A friend who is delivering a Churchill speech in D.C. asked for some examples of Churchilian humor involving Washington and U.S. Presidents.
Everyone enjoys Churchill’s famous crack in his first (1941) speech to Congress:
“If my father had been American, and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own!” That brought down the house.
When in the U.S., Churchill liked to emphasize his American roots. Broadcasting to America six months earlier, he avowed something he always believed:
The great Burke has truly said, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors,” and I feel it most agreeable to recall to you that the Jeromes were rooted for many generations in American soil, and fought in Washington’s armies for the independence of the American Colonies and the foundation of the United States.…
“The Prime Minister of Great Britain has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.” **
[More likely: “You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide.”]
This was allegedly stated by Churchill during his visit to the White House following Pearl Harbor in December 1941, according to Churchill’s bodyguard, Walter Thompson, and one of his secretaries, Patrick Kinna, on the strength of which I included it as likely in Churchill By Himself.
The story goes that Roosevelt, inspired to call the new world body he hoped to organize after the war the “United Nations,” wheeled himself into Churchill’s room, finding the PM, as Harry Hopkins put it, “stark naked and gleaming pink from his bath.” But Hopkins was not present; he had this secondhand.…
"O God Our Help in Ages Past": Argentia, 12 August 1941. Standing behind Roosevelt and Churchill: Admiral Ernest J. King (USN); General George C. Marshall (U.S. Army); Field Marshal Sir John Dill (British Army); Admiral Harold R. Stark (USN); Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound (RN). At far left is Harry Hopkins, talking with W. Averell Harriman. (Wikimedia Commons)
I am researching the events surrounding, and individuals actively involved in, the first war-time Anglo-American summit, the “Atlantic Conference,” which took place in at Argentia, Newfoundland from 9 through 12 August 1941.…