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Fdr In Person Essay, Research Paper
February 2nd, 1945
I have only several minutes to spare writing, as I am much in need of sleep and will be awakened at 2:00 AM to board “The Sacred Cow,” the airplane that will transport me from here to Yalta. A seven-hour flight they tell me, much of it over undesirable territory. If any man thinks that I am anticipating this flight, let alone this entire ordeal, with any air of amusement or excitement, then I would inform him that he is much more in need of sleep than I am.
Where to begin; must write about my day?.We arrived in Malta this morning, after more than a week at sea. Normally something I would enjoy, but the very motive of this voyage keeps me from all and any thoughts of pleasure. Anna wheeled me onto the deck, where I have not been since the beginning of this voyage due to my worsening sinuses. Mr. Churchill had already arrived in Malta, not a surprise, along with Eden and the rest of his military and civilian staff. The men present for the purposes of welcoming me were situated on the deck of The HMS Orion, yet another ocean liner.
Churchill is not as enthusiastic about this conference as even Stalin, or I and would much rather take allied matters into his own feeble hands. I deplore this, and can just about guarantee that Stalin feels the same exact way. Enough of the conference, pessimistic though I may be.
After the lengthy, uncalled for welcoming ceremony, I was obligated to invite Churchill onto The Quincy for an informal luncheon. We made somewhat of an effort, speaking in rather loose terms, to make small talk, which, in our situation, is quite a difficult thing to do. Neither of us seemed to be able to speak over business matters at the time which, much to my chagrin, forced me to once again invite Churchill onto The Quincy, this time for a private, formal dinner at which matters of importance to the impending conference would be discussed.
As I found out at the dinner, Churchill’s agenda for the weeklong conference consists mainly of unimportant, irrelevant matters that I know I, and likely Stalin, will not allow to be our first priorities at the conference. If Churchill is this bent on ending the war himself, then he must be humbled into discussing matters of some importance. Anyhow, I am confident that matters will eventually fall into my hands and that both Stalin and Churchill will be forced into listening to my reasoning which, I feel, for numerous reasons, is much better than theirs.
I’m glancing at my watch and I now realize that if I plan on getting any sleep at all tonight then I must start now. Anna is asleep in her quarters. I wish that I could say the same. If I happen to come across unstructured time tomorrow, which is not a very likely possibility, then I will write. If not, I shall find time to write on yet another day this week. Either way, you shall benefit from yet another entry by Friday. But now I’m much too fatigued to write anymore. Goodnight.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
February 3rd, 1945
I am now retired to my quarters, having become accustomed to my new surroundings, and having eaten. Luckily, Stalin does not arrive until tomorrow, which gives me some time to repose and brace myself for the five arduous days of negotiations that lie ahead. I am in much need of rest, having gotten scarcely two hours of sleep last night. The flight to the Crimea was an ordeal in itself. Besides being awakened at 2:00 AM, I was given scarcely one hour to prepare myself for the seven-hour flight that lay ahead. Twenty-five gigantic transport planes were required to carry Mr. Churchill, myself, and our staffs and generals to Yalta, where the conference is to be held. Churchill kept attempting to point out that, based on the information gathered by both of our intelligence agencies, Hitler was aware of the impending conference and might plan attacking us as we made our way across the Mediterranean. He also suspected that Salin was still in cahoots with the Germans and might have tipped them off. This I highly doubted. Stalin is a ruthless warlord, and disagrees with nearly everything Churchill has to say, but I don’t believe he would even consider bumping one of us off. If he did, though, as I pointed out, it would be Churchill, not me, as he looks upon me as a trustworthy comrade, whereas Churchill he finds to be annoying, stubborn, and, at times, downright unmerciful. But I would rather not dwell on this right now. It was merely hypothetical and, as it so obviously turns out, didn’t happen anyway. The flight was cold, bumpy, and largely uncomfortable, although the plane itself was very nice indeed, fitted with an elevator and a bedroom, especially for me. Despite this nice addition, however, I was spared any sleep. I was probably more relieved than anybody else when the plane finally touched down at 8:30am this morning at Saki’s Airfield in the Crimea. I remained in the cabin for half an hour, waiting for Churchill to arrive. Our staffs, meanwhile, helped themselves to the food and drink in the refreshment stands put together by the Soviets. Finally, Churchill arrived and I was helped into a jeep. I was taken to the Livadia Palace, which had been assigned to me by the Soviets. Ill-fated Czar Nicholas II and his family spent much time here. I rested most of today, which was much needed, and I am dozing off even as I write. Tomorrow, the conference begins. I must get an ample amount of sleep tonight if I am to function properly at the session tomorrow. I am too exhausted to write any longer. Goodnight, then. I’ll write again tomorrow.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Dear Diary, February 4th, 1945
I slept well last night as I had wished I would, which amply prepared me for the turbulent beginning of the conference today, which ended less than half an hour ago. I know already that this conference, will, among many other things, result in numerous disagreements between Churchill, Marshal Stalin, and I, and I sincerely hope that this parley will also be responsible for the settling of these disputes. Despite this morose observation of mine, however, I am as optimistic as ever about the caucus’ potential, which is certainly more than I can say for Churchill or Uncle Joe.
