Source 6

Letter to Winston Churchill from a peace campaign organisation in his Essex consituency, dated 3 February 1953

Reference

CHUR 3/79 (image 280)

Simplified Transcript

Sir,
At a recent public meeting held by the Loughton and District Peace Council there was a unanimous appeal for all fighting in Korea to stop immediately.

Since then we’ve heard that the US has supported Nationalist China in fighting Communist China. This is a threat to world peace. We demand that you tell the US government that the British people want no part in a war against Communist china.

Original Transcript

LOUGHTON & DISTRICT
PEACE COUNCIL

38, Dukes Avenue, Theydon Bois, Essex * (Telephone: Theydon Bois 3133)
3rd February 1953

To the Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill, P.C., M.P.,
Prime Minister,
10, Downing Street,
London.

Sir,

At a recent public held by the above Peace Council in your constituency, there was unanimous support for the following appeal;
‘We call for all hostilities in Korea to end immediately. While towns are shattered and blood flows, agreement becomes impossible. When hostilities have ceased, the parties will more easily reach agreement on the questions at issue between them.’

Since then we have heard of the United States’ decision to permit the forces of Nationalist China to attack the Chinese mainland. We consider that this constitutes a threat to world peace that cannot be overestimated. We therefore ask you to propose an immediate Cease-Fire in Korea to the United Nations, and to make it plain to the Government of the United States that the British people have no intention of being dragged into an aggressive war with China.

Yours faithfully

P. G. Mauger,

The [handwritten] Hon. Secretary.

What is this source?

This source is a letter from Loughton and District Peace Council, in Essex, to Churchill, their local MP.

Background to this source

The Korean War had been going on for three years. US policy recognised Formosa (now known as Taiwan) as the ‘rightful China’ rather than the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Tse-tung, and there was tension, including fighting, throughout the period between both Chinas. When President Eisenhower removed the American naval blockade of Taiwan, this was seen as an attempt to help Formosa attack China; hence people thinking this was a threat to world peace.

The World Peace Council had been set up, under Soviet leadership, in 1950 to counter American ‘warmongering’ and had tried to meet in Sheffield. But they’d had to move to Warsaw because the British Government refused to issue entry visas to many of the delegates.

How can we use this source in the investigation?

Remember, we’re hoping that this source can be useful to us in investigating the relationship between Britain and the US. Sources usually help historians in two ways:

Surface level

  1. What does the Peace Council want Churchill to do?
  2. What does it ask him to tell the US Government?
  3. What has the US Government done that has angered the Peace Council so much?
  4. What part is the United Nations to play in all this?

Deeper level

Which of the inferences below can be made from this source?

 

  On a scale of 1-5 how far do you agree that this source supports this inference? Which extract(s) from the source support your argument?
Some people in Britain wanted the war in Korea to end as soon as possible.
   
People blamed the US for the continuation of the Korean War.    
People thought that Churchill had influence with the US Government.    
The US would have been concerned by this letter.
   

 

Need help interpreting the source?

  • Every day hundreds of people wrote letters to their local MP.
  • The MP was expected to reply and probably act on the letter. (You can find Churchill’s reply at images 276 and 277)

Explore the guide to interpreting letters