6, 2004 (Tuesday)
ALL evening working on "Churchill's War", vol. iii: "The Sundered Dream."
I have begun exploiting the diaries of Admiral Sir Andrew B Cunningham, First Sea Lord, which Susanna Scott-Gall dug out for me in the British Library in 1986.
Eighteen years have thus elapsed, since we did this research together. (I signed the contract with Alan Brook at Michael Joseph Ltd for this major Winston Churchill biography in October 1972, so I have been toiling away at it now for thirty-two years).
That terrible winter of 1986/7 Susanna and I made our first trip out here to Key West, after the heating at No. 81 Duke Street broke down and the Grosvenor Estate said it would take three months to fix; I offered her winter in South Africa, but she was too politically correct to travel there -- she was a Guardian reader, as I have now myself become.
While down here I completed the typescript of my book on Rudolf Hess. I last saw the completed manuscript of that book in the suitcase which I left standing next to a cab outside The Algonquin in New York in March 1987, while I went in to get the other cases. When I came out moments later, the big case had gone, stolen by a fast-moving footpad.
He will not have been a happy robber. The case was filled with mostly worthless junk, blank reams of paper, shirts, and the like -- but also, I realized with a sudden stabbing sense of despair, the one ribbon copy of the Rudolf Hess typescript. I was stricken. I would never write it again. It was lost, forever.
"Not to worry," said Susanna brightly. "I took a Xerox of it yesterday and mailed it to the German publisher."
EIGHTEEN years down the road, I am now reading these hundreds of extracts from the handwritten diaries of the old sea-dog Admiral Sir A B Cunningham for the first time. Like the Hess book, they have miraculously survived -- Fate saving them from seizure when the government Trustee made off with my entire historical archive and library in May 2002. I shall post them all on my website in the next week or two.
During our interview the Prime Minister mentioned that [Heinrich] Himmler appeared to be trying to show that he wasn't so bad as painted, and [the] PM said, if it would save further expenditure of life, he would be prepared to spare even Himmler. I suggested there were plenty of islands he could be sent to.
So Churchill was "prepared to spare" Himmler's life? The Butcher of Belsen and Buchenwald? The Architect of Auschwitz? That would have put the cat among the pigeons with Winston's Zionist friends, if it ever came out.
As things turned out, Himmler was frog-marched into a special house run by the British Second Army's Intelligence HQ in Lüneburg in May, 1945, a day or two after his surrender to British forces, and within an hour of his arrival he had been conveyed rapidly from life to death, under circumstances which still bear investigation -- I noticed last year that page 2 of the Second Army's Intelligence diary, relating at three-page length the circumstances of his death, had been retyped some days later on the same typewriter as pages 1 and 3, but by a different hand.