I regained composure today, no longer tired or ill, and began to prepare myself for the session that occurred this evening. Hardly any time seemed to have gone by before I was notified of Stalin’s arrival. His Black Packard, excellent car if I do say so myself, made its way up the curving driveway, and Stalin, looking sleepy and rather sawed-off, climbed out. I was not really surprised by his naturally haggard appearance, but I did not expect him, a man of great pride and unnerving ego, to look so weary and forlorn at such an important international function. I suppose part of it can be accounted for by his pessimism, but I cannot help wondering if he is becoming just as tired as I am of the war.
Stalin found me waiting for him in my chair, positioned next to the window of a large room on the first floor that overlooked Livadia’s garden. Not that the garden was much to look at this time of year, but anything seemed to be better than spending another dreary hour locked up in my quarters reviewing paper after paper after paper of proposed documents and possible discussion topics. Stalin greeted me through his interpreter, and, naturally, I did the same. I had not seen him since Tehran, and we engaged in a casual conversation, much to the chagrin of the already-overworked interpreter. Inevitably, the conversation slowly turned to business, and I soon had to force myself to put up with Stalin complaining about de Gaulle, which is not something new. I remember him at Tehran, going on and on about de Gaulle’s unrealistic attempts to demand equality with him, Churchill, and I, and listening to him do it all over again is not really my idea of a productive business talk. I detest de Gaulle too, of course, because he is an arrogant, intolerable nuisance, and should not be taken seriously, but I don’t go off my rocker about it to the extent of Stalin. Nobody I can think of would.
Stalin and I then relocated to the palace ballroom, where we began the first formal session of the conference. Churchill and his staff were already there, seated at a circular table covered with green felt located under two crystal chandeliers. He had more than twenty staff members, more than Stalin and I combined, which didn’t surprise me. Churchill is just that type of person. The discussions, if you can call them that, began promptly at 5:00, right on schedule. Marshal Stalin began the meeting by stating that he thought I should be the one to open the conference, because unlike him and Churchill, I was both head of government and chief of state. I, of course, appreciated this notably friendly gesture, and so started the discussion. I believed that the military situation on the eastern front should be discussed first. This was my belief, of course, because the advance of Russian armies into Germany had all but electrified the people on the USA and of Great Britain. At this point the Marshal called upon Colonel General Antonov, Deputy Chief of the Soviet General Staff, to read a prepared paper giving in great detail the background of the Soviet Winter Onslaught. When the paper, the purpose of which, I think, was to urge Churchill and I to speed up the advance of allies on the western front, was finished, I naturally had several questions for the General. One of these sparked a new discussion about German railroad gauges, and Stalin used unecessary, extremely forceful language in stating his opinions and at one point rose from his seat and emphasized his points with dramatic gestures. He declared that the Germans were about to continue large-scale submarine warfare. As he concluded, he pointed out that Danzig was a great submarine meeting place, and that the Russian frontlines, which are approaching that city, were an immense pride of his. The rest of the evening was quite productive, actually, but rather uneventful, and Stalin did not cause any further disturbances. I am presently preparing myself for the banquet, which is about to begin. I must end this entry now. I cannot be late for the banquet. Till tomorrow.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
February 5th, 1945
The banquet, which I hosted last night, was a social affair unlike any other I’ve ever attended. The menu featured sturgeon and caviar, exquisite foreign delicacies, as well as American cuisine such as sweet potatoes and fried chicken. Surprisingly, I found myself in a rather good mood, and entertained the company with a hearty amount of prep-school humor. This Stalin found incredibly puzzling, and was obligated to inquire of his interpreter what much of this meant. It was quite a sight to see him bickering incessantly back and forth with his poor interpreter, trying to make sense of it all. This humored even Churchill. I remember one particular joke I cracked, quite funny, which Stalin could not make head or tails out of. When it was finally explained to him, his face turned bright red and he remarked that he would charge me for 500 bottles of Russian champagne but give me 30 years to pay. I then informed him that for two years now Churchill and I had been cabling back and forth to one another that we had a term of endearment for Stalin, which is, of course, “Uncle Joe.” Stalin had not the faintest idea what it meant, so he shot another bombardment of Russian at the interpreter. Stalin thought it was an insult. Even after Churchill and I informed him what it meant he was still offended. It was quite a sight to see.
