Churchill was a magnificent man, a wonderful writer, a brilliant speaker. Writing at his worst, he was better than most of us other writers writing flat-out at our best. I’ve said it often before and it’s undoubtedly true. He had a habit of finding a cutting phrase, and when I look back on my own last 25 years of crime — my writing life as an author — I sometimes remember the sentence which I quote here in Volume II [of Churchill’s War].
A man’s life is similar to a walk down a long passage with closed windows to each side. As you reach each window an unseen hand opens it; but the light that it lets in only increases by contrast the darkness at the end.
Beautiful piece of Winston Churchill descriptive writing. Yet he was a man who had very, very odd facets. He was a man who was almost a pervert, who liked to expose himself to people. You don’t find this in the average Churchill biography. You’ll find it in mine. Such flashes of mature insight were tempered by patches of behavior that witnesses could only describe as infantile. The same general, wearily watching Winston throw yet another tantrum, remarked sotto voce to Hugh Dalton, minister of Economic Warfare: “One feels that a nurse should come and fetch him away.”
Some of his fetishes must have had their roots in his unsettled infancy. He had a whimsical habit of exposing himself, just like a naughty child, both to his young male secretaries and to his elders and betters. Each one thought that he was being uniquely privileged, but this happened so frequently that it cannot have been fortuitous. No matter how high ranking the personage — with the exception, it seems, of His Majesty — he was likely to find himself received by Britain’s prime minister in a state of total nudity on one pretext or another. Churchill frequently received his ministers or staff officers while sitting in or stepping out of the bath — these blessed folk being referred to afterwards as Mr. Churchill’s “Companions of the Bath.” He resembled, in the words of Brigadier Menzies, chief of the secret service, a “nice pink pig” wrapped in a silk kimono. “Sometimes,” recalled “C” in 1967, “I had to talk to the PM when he was undressed and once, when in the bath, he mentioned he had nothing to hide from me.” (On another occasion Churchill cautioned him to silence and pointed to his Persian cat, Nelson, looking out of a window: “He’s in touch with the pelicans on the lake,” he said, “and they’re communicating our information to the German secret service!”)
Not even foreigners were spared this ordeal. On August 26, 1941 he asked the butler at Chequers to bring Elliott Roosevelt to him. “I knocked on his door,” wrote the president’s son, “and entered. Churchill was dictating to his male secretary with a large cigar in his mouth … he was absolutely starkers, marching up and down the room.” Others were treated with scarcely greater mercy — he would wear his white linen undergarments to receive the Canadian prime minister Mackenzie-King in May 1943: “He really was quite a picture but looked like a boy — cheeks quite pink and very fresh.” (I’m not sure which cheeks he was referring to!)
It’s fun, isn’t it. You see, I’m English and you’re American, or recently American, and we have this kind of love-hate relationship. I’m sorry that I don’t speak your language.
St Paul’s after a night of bombing
This is one of the basic problems that Churchill had in the war years: persuading the Americans to come in and fight his war for him. Because by 1940 it had become Churchill’s War. It was no longer concerned with Poland. Poland was forgotten as soon as Poland was defeated, but the war by 1940 became a matter of self-prolongation. It had become important to Churchill’s own political reign that the war continue.
Less than 20 percent of Americans felt in 1942 that there should be closer collaboration with Britain after the war. This is what the Gallup Poll found out in June of 1942. They saw the British as aristocratic, snobbish, selfish, arrogant and cold. (Now there’s nothing wrong with being arrogant. We spend a lot of money sending our boys to school to teach them arrogance.) The Gallup Poll also found how the British, at this time, saw the Americans. Their image was one of conceit, cocksureness, gangsterism, graft and corruption. (This sounds almost anti-Semitic, doesn’t it?) Churchill generally was liked: 45 percent liked him — 25 percent liked Chiang Kai-shek, seven percent liked Stalin. Those disliking him included the Negroes, the Irish, Midwestern farmers, and people of German descent — for some odd reason!
When Churchill came to the shores of the United States he did not receive unanimously favorable fan mail. The FBI files, which I’ve been going through for my Churchill research, contain some prize letters which were intercepted by the FBI, including this anonymous letter from a California mother of three:
Every time you appear on our shores, it means something very terrible for us. Why do you not stay at home and fight your own battles instead of always pulling us into them to save your rotten neck? You are taking foul advantage of our blithering idiot of a president. (June 19, 1942).
You see, if I’m known for anything as a historian, apart from being a pain in the neck, it’s because I uncover things. And uncovering things does not necessarily mean you go into the archives and see something and say: “Look at this, this is something quite extraordinary.” If you go into the archives long enough, ten or twenty years, you become what I would call a “gap-ologist” I can spot gaps in archives and they’re much more difficult to spot, because they’ve been papered over, and the files have been closed. And it’s only by going through the archives over a period of many years that you get the gut feeling that something isn’t there that should be there. And you get this kind of gut feeling when you look into the American archives, and then you look in the British archives, and then you go to Australia and Canada and the other archives, and you think to yourself “Wait a minute, in the American archives, I’ve seen a whole heap of documents on that but here I am in the archives outside of London, and yet there’s a gap!” It takes a long time before you can put your finger on that gap. There’s not exactly a label saying “What’s this gap. Try and spot what it is.” So I’ve become a bit of a gap-ologist. I look for what is missing from the files. And particularly in the history of how we managed to drag you in in 1941, there are gaps. There are gaps in the files particularly relating to Japan and the United States. And there are gaps in the files all the way back to 1936, when the Americans first invaded the British Empire.
You don’t know of this invasion because nobody makes a great fuss about it now, in view of the fact of our special relationship with you. There’s not just one nation that has a special relationship with you, there’s another one. (Every time that Israel is described as America’s staunchest ally, Mrs. Thatcher winces!) And the fact that occasionally you’ve done the dirty on us is neatly overlooked. The fact that you robbed us blind in 1940-41 is overlooked. The fact that back in 1936 President Roosevelt sent U.S. Marines to invade Canton Island, at that time a British possession in the Phoenix Islands in the South Pacific peopled at that time by only one British Resident (capital “R” – British Resident), who had his native wife. (They lived in a grass hut, and they had the Union Jack ran up on a flag pole). Pan Am needed that island for an interim stopping point on its flights down to the South Pacific, and so Roosevelt sent the Marines to throw the British out!
