Galloping Lies

by Richard Langworth on 3 March 2009

Can you please advise whether or not Sir Win­ston Churchill said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”  Many thanks.—A.S., Bermuda

Cordell Hull (Library of Congress)

Cordell Hull (Library of Congress)

It was Cordell Hull, not WSC. I have a slight vari­a­tion of it in the “Red Her­rings” appen­dix of  Churchill by Him­self, page 576:

“A lie will gal­lop halfway round the world before the truth has time to pull its breeches on.” —Although com­monly ascribed to Churchill (who would have said trousers, not breeches), this was actu­ally writ­ten by Franklin Roosevelt’s Sec­re­tary of State, Cordell Hull.

Ref.: Hull, Cordell. Mem­oirs of Cordell Hull. 2 vols. New York: Macmil­lan, 1948, 220.

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