Churchill, not wanting to further annoy Stalin, proposed a toast to “the proletarian masses of the world.” Stalin was spared this bit of British drollery when he took leave to use the lavatory. On the way there his bodyguards took a wrong turn into the cavernous building and lost him for a few moments. When he arrived back at the ballroom he was bewildered as to where they were. They arrived back a few minutes after he did, and he gave them a good tongue-lashing for their incompetence. He then informed the Prime Minister and I that he had to leave at 10:30 to take up military duties, which would keep him for the remainder of the night. Churchill and I thought this rather rude and insulting, so, of course, I told him certainly not. He finally left, though, at 11:10 and took his staff with him back to Koreir Villa, where he was staying. The estate’s former owner was Prince Yusupoff, the man generally given credit for the murder of Rasputin.
Churchill and I stayed at the banquet until God-knows-when, when we finally decided, drunk and in a daze, to reconcile tomorrow for the second day of the conference, and to bid each other farewell. As soon as Churchill departed I wheeled myself upstairs to bed, where I fell asleep immediately.
I awoke less than an hour ago and decided to write, because I know I’m going to be too busy for the remainder of the day to write at all. I’ll tell you about today’s occurrences tomorrow.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
February 5th, 1945
I am now in my quarters, ready to go to sleep. It is late, and I’m quite tired. I remarked this morning that I would not have anymore time to write today. I was wrong. So, before I go to bed I’ll share a bit about today’s session.
I opened the session today by stating that one of my first priorities for the discussion was that of occupying Germany. I decided to take the liberty of bringing this up because the French wanted to have a zone of occupation, and occupation involves control machinery. At this point the Marshal spoke up and said that he wished to discuss the following questions:
1) The division of Germany.
2) Whether or not the Big Three would establish a government in Germany, and, if so, would each part have its own government?
3) Was there no need to work out the definite terms of the unconditional surrender?
4) The types of reparations and their amount.
I informed Stalin that all of his questions were long range ones and grew out of the question of the zones of occupation. The marshal, however, continued his explanation of the division of Germany by recounting five possible sections that I myself had come up with in Tehran. At the time, he had agreed with my suggestions, but now Stalin had ideas of his own. He wanted a decision. And he wanted one now. His proposed Germany was one where a second German state would be established, with its capital in Vienna. Churchill declared that he possessed no fixed opinion on these matters, but that he believed it would be a wise decision to consult France before anything is set in stone. This, of course, was not to Stalin’s liking. Also not to Stalin’s liking was Churchill’s opinion that we need not discuss the terms of unconditional surrender with the Germans. All we had to do, remarked Churchill, was to inform them that they had to await our joint decision as to their future.
After a good share of squabbles and disagreements, the meeting finally ended at 8:00 PM. I then asked a small group of my staff to have dinner with me. Present were General Marshall, Admiral Leahy, Admiral King, Admiral Wilson Brown, Admiral McIntire, Justice Byrnes, Mr. Early, Ambassador Harriman, Miss Kathleen Harriman, my daughter, Mr. Stettinius, Jr., and myself. After dinner I reviewed some topics for tomorrow’s session, and then prepared myself for bed. I am far too exhausted to continue writing. I’ll write again tomorrow, if time permits.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
February 6th, 1945
Today’s session began at 4:00 PM exactly, in the great hall of the Livadia Palace. Once again, I opened the meeting, this time by inquiring of Mr. Stettinius to report on his meeting of foreign ministers that took place this morning. He explained their agreement to add the word “dismemberment” to the unconditioned terms for Germany’s surrender. Churchill remarked that he was glad to accept this decision on behalf of his government. I then took another initiative step and proposed that we now consider the USA formula on voting in the Security Council. I did this because I realized how much of the population wished to see the eradication of war for at least fifty years. I’m not, of course, so optimistic as to believe that interminable peace is yet achievable, but I think, as I told them at the session, that if a world organization was formed, fifty years might be possible.
Churchill spoke again, this time about the possibility of worldwide peace for at least fifty years. He said that he believed that “peace depends on the friendship and co-operation of the three great powers, but the British government would consider that the leaders of the three powers were committing an injustice if accouterments were not made for small countries to state their objections in a civilized manner.”
