An recent article declares: “Winston Churchill once described American diplomacy as ‘a bull who carries his own china shop around with him.’” Is this an accurate quote, and if so, in relation too what? —L.K., Texas
The expression is frequently repeated, but in regard to Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, not American diplomacy. But it does not track among Churchill’s 15 million published words (books, articles, speeches, papers), or 35 million about him. The phrase “china shop” comes up 22 times, virtually all of them remarks by others about Churchill….
In other episodes, Churchill bemoaned Dulles’ “great slab of a face” and defined him as “dull, duller, Dulles.” Meeting Dulles and Eisenhower at Bermuda, where he had campaigned for a summit conference with Stalin’s successor in Moscow, Churchill told his doctor that Dulles said
nothing but evil can come out of meeting with Malenkov. Dulles is a terrible handicap. Ten years ago I could have dealt with him. Even as it is I have not been defeated by this bastard. I have been humiliated by my own decay.
Many deep studies have been published on Churchill and the military—Fisher, Alanbrooke, de Gaulle, Montgomery, the Admirals, the Generals—yet there is still none on Churchill and the supreme Allied commander and later president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower. Peter Boyle published The Churchill-Eisenhower Correspondence (1991) and James Humes a tribute to the two (2001). But we still await a study of the great issues that separated Churchill and Eisenhower—invasion routes to Germany, a postwar “summit” with the Russians, the 1956 Suez crisis—or the rapprochement between them in the years after Suez. These subjects offer a rich trove for mining by a fastidious historian.