Now, you may find it surprising that there’s no reference to this in the British archives. But it is referred to in the catalog of the British Archives. You’ll find it says: “American policy: Canton Island. Closed until the 21st century.” All pages referring to this painful episode are closed until 2017. So I’m not going to be able to see them! This is a typical example of the gaps you look for. You’ll find the papers on them in the American archives, clearly enough — which is how I first came to find out about this — in the private papers of Harold Ickes, who was the Secretary of the Interior at that time. This was part of his purview.
I think Professor Warren S. Kimball, who is a great Churchillologist in the American university system at Rutgers University, was the first person to draw attention to the gaps in the British archives relating to the Japanese files. For all of the intelligence files relating to Japan have been withdrawn, and not just any files relating to Japan, but precisely the month before Pearl Harbor – Gone. Out of the British files.
I humbly add to this the fact that if you look a bit further you can see other gaps. Martin Gilbert is the authorized Churchill biographer, which rather implies that nobody else ought to write about Churchill. (But I’ve arrogated to myself, in my arrogant way, the job of writing an un-authorized biography). If you look at Martin Gilbert’s biography of Churchill, you’ll find on one page of volume six that something has clearly been removed referring to November the 26th, 1941, which is a very important day in the history of pre-Pearl Harbor. November 26, 1941, is the day when we prevailed on the Americans to stand firm with the Japanese, thereby insuring that war would break out. And on that day in the Martin Gilbert biography, you’ll find that a paragraph has obviously been removed at some time because there’s reference to a letter that Churchill wrote to the president, which has been taken out on that day. And we know it’s gone because in the next paragraph Gilbert rather foolishly continues with the words: “… on the same day such and such a thing happened!” And it no longer means the same day. So you could spot where the gap was. It’s obviously all been shuffled up again and the pages have been reset – for something has been taken out relating to November 26, 1941.
If you look into the American archives under that date — at the National Archives building on Pennsylvania avenue in Washington D.C. — and look at all the telegrams that went between London and Washington on that date, about forty of them went through embassy channels, you can see the serial numbers of the telegrams, and suddenly there are two telegrams that had serial numbers that are not in the archives. They have vanished from the archives! And this kind of thing didn’t happen. If a serial number was allocated to a telegram and that telegram number was not used, then a blank page goes into the archives with a reference number “not used.”
So two telegrams have been removed from the archives, because there’s a gap in the numbering. And we don’t know precisely what happened on November 26th, except by odd allusions to it in the diaries of Roosevelt’s staff. So the gaps begin to be significant. And then you realize what was making you unhappy about the British and American archives — and it’s a huge thing — it’s so big that you wonder why you didn’t discover it in the first place! And it’s the big things that people often don’t notice.
Just like, for example, in the famous case of the Adolf Hitler diaries that were published back in 1983. I was interested in the chemical test of the glue on the string and the ink and the paper, and so on. But there was the big thing that all of us overlooked, I’ve got to admit. This was the fact that when I saw the diaries — there was 62 of them stacked up on the table — all identical Adolf Hitler diaries in his handwriting, apparently authentic. And yet the thing that should have occurred to all of us at that time was obvious. The fact that if there were 62 diaries, all identical, on that table in 1983, meant that back in about 1920 Adolf Hitler had gone into his local stationers and said: “I want 62 diaries please … I’m going to write a diary!” You see? None of us spotted that. I have to admit that, although I’m rather ashamed to admit it. And so it is with the archives over the water, in London, and here in Washington.
In Washington the American government has now released all their Japanese intercepts. Everything that was decoded from the Japanese diplomatic files, and some of the naval files, and military signals and water company messages and so on, that we were decoding in 1940 and 1941 and onwards, by the famous “Magic” machines, the diplomatic code “Purple,” and various other codes of that series, has now been released to the National Archives in Washington by the NSA (the National Security Agency). Millions of pages of intercepts that were generated by the Japanese and decoded by the American army and navy cryptographers during the Second World War are in the American archives. In the British archives there is not one single page of a Japanese message decoded by the British.
This is not easily spotted, because it is a gap! There is no kind of gap on the shelves with a sign saying, “Here’s where the British decrypts will eventually come when they are released.” They just keep very quiet about them!
For example, a few months ago, I came across a very low level order by Churchill on security. They’re looking at the movements of the Japanese foreign minister. Churchill’s chief of staff, a man called Ismay, writes to Churchill, saying “Well, what do we do about the attached document?” And the attached document, which is quite obviously, from the content, an intercept of a Japanese message of February 1941, has been withdrawn by the British government. And there is a withdrawal sheet there saying that the attached document had been withdrawn but you don’t know what it is. You only know from inference from the covering letters that it is an intercept of a Japanese message.
So what does all this mean? It means that we British were definitely reading Japanese signals in the years before Pearl Harbor. (I will elaborate shortly upon which particular codes we were reading.) It means that we are so ashamed of what we were getting out of those signals that we dare not admit: A, that we were getting Japanese messages, and, B, that we dare not take the risk of releasing any of those messages in the archives in case some clever David Irving comes along five years from now and sees what inferences to draw from them. We are entitled to draw a further inference, C, from this, and this is that the people who are hiding things are doing so out of a basically guilty conscience. The Americans have not hidden any of their Japanese intercepts, so far as we’re aware. I think any authorized historian would go along with me on that particular claim. The Americans have been enormously up front about releasing all their intercepts now into the National Archives. In fact it’s an embarrassing profusion of intercepts. We don’t know what to do with them. There are millions of them. No one historian has time to go through them all, there are so many. And yet, we British have not released a single page. You don’t even find scattered misfiled pages in the archives. All have sedulously been weeded out of the files.
I think that what happened was this: back in September of 1939 we began reading the Japanese fleet operational code, JN-25 (JN: Japanese Navy), and these Japanese naval intercepts were being read by us, finally, at a much higher level than the American cryptographers were capable of. I could read out to you various documents in the course of this evening if I wanted to show the displeasure that the Americans felt with us that we were not releasing to them everything that we had. George Marshall wrote letters to the President about it. A man called McCormack was sent to Britian in 1943 to find out if there was any way of getting the British intelligence authorities to release still more of their intercepts, because the Americans had by that time realized that we were decoding more than we were releasing. And we are left with the problem of trying to work out why we have not released the JN-25 intercepts to the archives in Britain, and whether we’re entitled to draw conclusions from this. Its a gap and it’s an embarrassing gap. I think this is one reason why, as Warren Kimball has pointed out, certain British foreign office files relating to Japan from September-October and particularly from November of 1941 have been withdrawn completely from the British archives even though they’re just about Japan, apparently, not necessarily containing intercept material. They’ve been withdrawn from the archives in violation of our 30-year rule and they’re not going to be put into the archives until long after all of us in this room are dead. This again is the action of a guilty conscience.
Bombed out London
My colleague, John Costello, a very fine writer, who has written detailed books about Pearl Harbor, has made formal applications to the Ministry of Defense in Britain, and he has been told: “It would not be in the national interest for these files to be released.” Not in the national interest! Now, nearly 50 years later, we still can’t be told what happened before Pearl Harbor?
Let’s have a look at some of the other gaps so you can see the way that we’ve all been misled, and how some of your most famous historians have not found out how we’ve been misled. Let us look, for example, at the private diary of Henry Stimson. Henry Stimson — the American secretary of war, conservative, Republican, elderly gentleman, upright, fine, decent — wrote a very detailed diary, as did a number of cabinet members, thank God. He dictated them onto a dictaphone disk. When he retired at the end of each day he would dictate onto a disk, and the next day the secretary would type up what the boss had dictated the day before. These diary entries are sometimes 25 or 30 pages long, and if you go to Yale University you can read the Henry Stimson diary in original. I do emphasize the importance of this to any of you who want to write or want to see what true history is: don’t read “printed” versions of diaries, read the original if you can. If you can’t, then get microfilm copies or photocopies, because that’s the only way you’re going to get a feel for where the faking has been done.
I remember reading one of Rommel’s diaries: Rommel had just lost a particularly stupid battle in November of 1941, and he realized a week or two later, the stupid mistake he had made, and he had his secretary, a corporal, retype the page in the diary — correcting history after the event! The corporal sat down and religiously typed it out, and he made the mistake that all of us make on the first day of any new year, he put the wrong year at the head of the page: November 1942! This is a clear give-away.
The same thing happens in the Henry Stimson diary, in the month before Pearl Harbor. If you look in the original diary you will find clear evidence that the pages of the Stimson diary have been tampered with before Pearl Harbor. Probably by him, himself.
Every secretary has her own idiosyncrasies: they indent by a certain number of words at the beginning of a paragraph, they leave two or three spaces after a period or comma, they underline the date or they don’t, they write 23 lines to a page or whatever. And Stimson’s secretary, being a top-flight Washington secretary, did just that. She typed the diary meticulously. Which means, of course, that if she takes out a paragraph on a page, or takes out a sentence or two sentences and retypes it, you can spot it And if somebody else does it, of course, retypes it two or three years later, you can spot it even better, because it’s a different secretary by then.
If you look in the Stimson diary you’ll find that in November and October 1941, two months before Pearl Harbor, that repeatedly passages have been taken out of the Stimson diary, and that page had been retyped by a different secretary for the reasons I just described. And on Pearl Harbor day itself, December 7, 1941, we find that from page three onward the whole diary has been retyped. Again, by the same secretary, the one who retyped it three or four years later, because it always contains the same idiosyncrasies of the second lady and not the original secretary. How many historians discovered that? And are we entitled to draw any conclusions as to what went in and to what’s been taken out? Well, as luck would have it, on November 4, 1944, Stimson had a strange telephone call from Henry Morgenthau. Henry Morgenthau, secretary of the treasury, telephoned Henry Stimson, deeply troubled because the Morgenthau plan was being accused of costing the lives of two divisions of GIs. Morgenthau telephones Stimson and begs for absolution. He says: “Say it isn’t so, Henry!”
And if you go into the Morgenthau Diary, in the Roosevelt library in Hyde Park, you’ll find this very interesting entry penciled in, which again, nobody else has spotted — not even Arthur Schlesinger Jr. so far as I know — November 4, 1944, 8:45: “Telephoned Henry Stimson, Cold Springs, and urged him to do something [to deny Dewey’s claim that the Morgenthau Plan had prolonged the war]. He sounded tired, more tired than ever. He said he was tired out from working the last two weeks on the Pearl Harbor report, to keep out anything that might hurt the president.”
So there you’ve got it! Round about the same time he was going through his diaries, thinking: My God, did I write that down in the diaries? Better cut that out” “Miss Moneypenny, can you retype these pages for me?” It’s a cover-up.
Again, you can spot what’s gone out of those pages. Because if you read the whole of 1941, throughout all the other months, Stimson is writing down, every day, the details of the “magics” that he gets, the intercepts of the Japanese messages, the diplomatic reports. Stimson is writing them down every day until suddenly, just before Pearl Harbor, around November the third, every reference to Japan dries up suddenly.From November the third onwards, right through until November the twenty-sixth, there’s no reference to Japan at all in his diaries, apparently, in the edited version. Now that’s a likely story. What he’s done is he’s gone through cutting out everything! Because he’s very scared indeed, because here is piece of evidence after piece of evidence that the Japanese are up to something. So he’s gone through the diaries and cut out these references.
Now in the British Archives there’s another gap, and again it only comes to you when you’ve been working on the subject intensively in the other archives. This concerns the “Winds message.” I won’t go into a complicated description of what the “Winds message” was. Suffice it to say that the Japanese had realized that when war broke out, they would need some cryptic way of telling their embassies abroad who was going to be the enemy and when war was going to break out. They decided to tell the various embassies abroad to watch out in the local Japanese weather forecast that was broadcast around the world — an ordinary weather forecast broadcast from Tokyo. These distant embassies in London, Rome, and Berlin, were to watch for certain messages about which way the wind was blowing, and whether it was going to rain. And this “winds message,” which was issued from Tokyo on November 19, 1941, was decoded by us – this preparatory message, from November the twenty-fifth, we should say — was decoded by us, the British and Americans, on November the twenty-fifth.
Messages went out to all our listening posts: Singapore, Hong Kong, the east and west coasts of the United States, and in Britain — to listen for the slightest sign of the “Winds execute” transmission. In the American archives there are tons and tons of documents about the “Winds message,” in the SRH series in the National Archives, Record Group 457. You’ll find that there are expositions on it, there are summaries of it, there are deliberations and accusations and debates and Pearl Harbor hearings about the “Winds message.” We British were asked to keep our ears open for the “Winds message,” too. Because obviously we might equally likely pick up the “Winds message.” Because such are the idiosyncrasies in the propagation of radio waves that we sometimes pick up radio messages broadcast from Japan that the Americans can’t pick up. So we were listening out for it, too. And yet, if you look in the British archives relating to Japan, if you look in the BBC archives too, you won’t find even a reference to the “Winds message,” let alone the search for it, let alone the result. Did we or did we not pick up the “Winds execute” message which gave us sufficient warning, as it gave the Americans, in fact on December the fourth, three days before Pearl Harbor, that Japan was about to attack Britain, about to attack the United States, but was not about to attack Russia.
Well, I think that we did. I think that our intelligence services did pick up the “Winds message” and that Churchill either did or did not communicate that vital information to the United States. We’ll come to that matter in a minute. Churchill’s great nightmare throughout 1941 was that he was going to find himself blundering into war with Japan — alone. And that the United States would hang out until the last minute and then not come in. This is written very large in all of Churchill’s deliberations both inside his cabinet and in private. But of course Churchill’s deliberations inside his cabinet didn’t mean very much because Churchill’s cabinet had about as much brains as the band on the Johnny Carson Show. You see, Churchill knew that Roosevelt wanted war, but Churchill was familiar with Roosevelt’s basic problem: namely, that the American people did not want war. Churchill did all he could to help Roosevelt out of his dilemma.
We were reading the German submarine codes. We knew where the German submarines were in the Atlantic, so Churchill took pains to ensure that our convoys coming across the Atlantic, escorted by American ships, would head directly to where the German U-boats were, in the hopes that the U-boats would sink an American ship. This was the kind of thing that we can see going on now that we’re gradually getting access to all the files. You now begin to understand where the British national interest is: that these things should not be released.
Back in 1941, Churchill’s biggest problem was the Ambassador, Joseph P. Kennedy, the American ambassador in the Court of St. James. Joseph P. Kennedy, one of my favorite characters of World War Two, father of President Kennedy, who was probably not one of my favorite characters. Joseph Kennedy was a glorious, Irish, Catholic bigot. Roosevelt had a sense of humor in appointing him to London, and he admitted that he had only done it as a bit of a joke. Churchill found it anything but a joke when he became Prime Minister.
Kennedy had a habit of reporting back to Washington the truth! When Kennedy went to ask Chamberlain, the Prime Minister, why he shouldn’t have Churchill in his cabinet, Chamberlain’s reply was that “the man was very unstable and he’s become a fine two-fisted drinker.” Churchill knew what Kennedy was reporting because we were reading the American diplomatic codes as well, and Churchill did everything he could to get rid of Kennedy – by fair means or foul. In fact, as his diaries make plain (we’ve got certain fragments of Kennedy’s diaries, which are quite interesting, because he was viciously anti-Semitic), Kennedy believed that Churchill was capable of stooping to anything to bring the United States in to war. In one telegram he reports back to Washington that he thinks that Churchill is on the point of bombing the U.S. Embassy in London. He believed that Churchill, in 1940, was about to bomb the American Embassy in London and claim that the Germans had done it! Later on, in 1940, when Kennedy decides to go back to Florida for a vacation, he takes the plane down to Lisbon, and he boards the USS Manhattan to sail back across the Atlantic, and in a bit of a panic because he knows who he’s dealing with, he’s dealing with Churchill, he sends a telegram to the State Department saying: Please, will you announce that if the USS Manhattan is torpedoed and sunk, it will not be considered a casus belli, that the United States will not declare war over this because I have reason to believe that Churchill is planning to torpedo the USSManhattan knowing that I’m on board!” Now these telegrams are not contained in the published volumes of the foreign relations of the United States. I found them in the archives (they are in Suitland, Maryland), and I quoted them in the first volume of my Churchill biography as well as even more hilarious telegrams in the subsequent volume. They do show that Kennedy had correctly assessed what Churchill was up to. He was trying to drag the United States into the war by hook or by crook.
In the middle of 1940 Churchill hit on the idea of buying from the United States, 50 World War I destroyers, which were completely useless, and exchanging them for valuable pieces of British Empire real estate. He gave to the United States bits of the Caribbean islands, that were our colonies, bits of Newfoundland, and bits of British Guiana, in return for 50 destroyers, that were so useless, in fact, that not one saw action in World War Two — except, I think, for theCampbelltown which was only fit to be towed across the English Channel laden with dynamite and blown up in the French dock gates in St. Nazaire in March 1942. It wasn’t a very good bargain, in other words. In the words of Adolf Berle, the American undersecretary of state, writing in his diary: “With one single gulp we have managed to obtain a large part of the British Empire, in return for nothing.” Namely those 50 destroyers. This was one of the methods that Churchill was using in an attempt to bring the United States closer and closer to the brink of war.
Another method that he used was far more cynical. As he said to Ambassador Kennedy in June or July 1940: “You watch, when Adolf Hitler begins bombing London and bombing towns in Britain like Boston and Lincoln, towns with their counterparts in the United States, you Americans will have to come in, won’t you, you can’t just stand aside and watch our suffering.” But he knew from code-breaking, he knew from reading the German air force signals, which were broken on May 26, 1940, that Hitler had given orders that no British town was to be bombed. London was completely embargoed. The German air force was allowed to bomb ports and harbors and dockyards, but not towns as such. Churchill was greatly aggrieved by this. He wondered how much longer Hitler could afford carrying on war like this. Hitler, as we know, carried on until September 1940 without bombing any English towns. The embargo stayed in force, we can see it in the German archives now, and we know from the code-breaking of the German signals, that Churchill was reading Hitler’s orders to the German air force: not on any account to bomb these towns. So there was no way that we could drag in the Americans that way unless we could provoke Hitler to do it. Which was why, on August 25, 1940, Churchill gave the order to the British air force to go and bomb Berlin. Although the chief of the bomber command and the chief of staff of the British air force warned him that if we bombed Hitler, he may very well lift the embargo on British towns. And Churchill just twinkled. Because that was what he wanted — of course.
