BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Churchill and Eisenhower's D-Day row
Winston Churchill
Churchill faced enormous strain as D-Day loomed
Winston Churchill was locked in a security row with the commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces, Dwight Eisenhower, in the hours before D-Day, it has been revealed.

A top secret document reveals that two of the most important men in the free world had a strained relationship as they planned the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944.

General Dwight Eisenhower
Eisenhower and Churchill planned D-Day
Churchill blocked the United States' attempts to extend a diplomatic black-out beyond the day of the 157,000-strong invasion of the Nazi-held French coast.

The strained war time correspondence is contained in a dossier released for the first time on Sunday at the Public Record Office in Kew, west London.

Frank exchange

Eisenhower wanted to avoid British and American diplomatic activity to prevent the possibility of D-Day plans leaking out.

But Churchill's War Cabinet was opposed to the diplomatic ban continuing beyond D-Day.

The Foreign Office had told the cabinet it had been ''gravely hampered'' by the ban.

Britain's war time prime minister was in regular contact with Eisenhower, who would later become America's president.

Writing to Eisenhower, on 31 May 1944, Churchill said: "It will not be possible for the British Government to agree to an indefinite diplomatic ban after D-Day.


Unless you are able to show some new facts, we should not be able to prolong it (diplomacy ban)

Winston Churchill to Dwight Eisenhower
"It was we who first suggested this ban, and we did so to reinforce the security measures for which you asked.

"The object was to prevent D-Day direction, method, etc, from leaking out.

"Now a request is put forward to maintain this ban for a long time after D-Day in the interests of cover.

"You probably have no idea of the enormous inconvenience and friction which this system has caused.

French mistrust

"Unless you are able to show some new facts, we should not be able to prolong it."

Tension also flared over a proposed radio address to the German people.

Churchill told the general the script he had seen would be "ineffective and look like begging before we have won the battle".

"I could also show that we are not telling the truth to these people," he said.

General de Gaulle
Churchill mistrusted General de Gaulle
"The governments have not decided upon the many questions connected with the partitioning of Germany.

"The proposals which the British Government put forward are very drastic, but they are child's play compared to those of the United States and Russia."

Other correspondence highlights Churchill's mistrust of France's General Charles de Gaulle.

Churchill felt the only safe place to tell de Gaulle of the Normandy invasion was in Britain, "when he is under our influence".

If the Free French movement's leader proved awkward and tried to wire messages abroad "there would be no difficulty in delaying his telegrams", Churchill told Eisenhower.

Another top secret document reveals defence chiefs delayed the call-up of journalists for D-Day landings until the last minute to prevent any press leaks.

Speaking to the BBC, Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives, said: "They are two men who are struggling with huge issues."

See also:

29 Nov 01 | England
18 Jun 02 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes