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1951: Churchill sets sail for talks with Truman

The British Prime Minister has set off on his trip to America after more than 24 hours of delays.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden are heading to America on the Queen Mary for talks with President Truman.

They boarded the boat in Southampton but the departure was delayed when an anchor became jammed.

It was released late last night by a team of men and the ship has now set sail for New York.

Talks between the two leaders are due to begin as soon as the British party arrive.

It is Mr Churchill's first trip since re-election last October and he is anxious to renew the so-called 'special relationship' with the US he first forged with President Franklin D Roosevelt during World War II.

Describing the objectives of the trip Mr Eden said: "I hope we shall be able to do a good job of work for Anglo-American relations and world understanding."

The delay comes at the end of a bad week for the Queen Mary.

Informal talks

A fast turnaround was called for to prepare the ship for its high profile guests after bad weather hampered its original crossing from New York to Southampton.

After arriving in Southampton more than 60 hours late the ships captain described it as his "worst Atlantic crossing for 40 years."

The informal talks are set to last for a week and in an attempt to play down the importance of the meeting Mr Churchill said: "I was hoping not so much to deal with specific points as to make sure that, as far as possible, on both sides of the Atlantic, we are looking from our different angles through the same eyes at the many problems that lie before us."

Mr Churchill has been given three state rooms on the main deck.

From here he will have phone lines to Downing Street and the British embassy in Washington.

Other members of the party are situated on the rest of the deck.

In Context
Mr Churchill arrived in the US on 5 January 1952. To speed up his late arrival he was picked up by a smaller boat and taken from the Queen Mary to a port in Brooklyn, New York.

During talks between Prime Minister Churchill and President Truman Mr Churchill agreed to allow the US to use British bases for "common defence" of the two countries.

In public both leaders referred to the close ties between the US and the UK. It seems their talks did go some way to improving relations between the two sides despite differences over foreign policy.

After his US visit Mr Churchill met with the Canadian Prime Minister in Ottawa.


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