We had continued our discussion for sometime when the Russians asked for a break. Churchill and I and our officers and staffs saw no reason to object to this, and so a short intermission was held. When the conference resumed, I stated that the next discussion topic was the situation in Poland. I pointed out that the United States is further from Poland than either Britain or Russia, and that there are times when a far-away nation’s point of view could be useful. I restated what I had said at Tehran, that if the Russians would consider leaving Lwow and the oil fields in the province of Lwow to Poland, it would have an invigorating effect on the opinion of the American Public. I proposed the creation of a council made up of Polish leaders, which would form a government from the chiefs of five political parties. I made it clear to Stalin that Poland should, by all means, maintain the friendliest communion with Russia. He in turn said that not only should Poland maintain a good relationship with Russia, but that it must also maintain a good relationship with Britain and America as well.
The session continued for more than two hours, with periodic ten-minute recesses, most of them Stalin’s idea. I ate a quiet dinner with only a very small number of guests (for the first time in the entire course of the conference) and, before retiring to my suite, drafted a letter to be sent to Marshal Stalin. The letter wound up being quite long, actually, and most of my creativity for the evening went into it. I could not help myself but to write this entry, however, and the last of my abilities for today have gone into it. My sinuses are being troublesome again, and I need to go to sleep. I’ll write again tomorrow. Never mind how much time I have to spare. There always seems to be enough time anyway.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
February 7th, 1945
I don’t find myself to be very tired tonight, but plan on going to sleep shortly. I want to conserve as much energy as possible for tomorrow’s session and don’t want to stay up much past 10:00pm. It is already twenty-five after nine, and so I must work relatively quickly. I opened the session today by once again making it clear to the Marshal and the Prime Minister that I am far less concerned in tracing Polish borders than I am about the dilemma with the Polish Government. I don’t find the legality and constancy of any Polish Government to be overwhelmingly important, and I said so. After all, for many years there has been no such thing as a Polish Government. I was then interrupted by Mr. Molotov, who wished to share the report on the meeting of the foreign ministers, which took place earlier this morning. I allowed him to proceed, and he read us their report. The report mainly consisted of documentation of their discussions, the chief subjects of which were a) the dismemberment of Germany, b) the zone of occupation in Germany for France, and c) the reparations to be exacted from Germany. Their work was quite productive, and Churchill and I expressed our gratitude for it.
Stalin then told me that he had received my letter, which I drafted last night, and had then tried to telephone the Lublin Poles to establish their views on the subject, but had not been able to reach them (in my letter I suggested that we should invite the Poles to the conference.) He proceeded to say that the Soviet delegation had considered the proposed voting formula, and were now happy to accept the entire American proposal. They had agreed upon this, explained Stalin, because they believed that this decision guaranteed the oneness of the Great Powers. I, though, already knew this, because Churchill had whispered it to me before the session congregated. Still, I was happy to hear it again, coming straight from Stalin’s mouth.
After hours of discussion about various topics, and several intermissions of ten minutes each, we started speaking about the next conference of the allied powers, which I am trying to organize. I want it to take place in March, in the United States. Churchill, though, disagrees. He says that the British war cabinet will be fully occupied with parliament, domestic problems will be pressing in Britain, and the war will be at its peak. I explained to him that I am only proposing a conference at which I hope to arrive at the standards for an authorizing of an organization. I don’t expect the actual organization to come into play for at least another six months. But Churchill, being the unswerving Brit that he is, held his ground, and it was only after half an hour’s worth of discussion on the topic that he partially caved in, stating the he had no objection to the foreign ministers’ discussing the motif, but that this is a huge political decision, not a mere technical question.
When the session finally concluded, at 6:30, I had a private dinner with my Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius, JR. We talked over some of the occurrences at the session, and about some of the points that I am going to bring up tomorrow. The dinner was not overly time-consuming, and ended at 8:00. From 8:00 until 9:25, when I began writing this entry, I looked over documents and took notes. I am now looking at my watch. It is 9:53, and my wish is to get to bed by about 10:10. I fear I must not write any longer if I am going to get to bed by then. Tomorrow is going to be an incredibly busy day, but I am confident that I will find time to write another entry. I have not missed even one day so far.
February 8th, 1945
Out of all the days consumed by the conference, today was by far the most fatiguing. I began the morning with a brief discussion between myself and my secretary of state, Mr. Stettinius. He told me that he had reserved the American position on extra votes for the Soviet Union at the meeting of foreign minister this morning. He also said that the British would support this decision. Our little conclave had hardly run five minutes when I was notified that Marshal Stalin had arrived. I was perplexed by his early arrival, because our plenary session was not to occur until late in the afternoon, and it was not even lunchtime. I then remembered that I had scheduled a military discussion between the marshal and myself yesterday that was to take place over lunch. I relocated myself to the dining room, and within a few minutes, Stalin entered. He sat down, and greeted me, through his interpreter, of course. I asked the waiter for two small glasses and a bottle of sherry. We then began our discussion.
