South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 22 August 1942
A Wonderful Journey
A year ago Mr. Churchill made his first big journey of the war, meeting President Roosevelt at sea to formulate and sign the Atlantic Charter. Twice since then he has crossed the Atlantic, an undertaking not without danger despite the Allies’ hold over his sea and air line of communication. Now he has braved the most perilous route of all, the road to Moscow, in making his fourth and most momentous trip. Probably also this fourth journey will have the most immediately vital repercussions.
We are still well within the limit of Mr. Lyttelton’s eighty days, and it is clear therefore that the memorable meeting between Premier Stalin and’ our own Prime Minister took place because the time for eventful and far-reaching decisions had arrived. What these decisions are it is idle to speculate. A too easy connection between the visit and the combined operation in the Dieppe area can be discounted. An action requiring so much planning can hardly be allowed as a sequel to the Moscow conversations. Little can be read into the intentionally laconic joint statement issued from the Kremlin, but it can at any rate be inferred that immeasurably valuable exchanges of views and facts took place between the Russian and British leaders and the United States plenipotentiary, empowered by President Roosevelt to add the weight of America’s word to the British Premier’s.
History records no contact between three mighty powers more pregnant with possibilities of concerted action. Strategically there is now virtually certain to be an understanding, of which the only overt detail is its deadly implications for the Axis. Britain, Russia and the United States are more inextricably locked than ever in a union pledged to withstand and ultimately destroy the blight of Fascism.
Turning to another and scarcely less notable aspect of Mr. Churchill’s wonderful journey we cannot fail to ponder the rigours and perils of the route. In facing these the Prime Minister has shown himself a worthy leader in such a struggle, unsparing of himself in the physical as in the intellectual sense. His vitality is amazing, and his zestful presence must have been a tonic to our men in the Middle East, as it undoubtedly would be to our sore beset allies in Moscow. Compared with such a dynamic tour the one-sided meetings of the Axis partners are seen as the hollow sham they unquestionably are. As the details are revealed surprise is piled on delightful surprise. We hear of Mr. Bullfinch stepping out of his car on the El Alamein front to chat with an astonished South African sergeant, expansively distributing cigars among a bunch of excited Australians, and rousing terrific enthusiasm by an extempore desert oration delivered within the chattering sound of aerial machine gun fire.
What must all this be worth to our cause? Certainly where Mr. Churchill has passed fresh fires of determination have been kindled, new accessions of endurance evoked. A wonderful journey indeed!