Commemorating the seventy-fifth
anniversary of Winston Churchill's meeting with President Roosevelt at Argentia Harbour, Placentia Bay
With a new Foreword by Lord David Owen
In August 1941 Winston Churchill (1874–1965) and
President Roosevelt (1882–1945) met secretly on HMS Prince of Wales,
moored just off the coast of Newfoundland.
H. V. Morton and Howard Spring (author of Fame
is the Spur) were invited to accompany the Prime Minister and his
entourage on this trip, which was not without its hazards. Only a handful of
people knew that Churchill had left Britain and in America the press merely
reported that Roosevelt was enjoying a few days’ away from Washington, fishing.
The Prince of Wales set off from Scrabster on 4th August 1941 and reached her
destination at Newfoundland on 9th August 1941. A routine was quickly
established on board and the crew soon became used to the Prime Minister’s
timetable and requirements, especially his regular film nights. Together with
the Prime Minister’s bodyguard, Thompson, a number of key personnel accompanied
Churchill on this mission, including Lord Beaverbrook who joined the ship by
flying to Newfoundland’s Placentia Bay.
The Atlantic Treaty, whilst not achieving all
that Churchill had hoped for, was a key document in the development of the war
and post-war strategy. Churchill had hoped that at the resolution of the
meeting America would join the war during the summer of 1941 but this was not
to be. America did finally join the war in December 1941 following the Japanese
attack on the US base at Pearl Harbour.
H. V. Morton’s account was not released for
publication until 1943 and subsequently numerous documents have been made
available at the National Archives. A new appendix lists these together with a
chronology and detailed bibliographies of the key players in the discussions. Atlantic
Meeting is a unique account of the events leading up to Churchill’s
discussions with Roosevelt and a fascinating account of the practicalities –
and occasionally humour – involved in such a perilous journey.