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Eisenhower’s stag dinner for Churchill

EISENHOWER, DWIGHT D. (English) Typed letter signed with initials to Lewis L. Strauss

Washington: The White House, April 25, 1959

One page on Eisenhower’s personal DDE stationery. Tiny staple holes in upper left. Fine.

Eisenhower invites his longtime friend Secretary of Commerce Lewis Strauss to the White House for a black tie stag dinner for Winston Churchill on his visit to the United States. When the two met Eisenhower called Churchill, “My dear friend of wartime days.”

“In May 1959, at the age of eighty-four, Churchill returned to the United States as a personal guest of President Eisenhower. He crossed the Atlantic by jet plane, was entertained at the White House, and flew with the President by helicopter to Gettysburg where Churchill viewed the Civil War battlefield, about which he had written, from the air. It was all a far cry from the steamships and carriages of his first American visit” (Library of Congress).

At the dinner Churchill spoke of the bonds connecting the English-speaking peoples, declaring, “Let us be united, and let our hopes lie in our unity. Because we understand each other. We do really understand each other. We understand when things go wrong, or things are said, or anything like that, we really can afford to pass them by. We understand each other, and we hope that the realization of this truth will continue to increase on both sides of the Atlantic, to the lasting benefit of the free world–and above all, the peoples of Britain and America.”

The recipient, Lewis Strauss, had served as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under Eisenhower. In 1958 Eisenhower nominated Strauss to be Secretary of Commerce, but the Senate voted against confirmation. At the time this letter was written, Strauss was serving in the cabinet as an interim appointment.