SERIAL No 556
To President of U.S.A. 8th September, 1941
Pray accept my deep sympathy in your most grievous loss.
Loss of President’s mother.
This is a copy of a personal telegram from Churchill to Roosevelt expressing sympathy after the President’s mother had died.
This telegram was sent just over a week after Churchill’s strong complaint about Roosevelt not changing the US policy of neutrality. Roosevelt’s mother had just died at the age of eighty seven and Churchill immediately sent his sympathy.
During the summer of 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt had met to discuss what the aims of Britain and the US should be for the Second World War and the years that followed. They published these in a document that was later called ‘The Atlantic Charter’ in early August, but within weeks Churchill expressed very strong disappointment that Roosevelt would still not declare war. Two weeks later Sara Roosevelt, mother of the President, died with her son by her side. They’d been very close throughout his life and Sara was often seen as a very dominant figure.
Remember, we’re hoping that this source can be useful to us in investigating what was special about the relationship between Britain and the US in the early years of the Second World War. Sources usually help historians in two ways:
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?
Churchill felt sorry for Roosevelt.
Churchill was an emotional character.
The relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt was one of deep friendship.
There was more to the links between Britain and the US than just the friendship of Roosevelt and Churchill.
Explore the guide to interpreting telegrams