The actual talk lasted for about one hour; the meal lasted for about two. I began by requesting that the US Airforce be permitted to use certain landing fields in Hungary for bombing attacks against the Nazis. The airforce is currently based in Italy, which presents a problem in that the fleet has to make a long and perilous flight across the Alps in order to reach Germany. I also asked Stalin if it might not be possible to have a group of American experts survey the effects of bombing. I did not really expect Stalin to grant me both of these requests immediately, and I wasn’t completely assured that he would even consider them at all. To my surprise, he immediately complied with them both, and said that he would begin to make the arrangements right away.
At the session, which began at 4:00, I asked Anthony Eden to give a full report on the foreign minister’s meeting. He stated that they had agreed to hold the conference on world organization in the United States, and that it was slated to begin on the twenty-fifth of April. He explained that Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union would be the only nations invited to this conference. The goal of this conference, according to the foreign ministers, would be determine which nations should be the original
members of this proposed world organization. Churchill wants the Russians, Americans, and British to be the only countries in this organization, but I have different views, and so does Stalin. Stalin remarked that it seemed strange to him that nations, which had no desire to maintain tactful alliances with the Soviet Union after the war, were attempting to build world peace with it now. Churchill and I glanced at one another, realizing that neither of us knew how to counter this comment, so I took the initiative and told the Marshal that most of these nations which he was describing had wanted to ascertain relationships with the Soviet Union, but had simply not been able to get around to doing it yet. Stalin considered this, to a certain extent, to be the truth, and told me that I was correct but that the convention in April would consider the critical question of the creation of world security.
When we were finished discussing the April conference and world security, we turned our attention once again to the problem of Poland. I sent Churchill and Stalin a proposal this morning, and we discussed the possibility of acting upon it and the modifications and/or changes we should make. Churchill showed me a British proposal as well, and we spent a good deal of time speculating on that. When we were finished talking about his proposal he told Stalin and I that he thought mine was more reasonable than his, and that he was ready, with some small alterations, to accept it.
The remainder of the session, in which we discussed the Polish dilemma, lasted for a good one-and-a-half hours. We had a large banquet afterward, with all of our military officials and staff members. There were a great many toasts and Churchill became incredibly optimistic during the course of the evening, in sharp contrast to the discouragement and distress he had experienced at Malta, and in his toasts he exhibited true hope that this could, indeed, be a world of hope, security, and happiness.
The banquet just ended, and I am writing this entry as my daughter Anna wheels me through the white, marble corridors of Livadia. I can still hear the cheering and laughter in the ballroom as Stalin and Churchill leave the palace. I genuinely hope that tonight, indeed, is a turning point for the remainder of the conference, as far as Churchill’s attitude is concerned. It would certainly be something to see this truly great man, unfairly bittered by this damned war and aging before his time, become happy again. I think, with all sincerity, that this is indeed a good note to end this entry on.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
February 9th, 1945
The conference is coming to a close. We have but two more sessions to straighten out what we can and make as many decisions that need to be made as possible. Stalin, Churchill, and I have agreed that we are falling behind in schedule and should leave many of the less urgent subjects that we have been planning to discuss to the conference on April 25th. I am beginning to feel tired again, and I can feel my sinuses worsening. I wish the conference would just finish now. It has already been much more productive than I ever imagined it could be.
At the session today, which I opened, naturally, we decided on the city in which the next conference will take place: San Francisco. I don’t quite recall whether it was Churchill or I who suggested it, but it is suitable to all of our needs and it just occurred to us to have the conference there. It is large, sociable city, decent weather, and enough accommodations?. What more is there to want? This decision, though simple by comparison to all of the other ones we’ve made so far, took a fair amount of time, one-and-a-half to two hours I believe, and we did not have very much time left afterward. The remainder of the conference was spent revising the “Declaration on Liberated Europe,” which will be released to the public after the conference is through. I have my suggested draft with me at the moment, and I think I shall copy it onto this entry. This will be something, hopefully, that I will be able to look back on and smile after the war has come to an end.
Declaration on Liberated Europe:
“The Premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the President of the United States of America have consulted with each other in the common interests of the peoples of their countries and those of liberated Europe. They jointly declare their mutual agreement to concert during the temporary period of instability in liberated Europe the policies of their three governments in assisting the pe Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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