7 December 1936 (House of Commons): “May I ask my Rt. Hon. Friend [Prime Minister Baldwin] whether he could give us an assurance that no irrevocable step… [Hon. Members: “No!”] …that no irrevocable step will be taken before the House has received a full statement, not only upon the personal but upon the constitutional issues involved. May I ask him to bear in mind that these issues are not merely personal to the present occupant of the Throne, but that they affect the entire Constitution.” [Hon. Members: “Speech,” and “Sit down!”]
Churchill lost carefully built political capital by rising to defend Edward VIII, who was facing abdication over his insistence on marrying Wallis Simpson, a divorced American. On December 7th he was shouted down by Members of Parliament and ruled out of order for making a speech during Question Time. He stormed from the House, declaring, “I am finished….”
7 December 1941, Chequers: “In two or three minutes Mr. Roosevelt came through. ‘Mr. President, what’s this about Japan?’ ‘It’s quite true,’ he replied. ‘They have attacked us at Pearl Harbor. We are all in the same boat now.’ I put Winant on to the line and some interchanges took place, the Ambassador at first saying, ‘Good, Good’—and then, apparently graver, ‘Ah!’ I got on again and said, ‘This certainly simplifies things. God be with you,’ or words to that effect.”
Churchill was at the Prime Minister’s country residence, dining with U.S. Ambassador Gil Winant and FDR’s emissary Averell Harriman, when he received news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He immediately put in a call to the President. Later he wrote that he went to bed that night knowing that America was “in to the death….I slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.”
7 December 1943, Constantinople: “Do you know what happened to me today, the Turkish President kissed me. The truth is I’m irresistible. But don’t tell Anthony [Eden], he’s jealous.”
WSC to his daughter Sarah. Mustafa Ismet Inönü (1884–1973), Turkish soldier and statesman, second President of Turkey, 1938-50. Churchill had tried unsuccessfully to woo Turkey into the war on the Allies’ side.
7 December 1947, London: “Halifax’s virtues have done more harm in the world than the vices of hundreds of other people. And yet when I meet him, I can’t help having friendly talk.”
Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, First Earl of Halifax, Viscount Halifax (1881–1959), Foreign Secretary at the 1938 Munich Agreement, later Churchill’s wartime Ambassador to the United States.
7 December 1953, Bermuda: “When I had a chance to speak to the President he told me he did not need converting. We ought not to pay any more attention to McCarthy than they did to Aneurin Bevan. I cannot make it out. I am bewildered. It seems that everything is left to Dulles. It appears that the President is no more than a ventriloquist’s doll.”
The most damning thing Churchill ever said about Eisenhower. Like most extreme statements, he soon thought it over, and had more generous thoughts toward “My dear Ike.”
7 December 1953, Bermuda: “This fellow preaches like a Methodist Minister, and his bloody text is always the same: That nothing but evil can come out of meeting with [Soviet Premier] 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.”
John Foster Dulles (1888–1959), U.S. Secretary of State under Eisenhower 1953–59, took a hard line against new approaches to the Russians advocated by Churchill.