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December 22, 1941


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Just 3 weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor & the subsequent declaration of war on Japan by the United States, British PM Winston Churchill arrived in Washington today for a week long conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.*

                  PM Winston Churchill

*The 1st Washington Conference, which extended beyond the scheduled 1 week, was code named ARCADIA.  

The conference (December 22, 1941 to January 14, 1942) resulted in a joint declaration by the UK & US that the defeat of Nazi Germany would be the 1st primary objective.

This meeting is the 1st on military strategy between the two leaders.**

                  Churchill & FDR 
          Joint Press Conference
                 The White House
                      Dec 23, 1941
               FDR Library Photo

**Churchill spent most of the conference at the White House.

He slept in the Queen’s Bedroom on the 2nd floor.  Presidential adviser, Harry Hopkins, called it the “Headquarters of the British Empire.”

             The Queen’s Bedroom
                  The White House
                      WHHA Photo

The Prime Minister, who arrived with a contingent of military chiefs & civilian advisers, is expected to stay at the White House during the conference.

With Nazi Germany’s war declaration on the U.S. on December 11, high on the agenda of the meeting will be how to balance the resources of the United Kingdom & United States against the Germans in Europe & Africa vs. the Japanese in the Pacific.

Churchill, who is believed to be leaning toward a strategy recognizing the greater threat of Germany to the British Empire, has been working on 3 reports  to be presented to FDR on “the whole plan of the Anglo-American defense.”***

***Within days of the Pearl Harbor attack, Churchill was on board the newly commissioned battleship “Duke of York” steaming toward the U.S. for the meeting with FDR.  Churchill later wrote:

“We knew….that the outrage at Pearl Harbor had stirred (Americans) to their depths.  We were conscious of a serious danger that the U.S. might pursue the war against Japan in the Pacific & leave us to fight Germany & Italy in Europe, Africa & the Middle East.****

****Source: “The Grand Alliance, Vol. 3,” by Winston Churchill

While Churchill was concerned with the British situation in Europe, Africa & the Middle East, Prime Minister John Curtin of Australia was critical of a British policy which by concentrating on the Germans & Italians would leave Australia under threat of an unchecked Japanese navy.

     Commonwealth Prime Ministers
            Conference, May 1, 1944
       Library & Archives of Canada

On December 26, 1941, PM Curtain said:

“Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the U.K.”

FDR, at 1st reading, thought Curtain’s statement disloyal, but later changed his view when he learned that Australia was an independent nation, not a British colony.*****

*****Source:  www.pacificwar.org.au

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