Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Seventy-three years ago today, December 22, 1941, only three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain arrived here in the Nation's Capital for a week long conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America.
This first Washington Conference was code named ARCADIA and was extended to January 14, 1941. The meeting, which was the first to be held to discuss wartime military strategy between the leaders of Great Britain and the United States, resulted in a joint declaration that the defeat of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany was the first objective.
Mr. Churchill lodged for most of the conference at the White House. The Prime Minister appropriately slept in the Queen's Bedroom on the second floor of the mansion. Harry Hopkins, FDR's adviser, referred to it as the "Headquarters of the British Empire."
Churchill and FDR
The Queen's Bedroom
With Nazi Germany's war declaration on the United States on December 11, 1941, high on the agenda of the meeting was the question of how to balance the resources of the UK and US against the Germans in Europe and Africa versus the Japanese in the Pacific.
Churchill, who supported recognizing the greater threat of Germany to the British Empire, had been working on three reports to be presented to FDR on "the whole plan of the Anglo-American defense."
Within days of the Pearl Harbor attack, Churchill had boarded the battleship Duke of York and was steaming toward the United States.
"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 and leave us to fight Germany and Italy in Europe, Africa and the Middle East."
"The Grand Alliance, Volume 3," by Winston Churchill