At 9:15 that morning he telephoned personally the bomber commander, himself, to order the bombing of Berlin — one hundred bombers to go and bomb Berlin. They went out and bombed Berlin that night, and Hitler still didn’t move. Then Churchill ordered another raid on Berlin, and so it went on for the next seven or ten days until finally, on September 4th, Hitler lost his patience and made that famous speech in the Sport Palace in Berlin in which he said: “This madman has bombed Berlin now seven times. If he bombs Berlin now once more, then I shall not only just attack their towns, I shall wipe them out!” (“Ich werde ihre Städte ausradieren! ” ) A very famous speech. Of course German schoolchildren are told about the Hitler speech, but not told about what went first. They’re not told how Churchill set out deliberately to provoke the bombing of his own capital. And on the following day Churchill ordered Berlin bombed again. And now of course the Germans started bombing the docks in London, the East End of London, finally the city of London and the West End on November 6 and 7, 1940. In September 1940, 7,000 Londoners were killed in the bombing as the result of Churchill’s deliberate provocation. The files are there, the archives are there. No wonder Harold Macmillan didn’t want my book published!
Still the Americans didn’t come in. Kennedy was still the ambassador. Churchill moved heaven and earth to have him dismissed and recalled to the United States. Churchill, you see, had been secretly conniving with Roosevelt ever since the outbreak of the war. In fact, we have to say that although these telegrams, from October 1939 onwards, showed Churchill conniving with Roosevelt, we have to wonder what went on between these two men in private, even before the exchange of telegrams. I think, personally, that secret emissaries passed to and fro between these two men.
We know that Roosevelt sent Judge Felix Frankfurter, one of his closest intimates and advisors, to Britain. We know that Frankfurter came over, and we know the kind of advice he gave to Churchill, and that was before the war. We know that Churchill frequently sent his own intimates back to Roosevelt. More significantly we know that even though Churchill was only a minister at that time, not even Prime Minister, just the First Sea Lord, the navy minister, Roosevelt telephoned him, frequently.
I don’t know, frankly, why Neville Chamberlain put up with it as the Prime Minister: that the president, the head of state of a neutral power, should go over the head of the Prime Minister, behind his back, behind the back of his own cabinet, in telephone conversations in time of war with a minister, with a subordinate minister, an ambitious subordinate minister, in the shape of Winston Churchill. Possibly because Chamberlain was tapping the telephone and preferred to have a devil he did know to a devil he didn’t know! Unfortunately, these telephone conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt, which went on long after Churchill became prime minister, of course, are not in the archives. I have left no stone unturned to try and find the transcripts of those telephone conversations, because that is the two men speaking to each other, through their own mouths and ears and the telephone system. Not through committees, not through telegrams being drafted by undersecretaries and so on, but they were really conferring, conspiring, and conniving with each other.
In the United States these telephone conversations were censored and intercepted by the Department of the Navy. It was the Navy’s job to carry out the censorship of the telephone and telegraphic communications in the United States. And unfortunately Harry Truman — no great statesman, God bless him, in the best of times — at the end of World War Two ordered that the office-of-censorship records were to be kept closed in perpetuity. So if those transcripts of those telephone conversations are in those files, we’re never going to know what those two men said to each other. But we need to know what they said to each other. In Britain, unfortunately, no transcripts have been released. I find it inconceivable that there isn’t somewhere down the telephone line, at each end, there wasn’t a shorthand secretary somewhere taking down what these two men said.
There’s no doubt at all that they did their major work on the telephone. When Rudolph Hess made his misguided flight to Scotland in 1941, and Churchill kept him locked up under lock and key as the secret prisoner of the British secret service, Roosevelt was desperate to find out about what was going on in Britain, and wanted to have some special propaganda movies made of Rudolph Hess. Finally one of Roosevelt’s private staff wrote him a memorandum, which I think is highly significant. The memorandum said: “I think it’s time for a telephone job.” A telephone job! As though it’s a kind of key word — a buzz word — inside the White House. The memorandum goes on: “This isn’t one which we can put around through the usual channels in the State Department — it’s got to be done by a telephone job.” I think these are the channels that historians should start looking for when they’re trying to find out about the lead up to Pearl Harbor. They’ve got to get those transcripts of those telephone conversations.
There’s a key cabinet meeting of November 7, 1941, a cabinet meeting that was referred to in the Henry Stimson diary and in the private diary of Claude Wickard, oddly enough the Secretary of Agriculture. You wouldn’t think you’d find military secrets in the diary of the Secretary of Agriculture, but that’s just the kind of place that I look. I remember I was sitting in the archives next to Arthur Schlesinger, the famous writer on Roosevelt, and I drew his attention to these Wickard diaries, handwritten diaries recording Roosevelt’s cabinet meetings, which are not recorded officially anywhere else. And Schlesinger’s jaw dropped and he said: “Jeez, I didn’t know there were these things.” On November 7, 1941, Roosevelt held a cabinet meeting in which he revealed that Churchill had telephoned him a few days earlier, and recommended a preemptive attack on Japan. You see, now you’re beginning to get the picture of who is pushing whom! We were trying to get the United States in the war somehow, by hook or by crook! And the methods we used in those pre-war years, and in the first years of the Second World War, to bring the United States in — I think are methods you’ve never even dreamed of.
First of all, we were the ones, I’m sure, in a telephone conversation between Churchill and Roosevelt on the night of the 24th to 25th of July 1941, who persuaded Roosevelt to take the fateful step of issuing sanctions against Japan, sanctions whereby Japan would receive no more oil, no more vital raw materials, sanctions which drove Japan into a corner because oil was running out. She was fighting a war in China, and had no other way of continuing that war. Unless she went to war herself against, for example, the Dutch East Indies, where she could get hold of the oil she needed. I think that it was Churchill who took that step. We had been doing all we could in the 1940-1941 period to drag the United States in. We had deliberately routed the American convoys toward German submarines.
Sir William Stephenson, remember, the man called “Intrepid,” the head of the British secret service in the United States – Sir William Stephenson had been feeding fake documents to Roosevelt through the intelligence service of the OSS, to William Donovan, Wild Bill, the man we ourselves had appointed the head of the American secret service — an extraordinary coincidence you might think. We were feeding documents to him to feed on to Roosevelt proving to him [Roosevelt] that Hitler was about to invade South America. For example, an unfortunate major, Elias Del Monte, who was the Bolivian military attache in Berlin, found his signature at the foot of a letter that he had written to his government at La Paz describing German plans to invade Bolivia. Fortunately Del Monte was recalled immediately to La Paz, cashiered and dismissed. Bolivia declared war on Germany. All the result of a letter which we ourselves (the British secret service) had faked. All this came out in 1972. When it came out, Del Monte, who was still alive, was reinstated with full honors, promoted to general, and there was a grand parade in his honor at La Paz. One of the extraordinary episodes of World War II!
