A magazine fact checker writes asking if Churchill ever said, “Stalin never broke his word to me.” The short answer is yes. The long answer shows how careful we should be when quoting Churchill.
The source of this quote is the journalist C.L. Sulzberger (1912-1993), in his 1970 book, The Last of the Giants, page 304. In it Sulzberger reports his “five hours with old Winston Churchill” at Chartwell on 10 July 1956.
Churchill, wrote Sulzberger, thought Stalin “a great man, above all compared to Khruschev and Bulganin,” and quoted Churchill as follows:
A great joy of reading The Churchill Documents is their trove of historical sidelights. Volume 22 (August 1945—September 1951, due late 2018) covers the early Cold War: the “Iron Curtain,” the Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift and Korean War. It reminds us of the political battles swirling around the Anglo-American “special relationship.”…
Brandy Banter: The Evening Standard described ArArAt Armenian brandy, once reserved for Communist party elite. It was “the brandy that Stalin served Churchill” according to consumer business editor Jonathan Prynn:
The prime minister enjoyed ArArAt brandy when it was served by Stalin at the Yalta conference in February 1945. After the Second World War, the Soviet leader arranged for Churchill to be sent 400 bottles every year.
This seems highly doubtful. There is no record in the Churchill Archives Centre of even a bottle of brandy being sent to Churchill—although he did compliment Stalin on an Armenian brandy served at Yalta.…