Casablanca Conference

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(President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill addressing reporters at the joint press conference at the end of the Casablanca Conference)

On 24 January 1943, at the conclusion of the Casablanca Conference, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill held a joint press conference. Seated in chairs on a beautiful sunny day, with the correspondents spread out on the lawn before them, the two leaders discussed what had been accomplished during the conference. The president spoke first. Near the end of his remarks he stated:

“…I think we have all had it in our hearts and our heads before, but I don’t think that it has ever been put down on paper by the Prime Minister and myself, and that is the determination that peace can come to the world only by the total elimination of German and Japanese war power.

“Some of you Britishers know the old story—we had a General called U.S. Grant. His name was Ulysses Simpson Grant, but in my and the Prime Minister’s early days, he was called “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. The elimination of German, Japanese and Italian war power means the unconditional surrender by Germany, Italy, and Japan. That means a reasonable assurance of future world peace. It does not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy, or Japan, but it does mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.

“While we have not had a meeting of all of the ‘United Nations,’ I think that there is no question—in fact we both have great confidence that the same purposes and objectives are in the minds of all of the other ‘United Nations’—Russia, China, and all the others.”

John McCrea attended the press conference in a position where he could clearly see the prime minister. When the president spoke the words “unconditional surrender,” the prime minister sharply turned his head in a manner that suggested to John that this announcement came as a surprise to Mr. Churchill. John learned later that the president and the prime minister had discussed, and were in complete agreement on, this point.

Presidential remarks (click here)

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