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3 December 2010
CHURCHILL, Winston S. Typed draft latter signed ("Winston S. Churchill") to Josef Stalin (1879-1953), Moscow, 15 October 1944. 1 page, 4to, on Prime Minister's stationery.
CHURCHILL TELLS STALIN HE'S FOUND "A SOLUTION OF OUR POLISH TROUBLES" DURING THEIR MOSCOW SUMMIT
A dramatic draft communication from Churchill to Stalin during the latter stages of their October 1944 conference--codenamed "Tolstoy"--in Moscow, held from 9-19 October 1944: "Eden, by toiling through the best part of the night, has got what [I] we think [is a satisfactory and reasonable formula from the Poles] may prove a solution of of [sic] our Polish troubles. Let me know when it would be convenient for me and Eden to bring this to you. We hope Molotov will be with you, and are at your service at any time. I remain, with sincere respect..."
This was the conference in which Churchill produced his infamous "checklist" detailing the spheres of interest in eastern and southern Europe between the British and Americans on the one hand and the Soviets on the other. (Romania-USSR 90 others 10 Greece-90 UK and USA, USSR 10 etc.) Stalin ticked off the figures with a blue pencil, disposing the fates of millions. Far more difficult to adjust was the question of Poland, where there were two major areas of disagreement: the Polish-Soviet border, and which of the rival Polish governments-in-exile could treat with the Allied powers. Stalin established his own puppet regime in Lublin, to rival the London Poles. These issues were not finally resolved until the Yalta Conference in February 1945--and very much at the Poles's expense and in favor of the Soviets. Interestingly, Churchill alters this draft to make his plan seem a purely British rather than a Polish proposal. THIS IS THE ONLY LETTER BETWEEN THESE TWO GREAT LEADERS TO EVER APPEAR AT AUCTION. Provenance: by gift from Churchill to Marian Walker (Holmes) Spicer, M.B.E., Churchill's secretary from 1943-1945; sale Sotheby's London, 15 December 1988, lot 142.
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