“By Command of His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan General Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Minister of Defence, Negara Brunei Darussalam, I acknowledge the receipt of your letter and thank you for copies of the journal about Sir Winston Churchill.”
-Peng Orang Kaya Laila Setia Datio’ Seri Paduka Awang Mohd. bin Pehin Orang Nawawi Kaya Shahbandar Haji Awang Mohd. Taha, Personal & Confidential Secretary, Negara Brunei Darussalam, 10 September 1984
Thank you for your letter concerning the formation of a Churchill Study Unit. I regret to record that I know nothing about stamps, but I would be glad to answer any questions you have in mind.
Randolph S. Churchill, East Bergholt, Suffolk
How very kind of your Board of Directors to invite me to be an honour member of the Winston Churchill Study Unit of the American Topical Association. I should be very pleased to accept this honour.
Lady Churchill, London
Thank you very much for your letter of 18th July and enclosures which The Queen was most interested to see. The Queen greatly appreciates your kind gesture, but I am afraid it would not be in accordance with Her Majesty’s practice to accept Honorary Membership in the Winston S. Churchill Study Unit.
Private Secretary, Buckingham Palace
I am firmly against endorsing a dealer, no matter how good. It could present a possible legal problem, but I am not familiar with Pennsylvania law. I am also against For Sale ads in the classified section. Trade or swap, okay! I speak as a member who would like to see WSCSU go on for many years. In fact, some thought should be given to a merger with the Eisenhower Study Unit.
Martin Hoff, Brooklyn, N.Y
My vote is against WSCSU becoming the “International Churchill Society.” It is normal for any undertaking to wish to expand, but not without incurring increased and, alas, unforseen responsibilities. I like the WSCSU because it is so personal. By expanding shall we not lose our personal identity and just become a number, rather like a private company which goes public? I should hate to be swallowed up by an octopus. Whichever way the cat jumps, rest assured of my fullest support.
Jack Symonds, Reading, Berks.
The present high reputation that Churchill enjoys is largely transitory [because] he happened to be on the winning side of WW2. This state of affairs is just beginning to be corrected by perceptive writers who probe beneath the Churchill rhetoric to find it supported by very little competence in military affairs and a master politician’s and propagandist’s ability to cover the bloodstains of his errors….Those of us who were at Anzio, trapped and isolated, knew that “the genius of Gallipoli” was at work once more. I recommend the books of Trumbull Higgins and R. W. Thompson on the nature of the “Montgomery and Churchill Myths.”
R. M. N. (Name withheld by request, but not, we think, Richard M. Nixon)
I particularly appreciated your offer of honorary membership. As you see, I was interested in joining even before I heard of your generous suggestion. [He had sent us his check for dues; we sent it back!] I will look forward to receiving publications, and hope before too much longer to have an opportunity to meet you.
Caspar W. Weinberger, Washington
I wanted personally to thank you and all the members of the Society for sending me For Free Trade, which I am honored to accept for inclusion in the Presidential Library. Sir Winston stands unrivaled as the preeminent statesman of our century. The volume you enclosed demonstrates what you so aptly describe as his “powerful writing, immortal speeches, matchless humor and prevailing optimism.” The English-speaking peoples whom he loved, and all who cherish freedom, owe a lasting debt to this superbly gifted man, who played such a vital role in leading the free world from the “Gathering Storm” to its “Finest Hour.”
Ronald Reagan, Washington
Dal Newfield was a friendly, outgoing personality, balanced, tolerant and wise. His admiration for Sir Winston was deep, his enthusiasm and knowledge inspiring. He lived to keep the Immortal Memory evergreen. We shared the same thoughts about life, a love for Nature, and of both our countries. If ever a man deserved citizenship of both America and Britain it was Dal. Above all I shall miss the warmth and sincerity of his friendship. What an immense loss we have all suffered.
H. Ashley Redburn, Bedhampton, Hants.
I can’t believe I had not known of ICS. How long has it been “living?” It is a wonderful idea! I’m presently working on a new book, Churchill Clairvoyant: Canny and Uncanny. If only he were running a united Democracies right now!
Kay M. Halle, Washington
The Prime Minister will be interested to hear that the Society is sponsoring a “Churchill’s England” visit for a party of members from North America. You asked in your letter whether the party might visit 10 Downing Street. I very much regret that this will not be possible. No. 10 is a working office for 24 hours a day, and it is therefore not possible for members of the public to be shown around. The Prime Minister would like to be able to receive them personally, but this too will not be possible, due to her extremely crowded diary.
Caroline Stephens, Private Secretary, Number Ten Downing Street, London
It is quite unnecessary for you to thank me for the delightful day I spent with the Churchill Tour. One of the most important things about retirement is to feel useful and needed, and if one can acquire both of these essentials and combine them with intense enjoyment, whatever is there left to wish for? Certainly for me that day was complete. I am always happy if I can help people to fall in love with Chartwell. Sir Winston and I had two things in common: our love of Chartwell and our love of cats!
Grace Hamblin, Westerham, Kent
While WSC is my favourite British PM, I prefer FDR. It’s a paradox that while WSC was great in 1940, and not too bad in 1914, he neither understood, believed in, or even belonged in this century. His fame is legendary, his charisma huge; his British qualities were not as significant as the one he inherited from his American mother: strength of character. But FDR was much more relevant to this century. I’m surprised that any Winstonphile could dislike MacArthur. Both were great men; both can be shown to have been egotistical, incompetent and overrated. Churchillophiles obviously have a predilection for the patrician, and Mac was an American patrician, descended from a most ancient Scottish clan, grandfather a Supreme Court justice, father a famous general, mother from an aristocratic old southern family. They are so much alike!
Maurice D. Hendry, Auckland, N.Z.
By Command of His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan General Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Minister of Defence, Negara Brunei Darussalam, I acknowledge the receipt of your letter and thank you for copies of the journal about Sir Winston Churchill. His Royal Highness would like to thank you very much for the gifts.
Peng Orang Kaya Laila Setia Datio’ Seri Paduka Awang Mohd. Nawawi bin Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Haji Awang Mohd. Taha, Personal and Confidential Secretary to HRH Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan, Minister of Defence,
Negara Brunei Darussalam
I thank you for the Churchill Society material, especially Sir Winston’s article, “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg,” a fantasy which transcends all my objections to exploring the what-ifs and might-have-beens in that great war.* I regret that I won’t be able to be with you for this year’s gathering. Regards and best wishes.
Shelby Foote, Memphis, Tenn.
* Churchill’s incredible “what-if,” written in 1930, assumes Lee wins at Gettysburg and then occupies Washington. The undisputed victor, Lee then frees the slaves, erasing the main moral argument against Southern independence. The United and Confederate States, after an uneasy 40 years, finally come together with Great Britain to prevent war in 1914, with its Nazi and Bolshevik aftermath— which tragedies Churchill speculates might have actually come to pass “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg.” This piece will be published to coincide with our Gettysburg conference next year.
I note that the Foreign Office has announced that the British Government will not commemorate the 40th anniversary of VE-Day “for fear of offending the Germans.” The F.O. has shown an incomprehensible sensitivity to a non-existent German feeling. VE-Day signifies the crushing of a terrible evil. Without Britain, that victory could not even have been contemplated, much less won. The British people—most of all the veterans—have a great deal to be proud of. The Germans have much to celebrate, nothing to be ashamed of, and the F.O. should get out of the way and allow people to get at it.
Stephen Ambrose, New Orleans, La.
I recently detached from USS Goldsborough (DDG 20) in the Persian Gulf and returned home to Hawaii via London, where I landed on the day of Winston Churchill’s birth. The next morning I set out afoot to search for ghosts. As I crossed Millbank Road the slate colored statue facing the Houses of Parliament loomed before me. I could feel the gravity of the man as I stared at the figure. That he had risen to the pinnacle is common knowledge: yet it was now even more real because of that statue.
Cdr. Larry Kryske, USN, Mililani, Hawaii
I am commanded by The Queen to acknowledge your letter of 7th June and to thank you most warmly for sending the number 1 copy of Winston Churchill’s The Dream. Her Majesty is delighted to have this to add to Sir Winston’s other works in the Royal Library and sends you her warmest thanks. She is delighted to know that the project has assisted in the large work of supporting the publication of the ten final Companion Volumes to the Official Biography.
Sir William Heseltine, Windsor Castle
J’ai bien recu l’ouvrage de Sir Winston Churchill au nom de l’lnternational Churchill Society que vous avez eu l’amabilite de me faire parvenir. J’ai ete particulierement sensible a cette attention et j’ai beaucoup apprecie la qualite de l’edition. Je vous en remercie et vous prie de croire, Cher Monsieur, a l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs.
Frangois Mitterand, Paris
Though twenty years seems a milestone to our Society, it pales against the breadth of a lifespan like that of the man we honor. When elevated as Prime Minister in 1940, he had already lived to the full measure several lifetimes. He had authored twenty-two books, countless articles, speeches, letters and travel notes; he had fought in combat in India, the Sudan, South Africa and Flanders; he had traveled and lectured on several continents; he had married and fathered five children; he had served in Parliament as a Conservative, then a Liberal, then a Constitutionalist, and again as a Conservative. As Robin Lampson so eloquently wrote in Finest Hour, our words are “but candles to his sunlight…his magnificent endeavor.”
