Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt1


Former Naval Person to President. Personal and secret. Number 328.

Averell told me last night of your wish for a meeting with U. J. in Alaska à deux.

The whole world is expecting and all our side are desiring a meeting of the three great powers at which, not only the political chiefs, but the military staffs would be present in order to plan the future war moves and, of course, search for the foundations of post war settlement. It would seem a pity to draw U. J. 7000 miles from Moscow for anything less than this.

Should Husky prosper and the German offensive not occur[,] the end of July or beginning of August will be the moment to make sure that U. J. attacks himself with full strength in October. We shall probably be able to show that our Mediterranean strategy of which he approved, has, in fact, gained Russia the respite of this summer and has, in fact, achieved all he hoped for from a cross-channel second front. This is, therefore one of the cardinal moments.

I consider that a tripartite meeting at Scapa Flow or anywhere else on the globe that can be agreed not only of us three but also of the staffs, who will come together for the first time, would be one of the milestones of history. If this is lost, much is lost.

You must excuse me expressing myself with all the frankness that our friendship and the gravity of the issue warrant. I do not underrate [Page 11] the use that enemy propaganda would make of a meeting between the heads of Soviet Russia and the United States at this juncture with the British Commonwealth and Empire excluded. It would be serious and vexatious, and many would be bewildered and alarmed thereby. My journey to Moscow with Averell in August 19422 was on altogether a lower level, and at a stage in the war when we had only to explain why no second front. Nevertheless, whatever you decide, I shall sustain to the best of my ability here.

  1. Channel of transmission not indicated.
  2. See Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, pp. 472 ff.