A British intelligence agent duped the governor of Dutch Guyana into believing that a German raider was busy in their waters. So that country also declared war on Germany. August 2, 1941, we passed fake documents to Bogota claiming evidence of plans to cause rioting in Bogota. The Colombians didn’t play along. In 1942 we went a stage further. Now this is not a rather shaky memory presented forty years later on “60 Minutes,” but is recorded in the State Department archives. In May 1942, the American ambassador in Bogota sends a rather worried telegram to the State Department saying that I have been approached by our British counterpart saying that the head of their SIS section, Stagg, attached to their embassy in Bogota, has received orders from his headquarters to assassinate the Colombian foreign minister, and has requested the American embassy for technical assistance in carrying out his mission. Are we to go ahead with this? And the State Department wrote right back “You are not to go ahead with this! We totally disagree with this kind of operation, and we are getting rather fed up with what British secret service getting up to in South America!”
I was puzzled about this. I thought had this unfortunate Colombian foreign minister got a record of neo-Nazi activities, perhaps? Was he a disbeliever in the Holocaust? Was there some reason to justify his being terminated — I think that’s the modern phrase — by the British secret service?
So I went to great trouble. I checked all the diplomatic books, looked up all the Staggs in the archives, and found a Louis Stagg, who had been honorary consul in Graham Greenesque fashion in Havana, Cuba, and who eventually had been posted further to South America. He was alive and well and living in Paris. I went to interview him and yes, it was true: he had been instructed to assassinate the Colombian Foreign Minister. So I contacted the Colombian authorities. Could they give me a small cameo of this Minister? Was he particularly pro-German? “Oh no, he was very pro-British!” The plot thickens. Why would we want to assassinate a pro- British Colombian Foreign Minister in May, 1942? The answer is: he was due to retire anyway, at the end of that month! And the blame was going to be put on the Germans for carrying out the assassination! This is all in volume two. Needless to say Macmillan is probably not going to publish this one either.
On Navy Day, October 27, 1941, Roosevelt issued a statement on American ship sinkings. “History has recorded who fired the first shot,” he said. Hitler has often protested that his plans of conquest do not extend across the Atlantic ocean. His submarines and raiders prove otherwise. So does the entire design of his new World Order.” For example, says Roosevelt, “I have in my possession a secret map made in Germany by Hitler’s government — by the planners of the New World Order.” In fact, printed by Her Majesty’s Stationers office in London. “It is a map of South America and a part of Central America as Hitler proposes to organize it. Today in this little area there are fourteen separate countries. The geographical experts of Berlin, however, have ruthlessly obliterated all existing boundary lines and have divided South American into five vassal states, bringing the whole continent under their domination. This map makes clear the Nazi design, not only against South America, but against the United States itself.”
I must say that since I’m an Englishman – we must take credit for this kind of thing — we printed that map, we gave it to Stephenson, the man called “Intrepid,” who gave it to Donovan, who gave it to the OSS, who gave it to the White House, who gave it to the president, who gave it eventually to the Roosevelt archives, where it is now to be seen in the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York The genuine fake Nazi map proving that Hitler was planning to invade South America. As though Hitler hadn’t had enough on his plate! At a time when he was having a lot of trouble outside of Moscow, he was apparently planning, with his left hand to invade South America and then march on up [highway] U.S. 1 to Washington.
Now, was Roosevelt being naive? The answer is No, of course. He knew perfectly well that this had been furnished him by the British secret service. He was trying to frighten his own public into wanting war.
The other people who were coming into Churchill’s court in this particular match were the Zionists. They had been giving Churchill a lot of trouble, in fact, ever since the beginning of the war. They were rather unhappy because they had gone a long way towards financing his climb to power in the mid-1930s. But now that he was in office, as happens so often, he wanted them to go away. But they didn’t. They kept on beating a path to No. 10 Downing Street, asking for a Jewish army, asking for an arsenal of munitions in Palestine, and threatening a lot of trouble if he didn’t go along with their plans.
Churchill had, however, no other alternative but to ignore them for the time being. You see, there was a rising tide of anti-Jewish feeling in Britain throughout the early war years. You won’t find this in the published histories, of course, but it’s there in the archives: in the records of the letters censorship in Britain, in the records of the ministry of the interior, the home secretary. There’s a great deal about the problems being caused by anti-Semitic feelings. Nobody in authority could overlook the rising tide of anti-Jewish feeling in Britain. I’ve written on this in volume two. The stereotype of the lazy, artful, racketeering Jew, is to be found in the private writings of many government officers, including Anthony Eden. In part it was an after-echo of Hitler’s propaganda, in part the independent perception by the native British people themselves, who had seen the penniless immigrants arrive from Europe and rise to positions of rapid affluence. I quote from a document: “The growth of anti- Semitism in Britain is partly the result of Jewish refugees being able to fend for themselves better than other refugees,” wrote Robert Bruce Lockhart, the shrewd director of Psychological Warfare, commenting on publicly reported black-market cases. He would remark in a later wartime entry in his diary on the large numbers of taxis “filled with Jews” making for the Ascot horse races. In March 1941 he learned that Lord Beaverbrook had inquired about Air Vice-Marshal John Slessor, “Was he a Jew, was he a defeatist?” In July Eden’s secretary observed in his diary: “The war hasn’t made people more pro-Jew,” to which he added three weeks later: “The Jews are their own worst enemy by their conduct in cornering foodstuffs and evacuating themselves to the best billets,” and so on.
The insidious rise of anti-Semitic feeling was something which Churchill could not ignore. So no matter how often Zionists came to him, Churchill couldn’t knuckle under and say, “Very well then, you can have your own Jewish state. I promise to make a public declaration in that respect, and we will already start arming a Jewish army.” There were Jewish units in the British army. They fought very well in certain areas, but he was not prepared to pay more than lip-service to the Zionists at this time.
Now, I’ve had private access to the private papers of Chaim Weizmann, who was the first president of the State of Israel and who was the head of the Jewish agency. And it’s very interesting to see from these private papers and the records of his meetings with Churchill throughout the war years, precisely how this bargaining, haggling, and blackmail, in fact, went on.
On August 27, 1941, Weizmann hinted for the first time of the leverage the Americans Jews could exert on President Roosevelt. He reminded Oliver Harvey, who was Eden’s secretary, that the Jews were an influential ethnic lobby in the United States. (Quoi de neuf? as the French say: What’s new!). The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr., was particularly keen, he said, that Britain should allow more Jews to settle in Palestine. “[The] president’s entourage is very Jewish,” noted Harvey, who made a careful note of Weizmann’s remarks. However, the Zionist leader could not get near Mr. Churchill. (Ike got Churchill’s appointment cards. I rented them from the man who stole them, and we can see how often Weizmann didn’t get to see Churchill.)