Sen. Bob Packwood, Washington
As Winston Churchill’s only surviving child, I have cause to feel the greatest gratitude to ICS, which ever perseveres to perpetuate my father’s memory, to rebut unjust and untruthful attacks upon his record and character, and to ensure that the themes of Winston Churchill’s life and genius live on for future generations. To the dedicated organisers and loyal members I send my warmest greetings and heartfelt thanks.
Lady Soames, London
My father derived a great deal of pleasure from his association with the various Churchill organisations. He often said how fortunate he was to have been so closely associated with one of the few truly great men of the past decades and I think he felt that he owed it to the Society to repay this good fortune in any way he could— hence his genuine and unflagging devotion to all matters relating to Sir Winston. We all miss him terribly, but he would not wish us to complain. As he said to me only last May, “I’ve had my allotted threescore years and ten—anything extra is a bonus.”
Sandy Colville, Broughton, Hants.
We live in a time when much energy is spent on the destruction of reputations, the reduction of achievements. The International Churchill Society has already done much to guard the truth and no doubt, through the years to come, will have to remain ever more vigilant and determined. I wish great strength to your arm.
Robert Hardy, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon.
We are busily at work recording all Churchill’s major works in our Books on Tape series, which are especially useful to anyone with visual handicaps. I read with interest of Wendy Reves’s role in assuring publication of the ten final Companion Volumes for 1940-1965.1 think Martin Gilbert should be sainted!
Duvall Hecht, Books-on-Tape Inc., Calif.
Editor: While there are certain Ecumenical problems, we feel sure that, the proper Authorities giving their consent, Mr. Gilbert would be disposed to consider the matter.
I like your addition of France to your list of Democracy’s builders. The concept and moral ideal of liberty comes from the ancient Hebrews, as on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land and to all the inhabitants thereof”(Isaiah). The ancient Greeks gave us the ideal of the practice of Democracy in their city-states. The Romans laid down some of the structure—the Senate, etc. Of course the word is Greek. The foregoing is from imperfect memory, but there is no question in my mind that the Anglo-Saxons have made Democracy, using classical blueprints, a viable modern political and legal reality, and have continued to defend it, along with what are now called the English-Speaking Peoples, against tyranny, and tyrants.
Richard M. Edelman, New York City
I was disappointed not to be present at the dinner for Maurice Ashley, who I have long regarded as my mentor. I remember my excitement at coming across the first traces of his work for Churchill when I was preparing the material for Volume V. I do not think I have ever been so impressed at the energy and effort put in by an historian in the archives and in the assembly of material.
Martin Gilbert, Jerusalem
It is, of course, ludicrous for Mr. Daniel Lazare to claim that Winston Churchill was anti-Semitic. The contrary evidence is massive: the Balfour Declaration; the message he gave Hitler in the 1930s that anti-Semitism was “a good starter but a bad sticker”; his lifelong, numerous and prominent Jewish friends from Chaim Weizmann to Bernard Baruch; Ben-Gurion’s deeply respectful visit to him in his old age—all these add to the case. What is true is that WSC was not an uncritical friend. I have in mind the cowardly murder of so many of our soldiers and colonial administrators in the last days of the Palestine Mandate, the blowing up of the King David Hotel, the hanging in cold blood of two British sergeants and the subsequent booby-trapping of their bodies. Against these vile acts Churchill exploded. What Mr. Lazare apparently wants is unmitigated praise and support untempered by any breath of criticism. That approach Churchill accorded to no one.
Anthony Montague Browne, London
Thank you for your invaluable help in locating the primary source for the “pity to be wrong” quotation from The World Crisis*. I used it again last week as I addressed the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. You are absolutely right—is very appropriate for the times.
Gen. Colin L. Powell, Washington
The quote occurs in Vol. I, in the chapter on the Agadir crisis: “War is too foolish, to fantastic to be thought of in the twentieth century….Civilisation has climbed above such perils. The interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, Liberal principles, the Labour Party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible. Are you quite sure? It would be a pity to be wrong. Such a mistake could only be made once—once for all.”
Your catalogue of errors and tissue of misrepresentations were quite amusing as an example of “tabloid” journalism. Indeed, had it not been for the fact that you called me “middle aged” (which precludes my applying that term to yourself), I should have been tempted to use Churchill’s apothegm about the satisfaction to be gathered from seeing middle-aged men in a state of fury.
