Quick navigation

Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004

Extracts from the Arthur Krock Papers in the Princeton University Library.

Krock was a famous and well-informed US newspaper columnist. Not to be reproduced without permission. This may contain phonetic or transcription errors. We invite comments, corrections and expansions. [comment]




Dec. 21, 1943.

To: Mr. Krock

From: Hurd

Being some notes on a conversation during tea alone yesterday with Lord Halifax:

The British Ambassador is disturbed by the growing circulation of reports here of a rift between Churchill and Stalin growing out of the Teheran conference. This sort of thing, he believes, is what helps to revive the sometimes justified American feeling that Europe is in a mess beyond hope of recovery or cooperation.

Halifax, of course, was not at Teheran. His views are founded on reports he has gleaned from conversations with Harry Hopkins, Sir John Dill, and Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, British Ambassador to Moscow who, as you know, is currently visiting Washington. From those talks Halifax reconstructs a version which he passed on as background, perhaps usable as background but not to be attributed in any way to him.

There were several conversations in which Stalin was extremely rough with Churchill. He reiterated questions such as: How many divisions of British troops are engaged? Where are the British fighting the war? Where is the British Army of 2 million men? When is Britain going to start fighting Germany?

There was a fairly distinct impression that Stalin used this method of approach to head off discussions of questions of territorial boundaries and like things which he is in no mood to discuss.

But -- and this Halifax emphasizes -- there was no quibbling at the end of the conversations. It seems that when Churchill and Stalin reached the pointed of saying farewell Stalin made a move to embrace Churchill. The P.M. jumped at the gesture.

Thereafter, for an extended interval, Stalin planted moist, hairy kisses on Churchill's cheeks, while Churchill puckered his lips and aimed equally diplomatic pecks at the shaved portions of Stalin's face. Although neither could understand a word the other said, each interlarded his embraces with the most affectionate remarks.

Aside from this by-play, Sir John Dill appears to think the Russians will carry their end of the military show.

As you know, there was established at Teheran the date of the next Allied mass operation, the number of divisions to be employed, and a complete blueprint of operations. In addition, there are commitments for great new Russian drives to begin simultaneously.

Halifax believes the Russians will keep their end of the bargain. He bases this belief on two things : (1) the assumption that Russia believes Britain and the United States will be realistic regarding Russia's postwar aims, and (2) the fact that Clark Kerr thinks the situation is going smoothly enough to permit him to absent himself from Moscow at this crucial time.

Rationing note: Those very thin, rich bread and butter sandwiches are off the tea tray. Just toasted scones and dry cake remain.


The above material has been researched by David Irving for the third volume of his Churchill biography, "Churchill's War", vol. iii: "The Sundered Dream."

© Focal Point 2004 F Irving write to David Irving