By September 10, 1941, Weizmann was writing an extraordinarily outspoken letter to Prime Minister Churchill in which he again recalled how the Jews of the United States had pulled their country into war before, and could do it again — provided that Britain toed the Zionist line over immigration into Palestine. He reminded Churchill that two years had passed since the Jewish Agency had offered to Britain the support of the Jews in Palestine and throughout the world. A whole year had passed, he added, since the prime minister had personally approved his offer to recruit Jews in Palestine. But for two years, Weizmann complained, the Jewish Agency had met only rebuffs and humiliation.
“Tortured by Hitler as no nation has ever been in modern times,” he continued, “and advertised by him as his foremost enemy, we are refused by those who fight him the chance of seeing our name and our flag appear amongst those arrayed against him.” Artfully associating the anti-Zionists with the other enemies populating Mr. Churchill’s mind, Weizmann assured him that he knew this exclusion was not of his own [Churchill’s] doing. “It is the work of people who were responsible for Munich and for the 1939 White Paper on Palestine.” After describing his four-month tour in the United States, Weizmann came to his real sales pitch. There’s only one big ethnic group which is willing to stand to a man for Great Britain and a policy of all-out aid to her: the five million American Jews. From Secretary Morgenthau, Governor Lehman [of New York State], Justice Felix Frankfurter, down to the simplest Jewish workman or trader, they are conscious of all that this struggle against Hitler implies.” British statesmen themselves, he reminded Churchill, had often acknowledged that it was those Jews who has effectively brought the United States into the war in 1917. “They are keen to do it, and may do it again.”
“But,” he admonished, “you are dealing with human beings, with flesh and blood. And the most elementary feeling of self- respect sets limits to service, however willing, if the response is nothing but rebuffs and humiliation.” All that he was asking for now was a formation of a Jewish fighting force. That would be signal enough for the Jews of the United States.
This is the kind of blackmail that Churchill had to put up with from the Zionists throughout the Second World War. And of course, when the blackmail didn’t work they set about assassinating our people in the Middle East. It’s an odd thing that is often forgotten by the admirers of Begin and Shamir and the rest of them, that when the rest of the world was fighting Hitler the Zionists in the Middle East were fighting us! They had nothing better to do with their time!
Felix Frankfurter, in fact, crops up in the Japanese intercepts. Sure enough, on November 18, 1941, the Japanese found a man called Schmidt who had gone and had a long talk with Justice Felix Frankfurter. The message intercepted (by the U.S. Navy and decoded by them) is a telegram in code from Nomura in Washington to Tokyo describing his talks with Schmidt, who had seen Frankfurter on the evening of the eighteenth. Schmidt had said that only Hitler would benefit if a U.S.-Japanese war broke out. If Japan made the first move, the war would be popular in America. Frankfurter, however, said: “Germany had been smart in that she has consistently done everything possible to prevent arousing the United States. Therefore, regardless of how much the President tries to fan the anti-German flame, he cannot make the desired headway.”
Now what a scandalous statement that is! Here’s the one country, Germany, trying to prevent a war and the other country — Roosevelt, neutral — trying to fan the flames of anti-German feeling to fuel the war. Yet it is the Germans who are called the criminals, and the Americans who do the prosecuting. And it all turns up in this Japanese signal about Frankfurter and another Austrian Jew called Schmidt.
So then came the problem of Japan: How to drag the United States in. I come back to the fact that we were very probably reading the Japanese signals at a higher level then the Americans were capable of reading. We had been in the code breaking business much longer than the Americans. By 1940 we had 3,000 code-breakers working in our Bletchley Park installations, and we had sub-units operating, devoting themselves exclusivly to breaking the Japanese signals. They were compartmented so that each group didn’t necessarily know what the others were doing. At a time when we had 3,000 working on it the Americans had 180! So it’s no surprise that we were doing better than the Americans at this time. We were reading, I think, the Japanese fleet code JN25. When we now go into the American archives we find the JN25 signals that the Americans managed to break several years later, signals from three or four weeks before Pearl Harbor, which show quite clearly that if anybody read those signals they would know that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked.
I think that it is a reasonable conclusion for us to draw — a conclusion based on the fact that we are too ashamed to reveal any of our Japanese intercepts in the British archives — that we were, in fact, reading JN25 intercepts in 1941. Churchill, in whose hands all of the threads of the intelligence community came together. Churchill, with his Olympian view of what was going on around him, was the man who insisted that the war intelligence be fed to him uncensored, unedited and unscreened. Churchill knew by the middle of November of 1941 that the Japanese were about to attack America, and quite probably he knew the attack was going to be on the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. He probably never dreamed that it was going to be so successful as it was. But we know what he did know about the other elements of the intelligence puzzle because there are references in the British and in the American archives to steps that he then took. We know that he knew that on December the first, second, third, and fourth, those days before Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had sent out signals to their embassies in London, and in Washington, and Hong Kong and Singapore — of course, to their diplomatic missions abroad — to destroy their code machines.
Now, when you tell your foreign ambassador to destroy his code machines, that’s a pretty final step. That means something is about to happen — something very ugly. And if you then tell him also to use special chemicals to destroy all the secret files, that falls in the same category. And that also makes plain why you are then going to rely on your foreign ambassador to listen out for a cryptic weather report message, as being the final clue to when and where that ugly thing is going to happen.
We got those messages. We intercepted Tokyo instructing the Japanese ambassador in Berlin to go and tell Hitler that war was about to break out sooner than anyone may dream. We intercepted the messages to the Japanese embassy in London, and in Washington and in Hong Kong, and in Singapore, instructing the Japanese ambassador to destroy his code machines, and to use chemicals to destroy all his secret files.