John Charmley, Pulton, Mo.
I want you to know how honoured I feel to receive the 500th copy of Winston Churchill’s The Dream. It completes my collection of his work and is bound more beautifully than any of the others. I read it in the early hours of this morning and am totally fascinated by the imagination of the story and how much it reveals of Winston the man and the son.
Lady Thatcher, London
I hope the complaint over “too much inside chattiness” in your reader survey will be heeded, but to require that the journal report “only the facts” and none of what’s happening socially is absurd. The vibrancy of an organization is a reflection of the interest and hard work of its people. I find FH overflowing with articles of great interest to me.
Thomas R. Fusto, New York City
The idea of a Churchill service online is very intriguing [but] I dislike reading things on monitors, so there would have to be downloadable files. I’m sure the Charmley debates (issues 78-81) would have been more rapid-fire online, but I don’t think I would have read them all online, whereas I read every letter in Finest Hour, even though I knew ahead of time I would be irritated…
Evan Quenon, Austin, Tex.
The controversy over the sale of Sir Winston Churchill’s papers to the British nation, with proceeds going to members of his family, is bewildering. One wonders why it is even newsworthy. When out of office, Churchill, a professional writer, supported his household with his pen. His literary estate was his property. He had every reason, both moral and legal, to expect that title to it would pass on to his survivors. The sum of £12.5 million seems hardly excessive. The collection could be sold for far more than that in the United States, but the papers should remain in England, accessible to scholars at Churchill College. Some critics believe that they should have been donated to the country. That has a familiar ring. Authors are forever being told that they should give their work to society, that to expect money in return is, well, tacky. The origin of this presumption lies in a misapprehension of the word “gifted”—the belief that talent is literally a gift, which the writer should pass along. The fact is that writing is very hard work, and that here, as elsewhere, the laborer is worthy of his hire. Surely any working man should be able to understand that.
William Manchester, Middletown, Conn.
A very hasty note, which however you won’t get for a while since I’m at sea, but its purpose is merely to thank you for your extraordinary courtesies. You could not have been more thoughtful, kinder, more generous, and if I performed (see Churchill Proceedings 1994-1995) anything for you or Mr. Churchill, that’s only a poor contribution in an attempt at requital.
William F. Buckley, Jr., New York City
To the extent that the “Personality of the Century” is what Time magazine thinks he or she should be, Time made its choice for “Man of the Half Century” in 1950, when the two Roosevelts, at least, had completed their contributions; yet neither was seen to measure up to Churchill. Nor had Churchill’s influence ended at that moment. It is hardly necessary to reiterate his post-1950 achievements, including publication of the major part of the Second World War and all of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; winning the Nobel Prize for Literature; a second term in office; and so on. I for one believe that no person in the second half of the century has measured up to Time‘s choice for the first half, since I believe Time ought not to reopen the debate on 1901-1950.
Ronald I. Cohen, Manotick, Ont.
My compliments on a very attractive Churchill Center website. I was impressed by how up to date the contents are. I was also pleased by the straightforward discussion about the role of the Center in issue 96, and the difficulties that face us as older individuals die off and the younger audience may not appreciate Churchill’s contributions. I had not thought of that before, but it is a real concern, I can see. You have all brought the Center along splendidly, and, being in association management, I understand how much effort has been required to build an organization of this kind. I wanted to say thanks for what I know is much work, but it has borne much fruit.
Ron Keener, North Aurora, III.
I enjoyed your review of my Forged in War. Your public admission about agreeing with me could, of course, be that your campaign has prompted me to change. But somehow I doubt either of us believes that. I don’t ever recall calling WSC an “alcoholic,” preferring instead “alcohol dependent,” which he was. Come now, he would never have allowed anyone to water his breakfast wine! I love the way you managed to validate the “soft underbelly” which is, of course, usually (mis) used to describe just the Ljubljana Gap notion. Yours was a most fair, perceptive, and honest review that does not at all misrepresent my interpretations.
Prof. Warren Kimball, Somerset, N.J.
Jack Darrah at Bletchley Park is doing a valuable service to enlighten many of those school children about who Winston Churchill was and what he did. His display of Churchilliana, housed in several large rooms of the mansion, is arranged in chronological order, taking you from Churchill’s youth and early career to his funeral. Jack doesn’t hesitate to take them up for a closer look. He also guides groups of children through it. I salute Jack on the wonderful job he is doing to “keep the memory green and the record accurate.”
FredHardman, Spencer, W.Va.
Get the Churchill Bulletin, delivered to your inbox, once a month.