G/PM Files, Lot 68 D 349

Mr. Winston S. Churchill to President Truman1


My Dear Harry: Forgive me for bothering you with the enclosed, but I felt it my duty to my Country to send it to you.

With all good wishes

Your friend,

Winston S. Churchill

Mr. Winston S. Churchill to President Truman

Dear Mr. President: I venture to address you on the question of the publication of the Agreement which I signed with President Roosevelt about the atomic bomb in Quebec in 1943. I have lately learned that this has been superseded by other agreements made by you with Mr. Attlee’s Government in 1945 and later. Nothing was said to the British Parliament at the time about this very important change, and I feel it my duty to press for a disclosure of the original document and Agreement. As this has been revoked, and has no longer any binding force, I feel it belongs to the past and to history. Parliament however has a right to know what the British position was at the end of the war, and I cannot believe that the facts can be indefinitely withheld. The Agreement, although made in wartime, was, as its references to the use of atomic power for commercial purpose shows, intended to cover more than the wartime period. The original Agreement, now superseded, has acquired a new and practical significance from the fact that His Majesty’s Government have, with my full support, accorded the United States a most important bombing base in East Anglia, and I have little doubt that Parliament would consider that this base should not be used for the atomic bomb without the consent of His Majesty’s Government.2

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I believe that the publication of the original document would place us in a position where this guarantee would willingly be conceded by the United States. This would I am sure strengthen the ties which bind our two Countries together in “fraternal association” and effective alliance. This remains as always the prime object of any policy which I should support.

I congratulate you on the more favourable turn which events in Korea have lately taken.3 I have always hoped that the United States, while maintaining her necessary rights in the Far East, would not become too heavily involved there, for it is in Europe that the mortal challenge to world freedom must be confronted. I express my gratitude to you and to your Country, which I love so well, for the Eisenhower Mission4 and the far-reaching measures which it implies. In this I see the best hope of world peace, if time is given to us.

Yours sincerely,

Winston S. Churchill
  1. Department of State file copy.
  2. For documentation on United States atomic warfare policy, including discussions with British and Canadian officials on this subject, see pp. 802 ff.
  3. Documentation on the Korean War is presented in volume vii.
  4. In January 1951, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had been designated Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, on December 18, 1950, visited 13 European capitals. For documentation on this trip, see vol. iii, pp. 392 ff.