On December the 7th, Pearl Harbor day, Churchill invited the American ambassador, no longer John Kennedy, but a rather soft, flabby liberal, John G. Winant, to come and see him, and have lunch and dinner with him out at his private house at Chequers, a stage where so many dramatic events in Churchill’s life had taken place. The opening and closing of windows to which he referred. Lunch passed normally. When dinnertime came, Churchill, rather mysteriously, ordered his little American-built portable radio to be set up on the dinner table. It had been given to him by a visiting American, Hopkins, a few months before, a $20 radio set of a kind that when you opened the lid, it came on. But in those days, if you remember, it didn’t come right on, it took a minute or two to warm up. And Churchill didn’t quite grasp these new-fangled things, portable radio-sets, and he looked at his watch for the nine o’clock news – in England always the main news time — and lifted the lid. The news that finally came trickling through was of a great British operation in the Western desert Operation Crusader, a battle against Rommel. The battle is proceeding well, Montgomery expects to make fresh headway tomorrow, and the rest of it.
And Churchill couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. Eventually, rather disgruntled, he closes the lid and takes the radio away. It isn’t until fifteen minutes later that his butler comes rushing in, and says to the prime minister: “Have you heard the news? The Japanese have bombed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor!”
If you read Churchill’s memoirs, you will see this little scene half described. If you read Winant’s memoirs -which I’ve read in the manuscript form in his papers — you see the same scene described from Winant’s point of view. But it isn’t until you go to the BBC’s archives and get the script of that nights broadcast that you see what’s happened. The news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor has come in only a minute or two before the news broadcast. So the broadcaster has taken his first page of his script, which is all about the successful triumph of the British offensive in the Western Desert in Africa — on top of that he has written in one line saying that “We are getting reports of a Japanese attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor. More about this later.” Then he goes straight on, a matter of 10 or 15 seconds to talk about the attack against Rommel. Right at the end of the news broadcast he says, “Now back to the main item of today’s news, which is coming in, about the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor.” And if you look at the BBC script — the actual typescript — you can see how this happened : Churchill had expected to get that first item. That’s why the radio was on the table. He didn’t get it. That little scene is proof in my mind that Churchill knew about Pearl Harbor.
If you go into the Boston University Library, you’ll find another little clue. This is in the private diary of British newspaper man Cecil King. He was the director and editorial chief of our tabloid, fringe newspapers, the Mirror andPictorial group of newspapers during the war years. He wrote genuine diaries, which filled two suitcases. Little pocket diaries, written in fountain-pen-ink. You can always tell when diaries like that are genuine, for when you write a genuine diary, the ink changes a little bit from day to day: these are genuine diaries. A few days after Pearl Harbor, Cecil King writes in his diary. “Had a most interesting lunch with Hugh Cudlip.” Now Hugh Cudlip was another famous British newspaper owner and proprietor. Not just a nobody, but somebody who moved in high circles, somebody who the big wigs in Downing Street couldn’t ignore. Cecil King writes in his diary: “Interesting lunch with Hugh Cudlip. He has told me the most extraordinary fact, that we knew about Pearl Harbor five days in advance!” There it is, a little clue, where you wouldn’t expect to see it, that we knew about Pearl Harbor five days in advance.
Churchill telephoned Roosevelt as soon as the news came over, as soon as he had confirmation of the attack and said: “Now we are all in the same boat.” If you look in the papers of those who were with Roosevelt in those days, you will find more evidence of faking. Harry Hopkins, for example, that day wrote a one page typescript description of his session with Roosevelt, and it’s a glowing description of how Roosevelt turns to him and says: “I have done all I can to prevent wars. All my life I’ve been dedicated to preventing just what has happened today.” But what you spot there is that they are retyped. All Harry Hopkins’ other papers are rather messy: there are little bits of typescript on odd scraps of paper, typed and overtyped and with additions. But on Pearl Harbor it’s a beautiful typescript — it has been recopied at a later date. So again you get the evidence that something is going on between these two men, Churchill and Roosevelt, that isn’t quite kosher.
Frances Perkins, the labor secretary, wrote in an oral interview years later that she caught a glimpse of the old man’s eyes in a cabinet meeting at the White House that night, a kind of shifty glimpse that she knew from years of working with him, an unwillingness to look her in the eye, which told her he knew that he had done something dirty. But she couldn’t be precisely sure what. And so it was with Winston Churchill. Churchill was convinced that he had done the decent thing. Professor Donald Watt, one of our great English historians now, has commented that the suspicion must arise that Churchill deliberately courted war with Japan in order to bring America in. This is true, he went over the top in pushing America towards war. I think that Churchill deliberately allowed the attack on Pearl Harbor to go ahead in order to bring the Americans in. He did everything to avoid having the Pacific Fleet warned.
Commenting on this, Sir Richard Craigie, the British Ambassador in Japan, who was horrified when war broke out, said in a memo that we had taken every step that was wrong. We could have avoided war with Japan, we could have kept the Japanese out, and yet everything that we’ve done has brought them in. Churchill commented in 1943 on this memorandum: “It was a blessing that Japan attacked the United States, and thus brought America unitedly and wholeheartedly into the war. Greater good fortune has rarely happened to the British Empire than this event which has revealed our friends and foes in their true light, and may lead, through the merciless crushing of Japan, to a new relationship of immense benefit to the English-speaking countries and to the whole world.”
That was Churchill. But of course, the benefit was not ours or the Empire’s. Within six months we had lost every single possession we had in the far east. Singapore, Hong Kong, Burma — the Japanese even seemed on the point of invading India. It was the beginning of the end of the Empire. In fact, we never got those colonies back. They were gone. So how Churchill can regard that as being a grand effort is only explicable from the point of remembering that Churchill was half American. His mother was American. He was never really a true Englishman.
The only blessing for President Roosevelt, in conclusion, was when Churchill came to the White House. That December Churchill came to the White House, where he had his first conference with Roosevelt, who was now in the same boat. Churchill would afterward say to one of his chiefs of staff, who was still using the same delicate language used in the pre-Pearl Harbor days, about the need to avoid creating a war with Japan with the United States out. Churchill had said: “We can now speak more robustly. We only had to use that kind of language when we were wooing the Americans. Now she is in the harem with us. All in one boat!” When Churchill went to the White House that month, December 1941, he bestowed on Roosevelt that same “Order of the Bath, Companion of the Bath,” which he has bestowed on many of his friends. Churchill sent for the president to come see him in his room. The president was wheeled in, creaking in his wheelchair along the floorboards of the White House, and he found Churchill standing there stark naked in front of him! Thereby Roosevelt became a Companion of the Bath. He was in the hot water up to his eyeballs with Winston Churchill.
Until those gaps in the archives are filled in, we’re not going to be entirely sure what dirty tricks we employed in order to drag him in, but I’ve given you a foretaste of what is in volume two of Churchill’s War.