Churchill’s Naked Encounter

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Churchill’s Naked Encounter

Postby Maverick » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:57 pm

I read this for the first time earlier this week. I thought it might be of interest to folks on both sides of the Atlantic:

Churchill’s Naked Encounter

“The Prime Minister of Great Britain has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.” **

[More likely: “You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide.”]

This was allegedly stated by Churchill during his visit to the White House following Pearl Harbor in December 1941, according to Churchill’s bodyguard, Walter Thompson, and one of his secretaries, Patrick Kinna, on the strength of which I included it as likely in Churchill By Himself.

The story goes that Roosevelt, inspired to call the new world body he hoped to organize after the war the “United Nations,” wheeled himself into Churchill’s room, finding the PM, as Harry Hopkins put it, “stark naked and gleaming pink from his bath.” But Hopkins was not present; he had this secondhand. Later, queried by Roosevelt biographer Robert Sherwood, Churchill said: “I could not possibly have made such a statement as that. The President himself would have been well aware that it was not strictly true.”

Whatever Churchill said,the encounter apparently did occur. Recalling his White House visit to King George VI at Buckingham Palace in January 1942, Churchill remarked: “Sir, I believe I am the only man in the world to have received the head of a nation naked.”

Churchill must have repeated his crack to the King to Roosevelt, who told his confidante, Daisy Suckley, and the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax, on 17 January 1945. (See Geoffrey C. Ward, Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley, 384-85.)

In Suckley’s version, WSC did not say he had “nothing to hide,” which he denied saying to Robert Sherwood. According to Suckley, Roosevelt simply said, “United Nations!” and Churchill responded, “Good!”

**Paul Screeton prompted this post when he wrote that columnist and TV show host Jeremy Kyle has pondered whether Prime Minister David Cameron similarly sealed the special bond between the UK and USA during the visit of Barack Obama. (The Sun, 26 May 2011)

As a sidenote, I also read that Churchill had very sensitive skin that required him wearing very fine, and very expensive, undergarments.
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Re: Churchill’s Naked Encounter

Postby balaam » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:54 pm

Similar stories of Chirchill meeting with British generals and admirals whilst in the bath during WW2. It seems he both had a skin condition and unashamed of being naked.

It is well reported that he spent much of his down time naked and drinking brandy.
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Re: Churchill’s Naked Encounter

Postby DaveT » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:36 am

Well he certainly was an energetic leader, his courage and persistence carrying England through one of the most difficult times they ever had. My mother has told of hearing his pep talks to his people, replayed on USA radio during the war. She was between 5 and 10 during WW2. If he had sensitive skin he may well have been much more comfortable without anything touching it, leading to staying naked whenever he could get away with it.
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