Editor’s Note

—Aside from the Bohlen memorandum printed immediately below, no official record has been found of the substance of the conversation at this dinner meeting. Cf. the following account in Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, pages 668–669:

“… There were many speeches, and Stalin, without even ensuring that all the waiters and orderlies had left the room, proposed [Page 320]that our next meeting should be in Tokyo. .…3 I had another very friendly talk with Stalin, who … seemed to have no inkling of the momentous information about the new bomb the President had given me.4 He spoke with enthusiasm about the Russian intervention against Japan, and seemed to expect a good many months of war, which Russia would wage on an ever-increasing scale, governed only by the Trans-Siberian Railway.

“… After a pause Stalin said, ‘If you find it impossible to give us a fortified position in the Marmora, could we not have a base at Dedeagatch [Alexandroupolis]?’ I contented myself with saying, ‘I will always support Russia in her claim to the freedom of the seas all the year round.’”

811.001 Truman, H. S./7–2445

The Assistant to the Secretary of State (Bohlen) to the President5

Memorandum for the President

The following, as near as I can remember it, is the Prime Minister’s toast to you yesterday evening, your reply, and Marshal Stalin’s additions:

The Prime Minister said they had already drunk to the President as Head of State, but he wished now to propose a toast to the President as a man. He said that he had not had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Truman until this Conference, but he was sure that everyone present had been as impressed as he had with the firm, decisive and business-like direction of their deliberations. He said that they had all been struck also with the President’s sincerity, frankness and powers of decision. The President, Mr. Churchill continued, reflected in his character and abilities the best qualities of the great republic which he headed. He said he knew he was speaking for Marshal Stalin when he said they were glad to welcome the President into association and friendship and he wished to raise his glass to a man who was sincere in purpose, clear in speech, and true in deed.

The President, in reply to this toast, expressed his deep appreciation for the kind words of the Prime Minister and said that he was naturally a timid man and that when the Prime Minister had suggested and Marshal Stalin had supported the proposal that he be made presiding officer over this Conference6 he had been literally overwhelmed. He said he would continue to do his utmost for the success of the Conference and for the future peace and well-being of the world, and he wished to say what a great pleasure and privilege [Page 321]it was for him, a country boy from Missouri, to be associated with two such great figures as the Prime Minister and Marshal Stalin.

Marshal Stalin then arose to say that in his opinion modesty such as the President’s was a great source of strength and a real indication of character; he added that this was particularly true when it was coupled, as in the case of President Truman, with real strength and character and honesty of purpose. He concluded that he wished to associate himself fully with the remarks of the Prime Minister and was delighted to welcome President Truman into their midst.7

Charles E. Bohlen
  1. Cf. H. H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York, 1949), p. 590.
  2. See ante, pp. 225, 243.
  3. Printed from a carbon copy on which there is an uncertified typed signature.
  4. See ante, p. 52.
  5. Concerning Churchill’s toast at this dinner meeting to the next Leader of the Opposition, see Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, p. 668; The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay, p. 402.