the near future. This meeting would be exploratory in character as, of course, final decisions must be reserved to our respective governments.2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  1. Sent as telegram No. Black 5 to the White House Map Room at Washington and then sent to the United States Naval Attaché, Moscow, via Navy channels. For the messages which had passed between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin before the Quebec Conference with respect to a possible tripartite meeting, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, pp. 820.

    The American Ambassador at Moscow (Standley) reported as follows concerning the delivery of this message in a telegram sent to Washington and forwarded by the White House Map Room to Roosevelt at Quebec as telegram No. White 110, August 20, 1943: “Upon receipt of your message at 192330 Local [i.e., at 11:30 p.m., August 19, Moscow time], I made immediate inquiry and was informed that Stalin was ‘out of town.’ In his absence I decided to deliver message to Molotov, whom I saw at 0040 Local [i.e., at 12:40 a.m., August 20, Moscow time]. Molotov stated he would immediately transmit your message to Stalin.” (Roosevelt Papers)

    Stalin’s reply was not received until after the close of the First Quebec Conference. See post, p. 1174.

  2. For the final paragraph of this message, omitted here, see ante, p. 1059.